Board of Directors
Paul is the former Chief People Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, which comprises such iconic restaurants as Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and The Modern. In this capacity, he was responsible for recruiting, training, and motivating a renowned hospitality team, numbering 1,500 people. One of the very first employees of Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe, Paul worked his way up through the ranks of the restaurant industry, from waiter to manager to managing partner. He shares his knowledge of the hospitality industry with students at the French Culinary Institute, where he teaches classes in managing service staff and human resources for restaurants.
Glynna is Co-Head Global Technology Transactions and Partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. She advises FTSE 100, Fortune 100 and other public and private companies on international corporate and commercial transactions, including cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and financial arrangements with an emphasis on technology, media and telecommunications.
Prior to joining Orrick, Glynna served as an original member of the Technical Advisory Committee to the Joint Commission on Technology and Science of the Virginia General Assembly. She also served as Senior Counsel and Chief Investigator to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and as Counsel-Special Investigation to the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs during its campaign finance investigation.
Martin Cowart, CPA
Conscripted out of a successful and varied business career, Martin is uniquely qualified for his role as Special Needs Financial Planner, Financial Services Representative, and Investment Adviser Representative with Fortis Lux Financial, a member of the MassMutual Financial Group. He has served with MetLife Financial Group of New York and has been a tax advisor in a CPA firm, a corporate finance manager, mortgage banker, and entrepreneur/chef and restaurant owner. The position he is most proud of is serving the workers at Ground Zero as Food Captain in Saint Paul’s Chapel following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Martin volunteers his time extensively with such organizations as HRC Greater New York, The ManKind Project, and the Global Community Foundation. He lives with his Life Partner in West Orange, NJ.
Tess is the Senior Vice President for Strategy and Operations at Full Measure Education, an education technology company in Washington, DC providing innovative mobile communications tools designed to help colleges and universities enable student success by increasing enrollment, retention and completion. After acquiring her interest in education technology with roles at PeopleSoft and SAP, Tess joined then fledgling startup Blackboard, Inc. in 1999, where she was responsible for building and managing the contracting function in an aggressively sales driven environment that saw revenues increase to over $600M annually prior to her departure in 2016. She also is Managing Director of Frazier Consulting Group, which provides strategic guidance to education technology companies.
Tess received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Loyola University in Baltimore. Tess is an avid kayaker and lives in the suburbs of Washington, DC with her son Michael, a member of DeMatha Catholic High School’s Class of 2022.
Co-founder and Vice-Chair
Jim has enjoyed a distinguished twenty-five-year career in education, starting with ten years in the classroom, after receiving his BA Degree from Vassar College and California Multiple Subject Clear Teaching Credential. His last twelve years in education were in school leadership roles, including heading the Resurrection Episcopal Day School (REDS) in New York City, the Terra Linda Montessori School in Marin Country, and serving as Lower School Division Head and Admissions Director at a variety of schools. Jim currently serves as Director of Outreach at Garden School in New York City.
Jim’s broad experience in education has convinced him of the potential positive effect that immersion in the arts can have on both brain development and character building, and he sees this experience as producing powerful intellectual and developmental benefits for boys. He also sees a boy’s artistic aspirations as a way to access and develop both the intrinsic motivation to achieve excellence and to encourage his inclination to create and appreciate beauty.
Maryanna McConnell Johnson
Maryanna works with the Blue Rider Group in Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Management. Her clients are primarily collectors, artists and art-related institutions.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Maryanna was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where she worked with public and private institutions, guiding them through operational and strategic challenges. Maryanna started her career at Christie’s Auction House, providing appraisals and collection advice to collectors of decorative arts.
Maryanna earned her BA from Williams College and MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, where she was co-President of MIT Sloan Women in Management. She is a member of the Clark Museum Contemporaries and of Friends of the MIT List Center.
LaVon Kellner is co-founder and President of Ethis Communications, Inc., the premier medical communications company in eyecare. Before starting Ethis with her husband David in 1998, LaVon had had a stellar career in relationship selling at Hallmark Cards, Starbucks, and Random House. At Hallmark, she was the first woman in the company’s 75 years to be allowed to sell in New York City.
LaVon is passionate about art and holds frequent salons at her home where artists, museum movers and shakers, gallerists, and collectors mingle to talk about their common interests. She and David are members of the National Arts Club, where LaVon serves on the Art and Technology Committee and the Roundtable Committee.
LaVon is also a member of Aperture. For the last two years, she has served as host of the Spring artist talk and dinner for Paul Strand donors.
In addition, LaVon serves on the Contemporary Art Committee of Friends Seminary School Auction Committee.
Michael is a Counsel in the Capital Markets group of Clifford Chance's New York office. He focuses on domestic and international capital markets offerings for private equity firms, hedge fund managers, clean energy companies, real estate businesses and casinos. Michael's experience includes a secondment to the Singapore office of Clifford Chance where he worked on a number of significant matters for the firm's India practice.
Michael received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Michael has a passion for public service and he has made considerable pro bono service contributions in each of the last few years. He has served on a committee of the board of Keigwin + Company, a modern dance company. Michael also serves on the board of directors of Oliver Scholars Program, Inc., a nonprofit that identifies low-income, high-achieving students and helps place them in independent high schools.
Michael lives in the West Village neighborhood of New York City with his wife, Katherine, and their two young sons, Daniel and James.
Co-founder, President & CEO
Tara Mia Paone
Tara is Chief Financial/Operations Officer at Geller & Company, a premier strategic financial advisory firm whose clients include businesses and high net worth individuals and families. Prior to joining Geller & Company, Tara was the Chief Financial Officer of New Visions for Public Schools and is responsible for the organization's overall financial functions, including accounting, grants, and budgeting. She has also served as Chief Financial Officer with The Fund for Public Schools, the DOE’s fundraising arm for its education reform initiatives. In that role, she was responsible for the agency’s $20M budget, 50 individual grant programs and served as fiscal agent for over 200 public schools. Prior to The Fund, Tara served in leadership positions at StoryCorps and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in NYC. She brings over 20 years of financial management experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.
Ashley is Director of Sales at Salon 94, a contemporary art gallery with locations in Manhattan's Lower East Side and Upper East Side neighborhoods.
Prior to joining Salon 94, Ashley worked with the sales and exhibitions teams at David Zwirner gallery, most closely with a number of artists' estates, including Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Fred Sandback, and Al Taylor.
Ashley received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History at Marymount Manhattan College and went on to receive her Master's in Fine and Decorative Art at Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York.
She currently serves on the Artadia Benefit Committee and Public Art Fund's 40th Anniversary Benefit Committee.
John van Rens
John was born in Ottawa, Canada and raised in a small agricultural community by immigrant parents. After receiving a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Western Ontario, he came to the US to enter the Benedictine monastery of Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri. While at the monastery, he began to study the visual arts and after deciding not to make final profession concluded his studies at NWMSU, receiving a BFA. John received an MFA from American University.
John met Sarah Lutz at American University, and the two wed and moved to New York City. He relishes their two daughters, Lilah and Eve.
John works as a painter full-time and has had two solo exhibitions at the Bowery Gallery in New York, and has most recently shown cityscape paintings at a coffee house in 2011.
John had been a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Church in Greenwich Village from 1997 to 2014. He was a member of the church choir from 1997 through 1999 and began volunteering at the parish’s homeless shelter in 1998, doing so regularly until becoming the Director. He was the Director of the homeless shelter for five years, until it was closed in 2006. John taught in the religious education program for ten years. He is currently a member of Francis Xavier parish in New York City. He had been a member of the advisory board at St. Joseph’s of the Holy Family elementary school in Morningside Heights from 1995 to 2011.