Board & Staff
Board of Directors
Kevin BrightLos Angeles, CA
Kevin Bright is one of the original executive producers behind the Emmy Award–winning television series Friends (1994–2004) and is the Vice President and Founding Director of Emerson College Los Angeles. Early in Bright’s career, he produced numerous specials for Johnny Cash and David Copperfield. In 1986, he produced the Cable ACE Award-winning series The History of White People in America, as well as HBO specials starring Robin Williams, Harry Shearer, and Paul Shaffer. In 1989, he received his first Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series as supervising producer on Fox’s In Living Color. In 1992, Bright won a Cable ACE Award for Best Comedy Series as executive producer of Dream On. Bright directed more than 50 episodes of Friends, including the season finale each year. The NBC series received the 2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series as well as winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Series for 10 consecutive years. Bright lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Claudia. They have twin sons, Justin and Zachary.
Eric BrodwinSaratoga Springs, NY
Eric is the Chief Investment Officer of Congress Park Capital, an Investment Management Firm he founded in 2009. Eric has worked as a Financial Advisor at both Merrill Lynch and UBS Wealth Management. Prior to these positions Eric worked for an investment banking boutique in NYC concentrating on Mergers and Acquisitions and at a Leveraged Buyout firm in Greenwich, CT. He was instrumental in creating one of the fastest 50 growing companies in CT from 1998 to 2000. An entrepreneur at heart, Eric started Saratoga Horse and Carriage Company with his father after graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Economics degree. At the age of three, Eric began studying violin with the Suzuki Method. He was one of the youngest members of the Empire State Youth Orchestra. Eric plays with the Rich Clements Band in Saratoga Springs. He is committed to helping to preserve the tradition and excellence of Caffè Lena.
Michael EckAlbany, NY
Michael is publicist for Proctors, Capital Repertory Theatre and Universal Preservation Hall; assistant producer of The Music Haven Concert Series; board member of the Capital Region NY Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America; and a member of the Hudson Valley Community College Advisory Committee for Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Broadcast Communications. A former public radio producer, Eck is also a nationally recognized arts reporter and cultural critic, having written locally for the Times Union for almost 30 years. Additionally, he is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, painter and roots scholar, with a deep love of historic American music. He has been performing at Caffè Lena for over 25 years and, as Caffè board member, works with the director on producing, hosting and marketing fundraising concerts.
Wanda FischerSchenectady, NY
Wanda has hosted WAMC’s folk music program “The Hudson River Sampler” since 1982. She is also a singer and has released one recording of her own, called, of course, “Singing Along with the radio.” She began her radio career in 1975 as a volunteer at community radio station WCUW in Worcester, Massachusetts. She was raised in a musical family–her dad was a close friend of the legendary Carter Family in southwestern Virginia. A native of the Boston area, she moved to the Capital District in 1979 with her husband, Bill, who is also a singer and musician. She is retired from a long career in marketing and public relations and also plays tennis competitively. She and Bill have two children and four grandchildren.
Jonathan GreeneSaratoga Springs, NY
Jonathan is community organizer and social entrepreneur. He is founder and publisher of Saratoga Wire, a 2-year-old online local news source for Saratoga Springs. He has also spearheaded a number of freelance projects over the last couple years, including website development, web and TV commercials, as well as the Moving Day Fund, which raised more than $56,000 for Saratoga’s Four Seasons natural food store over the course of a 2 month campaign. He currently sits on the board of Youth Squared, a Saratoga Springs based organization that provides grant assistance to youth to take on community service or advocacy work to help other youth. Jonathan is also a world, jazz and classical woodwinds player who performs regularly in the capital region.
Kira KarbocusSaratoga Springs, NY
Kira is the Chief Financial Officer at Fingerpaint, a full-service marketing agency headquartered in Saratoga Springs, New York with additional office locations in Albany, New York; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Villanova, Pennsylvania. In 2015, Albany Business Review named Kira one of their “40 Under 40” business leaders in the Capital Region. In the same year, SmartCEO Magazine awarded her an Executive Management Award as CFO for Fingerpaint. Kira is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Management. She is an avid equestrian and lover of folk music.
TreasurerSaratoga Springs, NY
Peter currently serves as a Supervisor for Saratoga Springs on the County Board of Supervisors. Previously he served as Saratoga County Clerk, and for 25 years he worked for the Ayco Company LP, a Goldman Sachs Company, where he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Peter also serves on the boards of directors of the Arthritis Foundation’s Northeast United States Region (where he is immediate past chairman) and the national Arthritis Foundation, Inc. Peter and his wife, Chris, have enjoyed the music of Caffè Lena since moving to the capital district over 30 years ago.
Jim MastrianniSaratoga Springs, NY
Jim is an entrepreneur and business owner with more than 20 years of experience in the affordable housing industry concentrating on information technology. Overseeing a staff of 21, Jim’s organization helps more than 2500 families achieve better outcomes by providing safe, sanitary and decent housing in 40 different communities spanning nine counties. In his musical life Jim is a multi-instrumentalist, performer, songwriter, producer and engineer who maintains a recording studio in his home. Jim has released two CDs of original music, gigs frequently in Saratoga, and is the music contributor for The Saratoga Social magazine. Jim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Music from Hobart College, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Cornell University, in 2008 was recognized as one of the “40 under 40” business leaders by the Capital District Business Review, and in 2014 graduated from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce “Leadership Saratoga” leadership program.
ChairmanSaratoga Springs, NY
Stanley was chairman of the Caffè Lena Board of Directors during the successful 1998 campaign to purchase its building and resumed the chairmanship in 2008. He spent 30 years at Skidmore College in information technology and is a lifelong composer, writing music for chamber and jazz ensembles, choirs, and solo instruments. As a home builder in Washington County, Stanley’s enthusiasm for managing construction projects has been instrumental in driving the Caffè’s recent $1.5 million renovation.
Bob RehmGanesvoort, NY
Recently retired, Bob was a Vice President of a major financial institution having worked 41 years with the same organization. He is an avid music fan who attends many concerts of various music genres. He has a deep appreciation for the history and the intimacy of the Caffè. Bob relocated from Staten Island to Saratoga Springs in 1976 and presently resides in Gansevoort. Bob has served both as a board member and president of multiple youth sports organizations in Saratoga Springs.
George WardRexford, NY
Folklorist, singer of traditional songs and songwriter, George first came to Caffè Lena the year it opened. He has been performer, audience and – since the Caffe incorporated – board member ever since. “Many small arts venues don’t outlive their founding visionaries,” he says. “The Caffe has. That’s our ongoing trust and challenge.”
Vice CharimanSaratoga Springs, NY
Brent has a great appreciation of music, believing it to be the most emotional form of expression. He has devoted his professional career to improving the management practices of municipal governments and non-profit associations. He is owner and president of Northeast Association Management, Inc. and is a “certified association executive” (CAE). A graduate of Leadership Saratoga, he also holds a master’s degree in public affairs. He has served on a number of non-profit boards and committees and currently serves on the board of directors of Albany Pro Musica, a highly regarded chorus. Brent lives in Saratoga Springs with his wife Linda.
Executive DirectorSarah earned her BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Vermont, where she developed organizing skills as an activist on campus and in Burlington. Before taking the reigns at Caffè Lena in 1995, she served as a fundraiser then Executive Director for the Massachusetts state branch of Peace Action, a nationwide, grassroots citizen’s lobby. Sarah seeks to carry forward Lena Spencer’s dedication to community service through music, creating friendships, careers and harmonious connection. She has contributed articles to national music publications, freely offers herself as a mentor to emerging artists and presenters, and shares her experience as a panelist at conferences in the US and Canada. With her husband, Sarah raised twins in the rural setting of Shushan, NY where her family maintains a large organic garden and never turns away a stray cat. Her musical talents are limited to singing on pitch and playing (enthusiastically but not well) the trumpet, piano and euphonium.
Associate DirectorDianne oversees the Caffè’s financial management and development activities. She began her career in finance, spending four years with Cambridge Associate’s Performance Reporting Department. She left the firm to pursue her MA in Arts Management at American University, during which time she interned at Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts and ClancyWorks Dance Company. Upon graduation she accepted a position with an artist residency space in Upstate New York prior to joining Caffè Lena. A lifelong music lover, growing up in West Virginia coupled with her time in Washington, DC unearthed her love of intimate performance spaces and all things folk-inspired.
SoundA native of Saratoga, Joe first came to the Caffè as a curious high school student. His photographs of performances, life around the Caffè, and Lena herself, from the 1970s to today, form a substantial part of the 2013 book Caffè Lena: Inside America’s Legendary Folk Music Venue, and have been seen in numerous album jackets, gallery shows and national publications. In the 1980s he became an indispensable ally to Lena Spencer, helping her with every aspect of running the Caffè. After her sudden passing in 1989, he was part of the team that kept the Caffè going while it transitioned into a non-profit organization. He has served as the Caffè’s soundman for the better part of the past 30 years.
BakerA native of New Orleans, Lizzie arrived in Saratoga in 1976 and was paid $25 per week by Lena to clean the Caffè after every show. She’s a life-long baker, including a stint as the head baker for her commune at age eighteen. She’s been baking the Caffè’s desserts here in Lena’s kitchen every week since 1996.
Open Mic ManagerSaratoga native John Wilson first came to the Caffè as a young teenager to join the volunteer staff. He spent the better part of his high school years managing the kitchen during weekend performances. He took part in the Caffè’s theater programming, bringing several productions to the Caffè’s Black Box Theater. You can find him baking cookies and running the soundboard at Open Mic, where his welcoming, enthusiastic attitude puts everyone at ease.