Wendy Rowden
President, Building for the Arts NY, Inc.

Wendy Rowden (she/her) is the President of non-profit Building for the Arts NY. Wendy comes to BFA with more than 30 years of experience in the real estate industry. Her passion is creative placemaking – using arts to make neighborhoods more vibrant and inclusive. 

Prior to joining BFA, she led Jonathan Rose Companies’ Investments where she was responsible for all aspects of the firm’s investment management business. Prior to Jonathan Rose Companies, Wendy served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Rockefeller Group, the U.S. Subsidiary of Mitsubishi Estate Co. 

Wendy is an active member of the Urban Land Institute (former Trustee, Chair of 2017 Global Awards Jury, and past Chair of the Women’s Leadership Initiative). She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, where she chairs the Finance Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and Gemini Arts Initiative, the developer of the Powerhouse Arts Center in Gowanus, Brooklyn. 

Wendy is a past president of WX (Women Executives in Real Estate) and was the 2016 WX Woman of the Year. She is a former member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Cushman & Wakefield and has taught real estate development at Columbia Business School. 

Wendy is the recipient of numerous awards, including Crain’s 2021 Notables in Non-Profits and Keen Company’s 2019 Vision Award. Wendy holds degrees from Brown University, University of Michigan, and New York University. 

Email:  wrowden@bfany.org 

Tel:  212 695 3036 

Ken Shillingford
Director of Finance

Ken Shillingford has spent his entire career in service, spanning the public and nonprofit sectors. He was one of the first recruiters for Teach For America; implemented one of the earliest foster care programs for HIV+ children and their caregivers at Miracle Makers; operationalized education programs for home care workers at New York’s largest healthcare union; and most recently was Finance Vice President/Director at groundbreaking organizations Expeditionary Learning and Echoing Green.

Ken’s public service began in the Office of Management & B​udget analyzing foster care service and emergency medical response, and included fiscal and operational leadership in economic development and city planning during years of ambitious goals and severe belt-tightening. Ken received his BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and his MPA at Columbia University.

Ken was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he currently lives with his wife and two children. A photographer for many years, Ken has held exhibitions across Brooklyn and rotates new and exploratory work on his website ShillingfordPhotography.com and his book “i am” – his book of early works.

Lisala Beatty
Director, Music and the Brain

For over 19 years, Lisala Beatty has supported music educators and  students with thousands of music lesson observations/demonstrations, professional development sessions, recordings, and curriculum development through Music and the Brain. 

For the last five years, Lisala’s leadership of MATB has contributed to a nationwide expansion of school partnerships and curriculum resources for grades K-8 and beyond. Lisala and the MATB team’s innovative response to the pandemic led to the launching of Music and the Brain All Access, an award-winning, dynamic hybrid learning online platform for synchronous and asynchronous music instruction (learn.musicandthebrain.org).

Also a professional vocalist and composer for over 30 years, Lisala has appeared on over thirty-five recordings, several commercial jingles, and performances across the U.S., Europe, Russia, Canada, and Japan. As a product of public elementary education devoid of music instruction, Music and the Brain’s mission to provide a high-quality curriculum and piano instruction to all students is crucial to Lisala. 

Before working with Music and the Brain, Lisala was an advertising sales executive at Vivendi Universal Net USA, the Walt Disney Internet Group, and Ziff-Davis. Ms. Beatty holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Email:  Lisala@musicandthebrain.org

Tel:  212 631 7825

Cierra Cass
Director of Theatre Operations, Theatre Row

Cierra Cass (she/her) is an arts administrator and producer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to joining the Theatre Row team, Cierra worked as the General Manager at HERE Arts Center in New York City and as the General Manager and Interim Managing Director at Magic Theatre in San Francisco. She has also held administrative positions at the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre and the Almeida Theatre in London. Throughout her career, Cierra has been dedicated to facilitating and supporting artists in the development and production of their new works. Her producing experience began with a focus on new play development and has now expanded to include opera, puppetry, dance, music theatre, and devised, multi-disciplinary works. In addition to her work,  Cierra is also a nonprofit business consultant who lends her expertise to up and coming theatre makers looking to start their own arts nonprofits. Cierra received her B.A. in Theatre Arts and Communications from Santa Clara University and her M.A. in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from Goldsmiths University of London.

Brennan Jones
General Manager,
Theatre Row


Brennan Jones (they/them) has had the privilege of working with Theatre Row since June 2019. Previously, they worked as the Associate Producer at Leve Productions in NYC & as the artistic producer of Redtwist Theatre in Chicago. They also bring an additional 10 years of experience as a freelance Producer, Production Manager, and Stage Manager in NYC, Chicago, DC, and Miami. A proud member of the transgender community, Brennan strives to make space for & uplift trans voices in theatre administration.


See our full staff list here.

Board of Directors


Jeffrey A. Horwitz, Chair (Proskauer Rose)

Carmen Bowser, Vice Chair (Eastpointe Consultants, LLC)

Joyce Storm, Treasurer (Retail Real Estate Advisor)

Zachary E. Smith, Secretary (Samco Properties)

Bruce Geismar  (Retired Investment Banker)

Andy Hamingson  (AD Hamingson Productions, Inc.)

Miriam Harris  (Trinity Place Holdings)

David Bar Katz  (Writer, Founder/Artistic Director of American Playwriting Foundation)

Lydia Kontos  (Connecting Dots)

Wendy Rowden  (Building for the Arts)

Sarah P. Shen  (Gilead Sciences)