Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Raven’s Board of Directors is made up of a team of dedicated professionals and community leaders that manage the organization and volunteer their time and talent to assure that Raven is performing to its best possible capacity!

Current Board Members

Walter Pophin, President
Preston Frazier, Vice President
Stephen Johnson, Treasurer
Sally Schwartz, Secretary

Dan De La Cruz

Stuart Gold

Jerry Loeser

Michael Menendian

Brian Pastor

David Rubman

Kelli Strickland

 

Trustee Biographies

Preston Frazier 

Preston Frazier is currently an AUTO CLAIMS SECTION MANAGER, for State Farm Insurance Company in Chicago, IL 2006 He has worked for the property and casualty carrier for over 25 years. Prior to Preston’s tenure at State Farm he was a Baltimore City, Maryland  Police Officer. Preston is a native of Baltimore, Maryland but for the past several years calls Chicago his home where he lives with his husband.
 
Preston has received a Juris Doctorate from University of Baltimore Law  School , as well as a Masters in business from The Johns Hopkins University. Preston has been on several boards of directors both in Illinois and Maryland.
 
In his spare time Preston attends theater in Chicago and live musical performances. Preston is a regular contributing editor to the music blog, somethingelsereviews.com.  

Stuart Gold

Stuart is a life-long Chicagoan, raised on the southwest side near Midway Airport and attended CPS Schools - Mark Twain Elementary and Kelly High Schools  He received a bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois Chicago, MBA from Loyola University and Principal’s Certificate from the State of Illinois.  Stuart was a teacher in the inner city for sixteen years, a principal for thirteen years and an administrator for four years.  He worked with the worst schools in Chicago  - schools that had less than 20% of their students on grade level.  Now retired for over ten years, his hobbies and interests include racquetball, weight training, politics, gardening, cooking and cooking gadgets, building computers, traveling, reading, movies, theatre, and projects around the house. Other volunteer experience is cooking for the Monday Meal at Temple Sholom for a over a year, and Reading Is Fundamental for seven years including one year as President of the Board of Directors.  Stuart has been on the board of directors at Raven for the last eight years and takes great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from his service.  His favorite part of service for an arts organization: “It is amazing to watch how creative the productions have been and will continue to be. Raven has so many talented and dedicated people involved and it has been so much fun to be associated with them. I am always proud to say I am on the Raven Board.”

Stephen Johnson

Stephen moved to Chicago immediately following his retirement, after having worked in academia during his 20s (mostly in Austin, Texas), in public accounting during his 30s and early 40s (he was a tax partner in the Houston Office of Ernst & Young), and in a publicly traded, global manufacturing company from his early 40s to his early 60s (holding every major senior financial position on either a permanent or an interim basis with Belden Inc.)  Despite having worked in finance for most of his adult life, his formal educational degrees are a B.A. in History and a Ph.D. in Philosophy.  Life apparently plays tricks on us all. In retirement he spends his time reading widely, learning to play the piano, puttering around in his gardens, cooking for the weekly family dinners at his house for his two sons and their families, going to the ballet, spending time with his three children and seven grandchildren who reside both here in Chicago and just south of St. Louis, and trying to see on average one play every week. 

Jerry Loeser

Julius “Jerry” Loeser is of counsel in Winston and Strawn’s Chicago office, where his practice focuses on banking regulation. Prior to working at large corporate law firms, Mr. Loeser was chief regulatory and compliance counsel for Comerica Bank, where he also served as senior vice president and deputy general counsel and as general counsel of its retail bank division. Before that, he served as chief regulatory in-house counsel at Wells Fargo & Co. Mr. Loeser began his legal career advising the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.

Michael Menendian

Michael Menendian is a founding member and the Producing Artistic Director of Raven Theatre, where he has directed and designed sets for many productions, earning numerous Joseph Jefferson and After Dark awards. Along with JoAnn Montemurro, Menendian received a 2007/2008 Jeff Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chicago Theatre and he recently received a 2010 Jeff nomination for his direction of Raven's Death of a Salesman. Other productions include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hedda Gabler, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, The Night of the Iguana, Dancing at Lughnasa, Golden Boy, Marvin’s Room, A Streetcar Named Desire, A View from the Bridge, and Glengarry Glen Ross.

Brian Pastor

Brian was named as Executive Director in July, 2015 after spending ten and a half years at City Lit Theater, the last nine as its Managing Director. Brian is also the Founding Executive Director and current Artistic Director of Promethean Theatre Ensemble. Brian has acted, directed, or adapted work for City Lit, Promethean, The Mime Company, Chicago dell’Arte, Bailiwick Repertory, Strawdog, Writer’s Bloc and others.

Walter Pophin 

Walter Pophin moved to Chicago from Waco, Texas about 25 years ago. While he still has roots in Texas, he considers Chicago to be hishome. A CPA who had worked primarily in public accounting and insurance industries, in 1991, he joined the not for profit world as the business manager of Northside Catholic Academy, just down the street from Raven. Walter and his partner Bob have kids aged 22, 20 and 17; a 9 month old granddaughter and two dogs.  Walter says, "I love the theater and feel so lucky to live in a great theater town like Chicago and am honored to serve on the board at Raven."

David Rubman

David Rubman is a retired attorney who specialized in immigration law for universities, research institutions, arts organizations and talented individuals from around the world.  He has taught immigration law as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University School of Law.  He is also an artist who sculpts in wood, and is an avid theater goer in Chicago and around the world.  Raven is his favorite Chicago theater company.

Sally Schwartz

Sally retired from Ford Motor Company, where she was Assistant General Counsel responsible for transactions, purchasing and real estate and devoted her time to Michigan Community Resources, a statewide organization providing pro bono legal services and community planning advice to non-profits that she co-founded in 1998. A little over two years ago, she moved to Chicago in part to enjoy its robust theater scene, attended Raven’s Bus Stop and became a Raven enthusiast.

Kelli Strickland

Kelli is Executivbe Director of The Hypocrites. She served as Raven Theatre's first Executive Director from 2013 to 2015, after having previosuly served as Raven's Director of Education and Outreach.  In between those two roles, she was a Fellow at the Kennedy Center for Performaning Arts in Washington DC. Onstage, Kellui was most recently seen in GOOD BOYS AND TRUE and Raven's inaugural Evermore! performance, with her one-woman show, WE'VE GOT A BADGE FOR THAT.

 

Raven is Currently Seeking Board Members

 

Raven is currently looking to expand its Board of Directors. We are looking for individuals who are passionate about theatre and have some time and skills to share with a worthy organization.

For information about joining the Board of Directors, please contact Brian Pastor at (773) 338-6537 or click here to contact us online.