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PRESS RELEASE October 20, 2022

MARBLEHEAD, MA – The Marblehead Festival of Arts (MFoA) selects Marketing Strategist and podcast host Jodi-Tatiana Charles as the 2023 President. The selection was announced at the October 10th meeting along with 4 new directors who will each help support the festival's work to highlight art as a tool for cultural exchange, education, and expression.

“After much work this past summer to identify a strong candidate to serve as the MFoA's next President, the Nominating Committee was thrilled when Ms. Charles agreed to serve as President for the 2022 - 2023 Festival year and was then unanimously elected by the members present at the MFoA's annual meeting”, said Eric Knight, Chairman, MFoA’s Board Nominating Committee.

Charles has been a resident of Marblehead for the past 13 years and has been a festival volunteer for over a decade. She brings 30 years of executive leadership in marketing, branding and communication to the position and is looking to harness those skills to assist in fulfilling her obligations as president. A staunch advocate for small businesses, Charles is the founder of LCG Brands Consulting and host of the Minding Your Business Podcast. She is also an honoree of Forbes’ Next 1000. She is passionate about serving her community and spends her free time supporting causes benefitting children, the elderly and cancer research and treatment.

Knight added, “Ms. Charles is an experienced business marketing strategist and multi-platform communicator, who exhibits the creative energy and enthusiasm the Committee believes is necessary for continuing the growth and innovation of the MFoA. She also shares the MFoA's core belief that support of the arts helps create and sustain a healthy and vibrant community. We wish Ms. Charles and the officers and members of the MFoA's Board of Directors a productive and successful year.”

The Marblehead Festival of Arts has been enriching the community and supporting artisans since 1962, through its hosting of fundraising and seasonal events including the annual Summer Festival of Arts. Over the years MFoA has been firmly established as a major arts festival for locals and neighboring communities. The organization’s signature 4-day Summer Festival features a wide range of cultural activities, art exhibits, concerts, and film festivals, all designed to provide an exciting experience for the entire family.

Charles is excited about filling the role of President for the 2023 Marblehead Festival of Arts and has ambitions to expand the festival’s reach and bring even more value for residents and artisans. Commenting on the appointment, she said: “We have to work every day to keep delivering a top-quality festival for our residents and neighboring towns and guests. My goal is to bring back the community of residents that have not attended the event in years, and attract a wider age group with new activities, all while staying true to the core values of the arts.”

The new executive board members began their term with the Marblehead Festival of the Arts effective October 10, 2022. The 2023 Board of Directors are:

Executive Committee

o Jodi-Tatiana Charles - President

o Ilise Ratner - Vice President of Fundraising

o Cynda Rohmer - Vice President of Community Engagement

o Sheri Conte - Vice President of Arts & Exhibits

o Rosanna Steinig – Secretary

o Jo-Ann Murphy – Treasurer

o Matthew Friedman – President Emeritus


o Kirsten Bassion –New

o Molly Flynn – New

o Lesli Mead

o Bill Smalley

o Alison Q. Spring - New

o Amy Thompson - New

Charles added, “On behalf of the board, I would like to express our gratitude to the nominating committee of Eric Knight, Chairman; IIise Ratner, Bill Smalley, Peter Jackson, and Maggie Raftus for their due diligence of selecting this year’s team. Also, to Matthew Friedman, who has concluded his service as 2022 President, and Bill Smalley, who is MFoA's first chair, for providing visionary leadership for the members of the board and their continuing service and counsel.”

For further information about the Marblehead Festival of Arts, visit:


2022 Logo

Marblehead Festival of Arts, Inc.

Board of Directors

2023 Fiscal Year (October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023)

Executive Committee Officers

Jodi-Tatiana Charles, President

Jodi-Tatiana is the founder and “Brandographer™” of LCG Brands, a unique brand and marketing consulting firm dedicated to educating entrepreneurs, small/medium businesses (SMB/SMEs), and international professionals on the importance of growing their personal and corporate brands.

She brings 30+ years of executive leadership in marketing, branding and communication successes with high profile organizations, including the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, MassChallenge Inc., Massachusetts Governor’s Office, Massachusetts Conference for Women, NBC Universal/Comcast TV, and Clear Channel Communications/iHeart Radio. Charles added additional hats, as a children’s book author, with her first book, "It’s Just A Rug" educating children about their heritage and launching her podcast “Minding Your Business with Jodi-Tatiana” at the start of the pandemic in support of SMBs, entrepreneurs, and innovators globally.

She earned a BA from Suffolk University in Communications in Journalism with a minor in Sociology, a dual MBA from Babson College – Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business in Global Management and Strategic Marketing, and three Executive Education Certificates - Russia in Transition from Saint Petersburg State University, Global Business from Harvard University Business School, and Social Media Strategy: Creating Engagement, Insight, and Action from MIT Sloan.

When not absorbed with all things marketing, Charles dedicates her time to children, elderly, and cancer causes, through road races, mentoring and volunteering.

Ilise Ratner, Vice President

A native Bostonian, Ilise previously spent 20 years outside of the area, living in New York City and Madrid, Spain and she’s called Marblehead her home for several years. Ilise has always been a patron of the Arts and joined the Board in 2019 to share her love of and continued support for the Arts.

Ilise’s background includes many years in client service and corporate project management. As the Founder and CEO of her own firm, for the past 10 years Ilise has advised and counseled clients while overseeing their complex estate administration, commercial and residential real estate relocations, and capital improvement projects, among other things. In addition, combining her expert management skills with her affinity for the Arts, Ilise has overseen and co-produced multiple off-Broadway productions for and with private clients. Her diverse experience not only allows her to pursue her passions, it gives Ilise unique insight and demonstrates her versatile ability to implement a range of projects. From the demands of managing large scale, multi-layered corporate relocation operations to orchestrating and balancing the personal and professional lives of high-profile business, philanthropic and artistic clientele, Ilise has seen and done it all.

Ilise’s distinguished “calling card” is her high-touch, client-first approach which continuously earns her clients’ trust and ensures their well-being is paramount regardless of project scope or subject matter.

Cynda Rohmer, Vice President

A native Midwesterner, Cynda moved to Boston in 1974 to complete her degree after living and studying art history in Florence, Italy for 2 years.

After raising her 4 children in Reading for 26 years, Cynda decided it was time to move to a coastal community. Cynda fell in love with Marblehead and moved here 6 years ago. She is now the President of her neighborhood Association Ocean Park Civic League. Cynda got involved with the Festival of Arts 2019 as a volunteer for the Artisans Holiday Marketplace.

Cynda was a Regional manager of New England and upstate New York for The Limited Corporation for 15 years before getting her Real Estate license. Cynda has been selling Real Estate since 1991 and loved helping people achieve their dream of home ownership. She currently works with Team Harborside at Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty.

Cynda loves volunteering and getting involved in community events. She has volunteered for the Festival of Arts Artisans Market, was co-chair for the Festival of Cod in 2019 and has volunteered for the Champagne Reception. Cynda has a strong background in fundraising for Non-Profits. While living in Reading, Cynda founded the Reading Education Foundation that raised money to fund teacher grants.

Her favorite fundraiser that she created with a team of volunteers is the Festival of Trees in December which is still going strong.

Sheri Conte, Vice President

Sheri has had a 35-year career as a conciliator for the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents. Although she lives in Salem now, she grew up in Marblehead and has enjoyed walking around the Festival exhibits and visiting the Artisans' Marketplace for many years.

Sheri volunteers at two local churches, running their bingo games and organizing their filings to the Massachusetts Lotteries Commission. She believes this experience in dealing with contentious issues well prepares her for the Board's challenges.

Rosanna Steinig, Secretary

Rosanna has been the Secretary for Marblehead Festival of Arts for the past four years, beginning in FY 2019. Rosanna moved to the area in 2011 and was looking for volunteer opportunities when her daughter and son-in-law, who reside in Marblehead, introduced her to the Festival activities. She has been actively involved in the IT area since 2012. She has also served on the Receptions Committee and has assisted with Exhibit intake, Champagne Reception, Art Auction, Cod Auction, and the Information Booth during the Festival.

Rosanna retired from a career in human resources with Bechtel Power Corporation in 2005. During her career with Bechtel, she worked in the administrative, employee relations, and training areas. She was a supervisor in employee relations and training.

She was also Manager of Human Resources for the Engineering Department.

Believing that the Festival is an important asset to the community of Marblehead, Rosanna knows that the volunteer work there is essential to the success of the organization.

Jo-Ann Murphy, Treasurer

Jo-Ann has been involved with the Festival for over 25 years. She started as a volunteer at the information booth and continued every year becoming more involved each year: from Champagne Reception, Children's Festival, Street Festival, Facilities to Finance Committee. She has been a member of the Board in the past.

Her dedication to the Festival is unwavering. Jo-Ann is a doer and will complete and follow through on all she is assigned. She believes that July 4th is the best time of the year in Marblehead.

Jo-Ann has made Marblehead home for over 40 years. She is a gardener, organizer, knitter, and loves nature. She owned The Cheeseboard for 12 years and met many wonderful people in town. She is very community minded and understands the role the Festival plays in promoting the Town.

Matt Friedman, President Emeritus

Matthew has lived in Marblehead for over 15 years and, as an online application developer, has designed, created, and implemented numerous online services licensed by Fortune 500 companies such as GM, Comcast, Partners Healthcare, Aetna, and Dignity Healthcare Systems.

Matthew is the current owner of Knit It Now (, the world's largest online resource for machine knitting, where he provides tutorials, patterns, and organized knowledge. Go Get Strong (, an app that provides personal training programming, and (an online fundraising company that assists organizations and individuals with personalized fundraising campaigns).

Matt joined the Board of Directors in 2015 and redesigned the Festival's online application services, including the festival database system, online registration system, and online processes. He is excited about the opportunity to continue "making the system more awesome."


Kirsten Bassion, Director

Kirsten received her MFA in Ceramics from The School of American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY in 2004. She graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s from Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY in 1997 with a major in studio art. Kirsten has been a visiting artist at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada, and Fundacion Josep Llorens Artigas in Barcelona, Spain.

Kirsten is the owner and founder of The Clay School in Lynn where for the last 17 years she has been running the organization, making her own work, running the annual Lydia Pinkham Open Studios, and teaching classes for adults who want to learn the fine art of working in clay. The Clay School offers classes and work space for artist in residence to explore the artistic side of ceramics. Over 17 years it has grown into a major community ceramics center north of Boston with 230 artist and students, 7 highly educated teachers, and one dedicated studio technician.

Kirsten’s work has shown in shows throughout the country and has recently been included in the 2020 Strictly Functional Pottery National and will be returning for the second time to show at the National Clay Conference (NCECA) in March 2023. She has been a judge for the Marblehead Festival of the Arts and Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts NCECA Reunion Show. She has been a guest lecturer for years at Skidmore College’s Artist Entrepreneurs program and taught workshops around the country from San Francisco to local high schools.

She resides in Marblehead with her husband and two daughters. Which is also where she grew up graduating Marblehead High School in 1993.

You can see more of her work at and

Molly Flynn

Molly Flynn Perlow grew up in Laguna Beach, CA, a coastal art town which she refers to as "Marblehead West". She has been a resident of Marblehead for the past year and a half, but the town has always been a second home as her father grew up here and she has a lot of family in town.

Molly has always been an artist; a painter, a dancer, and a choreographer. She is currently a dance teacher and competition team choreographer at ‘A Performing Arts Academy’ in Salem. She is a seasoned choreographer for 'DanceWorks Boston' the city's largest 18+ dance company, and an alumnus of ‘Boston Community Dance Project'. Her choreography has been celebrated coast to coast and featured in several prestigious festivals such as Elizabeth Turks 'Shoreline Project', and the 'Boston Contemporary Dance Festival'.

In addition to her work as an artist, Molly has nearly a decade of experience as a digital marketer. She's been instrumental in building several global CPG brands, and also enjoys helping small businesses grow via social media and influencer marketing.

She believes that everyone is creative and an artist in their own way. In a world that can sometimes feel dark, her mission is to add more color, light, and connection through her work. She is excited to share her marketing skills and creative mind as a member of the festival's board this year and to help foster and strengthen Marblehead's artistic community,

Lesli Mead

Lesli has been a resident of Marblehead for over 20 years moving from New Canaan, CT, and has no plans to move from the Charming Seaside Town. Her love of the Marblehead Festival of Arts began right away over the 4th of July, Champagne Festival with 12 girlfriends, the Concerts, Artists everywhere, Horribles Parade, Harbor Illumination and Fireworks, and back to the Concert. “The MFoA brings friends and families together with the premier Festival of Arts Festival, the Champagne Reception, Cod Contest, Winter Film Festival, Logo Contest, Painting the Town and much more.” I am excited for 2023 and bringing joy with the MFoA Events to everyone in our town.

Bill Smalley

Bill is a retired CPA who has been involved in the Festival for many years, most recently as Past President and a Director serving on the 2017 to 2022 Boards and before that as President (2015 and 2016). He is the chair of the facilities group, recruiting workers and transporting all the equipment needed to the various locales.

Alison Quade Spring

Lives in Marblehead with her husband and three children. Alison has worked with SPUR to provide volunteer opportunities for youth and families. Helped found the Seed Grant Fund to provide seed grants to children 8 -18 for self-directed service-learning projects.

Mentored 4 students through their projects, including a high school senior in the national art society doing a project with art therapy in a senior-living facility.

Also founded InSPURation Camp at Tower School which is a design/build, service-learning summer camp for ages 10-16. They are taught architectural design skills and how to use building tools. In 2019, the 2-week camp constructed a large playhouse, donated to a service organization in Salem.

Ali is the current Chairperson, Eastern Yacht Club Summer Camp, where she is responsible for all hiring, curriculum development and oversight of a summer camp, ages 4-10. A traditional camp with instruction in tennis, swimming, sailing and arts/crafts.

Alison is an artist in residence at The Clay School studying with owner, Kirsten Bassion. Accepted to the juried Lydia Pinkham Open Studios as well as the MFoA’s Artisans’ Marketplace. She has also sold work through area markets in Marblehead, Nahant and Lynn.

She is the teacher of Pre-K – 3rd Art in Marblehead, 2019-present. Afternoon art classes and summer sessions are offered at her home to children interested in exploring multi-media art. Classes are process-based and explore both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artistic expression.

Alison worked on MFoA’s Development and the Publication Committee in 2015-2019. Responsible for graphic design and production of the annual appeal. Also designed and produced festival material including programs and brochures.

Alison has degrees in Architecture and Art History and Government/Legal Studies. And has worked professionally at various Architect and Fund Development firms since 2002.

Amy Thompson

Amy is from town and would love to get involved in planning next year's festivities over the 4th of July.

Even though, Amy works in healthcare, she loves event planning. Each year she reserves the Hannah Glover and throws a party called the “Joy Ride”. The 2023's party will be her 6th year. She’s "that friend" that plans everyone else's birthday parties, engagement parties and showers. It's fun.

She does think her best party was for her dog Layla. Layla’s 12th birthday party had a band, dog cake, tons of food, open bar and she loved every minute of it along with over 60 guests. Other than keeping busy with work, Amy loves walking the newest addition to my fur family, Sadie. She volunteered at the animal shelter in town for over a decade.


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