HAMPTON ROADS, VA [August 1, 2022] – The Virginia Symphony Orchestra has announced nine new members to the Board of Directors as of June 27.
Nat & Betty Brown reside in Williamsburg and are active members in the Let Freedom Ring Foundation and First Baptist Church of Williamsburg. Nat & Betty are both members of the VSO’s Music Advisory Council, bringing great insights and support to the organization.
John Garrett is a Vice President and Commercial Lender for TowneBank. As a Norfolk native and resident, John is an active member in the community, involved in numerous civic organizations centered on improving the region’s ability to attract and retain talent, and become an even more desirable place to live, work and raise a family.
Sarah Ortego became involved with the VSO in 2015 when she joined the Board for the Virginia Symphony Society in Williamsburg. She served on that Board for a total of seven years, the last four as president, leading and overseeing many events and initiatives in the Williamsburg area that have raised funds for the VSO. Sarah has also been very involved through her ex-officio role on the VSO Board, already serving on the EDI and Nominating/Governance Committees.
Lisa Pile is a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Newport News. A resident of Williamsburg, Lisa served on the board of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center for several years. Lisa’s goal is to deliver a comprehensive approach to managing wealth that begins with getting to know her clients and what matters most to them. She believes in participating in the communities we serve, which drives her interest in spending time volunteering with organizations, like the VSO, in the Hampton Roads community.
Gordon Robertson is CEO and President of The Christian Broadcasting Network and President of CBN’s humanitarian organization, Operation Blessing International. He now oversees CBN’s extensive television and digital programming, serving as executive producer and co-host of The 700 Club and 700 Club Interactive. Gordon is also executive producer of CBN’s Superbook and CBN Films. Through a long-standing partnership with the VSO, CBN has been a huge support both financially to the organization and through programming, recording, and community engagement.
Katya Santiago is an Assurance Senior Manager at BDO with nine years of professional experience in auditing of mid-large size private sector companies. She has served clients in a broad range of industries, including not-for-profit, construction, government contracting, specialty finance, and others. Katya plays the piano and has been attending VSO concerts for many years.
Blythe Scott has served as the Commissioner of the Revenue, for the City of Norfolk since April of 2021. She was the Chief Deputy for the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office for the three years prior to becoming the Commissioner. Previously, Blythe practiced law and managed law offices for 19 years in Norfolk and surrounding cities. She and her family have been active and supportive patrons of the Symphony for many years. Blythe also served on the Music Director Search Committee, which led to Eric Jacobsen’s appointment in June 2021.
Michael Stonecypher is Vice President of Media Operations and Affiliate Relations for The Christian Broadcasting Network. His media career spans over 40 years, bringing extensive knowledge in TV and Radio technologies, content distribution, and overall media strategies. Mike has been integral to the VSO in bringing the symphony to the inaugural annual Christmas Village as well as marketing and media partner for projects like the live-streamed performance of Messiah to the CBN Family App in 2021.
Mike McClellan, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Norfolk Southern, was re-elected to a one-year term as Chair of the Board. Carolyn Pittman, Chief Accounting Officer at Maxar Technologies, will serve as Board Treasurer and Susan Goode will continue her service as Board Secretary.
As the region’s most celebrated musical, educational and entrepreneurial arts organization, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra continues to challenge expectations and push the boundaries of what an American orchestra can be. Innovation and excellence are at the heart of the VSO’s narrative.
The VSO has received national attention for its unique mission serving a home area of 1.7 million across the diverse communities of southeastern Virginia. Through appearances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall and commitment to adventurous programming, the VSO and its musicians have been highlighted in the media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio and BBC Worldwide News.
As the largest performing arts organization in southeastern Virginia, the VSO and VSO Chorus present more than 150 concerts and events annually for more than 100,000 residents and visitors. Recent innovations include health and wellness programs, including interactive therapeutic experiences for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and adopting welcoming concert environments for those who are neurodiverse. Since 2019, the VSO has been recognized nationally for striving to reflect the region’s ethnic and racial diversity in its members, its programming, and its leadership.
The selection of the young and dynamic conductor Eric Jacobsen as music director in 2021 and was another bold step forward for the VSO, further expanding its vision to attract wider and larger audiences with engaging concert experiences and creative and relevant programming. Rounding out the artistic leadership team is Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins in the role of Principal Guest Conductor, reflecting the VSO’s commitment to tell its community’s stories and advance the important conversations that will promote understanding and belonging among all residents.