CAELI Faculty

Ronnie Brooks

Founding Director, Shannon Leadership Institute

Ronnie Brooks is the founding director of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, a program that provides a yearlong renewal experience for foundation and nonprofit organization leaders. The Shannon Institute is based at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, where she has served as the Director of the Wilder Center for Communities. Ronnie has played a leadership role in several Minnesota civic and professional organizations. She was president of both Citizens League and the Mediation Center and a board member of the Voyager Outward Bound School, the David Preus Leadership Council, the Civic Leadership Foundation, Graywolf Press, and MAP for Nonprofits. She was a McKnight Fellow and an International Business Fellow. In addition, Ronnie is a recipient of the Lloyd Short Award for Distinguished Public Service and of the YWCA Outstanding Leadership Award. Ronnie did her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan and received her master of arts degree in political science from Michigan State University. She has been on the faculty of the National Conference of State Legislature’s Legislative Staff Management Institute, the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the League of American Orchestra’s Executive Leadership Academy, and University of St. Thomas Center for Nonprofit Leadership, where she focused on leadership and management in the nonprofit sector.

Craig Coble

Founder, Coble Consulting

Craig Coble has over 20 years of experience as a facilitator, leadership development specialist, and executive coach. In 2000 he founded Coble Consulting Inc., specializing in individual and organizational development. Craig has been a lead facilitator for several leadership development programs and administers several workshops on topics including the Psychology of Decision Making, Aspiring Leaders and Emotional Intelligence, Effective Communication, Conflict Resolution. In 1982, under Vice President Bush, Craig helped rewrite section 504 of the Civil Rights Act to address Civil Rights for Disabled People. He also organized all of the special interest and lobby groups for the disabled and compiled their recommended rewrites for implementation. Craig received his B.S. in psychology from George Washington University, and also attended New York Law School. He holds life and executive coaching certification from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), CPCC, and in 2012 he received certification as Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Ama Codjoe

Social Justice Trainer and Consultant

Ama Codjoe is the former director of the DreamYard Art Center in the South Bronx where she taught and directed arts and social justice programming for young people and professional development for educators and administrators. Ama has conducted anti-racism trainings and workshops for Pratt, the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE), and numerous educator and parent groups in New York City. As a writer she has received fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation and Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops. Her Pushcart Prize nominated poems have appeared in Tidal Basin Review, Pluck!, Washington Square, Apex Magazine, and Callaloo. Recently, she received the Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellowship at NYU's Department of Creative Writing. Ama was raised in Youngstown, OH, with roots in Memphis and Accra.

John McCann

President, Partners in Performance

John McCann has more than 25 years experience in helping leaders work more effectively. His clients have ranged from the American Association of Retired Persons to the New York Youth Orchestra. In the area of innovation and strategy, McCann has worked with more than 300 of the nation’s leading cultural institutions including the Association of Arts Presenters, Dance/USA, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Chicago Opera Theatre, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the National Symphony Orchestra. At the graduate level, he has taught management and leadership at Drexel University and Virginia Tech, where for ten years he served as the Director of the Institute for Cultural Policy and Practice. He has delivered guest lectures at Duke University, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. His pro bono work includes engagements with the Clinton Global Initiative, New Orleans Recovery and Rebuilding Coalition, and the Women’s Regional Network (Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan). McCann is co-founder and currently a board member of EmcArts, a nonprofit social enterprise for learning and innovation in the arts.

Mary Parish

Founder and President, MVP Associates

Since the 1978 launch of MVP Associates, her consulting and training practice, Mary Parish has worked with over 200 different organizations, in both the public and private sectors. She focuses on creating practical strategies for developing leadership and effectiveness at all levels within the organization. Mary’s work has three channels: Coaching individuals and teams to reach their highest potential; Training design and delivery on topics such as: strengthening interpersonal communication skills, developing emotional intelligence and managing different personality types; and Facilitating groups to work together more effectively, successfully navigate organizational transitions and move their mission forward. At Michigan State University Mary received a B.A. in television and radio—as one of only two women in her class—and later earned an M.A. in communication arts.

Alex Sarian

Acting Executive Director, Lincoln Center Education

Canadian-born Alex Sarian began his career as a performer in Argentina, where he lived for 16 years before moving to New York in 2002 and becoming a teaching artist for The Tenement Museum. In 2017, he was appointed to the role of senior director of Lincoln Center Education, overseeing daily operations and growth strategy for all education and community-based programs at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Prior to his appointment, Sarian was a consultant for cultural institutions, specializing in the expansion of infrastructure, communications, and audience development. Projects of note include SFMOMA’s 2017 strategic plan following its expansion by Snøhetta; a $100M Capital Campaign for Boston Ballet; and the US-based fundraising strategy for The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Sarian has taught at NYU, CCNY, and Pace University. A CAELI graduate, Sarian earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in theatre education and performing arts administration from NYU, and is an inaugural graduate of the Impact Program for Arts Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

DeLashea Strawder

Associate Artistic Director & Director of Music Programs, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit

DeLashea Strawder has devoted her skill and leadership to inspire and incite a new generation of leaders and advocates for the arts for over a decade. A champion of arts and culture and its' inherent ability to motivate, empower and mobilize, she is recognized as a leading conductor and pedagogue throughout the United States and abroad. Strawder is the associate artistic director and director of music programs of the Detroit based internationally acclaimed Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and serves on the National Creative Youth Development Action team. As a facilitator for creative youth development and arts infused education trainings for teaching artists, educators and organizations, Strawder presents locally and at national conferences. As an artist and arts administrator Strawder knows firsthand the necessity of creativity to engage, transform, and inspire.

Carol Zee

President, RESET Consulting

Carol Zee, president of RESET Consulting, is a dynamic leader and teacher of self-awareness and effective communication. Prior to starting her own business, Carol served as the founding artistic director for The Gabriella Foundation in Los Angeles, a non-profit dance program that serves over 3,000 youth per year and offers multiple level training in a variety of genres of dance from professional teaching artists, leadership opportunities for middle school students, and mentorship programs for high school students interested in learning more about career opportunities in the arts. In 2016, Carol trained and certified as a mediator with Centinela Youth Services in Los Angeles. This training and practice unlocked a new ability for seeing conflict as an opportunity for understanding which dramatically changed the way she approached conflict, how she dealt with difficult personalities and situations and how she coached her team. Her interactive workshops for teens “Check Yourself before you Wreck Yourself” and adults “Communication for Connection” create space for people of all ages, cultures, and professions to explore self-awareness around their own communication habits and, with that awareness, gain new strategies for confident communication.