Board of Directors

The Hennepin Theatre Trust Board of Directors is comprised of respected Minnesota citizens who share an interest in the arts and the cultural and economic vitality of the Twin Cities. Trustees serve staggered three year terms and provide oversight and policy direction to the organization.

Mark Nerenhausen


Mark is responsible for creating the vision and mission for Hennepin Theatre Trust and the WeDo™ MPLS Cultural District — and defining the delivery of services to a wide variety of stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, the team, patrons, donors, sponsors and constituencies.

Ann Simonds


Ann is responsible for creating the vision and mission for Hennepin Theatre Trust and the WeDo™ MPLS Cultural District — and defining the delivery of services to a wide variety of stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, the team, patrons, donors, sponsors and constituencies.

Jay Novak

Vice Chair

Jay Novak has been a senior vice president of two investment-banking companies and publisher and editor of Minnesota’s premier business magazine. He is presently a Hamline University trustee and board treasurer, director of a 28-company business incubator for life-science companies, […]

Travis Barkve

Chair, Finance & Facilities & Treasurer

Travis L. Barkve is Chief Financial Officer at Venture Bank, overseeing areas including corporate finance, the annual budget, risk management and strategic direction.

Syl Jones


Syl Jones is an award-winning communications executive and playwright, working within a major health system in the Twin Cities to institute narrative healthcare practices and competencies. He recently received a Bush Foundation award to study narrative medicine and its potential […]

Judy Blaseg

Chair, Development Committee

As chief development officer of the Greater Twin Cities YMCA, Judy leads a dynamic team of veteran fundraisers, serving nearly a quarter million men, women and children of all ages, incomes and backgrounds. The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, […]

Andrea Christenson

Co-Chair, Sponsorship Sub Committee

Andrea Christenson joined Cassidy Turley in 2001 and she is an award-winning vice president specializing in restaurant, retail sales and leasing at the company’s Minneapolis office and the surrounding metro area. She has vast experience in the retail arena and […]

Jeannie Joas

Co-Chair, Sponsorship Sub Committee

Jeannie Joas, President of JB Hudson Jewelers for the past 19 years, comes from a family of jewelers. With more than 30 years of experience in the luxury jewelry business, she led JB Hudson to partnerships with the Cargills and […]

Mark Marjala

Chair, Board Affairs

Mark Marjala is the Executive Director, Chief Human Resources Officer for Slumberland Furniture. He has more than 20 years of experience in human resources with significant work on executive leadership teams to develop and implement human capital plans that directly […]

Scott Benson

Scott A. Benson is an attorney with Briol & Benson, PLLC, where he works in securities and complex commercial litigation representing clients in trial courts and arbitration panels throughout the country. Prior to joining Briol & Benson, PLLC in 1998, […]

Barbara Brin

Barbara Brin has been a licensed real estate agent in Minnesota for 37 years—and is currently with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Minneapolis. Barbara’s coverage area includes Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Greenwood, Orono, Edina and Bloomington.

Michele Engdahl

Michele Engdahl is the director of government affairs for Thomson Reuters Legal, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for legal professionals. She works to educate federal, state and local officials about the issues important to Thomson Reuters and manages […]

Gloria Freeman

Gloria Freeman is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minneapolis-based Olu’s Home, Inc. and Olu’s Center. In 1999, Freeman founded Olu’s Home, a licensed organization that provides residential and in-home services to the elderly and persons with developmental disabilities or […]

Kathleen Gullickson

Kathleen Gullickson currently is the Director of Talent Acquisition for Best Buy. She has been with the organization since 2001 and is responsible for Executive, Corporate and University Recruiting. Kathy has built a high-performing team that delivers the talent needed […]

Jeremy R. Jacobs

Jeremy R. Jacobs, development executive at Mortenson, is a combat-tested veteran and business leader who is experienced leading organizations through aggressive periods of growth. He is skilled at diagnosing challenges, creating responsive strategies and leading through the execution phase. Jacobs […]

Barbara Klaas

Barbara Klaas is a long-time leader of public education in Minnesota. She served on the Hopkins School Board, founded the Alliance for Student Achievement, chaired the Association for Metropolitan School Districts, chaired the Minnesota School Boards Association, and, most recently, […]

Jim Linnett

James Linnett is the Managing Director of Wealth Strategy at Ascent Private Capital Management of U.S. Bank. He has 19 years of professional experience in the financial and legal arena. At Ascent, Linnett is part of a wealth management team […]

Annette Thompson Meeks

Annette Meeks is founder/CEO of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota and a previous leader of the Center of the American Experiment. While in Washington, D.C., she served as Deputy Chief of Staff and in other capacities for Speaker Newt Gingrich. […]

Andrea Mokros

Andrea Mokros has spent a career in communications and event production at the local, state and national level. Currently, she serves as vice president of communications for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, helping prepare to host one of the […]

Deneane Richburg

Deneane Richburg grew up competing in figure skating and received her M.F.A. in dance and choreography from Temple University in Philadelphia. She has created work for both the ice and stage, including Aunt Sara’s Escape, Journey to Solace; and Quiet […]

Norah Shapiro

Norah Shapiro, Producer/Director, grew up in St. Paul, attended St. Paul Academy, Tufts University, and Boston University School of Law. After a decade-long career as a Hennepin County Public Defender, she left the practice of law to pursue documentary filmmaking. Her films include […]

Julie Beth Vipperman

Julie Beth Vipperman is Vice President of Human Resources and Internal Communications at American Medical Systems in Minnetonka. Previously, she was Senior Director of Customer and Brand Research for Best Buy, where she worked with important aspects of the organization’s […]

Tom Vitt

Tom Vitt is a partner in Dorsey & Whitney’s Trial Department and is Co-Chair of the IP Litigation Practice Group. Vitt has acted as lead counsel in a variety of patent, trademark, trade secret and unfair competition cases in trial […]