Straz Center for the Arts Executive Staff (updated 01/20/14)
President, Chief Executive Officer
Lisi joined the Straz Center in 1992. Through her leadership, the Straz Center has significantly expanded its programming, established financial stability, retired an accumulated debt, and has met the goals of three five year, long-range plans. Lisi’s arts management philosophy includes a belief in, and a commitment to, the community and to ensuring outreach, accessibility, and audience development for the entire community through multicultural and educational programming.
Lisi has directed more than 40 productions and has written six plays. She holds a Master’s Degree in theater and communication arts from St. Louis University, and has done doctoral work in theater at the University of Minnesota. She studied opera at the Juilliard School of Music and with the Metropolitan Opera. Previously, as Executive Director of the prestigious Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, Connecticut, the Shubert enjoyed artistic and financial success.
In May 2002, the League of American Theatres and Producers honored Lisi with the Samuel J. L' Hommedieu Presenter of the Year Award for "bringing the magic of live theater to thousands of area residents through a variety of audience development and education programs." In January 2008, Lisi received the prestigious Patrick Hayes Award for Lifetime Achievement from ISPA, the International Society for the Performing Arts.
Chief Programming and Marketing Officer
Young is a seasoned arts administrator with a broad scope of national and international experience. Young has worked for some of the leading entertainment presenters, including Clear Channel Entertainment in both the United States and London. While there, she served as Executive Vice President – Presenting and later as Managing Director for Marketing and Business Development. She also worked as executive director for Houston’s Society for the Performing Arts, which is the largest cultural presenter in the southwest, where she was responsible for programming Broadway musicals, avant-garde performance artists, major international orchestras and dance companies, classical recitalists and solo performers.
Most recently, Young served as executive director of the Paiz Foundation in Guatemala, a private family foundation dedicated to making arts and education accessible to all segments of society. Programs included international festivals, scholarships, after-school visual arts and music as well as an educational and cultural center with more than 1,000 students.
Chief Operating Officer
Shepard joined the Straz Center in 1990 as Production Manager. In 2005 he was named Senior Vice President and Chief Operational Officer. Shepard oversees all aspects of the Straz Center’s general programs and services, which includes advancing the center’s strategic mission and the administration of the following divisions: patron services, production services, security and safety, facilities, retail and food and beverage. Under his leadership, the center opened the Dr. Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory, the first addition to center since it opened in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in theater production from Earlham College. Shepard currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Assembly Managers.
Mary Beth Rossi
Chief Financial Officer
Mary Beth joined the Straz Center in 2004 as Chief Financial Officer. In now serving in her position 10 years, current business oversight areas include Finance, HR, Information Technology, Education Conservatory Programs, Legal and Risk Management. Mary Beth holds degrees in finance and accounting from the Rochester Institute of Technology and Nazareth College of Rochester, and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Florida and New York, as well as a Certified Management Accountant. Her experience includes 29 years of accounting, financial management, planning and analysis
along with systems technology for multi-million dollar corporations, as well as public accounting work. Before her appointment as CFO, Mary Beth worked as a key financial advisor and controller for various divisions of Cardinal Health, BF Goodrich and Johnson & Johnson.
Vice President of Development
Britton joined the Straz Center in 1991 as associate director of development, and after serving in various fundraising capacities, she was named Vice President of Development in 2001. Britton oversees all areas of fundraising for both the Straz Center and TBPAC Foundation including annual giving, corporate and foundation relations, endowment and planned giving, public funding and special events. Under her leadership, the Straz Center surpassed its $30 million capital campaign goal in October 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and English from Wittenberg University and received her M.B.A. from The University of Tampa. She is active with several civic and professional organizations and in 2008 received the Wittenberg University National Alumni Citation Award.