BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LIEUTENANT COLONEL ARTHUR S. DEGROAT, ED.D., RET., U.S. ARMY
Anne Hamburger (Founder and Artistic Director)
Anne Hamburger has a long track record of spearheading cultural innovation and entrepreneurship. She founded and led En Garde Arts from 1985 through 1999 — pioneering site-specific theatre in New York, with Edwin Booth and Lee Reynolds Awards recognizing her work — and relaunched the company in 2014. Anne became Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse in 1999, developing the future Tony Award-winning musicals Thoroughly Modern Millie and Spring Awakening, before serving as an Executive Vice President at Disney and leading the creative development and production of all the major stage shows for the parks worldwide. Featuring the talent of such respected theatre artists as Francesca Zambello and Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, many of the shows developed under her near decade-long tenure are still running today. Anne is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women and is the recipient of an Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Political Women’s Caucus. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama.
Heather Cohn (Executive Director)
Heather Cohn is is thrilled to be serving as the Executive Director of En Garde Arts, having previously been the Director of Development & Community Engagement. Her work with En Garde includes extensive fundraising, community engagement, board relations and artistic and fiscal planning. Heather was the Director of Development for Epic Theatre Ensemble for 4.5 years and prior to that worked with New York Theatre Workshop, The Pearl Theatre Company, and Theatre Communications Group.
Heather is also a co-founder and the Producing Director of Flux Theatre Ensemble, an off-off-Broadway company founded in 2006. With Flux, Heather has produced 27 full productions, including 16 world premieres. She is the director of nine Flux productions, with playwrights including Gus Schulenburg, Erin Browne, Kristen Palmer, Kevin R. Free, and Johnna Adams. She served as Assistant Director to Austin Pendleton on Johnna Adams’s Gidion’s Knot. She has also directed with companies including Rattlestick, Lark Play Development Center, Cherry Lane, the EstroGenius Festival, and Planet Connections.
She is a Board Member of the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) and serves as co-chair on the Task Force for trans inclusion. She was a member of the Producers’ LAB with WP Theatre and is a graduate of Vassar College where she majored in Latin American Studies and spent time living in Cuba and Chile. Love to G and M.
Joan D. Firestone (Chair)
Joan D. Firestone is a familiar figure in New York’s cultural community and a fierce advocate for arts education. She has held executive and policy level positions in the for-profit, not-for profit, and government sectors, including: Assistant Director, New York State Council on the Arts under Kitty Carlisle Hart; Director of Economic Development and Cultural Adviser to the NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi; Executive Director, Flushing Meadows Park Corporation; Special Adviser for the Arts to the Chancellor of the NYC Board of Education; President, Primary Design Galleries; and most recently, Executive Director of the award-winning storytelling organization The Moth. Joan is an independent theatre and events producer with credits for Off-Broadway productions. She has served as Chair of the Cherry Lane Theatre, championing its unique mentor project for emerging and mid-level playwrights; Vice President of Government Affairs for the New York Women’s Agenda; and Co-President of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She currently sits on the boards of The Moth and the Dramatists Guild Fund.
Michael Schubert (President)
Michael Schubert is the Chief Innovation Officer worldwide for Ruder Finn, where he has created global campaigns for Novartis, Citi, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Mondelez, and other leading Fortune 500 companies. As a producer, composer, director, and digital designer, he has received recognition and accolades for his work by industry leaders, including: South by Southwest (SXSW); Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED); and the Webby Awards. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University and is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).
Merle Duskin Kailas (Vice President)
Merle Duskin Kailas, President of MK Group Productions, is a leader, producer, financial expert, and fundraiser with over 40 years of experience in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. A lifelong fan of the arts, she has also donated her time as Chair of the Cherry Lane Theatre and Soho Rep; Chair of the BAFTA NY Development Committee; and Treasurer of New York Women in Film and Television. Merle holds a Master of Public Policy and Management degree from the Yale School of Management.
Andrew D. Hamingson (Treasurer)
Andy is the Co-Founder and Producer of Pemberley Productions, a commercial producing, presenting, and touring company working in the US, UK and Europe. Andy was the first ever Executive Director of St. Ann’s Warehouse from February, 2012 through January 2016 where his responsibilities included overseeing the company’s relocation to its permanent home in the historic Tobacco Warehouse and the $31.5 million capital campaign. Andy had administrative and strategic oversight of finance, operations, and development. Prior to St. Ann’s Andy was the Executive Director of the Public Theater, where he oversaw all administrative and fiscal matters from 2008 until 2011, and managed the theater’s first ever $35 million building campaign and renovation project. Before joining The Public, Andy served as Atlantic Theater Company’s Managing Director from 2004. The Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Spring Awakening transferred to Broadway and won 8 Tony Awards including Best New Musical in 2007. Prior to the Atlantic, he worked at the Manhattan Theatre Club for 12 years, the last five as Director of Development, culminating in the raising of $40 million to renovate and restore the historic Biltmore (now the Samuel J. Friedman) Theater. Andy has been a Visiting Professor at the Yale School of Drama Theater Management Program since 1997. He is a Trustee of 59E59, and Dance Heginbotham; Andy served on the Board of Theater Communications Group (2008-2014), and is a member of the Advisory Boards of Bard Early Colleges, Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Beth Morrison Projects and PROTOTYPE Festival.
Dorothy Dunn is a creative leader and catalyst, cultural producer, and educator. Working with the Smithsonian Institution, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Buckminster Fuller Institute, The Rubin Museum of Art, the Philip Johnson Glass House, and American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), amongst others, Dorothy is recognized for launching organizations, cross-disciplinary programs, strategic partnerships, and products that promote positive engagement and stimulate creative leadership and action. She is currently launching dsgnfix, a free sharing and navigation app for the creative community.
Ronald and Amy Guttman
Ronald and Amy Guttman have a shared passion for the arts and a great appreciation for the challenge and beauty of the creative endeavor. Together, they are the producers behind Highbrow, established to serve the arts as a contributor, nurturer, and advocate. Highbrow provides resources and encouragement to film and theatre production during the critical stages of development from concept to completion, and employs Ron’s breadth and depth of history in the entertainment industry as a celebrated stage and screen actor and theatrical and film producer. Ron also serves on the boards for Performa and Naked Angels and is a supporter of FilmAid.
Phyllis Lee (Board Member)
Phyllis Lee is an advocate, strategic communicator, negotiator and consensus builder. She has had a distinguished international career in diplomacy, with a focus on humanitarian issues. Currently, she is the executive director of a family foundation in the arts and an adjunct professor of political science. As an educator, linguist and former diplomat, she has seen the transformative power of theatre in deepening the empathy needed to achieve cross-cultural understanding and reconciliation.
Atif Z. Qadir (Board Member)
Atif is a licensed architect and is a partner at Amanat Properties, a real estate firm focusing on investments in and around New Jersey. Previously, he worked at Extell Development, Turner Construction and at Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects. He earned bachelor’s degrees in Architecture and in Urban Studies & Planning from MIT and an MBA from Columbia. He is also on the board of the Haven Adolescent Community Respite Center in Jersey City and is a trustee of the Hudson School in Hoboken.
Bruce Rayvid (Board Member)
Bruce Rayvid develops lifestyle restaurants and residential real estate. He is a partner in Sanatorium, Beauty and Essex, Stanton Social, Bowery Meat, Back 40, and Aeronaut Brewing. He has served on the boards of The Wooster Group, The ARChive of Contemporary Music, and St. Ann’s Warehouse. Bruce was the Founding Producer of 7th on Sixth, running New York Fashion Week until it was sold and rebranded as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.