Board of Trustees

Board chairperson Michelle Baker has more than 25 years of communications and public affairs experience. As a partner at Forbes Tate Partners LLC she leads client strategy across a diverse roster of clients and sectors. Previously she was chief of staff and executive vice president of corporate strategic initiatives. Michelle’s health care experience includes work across health systems, nonprofits, government agencies and the biopharmaceutical industry. She focuses on many of today’s most pressing health issues including health equity, mental health, aging, cancer, addiction and women’s health. Previously she led the health practice at Weber Shandwick/Powell Tate and worked at Syneos/Chandler Chicco Agency. She attended Tulane University and received a master’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. Michelle cared for her mother throughout her 25+ year struggle with advanced heart disease and vascular dementia. 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. Michelle is an avid reader and traveler who enjoys spending time with her family and two rescue dogs.

Judith Bauer is 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. Judith is an African American cis-gender woman born in 1935 in New Haven, CT and now living in Washington, DC surrounded by art, plants and loving friends. She finds purpose in being a dancer and a dance facilitator, a part of her life that did not manifest until she was retired from other facets of her life.

Catherine H.K. Bell is head of corporate mergers and acquisitions integration as a senior director for a two billion dollar public company, ICF—an organization dedicated to supporting communities for a more resilient and prosperous world. Previously, Catherine led corporate business transformation and provided risk advisory services across multiple organizations and industries. Catherine is also a three times Maryland Smith Business School Alumni, with a bachelor of science in both finance and information systems, and an executive master of business of administration degree. She is an advisory council member of University of Maryland’s Master of Science Marketing Analytics program. Catherine has demonstrated excellence in the performing arts as a singer, performing nationally and internationally for galas, weddings, and governmental functions. Through her experience in developing, enhancing, and growing organizations, as well as her lens as a provider of the arts, Catherine provides tangible guidance, expertise, and hands-on support to Arts for the Aging. She provides oversight as a member of the equity, program advisory, and executive committees at Arts for the Aging. Catherine currently resides in Northern Virginia. In her spare time she loves to eat, strength-train, and take long walks with her doberman, Khaleesi. Wherever she goes, you can find her singing or humming along the way, as music has always been core to her life, it brings color to her world, and lifts her spirits high! Catherine is often noted for her warm and calming voice, and her bright and friendly smile. She believes in the importance of positivity in our lives and loves bringing light and positive energy to those around her.  Through her dedication to spreading positivity and her strong relationship to her community, Catherine gained the titles of Miss Vietnam DC and 1st Runner-Up for Miss Maryland USA. She has been highlighted in a Smithsonian Institution exhibition, won gold medals in dragon boat racing, and sung as lead performer on a Carnival cruise line’s main event—accolades that exemplify her strengths of determination and focus, pushing herself past where she’s been before, and enjoying herself along the way. Catherine has been called a tenacious one, with a go-getter mindset that compels her to aim for greater. All the while, her care for those and the world around her continues to keep her grounded, happy, and whole.

Ambassador Donald Tiffany Bliss (ret.) (he/him) is an attorney, diplomat, public servant, writer, and teacher. He is an emeritus member of the board of Arts for the Aging and is a past president and co-chair. He was executive secretary to the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Ambassador to the UN affiliated International Civil Aviation Organization, Chair, Air and Space Law Forum, president of United Nations Association-NCA, Harvard Law School Association-DC, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and the Ripon Society, adult teacher at American University and Johns Hopkins University, and executor, Lolo Sarnoff estate. He received his bachelor of arts, Principia College, juris doctorate from Harvard University. Don recipient of the Lolo Sarnoff Award for distinguished service, humanitarianism, and lifelong engagement in the arts. He is author of five books, and one play, including Mark Twain‘s Ten Lessons for a Healthy Democracy. He enjoys writing, doodling, reading, traveling, and sailing. He is a global citizen recognizing the inherent worth and uniqueness of every occupant of our planet and in respecting the earth. A favorite mantra, “Nothing offends me unless it is violent or unkind.”

Gabriela I. Coman, Esq. is partner with Potomac Law Group, counseling clients in the strategic development of complex patent assets in the areas of biotechnology, chemicals, and semiconductors. Previously she was partner and co-chair of Rubin and Rudman Intellectual Property Practice.  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 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. With the Yale School of Management she is alumna in their Global Executive Leadership Program.

Lisa Emidy-Consoldane is senior vice president, Wholesale Payments, Treasury Consultant with Truist. Prior to that, she held senior positions with J.P. Morgan in Public Sector, Treasury Services, and Corporate and Investment Banking, and 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 has raised millions of dollars for the Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Inova Health System. Currently, she is an independent nonprofit consultant specializing in capacity building through philanthropy, board development, communications, and strategic planning. She is a fundraising coach for volunteers and staff, and she partners with executives, board leaders, and subject matter experts to create enduring programs resulting in long-term sustainability. Melanie offers counsel to high-impact cultural, social service, and healthcare nonprofits, and she enjoys presenting on the topic of philanthropy. She is a member of  National Capital Gift Planning Council (NCGPC) and is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE). She has a bachelor of arts in music from Wake Forest University and an M.A.I.S. in organizational development from George Mason University. Melanie is an amateur flutist and singer, and she is passionate about the intersection between the arts and health. She is honored to be affiliated with Arts for the Aging because of its pioneering programs that delight and engage older adults in the creative process.

Joseph Andrew Jones, PhD (he/him) is the director of workforce programs implementation for AARP Foundation, where he oversees the foundation’s Back to Work 50+ and Work for Yourself@50+ programs, as well as other strategic initiatives. Dr. Jones has over 25 years of experience leading programs and projects for private and public sector organizations focused on: workforce; human resources; talent acquisition and management; innovation; organizational culture; community engagement; marketing; data insights; and strategy. Prior to AARP, he held positions at SHRM, American Institutes for Research (AIR), SRI International, Development Dimensions International (DDI), Booz Allen Hamilton, and PDRI. He previously served on the board of Pittsburgh’s GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution). Dr. Jones received his Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology and bachelor of arts in both psychology and sociology from Purdue University. He has written numerous articles and book chapters, presented at professional conferences and conducted webinars and think tanks on topics such as community engagement, talent management strategy, employee selection, and cross-cultural assessment research. His hobbies include writing fiction, reading, hiking, studying history and travel. I am a calm presence, a seeker of knowledge, and a catalyst for positive change. I love nature, human creativity, and gaining perspective through a deep understanding of history.

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.

Shane Repas is a certified public account who has spent the last near decade in the public accounting industry. He currently works for PriceWaterhouseCoopers as an auditor. Shane received his master’s in accounting from the University of Maryland. He became involved with Arts for the Aging after seeing the impact that live music performances had on his grandfather when he lived in an assisted living community. Shane also has a passion for bubble tea, which he shares with his wife (they first met at a bubble tea store), and it inspired them to open their own store in Maryland. As a lifelong Maryland resident, Shane strives to have an impact on the local community as he raises the next generation, his own children, and supports older adults through charitable service to Arts for the Aging.

Deborah Riley is an Arts for the Aging teaching artist and board of trustee member. She is a life-long dance artist and practitioner of Laban Movement Analysis, the basis for teaching movement arts to people of all ages and abilities. In her capacity as artist-in-residence, faculty member, staff, and Co-Director of Dance Place, she contributed immeasurably to nurturing the careers of thousands of dance artists, students, and arts administrators. Under her tenure, the organization was awarded the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards for Excellence in Service to the Arts and Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education as well as being recognized as “the hub of dance activity in Washington, DC” (Alan Kriegsman). As a dancer, choreographer, and educator, her career highlights include international touring with Douglas Dunn & Dancers, collaborative choreography with Diane Frank and director of Deborah Riley Dance Projects. In addition to guest artist residencies at universities across the country, Deborah’s choreographic work has been presented in the U.S., the U.K. and France. In the DC Metro area, Deborah’s Moving Affirmations workshops helped to facilitate healing and recovery in partnership with community organizations such as the DC Rape Crisis Center, Montgomery County Crisis Center, and Whitman Walker Clinic. Deborah is also currently a teaching artist with Studio Actors Conservatory, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, and Dance Place. Past honors include Distinguished Alumni in Fine Arts Award from Ohio University and twice with the Pola Nirenska Award – Distinguished Artistic Leadership and Lifetime Achievement. Deborah has served on grant panels with the National Endowment for the Arts, Jerome Foundation and Pennsylvania Performing Arts. She holds a BS and MA in Performing Arts and is a certified practitioner of Laban Movement Analysis.

Scott Span, MSOD, CSM, ACC is CEO at Tolero Solutions, a diverse-owned leadership coaching and consulting firm based in Montgomery County, Maryland. As a people strategist, International Coaching Federation (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 creates 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 leverages his personal passion for the arts and creativity in his work. A passion he acquired from his father, who is currently living with Parkinsons’ and Dementia. Scott understands adversity and diversity; he’s lived it. As a member of the LGBTQ community and neurodiverse person with A.D.D, he’s faced the impacts and stereotypes of being viewed differently and learning differently. He has worked at strategies to overcome those, both personally and professionally. Scott is a published author on various topics of organizational development and leadership and he is the creator of the Recruitment and Retention Lifecycle™. Scott holds a master’s 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. Scott’s other interests include hiking with his three rescue dogs, escaping too the Caribbean, painting, and creative arts.

Janine Tursini  (she/her) is Arts for the Aging Director & CEO. She is 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 by Spur Local. 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. In previous positions, Janine was director of student services in the Corcoran School of Art, and a program registrar helping launch the public programs department at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Janine serves on Maryland’s Age-Friendly Montgomery Advisory Group and 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. Janine’s passion for arts and culture was nurtured by a closeknit Italian American family of growers, makers, and creatives who encouraged cooking and Sunday suppers, sewing and drawing, and tap, jazz, and ballet classes. Her care for being of service to others was sparked by remembrances of Sister Wilhelmina humming down the elementary school halls shaking a carton to collect “money for the missions.” Her motivation to work with Arts for the Aging arose from the path it creates for professional artists to earn a living beyond the commercial route of exhibiting, performing, or selling original works—a practical and imaginative application for uplifting public health. She loves singing in community chorus, getting lost in films, museum-going, and leftover eggplant parmesan.

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.