2020 WAM Board Members: Kristen van Ginhoven, Erica Baretto, Margaret Fluhr, Toni Buckley, Arwen Lowbridge, Carolyn Butler, Wendy Healey. Not Present: Ellen Ring, Diane Scott
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: President of the Board
"In the few short years I've been with WAM the organization has gone from a well-kept secret and grassroots organization into a thriving company that is recognized by the community and receiving national attention. WAM is doing serious theatre, but it is also so much more than that. The mission to support women and girls plays out in both the artistic sense and in the practical sense. WAM really 'walks the talk', and as a board member I continue to tell the story of this worthy theatre to ensure that its trajectory of growth continues into the next decade."
Wendy Healey has been in the banking and financial technology business for over 25 years; most recently at Lee Bank in Western Massachusetts where she led marketing and community banking. During this time she has been an advocate for women’s leadership development in the companies she has worked for. In addition to WAM Theatre’s board, she also serves on the board of directors of BerkShares, the local currency of the Berkshires, is active in the Berkshire Business and Professional Women’s organization, and serves as a mentor and speaker for the DLE Leadership Program. Wendy has been involved with local chambers of commerce her entire career, and served as the first woman president of the Avon, CT Chamber of Commerce. Wendy has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut where she also earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. She lives in an 1832 home on an old dairy farm in Colebrook, CT with her partner Scott and their 3 rescue dogs.
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: Board Member EMPLOYER: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts TITLE: Coordinator, MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities
"When I discovered WAM Theatre, I discovered an intentional community that creates opportunities to educate and empower women and girls, like me. The staff and artists at WAM are committed to using theatre to exhume people’s stories—to give voice to those histories that have been systematically silenced. As the youngest member on the WAM Board of Directors, I am grateful to have a seat at the table; I am proud to support an organization that does not hesitate to demonstrate, with responsibility and transparency, a critical understanding of how the arts can and will be leveraged in service to all humanity."
Erica Barreto (She/Her/Hers) is a multicultural educator, arts administrator, and experiential workshop facilitator. Throughout each of these roles, Erica is a creative rulebreaker and community changemaker interested in promoting the arts and humanities as equity-centered strategies for systems change.
As Coordinator of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the Mass. College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), Erica’s work focuses on increasing faculty and students’ access to Berkshire County’s arts and humanities resources while also advancing possibilities for collaborative engagements between the College and surrounding communities. Her goal is to catalyze the strategic development of high-impact experiences and practices in higher education by establishing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector connections that can also serve to activate a regional network of shared resources and support for all students.
As the Multicultural Alliance program advisor at Berkshire Arts & Technology (BART) Charter Public School, Erica encourages students in grades 6-12 to engage with diverse voices and experiences to enhance understandings of multiculturalism, identity, and community. In 2019, the Multicultural Alliance was recognized as the Berkshire Eagle’s “Classroom of the Week.” Erica has since expanded the program to offer professional development opportunities for educators to increase their awareness, study, and discussion of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA).
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: Board Member EMPLOYER: Berkshire Community College TITLE:Director of Alumni Relations
“WAM combines two of my deepest passions: activism and art. I learned about the innovative concept of supporting women and girls through theatre and art when I first met Kristen. I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved and follow this inspiring leader and her work. While social justice and equity are essential functions of the arts, the way WAM embraces their mission and turns it into action is unique - not just here in the Berkshires but around the globe.”
Toni Buckley decided in 2015 to drastically change her personal and professional life after running her own photography business in Germany for more than ten years. Shortly after moving to the U.S. for love, she started coordinating the Berkshire Immigrant Stories Project, organizing programming for and with our Berkshire Immigrant Community as well as collecting their moving stories. After the funding for the BIS Project ended, she started her new position at BCC as the Director of Alumni Relations, now sharing the powerful stories of Berkshire Community College alumni and how accessible education has changed and bettered their lives.
Toni sees herself as an artistic activist. She co-founded the Hoping Machine at the Guthrie Center, a group of activists and songwriters working to foster social justice through the power of music and storytelling; she served on the Pittsfield Human Rights Commission; is a member of the MASS MoCA Community Advisory Network; represents the Immigrant Community on the Impact Council of Berkshire Leadership; is a member of Pittsfield Moves by Jacob’s Pillow; and more. She holds an MA in Communication Design and is approaching another Master’s in Management of Nonprofits and Cultural Organizations.
Toni is very grateful to have found home, happiness and a community in the Berkshires. The seemingly most unlikely place to end up for a Syrian, who was born and raised in the Rheinland in Germany, now planning her future with her husband and family in the beautiful Berkshire hills.
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: Board Member TITLE: Retired clinical social worker
“As someone who has long been committed to advancing the position of women and girls, in both my personal and my professional life, I am thrilled to be a part of such an outstanding creative arts organization. WAM provides women and girls with experiences that help them to grow and develop confidence in themselves as artists and as people. Furthermore, it helps to support worthy non-profit organizations that provide a variety of services to women and girls in the entire Berkshire community and beyond. I cannot think of a better combination.”
Margaret Fluhr, LCSW, ACSW, has over 37 years of experience as a clinical social worker. She began as a preschool teacher, but changed fields after repeatedly working with children who were troubled, but helpless to change the traumatic circumstances in their homes. She was the director of a program to stop child abuse and neglect and also spent many years in private practice helping people to deal with serious emotional issues. As the director of the program, she has had experience in writing grant proposals and developing new programs, in supervising graduate students and clinicians, and in coordinating graduate student training and development. She has also served on several other boards including the Dean’s advisory Council of the NYU School of Social Work, the Women’s Psychotherapy Network, and the Board of her Coop in New York City. She has always been an active supporter of the arts, including theater, classical music and dance and frequently attends performances in Manhattan and in the Berkshires.
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: Board Member EMPLOYER: Ellen L Ring Ltd TITLE: Owner
“I had just finished reading Half the Sky in 2012 when I met Kristen and discovered WAM. It was kismet! Immediately, I wanted to be as involved as possible with this organization which spoke to my soul and with this powerhouse of a woman at the helm; smart, capable, engaging and warm. Spreading the word about this unique theatre with its philanthropic mission became a yearly goal and now to be a part of this outstanding team excites me. I am proud and honored to be an integral part of WAM’s continued success and growth.”
With a BA in Art History and a Master’s in International Business, Ellen Ring has spent the last 30 years in various arenas within retail. After 10 years at Tiffany & Co. in New York City, she relocated to The Berkshires where she was employed by McTeigue & McClelland Jewelers for 5 years and then, in 2005, started her own retail jewelry business, Ellen L Ring Ltd, specializing in buying and selling fine second hand jewelry. Since that time she has ben running her business on line and traveling the country selling at antiques shows. She most recently served on the Board of the Berkshire County Art and Antiques Dealers Association for 5 years. Theatre has been a passion of Ellen’s since grammar school where she appeared in her first musical, The Pirates of Penzance and first play Tom Sawyer. She continued acting through high school and college in musicals, dramas and one act play competitions. Other passions include supporting organizations that stand up for women and children; diversity and inclusion for those who are alienated, and animal welfare. She wants to help heal the world and to make those silent voices heard. “What better organization than WAM, with its philanthropic mission, its WAMily members, wonderful volunteers and team and board of directors, with which to align myself.”
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: Board Member TITLE: Fundraiser
“WAM has a unique mission to produce theatre that shines the light on the stories of women, then takes a percentage of the proceeds from this amazing work to support women and girls in our local and world community. This is a guide to how we can all help to make change in the world. The staff and the artists that make WAM possible are an inspiration to me and I feel lucky and honored to be part of this wonderful organization.”
Carolyn Butler has been involved in the not-for-profit world for over twenty years as a fundraiser, board member and volunteer in the areas of arts, culture and social services. Previously Carolyn served on the board of the New England Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and as Vice–President of the board of trustees for the Lenox Library. She previously worked in finance, public relations and event planning in Boston and moved back to the Berkshires in 2000 where she worked in fundraising and event planning. She currently chairs the Lenox Environmental Committee and volunteers her time organizing events for various Berkshire not-for-profits including being on the WAM Theatre’s Development Committee. One of her major projects over the last few years was the design and construction of her passive solar house, which is net zero. She has a BA in Sociology from Wheaton College and graduate level study in psychology from the Harvard Extension School as well as a certificate in positive psychology and life coaching. She is excited to be working with WAM Theatre and its unique mission of theatre as philanthropy. It brings together two worlds that she feels passionately about and she looks forward to helping further the impact that WAM Theatre makes on the world.
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: Board Member EMPLOYER: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts TITLE: Associate Professor of Arts Management, Chair of the Department of Fine & Performing Arts
“Initially, I wanted to join the WAM Board because I was so impressed with the quality of their artistic work. Now I’m just excited, if not more, about the quality of their work with and in the community to benefit women and girls.”
Diane Scott is an Associate Professor in Arts Management and Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts. Before joining the MCLA faculty, Diane created nationally recognized programming that helps artists with the business end of their fine arts careers as the principal designer and program director for Artist INC programs in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to this Diane was a member of the management faculty at Wichita State University for more than 11 years. Diane is the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the 2006 Barton School of Business Undergraduate Teacher of the Year, the 2008 WSU Academy for Effective Teaching award, and the 2017 MCLA Faculty Association Junior Faculty Award. Diane specializes in creative and fine arts entrepreneurship, management and organizational behavior and has taught thousands of current and future business people and fine artists of all disciplines in traditional classrooms and professional development settings how to improve their strategic planning, marketing, project planning, teamwork, leadership, coaching and communication skills. Diane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a Master of Business Administration from WSU.
PRONOUNS: She/Her/Hers WAM POSITION: Vice President of the Board EMPLOYER: Baystate Financial TITLE: Financial Planner/Financial Advisor
“WAM is a unique treasure among the world-class performing arts community here in the Berkshires and I am honored and proud to support its mission and programs. It is a theatre company that is ahead of its time, and with a mission to create opportunity for women and girls, WAM’s time is now!”
Arwen has been in the performing arts since age five, when she started studying dance. She had a twenty career in the non-profit arts world that began with live performance and spanned to include theatrical production, arts administration, non-profit management, fundraising, grant writing, teaching, and mentoring young artists. She earned her BFA in Acting with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a Certificate in Fundraising & Development from Rollins College’s Crummer School of Business. After many wonderful years in the arts, in 2015 she changed directions to pursue her second passion: financial planning. She established her financial planning practice for people who seek unbiased advice and help with their important financial decisions. She is now a Financial Advisor with Baystate Financial and is pursuing her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. In her current service to the theatrical arts, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Brooklyn-based play company, The Debate Society, and the Berkshires-based WAM Theatre. She lives in the Berkshires with her husband and volunteers at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens.