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Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Pam Abrams

Saratoga Springs, NY

After a long media career in New York City, Pam retired from her day job and, with her husband, moved upstate and made Saratoga Springs home. Over the years, she held a handful of notable magazine jobs, as an editor at Harper’s, Parents, Child (as Editor-in-Chief), and editorial director at eToys.com and Scholastic. At the non-profit Cooney Center of Sesame Workshop she was director of strategic partnerships. Her non-profit work continued in the culinary world where she worked with chefs and restaurateurs to introduce NYC youth to the hospitality industry. Currently, Pam helps run the Culinary Arts program at SPAC, and is on the Advisory Board of the Belmont Child Care Association which serves backstretch families at all three NY racetracks. She curates the cookbook collection for Saratoga’s retail shop The Savory Pantry and writes about food. She is a past Board Secretary of Consumer Reports. Pam has two adult sons, and is married to Paul Kligfield, a retired cardiologist. The main thing they miss about living in NYC is Birdland. The main thing they love about Saratoga is Caffè Lena.

Stacey Barrick

Saratoga Springs, NY

Stacey Barrick is the Head of Employment Law, Employee Relations, and Sustainability at GlobalFoundries. Prior to joining GlobalFoundries she served as a Senior Vice President at Goldman Sachs Ayco and practiced as a full service management-side employment attorney.  Over the years she has enjoyed volunteering through board memberships with local not-for-profits, such as  the Empire Youth Orchestra, the Northeast Regional Foodbank, and St. Catherine’s Center for Children. She is an avid supporter of the community and culture of Saratoga Springs where she lives with her husband and two children.  Stacey has a passion for music, travel, and sharing new experiences with her family.

Gordon Boyd

Saratoga Springs, NY

Gordon’s relationship with the Caffe dates from his first visits in the 1960s. After moving to Saratoga Springs in 1971, he met his late wife Sharon, and made friends with Lena, U Utah Phillips, Alan Stowell, Kate McGarrigle, Jack Hume, Andy Cohen and Kurt Anderson, who made Saratoga their home at that time. Sharon was responsible for the Caffe’s handsome bronze bust of Lena, which she made while a student at Skidmore and a volunteer at the Caffe. Gordon is retired from a career in the energy and environmental industries, having served on the State legislature’s executive policy staff. In addition to enjoying the Caffe’s offerings, Gordon has been active in local choral groups, especially enjoying 16th Century a cappella repertoire.  He was a religious volunteer at a nearby State prison and led the restoration of the antique pipe organ in the chapel there. He has served the community on the boards of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, the City Center Authority, and City Charter Revision Commission, among others.

Joseph conlon

Saratoga Springs, NY

Before selling his company and retiring to Saratoga in 2018, Joe spent 30 years running his real estate management firm overseeing a large portfolio of apartments, condominium and townhome/single family residences throughout the Capital Region. He brings to Lena’s board skills in budgeting, finance, building management and maintenance. Joe served on the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Board for ten years during the mid 1990’s – 2000’s. With his wife Luann he frequently attends performing art events throughout the region, and wherever their travels take them. They enjoy walking to and from this legendary venue to hear world class live performances in such an inviting listening room. He’s grateful to assist with furthering the mission of Caffe Lena.

Michael Eck

Albany, NY

Michael is publicist for Breedlove Guitars; 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.

Eric Gordon

Secretary | Saratoga Springs, NY

Eric, has served various roles in his 33 years with Ayco. Currently he is senior vice president and region head for Ayco Family Office.  Eric is a native of Troy, NY and grew up just outside of Woodstock, where music became an integral part of his life. He and his wife recently relocated to Saratoga Springs after 25 years in Pittsburgh PA, where he served as a Board member of Ronald McDonald House, helping to drive a major expansion of hospitality services to families of children undergoing medical treatment.

Kira Karbocus

President | Saratoga Springs, NY

Kira is the CFO/COO of Newport Festivals Foundation, which produces Newport Folk Festival, Newport Jazz Festival and music education programs throughout the year around the country. 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.

Joe Jencks

Chicago, IL

Joe is an 22-year veteran of the international folk circuit, an award-winning songwriter, and celebrated vocalist based in Chicago. He is noted for merging musical beauty, social consciousness, and spiritual exploration. Several of his songs have risen to #1 on national folk radio charts, including the ever-relevant Lady of The Harbor. He is a member of the A.F.M. Local 1000: North American Traveling Musicians Union, NARAS, ASCAP, and the Folk Alliance International. He has joined the Board of Caffe Lena to support its community outreach, artist development programs, and inclusion of diverse voices.

Nancy Kass

Saratoga Springs, NY

Nancy was raised in a household where music served as a vehicle to spiritual, emotional and social development. She studied violin, piano, voice, theater and dance. Upon moving to Saratoga in 2001, she became active in the life of Caffé Lena, attending shows, participating in open mic nights and volunteering. She joined the staff as Director of Marketing and Development from 2019-2020. Nancy is retired from a varied work life in engineering, sales and business management, communications, marketing and development. In addition to music, Nancy’s passions include travel and all-season outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, bicycling and paddling.

Cassandra Kubinski

Saratoga Springs, NY

Cassandra is a singer-songwriter, actress and activist. She uses music to connect people and create community. She has proven the healing power of her music with songs such as “Not So Different,” an Autism Anthem that helped raise over $30,000 for Institute for Autism Research, Autism Speaks, and Music for Autism. Her song “You Get Me” helped raise more than $25,000 for pet rescue and shelter organizations such as The Humane Society of NY, Helping Lost Pets, and Howl of a Dog. At the root of all of Cassandra’s art, there is always a song.

Peter Martin

Treasurer | Saratoga Springs, NY

Peter recently served as Commissioner of Public Safety for Saratoga Springs. Previously he served as a Supervisor for Saratoga Springs on the County Board of Supervisors and as Saratoga County Clerk.  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.

Nancy Nelson

Saratoga Springs, NY

Nancy recently retired from a 30+ year career in marketing communications, and in higher education and foundation fundraising administration. In leadership roles she managed capital campaigns, comprehensive major gift solicitation planning for individuals, corporations and foundations at The University of Michigan, Stanford University, UCLA and UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. As a consultant she has worked with small nonprofits in fundraising, board and volunteer development, and executive staff placement. Past volunteer activities include nonprofit board memberships, and the co-founding of a contemporary arts center, an arts and cultural council, and an annual 8-hour, multiple venue performing arts festival. She has also participated in numerous cycling century ride fundraisers for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Residents of Saratoga Springs, Nancy and her partner, Jeffrey Cannell, are committed to supporting their community’s arts and cultural programs. Nancy earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware.

marly norris

Saratoga Springs, NY

Marly has worked for more than two decades in fundraising for higher education and cultural institutions. Currently she serves as the Vice President for Advancement at SUNY Empire State University, and Executive Director of the Empire State University Foundation. Norris has also worked at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of San Francisco and Dominican University of California. On the cultural side of the house, Norris led corporate and foundation philanthropy at the Smithsonian Institution (which translates to nineteen museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo), and led efforts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Marin Theatre Company. Prior to working in fundraising, Norris worked in concert touring and promotion, which she will only discuss after a sufficient amount of wine is consumed. She lives in the Capital Region with her husband Mike Reynolds and two small but demanding dogs.

Brian O'Conor

Wilton, NY

Brian is a lifelong resident of the Saratoga Springs area and patron of the local music scene since he was a teen. Though his music tastes lean more toward the heavier side of progressive rock, he and his wife Kim found a home for live music at Caffe Lena and have been members for years. Avid fans of the Bright and Nordlys Global Voices series, they’re always looking for a new experience and to discover a new sound. Brian is currently an Accounting Supervisor at D.A. Collins Companies, after spending nearly two decades in government finance and accounting.
Brian is also a former employee of Caffe Lena, serving as Director of Finance and Operations and brings with him intimate knowledge of the Caffe’s inner workings to the Board.

Margo Olson

Saratoga Springs, NY

Margo Olson is the Executive Director of Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park. She began her professional career in environmental education when she worked as an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service. She developed environmental programming, exhibits and curricula as Director of Education at the Junior Museum in Troy, which has become the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology.  She was the Curator of Education at the National Museum of Racing and worked at Skidmore College in the Office of Campus Life. She has served on several community boards including Planned Parenthood and Temple Sinai.  Growing up in a house full of classical and folk music, she spent many  happy hours of her high school years at the Eighth Step Coffee House and in helping to run the Bethlehem Coffeehouse.  She plays the flute in the Cottage Street Players chamber music group and is excited to be at Caffe Lena, helping at a coffee house again!

Staff

Sarah Craig

Executive Director

Sarah 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 reins 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. Sarah lives in rural Shushan, NY where she gardens, runs, writes novels, and reads avidly about ecology, theology, psychology and social justice.

Joe Deuel

Sound

A 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.

Reese Fulmer

Community Outreach Coordinator / Caffe Lena TV

Reese spent his childhood listening to the crowd at Carnegie Hall sing in harmony with Pete Seeger, and learned to play clawhammer banjo to recreate Pete’s sound. He graduated from Skidmore College in 2018 and began volunteering at Caffe Lena during his senior year. Reese now serves as the Caffe’s swiss army knife – depending on the night, you might find him running the kitchen, managing the show, producing a video behind the scenes, coordinating Caffe Lena’s new community music program and artist development series, or playing a song or two on stage at the weekly open mic.

Carol Graser

Poetry Events Coordinator

Carol started the Caffè Lena poetry reading series in the summer of 2003. The first night brought a deluge of poets and poetry fans from all over the Capital District and the series has been going strong ever since. The series has featured poets from around the country as well as our own talented local writers. Carol’s poetry has been published in many literary journals and she has performed her work at readings, rallies, fundraisers and weddings. A collection of her poetry, The Wild Twist of Their Stems, was published by Foothills Publishing in 2007. She cannot believe her good luck at being able to welcome poets to this legendary stage every month and to be a part of the wild and wonderful Caffè Lena community.

matt "Griff" Griffin

Kitchen and Facilities Manager / Teacher

Griff is a second generation Caffe kid, and an umpteen generation Saratogian. He first played our stage in middle school as part of our Emerging Artist Breakout, a series booked by and for teens. After a stint at Berkeley College of Music, Matt came home to Saratoga and played Lena’s open mic for 6 months straight, where he met Karl Bertrand and formed what would become one of Saratoga’s favorite bands ever, Let’s Be Leonard. Griff was one of those kids who loved to take things apart. Guided by his father, he learned plumbing, carpentry, motor repair, and is adept at fixing tape decks, amps and guitars. He keeps our building and equipment running smooth. The kitchen skills he learned as a teen employee of The Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, and later at Uncommon Grounds in Saratoga, create a great experience for our hospitality volunteers. Finally, Griff combines his wide-ranging instrumental skills and love of kids as a teacher in the Caffe Lena School of Music where he coaches our youth band, The Rolling Pebbles.

Lizzie Mehrtens

Baker

A 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.

Joel Moss

Broadcast Sound and Camera Technician

In more than six decades of producing music, Joel has recorded albums for the likes of Little Richard, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Joe Cocker, Johnny Cash and Tony Bennett, in addition to work on films and Broadway. He has won an Academy Award and seven Grammys and been nominated for two Emmys. His life in music began in his hometown of Detroit in the late 1950s as a 12-year-old folk prodigy, leading a Hebrew folk quintet called The Hi-Liters that played Caffe Lena in the early ’60s. Since moving to Saratoga he produced “A Saratoga Christmas Wish,” a fundraising album for Make-A-Wish Northeast New York that raised $70,000.

Lucy Nelligan

Volunteer Coordinator / House Manager / Teacher

Lucy grew up listening to Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson with her parents, who fostered her love of music from an early age. Pursuing classical violin, she found a new appreciation for folk music at Berklee College of Music, where she graduated with a degree in Violin Performance and worked to organize lessons and concerts for the college’s American Roots Music Program. She also worked for Club Passim as a livestream tech and fiddle teacher. As a beneficiary of nonprofit music organizations in her native San Francisco, she is happy to be giving back as a teacher, kitchen/house manager, and volunteer coordinator at Caffe Lena.

Vivian Nesbitt

School of Music Coordinator

Vivian experienced the life saving effect of folk and roots music as a child listening to Judy Collins, Taj Mahal and Bill Staines on the family record player. A recent arrival in Saratoga Springs, Vivian and her husband John Dillon (who host and produce Art of the Song heard nationwide on public radio) chose their apartment because it was walking distance to Caffè Lena.  As an actress she’s worked in film, TV, and stage. Vivian loves to build opportunities for people to find, deepen and integrate creative expression into their lives through music, writing, and performance. 

Hannah Stirzaker

House Manager / Production Coordinator

Hannah came to Caffe Lena after several years in management at School of Rock in Albany, NY and Marietta, GA. Throughout her college years she explored all aspects of the music industry, from teaching beginning guitar, to working with record labels, booking and promoting shows, and performing her own music. She holds a Bachelor of Ministry in Songwriting from Visible Music College in Memphis, TN.

Mateo Vosganian

Director of Operations

Born in Aurora, IL and raised in Queensbury, NY, Mateo has been steeped in music since birth. Growing up in a family with generations of musicians led him to pursue a career in music after studying at Emerson College in Boston, and a brief stint in the television industry in Los Angeles. Playing shows and producing events since the age of 12, Mateo spent more than two decades touring the world as a drummer and artist manager. A perfect confluence of circumstances led him to the Director of Operations position here at Caffe Lena. No stranger to our stage, Mateo is a passionate advocate for our mission of providing music, connection, and learning for the good of the community and world at large.