2021 Board of Directors and Bios
Elissa Topol, Chair – Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Josie Burri, Vice Chair – Director of Development, The Shipley School
David Seltzer, Co-Founder and Treasurer – Principal and Co-Founder of Mercator Advisors
Clara Hollander, Co-Founder and Secretary – APAA
Christina Copeland – Principal and Senior Portfolio Manager, Conservest
Patricia Fowler – Trustee, University of the Arts
Bill Gehrman – Founder and Principal, En Route
Frances Hoover – Executive Director, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Albert LeCoff – Executive Director Emeritus, The Center for Art in Wood
MiKyoung Lee – Professor and Director of Craft and Material Studies, University of the Arts
Jacqueline Lewis – Executive Director of Engagement, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia
Brenton McCloskey – Asst Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Government Relations, University of the Arts
Jennifer-Navva Milliken – Artistic Director, The Center for Art in Wood
Julie Siglin – Executive Director, Wharton Esherick Museum
Thad Suzenski – Senior Legal Counsel for SAP SE
Emily Zilber – Independent Curator and Consultant
Jennifer Zwilling – Curator of Artistic Programs, The Clay Studio
Leila Cartier – Executive Director, CraftNOW Philadelphia
ELISSA TOPOL, Chair
Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Elissa Topol, Chair of CraftNOW Philadelphia, has been on The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show for over 20 years. Topol holds a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania and New York Medical College with a Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University. As a Registered Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner, she has held numerous staff and leadership positions in the community and overseas, including Villanova University’s College of Nursing Faculty. Topol has served on other community boards including Main Line Senior Care Alliance Chair, Literary Council of Norristown, and Main Line Hospice and Home Care Network. She is a juror for the Wilderness Workshop Artist in Residency Program in Carbondale, Colorado. When not in Philadelphia, she enjoys spending time with her family in Colorado hiking, biking, and skiing.
JOSIE BURRI, Vice Chair
Director of Development, The Shipley School
Josie Burri is Director of Development for The Shipley School, a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. She previously served in similar roles for the University of the Arts, The Wistar Institute, and Opera Philadelphia. Burri is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and a past President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter. She graduated from Drexel University with a Master of Science degree in Arts Administration and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance, summa cum laude, from Temple University.
DAVID SELTZER, Co-Founder and Treasurer
Principal and Co-Founder of Mercator Advisors
David Seltzer is a Principal and co-founder of Mercator Advisors, a Philadelphia-based financial advisory firm that provides consulting services to governmental, corporate, and non-profit organizations sponsoring major transportation projects and programs. Seltzer has 40 years of experience in the fields of public and project finance, working in both the governmental and private sectors. Seltzer has been involved in numerous civic activities in Philadelphia. In addition to co-founding CraftNOW Philadelphia in 2014, he served as chair of the board of Philadelphia Gas Works, the nation’s largest municipally-owned gas utility, from 2008 until 2016, currently chairs the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative and serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Union soccer club, and Starfinder Foundation, a nonprofit organization that uses soccer for social change. Seltzer holds a BA in Urban Studies from Trinity College, Hartford and an MBA from The Wharton School.
CLARA HOLLANDER, Co-Founder and Secretary
Clara Hollander, co-founder and secretary of CraftNOW, has been an enthusiastic collector, advocate, and supporter of craft and its community for the past 40 years. As a corporate art consultant and member of the prestigious Association of Professional Art Advisers, Clara has been servicing clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to private collectors since 1983. Clara has been a board member of the Delaware Art Museum, Delaware College of Art and Design, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Gershman Y. She served as chairman of the Director’s Circle of the Delaware Art Museum, Chairman of the Council of Jewish Women Art Show for Southern New Jersey, Chairman of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Clara has curated numerous exhibitions and lectured widely on various topics, including “The Art of Collecting,” “The Contemporary Art and Craft Movement,” and “Contemporary Handmade Furniture.”
Principal and Senior Portfolio Manager, Conservest
As Principal and Senior Portfolio Manager at Conservest for the past 14 years, Christina has been involved in almost all areas of the investment management business. She currently leads the direction and management of the fixed income and international markets strategy from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Prior to Conservest, Christina worked as a Financial Analyst and Account Officer within the J.P Morgan Private Wealth Group. A native Philadelphian, Christina is passionate about the history and vibrancy of the city. She is active in the Women in Investing Network of Philadelphia, mentors foreign students from Drexel studying Master’s level finance whose goals are to maintain careers in Philly, and is a Board Director for CASA of Philadelphia County. Christina graduated from Drexel University with her Master’s and Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Finance.
Trustee, University of the Arts
Patricia Fowler holds volunteer leadership positions at several non-profit educational organizations, including University of the Arts, The Center for Art in Wood, the Women’s Leadership Council at Brown University, where she received a BA in Political Science, the Benchmark Elementary School in Media, Pa., and the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pa. She also served as co-chair for the University of the Arts’ 2016 Art Unleashed Exhibition & Sale. Fowler, who earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law, previously practiced estate and trusts, land use, and residential real estate law at Cummings & Lockwood in Stamford, Conn., as well as at her own firm. She is a member of the Furniture Society with a collection of mid-century modern and American studio furniture.
Founder and Principal, En Route
Bill Gehrman has been the founder and CEO of En Route since 2007 and has prior experience as Marketing Director for Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Director for Marketing for the Delaware Art Museum, and Director of Development and Public Relations at Archmere Academy in Claymont, DE. An accomplished marketing professional and civic leader, Bill celebrates his passions for civic pride, economic impact, and arts and culture through En Route, working with leading cultural institutions, hospitality businesses, and destinations to generate awareness, engagement, visitation, and revenue. Gehrman has created tourism assessment programs and product development plans for Union, Gloucester, and Camden counties in New Jersey; Chester County, Pennsylvania; the City of Philadelphia, and the New Jersey Office of Travel and Tourism. He also worked on experiential tourism programs for destination marketing organizations in Philadelphia, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Baltimore.
Executive Director, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Frances Hoover is the Executive Director of Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse in East Fairmount Park. Prior to joining Smith, she led the Office of Institutional Advancement at The Philadelphia School, a leading independent school in Center City Philadelphia. Frances has also held positions in marketing and finance in the entertainment, financial services, and consumer packaged goods industries. She has a B.S. in accounting from Florida A&M University, an MBA in marketing and finance from Columbia University, and a certificate in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Frances also serves on the board of Chester Charter Scholars Academy.
Executive Director Emeritus, The Center for Art in Wood
Albert LeCoff is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit The Center for Art in Wood located in Old City Philadelphia. As a trained wood turner, LeCoff lives his passion and his commitment to promoting art made from wood. Over 40 years, LeCoff has organized more than 20 symposia, 50 exhibitions and 20 publications that document wood sculpture. Recent exhibitions and publications include Wood, Revisited; Masters of Craft: Philadelphia’s American Craft Council Fellows; Bartram’s Boxes Remix; Turning to Art in Wood: A Creative Journey; and Connections: International Turning Exchange: 1995-2005. The Center’s annual international residency program, the Windgate ITE International Residency Program, showcases veteran and emerging talent.
Professor and Director of Craft and Material Studies, University of the Arts
Mi-Kyoung Lee has been Director of the Craft and Material Studies Program since 2016, and Professor of Fibers/Textiles since 2003 at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She received her BFA from Dong-A University in Korea, and earned two master’s degrees; an MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from University of the Arts; and an MFA in Fibers from Cranbrook Academy of Arts. Lee has participated in numerous solo exhibitions, lectures as well as curatorial, publishing, theater, and collaborative projects with notable venues like the Arizona Art Museum, Cranbrook Museum of Art, Reading Public Museum, Painted Bride Art Center, SOFA in New York and Chicago, Busan Metropolitan Museum, Espace de Tisserands, International Fiber Art Fair in Seoul, Beijing International Fiber Biennale, and the 8th Beijing International Visual Art Biennale. Lee has served as a Foreign Expert from the School of Art and Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, and as an Advisory Board member for the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia since 2019.
Executive Director of Engagement, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia
Jacqueline Lewis is an attorney and strategist with twenty-five years of experience in legal analysis, problem-solving, and nonprofit administration. Past affiliations include St. Peter’s Church where she served as Accounting Warden (Chief Financial Officer); The Powel House Committee; Episcopal Community Services; Wagner Institute of Science; St. Peter’s School; The American Bar Association (Vice-Chair, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee); The Pearlman Association (Seattle, WA); Yampatika (Steamboat Springs, CO); and the Orpheus Club. She currently devotes her time to The Philadelphia Police Foundation, the Medical Reserve Corp, and CraftNOW Philadelphia. She has served as surety counsel at Zurich and Reliance Insurance companies, as well as Deputy Director of Operations at the Penn Museum. Since 2017 she has directed LEADERSHIP Philadelphia’s Collaborative program, placing alumni on the boards of local non-profits. She also leads the Keepers program, an invitation-only Fellowship for young leaders, founders, and technologists.
Asst Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Government Relations, University of the Arts
Brenton leads a long‐term comprehensive giving strategy for over 200 institutional partners to increase funding for University of the Arts programmatic and capital projects. By cultivating strategic alliances with government entities, he is able to successfully advocate and increase awareness to bring additional resources to higher education arts programming. Before arriving in Philadelphia, Brenton worked in the environmental field in Maryland on Chesapeake Bay water quality issues and assisted communities across the country to increase their revenue, secure grants, and develop sustainable finance structures. Born and raised in northwestern Pennsylvania, he spent many years living in Annapolis, Maryland, and considers both Maryland and Pennsylvania his home. Brenton has a BS from Slippery Rock University in Environmental Studies, and an MS in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.
Artistic Director, The Center for Art in Wood
Jennifer-Navva Milliken is the Artistic Director for The Center for Art in Wood. Prior to her arrival at the Center, she served as an embedded staff member in international art museums, an independent curator, and the founder of a cross-disciplinary art space. Her exhibitions have been presented in museums, art fairs, galleries, and unconventional spaces, and her writings have been published in exhibition catalogues, anthologies, and books that investigate and critique the intersecting fields of art, craft, and design. Her curatorial approach was honed during her work at renowned arts institutions, among them The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and Seattle’s noted Bellevue Arts Museum. Milliken studied at Western Washington University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Executive Director, Wharton Esherick Museum
Julie Siglin is the Executive Director of the Wharton Esherick Museum where she leads the organization’s preservation efforts and explores new ways to continue the dialogue between Esherick’s creative legacy and contemporary artists and audiences. Julie got her start at the Brandywine River Museum, then directed the program of a cultural accessibility organization, and has held roles with several other arts and nonprofit organizations. She studied Arts Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Senior Legal Counsel, SAP SE
Thadeus Suzenski is Senior Legal Counsel for SAP SE—a German multinational software company with its North American headquarters in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania—and is a member of both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar. In addition to his legal functions, Thadeus is charged with writing about Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning for the company’s Digitalist Magazine. Thadeus worked in SAP in both Business Operations and Project Management before his role as Senior Legal Counsel. Prior to SAP, Thadeus worked for Comcast Interactive Media (CIM) in Philadelphia. Previous legal experience includes legal internships with both the Pennsylvania State Superior Court and the Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his JD/MBA from Widener University and received a dual undergraduate degree—BA in Management and BA in Marketing—from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Thadeus is involved with multiple non-profit organizations around the Philadelphia area including the Pennsylvania Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (PVLA) and the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP).
Independent Curator and Consultant
Emily is the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at the Wharton Esherick Museum. She maintains an independent curatorial and consulting practice and is currently Guest Curator at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum for the 2021 Renwick Invitational. She is adjunct faculty at Tyler School of Art and Architecture and speaks regularly on topics related to craft, design, and museum practice. Zilber was the first Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she served from 2010-2018, and has also held positions as Assistant Curator at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum and Editor of Metalsmith and Metalsmith Tech. Zilber serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Craft in Asheville, NC, and is on the Collections Committee of The Center for Art in Wood.
Curator of Artistic Programs, The Clay Studio
Jennifer Zwilling is the Curator of Artistic Programs at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. She joined The Clay Studio in January 2015 from the Philadelphia Museum of Art where she was most recently Assistant Curator for American Decorative Arts and Contemporary Craft. She taught History of Modern Craft at Tyler School of Art for ten years as well as American Art History at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Zwilling is especially interested in fostering connections between traditional craft media and contemporary artists. Through her scholarship and curatorial projects she explores the intersections between rich historical cultural traditions and vibrant contemporary artistic life.
Executive Director, CraftNOW Philadelphia
Leila Cartier has been the Executive Director of CraftNOW Philadelphia since 2016 following its inaugural year of programming. Cartier maintains a studio practice in 1241 Carpenter Studios and is represented by Schmidt Dean Gallery. Prior to CraftNOW, she was the Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator at the William King Museum of Art in her hometown of Abingdon, Virginia, an underserved area of the Appalachian coalfields. Her BFA in Art History and Studio Art is from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia with a year spent abroad at Temple University Rome, Italy. She received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.