Board of Trustees

Board chairperson Michelle Baker has more than 25 years of healthcare communications and public affairs experience. She is a partner at Forbes Tate where she heads client strategy on the Public Affairs team. Previously she was chief of staff and executive vice president of health integration at Ketchum working across all healthcare sectors and clients; and she was managing director and executive vice president at Signal Group D.C. where she worked with health systems, nonprofits, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies on communications strategies and campaigns. Michelle’s expertise includes many of today’s most pressing health issues, including social determinants of health, cancer, addiction and mental health, cardiovascular disease, maternal, infant and child health, telehealth, and medtech. She has helped to forge alliances between nontraditional partners in healthcare, community, and business to help address healthcare disparities and engage at-risk patient populations in new ways. Michelle has led the health practice at Weber Shandwick/Powell Tate, worked at Inventiv/Chandler Chicco Agency and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and was an independent consultant.  A Tulane University graduate with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Michelle has provided pro bono work to promote disability-inclusive work environments, support hurricane disaster communications and reduce food insecurity.  As a family caregiver, Michelle has first-hand experience with the challenges of dementia and heart disease. She serves on the Caregiver Action Network board of directors and advocates for family caregiver policy, programming, and education. She is proud to support Arts for the Aging’s great work in honor of her mother who relied on painting and music for artistic expression throughout her health challenges.

Judith Bauer is an economist and consultant who in retirement became an active participant in the Greater Washington DC area dance community. She is a longtime member of Arts for the Aging’s older adult improv dance company, Quicksilver, a lead artist in Dance Exchange’s creative aging program, and she is a core member of MKArts which focuses on the life experience of Black women and girls. In her years at The Conference Board (TCB) in New York City, she was an economist and then a researcher specializing in the management of marketing. She was corporate secretary supporting their board of Fortune 500 CEOs and led the drive to diversify its membership. She served the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs as its supervising economist and held positions at Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield directing internal consulting and as an account marketing professional. Upon moving to DC, Judith taught business writing and presentation skills to professionals in her role with Strategic Communications. Upon retirement Judith was a volunteer with the Smithsonian Institution and a tour guide specializing in U Street and Anacostia neighborhoods. Judith’s past professional affiliations are many: she has served as a board member with Northeastern University and New York University’s Management Decision Lab Board for Cooperative Education, with CIDNY, an activist organization for disability rights, with ILD/Independent Living for the Disabled, and with All Souls Church Unitarian. Judith is a magna cum laude graduate of Queens College, part of the City University of New York. She studied economics at Columbia University and the New School and taught management development and organizational behavior at Fordham University School of Business.

Catherine H.K. Bell is a born and raised local to Greater Washington DC and a three times Maryland Smith School of Business Alum. She has a bachelor of science in finance, a bachelor of science in information systems, and an executive master of business of administration. Catherine is head of mergers and acquisition integrations at ICF, an organization dedicated to supporting communities for a more resilient and prosperous world. Prior to this role, she led corporate business transformation in multiple organizations, and worked in risk advisory across multiple sectors. Outside the professional realm, Catherine has a passion for music and the arts. She has sung nationally and locally for corporate events, political functions, weddings, and galas. She was featured in a Smithsonian exhibit that traveled museums across the nation in which she represented the Vietnamese and DC metropolitan communities as Miss Vietnam DC. She was first runner up for Miss Maryland USA 2014, has won gold medals in dragon boat racing, and has performed on a Carnival cruise line. She currently resides in Northern Virginia and in her spare time, loves to eat, exercise through tennis or lifting, and enjoy the beauty of mother nature with her Doberman, Khaleesi.

Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (retired) joined the Arts for the Aging board in 1989 and served as co-chair from 2014-15. He is recipient of the 2013 Lolo Sarnoff Founder’s Award for distinguished service, humanitarianism, and lifelong engagement in the arts. In 2007, he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada.  Don was a partner of the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP for more than 25 years. He served in the government as a peace corps volunteer, he was Executive Secretary to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (under Elliot Richardson) and Acting General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation (under William T. Coleman, Jr.). He also served in the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for International Development. Don is President of the Boards of the United Nations Association for the National Capital Area and serves on the Board of Directors of American Ambassadors. He is the author of Airline Customer Relations, co-author of Counsel for the Situation, Mark Twain’s Tale of Today, and a play, The Return of Halley’s Comet.

Gabriela I. Coman, Esq. is partner and co-chair of Rubin and Rudman Intellectual Property Practice.  She concentrates on medical, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, chemical, semiconductors, and design patents.  Ms. Coman began her legal career as an intern for the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, from June 1997 to August 1997.  She was a summer associate with the Firm in 1998.  From September 1998 to August 1999, she was a law clerk with the firm’s New York office.  Before entering law school, she attended two years of medical school. Ms. Coman is admitted to practice in New York (2000) and the District of Columbia (2001), and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Ms. Coman is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court, and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Ms. Coman attended Medical School of Craiova for two years in Romania.  She received her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, in biology from Baruch College of the City University of New York where she received the Excellence Award in Natural Sciences and the Baruch College Alumni Association Award in Liberal Arts and Sciences. She received her juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, where she was notes and comments editor for the Brooklyn Law Review.

Lisa Emidy-Consoldane is a vice president with J.P. Morgan in Public Sector, Treasury Services, and Corporate and Investment Banking, where she has held previous positions for nearly a decade. Prior to that she held senior positions with Regions Financial Corporation and Bank of America building her professional background in financial, business, and strategic development. Lisa lives in Washington, D.C. with her family and loves to travel. She is a passionate supporter of the arts, and keeps close to her heart hobbies in ceramics, drawing, and painting, as well a photographer father who lived with health conditions in aging. Lisa has her bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Arizona, and a bachelor of science in business management from University of Phoenix.

Melanie Jarratt Wolfe is known for fostering a culture of philanthropy and serving as a catalyst for inspired giving in the museum, performing arts, and medical arenas. During Melanie’s career, she has provided fundraising leadership for some of our nation’s most prestigious cultural institutions, and raised millions of dollars for the Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Inova Health System. She has an extensive network of contacts in the arts world. Currently, she is an independent nonprofit consultant specializing in capacity building through fundraising, board development, communications, and strategic planning. She is a fundraising coach for volunteers and staff, and she partners with executives, board leaders, subject matter experts, and colleagues to create lasting programs resulting in long-term sustainability. As a consultant, Melanie offers fundraising and management counsel to high impact cultural, social service, and healthcare nonprofits, and she enjoys presenting on the topic of philanthropy. Melanie is a member of the National Capital Gift Planning Council (NCGPC). She is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE). She has a bachelor of arts in music (with a German minor) from Wake Forest University and a master of arts in interdisciplinary studies in organizational development from George Mason University. She is an amateur flutist, singer, and is passionate about the arts and literature.

Joseph A. Jones, PhD serves as a social innovation manager for the AARP Foundation where he develops new products and services to reduce senior poverty. Prior to joining the foundation, he worked as a senior advisor in the operations, strategy and analysis department of the community, state and national affairs division of AARP. In 2021 Joe was a finalist for AARP’s Staff Pitch Competition for SyncDay, a desktop application to drive greater innovation and collaboration. Joe has over 25 years of experience as an internal employee and external consultant implementing a variety of projects for both private and public sector organizations focused on: strategy; organizational culture; talent acquisition; talent management; marketing; research; and product management. Prior employers include Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM); American Institutes for Research (AIR); PDRI, Booz Allen Hamilton; Development Dimensions International (DDI); SRI International; and The Ball Foundation. He received his doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology in 1999 from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his bachelor of arts in psychology and sociology from Purdue University in 1993. He has written several articles and two book chapters, presented at numerous professional conferences, conducted webinars and panel discussions, and developed online training. Joe lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife Jen Runkle and is the youngest of nine boys whose parents were artist and accountant. In 2015 Joe founded a craft brewery in St. Louis, Missouri (Bluewood Brewing) and has self-published two novels- The Perfect Island and (along with his brother Mike) The Mind Hacker. In his spare time, he loves to paint, draw, hike, run, read, write, listen to podcasts, and travel.  

Bruce E. Matter, Esq. practices intellectual property and technology law. Bruce’s practice is focused on transactions involving the exploitation of copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual properties primarily in the print and electronic publishing, software, and entertainment industries.  He is licensed to practice in Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Florida, and California.  In addition to being a member of the bar in his practicing jurisdictions, Bruce is a member of the Intellectual Property Law Section, the Computer and Telecommunications Law Section, the Arts, Entertainment and Sports Law Section, and the Law Practice Management Section of the District of Columbia Bar.  Prior to establishing his firm, Bruce served as in-house counsel with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc. and with Sea World of California and Sea World of Texas.  He began his legal career working in an intellectual property firm in Alexandria, Virginia.  After graduating from Salisbury University in 1977 with a bachelor of arts in psychology, Bruce attended George Mason University School of Law where he served as managing editor of the Law Review and received his doctor of jurisprudence in 1982.  He also is the executive producer of two television documentaries: Slave Ship and Discharged Without Honor: The Brownsville Raid.

Deborah Riley provided 30 years of service to the Washington D.C. dance community at Dance Place from which she retired as co-director in 2017. In her capacity as artist-in-residence, faculty member, staff and ultimately co-Director, Deborah contributed immeasurably to nurturing the careers of thousands of dance artists, students, and arts administrators. Under her tenure at Dance Place, the organization was awarded the D.C. Mayor’s Arts Awards for Excellence in Service to the Arts and Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education and is recognized as “the hub of dance activity in Washington D.C.” (Alan Kriegsman). As a dancer, choreographer and educator, career highlights include international touring with Douglas Dunn & Dancers, collaborative choreography with Diane Frank and director of Deborah Riley Dance Projects. Deborah currently continues to enjoy her work as a teaching artist with Studio Theater Acting Conservatory, Dance Place, Georgetown University Hospital, and Arts for the Aging informed by her methodology as a certified movement analyst from the Laban Institute of Movement. She shares her leadership experience and passion for furthering the arts for all populations by volunteering as a board member for Arts for the Aging and Dance Exchange. Past honors include the Distinguished Alumni in Fine Arts Award from Ohio University and twice for the Pola Nirenska Award – Distinguished Artistic Leadership and Lifetime Achievement.

Scott Span, MSOD, CSM, ACC is CEO at Tolero Solutions, a diverse-owned boutique consulting firm based in Montgomery County, Maryland. As a people strategist, ICF leadership coach, and change and transformation specialist, his work is focused on people. Scott supports clients to overcome obstacles, accelerate performance, and “get stuff done!” Through his consulting and training work he supports clients to survive and thrive through change and transition and create people-focused cultures and a great employee experience. Through his coaching work, he supports people willing to dig deeper to identify and overcome what’s holding them back, change behaviors, accelerate performance, and achieve their goals. Scott is a published author on various topics of organizational development and leadership and the creator of the Recruitment and Retention Lifecycle ™. Scott holds a masters in Organization Development (MSOD) from American University and the NTL Institute. He is a certified Scrum Master (CSM) and is also certified in various strategy, change, team dynamics, and behavioral assessment tools. He is a certified coach and member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Scott also holds a government security clearance. Scott’s interests include hiking with his three rescue dogs, escaping to the Caribbean, painting, and creative arts.

Janine Tursini is Arts for the Aging’s Director & CEO and the leading force behind the organization’s pioneering directions and its national recognition for best practices, program design and outcomes: Under her tenure Arts for the Aging has been named a Model Program in Lifelong Learning by the National Endowment for the Arts, a Trailblazer by the Maryland Department of Aging and One of the Best D.C. Area Small Charities for Excellence, Impact and Cost-effectiveness by the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Arts for the Aging has been featured in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, on CNN News, and in the award-winning national PBS documentary film Do Not Go Gently. Janine is on the Applied Health Equity Education Council with the Rodham Institute of George Washington University (GWU), Maryland’s Age-Friendly Montgomery (County) Advisory Group, and the Smithsonian Institution Dementia Programming Advisory Committee. She consults nationally on best practices in the growing field of creative aging. She has served on advisory boards for the GWU Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities, and the National Center for Creative Aging, and she is a member of Leadership Greater Washington class of 2018. Her article, A Person Who Is Becoming, is published in the Creativity & Human Development International e-Journal, and she has contributed to seminal industry resource guides including Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit and Bringing the Arts to Life: A Guide to the Arts and Long-Term Care. She received her bachelor of fine arts from Dickinson College.

Ryan Wilson, Esq. is a policy and legal professional, with over 20 years of experience. He founded the Law Office of T. Ryan Wilson which focuses on business, nonprofit, and elder law, estate planning, probate and estate administration, and mediation. Ryan is an active member of the Maryland State and Montgomery County bar associations, and he is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Previously, Ryan was a senior strategic policy adviser with AARP’s Public Policy Institute, where he analyzed consumer issues relating to insurance and investments. He served on the consumer advisory committee of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission and on the standards advisory committee of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association, advising AARP on policy matters and working with their government affairs department to advance investor and consumer protections. Ryan was with the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services, where he specialized in financial services, property, and consumer protection issues. While there, he was active in the National Conference of State Legislatures and served as the Staff Chair of the NCSL’s Financial Services Committee. Ryan received his juris doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law and is licensed to practice law in California and Maryland.  He has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science, both from San Francisco State University. Ryan lives in Silver Spring, MD with his family, and he is actively involved in his community. He serves on the Montgomery County Commission on Aging and co-chairs the Public Policy Committee.

Donald E. Wright is a retired investment executive having held senior positions with Allstate, BNY Mellon, PNC Financial, Chevy Chase Financial, SunTrust Investment Services, and Merrill Lynch. Don enjoys spending time between his home in Reston, Virginia, and Marco Island, Florida. He has two adult sons with similar passions in their career, artistic, and recreational endeavors. Don is a painter, both in watercolor and oil, and is an avid tennis player. He is a devoted supporter of the Fairfax Symphony, and plays in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles tennis activities as member of the Reston Association. Don’s community involvement includes stints as Corporate Team Lead for the National Heart Walk and United Way of the National Capitol Area. He has served on the board of his neighborhood citizen’s association and local tennis club. He also has been a long-time coach in the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, and assistant coach for the Hubert Blake High School tennis team.