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Board Member Profiles

JESSIE LITTLE DOE BAIRD She is a linguist known for her efforts to revive the Wampanoag language. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010. She has a master's degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According to Wampanoag prophecy, a Wampanoag woman would leave her home to bring back the language, and "the children of those who had had a hand in breaking the language cycle would help heal it.” Jesse is featured in the MH-funded PBS documentary, We Still Live Here – Âs Nutayuneân, by Anne Makepeace. She was appointed to the board by Governor Patrick in 2013.

ELLEN FELS BERKMAN has been a lawyer in the Office of the General Counsel at Harvard University since 2004.  Ellen's current practice includes litigation, faculty and student affairs, research and regulatory issues, and collections issues for the museums and libraries.  Prior to joining Harvard, she was a partner at two firms in Washington, DC, Baker Botts, LLP and Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, LLP, and a law clerk to the Honorable Joyce Hens Green.  While in private practice, Ellen handled complex civil cases and criminal defense matters.  Ellen received her AB from Harvard College in Fine Arts and her JD from Columbia University School of Law.  She has served on numerous committees and task forces for Harvard College and lives in Brookline with her husband and two children. She was elected to the board in 2012.

BEN BIRNBAUM has worked at Boston College in marketing, communications, public relations, and strategic planning since 1978. His current titles are: Special Assistant to the President; Executive Director, Office of Marketing Communications; Editor, Boston College Magazine; Executive Director, Boston College Front Row; Executive Producer, @BC; and Editorial Director, Linden Lane Press at Boston College. Ben is also a writer of fiction and essays in publications that include Penthouse, Tri-Quarterly Review, Midstream, Boston Globe, Atlantic, Harvard Divinity Review, Image, Moment, Nextbook. He is the editor of a collection of essays, Take Heart: Catholic Writers on Hope in Our Time (Crossroad, 2007). His honors include Simon Rockower Award from American Jewish Journalists Association (2006); Best Spiritual Writing (HarperCollins, 2001); Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin, 2001); God Is Love (Augsburg, 2002); forthcoming Best Spiritual Writing, 2008. Ben earned a B.S. at Ner Israel Rabbinical College; a BA at Queens College; and an M.Ed. at the University of Vermont. He is an elected and appointed official in the Town of Brookline, including Town Meeting Member (1996). Ben was elected to the board in 2008 and currently serves as Chair.

KATHRYN BLOOM
is a communications consultant in Boston, Massachusetts. Her career in corporate communications and public affairs focused on the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Kathrn was elected to the board in 2008.

JAMES R. BURKE is a Partner in the Corporate and Business Group of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP. Based in Hinckley's Boston office, Jim has worked with a number of public and private clients, including several high-technology companies, and has been involved in various transactions in the corporate and securities field. He has written and spoken on issues relating to Massachusetts corporation law and co-authored chapters in Massachusetts Corporation Law & Practice. Prior to joining Hinckley, Jim was a partner at WilmerHale. He is currently a Trustee and Clerk of the Boston Classical Orchestra and sits on the National Advisory Council to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Jim is also a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Civil War Preservation Trust. Jim is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds an undergraduate degree in politics from Princeton University. He was elected in 2010.

LAUREN COHEN is a Senior Vice President at Ruder Finn, a strategic communications firm based in New York City. She has been with Ruder Finn since 2002 and is responsible for driving corporate communications programs across a variety of clients in the healthcare, technology, finance and non-profit areas. While at Ruder Finn, Lauren's work has helped earn numerous PR industry awards for the agency and her clients. She received her BS in Marketing from Lehigh University. She and her husband live in Boston. Lauren was elected to the Mass Humanities board in 2013.

JAVIER CORRALES is Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. Born in Puerto Rico of Cuban parents, Javier earned his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. He is the author of Presidents Without Parties: the Politics of Economic Reform in Argentina and Venezuela in the 1990s. His research has been published in academic journals such as Comparative Politics, World Development, Political Science Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, World Policy Journal, Latin American Politics and Society, Journal of Democracy, Latin American Research Review, Studies in Comparative International Studies, Current History, and Foreign Policy. He serves on the editorial board of Latin American Politics and Society and Americas Quarterly. In 2009, he was a visiting scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard and a visiting fellow at the Center for Latin American Research at the University of Amsterdam. In 2005, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2000, he became one of the youngest scholars ever to be selected as a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He has also been a consultant for the World Bank, the United Nations, the Center for Global Development, Freedom House, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was appointed to the board by Governor Patrick in 2010.

ELLIOT BOSTWICK DAVIS is John Moors Cabot Chair of the Art of the Americas Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). She came to the MFA from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In her position as Chair of the MFA's Art of the Americas Department, Davis oversees the Museum's extensive collection of art from North, Central, and South America, including one of the world's pre-eminent collections of American paintings, decorative arts, and sculpture. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Elliot was responsible for American, British and contemporary art in the Department of Drawings and Prints from 1992 through 1999, curating numerous exhibitions ranging from Winslow Homer and Mary Cassatt to W.P.A. Color Prints and the installations of baseball cards from the Burdick Collection. In 1999, Elliot joined the American Paintings and Sculpture Department to complete work on Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825-1861, the Metropolitan's landmark exhibition of American Art from the Age of Jackson through the Civil War. The accompanying catalogue, of which she was a co-author, was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the twenty-five most important books published in the year 2000. Elliot is a Trustee of the North Bennet Street School in Boston and a Councilor for the American Antiquarian Society. She received her M.A., M.Phil, and Ph.D. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University, completing her generals in European painting before choosing a dissertation topic in American Art. Before attending Columbia, she earned a Masters of Art in liberal studies from New York University and is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University. Elliot was elected to the Mass Humanities board in 2011.

AL GRIGGS attended Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1963. He served as a Naval Aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1963 to 1968. He received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1970. He is a former Coca-Cola Bottler. Al is a member of several boards of directors including the Beveridge Family Foundation, Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and a member of the Steering Committee of Leadership Pioneer Valley. He is an Emeritus Trustee and former President of the Williston Northampton School Board and an Emeritus Trustee and former Chairman of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and former Chairman the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts. Al and his wife, Sally, live in Northampton. Al was elected to the board in 2012.

ANDREW HELENE is a Vice President in the Private Equity Banking Group at RBS Citizens, N.A. in Boston. Drew received his BA in history and economics from Williams College, MBA in finance from Columbia University, and Masters in International Public Policy from the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Drew is a former board member of the Cape Cod Technology Council and resides in Brewster. Prior to moving to the Cape in 2004, Drew worked in Washington at the Center for Education Reform and edited A Tough Act to Follow? The Telecommunications Act of 1996, by Harold Furchgott-Roth, for the American Enterprise Institute. He also worked for ABN AMRO Bank N.V., syndicating loans for clients on the West Coast and in Canada after beginning his career at the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in New York where he covered Dallas and New Orleans. Drew was elected to the Mass Humanities board in 2013.

RONALD B. HERTEL is Managing Director-Investments of the Hertel & Konish Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Ron is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional since 1984 and received his Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation sponsored by the Investment Management Consultants Association in conjunction with the Wharton School of Business in 2001. Ron's career spans four decades and his business focuses on individual family wealth management services, corporate 401k plans and not-for-profit organizations. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Ron was inducted into UVM's Athletic Hall of Fame, served as co-chair on the Alumni Fund 2002-2003, and was awarded the UVM distinguished Service Award in 2004. He is a past president of the Friends of the Winchester Public Library and the Winchester Jaycees. He was elected to the Mass Humanities board in 2011.

LINDSEY KIANG is a retired attorney and now an independent scholar and historian. His previous legal career included corporate practice in the software industry, specializing in intellectual property law, and an appointment as general counsel of Yale University. Lindsey is a past chair of the board of trustees of the Massachusetts College of Art and served on the Governor's Commission on the Future of the State Colleges, the board of trustees of the USS Constitution Museum, and the board of overseers of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. He also retired as a reserve officer in the Marine Corps, and after publication of his first book on combat art in Vietnam in 2006, his research interests are now focused on the air war over North Vietnam from 1965-72. Lindsey is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, and he and his wife reside in Chestnut Hill. He was elected to the Mass Humanities board in 2013.

LEILA W. KINNEY is Executive Director of Arts Initiatives at MIT in the Office of the Provost. She works with the List Visual Arts Center, the MIT Museum, the Creative Arts Council and the Council for the Arts to advance the arts agenda at MIT in the areas of strategic planning, communications, resource development, and cross-school collaborations, particularly with the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the School of Architecture and Planning. She serves on the Advisory Committees of the List Visual Arts Center, the MIT Museum and the Catalyst Collaborative at MIT. Leila is an art historian and first joined the faculty at MIT in the History, Theory, and Criticism section of the Department of Architecture, where she specialized in nineteenth and twentieth century French Art with an emphasis on media in transition, arts institutions, and artists engaged with modernism and mass culture. She also taught in the Program in Women's Studies and Comparative Media Studies (CMS). Leila received a BA from Agnes Scott College in English Literature and Art History and an MA from Yale University in History of Art. She was elected to the foundation board in 2011.

LUCIA Z. KNOLES is Professor of English at Assumption College in Worcester where she co-directed the first faculty development seminar on teaching, learning, and technology at Assumption College and directed a grant-funded summer seminar on "Building Learning Communities with the Worldwide Web" for faculty from the Worcester Consortium. Since then she has regularly offered workshops on the use of websites, Blackboard software, and blogging in teaching. As chair of Assumption's 1996 Faculty Committee on Technology Facilities, Lucia authored the report, “A Vision of Future Teaching," that led to the construction of Assumption's current Instructional Technology Center. As a licensed Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the State of Massachusetts, Lucia serves as an advocate for the residents of the Jewish Health Center in Worcester. Through her work in the ombudsman program, she became aware of the critical need for activities that can provide intellectual stimulation for the aged. She is now piloting a course in Literature and Human Experience for a group of residents, family members, and staff members of the Jewish Health Center, while also working to organize members of the faculty of Assumption College to offer other courses to residents of nursing homes once the pilot is completed. Lucia is co-director of the “The E Pluribus Unum Project: America in the 1770s, 1850s, and 1920s,” www.assumption.edu/ahc/default.html, winner of an NEH EDSITEment award as one of the best online resources for education in the humanities. Lucia was elected to the board in 2008.

JAMES J. LOPES is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College (English and American Literature) and Harvard Law School. He worked as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for CBS/Fox Video in New York City and then Vice President, Business Affairs and Associate General Counsel for the Reader's Digest Corporation before returning to his native New Bedford in 2003. He is a practicing attorney and Adjunct Professor of Entertainment Law at Southern New England School of Law. Jim has been a researcher, writer and producer of numerous historical projects including The Boston Black Heritage Trail Guide (writer), We Light the World, a documentary about the Portuguese Crioulo whaling families of New Bedford (writer, producer), and Race to Execution (producer), a documentary about race and the death penalty (and the basis for the Mass Humanities-funded mini-documentary, Juror Number Six). He was elected to the board in 2009.

JEFFREY L. MUSMAN is a Partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP concentrating in the areas of corporate and commercial law, real estate development, land use, and public and private finance. Prior to joining Seyfarth, he was Partner/Director and Shareholder at Schnader Harrison Goldstein & Manello. Jeff earned his bachelor's degree at Carleton College and his law degree at William and Mary Law School and has served as a consultant to both the Massachusetts Department of Education, where he was responsible for the creation of student “help lines,” and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, where he co-authored the Board's Master Plan. Jeff is a member of numerous professional associations including the Boston, Massachusetts and American Bar Associations, the ACLU, and the Boston Lawyers Group. His civic affiliations include the Nahant Preservation Trust, the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (currently Board Chairman), Northeast ARC (currently Board President), the Israel Fund Board of Directors. Jeff comes to the board of directors from the Mass Humanities Advisory Board. He was elected to the board in 2010.

NANCY NETZER
of Newton is Director of Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art and Professor of Art History in the Department of Fine Arts. She has been at Boston College since 1990. Prior to this, she was first a research fellow and then assistant curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At Boston College, she worked with architect Royston Daley on the design of a new museum, which opened in 1993 as the Boston College Museum. Her research at Boston College has focused on the illuminated manuscripts of Britain, Ireland and the Continent in the early medieval period. She teaches courses on European medieval art and the history and philosophy of museums. Netzer has received fellowships from the Whiting Foundation and the American Council for Learned Societies as well as numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. She was appointed to the board by Governor Romney in 2003 and reappointed by Governor Patrick in 2008.

ROBERT L. PURA is President of Greenfield Community College. In addition to 33 years' experience as a teacher and administrator in the Massachusetts Community College System, he is also a proud graduate of a community college. As the first in his family to attend college and the child of an immigrant, he understands what a community college education can mean to students. “Opening the doors to higher education to all who aspire to a better life for themselves and their families while at the same time maintaining high academic standards is the noblest mission in higher education.” His passion for the community college mission was enhanced by his academic pursuits at The University of Texas at Austin where he earned his Ph.D. He has made presentations for the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, the League for Innovation in Community Colleges, Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University among others. He is on the Boards of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and WFCR. Bob is also a heavily fined Rotarian. He was elected to the board in 2012.

THOMAS PUTNAM is Director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. He has overall responsibility for the Library's core function of collecting, preserving and making available to the public the documents, audiovisual material and memorabilia of President Kennedy and his administration. He first joined the Kennedy Presidential Library in 1999 as Director of Education. In 2003, Tom was appointed Deputy Director and in 2007 was name Library Director. A graduate of Bowdoin College and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Tom's career has bridged the fields of education and government. Before coming to the Library he directed a federally funded Upward Bound program that helped low income high school students to be the first in their families to attend college. Tom was elected to the board in 2012.

BIANCA SIGH is a young professional with unique insight into the Boston art community. After working at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, (MFA) raising corporate funds for the institution she went on to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) to work with emerging artists where her passion for relationship building grew. She currently works as a Paralegal at the firm of Nystrom Beckman & Paris LLP in Boston's Fan Pier and serves on the PAC Board at Mass Equality. Bianca graduated from Bowdoin College in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in Art History. She currently resides in Beacon Hill with her boyfriend, John.

LISA SIMMONS is the founder and president of The Color of Film Collaborative, Inc., an organization of actors, producers, directors and others with an interest in creating and supporting positive images of people of color in film, theater, and other media. The Color of Film Collaborative co-produces the Roxbury International Film Festival and is a co-publisher of the Kay Bourne Arts Report, a multicultural arts newsletter. For the past six years, Lisa has Serendipity Productions—an independent film company that focuses on historic and contemporary multicultural video production—and has produced work for the Roxbury Cultural Network, Shirley Eustis House, Verna Meyers Consulting Group and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. She also serves as the Director of PR and Communications for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.  Lisa has received an Image Award from New England Film and Video Foundation, a Diversity Award from Our Place Theater Project and a Leadership Award from the Urban League Guild of Boston.  She is an active member of the League of Women in Community Services and the LINKS organization and lives in Roxbury.  Lisa was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2011.

JOHN STAUFFER is Chair of the History of American Civilization Program and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Among the leading scholars of the Civil War era, antislavery in particular, John is the author or editor of eight books and more than 50 articles. His most recent books are The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race (2002), winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize; GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln (2008), which was a Boston Globe and Amazon.com bestseller, a History Book Club featured selection, and the winner of the Iowa Writers Award and a Boston Book Club prize; and The State of Jones (Doubleday, 2009), co-authored with Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, which was a New York Times bestseller and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and on The Huffington Post. He is currently an advisor for The American Experience at WGBH, which is working on a documentary film on abolitionism that features Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. He was elected in 2010.

KATHLEEN C. STONE is a lawyer focusing on business and commercial litigation. Formerly a partner in a large law firm and in-house counsel in a bank subsidiary, she now maintains a solo practice. She has taught courses on American law in several countries – Slovenia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic – with the goal of fostering respect for the rule of law in all societies and increasing foreign understanding of the American system. She is a hearing officer for the Board of Bar Overseers, the regulatory body for Massachusetts lawyers. Elected to the Mass Humanities board in 2011, Kathleen also serves as a trustee of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, a private two-year college in Boston. She is the immediate past president of The Boston Club, a member organization devoted to advancing women's leadership, and previously was elected to the Council of the Boston Bar Association where she also co-chaired the Solo and Small Firm Section. Kathleen earned her BA at Oberlin College, with a major in art history, and her JD at Boston University. She was elected in 2011.

KEN VACOVEC is the founding partner of Vacovec, Mayotte & Singer, LLP, a firm specializing in all areas of tax law. Ken graduated from Tufts University, Suffolk University Law School (J.D., cum laude) and Boston University Law School (LL.M. in Taxation). He is member of numerous professional organizations, boards, and committees and currently serves as President of the 66th Annual Congress of the International Fiscal Association to be held in Boston in 2012. He has been repeatedly selected as one of the “Best Lawyers in Boston,” “Best Lawyers in Massachusetts,” and “Best Lawyers in New England.” Ken has also served on the boards of The French-American Chamber of Commerce, the Metro West Foundation, and the Mass Humanities Advisory Board. For the past two years, he has served on the Mass Humanities Finance, Audit and Investment Committee. He was elected in 2010.

SUZANNE FRAZIER WILKINS is Director of Program Services for The Partnership, Inc., a Boston-based non-profit consulting firm specializing in talent management and global diversity. She is also the principal in her own firm offering leadership development, management and communication services. From 1990-1995 she was manager of security awareness and training for Fidelity Investments where her work was recognized with a number of professional awards. For six years, Suzanne also worked as a production assistant for a Boston television station (now WHDH-TV). She earned her B.A. degree in English Literature at Princeton University and has done graduate work in public communications at Boston University and in drama therapy at Leslie University. Suzanne was elected to the board in 2008.

G. PERRY WU is a Managing Counsel in the Legal Department at Framingham-based Staples, Inc., where he advises company executives and employees on the resolution of commercial litigation matters. Before joining Staples, Perry practiced in the litigation departments of Day, Berry & Howard (now Day Pitney LLP) and Hale and Dorr LLP (now Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP). Perry received his A.B. from Harvard College and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. He is a former President of the Asian-American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts (AALAM) and now serves as an AALAM Director and as Co-Chair of the AALAM Endorsements Committee. He is also currently serving as the Assistant Clerk of the Staples Foundation for Learning. Perry was appointed by Governor Patrick in 2008.

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