OriGinS of Statera Mentorship

(Photos by Antje Kastner and Malloree Delayne Hill)

Statera Mentorship officially began in January of 2016 and has been at the core of Statera’s programming ever since. The program was designed for theatre practitioners who identify as women and are interested in moving beyond the very real obstacles that sometimes lie between our goals and our successes. Statera believes that the most effective way to grow, expand and manifest change is to work together. A flourishing mentor relationship helps both mentor and mentee organize their professional challenges, nurture their creative ideas and activate their personal gifts. 

In January of 2017, Statera partnered with Chicago-based theatre artists Erika Haaland and Minita Gandhi to build a regional mentorship model that offers mentors and mentees a structured 6-month cycle that includes local mentorship gatherings for workshops, networking, panel discussions, keynotes, and more.

In October 2018, StateraArts announced the national expansion of the Mentorship program. Now there are chapters in Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, Ithaca, Boston, Louisville, Houston, San Francisco Bay Area. Volunteer Regional Coordinators manage the chapters and are local to their regions and cities. Are you interested in bringing Statera Mentorship to your community? Please contact us at We can’t wait to hear from you!

Statera Mentorship National Co-Directors


Minita Gandhi (she/her/hers) is an actress / playwright / storyteller born in Mumbai, India. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she is proud to call Chicago her artistic home for over 9 years. MUTHALAND is her first full length play. It was workshopped at Silk Road Theater for their Solo Festival, selected for the Ignition Festival of new plays at Victory Gardens Theater and invited to the Raven Theater for a special performance sponsored by the Indo-American Heritage Museum. 

Minita can be seen in the recurring role of Dr. Prospere on NBC's Chicago Fire, and has appeared on Fox's hit show Empire, NBC's Crisis, ABC's Betrayal, Fox's The Chicago Code, and was The Onion News Network's anchor, Nina Shankar. She is a proud pledge host with PBS for their WTTW Chicago affiliate station Channel 11. 

Minita has worked at a number of regional theaters across the country including Berkeley Repertory Theater, The Arena Stage, Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Lookingglass Theater. She has been directed by Tony award winning adaptor and director Mary Zimmermann, and originated the role of Priya in Silk Road's Rising World Premiere production of Rajiv Joseph's The Lake Effect. Minita travels with the corporate comedy improv troupe, Wavelength, and is a Master Instructor for Pinnacle Performance Company training executives in communication all over the world. Minita is a lover of life. 

Learn more about Minita’s  work

Erika Haaland (she/her/hers) is the National Co-Director of Statera Mentorship. Since graduating with her MFA from UC Irvine, she has worked with theatre companies and universities all over the country as an actor, director, composer and teacher. In 2015 she co-founded Creative Wellness, a company focused on stress-reduction in the workplace, which led her to her current career in Social Emotional Learning. During the school year, Erika travels to schools across the country for Mindful Practices, a company that teaches SEL through mindfulness and yoga through a trauma-informed lens. During the summer, she works as a Teaching Artist at Northwestern University's National High School Institute specializing in movement and voice work.

In 2017 Erika and Minita Gandhi launched the first regional chapter of the Statera Mentorship. She is on the Associate Board of the Harris Theatre, involved in multiple book clubs, and has recently discovered a love for neuroscience. She lives in Chicago with her amazing partner Drew and her beautiful puppy Birdie.