Suzann Brown – Chairman of the Board
Suzann has worked in the investment services industry since 1981. She spent 25 years in Private Wealth Management at US Bank. As a Senior Vice President her responsibilities included sales leadership, wealth advisory services and portfolio management. In 2008, Finance and Commerce recognized Suzann as one of the “Top Women in Finance”. In 2015, Suzann was honored by the Minneapolis/St. Paul as one of the “Top 50 Women in Business”. She also received the U.S. Bank Reserve Elite Award as the number one Wealth Management Advisor for her outstanding performance, leadership, and dedication to deliver sophisticated solutions and advice to her clients.
In July of 2018, Suzann retired from US Bank. She refers to this as “Act I”. Act II will include insuring the success of The Zephyr Theatre. She is also Board Chair of Breaking Free, a non- profit in St. Paul which provides a multitude of services to women who are ready to leave the life of being trafficked and prostituted.
Suzann has been a leader in the St. Croix Valley community since 1991. She was one of the founding members of the River Valley Arts Council in 1993 which is now Art Reach St. Croix. Suzann served as board chair for Art Reach St. Croix and was one of the founding members of Take Me to the River. Her past board service also includes an 11 year commitment to the Stillwater Area School’s Partnership Plan which she served six years as Chair. She served as one of the first members for the Minneapolis Foundation’s Professional Advisors Committee. Suzann was on the St Croix Valley Foundation Board for 10 years and served on their Finance and Investment Committee. She was a co-founder of Everybody Wins Minnesota, a read aloud, one on one mentoring program for children in the inner city public schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Suzann was co-chair of the 2018 Super Bowl Anti-Sex Trafficking Faith Engagement Committee. She was a member of the Stillwater Noon Rotary and Lake Elmo Rotary and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Suzann is active within the Episcopal Church of Minnesota and is a lay leader at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
Franz Hall – Vice Chairman
Franz Hall, is self-employed as an IT consultant, architectural photographer, and architectural consultant. Franz received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota. He served in the United States Air Force as a musician in the Strategic Air Command Band and has continued his music career as a professional trumpet player throughout the area. Franz has been a member of Minnesota Brass, Sheldon Theatre Brass Band, the University of Wisconsin University Band, various theatre production orchestras, and several community bands. He has been involved in theatre for many years as a set designer and actor, and has had considerable experience with set construction and all technical aspects of theatre.
John Grzybek – Treasurer
John Grzybek, Vermont Law School, J.D. cum laude; B.A. Central Connecticut State College; former Chair of Clean Water Action (501(c)(3)), Minnesota; former Chair, Sierra Club, North Star Chapter, Minnesota (501(c)(4)); former member of the Highland District Council (elected position) Saint Paul, Minnesota; former member of Saint Paul’s Energy Consortium ((501(c)(3)); testified before Congress, Minnesota State Legislature (Senate and House) on a variety of environmental and legal topics; appointed by the Saint Paul City Council as member of the Mississippi River Critical Area Task Force; appointed by Saint Paul School District Board as member of a Citizen Budget Review Committee; appointed by Saint Paul School District Board to chair Special Committee to examine school issues; former University of Minnesota Law School adjunct professor teaching appellate brief writing; Hamline University teaching litigation discovery process and procedures; co-author of law review articles; author of Minnesota’s Anti-SLAPP statute (Strategic Litigation against Public Participation) Minnesota Chapter 554.
Cassidy Hall – Secretary
Cassidy Hall is a student at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, pursuing degrees in Creative Writing, Music, and Musical Theatre. She works as the director for ACT Theater in the South Saint Paul Tri-District, as a writing tutor for UW-River Falls, and as a professional photographer. Cassidy has been actively involved with theatre for many years, performing with the Phipps Center for the Arts, CB Productions, Stillwater Community Theatre, Woodbury Community Theatre, and various companies in the Twin Cities. She is trained in acting, singing, and dance, including ballroom, jazz, contemporary, and tap. In addition to performing on stage, she has also worked backstage for many productions as stage manager, director’s assistant, deck captain, light/sound board operator, and prop master.
Dr. Gary Bird
Dr. Gary Bird, Retired Professor Emeritus of Music from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (1968), Master of Music from University of North Texas (1971) and a Doctor of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington (1992). He is presently an adjunct Professor of Music at UW-River Falls. In his professional career he has been the conductor of the following Musical Theater productions: West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Fantasticks, The Pirates of Penzance, Working, On the Town, My Fair Lady, Hair, Cabaret, Into the Woods, Kiss Me Kate, A New Brain, Candide, A Little Shop of Horrors, Guys and Dolls, Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat, Gigi, Lady Be Good, and Jacob’s Ladder.
Elissa Cottle is a published poet, creative writing teacher at ArtReach St. Croix, freelance journalist, and professional writer and editor for businesses, nonprofits and individuals. Her website is www.ArtfulBusinessWriting.com. She curates the Valley Muses literary page for the Stillwater Gazette, and hosts literary readings. She volunteers for Family Tree Clinic in St. Paul, which provides free or low cost contraceptives, preventing unwanted pregnancy, preventing endangered children. She holds a master of fine arts in writing degree from Hamline University, and a bachelor’s degree with honors in journalism and political science from the University of Iowa. Elissa is her block captain in Stillwater, and a proud mom of award-winning actor, playwright and filmmaker Jesse LaVercombe and Lucas, gifted student at Stillwater Area High School.
Rachael Harvey is a real estate agent with Edina Realty and has her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University Of Minnesota Carlson School Of Business. Rachael was previously with Seagate Technology and Control Data selling hard drives to OEM manufacturers including Cray Research, Silicon Graphics and Gateway. She is an avid skier and has been on the National Ski Patrol for 48 years. She is on the Board of Bayport Marina, and an Ambassador for the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. She has volunteered her expertise to many organizations including Past Commander of the St. Paul Sail and Power Squadron and does vessel safety checks on the St. Croix River, the Board of Women’s Business Bridge and an Ambassador for Valley Outreach. Rachael has also acted at The Phipps and the Lowery Lab and volunteers at the Guthrie Theatre. Rachael is currently leading the volunteer efforts for The Zephyr Theatre.
Teary O’Hara received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Northern Colorado where he was an Honor Thespian. As an actor and dancer, he has played numerous roles, and worked with many theatre and dance companies, including the Colorado Springs Music Theatre and the San Francisco Children’s Theatre. Teary enjoys all aspects of theatre, but specializes in set design and construction. After settling in Stillwater and falling in love with its charm and people, he became the co-owner of the James Mulvey Inn, Bed and Breakfast for five years. His credits also include having produced the Stillwater Music Festival for ten years. Teary has performed in The Zephyr Theatre’s production of “A Midsummer Nights Dream” and “Twelfth Night”.
With over 35 years of combined expertise in both Insurance and Financial Services, John acts as President of Ostrowski Insurance Agency providing both Personal and Commercial Business products to clients across both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
John’s background is diverse holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology and Education as well as a Master of Science in Risk Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas. He also has a diverse background working for an international company where he was based in Switzerland servicing clients throughout the European market.
Community involvement is a huge passion of John’s as he has served on multiple Boards of Directors within the last 25 years and is currently heavily involved with the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota. In 2017, The Stillwater Chamber named John Ambassador of the Year. As an Independent Agent, John’s heart is huge for helping organizations find success, specifically in the Arts industry. A recent pursuit has been serving on the Board of Trustees for the Zephyr Theatre, as John envisions how the entire community can benefit from the Theatre’s prosperity in years to come.
In his spare time, John remains active with his wife, Shelley, traveling internationally, riding his Harley in the St. Croix Valley, gardening multiple flowers and canning home-grown vegetables. Family is the largest priority to John, especially the newest addition of his granddaughter who makes every moment feel priceless.