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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.

Kevin Bright

Los 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.

Carl DeBrule

Saratoga Springs, NY

Carl has worked in Financial and  Health Care industries for over 30 years, with his most recent health care leadership role at Johnson & Johnson as Vice President in the Technology Services team.  Carl is currently executive vice president of client services and chief revenue officer of Digital Factory, a technology company headquartered in Chicago, IL. Carl is a native of Wilmington, DE. Married into a family passionate about Saratoga Springs as well as Skidmore College, Carl frequently visited Saratoga Springs with the family for over 30 years. With his wife, Terry, he made Saratoga Springs his home eight years ago. 

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.

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!

Kevin Veitch

Greenfield, NY

Kevin Veitch, a life-long resident of Saratoga County, served as the Code Enforcement Officer for the City of Saratoga Springs for many years. He has given generously of his time to the Greenfield Zoning Board of Appeals and the city of Saratoga Springs Real Estate and Safety committees, as well as to Gateway House of Peace, a hospice facility in Ballston Spa. He recently completed a term of service as Executive Director of the Saratoga County Fairgrounds. As a musician, Kevin has brought essential skills as a bass player to Lena’s Wrecking Board, a fun-loving Caffe house band you’ll see from time to time at fundraising events.

Joanne Dittes Yepsen

Saratoga Springs, NY

Joanne recently completed 12 consecutive years in elected public office for Saratoga Springs including four terms as County Supervsior and two terms as Mayor. Her tenure was marked by a humanitarian approach to public service and bringing in new funding for the Capital District non-profit community. Prior to holding public office Joanne held senior positions in Skidmore College’s Development Office. Her own business, COLTIVARE, assists non-profit organizations in the areas of capital and annual campaign planning, board development, internal and external assessment, strategic planning and grant fund raising. She has served on the Boards of Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land and Nature), Saratoga County Arts Council, the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church, and the Saratoga Care Foundation. She resides on Saratoga Lake in Saratoga Springs, NY and has three adult children.


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


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.

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.

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.

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. 

Beth Rowen

Marketing and Communications Manager

Beth Rowen is a certified music nerd. Her career odyssey has brought her full circle: beginning in the music video industry in the late 80s and 90s, then side-stepping into graphic design and art direction, now back to her primary passion: working with extraordinary artists and musicians. A graduate of Cornell University, Beth grew up in Saratoga Springs, where she returned in 2004 to raise her kids. She currently serves on the board and planning committee of MLK Saratoga. Beth lives on Galway Lake most months, and is a fan of the earth, nature, sustainability, social justice, hiking, snowshoeing, gardening, reading, crosswording, stand up paddleboarding and Monty Python.

Hannah Stirzaker

House Manager / Volunteer Program 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.

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.

Kristine Reynolds

Operations Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Kristine Reynolds was born and raised in Glens Falls, NY. Through her father’s employment in Saratoga in the 1970’s she gained exposure to the town and developed a fondness for Lena Spencer and Caffè Lena. After attending Skidmore in the 1984, she became a resident of Saratoga eventually raising a family with her husband Philip. Although Kristine’s career path led her on a road to business acumen, her friendships and family life have always revolved around music, art and community. Working at Caffè Lena is a dream job where Kristine now marries her love for music and the Caffè with her background in business. As the Operations Manager, she thrives on the challenge of creating order within the walls of the venue while serving patrons through a kind voice on the telephone.

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.

Lizzie Mehrtens


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.

Justin Wilcox

Kitchen Supervisor

Justin is a third generation Saratogian and self-taught musician. In 1987, Justin used his winnings from a statewide poster contest to purchase his first acoustic guitar. The first day he brought his shiny new guitar home he wrote three songs and performed them at Caffé Lena’s open mic. The stage was a way for him to work through his childhood stutter and introduced him to the wonderful world of performing live music. He is now known as “The Machine” in Caffe Lena’s kitchen due to his incomparable speed washing dishes. Justin’s deep love of music comes from his mother’s impeccable taste in music and taking him to SPAC to the ballet, orchestra and many concerts as a child.