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Governance

Board of Directors

Executive Board

Gary M. Abramson

Gary M. Abramson

Chairman

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Gary Abramson is a partner in The Tower Companies, a three-generation, family-owned real estate development company and the largest builder of LEED® certified properties in the DC metro area. Gary began his career in the family business in 1969. Since then, his major accomplishments include designing new office buildings, shopping centers, and mixed-use developments. He is responsible for leasing, management, development, architecture, design, construction, and aesthetics. His passion for architectural and design elements are evidenced throughout Tower’s portfolio. He is Chairman Emeritus and Trustee on the Board of American University and Chairman of the Heifetz International School of Music. Gary is a member of the SunTrust Bank Washington Advisory Board and for the past 34 years served on the American Committee and the International Boards of Governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science. Gary received his BA in Government and Public Administration from American University. He and his wife Pennie are proud grandparents and enjoy spending time with their family.

Bruce Rosenblum

Bruce Rosenblum

Vice-Chair

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Bruce Rosenblum is a Managing Director and a member of Carlyle’s Management Committee. He is based in Washington, DC. and serves as the firm’s Chief Risk Officer. From 2000 through 2008, Mr. Rosenblum was an investment professional in the U.S. Buyout group, focusing on the telecommunications and media sectors. In 2008, he joined Carlyle’s Executive Group, where he has been involved in various aspects of the firm’s operations, including corporate finance, strategic transactions and risk management. Prior to joining Carlyle in 2000, Mr. Rosenblum was a Partner and Executive Committee member at the law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he practiced for 18 years, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. Before joining Latham, Mr. Rosenblum served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger on the U.S. Supreme Court. Bruce currently serves as a trustee of American Jewish World Service; Vice Chair of the Board of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty; and Chair of the Advisory Board for the National Capital Region of Year Up. Prior nonprofit Board memberships include Washington Performing Arts (1992-2004, 2006-2008; Board Chair 2002-2004) and the Baltimore Symphony (2005-2014), serving on the executive committees and chairing the education committees of both organizations. Bruce is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, and is married to Lori Laitman, a composer of vocal music and opera. They live in Potomac, MD, and have three children and one grandchild. Bruce is a “serious amateur” musician, performing on double bass, and has made several appearances on the Heifetz stage.

Mark D. Biegel

Mark D. Biegel

Treasurer

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Mark is a member of the Maryland Bar and a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to establishing the firm, he honed his knowledge of derivatives at Prudential. Additionally, Mark worked at Deloitte & Touche and KPMG Peat Marwick. A cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, he holds a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Mark is the father of two medically fragile children. Consequently, Mark supports philanthropic organizations that address the needs of medically challenged children. In addition to the Heifetz Institute, Mark serves on several nonprofit boards.

Geoffrey Menin, Esq.

Geoffrey Menin, Esq.

Secretary

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Geoffrey D. Menin graduated from Yale College (B.A. summa cum laude, 1974) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1977). A founding partner of Levine Plotkin & Menin, LLP, Mr. Menin has, for over thirty years, represented individual artists and entrepreneurs in film, television, music, fashion and new media, as well as high profile executives in their employment matters across a broad range of industries. An accomplished composer and performer in the rock, jazz and classical genres, Mr. Menin brings to his law practice the ability to understand the creative artist and to guide the development of the artist’s professional activities. Mr. Menin has performed with the likes of Buddy Miles, Stanley Jordan, Odetta, Charlie Daniels and Keith Richards. His original compositions range from a classical song cycle based upon the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke for tenor (voice) and piano to the celebrated “Hymn for Her,” composed for Jennifer Muller’s Mullerworks Dance Company and recorded by Mr. Menin with Paul Winter and Eugene Friesen.

Peter Kreeger

Peter Kreeger

Chairman Emeritus

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Mr. Kreeger serves on the Board of Directors of the The Kreeger Museum, Kreeger Foundation, the Washington Performing Arts Society, and the Great Waters Music Festival.

Full Board

Pennie Abramson

Pennie Abramson

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Ms. Abramson, in addition to her position on the Heifetz board, is currently on the Board of Trustees for Friends of Cancer Research, Operations Embrace, Project Medishare and the MCPS Educational Foundation. She is President Emeritus of the American Committee of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Joan Antonelli

Joan Antonelli

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Philanthropist Joan Antonelli, together with her late husband John Antonelli, played a key role in bringing the Heifetz Institute to the Mary Baldwin campus and Staunton, VA in 2012. Joan was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Notre Dame Academy and Trinity College. She worked in the beauty industry for many years, including serving on the Clairol Hair Colorist Council, and was actively engaged in the firm’s New Products Division. Today, Joan has left city life behind and enjoys living in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, tending to beautiful flower gardens and bountiful vegetable gardens. Joan is also an animal rights activist, and becomes the third member of the Heifetz Institute board to be resident of Virginia.

John Bellis

John Bellis

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Mr. Bellis is the retired 30-year CFO and Director of Schramm, Inc., of West Chester, PA, a leading manufacturer of drilling equipment serving the oil and gas industries. Prior to that Mr. Bellis was a Senior Vice President at Mellon Bank in Philadelphia, PA, after serving as a Captain in the United States Air Force. Mr. Bellis received his MBA from Temple University, and his BA from Gettysburg College. In addition to serving on the Heifetz Institute board, Mr. Bellis is also a Director of the Church Farm School in Exton, PA.

Robert Braun

Robert Braun

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Dr. Robert Braun received his BA from USC in 1970, his MD from UAG in 1975, and his specialty in Psychiatry from LAC-USC Medical Center in 1979. Dr. Braun worked as the Medical Director of the Los Angeles Professional Standards Review Organization from 1981 to 1983, and as Medical Director for US Administrators from 1983 to 1985. In 1985, he became the President of S.M. Morgan, Inc., a real estate management company. Robert Braun is a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Overseers, Board of Directors of the Museum of Latin American Art, Board of Directors and Treasurer of LA Opera League, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Opera. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Council of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. He has served as a Board Member/Treasurer of the Los Angeles Committee for Philanthropic Arts and the Business and Professional Committee for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Robert Braun and Joan Friedman are Founders of the Los Angeles Music Center.

James Cafritz

James Cafritz

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Mr. Cafritz is a builder and developer of private real estate in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League and the Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation, Inc.

Susan Duprey

Susan Duprey

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Ms. Duprey is an attorney for the Northern New England law firm of Bernstein Shur. Previously she was a shareholder at Devine Millimet Attorneys at Law. During her time at the firm, she has specialized in zoning and planning issues, municipal law, and commercial real estate. In 1998, Mrs. Duprey served as President of the firm and has been instrumental in the firm’s continued growth throughout the region. Mrs. Duprey’s leadership activities extend well into the local and national community. She currently serves on the Board of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc. and the Advisory Board of Ocean Bank. Her numerous awards include inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America ® 2011 and being named as an “Ideal Lawyer” in the Town Lawyer category in New Hampshire Magazine in 2003. Duprey earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law School and her BA from the Maxwell School of Political Science at Syracuse University. She is admitted to practice in the State of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She resides in Concord, New Hampshire with her husband, Steve. They have three grown sons, Sam, Thad and Luke.

Diana Ely Epstein

Diana Ely Epstein

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Diana Ely Epstein is a native Washingtonian with a BA from Tufts University and Masters work in speech and drama at the University of Maryland. For the past 30 years she has been a radio and television personality in the Washington/Baltimore region. She does commercial voice-overs and narrations for local, regional and national clients. For six years, she was co-host of the award winning cable TV talk show, “Diana, Mike and the Rabbi.” She is active in local and national organizations such as Aish Hatorah, the National Gaucher Foundation, United Jewish Communities, Israel Bonds (twice co-chair of the annual prestigious Ambassadors Ball), Beth Sholom Congregation, Chabad Lubavitch, and the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, where she is a past president of the board of directors and current development chair.

Deb Kosits

Deb Kosits

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Deb Kosits has more than 30 years’ experience creating significant organization change for businesses and individual leaders as a global HR executive and consultant. Her consulting practice has focused on partnering with individuals, boards and organizations to navigate change, transform culture and position themselves for growth. She was the founding board president of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, and is Acting Chair of the Board of Land for Good, a New England based non-profit organization focusing on sustainable farming and land access. She is also on the Advisory Council of the New Hampshire Music Festival, following a successful six-year term as the organization’s Executive Director.

Robin Miller

Robin Miller

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With over 30 years of experience in the real estate business, Robin Miller specializes in identifying creative approaches to the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings. He has transformed the urban landscape of Richmond, Petersburg, and Staunton with a variety of development projects including numerous apartment and condominium projects, “green” urban in-fill projects, and large scale, new urbanist projects involving several buildings and numerous city blocks.

Joe Orlick

Joe Orlick

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Dr. Joseph Orlick, MD is a retired Internal Medicine Specialist in Charlottesville, VA with over 34 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from Medical College of Virginia medical school in 1986. He started Core Care, a program that is targeted at patients who want medical care but can’t afford or have no access to medical insurance. He resides nearby in Swoope, VA.

Matilde Ott

Matilde Ott

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Matilde Ott oversees the marketing programs at Silver Diner and Silver New American Brasserie, a group of 18 restaurants located primarily in the Washington, DC region. Ott has played an instrumental role in the transition of Silver Diner from a traditional diner to one known for its healthier options. In 2012, she partnered with Executive Chef Ype Von Hengst to develop a kid’s menu that eliminated French fries and soda and automatically included a healthier side and drink. This change dramatically increased the number of healthier kid’s meals sold, years before the national chains implemented similar initiatives. Ott also established a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership with Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and ChildObesity 180 to study the impact of the changes to the kid’s menu. This multi-year study concluded the menu changes had a positive and lasting impact on influencing healthy eating when dining out. Silver Diner’s kid’s menu is now used as a model in the restaurant industry. With over 20 years of restaurant marketing experience representing brands such as Potbelly Sandwich Works, Popeyes’ Chicken & Biscuits and Papa John’s Pizza, Ott continues to use consumer insights and industry trends to help brands become leaders in their category.

Roberta (Birdie) Pieczenik, Ph.D.

Roberta (Birdie) Pieczenik, Ph.D.

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Dr. Pieczenik is the Founder of S & R Literary, a company that publishes Surfless Guides, topic-specific guides to the best sites on the Internet. She is a sociologist with extensive background in evaluating criminal justice programs nationwide.

Amy Tang Seto

Amy Tang Seto

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Amy Tang Seto is an Endowments & Foundations relationship advisor and partner at the Baltimore-based firm of Brown Advisory, where she serves as a resource to leading a best-in-class service model for endowments and foundation clients. She joined the firm in January 2017 as the Strategic Operations Director, leading a team of 75 colleagues with an eye toward globalization, scalability, and bolstering the Brown Advisory. Amy was formerly the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Baltimore Community Foundation where she held various executive, operations and financial management roles during her 13 years of service.

Annie Totah

Annie Totah

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Mrs. Totah has been a leader in human rights advocacy, a lobbyist and fundraiser in local and national politics, and a staunch advocate for cultural, charitable, religious and educational programs in the Washington DC area. She was awarded the United Nations Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Contributions to Human Rights. A graduate of the American University of Beirut, holding a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Mrs. Totah has served on the Boards of the Washington Performing Arts Society, The Washington Ballet, Rabin Medical Center, Israel Bonds, Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, and the American Red Cross Advisory Committee. Ms. Totah is also the first woman Board Chair of the Armenian Assembly of America.

Beverly White-Seals

Beverly White-Seals

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Beverly has served as President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Howard County since May 2012, bringing broad experience in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. She positioned the organization as a hub for connecting philanthropic residents with local nonprofits to improve the lives of those living in Howard County, while also building a new leadership team and investing in better processes and systems. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Beverly earned a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. Beverly also donated her time and talent to serve on over 30 nonprofit boards while pursuing a career as a practicing attorney. Beverly enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandson as well as with her large and exceedingly close extended family.

David Wolowitz, Esq.

David Wolowitz, Esq.

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Director & Co-Chair of Education Law Group at McLane Middleton, David advises independent schools and colleges on all aspects of risk avoidance and crisis management. David is able to offer clients advice based on his years of substantial and varied experience in key legal areas that impact schools, including employment, mental health, contract, criminal, fiduciary and tort law. He is a pioneer in applying behavioral risk management concepts to promote healthy school cultures. David acts as general counsel to many schools, overseeing all aspects of their legal needs. He serves as a consultant to schools experiencing critical incidents relating to student health and safety. He conducts reviews of the policies and procedures of schools to assist schools in meeting the evolving standard of care relating to student health and safety. He trains his clients on how to promote healthy relationships with students, how to recognize and address early signs of inappropriate behavior, and how to respond to allegations of misconduct. David has a consulting practice with a national and international reach. He is a popular speaker and trainer at schools throughout the country and abroad. He presents to national organizations, including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and international organizations, including the European Council of Independent Schools (ECIS) and the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS). He has significant trial experience in federal and state trial and appellate courts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He has been qualified as an expert witness and testified on the adequacy of independent school policies and procedures relating to the protection of students from harassment, hazing, bullying , sexual assault and related misconduct. David received his J.D. from the University of Michigan (1975), M.A. from Harvard University (1971) and his A.B. from Washington University (1968).

Community Advisory Council

Founded in 2015, the Heifetz International Music Institute’s Community Advisory Council was created to ensure that the Heifetz Institute’s programming, administration, and policies are meeting the civic, educational, and cultural needs of the local community, e.g., the City of Staunton, Augusta County, and the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. The Advisory Council, made up of civic, business, political, and philanthropic leaders in the community, also assists in seeking the necessary support and providing counsel to ensure that the Heifetz International Music Institute continues to be a high quality, vital asset to the community as it carries out its mission.

Christopher M. Little

Chairman

Former Chairman, President’s Council of Colonial Williamsburg;
Board of Visitors, College of William and Mary
Staunton – McDowell, VA

Cheri Johnson Moran

Vice Chair

Retired Senior VP, Union First Bank
Chair, Augusta Health Foundation
Staunton, VA

M.J. Abbitt & Peter Shushka

US Agency for International Development (Ret.)
Board of Directors, Charlottesville Opera
Charlottesville, VA

Scott Ballin

Scholar, collector, curator, philanthropist
Staunton – Deerfield, VA

Matt Bingay

WMRA Executive Director
Harrisonburg, VA

Greg Beam

Executive Director, Staunton Downtown Development Association
Staunton, VA

Lee Beam

President, Staunton Steam Laundry
Staunton, VA

Maricia “Rish” Capps

President Emeritus, American Frontier Culture
Foundation; Board of Directors, Historic Staunton Foundation
Staunton, VA

John Higgs

Founder / Owner, Barren Ridge Vineyards; President, Shenandoah Valley Wine Growers Association
Fishersville, VA

Jonathan Kern

Business Consultant
Middlebrook, VA

Lisa Moore

Former Vice-Regent, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association
Staunton, VA

H. Roller Shipplett, Jr.

Financial Advisor
Staunton, VA

Damon Strickland

General Manager, Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Staunton, VA

Mame Warren

Editor, Writer
Lexington, VA

Ex Officio

Carolyn Dull

    Mayor, City of Staunton
Staunton, VA

Pamela Fox

 President, Mary Baldwin University
Staunton, VA

William “Billy” Vaughan

Director of Economic Development, City of Staunton
Staunton, VA