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Board of Directors

Meeting Schedule


  • May 7-8, 2020
  • October 15-16, 2020
  • January 21-22, 2021
  • May 13-14, 2021
  • October 14-15, 2021
  • January 20-21, 2022
  • May 12-13, 2022
  • October 13-14, 2022


The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Foundation, Inc

Board Members


Nancy J. ParrishChair, is a private investor and collector.  Her philanthropic and community interests center on issues related to social justice, the arts and historic preservation.  She serves as Chair of Protect Our Defenders Foundation.   Nancy was founding co-chair of Human Rights Watch, northern California Chapter.  She served two terms as development trustee of UCSF’s friends of Dept. of Psychiatry’s Hospital Board focusing on the creation of a children’s center.   Nancy served as a board member and chief negotiator with the Federal government for Plum Orchard Foundation whose mission it was to preserve the historic Carnegie estate within the Cumberland Island national seashore.  She also served as Vice President and Development Chair of The Children’s Guardian Fund of Sarasota, which supports Guardian ad Litem volunteers and the abused children in and aging out of the state’s foster care system.  Nancy was founder and managing partner of Parrish, Smith Associates, a southern-based political strategy, event planning and public relations consulting firm.  She is a native Floridian.  She is married to Chuck Parrish. The Parrishes have two grown children and reside in Sarasota, Fl. and Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

Jeffrey R. Hotchkiss, Vice Chair, is a retired President of Teradyne (NYSE:TER), a Boston based manufacturer of systems for the testing of electronic products. In Mr. Hotchkiss’ thirty eight year career at Teradyne, he has held roles in various sales, marketing, and division management positions, including Chief Financial Officer from 1997-1999. In 2000, he founded Empirix Inc. and served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for four years, before returning to Teradyne as President of the Systems Test Group. He retired from Teradyne in July of 2012. Mr. Hotchkiss is currently on the Board of Overseers for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and serves on the Research Oversight Committee. He is also on the board of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) New England Chapter and serves as the Chairman of the Audit Committee.  He has previously served on the board of numerous high tech start-ups in the Boston area including, Empirix, Goldwire Technology, Hammer Technology, and RSW Software. He also served on the Advisory Board for the International MBA Program at Suffolk University and lectures at the Suffolk Graduate School of Finance. Mr. Hotchkiss has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and a Masters in Management Science from The Sloan School at MIT. Jeff and his partner Betsy Winder reside on Longboat Key, Florida and spend their summers in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Edward M. Swan, Jr., CFA, Treasurer, is a resident of Sarasota spending part of the year on Martha’s Vineyard. He received a BA from Tufts University and a MBA from the Wharton School. He also attended a director development program at the Kellogg School (Northwestern University). He was a captain in the US Air Force. Ed has over 35 years of experience in institutional investment management, marketing and enterprise management. Many of the nation’s largest pension funds were among his clients. Ed has experience serving on both corporate and not for profit boards, including serving as a Trustee on both Tufts and Dillard Universities.  He has a longstanding interest in the arts and community service. He has been a furniture maker for over 35 years in parallel with his investment management career. He is a volunteer developing and managing programs at several Sarasota area secondary schools designed to help lower income students understand what they need to do to be successful in high school and beyond. 

Dr. Sarah H. Pappas, Secretary, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and spent the early years of her life in Havana, Cuba and Mexico City. Her family later moved to the United States where she attended high school and Penn State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, a master's degree from the University of South Florida, and her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Her experience in Florida's higher education system includes 44 years of holding progressively more responsible positions at three community colleges and the University of Central Florida. she served as president of State College of Florida (formally Manatee Community College)from 1997 until 2008. From 2008 she served as President of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. Dr. Pappas has been a resident of Florida for the past 53 years, now in Sarasota. She is married to artist George Pappas and has two children: Tom, an artist in Brooklyn, and Jane, a bank-training officer in Jacksonville.

The Honorable Dennis Archer is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Dennis W. Archer, PLLC. His areas of practice include, appellate, arbitration, commercial and business litigation, and labor law. After earning his law degree, Mr. Archer practiced as a trial lawyer and taught as an associate professor at the Detroit College of Law and an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School. In 1994, Mr. Archer succeeded Coleman Young to become Detroit’s 59th mayor. While in office, he managed to balance the budget after only one year and was able to secure $100 million in federal empowerment funds for the struggling city. In 2003, Mr. Archer served as the president of the American Bar Association, where he was the first African American to serve in the position. Mr. Archer has been a Circle Member since 2014, and served in the following capacities:  Co-Chair, National Transportation Policy Project - Bipartisan Policy Center; Global Senior Advisory Board, Jeffries Group; At-Large Member, Democratic National Committee; Former Trustee, Western Michigan University; Former Board of Directors, Compuware Corporation; Member, Alpha Phi Alpha; Member, Geometry Lodge #49; Member, F&AM PHA; Member, Prince Hall Freemasonry; Former President, American Bar Association; and, Former President, National Bar Association.

Ellen S. Berman’s 40-year career has spanned the intersection of science, technology, and the arts.  She served as President of the Consumer Energy Council of America from its founding in 1973 until its closing in 2006 where she sought to advance the public’s understanding of the interrelationship of energy policy and the environment, transportation, telecommunications and other disciplines. Ellen pioneered a process for developing public policy through consensus of major stakeholders from divergent interests in the public and private sectors – consumer and environmental leaders, Congress, federal agency officials, state regulatory commissions, utility executives, manufacturers, research organizations, academia, small business, and industrial users. In addition, Ellen has been actively involved in important arts organizations for decades, including producing on- and off-Broadway plays.  She is an art collector and has served as a corporate art consultant.  Ellen is an active member of the Council for Arts at MIT and serves on its Grants Committee.  She is also a member of the McDermott Award Selection Committee at MIT, one of the largest prizes in the nation for an artist of exception merit.  Ellen serves on the Tourist Development Grants Panel of the Sarasota County Arts Council.  She holds a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Barnard College of Columbia University and currently resides in both Sarasota, Florida, and Washington, DC.

Thomas J. Charters - Tom has a Sarasota history stretching back to the 1960s when his father and mother  retired here. Tom and his wife Ann bought their first home in Sarasota in 1983 while they were living in Korea and Tom was with Citibank and Ann with the Financial Times. They visited often during dual 25 year careers abroad which, in addition to Korea, included multiple stints in Brazil and Venezuela. Returning to the United States in 1995 Tom was for 15 years the President of PCFG Advisory, Inc. a New York- based family office for Latin American investors. They have been Sarasota residents since 2003, and both their daughters were married on the grounds of the Ringling Museum. Tom is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and has a BA from DePauw University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Warren R. Colbert, Sr., CIMA,  is a Senior Vice President - Wealth Management at UBS Financial Services, Inc., located in New York, NY and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. His four-decade financial services experience includes tenures at PaineWebber, Inc. and Kidder, Peabody & Co. His earlier years began with IBM in computer sales, but before that his graduate school experience was with the laser/quantum electronics group within the Federal Systems Division of IBM. Warren’s served on the Board of Trustees of Lincoln University, PA 2000 – 2013, his alma mater, as Development and Investment Committee Chairperson, and on the Executive Committee.  Also on the Advisory Board for Lincoln University’s Center for Banking, Finance and Entrepreneurship.  Chaired several committees on the Board of Green Chimneys Children’s Services and Schools, 1988 – 2002, lastly as Chairperson. The Twenty-First Century Foundation, an African American endowed public foundation based in New York City, 1995 – 2002, Finance Committee Chairperson. Served as Treasurer and Observer to the Board of Directors for The UNIS Society of the United Nations International School 1987 -1990 and more. Warren has an ongoing mentorship with UBS interns that have worked with him over the last 20 plus years. Civic acknowledgments include: 2006 Proclamation from the City Council of New York City for Community Service and the Green Chimneys Children's Services’ “Exceptionally Significant Service” award.  B.A. from Lincoln University, PA in mathematics and completed several years of graduate studies as a doctoral candidate of physics at the University of Maryland. Warren is a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) achieved at the Wharton School.  Warren’s work in photography is a strong part of his artistic interests.  Warren and his wife, Marie, are art enthusiasts and collectors.  Splitting their time between the New York and Sarasota homes as well as visiting their son and his family who live in California with two beautiful daughters.

Leon R. Ellin held a number of senior financial and operating positions, in both large and mid-sized companies. From 2003 through 2016 he was an operating partner/ consultant with Littlejohn & Co., a private equity partnership. At Littlejohn he worked primarily with the Information Technology and Financial Management functions of the portfolio companies. He spent the 20 years immediately prior to his service at Littlejohn managing turnaround, restructuring and strategic business refocusing tasks at a number of mid-sized companies, including Wilton Industries, ITCO Holding Company, Edward Don & Company, Champion Products, Inc. and Voit Corporation. His prior experience includes ten years with Colgate-Palmolive, including Director of Corporate Strategic Planning and as CFO of Helena Rubinstein, Inc., a Colgate subsidiary company.  His educational background includes a MBA from the Wharton Graduate Division (member of Beta Gamma Sigma) of the University of Pennsylvania and an AB from the University of Chicago (National Merit Scholar). He served for over ten years on the Board of AgriLabs, Inc. until it’s sale in early 2018 and was active on a charitable foundation board in his home of Sarasota, FL.  He volunteers at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the John & Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota. 

Dr. Frances Daly Fergusson, Ph.D., is President Emerita of Vassar College. She has served in leadership positions on numerous boards, including as Chair of the Mayo Clinic Board and President of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University.  She has been a director of HSBC Bank USA and of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.  Fran is currently on the boards of Pfizer and Mattel.  She is also Trustee Emerita at The School of American Ballet and the National Humanities Center.  Fran is now also on the boards of The Getty and Second Stage Theatre.  A graduate of Wellesley College, she holds her Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University, and has published widely in her field of architectural history.  She has served in tenured positions in art history at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, at Bucknell University, and at Vassar College, where she was president for 20 years, from 1986-2006.  The recipient of many awards and three honorary degrees, she received the Centennial Medal from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1999.  Fran was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and received the Harvard Medal for outstanding service to the University in 2011.

Darrel E. Flanel is a lifetime resident of Sarasota. Mr. Flanel is a Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the healthcare investment banking group. Mr. Flanel has over 30 years of investment banking experience primarily serving non-profit hospitals, universities and cultural organizations. He has completed transactions aggregating in excess of $30 million as well as advising on mergers and acquisitions in excess of $5 billion.  Mr. Flanel has served on the board of the New York Dram League.  In February 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force selected Mr. Flanel for the Air Force National Security Forum at the Air War College. In 2008, The Secretary of Defense selected Mr. Flanel for the JCOC-76 program that included study at the Pentagon followed by travel throughout the US European Command. Mr. Flanel is a board member of the Kaplan Service Organization that provides a forum for education of civilian leaders on current defense topics and support of active duty military personnel.  Mr. Flanel holds a Bachelor of Science and an MBA from Florida State University.

Margaret “Meg” Dunwoody Hausberg has ties to The Ringling dating to the 1980s, when her circus enthusiast parents, James and Millicent Dunwoody, retired to Sarasota and became active volunteers in the Museum's circus archives. A graduate of Wellesley College with an M.A. fron the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, Meg has a varied career in the field of art - at galleries and an auction house in New York and London, as an author and publisher of finr art reference books, an instructor in the Appraisal Studies Program at NYU, and a research associate and co-author of the University of Glasgow's online catalogue raisonné of James McNeill Whistler's etchings. She sits on the Committee for Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago ans was co-curator of the Art Institute exhibition "Whistler and Roussel: Linked Visions" in 2015. Currently a member of the Print Council of America, Meg previously served on the boards of the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, and the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York. She was a Trustee of the Village of Bronxville, New York, in the 1990s, and she facilitated the gift of her parents' circus collection to The Ringling in the early 2000s.

Robert D. Hunter was raised in New York.  Bob received his bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and MBA from Columbia University.  He spent 28 years with Chase Manhattan in New York and London.  He retired in 2003 as CEO of Barclays Bank Private Clients and returned to the U.S. from London.  He and his wife Marie moved to Sarasota in 2006 and became full-time residents in 2009.  Bob has served on numerous commercial and non-profit boards and is currently an active Docent at the Ringling Museum of Art and a Guardian Ad Litem for the State of Florida

 Thomas F. Icard, Jr. is a fourth generation resident of Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  A shareholder and Vice President of the Icard Merrill law firm in Sarasota since 1995, he is a former partner with the Carlton Fields law firm in Tampa, a past President of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and a past Chair of the Forum on Construction Law of the American Bar Association.  He is also a member (by invitation) of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.  He has variously served as a mediator, arbitrator or court appointed special master in a broad spectrum of more than 400 legal proceedings ranging from two to nineteen parties.  Tom is a graduate of the Leadership Florida program of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and a past Chair of the Riverview High School Foundation.  He has also served since 2004 on the Board of Directors of Tampa based Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., a non-profit corporation that provides legal services to the indigent.  He received his BA from Mercer University in 1970 and law degree from The Florida State University in 1973.  Tom and his wife Cameron now divide their time between their homes in Sarasota and Charlotte, North Carolina and visiting their children in California.

Thomas W. Jennings, PhD., is the first person to hold the position of vice president for University Advancement at Florida State University. In this role, Jennings oversees the Florida State University’s Alumni Association, Foundation, Real Estate Foundation, Ringling Museum and Seminole Boosters.  Jennings joined Florida State from the University of Virginia, where he served as assistant vice president for School Programs and Institutional Priorities, a position he held from January 2008 until joining Florida State in September 2010. During more than eight years with UVA, Jennings served as senior development officer for special projects in the central development office and as associate dean for development in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. At Arts & Sciences, Jennings led the early strategic planning and implementation of a $500 million comprehensive campaign.  As assistant vice president at UVA, Jennings directed all fundraising activities that supported the university's initiatives for historic preservation as well as those for pan-university initiatives in the arts, sciences and technology. Jennings served as a key member of senior management in development and public affairs and was instrumental to the success of UVA's current $3 billion comprehensive campaign.  Jennings is a respected leader within the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), delivering numerous presentations at CASE's District III annual conferences and serving as co-chair for the philanthropy program track in 2009 and 2010. He presided as co-chair for the CASE District III annual conference in 2012.  A native of Delaware, Jennings earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in psychology from James Madison University and his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Virginia.

Ambassador James A. Joseph has served in senior executive or advisory positions for four U.S. Presidents, including Deputy Secretary of the Interior for President Jimmy Carter and U.S. Ambassador to South Africa for President William Clinton. He is currently an emeritus professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and honorary professor at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town, where he also serves on the board of advisors. A graduate of Yale Divinity School and a former visiting fellow at Nuffield College at Oxford University, he has nineteen honorary degrees. 

Joseph served for almost fourteen years as president and CEO of the Council of Foundations whose 2,000 members came from five continents. A former vice president of Cummins Engine Company and CEO of the Cummins Foundation, he has also served on many foundation boards, including the National Endowment for Democracy and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the world renowned living history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was chair of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation established by Governor Blanco in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and he serves currently as a member of the board of directors of the H.B. Heron Foundation in New York, the Conservation Fund and the Water Institute of the Gulf. He was also the founding chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, where he helped establish AmeriCorps.

In 1999, the Republic of South Africa awarded Joseph the Order of Good Hope, the highest honor bestowed on a citizen of another country, and in 2008 he was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame. He has also been honored as a Louisiana Legend. A frequent speaker to academic, civic and religious audiences, he is the author of four books, most recently Saved for a Purpose: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values published in 2015 by the Duke University Press.

Michael A. Kalman, MD, has keen and wide-ranging interests in art in many forms. He collects paintings, sculpture and other media, and donates to art foundations and museums. Locally, he was the lead donor for the Walker Guest House replica, is a major donor to The Hermitage and a board member of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, and last year funded the Ringling’s purchase of a video work for the Kottler-Coville Glass Pavilion. On a national level, he is connected by family with the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, MD, which houses a leading collection of post-1945 artworks and has provided substantial loans (including monumental sculpture) to the National Museum of Art’s East Wing. Michael, a retired dermatologist, practiced in New York City for 51 years.  After completing medical school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and residencies, he was not only a self-employed physician but also taught at the medical school level during his career in New York, visiting his mother in Sarasota regularly before purchasing a second home here.

Nancy Kotler earned a B.A. from the University of Chicago, a M.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University where she was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and a J.D. from Loyola University.  She taught in both the English Department and the Business School at Northeastern Illinois University.  Nancy practiced with the firm of Lurie Sklar and Simon in Chicago. She was Chair of the Evanston Arts Council and worked to find collaborative projects with other organizations in Evanston working to serve under-served youth.  She then became Chair of the Public Art Committee which was engaged in placing works for the new library and in renovated parks.  Nancy also served on the Illinois Humanities council, the Executive Committee of the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago, and the Board of Northlight Theater.  Nancy and her husband, Philip Kotler, are collectors of studio art glass and Nancy served as President of the Collector’s Association, The Alliance for Contemporary Glass.  She presently sits on the Grants Committee for that organization.  The Kotlers have three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Dr. Lisa Merritt is a physiatrist in Sarasota, affiliated with Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She received her medical degree from Howard University after completing undergraduate studies at Georgetown University with honors and has been in practice for more than 25 years. She underwent training in Family and Community Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, and completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  Dr. Merritt is a graduate of the faculty development program at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. She is a member of numerous professional organizations, including AAPMR (the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), NMA (the National Medical Association), and is Executive Director of the Multicultural Health Institute.

Tina Shao Napoli, immigrated to the United States in 1993 from her home country of China.  Having studied Journalism and the Performing Arts in People’s Liberation Army, Nanjing Political College, Tina established herself as a professional vocalist in United States performing in many notable establishments such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City.  Expanding upon her cultural diversity, Tina lent her vocal talents to New York City landmarks supporting international voice-overs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the United Nations.  For the past few years, Tina has focused her attention towards producing numerous concerts for the Chinese community across the country. 

Leslie Pantin is Founder and President of Pantin ‐ Berber Silverstein Public Relations which services includes media and community relations, social media, crisis and special events. It is a unit of Beber Silverstein Group (BSG), a full service advertising, marketing and media placement agency. Pantin and BSG are experts at reaching targeted audiences whether in English, Spanish, Portuguese and even Spanglish. Mr. Pantin serves as public relations counsel to some of the nation’s foremost brand names, including 30 years for McDonald’s. His expertise encompasses business issues, community relations, education, and special events. Among the clients in South Florida was McDonald’s with which Mr. Pantín has represented close to 200 restaurants for three decades. He helped found the famous Calle Ocho Festival, by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, and is past president of the Orange Bowl Committee and now serves on the committee to bring College Football Playoff's National Championship to Miami in 2021. Les serves as a board member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida, Kiwanis of Little Havana Foundation, City of Coral Gables' Cultural Development, and Goodwill Industries.  He was the president of Arteamericas Art Fair and the Cuba Nostalgia Heritage Fair. Mr. Pantin has served on the FSU Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the FSU Foundation Board of Directors, and the Seminole Boosters Board of Directors. He earned a BS in Business from Florida State University. He and his wife Martha have an adult son and daughter.


Margaret A. (“Peggy”) Rolando  is a native Miamian who returned home when she joined Shutts & Bowen, LLP in 1978.  She has been a partner in the firm since 1984. Peggy concentrates her practice in the acquisition, development, sale, financing and operation of large scale real estate projects.  She is a member of the Board of Governors of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and former chair (2013-14) of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar.  Peggy is a committed supporter of higher education, the arts and historic preservation.  She served on the Board of Trustees of Florida State University 2010-2015.  She has been a member of the Board of Visitors of FSU College of Law since 1994.  She previously served on the Board of Trustees of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama for 9 years and was recently re-appointed to it.  Peggy is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia.   She also serves on the Coral Gables Historic Preservation Board.  She is a member of the Executive Committee of Seraphic Fire, a choral ensemble that presents under-performed music of cultural significance. She earned her B.A. in English and Education from Spring Hill College and M.A. in English Literature and J.D from FSU.

Dr. Judith F. Shank, is a retired physician who first had a career as a nursing educator. She has a history of community service in health-care delivery and policy, the arts and fund raising.  She was an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Boston University.  After completing medical school and residency at the University of Minnesota, she founded a private dermatology practice. She was also a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota.   She has served as the President of the Minnesota Medical Association, chaired their task force on healthcare reform, and was Chair of the Minnesota Medical Foundation, the fund-raising arm for the University of Minnesota  School  of Medicine. She was Vice Chair of the Board of Allina Health Systems, which at that time was the largest health care provider and employer in Minnesota. She was a founding board member of Hennepin Health Systems, a public safety net hospital. While there, she helped establish a philanthropic foundation for the hospital and became its first chair.  Judy currently serves on the Sarasota Area Board of United Way Sun Coast, and SPOON Foundation. Spoon Foundation is the first and only organization dedicated to transforming nutrition and feeding for children, with and without disabilities, in orphanages and foster care around the world. Along with her husband, Steve, she serves as Co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Steve is the former CEO of the Tonka Toy Company and more recently founded Capella Education Company, the first wholly online university. The Shanks have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Debra (Deb) Short grew up in the Midwest and attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, majoring in Art History. After more than 25 years in the retail management and buying arena for JC Penney, Saks, and Bealls Inc., she was fortunate to find her way back to her first love, the appreciation of art. Since 2013, volunteering in various roles at The Ringling has provided Debra with an avenue for personal growth, and the development of many friendships. Her primary assignment is as a Museum of Art Ambassador, every Monday. She thrives on the action of the busiest day at the Museum. For two years, she was a member and the designated secretary of the Orientation and Communications Committee (OCC) and served a 2-year term as Secretary of the Volunteer Services Advisory Committee (VSAC). Debra currently serves in the elected role of VSAC Vice-Chair, representing all volunteers in the Corps and continues her role as the co-editor of The Volunteer Voice Newsletter. Additionally, Debra works closely with the Education Team; assisting with research, training materials, and hands-on help with programming. After retiring in 2013, Debra and her husband, Steve, became members of The Ringling. They have also been aggressively attacking their travel bucket list, visiting 27 countries in the past 6 years. They support both The Ringling and St Jude’s Hospital in their Philanthropy. They live in Bradenton and generally keep a low profile in the Community. Debra’s passion is truly the Museum of Art.

Javi Suarez is an award winning architect with extensive experience in a wide variety of design applications such as cultural, institutional, educational, commercial, religious, and residential projects.  He was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Sarasota at the age of 10.  He is a product of the Sarasota public education program, having graduated from Ashton Elementary, McIntosh Middle School, and Riverview High School. He received his Bachelor of Architectural with honors from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).  Javi’s work has been published in numerous local and national publications.  Most recently it has been exhibited in “Think Fast Exhibition,” which was displayed at Ball State University in Indiana, Kansas State University, and the School of Design Strategies at Parsons in New York City.  Javi is also a graduate of Leadership Florida class XXVII.  He currently serves on the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board and is the President-Elect of the American Institute of Architects Gulf Coast Chapter.  Javi and his wife Liz are raising two wonderful kids in Sarasota – their 12-year-old son Javierito and 8-year-old daughter Natalia.  

Howard C. Tibbals of Knoxville, Tennessee, is known as a philanthropist dedicated to enhancing educational experiences. His love for the circus led him to the monumental project of creating the Howard Brothers Miniature Circus. This 3800 sf miniature circus, along with generous funds, has been donated to the FSU/Ringling Cultural Center for the Arts.  His gift in 2000, which was matched by the state, funded the construction of the Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center and established an endowment. In 2008, an additional donation from Mr. Tibbals was matched by the state to fund construction of an addition to the Tibbals Learning Center which is expected to be complete in Fall 2011. The first floor will showcase engaging exhibitions celebrating the history of circus performance.  The second floor will establish the Tibbals Center for the Study of the American Circus and be well-equipped for research by scholars and curators. Mr. Tibbals is the 2001 recipient of the AFP Outstanding Philanthropist Award.

Dr. Larry A. Wickless, an Osteopathic Gastroenterologist, has been coming to Sarasota since the 1970’s, where his wife Carole’s parents retired and lived in the Museum District.  In fact, their son Scott Wickless took his first step in that home.  Their younger son Kevin came to Sarasota the first time as an infant in arms! Larry and his wife, Carole Crosby JD, have been interested in the visual and performing arts throughout their lives, visiting museums and music venues throughout the world.  After living in Bloomfield Hills, MI for their professional careers, they spent 5 years in Chicago until moving permanently to Sarasota in 2010.  Larry has been extensively involved in Medical education throughout his professional career.  He has served as Interim Director of Medical Education for the past year and Internal Medicine Program Director for the last 2 years, at the Manatee Memorial Hospital.  He has provided medical care for the underserved at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Outpatient Clinic and at the Turning Points Clinic in Bradenton.  Larry has served on many Boards, Foundations and Medical accrediting organizations.  He has also served in many leadership positions as President and led multiple organizations at the state, national and international levels.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Foundation, Inc
Board of Directors – Ex-Officio Members

David Schuler is the 2018-2020 Chair of the Volunteer Services Advisory Council (VSAC) at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.  He has volunteered with numerous nonprofits almost continuously since 1981, leading him to various elected leadership roles.  He is honored that The Ringling VSAC elected him as chair to represent them on the Board. David began his service at The Ringling as an Ambassador in the Visitors Pavilion in 2012 and his time here has been extraordinary. When visitors comment on the number of hours he has served, he lets them know it isn’t difficult to accumulate hours when doing something you like.  He has been co-chair of the Recognition Committee for 4 years, a member of the Orientation and Communications Committee for 2 years, and Coordinator of the Ca’ d’Zan holiday decorating team for 3 years.

Leslie Young is the 2018-2020 Chair of the Docent Advisory Council (DAC), and the 2016-2018 Co-Chair of the Docent Candidate Committee at The Ringling where she has been a volunteer since 2013. Her first job at age 8 was volunteering with her grandmother at Church and the Library in Atkinson, New Hampshire.  From that point she volunteered at the King Edward Hospital in Bermuda while living abroad with her husband, Jim Young. From there she spent 5 years volunteering as the designer for the gift shop at the Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  Currently as a volunteer for The Ringling, she is a docent for the Ca’ d’Zan, Art Museum, School Tours, special functions, and membership.   She also volunteers at the Designing Women’s Boutique here in Sarasota whose primary focus is support of the Asolo Theater and the arts.  Along the path of volunteerism, she added a BA in Political Science degree from the University of Tampa, created an export company in Bermuda, and spent 18 years in corporate America on outside sales.  Leslie has one granddaughter who just happens to live in Sarasota.  “Birdie” is her favorite of all her volunteering jobs.