1 Kathy Ramsberger
President and CEO, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
An ongoing international pandemic and construction delays could have upset many corporate executives. These challenges only made Kathy Ramsberger stronger. As President and CEO of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Ramsberger forged ahead, calling the audibles and pushing projects forward.
When COVID-19 closed indoor venues, the center swerved and created The Frontyard Festival, bringing concerts and other performances to the public on the lawn outside. Throughout its run, thousands of guests enjoyed the more than 430 shows presented by AdventHealth. It’s innovative.
And a few weeks later, in mid-January, Ramsberger was at the center of the inauguration of Steinmetz Hall, one of the most acoustically perfect multifaceted performance spaces in the world.
As pandemic restrictions eased, the Walt Disney Theater, the main venue, welcomed the public. All of this, while staff reductions caused by the pandemic, left Ramsberger with a reduced staff of 40 people.
“Not only have our businesses come back to life from a touring perspective,” she says, “but our team also needs to fully re-engage. Not only with the hiring of a new team, the industry woke up differently with different directives that we had to deal with, while opening Steinmetz Hall and closing Frontyard.
A well-deserved standing ovation should be there.
CEO, Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic’s 34th season is underway and CEO Alex Martins wants fans to know: players, coaches and staff are invested in you. “We live by our mission statement, which is to be world champions on and off the pitch, delivering legendary moments every step of the way,” Martins said. “What we love about sports is that it can bring people together from all walks of life.” But it’s not all game day fever, Martins notes. The rewarding moments come from helping others through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. “We are proud that through OMYF, more than 500 local non-profits have received funding over the past 32 years, reaching approximately two million children,” he says. Martins earned his MBA from UCF, where he is a distinguished alumnus and member of the College of Business Hall of Fame, so he gives back to the university by serving on the board of trustees. “My role on the UCF Board of Directors, and now as Chairman of the Board, has been one of the most fulfilling volunteer roles I have ever engaged in.”
3 Marc Wilf
President, Orlando City Soccer
It’s been just over a year since Minnesota Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf and his family acquired Orlando City Soccer Club and Orlando Pride, promising to create a championship organization for “the most memorable for football fans”.
In September, the club staged its first ever US Open Cup football final at the sold-out Exploria Stadium as fans clamored to see the Lions take home a trophy (at press time the final n had not yet taken place).
Wilf says there has been “incredible demand for tickets” and the organization is looking forward to the team’s efforts to make it to their third straight MLS qualifiers. Pride, too, is becoming the future of women’s football; his roster of talented young players is key to making The Pride a long-term contender in the NWSL.
“For both teams, I’m happy to say that we’re investing more than ever in both franchises, both in the players we bring to the rosters and in the work we do within the front office,” Wilf said. .
He highlights efforts to develop youth football “with an established path that could one day lead to our professional team”.
A strong supporter of the Jewish community (Wilf’s parents are Holocaust survivors), he recently completed a term as President of Jewish Federations of North America and was named Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency. for Israel.
4 Jennifer Evins
President and CEO, United Arts of Central Florida
With 13 full-time staff members and a $9.6 million budget to oversee, South Carolina transplant Jennifer Evins began leading the nonprofit arts sector in 2021. Differences, [while] while recognizing that arts and culture bring us together,” she says. Relying on public and private sector funding, United Arts of Central Florida supports more than 2.9 million artistic experiences each year. Evins says she finds it “invigorating and inspiring every day”, to be “surrounded by different cultures and people from all over the world who have brought their unique talents and deep passion to working together for the betterment of people and our common community.”
“World leaders in business and economic development, public health, education, mental health, public safety, community development and philanthropy recognize that investing in a vibrant and creative community is an investment essential in the basic infrastructure of a thriving community.”
President and CEO, Greater Orlando Sports Commission
“You can’t do ordinary things and expect unique results.” – Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Those are the inspirational words of Jason Siegel when he was leading the Greater Orlando Sports Commission (GO Sports) team. Siegel is the President and CEO of GO Sports, which has brought us incredible events like the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Rounds 1 and 2, WrestleMania 33 and 36, the 2019 MLS All-Star Game and the 2022 USMNT World Cup Qualifiers. Inspired by “optimism, toxic positivity, and the people who are ‘all in it,’” Siegel grew GO Sports four times the size and grew business partners by more than 3000% since its takeover six years ago. GO Sports is celebrating 30 years and Siegel is excited to see where he and the GO Sports team can go from here to keep Orlando at the top of its game.
Director, Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs
If you’re involved in the Orlando arts community, you know Terry Olson. Olson is the director of the Orange County Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. This team runs exciting events like FusionFest, a project by Olson, free art exhibits like Sculpture on the Lawn and more. After realizing his passion in life after a not-so-great freshman calculus experience (and loving his touring theater troupe), Olson changed his major and never looked back. His biggest inspiration is his former college professor, Donald Rainbow. Along with having creative ideas and pushing his students to strive for excellence, he genuinely cared about everyone he met and made everyone feel special. Olson loves that his work allows him to bring together people with different skills, backgrounds and ideas to work towards common goals. He has called Orange County home for four decades and loves being able to give back to the community that has supported him so much.
7 Gabriel Preisser
General Manager, OPERA ORLANDO
Since his days at Florida State University, Grammy Award-winning Apopka native Gabriel Preisser has been drawn to opera — “musical theater on steroids,” as he calls it. “It’s about telling stories in a grand way with orchestra, dance, acting, singing, sets, costumes, wigs, lighting and special effects, all coming together to convey the human experience and connecting with the audience,” says Preisser. Opera Orlando, which started six years ago with a budget of $250,000, now has a budget of more than $2 million and is using Steinmetz Hall as its performance venue. Under Preisser’s leadership, the arts organization partners with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Orlando Ballet in its MainStage productions while providing educational programs in the school. “We strive to remind our audiences that opera has something for everyone, from a Star Trek-inspired Mozart opera we presented in 2018 to a baseball opera coming this season,” says the famous baritone, who appreciates the universal appeal of art. form. “I can guarantee that everyone who comes to our productions, regardless of age, will be moved by the visceral experience of natural voice without microphones. They will feel that the special power opera must connect us to our common humanity.
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