Lisa Marie Urgo
Lisa Urgo is Founder and Executive Director of Dreams Can Be Foundation. Lisa has spent the majority of her life working in the entertainment industry and has always had an affinity for Brazil's culture and people. Lisa spent the last 15 years before founding Dreams Can Be Foundation in the role of artist manager, publicist and producer of concerts, festivals, tours, conferences, television specials, videos and documentaries, working with numerous production companies, promoters, clubs, record labels, artists and corporations. While specializing in Brazilian music she visited Brazil many times over the years and was in contact with and moved by the Brazilian street children and the plight of impoverished youth there. In 1999 Lisa retired from the music business and after spending some time volunteering in the 3rd sector in Brazil she decided to start a charity as a vehicle for international partnerships with the United States to bring awareness and resources to benefit organizations working with Brazil's impoverished youth. Lisa attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts, The UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television, and Marymount Manhattan College and has studied theater at Circle in the Square, The Actors and Directors Lab, HB Studios and with such acclaimed teachers as Uta Hagen and Stella Adler. Her career incarnations took her from being a professional actress to a 4-year stint at Drexel Burnham Lambert, in their High Yield and Convertible Bonds business to a fitness trainer and competitive bodybuilder in the early 80's to the music and entertainment business in the late 80's. Lisa now splits her time living between Brazil and the U.S. in order to remain close to the issues relevant to impoverished youth in Brazil while working closely with our many dedicated partners, advisors and friends when in the U.S. Lisa is thrilled to be off the treadmill of the high life and in a position to help make dreams come true.
Mark is Chairman of Crown American Hotels and a Trustee of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PEI) and a director of Ameriserv Financial (ASRV) a regional bank listed on NASDAQ, as well as Chairman (and former Director) of the Community Foundation of the Laurel Highlands. Mark completed a Master of Science degree in International Relations at the London School of Economics. As a Fulbright-Hays scholar under the auspices of the European Research Institute, he also studied International Affairs at the University of Cologne, Federal Republic of Germany. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Government from Notre Dame University. Mark is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and was appointed to serve on that organization’s Political Action Committee in 1991. In addition, he is currently a member of the Governor of Pennsylvania’s Economic Development Partnership Council, the Education Committee for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Committee and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) , trustee of Marywood College, Scranton, PA, a Director of the Pittsburgh Opera, Director of the Community Foundation of the Laurel Highlands and Director of the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Mark loves Brazilian music, jazz and culture and is a big supporter of the arts.
Deborah L. Herbert
Debbie Herbert is the owner of her own Certified Public Accounting firm in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, serving individual, business, non-profit and governmental entities. Ms. Herbert is a member of the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of CPAs and is a past Treasurer of the PICPA. Ms. Herbert currently serves as Treasurer of the following non-profit organizations: Sunnehanna Country Club, Beginning Early Intervention, Inc., Cambria County Student Hockey League and Dreams Can Be Foundation. Ms Herbert is also currently the President of the Community Arts Center of Cambria County and has previously served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Laurel Highlands and the YWCA of Greater Johnstown.
Principal, MulreadyGROUP and Creator, CoolCleveland.com
Thomas has served as a guest lecturer and panelist for The National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Foundation, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, The Ohio Arts Council, Maryland Institute College of Art, Cleveland Institute of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Oberlin College. He was one of eight in the U.S. to be awarded a residency in the United Kingdom to develop cross-cultural artist exchanges and partnerships, and has been listed in the Who's Who of Entertainment since 1990. As principal of MulreadyGROUP, he works with business and arts groups on management, marketing and Internet strategy. He most recently served as Senior Vice President of E-Commerce Strategy for the tenth largest bank in the U.S. He currently writes for a number of publications and is the creator of the CoolCleveland.com weekly e-letter.
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
A native of Rio de Janeiro from the slum neighborhood of Bangu, Toni began his performing career singing in the local church as a young boy. In 1983 he began singing with local bands and in 1986 was one of the members of the Rio favorite “Banda Bel”. In 1992 Toni graduated in Physiotherapy at the Brazilian Institute for Medical Rehabilitation but his performing career soon took over the spotlight. In the same year he was accepted into the actors workshop of Brazil’s largest media conglomerate Rede TV Globo and there began his career as singer and actor. In 1993 Toni joined as lead signer of the Brazilian pop/ reggae band “Cidade Negra,” and his first recording with the band “Sobre Todas as Forças” sold over a million records – Cidade Negra became a pop sensation and Toni Garrido was a star! In 1997, Toni participated in the movie “How to be single in Rio de Janeiro”, and he recorded the films hit single “Solteiro”. In 1998, he starred in the Oscar nominated hit film “Orfeu” by Brazil’s famed director by Cacá Diegues which was a remake of the 1958 legendary Brazilian film “Black Orpheus”. In 2000 Toni hosted the hit TV series FAMA (like the US American Idol.) In 2002, Cidade Negra launched their most recent album, “Acústico MTV”, which is currently touring worldwide. The singer/actor also participated in 2002’s “Deus é Brasileiro”- “God is Brazilian” also directed by Cacá Diegues. Toni has been a long time friend of Dreams Founder Lisa Urgo and graciously joined our Board of Advisors in 2003. He became our Dreams Ambassador in Brazil in 2004 to use his celebrity to spread the word about Brazil’s impoverished youth, to inspire local philanthropy in Brazil and to help inspire the youth Dreams Can Be serves.
New York, NY
Director, Public Programming for Lincoln Center Inc.
Bill Bragin is responsible for curating the popular Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors festivals held on Lincoln Center ’s public plazas each summer. Additionally, he will be working on select public programming including special upcoming 50 Anniversary events in 2009-2010, and other selected projects.
Throughout his career, Bragin has presented a who’s who of the music world, from Brazilian, Latin, African and Asian artists to rock, jazz, hip-hop, country, electronic and new music, as well as modern and ethnic dance and spoken word events. He has served as Director of Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater since 2001 where, during that time, he was dubbed by Time Out in 2005 as “New York’s Finest Music Booker.” While at The Public Theater, he presented more than 3,000 concerts, introduced the Joe’s Pub in the Park concert series at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, developed ongoing contemporary dance and family programming, and initiated the Public's acclaimed new rock musical Passing Strange, which will transfer to Broadway in February 2008.
In 2004, he co-founded the annual globalFEST world music festival/showcase, presented with World Music Institute and World Music/Crash Arts, in order to expand the role of world music in the Performing Arts field in North America. In addition, Bragin programmed the multi-disciplinary Central Park SummerStage performing arts festival for five seasons, including three as Artistic Director, expanding its international offerings and developing a dance and live music commissioning program. Bragin was music curator at Symphony Space for two seasons, where projects included the acclaimed Wall-to-Wall Miles Davis marathon. Previous experience includes working in a programming and production capacity for various festivals at George Wein's Festival Productions and managing the launch of Allen Toussaint and Joshua Feigenbaum's NYNO record label. He began his career as director of the Alternative Concert Series at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Bragin has also consulted on a variety of music and performing arts projects including Lincoln Center Festival, the TED Conferences, the Abril Pro Rock Festival and worked with choreographers Susan Marshall, Wally Cardona and Ben Munisteri. He also dj’s internationally as part of the GlobeSonic Sound System, spinning hybridized world/electronic music under the moniker Acidophilus.
He has organized, moderated and served as a panelist for conferences including the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, CMJ Music Marathon, the North American Folk Alliance and Global Cafe, and has served as a music and multi-disciplinary grants panelist for Arts International's Fund for US Artists at Festivals Abroad. Bill is active as a member of the Board of Advisors for Central Park SummerStage and Celebrate Brooklyn, the World Music Steering Committee for the North American Folk Alliance, the Executive Board of the Black Rock Coalition and the benefit committee of the REACH Community School for previously homeless and disadvantaged youth.
New York, NY
Bradley Brooks has spent the last seven years working as a journalist for the Associated Press and United Press International. He also served for one year as the editor and chief of the Santiago Times, an English-language daily publication in Chile. In reporting from Brazil for nearly three years, Bradley became intimately aware of the difficult social situation that many of the country’s citizens face and he decided to become more involved than journalism would allow.
Bradley returned to New York in 2003 to pursue a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University. While on summer leave in 2004, Bradley divided his time between a research project on the commercialization through fair trade of products produced by the Movimento Sem Terra, Brazil’s landless workers movement, and creating a strategic media communications plan for Dreams Can Be.
Born in 1974, Bradley is a native of Hill City, Kansas.
Greg D'Alessandro (Del)
Los Angeles, CA.
Greg D'Alessandro is a screenwriter/producer. He is currently the head writer for a popular animated children's show in China entitled "The Zodiac Kids" produced by Shanghai Digital Media Group. He is the co-founder of Slap Happy Productions which has three television shows currently in development with networks in the U.K. and the U.S. He recenlty published an article in Cinema Journal on screenwriting entitled "The Ideal Interpreter." He is a writer/performer in a sketch comedy troupe "Helen" and the creator of an original series about the music industry entitled "In the Mix." He was the co-producer of an award-winning documentary "Queens of the Big Time" and another documentary "AIDS: A City's Response." He earned an MFA in screenwriting from USC's prestigious School of Cinema and another MFA from UCLA's Film School. Before moving to Los Angeles, Greg lived in New York City where he saw a number of his plays produced Off-Broadway. He is founder of Amosaya Records, which released over 30 records since 1994. He has also served on the staff of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In the last eight years, Greg has worked closely with the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, helping raise money for disadvantaged teenagers.
New York, NY
Joanna is a graduate of Russell Sage College for Women, Magna Cume Laude and Recipient of the Edna Travis Business and Economics award. Joanna spent years as a Mental Health Counselor at Four Winds Psychiatric Hospital specializing in teens and adolescents, where she was responsible for doctor-patient relations and all therapy activities including art, recreation and meditation therapy. She has worked for CitySearch.com in New York City as an Internet Business Advisor and Internet Marketing Advisor, where she created marketing and sales material for all metropolitan CitySearch offices. She was a Business Manager for a small media firm in Soho, New York, responsible for managing all aspects of the firm; financial, sales, marketing etc. She is currently working in TV corporate news media for the early morning shows on NBC and CBS and will continue her education working toward receiving a MBA in International Business focusing her studies in non-profit management in Rome, Italy. Joanna is also an active volunteer with Huntington's Disease Society of America and Angelwish Foundation assisting in event planning, sales and business development. She has set up a donation fund with Dreams Can Be Foundation where she receives contributions for the marathons and triathlons that she competes in.
Rubem César Fernandes
Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
Anthropologist, Human Rights
and Public Safety Activist
Director of Viva Rio
Rubem Cesar graduated in History from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, has an MA in Philosophy, University of Varsovia, Poland an MA in History of Social Thought from Columbia University, New York, and a PhD in History of Social Thought also from Columbia University. Rubem has taught at Columbia, UNICAMP, UFRJ, Maison de Sciences de l'Homme, UFF and UERJ. His work experience includes: the Executive Secretary of ISER (Institute of Religious Studies), President of North/South network - Culture and Development, Coordinator of Inter-Religious Movement, Rio de Janeiro, Counselor of Joint and Several Community, Brasilia, Scientific Counselor of the Institute of Culture and Education Studies (IEC), and Coordinator of Research Center of Urban Violence, ISER. Rubem has received numerous honors including: Mellon Fellow, Jornal do Brasil, Marketing Personal Conspicuousness, Marketing Brazilian Association; Personality of the Year, Association of Foreign Correspondents in Brazil; Prize of the Federation of Commercial Association of Rio Grande do Sul, Adolph Bloch Prize, Israeli Foundation of Rio de Janeiro, Medal Homero dos Santos, Lyons from Rio de Janeiro.
He has participated in numerous international conferences covering wide- range social-political topics and has published articles in Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Italian, German and Polish.
Los Angeles, CA
National Marketing Director TMG - West
Molly began her career in Entertainment Marketing in Canada eleven years ago where she promoted concerts, outdoor festivals, and Broadway theatre. Since then, she has worked for Jam Productions as their Director of Theatre Marketing touring Broadway productions including RENT, STOMP, West Side Story, Defending The Caveman, and Annie starring Nell Carter. In the summer of 1998, Molly joined TMG as the National Marketing Director for Annie starring Sally Struthers. Since then she has represented such shows as The Sound Of Music tour starring Richard Chamberlain, The Sound Of Music starring Barry Williams, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, Kiss Me, Kate and the Mel Brooks hit The Producers. Molly has also coordinated promotions for the Broadway productions of Jekyll & Hyde, The Weir, Kiss Me, Kate, Kat and the Kings and The Original Broadway SWING!
Researcher and Activist
Karine holds two Masters of Art Degrees, one in Internationals Relations from the French Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics (Catholic University of Paris), and a second in Speech and Interpersonal Communication from New York University. Karine’s professional experience with Dreams Can Be in Rio de Janeiro offered her the opportunity to combine her work with her passion for Brazil. While studying for her masters, Karine carried out two internships with Dreams Can Be Foundation in the capacity of Development Coordinator on a pro bono basis. Her degree in International Relations
earned her a place on the Dean's Honour list with a “Degree of Great
Distinction”. Karine has been invited to lecture further on the subject of
Children in Armed Violence at the French Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics and to participate in research on the subject in Africa.
Her previous professional experience at Christie's and Euro RSCG allowed her to learn about two complex and fascinating sectors (fine arts and advertising) and to work in a city teeming with creativity, New York, where she lived for more than four years. As a young adult Karine spent time in Asia helping set up facilities at two orphanages in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and during a humanitarian mission to Romania, Karine evaluated the conditions of accommodation of the state orphanages and helped conduct a report study on child psychiatry.
Joyce Silveira Moreno
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Joyce is an award-winning singer, composer and guitar player who for more than 34 years has been touring internationally. She has over 300 songs recorded worldwide, 26 albums released since 1968, one book published, and wrote a weekly column in O Dia, a large Brazilian newspaper. In addition she is currently the creative director and host of a Brazilian TV program about the history and tradition of Brazilian popular music. She has been an activist for civil rights in Brazil, is considered a feminist and fights for environmental causes along with rights for underprivileged children and families.
Gabriel O Pensador
Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
Artist, Social Activist
Musician and social activist Gabriel O Pensador is a pioneer of Rap Music in Brazil. A native of Rio de Janeiro, he grew up and still lives near Rocinha (the largest favela or slum in Latin America). For over a decade Gabriel's music has been an inspiration to the Brazilian people - representing the voice for those who live in the injustices in Brazilian society. In the early 90's Gabriel discovered the works of such artists as Run DMC, Public Enemy and Bob Marley. Disturbed by the injustices that he was seeing in Brazil at the time, he began to write music with lyrics to inspire change and provoke thought. Born Gabriel Contino, he took on the stage name; Gabriel O Pensador (Gabriel, The Thinker). Driven by the many social ills that plague Brazilian society, Gabriel drew upon his frustrations to bring about change under the disgraceful regime of the President at the time Fernando Collor. In 1992 Gabriel recorded a demo tape of "
Tô Feliz - Matei o Presidente
" (I'm Happy -I Killed the President) that found its way to a Rio de Janeiro radiostation. The song shot to number one within 5 days (was subsequently banned when then President Collor was impeached.) The success of this song launched his career with Sony Music (Brazil) and his first national record release of the self-titled O Gabriel. His ability to voice the thoughts and feelings of an oppressed society and to champion their cause has brought him world- wide acclaim. He continues to churn out hits tackling subjects such as poverty, violence and drugs, alcoholism, public health issues, the environment and unemployment. Gabriel does not want to just sing (and think). He wants to protest and increase awareness as well. Therefore, Seja Você Mesmo Mas Não Seja Sempre o Mesmo ("Be Yourself But Don't Be Always The Same") - the fifth record in an 8-year career - ended up as an album focused on corruption, police brutality, injustice and generalized submission. "I'm really obsessed with making people think, protest, and demand change. We always believe that the situation can't get any worse and that it is time that things changed, but then they do get worse. Though I think it's too much, right now. It can't go on like this", Gabriel explains, referring to the political scandals and muddy stories that appear daily in Brazilian newspapers. Gabriel shares his home with his wife Aninha Lima and their new son, Tom. Much loved by people from all walks of life Gabriel O Pensador continues to evoke change.
New York, NY
Erica was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey and graduated with honors from Vassar College. After college she worked in the film and television business working with NBC, MTV and PBS. In 1990 Erica began working at Central Park SummerStage as Assistant Director of the festival. In 1993 she was named Executive Producer. In 1997 Erica moved to become the Director of Artist and Repertoire for Rykodisc where she developed the record company's artist roster. In 1998 she took a hiatus from the workplace to travel extensively in South America including Brazil, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. Upon her return to New York City, Erica rejoined the staff of Central Park SummerStage, again as Executive Producer, where she continued working until this year. Erica has been a board member of New York State Chapter of the International Festivals and Events Association and the programming committee for Earth Day Festival. She has served as a panelist or featured speaker at the European Forum of Worldwide Festivals Conference in Berlin; the New York University Graduate Program of Arts Administration; New Music Seminar; and Arts and Business Council. She has produced three additional music series in parks throughout New York City for the City Parks Foundation and Brooklyn Academy of Music, and she Associate Produced a world music series at the Delacourte Theatre in partnership with the Public Theater. Erica currently DJ's at local clubs and is developing a new committee on world music for the National Academy of Arts and Recording Sciences.
William E. Strickland Jr.
President and CEO
Manchester Bidwell Corporation
Bill Strickland is the President and CEO of Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and Bidwell Training Center, Inc., both founded in 1968. His duties include: developing and implementing major fund-raising plans of action; working with Boards of Directors and an Industrial Advisory Board; encouraging participation of corporate executive officials from major multi-national Pittsburgh corporations; and planning and implementing other strategic plans. Throughout his distinguished career, Strickland has been honored with numerous prestigious awards for his contributions to the arts and the community including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Arts Leadership and Service Award, the Kilby Award and "Coming Up Taller" Award presented in a White House ceremony by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the MacArthur "Genius" Award for leadership and ingenuity in the arts. He has served as Chairman of the Expansion Arts Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington, D.C. and served a six-year Presidential appointment as a Council Member to the NEA. He was also a Council Member on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, a trustee at the Carnegie, and a Consultant with the British/American Arts Association in London, England. He has also served as a consultant, grant evaluator and mentor in the field of arts and arts education, community development and vocational training. He is a Board Member of a number of corporations including: Mellon Financial Corporation, Americans for the Arts, Phipps Conservatory, and Harvard Business School. He is a consultant for British/American Arts Association, London, United Kingdom, a Distinguished Alumni: University of Pittsburgh, Laureate: University of Pittsburgh, Trustee: University of Pittsburgh, Guest Lecturer: Kellogg School of Business, Guest Lecturer: Harvard Business School, Guest Lecturer: Harvard School of Education, Guest Lecturer: Stanford Business School. He has Honorary Doctorates from: Chatham College, San Francisco Art Institute, Maryland Art Institute, Rutgers University, Columbia College and Carnegie Mellon University. He was a Former Adjunct Faculty, Harvard School of Education, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Former Board Member: State Board of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Former Board Member: West Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Former Trustee: The Carnegie, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania