After graduating with a degree in Ad/PR from Penn State University, Jackie DeFreitas started her career in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA with the Pittsburgh CLO’s Cabaret. When she moved to the District she expanded her skills by working as an account executive for a design and development firm before moving to Signature Theatre in group sales and special events. Her recent roles have been managing marketing and events for the DC Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

With over 13 years of professional experience, Jackie is focused on childhood development at the Silver Spring Day School. Her passion is always with advocacy, education and supporting the arts. She lives with her husband and daughter in Silver Spring.

Follow her on twitter @jec128


EALDC STEERING COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR; Corporate Relations Manager, Arena Stage

char.jpgChar Manlove-Laws is from Wilmington, Delaware and currently serves as the Corporate Relations Manager at Arena Stage. In her role she is responsible for all corporate giving at the theater aligning corporate brands with Arena’s rich history. She holds a Masters Degree in Arts Management from George Mason University and a Bachelors in Drama with a minor in Finance from Ithaca College, where she graduated with Distinction. She has worked at numerous performing arts venues on the east coast, including the Hylton Performing Arts Center, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and Walt Disney World.

Follow Char on Twitter: @char617



Coordinator, Planned Giving at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Anderson_EALDC.jpgJohn is the Coordinator, Planned Giving at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. He was previously the Program Assistant, Internships and Community Programs in the Education department after serving as the Advertising Sales/Group Sales Intern in the Communications and Marketing department, both at Wolf Trap. Prior to his work there, John received a BA in Music and Marketing from The College of William & Mary in 2014, where he was heavily involved in the Symphony Orchestra, a cappella, and work at the campus Music Library, Alumni Association, and Undergraduate Admission Office. John lives in the West End where he enjoys playing cello in his string quartet and The McLean Orchestra, long-distance running, travel, and spicy food.



Business and Human Resources Manager, Signature Theatre

Eric_Colton.jpgEric Colton is the Business and Human Resources Manager at Signature Theatre. He was previously the Assistant Business Manager at Studio Theatre. Prior to relocating to Washington DC, Eric worked as the Executive Assistant at the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, PA.  During his time in Philadelphia, Eric also worked as an Arts Administration Fellow with CultureWorks and with the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. He serves on the Steering Committee of Emerging Arts Leaders DC, and previously served as the communication director for Drexel’s Arts Administration Graduate Association. An avid theatre aficionado and foodie, Eric resides in Logan Circle with his husband Jeff and miniature poodle Louie. He holds an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University.

Follow Eric on Twitter at @theericmathew


Program Associate, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

MD_Headshot.jpgPrior to coming to DC to work for the Cafritz Foundation, Messay worked and interned with several performing and visual arts organizations in Pittsburgh, PA and Dallas, TX including Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. She began her career in finance working as an auditor at Ernst & Young but left that path to purse her true passion of supporting arts organizations and artists.

Messay holds a Masters in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She earned her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University with majors in English Literature and Accounting. She is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and calls Texas her adopted US state." 


Gallery and Studio Manager, Art Enables

Allie Frazier joined Art Enables as the Gallery and Studio Manager after serving as the Gallery Assistant and Events and Program Coordinator at Hillyer Art Space for three years. Before moving to D.C. from Stafford, VA, Allie attended Virginia Tech, where she graduated with a BFA in Studio Art (Ceramics/Painting concentration) and a minor in English Literature and Language. She previously worked at the Perspective Gallery in Blacksburg, VA and volunteered as an art mentor to children after school. Along with producing her own ceramics and sharing her love of visual movement through dance, Allie is also involved with District Clay Center, taught ceramic classes at DC Artspace, and has served as a panelist for the DCCAH’s Artist Fellowship Program twice.



Cultural Programming Associate, Sixth & I

After graduating from Oberlin College in 2015, Amelia moved to DC and interned in the External Affairs and Development departments at Smithsonian American Art Museum. At the same time, she held a part-time position at Sixth & I, which eventually turned into a full-time position. Amelia is currently the Cultural Programming Associate at Sixth & I, coordinating the Author & Speaker series, which hosts a broad range of writers, artists, and thought leaders throughout the year. 

Amelia has continued to immerse herself in different aspects of DC’s arts and culture scene by volunteering at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and she recently completed a volunteer consulting project for a small DC theater through Compass Pro Bono. Amelia enjoys taking walks to explore the city, any kind of breakfast food, and taking advantage of the broad array of cultural events that DC has to offer. 


Fundraising Program Manager, Avalon Consulting Group

Mary_Maxwell.jpgMary Maxwell is a Fundraising Program Manager for Avalon Consulting Group, a DC-based direct marketing fundraising agency that works with nonprofit organizations and progressive political campaigns around the world. After graduating with a B.A. in Arts Management from the College of Charleston in 2010, Mary began her professional career at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and held progressively senior fundraising positions with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, and the Office of the Vice President of Development. Later, she joined the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore as the Manager of Annual Giving, before joining Avalon in the spring of 2016.

Raised in Southwest Harbor, ME, Mary has an extensive background and training in the performing arts. In addition to her creative pursuits, Mary was a member of the College of Charleston’s competitive sailing team, and placed 1st in Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s national championships in 2007 and 2010. She currently resides in Washington, DC and serves on the Emerging Arts Leaders of DC’s Steering Committee.

Twitter Handle: @maryqmax



Senior Manager for Individual Giving, The Newseum

REM3.jpgRyan E. Merkel is currently the Director for Individual Giving at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C. Ryan’s work includes cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of midrange and major donors, we well as special event coordination and management of all the Newseum’s annual membership programs. Previously, Ryan was a major gift officer at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has worked for the National Symphony Orchestra. Ryan holds a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Maryland, where he was also an instructor for COMM107, Principles of Oral Communication, and worked as an alumni relations coordinator for the Department of Communication. Ryan earned an undergraduate degree in business marketing at the University of Florida.



Development Assistant Individual Giving, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Ally Ouellette is the Development Assistant, Individual Giving at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts where she supports the foundation’s mid-level giving program in addition to attending as many concerts and operas as she can. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Jane Franklin Dance a contemporary company in Arlington. Ally graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Language and Literature with a concentration in Modern Literature and Culture. While at UVA, she interned with the Charlottesville Ballet, working in the office to support the company and the academy.  In her free time she enjoys reading, baking bread, museum-going, and cheering on her beloved-yet-hopeless hockey team the Washington Capitals.


Development Associate, The Washington Ballet

Taylor Rambo is a performing arts manager and collaborative pianist in Washington, DC, working to support capacity-building initiatives in the arts. In his primary role, Taylor serves as the Development Associate at The Washington Ballet where he manages annual giving, maintains department operations and supports special events coinciding with the ballet company’s activities. In his spare time, Taylor manages rehearsals and collaborates with performers as the Manager of Music and Operations for La-Ti-Do, a musical theatre cabaret and spoken word series with shows nearly every other Monday throughout the year.

Since moving to DC, Taylor has served in various performing arts roles including work as a freelance production assistant with Nouveau Productions; as the Executive and Operations Associate with APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals; and once, as a supernumerary with the New York City Ballet!

A native of Marietta, Georgia, Taylor moved to DC from Miami, Florida, where he earned degrees in Arts Presenting and Live Entertainment (M.A.) and Music Business and Entertainment Industries (B.M.) from the University of Miami Frost School of Music.

Follow Taylor on Twitter at @taylorrambo.


Director of Marketing & Communications, Cathedral Choral Society

lindsay_headshot_2016.jpgLindsay has served as Director of Marketing & Communications for the Cathedral Choral Society, the symphonic-chorus-in-residence at Washington National Cathedral, since August 2014. She is also the co-founder/director of Water Street Music Series in Decorah, Iowa, a local arts organization in its fifth season of presenting new collaborations between community and college artists in unexpected venues. Hailing from the Midwest, she came to love DC through two summers spent interning at Wolf Trap and Americans for the Arts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with a focus on viola performance, from Luther College. 

Follow Lindsay on Twitter: @lindsayelizs


Community Engagement Manager, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Jared Shortmeier has dedicated his career to arts education and the promotion and advocacy of the arts for future generations. Currently the Community Engagement Manger at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Jared spearheads marketing and recruitment efforts, manages community workshops, events and festivals, coordinates STC’s volunteer and College Apprentice programs and manages the annual Free For All. Prior to STC, he worked as the Assistant Director of Education at Adventure Theatre MTC and Director of Choral and Drama Activities with Appomattox County Public Schools. Mr. Shortmeier has served as a grants panelist for the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and adjudicator for the Larry Neal Writers’ Awards. He holds a BA in Music Education from Liberty University and MA in Arts Management from George Mason University.

Follow Jared on Instagram @jshortmeier


Special Events Manager, National Archives Foundation

James currently serves as the Special Events Manager for the National Archives Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves the National Archives and Records Administration. With over 9 years of event experience, including planning, developing, and managing events, venue management, program coordination, and wedding planning, James has found his true passion in events.

He obtained his B.A. in Political Science from Howard University, which provided him with his initial foundation in Washington, DC after growing up in Atlanta, Georgia. When he is not working, James enjoys wedding planning, volunteering with Community One, a non-profit organization, and his fraternity - Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, keeping up with the latest reality TV, and spending time  with friends, family, and his dog Drake.


Public Relations and Marketing Consultant


Alysa is a dedicated communications professional who has worked on publicity and marketing campaigns for a variety of arts and lifestyle organizations. She currently manages communications for Photoworks Gallery and UrbanArias in addition to D.C. restaurants The Red Hen, Boundary Stone, All-Purpose Shaw as well as Loudoun County's Springhouse Farm. Alysa previously served 3 years as the Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Synetic Theater in Arlington. Before moving to D.C. from Chicago she was a Publicist at Carol Fox and Associates where she managed campaigns for The Second City's UP Comedy Club and Blue Man Group, among others. Alysa holds a B.S. in Theatre Arts Management from Ithaca College. 

When she's not working Alysa enjoys cooking, biking along the Anacostia river, hiking with her dog, and experiencing D.C.'s ever-changing food and culture scene.

Follow Alysa on Twitter: @alysakt


Membership Marketing Coordinator, Americans for the Arts


Bridget, a previous co-chair of the Emerging Arts Leaders DC steering committee, is the Membership Marketing Coordinator at Americans for the Arts, where she works with local arts agencies, arts nexus organizations, and a wide variety of arts professionals across the country. In addition to serving on the EALDC steering committee, she currently chairs the development subcommittee of Pointless Theatre Company's board of directors and co-chairs the executive board of Blondes vs Brunettes DC, an all-women football game that raises money for the Alzheimer's Association. 

Prior to completing a Master's Degree in Arts Administration from Goucher College, Bridget completed a BA in Theatre from the University of Maryland, College Park with an emphasis on stage management and worked as a freelance stage manager for six years, ultimately becoming a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and the American Guild of Musical Artists, as well as working with clients ranging from Opera Lafayette at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to Barclays Capital. 

You can read more about Bridget's consulting projects, football career, political activism, and more at www.bridgetwoodbury.com.

Follow Bridget on twitter at @bwoodbury

At-Large Committee Members:

  • Tracey Bell, Communications and Engagement Manager, Graduate Arts Management Program, George Mason University
  • Katy Corella, Development Coordinator, Arena Stage
  • Abe Flores, Field Education and Leadership Programs Manager, Americans for the Arts
  • Kelsey Eustace, Marketing and Operations Assistant Manager, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County
  • Ashley McDonald, Assistant Director of Network Recruitment and Retention, Acheiving the Dream
  • Shayla Roland, Special Programming Manager, Ford's Theatre

Past EALDC Steering Committee members include:

  • Corinne Baker
  • Michael Bigley
  • Jennifer Bowman
  • Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell
  • Tim Carrigan
  • Jonathon Carrington
  • Jonas Cartano
  • Ellen Chenoweth
  • Chelsey Christensen
  • Ethan Clark
  • Kate Cushman
  • Steven Dawson
  • Brittany Dibble
  • Anne Grobstich Erps
  • Christi Esterly Schwarten
  • Elena Forbes
  • Joe Frandoni
  • Helen Gineris
  • Angela Goerner
  • Michelle Grove
  • Angela Han
  • Stephanie Hanson
  • Stephanie Johnson
  • Alison McNeil
  • Kate Michel
  • Tim Mikulski
  • Elizabeth McCloskey Miller
  • Briana Murray
  • Megan Pagado
  • Samantha Pollack
  • JR Russ
  • Anna Danielson
  • Michael Steelman
  • Emily Travis
  • Sunny Widmann

Are you interested in helping us plan events? Do you have an art space that you would like to feature in an event? Would you like to partner with us? Contact us and let us know!

Emerging Arts Leaders DC (EALDC) is a part of the national Emerging Leaders Network, developed by Americans for the Arts, and is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas.
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