Speaker Bios

Tools & Techniques Session Speaker Bios

The League's National Conference Education Program includes 26+ sessions on restoration, development, marketing, operations, facilities, technology, and programming along with important case studies of best practices from around the nation, offering something for everyone. Late Sunday afternoon, we will offer two "Early Bird" Intensive sessions for those who can't wait to get started. Two segments of concurrent Tools & Techniques sessions will be offered on both Monday, July 16 and Tuesday, July 17. On Wednesday, following tours of the Paramount and State Theatres, enjoy an in-depth study of the best practices of the Austin Theatre Alliance, including fundraising, marketing, programming, and arts education.

Facilitated discussions, workshops, panel discussions, and case studies provide real solutions to real problems. Four concurrent Tools & Techniques segments on Monday and Tuesday will offer best practices, emerging trends and practical information for improving your historic theatre, your business and your community. Several sessions will be repeated following a 30 minute networking break to give each person an opportunity to attend as many sessions as possible. A few sessions will only be offered once.

Click here to learn about this year's two optional Early Bird Intensive Education Sessions.

All Education Sessions are presented at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

Conference Sponsor GIF

Last Updated 07.13.18


Speaker Photo Placeholder

Nick Begley
Senior Marketing Manager, AudienceView, Toronto, ON

Nick Begley joined the AudienceView team back in 2010 as the Senior Marketing Manager and has worn many marketing hats in his 7+ years. Previously, Nick worked with organizations including NeuLion, XOS Technologies, MVP Sports Clubs, Orlando Magic, Orlando Seals and the NY / NJ MetroStars. He holds a BA in public relations from Mount Saint Mary College and a dual master's degree (MBA and Masters' of Sport Business Management) from the University of Central Florida. Nick is frequently enlisted as an expert speaker on emerging marketing trends at industry conferences, including LHAT and INTIX. He is also recognized as the guy with the viral candy bar resume.

John Bell

John Bell
President & CEO, Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL

John Bell is an experienced historic theatre leader having successfully managed two different historic theatre projects over his career. He began his career in arts administration with the North Carolina Arts Council and later assumed duties as the Managing Director of the historic Carolina Theatre in Greensboro, NC in 1979. After he assumed management responsibilities in Tampa in 1985, Tampa Theatre revamped its programming to include a heavy mix of first run and classic films supplemented by concerts, education programs and special events. This successful formula remains in place today, as the Theatre presents approximately 535 film events, 20 major concerts, 45 educational field trips, four weeks of summer camp, and scores of corporate and community events a year. In spite of having a stage depth of only 8', Tampa Theatre's annual attendance averages 140,000 a year and remains one of the busiest venues in the country. John has served on the Board of Directors of the League of Historic American Theatres, is a member of Rotary, the Florida Facility Managers Association, the Florida Professional Presenters Consortium, the Tampa Cultural Executives Council, and was a founding member of the Ybor City Cultural Heritage Consortium. John holds a BA degree in Theatre Arts from Catawba College in North Carolina.

Brooke Bernard

Brooke Bernard
Development Director, Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, TN

Brooke Bernard joined the Belcourt Theatre's staff as their first full-time development director in 2014. Previously, she was an independent film producer whose work premiered at festivals across the world including Sundance, Cannes and Rotterdam. She has a deep knowledge of and passion for independent filmmaking and of the cultural/economic role of art houses in communities.

Paul Beutel

Paul Beutel
Former Executive Director, Paramount Theatre, Austin, TX

Paul Beutel is former Executive Director of the Paramount Theatre in Austin, TX, where he programmed the Paramount's summer classic film series from 1990 to 2005. Paul most recently served as Managing Director and Senior Programming Manager for the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Roy Blackwood
Executive Director, Southeastern Louisiana University / Columbia Theatre, Hammond, LA

Professor C. Roy Blackwood, the senior faculty member in the department of Fine and Performing Arts, currently serves Southeastern Louisiana University as Executive Director of the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts and Fanfare. Roy chaired the university's Visual Arts Department from 1984-2001, and until 2010, directed the Cultural Resource Management curriculum that he co-founded in 1985. An accomplished sculptor who has exhibited nationally and internationally and received numerous grants, including an NEA grant, Blackwood was the first recipient of Southeastern's President's Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity. In 1985 he co-founded "Fanfare," Southeastern's fall festival of the arts, sciences, and humanities. Among his many honors, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, and, as a result, he and his wife were presented to the Queen of England and Duke of Edinburgh at a Buckingham Palace garden party in 2004. Service and Distinctions: Distinguished Member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Chapter President; Board member and Director of Fellowships from 1998-2011; President of the National Council of Art Administrators; Executive vice-president of the Hammond Cultural Foundation; Vice President for Program for the Istrouma Area Council, BSA; BSA design team, National Youth Leadership Training; BSA writing team, National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience; Silver Beaver Award for Outstanding Council Volunteer and Eagle Scout Advisor; Director of Louisiana Presenter's Network and board of LA Partnership for the Arts; Co-founded the Gulf States Presenter's Network; Grants panelist for the NEA and Performing Arts Exchange/SouthArts. Education: BA Fort Hays University, Fine Arts, Sculpture/Art History, 1970, 1991 Alumnae of the Year; MFA University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 1972. Outstanding Master of Fine Arts Graduate in 1972. Roy has completed 41 years of service at Southeastern and continues to lecture on the Art of Ancient Cultures.

Danielle Boyke

Danielle Boyke
Senior Project Manager, AMS Planning & Research,
Southport, CT

Danielle Boyke has been with national arts and cultural management consulting firm AMS Planning & Research since June 2012, where she has worked on a number of high-profile strategic planning and facilities planning projects, including operating plans for proposed performing arts centers in Beaverton, OR, Sarasota, FL, Edmonton, ON, and St. Tammany Parish, LA, as well as planned capital facilities projects at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and the Kentucky Center. Danielle has an M.B.A. from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin School of Business and a B.S. in Theatre Production from Bradley University. Prior to joining AMS, Danielle was a project assistant at The Wisconsin Union, serving as Outreach Coordinator for the historic Wisconsin Union Theater and Assistant Music Program Advisor for its three music venues. Danielle has an extensive theatre production background and previously worked as a professional stage manager based in Chicago.

Michael Burgoyne

Michael Burgoyne
Partner, Schuler Shook, Minneapolis, MN

Michael Burgoyne is a partner at Schuler Shook with over 18 years at the firm. He applies his extensive theatrical design and technical experience to shape theatres, entertainment venues and worship spaces across the US and internationally. In addition to lighting and rigging system design, Michael develops spatial allocations, programming documents, system budgets and specifications. Close collaboration with the design team and end-users assures each project is carefully detailed and highly functional.

Shane Burkett

Shane E. Burkett
Director, Strategic Marketing, Agile Ticketing Solutions,
Hermitage, TN

Shane E. Burkett is Director of Strategic Marketing at Agile Ticketing Solutions. He has been providing marketing ideas to small and medium-sized organizations, including historic theatres, for nearly a decade. His passion for theatre and cinema goes far beyond the box-office operations and into the heart of the patron; understanding the patron's desire to connect with the stories and be a part of the inspiration that is theatre. His professional background in learning and development, legal and compliance along with a terrific sense of humor provides workshop participants with an enjoyable way to absorb a variety of subject matter.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Mary Ellen Butler
Artistic Director, Georgetown Palace Theatre,
Georgetown, TX

Mary Ellen Butler became the artistic director of the Georgetown Palace Theatre 15 years ago. She has been involved with theater management for over 40 years, both in Europe and various locations in the United States. Through her management and team building skills she spearheaded the development of the historic theater from a position of eminent bankruptcy to its current financial and critical success. She was elected Georgetown's "Woman of the Year" in 2015.

Tom Clareson

Tom Clareson
Project Director, Performing Arts Readiness / Lyrasis
Atlanta, GA

Tom Clareson is Project Director of the Performing Arts Readiness project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help performing arts organizations nationwide learn how to protect their assets, sustain operations, and be prepared for emergencies. He also serves as Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services at LYRASIS, consulting and teaching on preservation, disaster preparedness, digitization, digital preservation, special collections/archives, remote storage, funding, strategic planning, and advocacy for libraries, archives, and museums.

Russ Collins

Russ Collins
Executive Director & CEO, Michigan Theatre Foundation,
Ann Arbor, MI

Russ Collins is Executive Director & CEO of Michigan Theatre Foundation, which operated the Michigan and State Theatres in Ann Arbor, MI. Russ is also Founding Director of Art House Convergence.

Curtwrights & Shells

Adam Curtwright
Co-Owner, Melba Theater, Batesville, AR

Adam & Mandi Curtwright along with Joe & Janelle Shell are the proud co-owners of the Historic Melba Theater in Batesville, AR. What began as a fun thought turned into a two-year adventure of restoring one of Batesville Main Street's treasures. Each maintaining full time jobs, their unique skill sets and backgrounds in construction, marketing, finance and graphic design allowed them to be very hands on and work as their own contractors. The group had a desire to see new life breathed back into the one-screen landmark and the Theater has since been honored as one of the top Historic Preservation projects in the state of Arkansas. The re-opening of the theater lit a spark that ignited a passion in others which revitalized the downtown area and brought their community together. During their two years of operation, they've developed programs and initiatives that have inspired others and brought their motto to life for thousands of visitors that have come to the Melba Theater and enjoyed "An Experience to Remember".

Curtwrights & Shells

Mandi Curtwright
Co-Owner, Melba Theater, Batesville, AR

Adam & Mandi Curtwright along with Joe & Janelle Shell are the proud co-owners of the Historic Melba Theater in Batesville, AR. What began as a fun thought turned into a two-year adventure of restoring one of Batesville Main Street's treasures. Each maintaining full time jobs, their unique skill sets and backgrounds in construction, marketing, finance and graphic design allowed them to be very hands on and work as their own contractors. The group had a desire to see new life breathed back into the one-screen landmark and the Theater has since been honored as one of the top Historic Preservation projects in the state of Arkansas. The re-opening of the theater lit a spark that ignited a passion in others which revitalized the downtown area and brought their community together. During their two years of operation, they've developed programs and initiatives that have inspired others and brought their motto to life for thousands of visitors that have come to the Melba Theater and enjoyed "An Experience to Remember".

Michael DiBlasi

Michael DiBlasi
Partner, Schuler Shook, Minneapolis, MN

Michael DiBlasi is a partner and principal designer in the Minneapolis office and has been an integral part of Schuler Shook since its inception. His hands-on understanding of performance venue requirements; including technical, functional and aesthetic issues; provides an invaluable resource to the design of theatre facilities. Michael's involvement in the project begins with pre-design and programming studies that help shape the immediate and long-range requirements for the facility. His involvement continues throughout the project as Michael collaborates with all members of the design team to develop the project's original vision into its successful completion.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Barak Epstein
President, Aviation Cinemas / The Texas Theatre, Dallas, TX

Barak Epstein has operated the 1931 built Texas Theatre in Dallas since 2010 which has been called "one of America's great movie houses" by Filmmaker Magazine. Barak also co-founded the Oak Cliff Film Festival in 2012 which has been named one of the "Top 50 Film Festivals worth the entry fee" by MovieMaker Magazine. Barak is currently in the planning and funding stages of a balcony second screening room renovation at the Texas Theatre.

Molly Fortune

Molly Fortune
Executive Director, Newberry Opera House, Newberry, SC

Molly Fortune, Executive Director at the Newberry Opera House in Newberry, South Carolina, strongly believes that historic buildings are key to the economic development and revitalization of America's downtowns. The Opera House is a leader in events not produced on their stage. They hosted NASA and a three-day STEAM camp leading up to the total eclipse on August 21, 2017. This event brought over 25,000 people to downtown and another 50,000 to the county. The Opera House helped Newberry be a NASA Designated City and was the only place in the path of totality to have an Astronaut call the eclipse. Previously, Molly was the Director of Restoration and Operations at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, the only in-house theatre restoration department in the country. She was involved in the development of the Fox Theatre Institute, an outreach and consulting division. Molly received her BFA in Interior Design from Converse College and an MFA in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Summa Cum Laude with Distinction.

Kenneth Foster

Kenneth Foster
Account Executive, Spektrix, New York, NY

Kenneth Foster is an Account Executive for Spektrix Ltd. While at Spektrix, he has worked with both their client support and project management team - helping clients innovate their business, and develop smart solutions for marketing and fundraising challenges. Prior to his work at Spektrix, Kenneth served as General Management Associate, and Company Manager for Daryl Roth Theatrical Management - a Broadway, Off-Broadway, and theatrical event management company based in NYC. While with DRTM, he had the benefit of working on major commercial ventures, and with some of NYC's premiere non-profit theatres.

Robert Friend

Robert Friend
Vice President of Business Development
PatronManager, New York, NY

Robert Friend is Vice President of Business Development and Consulting at PatronManager in New York, NY. Robert has over 30 years of leadership in the non-profit and commercial performing arts and sports industries. He has extensive experience in strategic and financial business operations with significant expertise in fundraising, marketing, sales, and technology. As global head of business development and strategy for Patron Technology, Robert is responsible for developing and implementing market strategies that drive sales, market intelligence, and revenue growth for the PatronManager CRM software solution and plays a major role in the company's growth and transformation objectives. Robert is an Adjunct for the Brooklyn College Graduate Training Program in Performing Arts Management. He served as Executive Director for the Arenafootball2 Mohegan Wolves, as Director of Institutional Advancement for Connecticut's Garde Arts Center, as Director of Marketing and Operations for California's Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, and Associate Director of Marketing for Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre. Robert is a graduate of Boston's Emerson College and serves on the College's Board of Trustees. He is a past member of the League of Historic American Theatres Board of Directors. And, currently serves as Secretary of the International Ticketing Association (INTIX) Board of Directors.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Samantha Giustiniani
Director of Education & Outreach, Count Basie Theatre,
Red Bank, NJ

Samantha Giustiniani is the Director of Education & Outreach for Count Basie Theatre. Before being at the Basie, Samantha was a Training Director for an enrichment company where she taught and developed early childhood curricula in theatre, music, and dance. After working as a teaching artist at the Basie for many years Samantha moved into an arts administration role at the historic theatre. There she manages educational outreach programs and partnerships for the theatre throughout the community and state, including the theatre's John F. Kennedy Center's Partners in Education team, and mindALIGNED, a collective impact initiative that spans two counties in New Jersey. Samantha holds a BFA in Theatre Performance and a MA in Shakespeare and Theatre and continues to act and direct throughout the region.

Diana Gordon

Diana Gordon, CFRE
President, Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Wichita, KS

Diana Gordon is a certified fundraising executive with over 25 years in nonprofit arts organizations. She became President & Chief Development Officer of the Wichita Orpheum just over two years ago, after a long tenure leading fundraising efforts for fine arts at Wichita State University.

Charles Gray

Charles Gray
Artistic Director, Struthers Libary Theatre, Warren, PA

Charles Gray is a playwright, librettist and Artistic Director at Struthers Library Theatre in Warren, Pennsylvania. Previously, Gray has worked at Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Court Theatre Chicago, San Jose Repertory Theatre and Teatro Visión de San José. She has co-written the musicals, "Between Dirt & Sky" and "Ciribiribin" as well as authored two musical adaptations, "A Christmas Carol: A Rock Musical" and "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." While at Struthers Library Theatre, Gray has expanded educational programming to create SLT Academy for musical and technical theatre studies.

Mandi Grimm

Mandi Grimm
Director of Training, Etix, Morrisville, NC

Mandi Grimm is Director of Training for Etix. She was Box Office Manager for a 20,000 capacity Live Nation Amphitheatre and has held various Box Office Roles in Amphitheatres, Arenas, and Performing Arts Centers before joining Etix. During that time, she also helped to create Audit Guidelines, train new Box Office Managers and consult for new venues. Since joining Etix she has created the Training Department, collaborated on system development, oversaw many high impact client conversions and currently oversees the Anti-Fraud Department with Krister Larsson. Interacting with clients on a daily basis via phone and onsite helps her to better understand the needs and challenges they face in their business. Mandi is also a Co-Officer of CaRTA, the Carolina Regional Ticketing Association and has planned and participated in their events and success since its inception.

Becky Hancock

Becky Hancock
Executive Director, Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation,
Knoxville, TN

Becky Hancock is the Executive Director of the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation in Knoxville, TN. She leads the organization in its mission is to preserve, maintain, and operate the Official State Theater of Tennessee and focuses much of her time on fundraising.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Dr. Brent Hasty
Executive Director, MINDPOP, Austin, TX

Dr. Brent Hasty is the Executive Director of MINDPOP, a solutions-based organization dedicated to expanding creative learning in classrooms, schools and communities. Under his leadership, MINDPOP manages Austin's Creative Learning Initiative; develops creative learning professional development models and resources; researches issues of impact and access to the arts and creative learning; and consults with leaders across the country to develop sustainable creative learning systems in communities dedicated to access and equity in the arts and creative learning.

Lila Honaker

Lila Honaker
Director of Marketing & Outreach,
Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation, Knoxville, TN

Lila Honaker has been working in the entertainment industry for nearly 15 years in the music, performing arts, and television sectors. In her current role at the Tennessee Theatre, she is responsible for the overseeing the Tennessee Theatre brand, creating awareness for the non-profit organization, fundraising through donations, grants and sponsorships, and developing special events, educational programming, and community outreach and partnerships. Lila has a background as a performer, is a member of Tennesseans for the Arts and Americans for the Arts, and volunteers with Knoxville organizations to present marketing solutions sessions to emerging nonprofits and small businesses.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Sarah Hutton
Director of Sales, Choice Entertainment Technologies,
Boulder, CO

Sarah Hutton was a founding member of Shubert's Partner Sales + Marketing group where she also oversaw account management for Lincoln Center Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, Wicked, The Kimmel Center, and several other large institutions and high touch point Broadway productions. In 2016, she moved into Shubert's tech division (Choice Entertainment Technologies) where she works with performing arts organizations of all sizes on enhancing their audience development and technology solutions. Previously, Sarah was Communications Director at Camp Broadway, and served as a production associate on three Broadway plays (most notably, LOMBARDI). Sarah holds a BS in Marketing from Emerson College, and an MS in Media Management from The New School. She is the Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Broad of CO/LAB, a non-profit that offers individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Raymond Inkel
Production Manager, Alley Theatre, Houston, TX

Raymond Inkel is the Production Manager at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. He has been with the Alley since 2012. Previously, he was the Production Director with The Utah Shakespeare Festival from 2000-2012. Work at other theatres includes PCPA Theaterfest, Santa Fe Opera, Yale Repertory Theatre, Ohio Light Opera, Kalamazoo College Festival Playhouse, and the Breadloaf School of English. He has served as the Production Safety Coordinator at The Santa Fe Opera; President of the Cedar City Arts Council; and as a Southern Utah Recycling Coalition board member. Teaching credits include adjunct professor, Southern Utah University MFA Arts Administration program; guest lecturer, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Ray received his MFA at the Yale School of Drama and a BA from the College of Wooster.

Stephen Jannise

Stephen Jannise
Film Programmer, Paramount & State Theatres of Austin,
Austin, TX

Stephen Jannise is the Associate Director of Film Programming for the Paramount and Stateside Theatres in Austin, TX. For the past six summers, he has curated the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series, an annual Austin tradition that showcases over 100 classic films on 35mm, 70mm and digital formats. He also programs holiday films and other special screenings throughout the year. Prior to his time at the Paramount, he was the Film Program Director of the Austin Film Festival for two years. In that role, he booked major studio and indie films for the annual festival, including the marquee headliners that played at the Paramount. Stephen has lived in Austin since 2008, when he moved there to earn his master's degree in film studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Jennifer Luck

Jennifer Luck
Education & Outreach Director,
Paramount & Stateside Theatres, Austin, Tx

Jennifer Luck is the Education & Outreach Director at the Historic Paramount & Stateside Theatres in Austin, Texas. She moved to Austin in 2008 after spending three years in Los Angeles with P.L.A.Y., the Education Department at Center Theatre Group (The Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum & Kirk Douglas Theatre). Prior to her time in L.A. and Austin, she worked with Phoenix Theatre, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, The Herberger Theatre Center, Biz Kids NYC, and The Children's Museum of Manhattan. In 2009 she was named a Don and Elizabeth Doyle Fellow by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE), recognized for her artistic ability in the area of Theatre for Youth. Not only is she an educator/administrator, but she is also an accomplished singer and composer. She holds a BA in Theatre from Arizona State University and an MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from the University of Texas at Austin.

Donald Mason

Donald Mason
Lyric Theatre, Lexington, KY

Donald Mason is the Executive Director of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center in Lexington, KY. Tasked with directing the historic African American venue into a leading regional arts center, Donald has become an advocate for diversity, inclusion and equity in the Central Kentucky region and beyond. Donald serves on the LexArts Board, Picnic with the Pops Commission, Business Volunteers for the Arts, EMERGE Conference Steering committee and the Projects committee for Leadership Lexington Alumni. He holds a B.S. in Management and Ethics from Asbury University and is an MBA candidate at Southern New Hampshire University, holding a Master's certificate and Modern Musician specialization from Berklee College of Music.

Henri Mazza

Henri Mazza
Vice President of Partnerships and Events, Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, TX

Henri Mazza joined the Alamo Drafthouse in 2001, and has served in a variety of roles in the creative team during that time. Currently he serves as Vice President of Partnerships and Events, overseeing brand sponsorship programs, studio promotions and partnerships, and large scale special events such as live streams and pop up Rolling Roadshow screenings. In these roles he has produced hundreds of events inside Alamo Drafthouse theaters, as well as screenings and events inside other historic theaters and movie palaces across the U.S.

John McEwen

John McEwen
Executive Director, New Jersey Theatre Alliance,
West Orange, NJ

John McEwen serves as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a service organization for the state's 35 professional theatres. The Alliance provides advocacy, technical assistance, and programming that supports collaboration among the state's non-profit professional theatres, encourages professional theatre activities, provides a wide range of marketing and audience development initiatives, and helps member theatres in their growth and development. John is the Founder and Chairman of the Cultural Access Network of New Jersey, Vice President of ArtPRIDE, and Trustee of the New Jersey Fund for the Blind, and The School of the Arts at Montclair State University. He has consulted with many organizations on board development, long-range planning, fundraising and cultural access. John received his Bachelor of Arts from Montclair State University and his Master of Arts from New York University, where he has served as an adjunct professor in their Arts Administration Program.

Randy McKay

Randy McKay
Executive Director,
Jefferson Live! (Cascade & Holly Theatres), Medford, OR

Randy McKay is the Executive Director for Jefferson Live!, a partnership with Jefferson Public Radio that manages the Cascade (Redding, CA) and Holly (Medford, OR) Theatres in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Randy is a frequent CHAT user and a vocal ambassador for the League on the West Coast. Both the Holly and Cascade Theatres are venues in smaller communities.

Brant Miller

Brant Miller, RA, LEED AP
Senior Associate, DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky,
Cleveland, OH

Brant Miller, RA, LEED AP was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He earned his Masters of Architecture and MBA from Kent State University. He currently works as a designer and an architect at DLR Group | Westlake Reed Leskosky in Cleveland. He served as the project architect for the Murphy Arts District and refers to it as one of his most fulfilling projects.

Jordania Nelson

Jordania Nelson
Digital Marketing Specialist, Envision Creative, Austin, TX

As an Arizona native, Jordania thrives on three things: captivating novels, a constant craving to learn, and a radiating tan. With degrees from Northern Arizona University and a plethora of experience in Public Relations, Sales, and Marketing, Jordania's combination of her compelling expertise and one-of-a-kind outlook contributes a different breed of credibility and enthusiasm to the team. When she's not researching the latest digital trends or reaching above-and-beyond to achieve unprecedented results, you can find her at the latest trend-spot in town, out on the lake enjoying a cold one, or watching another episode of "How I Met Your Mother" for the ten-billionth time.

Halsey & Alice North

Alice North
President, The North Group Inc., New York, NY

Halsey and Alice North jointly head The North Group Inc. which, since 1987, has been assisting historic theaters across the country with an integrated approach to planning, board development, and fundraising designed to strengthen organizations' fundraising capacity and effectiveness. Both are active members of LHAT (Board members since 2010) and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (active since 1975).

Halsey & Alice North

Halsey North
Chairman, The North Group Inc., New York, NY

Halsey and Alice North jointly head The North Group Inc. which, since 1987, has been assisting historic theaters across the country with an integrated approach to planning, board development, and fundraising designed to strengthen organizations' fundraising capacity and effectiveness. Both are active members of LHAT (Board members since 2010) and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (active since 1975).

Christina Novotny

Christina Novotny
Counsel, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Cleveland, OH

Christina Novotny is Counsel in the Cleveland office of Baker Hostetler whose practice focuses on the federal tax treatment of real property transactions, specifically including transactions involving partnerships, federal and state HTCs and NMTCs, and Section 1031 tax-deferred exchanges.

Marcy O'Brien

Marcy O'Brien
Executive Director, Struthers Library Theatre, Warren, PA

Marcy O'Brien, Executive Director, came to the job in 2007. With negligible theatre experience, she relied on her history of operations management, marketing, public and community relations, assets that she acquired in both large and small business and as community activist. Earlier careers included American Airlines field supervisor and corporate staff analyst, college instructor, interior designer, award-winning columnist and freelance writer for national newspapers and magazines and running a national direct marketing business.

Susan Palmer

Susan Palmer
Principal, The Palmer Westport Group, Santa Fe, NM

Susan Palmer is Senior Consultant for The North Group Inc. Prior to forming the Palmer Westport Group, Susan was Executive Director of The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA; a co-founder of Barrington Stage Company – a producing theatre company that recently won two Tony awards for The Putnam County Spelling Bee; managing director of The Berkshire Theatre Festival; Information Systems Manager at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; Director of Major Gifts at WGBY Public Television.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Kevin Patterson
Senior Account Executive, PatronManager, Carmel, IN

Kevin Patterson is currently a Senior Account Executive with Patron Technology. A 25 year veteran of the performing arts, with expertise in rehabilitating distressed organizations, Kevin held executive positions with the Austin Lyric Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and Anchorage Opera. As an arts administrator he has worked with The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Pittsburgh Opera and Santa Fe Opera companies among others. A professionally trained and licensed auctioneer, Kevin specializes in consulting and conducting benefit auctions for social benefit and performing arts organizations around the United States. His understanding of audiences and their desire for experience driven fundraising has resulted in millions of dollars in special events fundraising income for organizations. Kevin also blogs and hosts podcast on issues in the arts at 10toCurtain.com.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Jeremy Phelps
Associate Director/Production Designer, The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, Cocoa, FL

Mallory Rine

Mallory Rine
Marketing Manager, Orpheum Performing Arts Centre,
Wichita, KS

Mallory Rine has led the Marketing Department at the Wichita Orpheum for five years. She focuses on increasing and diversifying audience through social media, web presence, rebranding, outreach, and engagement.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Arturo Rodriguez
Board President, Georgetown Palace Theatre,
Georgetown, TX

Arturo Rodriguez has started his third year as the Palace Theatre board president. He had spent the previous 15 years as a board member and the board lawyer. His leadership has positively impacted board and staff development, patron stewardship, and the capitol campaign. His law firm represents the civil needs of the Georgetown government and he is a valued community leader. He and his family are active members of the community at large.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Tina Sawtelle
Chief Financial Officer, The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH

Tina Sawtelle is the Chief Financial Officer of the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH and has held various financial leadership positions over the past 20 years spanning across retail, higher education, health care, and arts & entertainment industries. Tina has served in a number of volunteer capacities including as treasurer and board member for the Homemakers Health Services in Rochester, NH and presently acts as an alumni advisor to her alma mater, the University of New Hampshire, where she participates in the Paul T. Paul College of Business and Economics FIRE Peer Advisor program as well as the Women in Business Mentor program. Tina resides on the seacoast area in NH with her family.

Michael Schnoering

Michael R. Schnoering, FAIA
Partner, Mills+Schnoering Architects, Princeton, NJ

Michael R. Schnoering, FAIA is a Partner with Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC, a full service architectural firm with broad experience in the planning and design of new buildings and historic preservation. He manages many of the firm's theater and educational projects. In his work with historic theatres, he is particularly focused on project planning, budgeting and fundraising, program development, site design, and project scheduling. He is also interested in engaging with owners and managers of mid-century Modern theatres to help them understand and enhance their newly historic buildings, and he specializes in identifying and designing integrated solutions to accessibility challenges. In 2016, he was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects for his work on the revitalization of theaters. Mr. Schnoering holds a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and is a Registered Architect in 15 states. He serves on the Board of Directors of the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT), the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the Cultural Access Network (a project of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance), and the 1719 William Trent House Association.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Dan Sheehan
Operations Director, Proctors, Universal Preservation Hall, and theRep, Schenectady, NY

Dan graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia with a BS in Sound Recording Technology. He worked in the recording field in NYC until the end of 1990 and moved into live audio with a summer job at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. He began working at Proctors as an audio engineer in 1991 and became Proctors' Production Manager in 1995. In 2003 Proctors hired Philip Morris and planning began for a $40 million expansion. In 2005 Dan became Proctors' Operations Director and, at end of that year, the new expanded stagehouse was opened. Since that time, Proctors has opened several other venues at the Schenectady campus, as well as taking on Capital Repertory Theatre in downtown Albany and Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga. Upcoming projects include moving theRep into a new space, a $9 million renovation of an old 1860's bakery into a 330-seat theatre, and a $10 million renovation of Universal Preservation Hall (an 1860's Methodist Church) into a 700-concert venue.

Curtwrights & Shells

Janelle Shell
Co-Owner, Melba Theater, Batesville, AR

Adam & Mandi Curtwright along with Joe & Janelle Shell are the proud co-owners of the Historic Melba Theater in Batesville, AR. What began as a fun thought turned into a two-year adventure of restoring one of Batesville Main Street's treasures. Each maintaining full time jobs, their unique skill sets and backgrounds in construction, marketing, finance and graphic design allowed them to be very hands on and work as their own contractors. The group had a desire to see new life breathed back into the one-screen landmark and the Theater has since been honored as one of the top Historic Preservation projects in the state of Arkansas. The re-opening of the theater lit a spark that ignited a passion in others which revitalized the downtown area and brought their community together. During their two years of operation, they've developed programs and initiatives that have inspired others and brought their motto to life for thousands of visitors that have come to the Melba Theater and enjoyed "An Experience to Remember".

Curtwrights & Shells

Joe Shell
Co-Owner, Melba Theater, Batesville, AR

Adam & Mandi Curtwright along with Joe & Janelle Shell are the proud co-owners of the Historic Melba Theater in Batesville, AR. What began as a fun thought turned into a two-year adventure of restoring one of Batesville Main Street's treasures. Each maintaining full time jobs, their unique skill sets and backgrounds in construction, marketing, finance and graphic design allowed them to be very hands on and work as their own contractors. The group had a desire to see new life breathed back into the one-screen landmark and the Theater has since been honored as one of the top Historic Preservation projects in the state of Arkansas. The re-opening of the theater lit a spark that ignited a passion in others which revitalized the downtown area and brought their community together. During their two years of operation, they've developed programs and initiatives that have inspired others and brought their motto to life for thousands of visitors that have come to the Melba Theater and enjoyed "An Experience to Remember".

Tony Sias

Tony Sias
CEO, Karamu House, Inc., Cleveland, OH

Tony Sias is the newly appointed president and CEO of Karamu House, Inc., the nation's oldest multicultural arts institution, located in the heart of Cleveland's historic Fairfax community. Under Tony's direction, Karamu -- Swahili for a joyful gathering place -- produces professional Theatre, provides Arts Education and, presents Community Programs for all people, while honoring the African-American experience. Prior to Karamu House, Tony was the Director of Arts Education for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and Artistic Director of Cleveland School of the Arts. A few of his favorite directing credits include West Side Story, Footloose, Carmen Jones, Free Man of Color, A Decade of Dreams, In the Continuum, Summer Nights and Fireflies, Dreamgirls, Guys and Dolls and Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting. His acting credits include On the Road with Duke, Angels in America Parts 1 & 2, Black Eagles, Big River, Oak and Ivy, Jazz Poet on Broadway, and the title role in the one-man show Paul Robeson. Among the many awards and recognitions Tony has received are the Ohio House of Representatives Tribute for Excellent Leadership in CMSD's All-City Arts Program, Outstanding Direction for In the Continuum at Cleveland Public Theatre from Times Newspaper, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Contributions in Education and Cultural Arts, the Northern Ohio Live Award of Achievement for his performance in Jazz Poet on Broadway (2002), and most recently, he was regarded as one of 2016's Most Interesting People presented by Cleveland Magazine. Tony co-authored the article, "Use of Live Theater to Increase Minority Participation in Alzheimer's Disease Research," published in Alzheimer's Disease and Associates Disorders: An International Journal. In 2008-2009, Tony served as a delegate from the U.S. Department of State in Istanbul, Turkey, representing the Council of International Programs, USA in the Engaging Marginalized Youth Arts for Peace Project. He is a proud graduate of Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, with a Bachelor of Science degree in dramatic art and a Master of Fine Arts in acting from The Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.

Stephanie Silverman

Stephanie Silverman
Executive Director, Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, TN

Stephanie Silverman is Executive Director of the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, TN and has been with the theatre since 2007. The Belcourt is a nonprofit film house dedicated to presenting the best in contemporary & repertory cinema from around the world. The historic 1925 theatre once housed the Grand Ole Opry and is now nationally recognized as one of the country's best art house theatres for both its programmatic vision and fiscal stability. Silverman serves as treasurer and founding member of the leadership group for the Art House Convergence, an organization founded by the directors of leading art houses across the U.S. to act as a support organization for theatres at all levels of maturity and stability through research, mentoring and an annual conference. Prior to her tenure with the Belcourt, Silverman worked for several nonprofit arts organizations including the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; founded the Arts on the Green Festival in Omaha, NE. She also worked with RMS Titanic, Inc. (now Premier Exhibitions) and artist management agency Exceptional Artists and has served as a panelist at the League of Historic American Theatres national conference, the National Performance Network Conference, and the Art House Convergence. She lives with her husband and four children in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee.

Lynn King Smith

Lynn King Smith
CEO, TicketForce, Mesa, AZ

Lynne King Smith, Lynne King Smith is a co-founder and CEO of TicketForce - one of just several women C-suite executives in ticketing. With over 20-years in the technology field, she is also a writer, blogger, lover of social media, and loves to share ideas about using technology across markets. King Smith is a frequent presenter via webinars and national conferences, including Association of Arts Presenters (APAP), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), International Ticketing Association (INTIX), and The League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT). Format includes formal presentations, round-table discussions and one-on-one consulting. Lynne has received the Most Influential Women in Arizona award from the AZ Biz Journal and the Most Admired Leaders in Phoenix from the Phoenix Business Journal. Her leadership at TicketForce with a focus on positive company culture has resulted in being voted one of the Best Places to Work in Arizona 2 years in a row. This fall, she will open Thrive Coworking for Women, a workspace devoted to creating a strong community of women in business.

Dee Smolik

Darlene Smolik
Plymouth Soundings, LLC, Loudon, TN

Darlene ("Dee") Smolik is Principal of Plymouth Soundings, LLC. She has been the tax credit coordinator for several of LHAT member theatres wishing to access the benefits of HTCs and NMTCs. She has closed over $900,000,000 in projects to date. Dee has been a member of the LHAT Board, has served as Treasurer, head of the Audit Committee, and most recently was honored with being named as a member of the Board Emeritus.

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Safiatou Soumana
Envision Creative, Austin, TX

Speaker Photo Placeholder

Terry Stewart
Chairman & CEO, El Dorado Festivals & Events,
El Dorado, AR

Terry Stewart was born and raised in Daphne, Alabama. He earned 4 degrees from Rutgers and Cornell and currently is the Chairman/CEO of El Dorado Festivals & Events in El Dorado, Arkansas. Previously, he was the President/CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as the President/COO of Marvel Entertainment in New York City, where he was recognized as the CNBC Marketing Executive of the year.

Alec Stoll

Alec Stoll, ASTC
Principal, Stages Consultants, Highland Park, NJ

Alec Stoll, ASTC has 15 years of nationwide experience backstage and a further 18 in theatre consulting. He is internationally respected as a theatre planner and designer. Alec has played integral roles in well over 100 academic, professional and community venues as well as historic renovation and restoration projects. Alec is a past board member of the American Society of Theatre Consultants, the League of Historic American Theatres and the RCHP Affordable Housing Corporation. Alec holds an MFA in Theater Production Management from Brandeis University and a BFA in Technical Theatre from Emerson College.

Kevin Sullivan

Kevin Sullivan
Client Executive, MDP Programs /
National Trust Insurance Services, Balitmore, MD

Kevin Sullivan joined MDP in 2014 as a Client Executive in our National Trust Insurance Services program. On the NTIS team, Kevin oversees the retail (client-direct) service team and works on new business for all retail accounts. Prior to MDP Kevin was a Client Executive in the Real Estate Practice Group at RCM&D. Growing up in Baltimore, Kevin attended Boys Latin School followed by Denison University. He earned an MBA from the University of Baltimore and is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC).

Tom Sullivan

Tom Sullivan
Director of Special Projects, Rose Brand, Secaucus, NJ

Tom Sullivan has worked for more than 30 years in theatre production and stage craft. Before joining Rose Brand 8 years ago, Tom spent a decade at The Metropolitan Opera designing and building scenery. Later at Hudson Scenic in New York City he managed the engineering department, designing solutions for hundreds of Broadway productions, commercials and industrials. Tom is an adjunct Professor of Stage Craft at SUNY Purchase and holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

Scott Swenson

Scott Swenson
Founder, Scott Swenson Creative Development, LLC,
Tampa, FL

Scott Swenson for more than 30 years, Scott has been bringing stories to life as a Writer, Director, Producer and Performer for theme parks, consumer events, live theater and television. His 21-year career with SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment included being part of the original development team for the "Howl-O-Scream" event at Busch Gardens Tampa. In 2014, Scott formed Scott Swenson Creative Development LLC, working as a creative consultant to write live shows, create and implement themed festivals, and develop communication-based training classes. He is the Writer and Creative Director for "The Vault of Souls," an historically based atmospheric theatre piece in Tampa's 1923 Exchange National Bank building; a regular contributor to The Haunt Journal magazine; and host of the haunt how-to podcast, "A Scott in the Dark." In 2017, he was recognized by The Haunted Attraction Association for his "...unprecedented investment and support for the haunted attraction industry." Scott and his co-presenter, Jill Witecki, have presented together countless times since 2004, and have performed together as part of Tampa's WIT Improv troupe for the past 12 years.

Alex Szilvas

Alex Szilvas
Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Cleveland, OH

Alex Szilvas is a Partner in the Cleveland office of Baker Hostetler, a national law firm with 14 offices throughout the country, which is nationally recognized in the field of Tax Credit Financing. Alex has been practicing law at Baker Hostetler for almost 30 years. He is the Co-leader of the firm's Tax Credit Finance and Economic Development Incentives Practice as well as the leader of the Real Estate Tax Transactions Team. Alex has extensive experience in the structuring and financing of projects utilizing federal and state HTCs and NMTCs.

Kelly Updike

Kelly Updike
Executive Director, Embassy Theatre Foundation,
Fort Wayne, IN

Kelly Updike has been the Executive Director of the Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne, Indiana, since June 2006. One of the largest historic theaters in the state, the Embassy seats 2,471 and is a rental facility for national headliners, Broadway touring companies, private and corporate events and home to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Kelly oversees all aspects of the nonprofit theater, including facility maintenance and renovation, staff management, board and community relations and finance. Prior to joining the Embassy, she was director of communications & marketing for The Leona Group, a national charter schools management company. She also has held communications and media relations positions at Lincoln Financial Group and Fort Wayne Community Schools. Kelly is a Ball State University graduate. She serves on several local boards, including Visit Fort Wayne.

Jill Witecki

Jill Witecki
Director of Marketing & Community Relations,
Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL

Jill Witecki blame it on too much Scooby-Doo as a kid, but Jill has been fascinated with ghosts, ghoulies and goblins ever since she can remember. While cutting her teeth as a cub reporter at The Tampa Tribune in 2003, she was cast as a scare-actor at Busch Gardens Tampa's "Howl-O-Scream" event, where she met and began working with co-presenter Scott Swenson. Soon after, she joined the theme park's Media Relations team full-time and became the Howl-O-Scream Marketing Manager. In 2012, Jill came to Tampa Theatre as the historic movie palace's Director of Marketing & Community Relations, where she immediately set about creating the "A Nightmare on Franklin Street" Halloween classic movie series and building the 91-year-old landmark's haunted reputation into a profitable series of programs. She is widely regarded as the keeper of Tampa Theatre's paranormal past, and her late-night ghost tours have become a popular item at fellow non-profit's fundraising auctions.

Tari Young

Latarika Young
Board Member, Lyric Theatre, Lexington, KY

Latarika (Tari) Young is an Engineering Manager for Embedded Technology and Solutions at Lexmark International in Lexington, KY. She joined the company as a Firmware Engineer upon graduating with a Computer Science degree from Transylvania University in 2003. While working, Latarika received her MBA from the University of Kentucky in 2007. Latarika's 14-year career has included various technical projects, which included an assignment in the Philippines. After eight and a half years as a firmware developer, she transitioned into firmware management to lead the Solutions Frameworks group in 2012. She was the manager of this group for four years, and just recently transitioned to her current role in 2017. Latarika is also active in her local community. A Lexington, KY native and 1999 Bryan Station High School graduate, Latarika currently serves as the Academy Advisory Committee Chair for the Academies of Bryan Station High School. She also serves on the Bryan Station High School Alumni Association Board, the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center Board of Directors, and the North Lexington Family YMCA Board of Managers.