Arvind Manocha

Arvind Manocha, President and CEO

Driven by a lifelong passion for music in all its varied forms, Arvind Manocha is president and CEO of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a position he has held since January 2013. An expert in both artistic programming and operations management, Manocha is expanding the Foundation’s vision of what it means to be Wolf Trap.

From major pop acts to children’s shows to opera and more, Manocha directs the Foundation’s year-round performing arts programming — among the most wide-ranging and diverse in the music business. Additionally, he oversees the full scope of the Foundation’s educational activities, including its nationally recognized arts education programs, which are implemented at 16 affiliate sites and in 30 states nationwide, and Wolf Trap Opera, one of the nation’s premier young artist training programs. Wolf Trap enjoys a unique public-private partnership with the National Park Service, a relationship that Manocha stewards, working across the Foundation and with NPS to fulfill Wolf Trap’s exclusive responsibilities as the first and only national park for the performing arts. In all of Wolf Trap’s work, Manocha and the Foundation strive for excellence and diversity across a broad spectrum of programming, as well as accessible, affordable performing arts experiences for all patrons.

Upon joining the Foundation, Manocha pledged to honor Wolf Trap’s history as a beloved urban oasis for arts and culture, while introducing fresh artists and updated programming relevant to a diversity of arts lovers. Under his leadership, major popular acts never before seen at Wolf Trap — Marc Anthony, A.R. Rahman, Lenny Kravitz, and Robyn — are attracting new and younger audiences, while favorites like David Crosby continue to draw longtime Wolf Trap fans. With a renewed emphasis on the fine arts, Manocha has overseen highly lauded engagements by Yo-Yo Ma, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, and in 2016, the American Ballet Theatre. Committed to innovation in all aspects of the Foundation’s work, he is spearheading digital streaming of Wolf Trap Opera productions and the national expansion of Wolf Trap’s acclaimed early childhood arts education model.

Manocha’s goals of strengthening Wolf Trap are borne out in increased philanthropic support and exceptional audience turnout across all its venues — the Filene Center, The Barns and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. Since the start of Manocha’s tenure, Wolf Trap has expanded its community of supporters with record-breaking increases in new memberships, per-show sales are up 13%, and more performances are selling out than ever before.

Prior to joining Wolf Trap, Manocha worked at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, which under his leadership was named “Best Major Outdoor Venue in America” by Pollstar magazine eight years in a row. As Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Manocha oversaw a wide range of artistic and operational functions at both the historic Hollywood amphitheater and the Association’s primary home, the landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. His tenure at the Hollywood Bowl was marked by record-high attendance, increased diversity in concert offerings, and his management of a multi-year capital improvement plan, which included both the rehabilitation of historic structures and the construction of new buildings.

Manocha, 43, grew up in Ohio, where he listened to everything from Indian ragas to Beethoven to Queen. He graduated with honors from Cornell University and earned his master’s degree as a Marshall Scholar from the University of Cambridge. Upon graduation, he joined McKinsey and Co. as a strategy consultant, serving clients in Los Angeles and London. A 2016 recipient of the Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award, Manocha has served on several nonprofit boards, and currently serves on the board of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Manocha and his husband, Gideon Malone, make their home in Great Falls, Virginia.

Senior Staff

Beth Brummel, Chief Operating Officer

Beth Brummel, Chief Operating Officer for Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, directs the full scope of Wolf Trap’s development, marketing, patron services, education, human resources, and government relations teams and programs. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2005 as vice president, external affairs, Brummel served as director of external programs at St. Albans Episcopal School for Boys. As project director of the Survivors’ Fund for The Community Foundation of Greater Washington, she managed a $20 million fund in support of individuals affected by the September 11 attack. Brummel’s early career included work on Capitol Hill and with People for the American Way, as well as holding senior fundraising positions at Children’s National Medical Center, culminating in her direction of the Medical Center’s $250 million Giant Steps campaign. A graduate of Yale University, Brummel is an advisor to the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers/Booz Allen Hamilton Nonprofit Summer Learning Series and is a frequent speaker on philanthropy, fundraising, and nonprofit leadership. She has served in a number of volunteer leadership roles with the AFP DC Chapter, including service on the Chapter’s Board of Directors, co-chairing NCPD in 2005, and co-chairing the 2013 AFP DC/DMAW Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference. She currently co-chairs the Bridge Conference Steering Committee.

Sara Beesley, Vice President, Program and Production

Sara is responsible for programming and performance operations at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and The Barns at Wolf Trap. Prior to joining Wolf Trap Foundation in 2014, Beesley was the Associate Director of Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, where she programmed more than 800 performances a year at the 187-seat nonprofit venue. In 2009, she was selected to participate in the Association of Performing Arts Presenter’s Emerging Leaders Institute, a professional development program for some of the music industry’s most accomplished and promising young professionals. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Management from Manhattanville College.

Bernard S. Berry III, Senior Director, Ticket Services

Bernard joined Wolf Trap as the Director of Ticket Services in February 2001 and is responsible for all aspects of ticket distribution — including managing the box office staff, customer service, web, phone, and in-person operations, and handling of hundreds of thousands of orders — for the Filene Center, The Barns at Wolf Trap and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. Previously, Bernard served as the Tickets Services Coordinator for Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers) for four years. Bernard has also worked for Ticketmaster, Ticketron and Ticket Center. In 1994, Bernard served as Box Office Manager for Washington, DC for the World Cup and was responsible for all ticketing related concerns at RFK Stadium. Bernard also worked the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah as Main Ticket Operations Manager and Venue Manager, respectively Venues Today awarded Bernard the 2011 Box Office Star of the Year Award.

Christopher J. Eckert, Vice President, Operations

Chris joined Wolf Trap in 1986, and currently leads operations, information technology services, facilities, real estate management and risk management for the Foundation. Chris helps to enable Wolf Trap’s vision, strategy and innovation by managing prioritization, decision ownership, effective resource alignment, measurement and accountability across his teams. Chris is the Foundation’s Liaison with our partner at Wolf Trap National Park on day-to-day operational issues and long term strategies. Chris has over 20 years of experience in senior level operational and project management and was a key member of the management team that implemented the Foundation’s major capital investment in the Center for Education. Chris earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration -Finance from Frostburg State University
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Georgia Grena, Vice President, Finance

Georgia joined Wolf Trap in 1996, and currently leads the Foundation’s financial strategy. She is responsible for financial policies, procedures, controls, and reporting systems, as well as Wolf Trap’s enterprise risk management plan. Georgia holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from George Mason University and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Georgia began her career in public accounting, providing services that included auditing financial statements and preparing tax returns for all types of entities with a concentration on nonprofits.
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Sara Jaffe, Vice President, Development

Sara joined Wolf Trap in 2012 to lead the Foundation’s philanthropic program — securing more than $10 million annually to support its arts and education programs. Sara has dedicated 20 years to advancing culture in the Washington, D.C. region, raising more than $50 million to benefit the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, where she most recently served as Vice President. Sara received a B.A. with high honors in Theatre and Dance from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and is a member of the Board of Visitors of The Hockaday School (Dallas, TX), the Board of Directors of The Inkwell, and Leadership Arlington. In 2012, WJLA-TV honored Sara as one of seven recipients of the Tribute to Working Women Award, and more recently in 2015, Leadership Arlington recognized Sara as one of the 40 Under 40 leaders who demonstrate impact through their exceptional leadership in the DC region.

Akua Femi Kouyate-Tate, Vice President, Education

Akua joined Wolf Trap in 2001 where she oversees all of Wolf Trap’s Education Programs including the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and Wolf Trap Internship Program. She has led program development and implementation for major Education initiatives since 2001, including Wolf Trap Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts, the 2010-2014, $1.15 million grant project funded by the U.S. Department of Education Arts In Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant Program (AEMDD). As an administrator, university lecturer and professional artist, Akua has served as a grants review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and other arts agencies, and regularly presents at national and international conferences on arts education. She holds an M.A. in Art Management and B.A in Dance from American University, and is a recipient of a Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Award. She has conducted post graduate studies and research on African Cultural Studies at Howard University and in West Africa.

Jo LaBrecque-French, Vice President, Communications and Marketing

Jo LaBrecque-French joined Wolf Trap as Senior Director of Communications and Marketing in January 2014. Jo previously served executive-level marketing positions at the Washington Ballet; Washington National Opera; and Houston Grand Opera. She began her arts administration career working in public relations for the Los Angeles Opera and Davidson & Choy Publicity. Her client list has included The Wallace Foundation, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, CalArts and more. Current and past service to the field includes the OPERA America Strategic Planning Committee, NEA Opera Honors, American Arts Alliance, The Orange Show for Visionary Arts, Robinson Crew, the Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children. Winner of a regional Emmy and two American Marketing Association Crystal awards, Jo studied at Rice University and the University of Houston.

Shannon Kelly, Senior Director, Government Affairs

Shannon joined Wolf Trap in July 2016 as the Director of Government Affairs, where she acts as a primary liaison to public officials and their staff to advance and strengthen the Foundation’s position as a leading nonprofit arts and arts education organization, while serving as a resource to stakeholders on relevant public policy issues. Prior to joining the Foundation, Shannon served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Association for Music Education, where she helped secure key arts and music provisions in the 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA). Previously, Shannon was a Presidential Management Fellow for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a program advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development. She holds masters degrees in music from the New England Conservatory and in public policy from American University, as well as a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Elizabeth Schill Hughes, PHR, SHRM-CP, Senior Director, Human Resources

Elizabeth joined Wolf Trap as Director, Human Resources in November 2012 to provide direction and management of the Human Resources and Benefits functions for a 93 person full-time staff and 500+ person seasonal staff. Elizabeth has more than 15 years of experience in the Human Resources field, working in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Previously, she was a Human Resources Manager and member of the senior management team with LCG, a government contractor, and a Senior Human Resources Generalist at the American Council of Life Insurers, a trade association in Washington, DC. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury University and earned her certifications as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resources Certification Institute and as a SHRM-CP from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). Elizabeth is an active member of SHRM and NOVA SHRM and was a member of the 2011-2012 NOVA SHRM/Dulles SHRM Mentoring & Leadership Development Program.

Kim Pensinger Witman, Vice President, Opera and Classical Programming

Kim Pensinger Witman joined Wolf Trap in 1985 and is an important force in shaping the next generation of classical vocal talent in the U.S. For over twenty years, she has identified the brightest talent for Wolf Trap Opera, hearing over ten thousand auditions. During her tenure at Wolf Trap, she has produced over 60 operas, from undiscovered baroque gems to commissioned world premieres. Under her direction, WTO earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Opera Recording in 2009. Kim is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Competition, and she has served as panelist with Opera America, the National Opera Association, and the National Endowment for the Arts.