Board & Staff
Board of Directors
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.
Los Angeles, CA
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 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.
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.
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 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 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. She recently relocated to Denver, CO and is excited to explore the music scene of the southwest and help to expand Caffé Lena’s national footprint.
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.
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.
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 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.
Saratoga Springs, NY
Joanne Dittes Yepsen
Saratoga Springs, NY
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.
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.
Broadcast Sound and Camera Technician
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.
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.
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.
Operations Manager & Volunteer Coordinator
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.
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.