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FAI Staff - Kansas City

Photos by Morten Fog


Aengus Finnan
Executive Director
email Executive Assistant

Aengus Finnan is an Irish-born Canadian artist, educator, and arts administrator. Currently he serves as the first non-US Executive Director of Folk Alliance International based in Kansas City. Prior to this role he was the Touring and Audience Development Officer for the Ontario Arts Council in Toronto, was a Program Manager for Community Futures, was the founding Artistic Director of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, served as the Board President of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (now Folk Music Ontario), and taught music in the Arctic. He spent 10 years as a touring singer-songwriter and released 3 acclaimed albums.

ED information: Click here for the ED's bio, 100-word bio, and hi-res photo.

Jennifer Roe
Director of Operations

Jennifer attended the University of Kansas majoring in political science. She moved to Washington, DC, and worked on Capitol Hill in the Senate Majority Leader's office before her employment on a Presidential campaign. She continued in the public sector at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission before managing the office of a small lobbying firm. Jennifer left the world of politics and moved back to Kansas City. She worked with individuals with disabilities and eventually started an administrative services business supporting small companies. Jennifer helped move Folk Alliance International from Memphis to Kansas City. She fell in love with the organization and started as a full time employee in the fall of 2014. Jennifer is responsible for leading the FAI staff and contractors in planning the annual conference and the day-to-day operations of the office.

Alex Mallett
Business Development Manager

Alex handles sales, sponsorships, in-kind agreements and strategic partnerships for the conference, fundraising for the non-profit's charitable activities and grant writing for all of Folk Alliance International's events. Alex is uniquely suited to the role with a combination of music performance and industry background. Originally from the Kansas City area, he studied jazz bass at McGill University in Montreal and at the Banff’s Center's jazz and creative music workshop. Moving to New York City in 2008, he immersed himself in the local folk scene, performing in a variety of ensembles as a sideman and leader. Simultaneously, he worked in the US Office for Midem, the world’s premier music industry conference, which occurs annually in Cannes, France. He is passionate about empowering the folk genre(s) within the entertainment landscape at large. 

Communications Manager

Kelly has worked in advertising for the last eight years, is a former board member and current entertainment chair for the Kansas City Irish Center, and is a founding member of the Kansas City Irish Fest. She holds a Master’s degree of Liberal Arts from Baker University with an emphasis in leadership and management. Her true passion is working behind the scenes to help artists succeed at their craft and do what they do best.

Jerod Rivers
Membership & Technology Manager

Jerod has been working in the music industry of Kansas City since his arrival in 2005. He worked extensively as a musician in multiple bands throughout the years, as a band leader, multi instrumentalist, producer, writer and sound engineer. Jerod’s passion for great design lead him to study Architectural Engineering as well as Urban Planning and Architecture in college, and he brings his expertise in design and planning to all systems FAI uses to facilitate and implement the organization’s mission. Jerod manages all technology and data for the organization, its members, and related events.


Jay manages the Ethno USA project, an international folk music exchange in partnership with Brussels-based Jeunesses Musicales International. A social entrepreneur and performing arts producer, director, and curator, Jay most recently served as artistic director of Minnesota Fringe for 3 festival seasons before joining FAI in 2019. Jay holds a MS in Nonprofit Leadership from UPenn, and currently serves as President of the Alumnae & Alumni of Goucher College where he earned his interdisciplinary BA. An advocate for public arts funding, Jay has served as a grant panelist and evaluator for the Minnesota State Arts Board, Twin Cities regional arts council (MRAC), and currently for the Missouri Arts Council.

Leah Watts

Leah made Kansas City home after graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in Vocal Music Education. After interning with Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) in USA’s Music City and with Folk Alliance in Kansas City, Leah fell in love with working in the music industry. When the opportunity to join FAI full time was offered, Leah promptly accepted and now holds the position of Executive Assistant & Special Projects Coordinator. When Leah isn’t working at FAI, she is a performing singer/songwriter releasing her debut EP with profits going towards helping the homeless. Also, she is a co-founder and the Board President of Women on the Rise, a non-profit organization with a mission to educate, elevate and empower women in music. In her spare time, Leah enjoys traveling, reading, and a good Netflix binge! 


Marisa Kolka

Marisa is a Kansas City native who has always had a passion for music, even though she’s better at listening than actually playing. She joined FAI in the summer of 2016 as an intern, and after studying abroad in Madrid she came back for a spring internship. The diverse range of music genres at the conference made her fall in love with the organization, and after graduating from the University of Central Missouri with degrees in public relations and Spanish, she joined the team full-time. Marisa is a part of the small (but growing) communications team. She coordinates FAI’s social media accounts and all three (!) of FAI’s websites, helps with email marketing, and occasionally works on graphic design as well.

Forrest Beck

Forrest grew up on a small farm in the small town of Kirksville, Missouri, where her parents immersed her and her sister in all things music at a very early age. She remained in her hometown for all of high school and college and she graduated in May 2017 from Truman State University with her Bachelor’s of Music with an emphasis in Horn Performance. After graduation she moved away from home for the first time to the (what she thinks is huge) metropolis of Kansas City. Before coming to the Folk Alliance family as an intern in the fall of 2017, she had a summer internship with the Kansas City Symphony. She is excited to join and help build the FAI development team. She continues to play horn in several regional wind symphonies and orchestras around KC. Although classically trained in horn and violin, folk music holds a dear place in her heart, stemming from decades of familial musical history in the genre. 

The Kansas City-based staff of Folk Alliance International is a small but mighty team. Click here for a fun and casual look at who everyone is and what makes them tick.

Additional Event Staff

Conference, Camp, Kansas City Folk Festival, and Year-Round Roles

Sheena Keane

Working behind the scenes from the quiet coastline of Ireland, Sheena has been a subtle but pivotal person in the lives and careers of countless folk artists. She has worked as a multi-disciplinary curator for festivals, artist residencies, and arts centers, and she has managed, tour managed, and project managed international artists throughout their worldwide tour and careers, helping market, publish, and position each for personal and professional success and well-being. Her enduring passion for the work of touring musicians saw the launch of her own company, Blue Grace Music, an award-winning arts management company that has curated over 1,000 shows, tours, and festivals.

Treasa Levasseur

Treasa Levasseur has worn many hats in the arts over the years, from singer-songwriter to sidewoman, actress to arts administrator, puppeteer to producer, and is delighted to be joining the inspiring team at Folk Alliance International. Having released 4 albums over the course of her career as a front woman, Treasa is now finding fresh inspiration in her work as a community music facilitator. She has designed and delivered classes and workshops for, among others, the Royal Conservatory of Music, ArtsRehab, and the Hamilton Music Collective, as well as being an in demand MC and pop-up choir leader. Treasa has run Sing From The Start, an early years music education program, since 1999, and currently helms the Developing Artist Program at Folk Music Ontario. Elle est une fierte Franco-Ontarienne, and a proud Hamiltonian, and believes strongly in the power of personal expression as an agent of positive change.

Beth Hatch
Volunteer Coordinator

Beth Hatch is a graduate of Anderson University, where she earned her Marketing Degree. She recently worked in the tech industry for a software start-up, where she thrived in an atmosphere of wearing many hats and helped build the brand to #1. She grew up in a musical family and enjoys singing, especially adding harmony. Her dream duet would be with Karin of the band Over the Rhine. Other musical adventures include leading a traveling youth choir through the hills and valleys of Missouri during past summers. Beth also enjoys being a living room musician, collaborating with her husband, John. Their old house seems especially warm when acoustic sounds are soaking into the old wood. As a Kansas City area native, she was thrilled to welcome FAI to Missouri and delighted to come on board as the Volunteer Coordinator. Beth is also actively involved in planning community outreach events, connecting volunteers to serve at other non-profits. When not coordinating volunteers for FAI and beyond, Beth can often be found tutoring reading in urban education settings.

Jim Schultz
Private Showcase Coordinator

For over 20 years Jim has occupied many roles within the music business and brings a wealth of experience to support the fast paced environment of the private showcases at FAI. In the past he has handled logistics for venues large and small, worked directly as an artist handler, overseen all ends of a billion dollar music retail, managed festival stages and production, supported all ends of the booking process for musicians and producers, placed music in TV and film projects, and has supported multiple tours as part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees stage crews in Boston. When he isn't working you can usually find him camping, fishing, or somewhere on the open road accompanied by his iron horse.

Michelle Conceison
Program Manager

Michelle is the founder of Nashville-based music marketing and management company, Market Monkeys and is tenure track faculty in the Recording Industry program at Middle Tennessee State University. Michelle served three terms on the FAI Board, from 2011 to 2019. During that time she chaired the Research Sub-committee and continues to remain on the sub-committee, was the lead author for FAI's whitepaper regarding Copyright Royalties, and held the role of Board Vice President, followed by a term as Board President.

Kylee Lambert
Production Coordinator

A Kansas native, Kylee has worked with both nonprofit and corporate clients producing large-scale, live event experiences for the past six years in Kansas City. She has managed corporate retreats in destination cities across the U.S. as well as weddings, fundraisers and multi-day conferences. She is the current General Manager of Seward Brewing Company, a seasonal brew-pub in Alaska, where she spends the summer season with her husband. Throughout the remainder of the year, she produces primarily nonprofit events as an Independent Contractor. She has been involved with Folk Alliance International for the past five years, loves music, community and any social gathering where she is able to connect with people on a personal level, which is the primary reason she is in the business of "people gathering." Kylee holds a Master of Science degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication from Emporia State University.

Mollie Stephens
Production Coordinator

Mollie is an event management professional and lifelong fan of folk music. Prior to joining the Folk Alliance team, she received a degree in convention and event management with minors in leadership and business management from Kansas State University. Mollie began her career in 2014, coordinating a range of signature fundraising events and conferences for nonprofit organizations and local corporations in Kansas City. She now works as a full-time event coordinator at Union Horse Distilling Co. and freelance event manager for organizations like Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and KC CARE Health Center. In 2015, Mollie's love for well-executed events and folk music perfectly intertwined with Folk Alliance. Her passion for and role within the conference has grown each year.

Mikal Shapiro
Kansas City Folk Festival Coordinator

Mikal Shapiro is a Kansas City-based musician and filmmaker. She is co-founder of Sunday morning music program River Trade Radio on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio where she has volunteered as a folk DJ since 2014. Her latest film projects include a documentary on music in a Kansas women's prison with Canadian blues artist Rita Chiarelli and coverage of artist-activists for regional news outlets. Her album "The Musical II" received local recognition on a "Best of the Decade" list in 2019. Mikal is also a puppeteer who specializes in the street art of shadow puppetry. She has performed in various locations across North America - from New York DIY venues to the historic Gillioz theater in Springfield, Missouri.

Folk Alliance International, 601 Avenida Cesar E Chavez Suite #100, Kansas City MO 64108 • 816-221-FOLK (3655) •

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