Staff and Board

MASSCreative Staff


Emily Ruddock, Interim Executive Director

Emily Ruddock joined MASSCreative in 2017 as Director of Policy and Government Affairs. Under her leadership, MASSCreative’s legislative and policy work has greatly expanded and new partnerships have been formed with working artists, cultural leaders, and entrepreneurs around the state. In April, 2019 she was named Interim Executive Director and will lead MASSCreative until a search is launched for a permanent executive director. Emily has 14 years of experience working in strategic and management positions for non-profit arts organizations. This includes her tenure as Lynn’s first director of the Downtown Lynn Cultural District during which she built partnerships with artists, business leaders, educators, and other civic leaders. As the Artistic Producer at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, she produced plays by Idris Goodwin, Sean Daniels, Lauren Gunderson, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Wendy MacLeod. At Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky, Emily produced Heist! a site-specific world premiere by Deborah Stein at 21C Museum Hotel. She also coordinated the casting of over 60 productions including world premieres by Naomi Iizuka, Carly Mensch, Eric Coble, Carlos Murillo, Gina Gionfriddo, and Deborah Zoe Laufer. Emily also created and co-produced Actors Theatre's The Late Seating, featuring local artists across artistic disciplines.

She is a potter who loves making original ceramic art and functional ware for her home, her family and her friends. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College.



Elena Ruocco Bachrach, Ph.D., Development Manager

Elena joined MASSCreative after eight years serving as the Executive Director of the Newburyport Art Association (Newburyport MA). Elena was the lead development staff member among her other responsibilities and achieved success doubling the NAA’s budget during her tenure, thereby expanding on the organization’s capacity to deliver on its mission each year - made possible in large part through fund development results. Elena brings to MASSCreative deep and varied experience in arts administration, the creative economy, and higher education.

Elena aspires to foster the arts - when & where possible, to create vibrant community, community collaborations, and to inform this work with a sense of social responsibility.

Elena’s skill set includes: arts management, business development, fundraising, community outreach and collaboration, marketing and communication, design, higher education administration, public speaking, research, and teaching. Elena holds a doctorate in Political Economy and African Studies from Northwestern University. Elena speaks Italian fluently; has studied French, Spanish, and Hausa. In her free time, she enjoys arts events, travel, writing and cooking. Elena is married to Bill and they have two sons, David and Min.



Tracie Konopinski, Program Director

Tracie Konopinski is a longtime community organizer. At MASSCreative she has built a grassroots, advocacy network of more than 25,000 people who turn out in person and online to support art, culture, and creativity throughout Massachusetts. She works closely with MASSCreative’s Leadership Council identifying new grassroots partnerships and new ways to generate support for greater public investment and leadership in art, culture, and creativity. She has also trained hundreds of activists on political organizing and leadership development in prior campaigns for voter registration, affordable higher education, and environmental justice throughout western Massachusetts and Maine.

Tracie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Muhlenberg College, where she studied business, communication, and dance.



Selassie Davies, Operations Coordinator

Selassie Davies joined MASSCreative in November 2017. Born in Boston, Selassie grew up in the Midwest before returning to Massachusetts for college. She graduated from Wheaton College in 2016 with a B.A. in Film and New Media Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Following graduation, Selassie completed a fellowship with the Media Art for Public Service (MAPS) media literacy program, a partnership between the Boston Health Commission’s Start Strong Initiative and MIT. She facilitated discussions with students as they navigated the complex topics of gender, sexuality, ability, race, class, mental health, and other areas of difference, to create digital art for social change.


MASSCreative Board of Directors

Sara Stackhouse (Chair) She is the former executive producer of Actors’ Shakespeare Project (ASP) where she produced 48 productions and helped develop extensive youth, education and community programs. While at ASP, Sara received the Social Innovation Forum's 2010 Margaret Stewart Lindsay "Inspiration Award" for leadership, and the company garnered numerous Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards and a national American Theater Wing Award for emerging innovative theaters. Sara was the supervising producer of four seasons of INSIDE This Old House for the A&E television network. In the 1990's she served as project manager for cellist Yo-Yo Ma where she produced educational projects, did scripting and staging, and managed collaborations with artists such as Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor, Bobby McFerrin, Mark Morris, Toni Morrison, Torvill & Dean, Atom Egoyan and others. She also served as associate producer on eight films, including Rhombus Media's 'Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired by Bach', which received several international awards and Emmys. Sara was the first director of education for NPR's From the Top where she designed curriculum, trained teachers, and created national Make Your Own Radio Program and Cultural Ambassador Programs for teenage artists. As a freelancer, Sara produced A Taste of Chanukah for PBS, PRI, and Rounder Records in 1998 and was the executive producer of the MIT Media Lab's Toy Symphony with Tod Machover and violinist Joshua Bell. She is the founder of Stackhouse Creative, a creative services company whose clients have included Swanee Hunt Alternatives, Boston Baroque Orchestra, ArtsBoston, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Acera School, and Silkroad. Sara and her husband Johan spent 2011-2012 volunteering at the Sibongile Care Center in Cape Town and served for many years on the board of Tremendous Hearts, an organization serving vulnerable children in South Africa. In 2017 she founded The Mama Project, a multi-year, cross-cultural creative project for women from township communities in Cape Town and female artists from Boston.

Stephen D. Immerman, Ed.D., (Vice Chair) was appointed as president of Montserrat College of Art in November 2009, following a successful 30 year-career at MIT, where he served in senior capacities in a variety of departments involving student life, operations, construction management, fundraising, and others. He holds a Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Certificates in Leadership from MIT and in Management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, a Master of Science and Education from the University of New York, Albany, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York, Potsdam. An involved community leader, he was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in summer of 2015 to the board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He is co-president of Beverly Main Streets, vice president of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, and on the boards of the Salem Athenaeum, the Essex National Heritage Commission, the Massachusetts Creative Network Commission, the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design and is the former Chair of the Potsdam College Foundation, State University of New York.

Wayne M. Kennard (Treasurer) was senior partner at WilmerHale LLC until 2016. Since then, he has provided strategic advice and leadership to two high-tech start-ups -- as co-founder of Sankofa, Inc. and as business strategist and general counsel for North American Wave Engine Corp. He is currently a trustee of the Museum of Science and is on the Board of Advisors of D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Kennard has also served on the boards of St. Sebastian’s School, the Boston Bar Association, the Fenn School, the Meadowbrook School, and STRIVE, Boston, and is the author of a number of publications in the area of intellectual property.

Jason Weeks (Clerk) is the Executive Director of the Cambridge Arts Council (CAC), a public non-profit agency in Cambridge, MA. CAC provides services and direct programming for Cambridge residents and visitors designed to stimulate public awareness of and support for the arts. In his capacity as executive director, Jason works with the CAC Board of Directors, Trustees of the Arts Council’s non-profit corporation, Public Art Commission, city administration, elected officials and full and part-time staff to oversee core agency programming, including: An award-winning Public Art/Percent-for-Art Program, the annual Cambridge River Festival, the CAC Artist Grant Program, Cambridge Open StudiosSummer in the CityCambridge Poet Populist Program, the CAC Gallery exhibition program and a lively Street Performer Program. In addition to his role at CAC, Jason lectures at schools and universities in the Boston area, serves on boards and advisory committees that carry out work in the arts and culture sector, and regularly participates in conferences and symposia to discuss issues, challenges and effective strategies related to the field of arts administration. Prior to his work with CAC, Jason spent 10-years working in the for-profit sector in Boston and as a producer and presenter of music and arts festivals in his home state of North Carolina. Jason has a background in music and theatre and holds Bachelor degrees in Music History and English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, and a Masters degree in Arts Administration from Boston University. Jason and his family currently live in Maynard, MA. 

Russell J. (Rus) Peotter (Board Chair Emeritus) retired from a 42-year career in public media in January 2017. He served as Vice President of the WGBH Educational Foundation and General Manager for WGBY, Springfield; Public Television for Western New England since 2001. Previously, he was Vice President for marketing and development at Maine Public Broadcasting (MPB). At MPB, he also served as production and promotion manager for almost fifteen years, during which he received a New England Emmy and the Elmo Award from Sesame Workshop. He was named PBS Communications Professional of the Year in 1999 and PBS Development Professional of the Year in 2003.

Rus is a corporator or board member of many regional organizations including: PeoplesBank, Double Edge Theatre, Enchanted Circle Theatre, The Springfield Central Cultural District, The Hilltown Land Trust, OneHampshire, American Public Television, America’s Public Television Stations, The Trustees, MassCreative, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Plan for Progress and Leadership Pioneer Valley. He is a councilor for Hampshire Council of Government (HCG) and Chesterfield town moderator.

Rus resides in Chesterfield, Massachusetts with his family as well as a Vizsla, three horses, 40 chickens, 11 goats, and a 76-year-old tractor. His interests include agriculture, food, wine, music, the performing and visual arts, and the outdoors.

Susan Chinsen is a community connector who focuses on the Asian Pacific Islander American community--using arts and culture for community building. Currently she is an Associate Producer at ArtsEmerson. She established the annual Boston Asian American Film Festival in 2008, where she continues to serve as the Festival Director uplifting diverse community stories and experiences. Additionally, she has been working with the Center for Asian American Media as an engagement consultant for the upcoming PBS documentary "The Chinese Exclusion Act," building upon her community work and past experience working at WGBH. She is on the board of directors at South Cove Community Health Center, an ArtsEmerson Community Curator, a Boston Neighborhood Fellow at The Boston Foundation, and a Steering Committee member at the Tisch College at Tufts University Community Research Center. Susan is also an alumna of the American Chinese Art Society's traditional dance troupe and Tufts University. 

Debra J'Anthony is the Executive Director of the Academy of Music Theatre, a historic non-profit performing arts center in Northampton, MA. The Academy of Music, the first municipally owned theater in the nation, offers diverse programming for its audience members in dance, music, theater, spoken word, and independent film.

In her role as executive director, Debra has commissioned and premiered new theatrical work, created the Valley Voices Story Slam, and initiated Women’s Work, a program committed to staging plays written by women. The Academy is listed on the State Register of Historic Places and during Debra’s tenure, had received the Massachusetts Preservation and Restoration Award for renovations to the auditorium.

Before joining the Academy of Music Theatre, she served as the executive director of the Shea Community Theater in Turners Falls, MA for sixteen years. During her tenure there, she was awarded the Community Theater Association Back Stage Award and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate Official Citation.

Debra is a published poet, and is a current board member of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce and the Hampshire Regional Tourism Council. She has served as a consultant to numerous start-up performing arts organizations in the region. Debra is a member of the Paradise City Cultural District Committee, the national planning committee for SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, and New England Presenters.

Justin Kang is the Vice President of Strategy and Growth for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce where he oversees the strategic initiatives for the leading regional business association. In addition, he is the Executive Director of City Awake which serves as the civic innovation arm of the Boston Chamber with the mission to explore bold and creative ideas to solve our most pressing urban issues.

Most notably, he is currently focused on mobilizing and empowering the next generation of leaders into active contributors in shaping the future of Greater Boston. Specifically, he is engaging over 650 young adults representing 200 organizations as they undergo a nine-month process to produce the first-ever local report in understanding how this generation perceives Greater Boston as well as identifying key issues and solutions prioritized by this cohort. 

He has been named as a “Top 25 Emerging Leader of Color” by Get Konnected!, and as one of “The Next Generation of Powerful People in Boston” by Boston Magazine. In addition, he was recognized as “One of Nine Nonprofit Leaders Obsessed with Making Boston Better” by the Boston Globe and was awarded an ONEin3 Award by the City of Boston as one of 13 young adult leaders doing outstanding work to improve the City of Boston for all residents. 

He serves on the board of directors and advisory boards for several nonprofits including the Asian Community Development Corporation, Institute for Nonprofit Practice, Food for Free and the Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective. In addition, he was the Industry Champion (social impact) for MassChallenge and recently served as a judge for the Massachusetts Nonprofit Excellence Awards and 50 on Fire. He is a Big Brother and an alumnus of Brandeis University.

Richard G. Maloney is Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Performing Arts Administration graduate program at New York University where he teaches classes in performing arts management and cultural policy. He is also an Affiliated Faculty member at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU. As a professional musician, he has played lute, lavta, guitar, and hand percussion with several Boston area early music ensembles. As an arts administrator, he previously served as General Manager of the Boston Camerata and worked for the Boston Early Music Festival and New England Conservatory. He holds undergraduate degrees in history and music, a graduate diploma in lute performance, a master’s degree in Arts Administration, and a doctorate in Law and Public Policy. Dr. Maloney’s research examines local cultural economic development policies to better understand how they are implemented and to ascertain the impact they have on their respective communities.

Peter Nessen is the President of Corporate Realty Investment Company, LLC, Peter utilizes more than four decades of experience in public and private finance to provide strategic direction and oversee business strategy.

Peter served as Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance of Massachusetts and as the senior cabinet member during the first two years of the administration of Governor William Weld. He was previously a senior partner of the accounting firms of BDO Seidman and Henry J. Bornhofft Company, and the Dean for Resources and Special Projects at Harvard Medical School. As one of the country's leading experts in public finance and privatization, he is the founder and chairman of a public policy organization that provides services to not-for-profit, health care, and other organizations. He was the chair of the Mass Cultural Council from 1993-2003.

Peter received a BA from Dartmouth College and a MBA degree from The Amos Tuck Graduate School of Business.

Maurice Parent is a Boston based actor with nearly 15 years of professional experience. He has over 40 acting credits at theatres across the nation and abroad, having performed with some of Boston’s oldest and most respected companies such as Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Lyric Stage Company, New Repertory Theatre, and SpeakEasy Stage Company, among others.

Parent is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective, “a black-led theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theater.”

Maurice Parent is the Boston College Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J. Professor in Theatre Arts, for the 2018-2019 academic year. Parent’s history as an educator extends back nearly a decade. Currently he is a Teaching Artist with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, an Adjunct Professor at Tufts University, where he teaches acting, and at Boston University, where he teaches music theatre technique.

Parent won the 2017 ArtsImpulse Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his role of Mr. Bones in The Scottsboro Boys (SpeakEasy Stage Company). He has been nominated for four Elliot Norton Awards by The Boston Theater Critics Association, winning twice for Outstanding Actor (Midsize Theater): in 2017 for Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s production of Edward II, and in 2008 for three extraordinary performances in the same season: Some Men at SpeakEasy Stage, Angels in America Parts I and II at Boston Theatre Works, and The Wild Party at New Repertory Theatre.

Catherine Peterson is the Executive Director of ArtsBoston, Boston’s largest arts service organization. Prior to taking the helm of ArtsBoston, Catherine had served in a variety of executive-level positions, including Project Manager for the Worcester Art Museum’s $1.3 million audience development program which was supported by the Wallace Foundation; Vice President at Columbia Artists Management, where she managed the careers of 25 opera singers including Arleen Auger, Olaf Baer, Robert Lloyd and Mignon Dunn; and, Artistic Administrator for The Cleveland Orchestra. Earlier in her career, the English National Opera recruited Catherine to launch the first opera merchandise store in Great Britain. A skilled writer, her classical music criticism has appeared in The Boston Globe. She is a board member of Chorus America and the Friends of Copley Square. Born in Berkeley, California, Catherine graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College.

Jonathan C. Rappaport is Executive Director of Arts|Learning, Natick; and Co-Founder, Faculty, and Director Emeritus of the Kodály Music Institute. Formerly he was Head, Conservatory Lab Charter School (Brighton, MA); and Arts Curriculum Liaison, Worcester (MA) Public Schools. He has taught music at all grade levels in public schools in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Rappaport has published 18 choral works and 5 books and is the recipient of awards from MMEA, AIME, MAAE, and NETC. He helped write the MA Arts Curriculum Framework (1999) and currently is co-chair, Arts Education Advisory Council, MA DESE. Jonathan was appointed by MA governor Deval Patrick to a commission to develop the “Creative Challenge Index” for Massachusetts public schools. He is a composer, educator, author, conductor, pianist, and vocalist. Graduate degrees include a Certificate in Kodály Education from the Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest, Hungary; a Master’s of Music from New England Conservatory, Boston; and studies towards a Ph.D. (ABD) from UMass/Amherst.

Malcolm L. Sherman served as Chairman of Zayre Stores until 1987. Since his retirement from Zayre, he has managed several economically troubled companies. As Chief Executive Officer he reorganized Regina Electric Company, Channel Home Centers, Inc., Morse Shoe Company Ekco Group, Smart Bargains and Casual Corner. He has also served as a director of a number of other companies. He currently is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University. He has been Chairman of the Museum of Science, the Two Ten National Foundation and Tufts Medical Center. He also serves as a trustee of the Auerbach Foundation, The Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Mass Cultural Council.

Troy Siebels serves as Executive Director of The Hanover Theatre, a 2,300-seat world-class performing arts center in downtown Worcester, opened in 2008 following a $32 million dollar historic restoration. The theatre presents more than 140 performances to audiences of more than 170,000 annually and is a key catalyst to the city’s revitalization. Troy serves as Chairperson of the Worcester Cultural Coalition and the Massachusetts Performing Arts Center Coalition; on the Boards of Directors of Destination Worcester and StageSource, and as a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council

Vanessa Aguirreche Snow is a Boston native, and lifelong participant and advocate of the Boston arts scene. She currently works for the Greater Boston Labor Council. Prior to working in the labor movement, Vanessa was the Manager of Organizing & Policy Initiatives at the Hyde Square Task Force, in which she coordinated their youth organizing and theatre programs. It was through her work at HSTF where she first connected with MASSCreative, through their Create the Vote work around the mayoral election. Since then, she has worked with MASSCreative to engage and develop the advocacy skills of youth from several arts organizations in the Greater Boston area, in building a coalition to increase access to arts education and programming in their schools and neighborhood. Vanessa is also a member of MASSCreative's Leadership Council.

Erin I. Williams is the Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester, MA and the Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the unified voice of the Greater Worcester, MA creative community. The Coalition is a unique public-private partnership which shines a spotlight on the creative activity produced in the region and supports economic development through such initiatives as the WOOcard, Worcester Wayfinding program, and Creative Confabs. With Erin’s leadership, the Worcester Cultural Coalition was presented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts highest award, as the Creative Economy Catalyst. In July 2012, Richard Florida named Worcester as one of the top 20 creative cities in the U.S in The Rise of the Creative Class. Erin currently serves on Governor Patrick’s Creative Economy Council and is a board member of Destination Worcester in addition to many local community organization boards. Erin is a firm believer that creativity sparks the economy and builds community.

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