The Changing Landscape for the Arts Community
Registration & Networking at 11:30 a.m.
Program begins at 12:00 p.m.
We all appreciate the arts in one form or another and we have world class performances right here in our community. Come and discover the future of the Players Centre for Performing Arts and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, as CEO’s William Skaggs and Cheryl Mendelson share what’s instore for their organization’s future and what it could mean to you as a business person and citizen of the arts.
CEO, Van Wezel /Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation
Cheryl Mendelson became the CEO of the Van Wezel/Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation in 2019, bringing over 2O years of experience as a nonprofit executive at renowned organizations in education, healthcare, arts and culture.
Mendelson served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Harris Theater in Chicago's Millennium Park. She played a vital leadership role in the strategic vision for the Theater, building a national reputation as a venue of artistic importance. Mendelson has been recognized as a thought leader in developing award-winning branding programs. She received three national marketing awards for the launch of the U.S. tour of the Paris Opera Ballet. Mendelson also pioneered new community engagement programs at the Theater. She founded Access Tickets, a program that partners with health and human service organizations and schools to provide access to visiting artists and underwrites performance tickets. In addition, she secured the first National Endowment for the Arts grant to establish the Harris Theater Learning Lab, a capacity building program to support the 35 resident music and dance companies who perform at the Theater.
In 2016, Mendelson was named to the top ten list of Musical America's 30 Professionals of the Year. She was also featured as a "philanthropic powerhouse" in the inaugural publication of Chicago Woman Magazine and profiled in Sarasota Magazine's Top Women of Influence. Mendelson was named to the Gulf Coast CEO Forum in 2020 and currently sits on the Arts Advocates Advisory Board in Sarasota.
CEO, The Players Centre for Performing Arts
William Skaggs joined The Players Centre for Performing Arts as CEO in 2020, bringing extensive experience in philanthropy, operations, and financial services in higher education and performing arts contexts. A two-time graduate of Western Kentucky University (WKU) with a BA in Music and an MBA, William embraces a broad view of the value of the arts to a community via entertainment, education, and economic impacts.
Skaggs served as Chief Development Officer at Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC) in Bowling Green, Kentucky prior to joining The Players Centre. SKyPAC serves 300,000 people in Southcentral Kentucky via a 1,700 seat mainstage theatre and 200 seat studio theatre with Broadway tours, concerts, and education programming. SKyPAC experienced record totals of top-level donors and new sponsor commitments during each year of Skaggs’ tenure.
Before his time at SKyPAC, Skaggs was a Financial Advisor with Mass Mutual serving individuals and families in planning, protection, and investing. Beginning with no book of business, Skaggs achieved Mass Mutual Rising Leaders in his first six months and the Mass Mutual Leaders Conference at the conclusion of his first ten months.
Skaggs resides in Sarasota with his beautiful wife Jenny, three amazing children, and two spoiled dogs.
Our Commitment to Safety
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance is committed to the health and safety of its members. As we move forward in a return to regular events, the Alliance is monitoring and following the latest direction as outlined by local, state, and federal officials. To ensure the wellbeing of yourself and fellow members, we recommend all event attendees review and follow the latest guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html