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Staff

FAI Staff - Kansas City

Aengus Finnan
Executive Director
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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: bio, 100 word biohi-res photo

Jennifer Roe
Director of Operations
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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
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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. 

Erika Cecilia Noguera
Communications Manager
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Erika is passionate about community development and civic engagement, believing that an engaged and empowered society is the strongest force of nature. She worked as a community organizer in the neighborhoods of Kansas City’s urban core and on a historic presidential campaign. Erika served in leadership roles at beloved community non-profit, The Mattie Rhodes Center, and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Institute for Human Development, and Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Most recently, Erika led the development of a new speaker's bureau and traveling thought leadership programs for a national events marketing firm. She is thrilled to be working with Folk Alliance International to engage the global folk music community through consistent, thoughtful, and innovative communications. Erika studied Anthropology at the University of Kansas, received her EMBA from UMKC, and is a fledgling ukulele player.

Jerod Rivers
Membership & Technology Manager
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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, it’s members, and it’s related events.

Leah Watts
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT & SPECIAL PROJECTS
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Leah loves music! She studied Vocal Music Education at K-State, headed to Nashville for an Internship on Music Row with Nashville Songwriters Association International, and currently holds the position as the Executive Assistant & Special Projects at Folk Alliance International. Leah also performs locally around Kansas City as a singer/songwriter and has had the opportunity to perform the National Anthem at multiple Kansas City Royals baseball games and a Sporting Kansas City soccer game. She has a strong passion to help people and is actively doing so within the non-profit sector. She is obsessively organized, addicted to lists, loves to be busy, and has goals bigger than can fit in a bio! 
 

 

Marisa Kolka
DIGITAL MARKETING COORDINATOR
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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
DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
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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.

Ian Susman
CONFERENCE INTERN
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Ian came to FAI from Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Business Management. Throughout his time at Berklee, Ian was involved with many aspects of the music industry including performing, publicity, digital marketing and distribution, artist management, intellectual property, and digital monetization. Most recently, he interned at Ralph Jaccodine Management, working closely with artists, venues, and promoters to facilitate the advancing of shows and success of the artists’ performances. Ian is excited to jump into the heart of the folk music industry and learn about event management and production.

CARINA WHITE
GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN
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Carina is currently pursuing degrees in Graphic Design and Illustration from the University of Central Missouri. A Kansas City native returning from time away at school, she's rediscovering the city in a brand new way and is prouder than ever to call this place home. Carina is excited to be a part of the Folk Alliance International team, ready to further her design skills and open herself up to lots of new music and opportunities, while engaging with an organization she believes is incredibly worthwhile. In her free time, Carina loves/hates to run, is actively working to become a better cook, and is finishing a children's book she wrote about dancing vegetables.

 

DIANNE HRADSKY
DEVELOPMENT INTERN
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Born and raised in Omaha, Dianne studied creative writing, literature, and French at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She has called Kansas City her home since 2014 and joined FAI’s development team in the summer of 2018. To complete her busy schedule, she teaches at another local non-profit, Literacy KC, and is working towards her MA in English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. With whatever free time remains, she enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors, and cuddling with her orange tabby cat, Hobbes, who lives up to his namesake.

 

MYLES VANN
COMMUNICATIONS INTERN
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Myles is pursuing a double major in Communications Studies and Public Relations at the University of Central Missouri. He’s a native to Kansas City, loves the arts and attending “First Fridays” during the summer. Myles is a freelance photographer that enjoys exploring downtown Kansas City. In his free time, he likes to create content with his video editing skills in Adobe Creative Suite.

 

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, Folk Festival, and Year-Round Roles

Sheena Keane
International Representative
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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
Canadian Representative
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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.

Doug Cox
Music Camp Director
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Doug Cox is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in Dobro and guitar. He has taught at camps including Sore Fingers in England, Beppe Gambetta's Guitar Camp in Slovenia, Blues Guitar Camp at Kerrville, Steve Kaufman's Flatpik Camp in Tennessee and many camps in Canada. He has published 4 books and 5 instructional videos on Dobro and Guitar playing. As a musician he has toured extensively throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Doug has worked in the biz for 32 years and for 20 years has served as Artistic Director/Executive Producer of the Vancouver Island MusicFest. He is a very strong believer in the power of music to build community and global understanding.

Bird Fleming
Kansas City Camp Coordinator
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Bird Fleming is a professional percussionist, educator, and performer who sepcializes in percussion: West African, South American, and Caribbean. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Traditional Music Society, and serves as a world music liaison for area educational organizations. He has collaborated with many institutions in the Kansas City area such as the Kansas City Missouri School District, St. Vincent's Operation Breakthrough, the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Young Audiences, Accessible Arts, the Jackson County Family Courts, the American Jazz Museum, the Kansas City Art Institute, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Additionally, Mr. Fleming had the distinction of assisting with the development of the core music curriculum for the Kansas City School District as ethnic music advisor. He currently teaches World Music as an adjunct professor at Longview Community College in Lee's Summit, Missouri.

Kelly Dougherty
KC Folk Festival Coordinator
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At the ripe age of six, Kelly’s father introduced her to the bar stages of Cheyenne, WY where she developed a knack for inserting herself and singing along with whatever band happened to be passing through at the time. The arts and music have been a part of her life ever since. Kelly has traveled and performed with various bands throughout the Midwest for over 20 years. Her day job as a full time office manager at an International advertising agency keeps the bills paid while she devotes the majority of her free time to various labors of love including the arts, the Irish, the Resistance, animal welfare and supporting the local live music scene. Kelly is a board member and entertainment chair for the Kansas City Irish Center as well as a stage manager and founding member of the Kansas City Irish Fest. On occasion you may catch her manning the bar at Browne’s Irish Market. 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.

Beth Hatch
Volunteer Coordinator
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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
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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 an usually find him camping, fishing, or somewhere on the open road accompanied by his iron horse.

Tara Tonsor
KC Folk Festival Artisan Market Coordinator
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Tara Nicole Tonsor is a local Kansas City maker and business owner. Her lasercut jewelry and home goods can be found under the name Lost & Found Design. When she is not making, she is an art educator at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art working with community programs. Her opportunity to work with the Folk Alliance came with a warm introduction into organizing the first Folk Festival Artisan Event last year. She is eagerly looking forward to more opportunities with representing local makers and artists at the Folk Alliance for years to come!

Folk Alliance International, 512 Delaware Street, Kansas City MO 64105 • 816-221-FOLK (3655) • fai@folk.org

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