EALDC Co-Chair: Development Associate for Institutional Relations, Folger Shakespeare Library

Elena Forbes

Elena Forbes is currently the Development Associate for Institutional Relations at the Folger Shakespeare Library, supporting fundraising efforts by cultivating relationships and preparing proposals and reports for corporate, foundation, and government funders. Elena graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Music Education and received her Master of Arts degree in Arts Management from George Mason University in May 2016. Before joining the Folger, Elena worked at GALA Hispanic Theatre as the sole Development Associate, managing all daily fundraising operations, and prior to that worked at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Outside of her professional life, Elena enjoys cooking, playing intramural dodge ball, and exploring DC's contemporary art museums and exhibits.

Follow Elena on twitter: @forbes_elena



EALDC Co-Chair: Membership Marketing Coordinator, Americans for the Arts


Bridget is the Membership and Marketing Coordinator at Americans for the Arts and a DC-area native. She 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. 

During this time, Bridget earned a Master’s degree in arts administration at Goucher College. Since the completion of her thesis, “Your Mission, if You Choose to Accept it: Evaluating Planning as a Preventative Approach to Nonprofit Mission Creep in a Visual Arts Context,” she has written on the subject of mission-based planning and begun implementing her adaptive impact planning process as a growth consultant. Bridget lives in Petworth where she enjoys modern art, live music, football, and complaining about running. Read even more at www.bridgetwoodbury.com.

Follow Bridget on twitter at @bwoodbury



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


Membership and Digital Fundraising Assistant, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Ashley_David_headshot.jpgAshley M. David is a performing arts administrator as well as a dance teacher, choreographer, and performer based in the DMV. Currently, she is the Membership and Digital Fundraising Assistant at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as the Social Media Assistant for The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. Additionally, she teaches and choreographs for Joyful Motion Dance and performs with Capitol Movement Inc. She has had the privilege of holding various internships and positions at other organizations such as The University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities, Americans for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, CityDance and 4Dancers. She has also taught for CityDance’s DREAM community after-school dance program and worked as a freelance marketing consultant. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication-public relations and dance. 

Follow Ashley on Twitter at @ashdave17



Marketing Manager, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


As a former actor, Steven has been involved in the arts in one way or another for over a decade. He received his Master’s in Arts Management from American University, and is currently the Marketing Manager for Theater and International Programs at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at in downtown Washington, DC. (Previously the Associate Director of Sales and Marketing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company). His capstone work was on social media use for arts organizations, and he continues to speak at conferences on the subject.

Follow Steven on twitter: @artsmansteven



IMG_5091.PNGAfter graduating with a degree in Ad/PR from Penn State University, Jackie started her career in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA doing sales and marketing for the Pittsburgh CLO’s Cabaret. When she moved to the District she expanded her skills by serving as an account executive for a design and development firm before landing a job back in the arts at Signature Theatre doing group sales and special events. Her other positions have been in marketing and events for the DC Chamber of Commerce and most recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Jackie’s current full-time role is “Mom” to a very active toddler. But throughout juggling multiple roles and diversifying her experience, she maintains a deep passion to remain active promoting and supporting the arts. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Silver Spring.

Follow her on twitter @jec128



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." 


Assistant Director of Major Gifts, Washington Performing Arts


Stephanie Johnson is the Assistant Director of Major Gifts for Washington Performing Arts. Previously, she was the Manager of Annual Giving for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s second full-time home at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD, and prior to moving to the DC area was the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra Coordinator.

Growing up in Central Florida, Stephanie studied piano and ballet before earning her Bachelor of Music degree in Horn Performance and English Literature from Florida State University. She also holds an MBA from the University of Cincinnati and an MA in Arts Administration from the UC College-Conservatory of Music. She serves on the Steering Committee of Emerging Arts Leaders DC and the Membership Committee of the DC Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, where she coordinates a monthly brown bag lunch series for arts fundraisers.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, watching college football, and volunteering with The Reading Connection.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter: @SBJohnson19



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



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.



Assistant Director of Corporate Relations, Smithsonian Institution

Briana Murray

Briana is a highly-driven arts manager with nearly 10 years of experience in corporate sponsorships, partnership marketing, and brand alignment stratetgy. She is currently Assistant Director of Corporate Relations for the Smithsonian Institution, cultivating corporate donors across the Institution's arts, science, history, and cultural programs. Previously, Briana held corporate fundraising roles at Destination DC (DC's marketing & tourism office) and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

An active leader and participant in DC's creative communities, Briana holds entrepreneurial, mentorship, and volunteer roles with various local organizations. She is a Founding Board Member and Development Chair for Gourmet Symphony - a nonprofit connecting food, beverage, and orchestral programming - and also serves on the Steering Committee of Emerging Art Leaders DC (Co-Chair 2015-16). She has served as a Grants Review Panelist for DC and Maryland arts commissions and holds memberships with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Americans for the Arts, Metro Events Specialists, and the Young Nonprofit Leadership Network. 

​Briana holds a Masters in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelors of Music from Boston University. 



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



Publicist, Linda Roth Associates


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 restaurants The Red Hen, Boundary Stone and All-Purpose as well as Loudoun County's Springhouse Farm and Photoworks Gallery in Glen Echo. Alysa previously served as the Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Synetic Theater in Arlington and as an Account Executive at Carol Fox and Associates in Chicago 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 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

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
  • Brittany Dibble
  • Anne Grobstich Erps
  • Christi Esterly Schwarten
  • Joe Frandoni
  • Helen Gineris
  • Angela Goerner
  • Michelle Grove
  • Angela Han
  • Stephanie Hanson
  • Alison McNeil
  • Kate Michel
  • Tim Mikulski
  • Elizabeth McCloskey Miller
  • 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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