Board of Directors
Bess Pilcher Lovec
Bess is an arts patron, community activist, and outdoor enthusiast. She started her career as a dancer in DanceMontana, a regional modern dance company based at the University of Montana. Bess turned her passion for performing into supporting arts organizations. She served on the Advisory Panel at Dance/Drama, MAC, was a Dance Consultant for Artists-in-the-Schools, and a Grant Evaluator for the Montana Arts Council. Bess has written for various nonprofits, including High Plains Book Fest, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and Yellowstone County Master Gardeners. Bess served on the Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood for almost a decade and currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT. She was awarded Docent of the Year in 2015 and Philanthropist of the Year in 2011 by the Museum. An educator at heart, she has taught English at the high school level in Montana, which has earned her multiple Grants from Billings Education Foundation, and has led various fitness and dance classes for two decades.
Paul has over 20 years of domestic and international experience in grass-roots development activities including—but not limited to— stakeholder engagement and mobilization, full-cycle project management from startup through close-out, non-profit capacity building, and conflict management. As a practiced manager of complex development programs in many of the world’s most challenging contexts, Paul’s skills are refined in team management, cultural sensitivity, and communication. Paul is currently the Executive Director of Rural India Supporting Trust and has elevated RIST to one of India’s top supporters in grass-roots community development programming. Before joining RIST, Paul worked for a variety of organizations in positions with progressively flowing levels of seniority. He was the Country Director for Search for Common Ground, Tanzania, has experience working for USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Paul has experience working in India, Tanzania, Madagascar, Afghanistan, the West Bank, Sudan, and Zambia.
Over the course of his 30-year career as a diplomat with the United States Department of State, Jeffrey has been a passionate advocate for using the arts to further America’s diplomacy around the world. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service holding the rank of Minister-Counselor, Jeff brings wide-ranging experience leading teams, negotiating outcomes, and managing resources for some of the Department of State’s largest and most strategic public diplomacy programs in countries such as Russia, Pakistan, and India. Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1989, Jeff spent eight years in Germany as a Russian specialist with the U.S. Army, including service in Berlin with the U.S. Military Liaison Mission to the Soviet Military in East Germany. He holds a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the University of Southern California, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Jeff’s passion for music has strongly influenced his work as a diplomat and his belief in the power of the arts to bridge diverse cultures.
Bruno graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Modern Languages, specializing in Italian Literature. Beginning in the 1990s, Bruno focused on the field of computer-based learning, setting up companies to exploit this opportunity, and building computer-assisted training and simulation-based modules for large corporate clients. He is currently the Founder and Director of Learning and Operation of Learn Interactive Inc. Previously, he was a Learning Architect for Human Capital Resources, and part of the Leadership Development team at McKinsey Solution (a division of McKinsey & Company). Independent clients include Johnson & Johnson Ethicon, Pace University, NY, Wiley Deltak Innovation, and Teach for India (a division of Teach for America). Previous years included founding successful e-learning companies such as 3PS Partners (London & New York), Clearpoint (NY), and Wide Multimedia Ltd (UK).
Preeti is an award-winning choreographer and performer creating provocative contemporary works from her Indian tradition. Founder and Artistic Director of Thresh Performing Arts Collaborative, her mission is to create experimental productions that foster a provocative dialogue with identity, and our relationship with heritage cultures and contemporary life. Preeti has been recognized by a number of prestigious institutions in the US for her outstanding contribution to dance. Some of her works have received the highest awards in India, which include: three META (Mahindra Excellence in Theater Awards) awards for The Absent Lover (2009) and seven META nominations for Savitri (2013). Preeti holds a Master's in Dance Studies from Laban Centre London and is a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban Institute of Movement Studies, NY.
Laurence is a lawyer with a background in telecommunications, media, entertainment, IT
and art law, and intellectual property. He earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.S. History, Honors in Cultural History, University of Wisconsin. Laurence serves as counsel to the Agarunov Law Firm in New York City. He is a Visiting Lecturer on Contracts, Intellectual property, and Entrepreneurship at Radford University College, Accra Ghana. Laurence is the Founder of Rhythms of the Globe, an organization developing a wide range of consumer-related entertainment products and services to serve as a bridge between cultures, and Global Beat Music, a record company producing African, Native American, Caribbean, Chinese, and Indian artists.
* Director Emeritus
Mike is a practicing Internist/Cardiologist in New York City. He and his wife, Nomi Ghez, have several long-term local and international involvements with vocal arts, dance, and educational organizations. They are enthusiastic ballroom dancers and incorrigible New Yorkers, but also lovers of life in the country, where they can often be found hiking the woods of Putnam county with dog Lexie, horse Tango, and friends with similar addictions. If they are really lucky, some selection of their 4 children and 6 grandchildren join the fun.
Dona Lee Kelly
Dona Lee is Director of Development at the Rubin Museum and is part of the museum’s executive team. Previously, she led development, capital campaign, and/or external affairs efforts at the National Academy of Design, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Primary Stages, and The MacDowell Colony. Dona Lee began her career as a dancer, actor, choreographer, and teacher—performing with Musawwir Gymnastic Dance, Marleen Pennison Company among others, and choreographing for productions at Theatre for A New Audience, L’Opéra Francaise de New York, and Hoboken Chamber Orchestra. For 15 years, she taught at the Stella Adler Conservatory, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and with Ms. Adler for her character class.
Jojo leads new vertical growth at CLEAR, the digital identity company, in New York City. Her background is in management consulting & brand marketing; she also spent a year after graduating from Harvard Business School in 2019 as a fellow & strategic advisor to the Chief of Staff and Executive Director at the American Civil Liberties Union. Jojo became involved in Thresh in 2020, as she was looking for a way to pursue her personal passion for arts and entertainment in NYC.
Anjali graduated from Harvard Business School in 2020 and is based in London. She was a student of Preeti’s and completed her training in classical Indian dance (Bharatanatyam), studying under Prakash Yadagudde at London’s Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She currently works at Astorg, a Private Equity firm where she invests primarily in software. Outside of her professional life, she is passionate about the performing arts, especially theatre and dance.
MJ graduated from Harvard Business School in 2020. Her background is in retail and entertainment & media. Currently, she works at Amazon and does business development for Prime Video and Audible. MJ became involved in Thresh during business school, where she worked with Preeti on developing a strategic plan for the organization. She is a founding member of The Collective, along with Anjali Itzkowitz and Jojo Banga.
First Voices Advisory Board
Arts Education Director, Montana Arts Council
Alaina Buffalo Spirit
Northern Cheyenne Tribes Advisor
Don Wetzel Jr.
Tribal Relations, Montana Office of Public Instruction; Blackfeet Tribe member
Art Educator, Lame Deer Schools, Montana
Art Educator and Fundraising Consultant
Director of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts & Religion, Wesley Theological Seminary