Executive Director, Des Moines Social Club
After a road-trip from NYC to 22 cities around the country, I settled in Des Moines in the fall of 2007 to found the Des Moines Social Club, an arts and educational non-profit. Focused on the retention and recruitment of young people, DMSC uses the arts as a catalyst to create unprecedented community engagement. Since opening its doors in 2009, DMSC has hosted over 500 arts related events and seen over 150,000 patrons. Founding the non-profit from scratch, I raised over $3,000,000 in my time in Des Moines towards the downtown project, for which I am the Executive Director. I have taught and lectured at NYU, Central College and Wagner College and have had articles and essays published in: The New York Theater Review and American Theater Magazine, and my theatrical works have been featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, The Village Voice, The New York Times and The Des Moines Register. I have also directed and/or produced over 25 pieces of professional theatre and outdoor festivals. Recently, I was awarded the 2011 Des Moines Citizen of the Year Award, 40 under 40 in Des Moines’ Business Record, 40 under 40 for the national New Leaders Council, The Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award, and the DSM Young Professional of the Year Award in 2009. In addition to my non-profit work, I own and operate Proof Restaurant, a Mediterranean lunch and dinner spot in downtown's Gateway District.
Muhlenberg taught me to try. Try anything. I always wanted to do tons of theater and strangely, no one ever said no. Even when the idea was ridiculous and the show never should have seen the light of day (there were several of these), my professors and friends always encouraged me to keep moving forward. Additionally, the theater department's ability to teach how and why you can make theater from scratch, and to give you the tools to operate in the professional world are unmatched. My time at Muhlenberg was always challenging because the community never let us fall lax. I learned how to fail at Muhlenberg, and that is what has helped me succeed.