Board of Directors
Responsible for financial oversight of Forward Theater Company.
Chad Bartell is thrilled to part of the FTC board of directors. Chad’s past "roles" include a corporate attorney at a major Milwaukee-based law firm; an instrumentalist in various music ensembles performing around Madison; and Tiny Tim in Children’s Theater of Madison’s A Christmas Carol. He is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin’s law and business schools, Wesleyan University, and Madison's West High School. When not supporting local fine arts organizations through his attendance at performances, Chad is the Associate General Counsel of the Springs Window Fashions Company in Middleton, and the father of two rather theatrical little boys.
Donna Beestman executive career strategist, has more than 20 years of experience helping clients address career issues and challenges. Prior to founding her company, Career Success Strategies, Donna worked for regional and international career management firms. She was SVP and managing director for an East Coast consulting firm with 20 offices. Earlier, she worked as a performance improvement business consultant, non-profit executive director, and educator. Donna grew up in Madison and earned degrees from Macalester College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During her many years living and working in Missouri and Delaware, she served on non-profit boards dealing with business and education initiatives, public radio, church governance, and regional public policy. She was on the boards of Junior Achievement, the Forum of Executive Women, and the Delaware Repertory Theater. Since returning to Madison in 2002, she has served on the boards of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, Downtown Rotary, Oakwood Foundation and TEMPO Madison (board member and president). A life-long theatergoer, she is honored to serve on the FTC board.
Jane Elder is the executive director of the Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. She has also been actively engaged in communicating about environmental issues and advocating for protection of the natural world and human well-being over the last 30 years. She was the founding director of Biodiversity Project – a non-profit communications organization dedicated to raising public awareness about the diversity of life on earth, and the urgent need to take action to protect it. In 2002 she received a Bay Foundation Biodiversity Leadership Award given to “individuals with proven capacity to help stem the loss of biological diversity.” Previously, Jane worked for the Sierra Club, heading up its Midwest office for many years, where she founded the Sierra Club’s Great Lakes program, and later served as the national director of Ecoregion Programs. She holds degrees from Michigan State University (BA, communications) and the University of Wisconsin, (MS, land resources). Her background includes extensive experience in non-profit management, program development, and social change strategies. She currently consults on strategic communications for social change, with an emphasis on complex environmental challenges such as biodiversity loss, global warming, ecosystem restoration, and the role of participatory democracy in achieving effective solutions.
The arts have always been an important part of Jane’s life. She was an active member of the Friends of APT and the theater’s advisory group for many years. Jane is also involved with modern dance, enjoys music and the visual arts, and dabbles in watercolor painting and quilting. She enjoys writing, from song lyrics to policy analysis, and recently completed a manuscript for a book about the challenge of protecting the Great Lakes ecosystems.
Ellen Foley is vice president of corporate communications at WPS. She has combined work as a communications professional, journalist, and college administrator with community service for more than two decades. Ellen worked in Philadelphia, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula before joining the Wisconsin State Journal as editor-in-chief in 2004. Active in Tempo Madison, she also holds a seat on the board of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, and works as a volunteer with the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Center for Journalism Ethics at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Ellen is also committed to raising awareness and funds for cancer efforts, including the Carbone Cancer Center. She continues her journalism efforts with a column, “Foley at Large,” published on Channel3000.com, and also consults with small companies and non-profits on communication strategy. Ellen and her husband have two grown daughters: Kait, who does collage art in her free time, and Maura, who performs improvisational comedy in Chicago as a hobby. They are teaching Ellen that it’s as much fun to be in the audience as it is to be on stage.
Charles N. Ford is currently UW Emeritus Professor of Surgery in the Division of Otolaryngology, where he served as chair of the department from 1995-2007. His interest in theater dates back to his teenage and early college years, and his academic career has been influenced by a longstanding fascination with the human voice. At the University of Wisconsin he has assembled a world-class team of voice clinicians and scientists. His clinical practice encompasses medical and surgical care of actors, singers, and other voice professionals. Chuck’s research focus is laryngology and voice disorders. Currently he is collaborating with researchers in the application of surgical intervention and tissue engineering approaches to restoring damaged vocal folds. His curriculum vita reflects numerous awards, eponymous lectures, leadership positions in national medical associations, and membership on five leading editorial boards. Dedicated to supporting the arts locally, he recently served on the Madison Symphony board and currently he is an active member of the Madison Opera board of directors.
Jon Furlow is a partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, and has practiced law for almost 27 years where his practice focuses on litigation and regulatory matters. Jon represents clients in courtrooms across the country, and is vitally interested in education, training and maintaining the professionalism of the practice of law. He is devoted to mentoring young lawyers at Michael Best, and for over 15 years has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Gail Kohl joined the board of Forward Theater Company with great joy. She has worked in fundraising for more than 30 years with both local and state-wide organizations, such as American Players Theatre; the Taliesin Preservation Commission; Frank Lloyd Wright Heritage Tourism Program; United Cerebral Palsy; The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters; the Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy; Big Top Chautauqua; and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. She has been responsible for major gifts, project and operations funding, membership development and enhancement, strategic partnerships and alliances, event planning and coordination, special projects, and proposal and grant writing.
Shana Lewis is an attorney with Davis & Kuelthau, s.c. She represents public and private sector employers in the areas of Labor & Employment Law and School & Municipal Law. Shana is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School and, before that, she earned a BA in political science and a certificate in women’ studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Shana has been involved in theater since the age of six, when she played the youngest child in the royal family in a community theater production of The King and I. Despite childhood dreams of a career on Broadway, Shana now participates in theater primarily as an audience member at productions across the country. She is thrilled to join the Forward Theater Company board of directors and to support professional theater, locally. Shana and her husband, Rob Magasano, and their pets, live just outside of Madison on Lake Waubesa.
Erika Monroe-Kane is the director of communications for MMoCA, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
Previously Erika founded Firecracker Consulting, formulating communications strategies for a variety of clients, worked for United Way of Dane County, the National Center for Media Engagement, and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Erika is a city girl who moved to Madison ten years ago from Chicago, and proudly reps her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. As lovers of the arts, Erika and her family enjoy the richness of Madison’s arts community.
Kathie Nichols has been the business manager for First United Methodist Church since 1990. She holds a BA in history, with a minor in literature from Binghamton University, and an MBA in economics and public policy from The George Washington University. She has been an active supporter of civic and cultural organizations in Madison. In addition to her work with Forward, she serves on the board of directors for the Madison Foundation for Public Schools and is a trustee for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Kathie moved to Madison in 1982. Her two sons, Nick and Andy White, were born and raised here. Her son, Andy, is a musical theater actor, currently living in New York City.
Carol “Orange” Schroeder and her husband Dean have been co-owners of Orange Tree Imports since 1975. In addition to running the store, Orange does translating from Danish to English and freelance writing in the fields of medical terminology, Danish cuisine, and retailing. Orange founded the Monroe Street Merchants Association and the Monroe Street Library League, and continues to serve as chair of both organizations. Orange has served two terms on the Madison CitiArts Commission, has been involved with American Players Theatre for many years, and is now a board member of the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. She has also served on the boards of the Madison Youth Choirs, Madison Children’s Museum, Friends of WHA-TV, and Susan G Komen for the Cure, as well as volunteering for United Way of Dane County as a member of its board and marketing committee. As a footnote, Orange’s son Erik grew up in a theater-loving household in Madison (obviously!), and he is now director of marketing at Chicago's Lookingglass Theater.
Joe Shumow is an attorney with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. He sifted and winnowed his way to a BBA in real estate and urban land economics from the great University of Wisconsin, Madison. He then received his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Joe serves a number of other non-profits in Madison, including The Rodney Scheel House Foundation (as past president) and the Jewish Federation of Madison. When he's not seeing Forward Theater shows, you might find Joe cheering on his beloved Brewers or Badgers.
Brent Wagner is a certified public accountant with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, where he works with various retail companies. He is a member of the AICPA and WICPA. Brent graduated from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, with a degree in accountancy. He has lived in southern Wisconsin his entire life, and currently resides in Pardeeville with his wife Sara and their three children. Brent and Sara have a great appreciation of music, art, and theater.