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.

Jay Novak


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

Vice Chair; 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 […]

Mark Nerenhausen


Mark is responsible for creating the vision and mission for Hennepin Theatre Trust — and defining the delivery of services to a wide variety of stakeholders, including the board of directors, the team, patrons, donors, sponsors and constituencies.

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, […]

Mark Marjala

Chair, Board Affairs Committee

Mark Marjala is the vice president of human capital at United Health Group – Optum Health. He has more than 20 years of experience in human resources with significant work on executive leadership teams to develop and implement human capital […]

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, Capital Campaign and Co-Chair, Sponsorship Sub-Committee

Jeannie Joas, retired President, CEO and co-owner of JB Hudson Jewelers for 25 years comes from a family of jewelers. With more than 40 years of experience in the luxury jewelry business, she led JB Hudson to partnerships with the Cargills […]

Scott Benson

Co-Chair, Capital Campaign

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, […]

Ann Simonds

Past Chair

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.

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 was most recently the Director of Talent Acquisition for Best Buy. She had been with the organization nineteen years and was responsible for Executive, Corporate and University Recruiting. Kathy has built a high-performing team that delivers the talent […]

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 […]

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is Chief Financial Officer of Doran Companies. He is responsible for the financial performance of company, with oversight of the financial structures underpinning all Doran developments. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota […]

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, […]

Dorraine Larison

Dorraine Larison, attorney, Gray Plant Mooty, St. Cloud, concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy law, debtor/ creditor law, and employment law. She has extensive experience in the areas of commercial financing, creditors’ rights, and creditor bankruptcy matters. Dorraine […]

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 is SVP of corporate and public affairs at Weber Shandwick in its Minneapolis office. Previously, Andrea served as vice president […]

Melvin Tennant

Melvin Tennant is President and CEO of Meet Minneapolis. He oversees the day-to-day operations of Meet Minneapolis and iDSS, including the professional and support staff. Melvin serves as the voice of Meet Minneapolis through speaking engagements, civic activities and political […]

Jennie Weber

Jennie Weber is vice president of customer and user experience at Best Buy. She is responsible for leading the customer experience strategy and bringing the brand to life in all touch points. Weber has over 20 years of consumer marketing […]

Bret Weiss

Bret Weiss is President and CEO of WSB, a design and consulting firm specializing in engineering, community planning, environmental and construction services. Weiss is one of the founders of WSB and has worked in the civil engineering community for more […]