Board of Directors 2013
Marion Dies: Board President, Board Member (2010-present)
Owner and Principal, Lush Scenery
Marion is a professional artist who works in the entertainment industry as a Scenic Artist, and is part owner of Lush Scenery, Inc, a business which designs and produces paintings and murals for clients in the public and private sector. Marion benefited from arts instruction beginning at an early age, and feels that it should be a component of all children’s education. She is happy to serve on the TOHYF board to help the organization in its goals to provide arts education to the underserved kids in the LA region.
Jane Cooke: Board Vice President; Former Riordan Leadership Program Board Intern (2011 to present)
Jane is a Curriculum Developer for a captive automotive corporation. She has a master’s degree in Education, with a specialty in Instructional Technology, and is a member of the American Society of Trainers and Developers (ASTD) She is a published author and photographer, and is a Distinguished Toastmaster with Toastmasters International.
Jennie Redner, MAI: Board Secretary (2013 to present); Board Member (2007 to present)
Jennie Redner, MAI, is a real estate appraiser and consultant providing valuations and advice on commercial and residential property with more than 25 years experience. TerraFirma, Jennie’s business, solves real estate problems, primarily serving families, partnerships and small businesses. Typical appraisal problems that families encounter include the valuation of real estate for gifts to children, for the estate tax return required upon the death of a parent, or for dissolution of a marriage. Families seek her help to value minority, partial and fractional interests and she assists investors with testimony in court to help resolve a dispute. Jennie is passionate about providing the arts to children because of her childhood exposure to the arts. That training gave her opportunities to perform and build confidence from an early age.
Surisa Rivers: Board Treasurer (2013 to present)
Surisa Rivers Law Office
Surisa Rivers is a litigation attorney focusing on high-impact cases affecting the rights of persons with disabilities. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2006, Surisa was a special education attorney for low-income parents and students in Philadelphia, PA. Through this work, she learned that 50-70% of children in our juvenile justice system have learning or other disabilities. It became clear to Surisa that the only way to lead these precious youth away from the criminal justice system was through education, which TOHYF accomplishes each year by providing exceptional arts education programming to at-risk youth. Surisa has been a board member of Theatre Of Hearts since 2008 and devotes her time to the cause because of the thousands of youth TOHYF positively affects through art and culture. Surisa and her husband Armand live in Eagle Rock, with their dog Leyla.
Edwin de Santiago: Board Member (2012-present)
Marketing Specialist, The Capital Group Companies
Pat Prescott: Board Member (2005 to present)
The Wave Radio Station, 94.7 FM
Pat Prescott is a 30-year radio veteran who spent 23 years on-air in New York and has been co-host of the morning show on 94.7 The Wave in Los Angeles for the past 10 years. She is a passionate advocate for children, education and the arts.
Karolyn Ali: Founding Board Member (1987 to present); former Boar Treasure and Board Chair
Karolyn Ali received an Academy Award Nomination as Producer of “Tupac: Resurrection”, the 2005 documentary feature film about the life and times of artist/rapper Tupac Shakur. In addition to producing the documentary feature for MTV Films/Amaru Entertainment, Inc., released by Paramount Pictures, Karolyn was also an editor of the companion book Tupac Resurrection 1971–1996 for MTV Books/Atria Books, distributed by Simon & Schuster. She also shepherded the production of and edited Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary written by Jasmine Guy for Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. Ali went on to edit Many Blessings: A Tapestry of Accomplished African-American Women, written by and published by Sonnee Weedn, PhD. “KLA$H”, starring Jasmine Guy and Giancarlo Esposito, was Karolyn’s feature film debut as a producer. The independent music-driven thriller was filmed in 1994 on location in Kingston, Jamaica. Recently, she served as Program Director for the Turks & Caicos International Film Festival. Karolyn earned the prestigious Lillian Gish Award from Women In Film, and was also selected as the NAACP/Legal Defense Fund’s AT&T Entrepreneur of the Year.
Ian P. Lawes: Founding Board Member (2002 to present); former Board Chair (2003-2004)
CEO, Ian P. Lawes & Associates LLC, Contractors
Ian is a General Contractor specializing in Restaurant and Food Facilities. With over 50 years in the restaurant field restaurants he built range from fast food stops to haute cuisine emporiums. If it can’t be done, if it’s impossible to do…we do it. Ian joined the Board of TOHYF because of his own affiliation with the arts and saw the need to fill a void in the arts education system for at-risk youth.
Sheila Scott-Wilkinson: Executive Director and Founder; Founding & Current Board Member (1987 to present)
Sheila is the Founder, Executive Director and Artistic Director of Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First (TOHYF), where she oversees day-to-day operations. Prior to her work with Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First, Sheila studied and worked in Europe, where she became an acclaimed actress of the stage and screen. Sheila completed training at the Frankfurt Conservatory of Music in Frankfurt, Germany, and the London Drama Center, England. While in Europe, Sheila starred in numerous stage productions at the famed National Theater of London, such as David Hare’s Map Of The World. Sheila also starred in a number of productions in theatres throughout England, such as London’s Royal Court Theater, the Welsh National Theater, the Liverpool Playhouse, the Theater Royal in Windsor, and many theatres throughout the West End of London. She received two DramaLogue Critics Awards for her work as an actress in The Book Of The Crazy and Jack Jackson’s Piano Bar, performed at the Skylight Theater, Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Cultural Center. Sheila is regarded as one of the major talents of British and American theater, and her work is mentioned in Michael Billing’s The Modern Actor and Katherine Worth’s Revolutions In The Modern English Drama and At The Royal Court: 25 Years Of The English Stage Company. After returning to the United States and settling in Los Angeles, Sheila served as a Program Coordinator for Artsreach from 1987-1998 where she taught, designed, developed, and implemented arts programming for Arts-in-Correction and for incarcerated youth at Nelles School for Boys. In response to the severe civil unrest in Los Angeles in 1992, she established the Youth First Artist-In-Residence Program to prevent and intervene in youth violence. Sheila received a Certificate of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles, and a State of California Resolutio, and was awarded a Fellowship by the Eureka Foundation. She is a three-year recipient of a California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence individual grant to teach theater at the William Grant Still’s Arts Center for youth ages 9-16. Sheila participates on the initial Steering Committee for Arts for All, the Los Angeles County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education with the Los Angeles County Office of Education Community Arts Team. Most recently, Sheila was invited to participate in the Los Angeles Arts Commission Arts Leadership Initiative, the Executive Learning Group. She continues to pursue her passion for Theatre Of Hearts/Youth First, which has served over 87,000 youth to date.