Arizona Theatre Company names 3 key administrators

Julia Waterfall-Kanter
Sue Debenedette
John Geersten

Arizona Theatre Company — David Ivers, artistic director; and Billy Russo, managing director) announced the addition of Sue DeBenedette as Director of Marketing, John Geersten as Company Manager and Julia Waterfall-Kanter as Director of Development. 

“Combined, Sue, John and Julia bring more than 60 years of experience in their respective areas of expertise to Arizona Theatre Company (ATC), experience that will be vitally important as we lay the foundation for ATC’s next 50 years.  We were so impressed with each individual’s talents and experience, and when each of them expressed their main motivation for joining the team was the desire to be in a position where they could have a significant impact on an organization, that sealed the deal for us,” said ATC Managing Director Billy Russo and Artistic Director David Ivers in a joint statement.

DeBenedette was most recently Chief Marketing and Development Officer at the Tucson Jewish Community Center after handling marketing responsibilities at Arizona Public Media. Her many years of marketing experience also include positions as Marketing Director at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Director of Marketing for PolyGram Records in Australia and in International Marketing at A&M Records, New York and Los Angeles.

Waterfall-Kanter has been leading fund development efforts for more than 20 years for organizations that include, but are not limited to, Arizona Opera, Tucson Jewish Community Center, Up With People and Social Venture Partners Tucson. One of her first jobs was as ATC Associate Director of Development.  A second-generation Tucsonan, she said that “playing a role at ATC is the perfect way to bring together my skills, love of Arizona and a deep commitment to build and sustain this cornerstone arts organization.”

Geersten served for seven years as Managing Associate and Company Manager at Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, simultaneously working as an Equity Stage Manager for its new play series and main stage shows.  For three seasons, he produced the collaborative Utah charity event, Utah Theatre United that raised money through cabaret events for a group of charities.  His stage management experience also included the 2009 U.S. Tour of the Royal Ballet School, The Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes for George Lucas and the Los Angeles-based celebrity charity concert, “What a Pair!”.  Before working in theatre, his television associate producer credits include the “MTV Movie,” “VH1 Fashion,” “My VH1” and “Big In” award shows, and Paul McCartney’s “Driving USA Tour.”

Arizona Theatre Company is currently presenting Low Down Dirty Blues (directed by Randal Myler), in Tucson through March 31 and in Phoenix, April 5-22; and The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by ATC Artistic Director Emeritus David Ira Goldstein, in Tucson April 21-May 12 and in Phoenix, May 17-June 3.

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Barbara Ralston named executive director

Barbara Ralston joined Keogh Health Connection on March 12 following the retirement of long time Executive Director, Saundra Johnson.  The Board of Directors embarked on a search for a new executive with the acceptance of Johnson’s retirement announcement in December. 

“I am excited to assume this leadership role with Keogh at a time when the organization is expanding its partnerships to create a healthier community through the identification of the social determinants of health.  Adding to that is the ongoing commitment to provide the underserved families in our community with access to healthcare and other community resources.” 

Ralston has a local banking background spanning more than four decades and is actively engaged in the community. She has served in prior non-profit executive director positions at Homeward Bound and Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. She has also served as a resource consultant to a number of non-profits in the areas of strategic direction and board governance.

Board Chair, Elizabeth Scarano, CEO of LaunchPM, said “We are grateful to Saundra for her leadership over the past five years during which we have seen significant growth and stability.  The organization will benefit from Barbara’s leadership as we add to our work in the community through new and innovative healthcare solutions for the underserved population.  I am grateful that these two amazing women are a part of the Keogh legacy.”

McCain aide joins Squire Patton Boggs in Phoenix

Squire Patton Bogg announced that Rick Stilgenbauer has joined the firm as a Public Policy Advisor in the Phoenix office. Most recently, Mr. Stilgenbauer served as Director of Arizona Operations and Outreach for U.S. Senator John McCain.

Lew Clark, Phoenix office managing partner, said: “A well-respected and dedicated public servant, Rick’s experience has led him to cultivate relationships with government officials at the local, state, federal and international levels. He will be a great addition to our best-in-class Public Policy team and to our clients.”

With more than 15 years of experience in government relations, Mr. Stilgenbauer helps clients understand and navigate the US government and advocate policy objectives. As Director of Arizona Operations and Outreach for US Senator John McCain, he served as Senator McCain’s “boots on the ground,” developing the Senator’s state legislative priorities. He also acted as a liaison between the Senator’s congressional office and the campaign offices. 

Prior to his work with Senator McCain, Mr. Stilgenbauer served in the office of Federal Relations for the University of Arizona and as a staffer in the US House of Representatives. He also served as Projects Director and Program Officer of the Congressional and Public Affairs Office for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a bilateral US foreign aid agency established by the US Congress.

Mr. Stilgenbauer is dedicated to the greater Phoenix community and has developed and led a number of organizations and alliances to serve its members, with a particular focus on military and defense. In 2013, he worked with the Southern Arizona communities to develop the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA) that serves as an umbrella community support organization designed to lobby on behalf of and provide support to military bases in the surrounding area. Three years ago, Mr. Stilgenbauer worked with community leaders in Mesa to create the Mesa Industry and Defense Council (MIDC) within the Mesa Chamber of Commerce that serves as a focused consortium of defense, aerospace, mining, energy, construction and information technology companies. Mr. Stilgenbauer also assisted officials in Yuma to create the Yuma 50 in 2015, which provides community support to the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground. Mr. Stilgenbauer additionally worked with leaders in Flagstaff to establish the Northern Arizona Military Affairs Council (NAMAC) whose mission focuses on supporting economic development opportunities at Camp Navajo.                                                                             

Mr. Stilgenbauer’s arrival follows the addition of Pablo E. Carrillo, former Chief of Staff to US Senator John McCain.