Rising Leaders

Rising Leaders is a rigorous and highly interactive personal development initiative committed to the advancement of Michigan's arts leaders, a program designed and facilitated by MACC and Partners in Performance, the nation's preeminent designer and facilitator of leadership development initiatives for the arts and culture sector.

Program Description

Over a six-month period, participants engage in a series of activities that includes three intensives focusing on self-awareness and self-management; mutual influence; and gaining tools to create communities and a state where everyone can experience and express creativity in their daily lives. Participants commit to three in-person meetings as well as individual reflection work. Participants are chosen through an application process to MACC.

Program participants from across the state of Michigan gain tools and perspective needed to strengthen their leadership skills and develop relationships with an extraordinary cohort of peers dedicated to advancing the arts and culture field.

The 2024-25 calendar year will be dedicated to gathering Rising Leaders alumni. A new cohort will not be accepted for this time period. The application period for the 2025-2026 cohort of Rising Leaders (running October 2025 - April 2026) will open in early April 2025.

Access a virtual informational webinar to learn more about the program by clicking here.


Contact MACC Arts Education Program Manager Chad Swan-Badgero at 517-881-9472 or BadgeroC@michigan.org.

2023-24 Rising Leaders Cohort

Megan DeJoe – Megan is currently an Educator and Floor Staff Lead for the Sloan Museum of Discovery and Longway Planetarium. Megan coordinates staffing on the museum floor, provides support to her staff, as well as facilitates programs for people of all ages. Megan also works as a Collections Specialist in archives at Kettering University in Flint, MI. At Kettering University, Megan works within Factory One with primary tasks of research, transportation of both artifacts and art pieces, assisting with setting up/taking down of art galleries, and also assisting the Curator of Special Collections. Megan has known from a young age she wanted to work in the museum field. Megan’s passion began while participating in Civil War reenactments to learn more about educating the public and volunteering. Following her urge to learn, Megan volunteered at the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Museum while she was going to college to study history. This is where she knew her future goal would be to work for a museum. Megan assisted the Lighthouse with training volunteers and created a guide of standards for the Lighthouse. Megan was a co-speaker for Writers@Work 2023 at her alma mater which is designed to give students an insight into careers, how a young professional acts, and understanding the aspects of the importance of writing in a professional environment.

Ben English – Ben is a lifelong resident of the greater Lansing area. He currently works at Wharton Center for Performing Arts serving as Community Engagement and Special Projects Coordinator for the Institute for Arts and Creativity. Ben is also the Executive Director of the Lansing Children’s Choir. Ben is a strong advocate for arts and arts accessibility and cannot wait to continue learning and growing in this incredible field.

Megan Koch – Meg joined Studio 23/The Arts Center as Executive Director in late 2022. Meg graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in History, and Wayne State University in 2022 with a Masters of Arts in Art History. With her Director position, she serves on several committees, including Bay Arts & Culture Commission, Saginaw Arts & Enrichment, and is an active member in the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Bay City Morning Rotary, & Bay Area Energize. In 2023, Meg launched the Studio 23 in 2023 campaign, and she has began introducing new and innovative ideas to appeal and attract more of the community. The mission of Studio 23/The Arts Center is to make the visual arts relevant & accessible to all, and one of Meg's goals is to highlight nontraditional art forms –tattoo and floristry are in the docket for 2023/2024. Plans for a Sensory and Disability Exhibit are in the works for spring of 2025. In addition to the Studio, Meg teaches collegiate Art History courses specializing in color theory, Modern Art History, and the Renaissance.

Kathryn Marks - Kathryn is a horn player, teacher, and arts administrator based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Beginning her professional journey in Delaware, where she received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Delaware, followed by graduate degrees in horn performance at Temple University in Philadelphia and the University of Michigan. Kathryn gained significant experience in the arts admin field through her many years as a staff and faculty member at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. She was appointed Artistic Director of the arts-presenting organization, re:classical, in the fall of 2021. Her most recent professional accomplishments include beginning a position in the Development office of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and taking on the role as head of the Learning & Community department within 3 months of starting work at the organization. One of Kathryn’s great professional pleasures is making music more accessible to community members, especially young people, and opening their eyes to the connections that can be made through this art form. When she is not working in the office or teaching and playing the horn, Kathryn enjoys reading, cooking, playing board games, and has recently taken up gardening.

Colleen McLellan – Colleen is a lifelong believer in community-building programs. As the Director of Institutional & Legislative Partnerships for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), she ensures that the public good and the DSO mission go hand in hand. She brings to the role her experiences in volunteer leadership, civic engagement, and creating a more inclusive healthcare workforce. She is a graduate of Kenyon College and holds a Master’s degree from the University of New Orleans. In her free time, Colleen is a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Wayne County, where she lives in Detroit’s beautiful East English Village.

Katie Mielens - Katie is an arts education advocate currently living in her hometown of Bay City, Michigan. She earned her bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University in Art, Art History, and Museum Studies and is now enrolled in the Arts, Cultural Management & Museum Studies master’s program at Michigan State University. Since 2014, Katie has worked as a K-12 teaching artist and educator at various schools, museums, and arts nonprofits around the country. These include Tacoma Art Museum in Washington, Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Discovery World in Milwaukee, and ArtistYear in rural North Carolina. Katie is happy to be back in the Great Lakes Bay Region and serve as the new Education & Museum Services Manager at Saginaw Art Museum and on the Youth Committee at Bay City Players. Both institutions inspired her as a child, and she is happy to pay it forward as she expands visual art and theatre programming for students. Katie is passionate about youth development through the arts and believes in the role young people can play in creative placemaking.

Camilla Mingay - Camilla has a BFA from Northern Michigan University in Art & Design with a concentration in Photography. She has had the honor of working behind the scenes as Apolo Ohno’s personal photographer. Ohno is currently the most decorated American winter athlete of the Olympic Games. Several of her photographs have been published in Ohno’s book, “Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday”. She also fit Ohno with his first pair of ballroom shoes and provided him with preliminary advice prior to his win on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Camilla has won sever swing dance competitions at other universities including a blind-folded contest. She is the Artistic Director for the Marquette Community Nutcracker Ballet and Blueberry Dance Festival Program, as well as the Dance Coordinator for the Hiawatha Music Festival, and Dance Coach for U.P. Home, Health & Hospice for their Annual Fundraiser “Dancing with Our Stars Marquette County Style.”  Camilla currently manages the Second Skin Shop, which is the largest dance supply shop in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She has received the Arts Business Honor Roll Award from the City of Marquette Arts & Culture Center. Her most recent accomplishment has been becoming the Director of Kaufman Auditorium. 

Teri Noaeill – Teri is a former educator in the Battle Creek area and serves as Artistic Director for the Community Music School in addition to her position at What A Do. She is the creator of the youth program and the educational outreach program at What A Do Theatre. She took over as Executive Artistic Director in November 2018. In this position, she oversees all business involved with the theatre as well as working closely with the community and networking to bring the most quality and relevant theatrical experiences to the Battle Creek Community. She also works closely with the board at What A Do to create opportunities for people from all walks of life to experience the arts, whether it be performing, backstage experiences, or as an audience. Teri focuses on quality and involvement above everything else. She frequently auditions for shows and is involved not only as Executive Artistic Director, but also as an actress, stage manager, box office attendant, and volunteer. In addition to her work in the arts locally, Teri was recently hired as a Teaching Artist for Disney’s Musicals in Schools programming through the Wharton Institute for Arts and Creativity and serves as an adjudicator for the Sutton Foster Awards. Teri continues to seek opportunities for professional growth in the community and enhancing the performing arts specifically with What A Do Theatre.

Les Rorick – Les actively pursues theatre-making, education, sharing stories, homesteading, and retreat facilitation. Professionally, Les is an actor, director, and educator. He was Director of Theatre for Love Nail Tree, a story-telling company based in Los Angeles, where he devised thought-provoking pieces about social justice. He is also a founding member of L.A.’s no-rehearsal troupe, Street Shakespeare.  He has performed regionally at Virginia Rep and in Chicago at Filament, Strawdog, Red Theatre, iO, Prologue, Timeline, and Currently Untitled Theatre, where he was also Artistic Director. In 2019, Les produced and event directed After, a Journey Through Afterlives, a semi-immersive 10-minute play festival with The Barrens Theatre Co. Les studied Theology at Biola University in Southern California and received his MFA in Acting from the University of Virginia. He has taught a variety of classes, including acting, improv, circus, and public speaking courses at Act One Studios, University of Virginia, American Theater Company, Olive Tree Arts Network, and CircEsteem. He is also a professional headshot photographer and filmmaker.  Les is currently the incoming Director of Center for Theater and Full Time Faculty at Muskegon Community College. For leisure, Les enjoys hiking, cooking, and sitting around campfires playing guitar with friends.

Demetrius Shields – Demetrius, a seasoned performer, arts administrator, and accomplished writer, is thrilled to embark on his newest venture as a member of the Community Programs area in the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance Office of Engagement and Outreach. With over 13 years of teaching experience, including 2 impactful years at the prestigious Detroit School of Arts, Demetrius brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role.  Holding a BFA in Dance Education from the University of the Arts and an M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University, he possesses a unique blend of artistic mastery and administrative prowess. Demetrius’s unwavering love for both the community and the arts fuels his commitment to fostering creativity and empowerment through the arts. His exceptional background makes him perfectly suited to contribute to the Michigan Arts and Culture Council’s leadership developing efforts, ensuring that the transformative power of the performing arts reaches individuals from all walks of life.

Jenny Stacey (she/her) - Jenny is a graphic artist whose personal focus include public access to and promotion of local artists. As the Manager of Galleries & Digital Media at Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Jenny prides herself on creating opportunities for artists to present their work to an audience it will resonate with. Responsible for overseeing all facets of PCCA’s gallery exhibits, Michigan-made Art Market, and serving as the Artist Liaison for the annual Art & Apples Festival, Jenny understands firsthand how life changing even a slight increase in visibility and promotion can be for independent artists. She works diligently to provide worthwhile events where artists of all levels of career experience can receive lucrative exposure and connect. On average, Jenny’s work allows her to serve 400-500 artists from across Michigan and the US each year. Since 2017, the Art & Apples Festival has consistently been recognized as a Top 20 Fine Art & Design Festival in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine- an award reflective of poll results collected from participating exhibiting artists for organizational support of said artists, and their art sales from the event. Most recently, Jenny’s efforts for PCCA netted the organization a Best Gallery award and finalist nominations for Best Art Fair (third consecutive year) and Best Place to Buy Art, in the prestigious HOUR magazine’s Best of Detroit 2023 list.

Glecia Wright Tatum – Glecia is a resident of the city of Saginaw, Michigan by way of Greensboro, North Carolina. She is the proud mother of two amazing theatre kids, Sydney and Dureyah. Glecia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Saginaw Valley State University and is a 2023 recipient of The All-Area Arts Award. Her focus in theatre is mental health. To this end, she was privileged to write, direct, and produce The Family Car at the Temple Theatre, an effort to lessen the stigma of mental health in the black community. Glecia was also honored to take her place in Saginaw history as the first black and female director of the Pit & Balcony Theater. Known for her work with youth and the arts, Glecia served as Theatre and Program Coordinator at First Ward Community Center in Saginaw, facilitated art programs in the Bridgeport school system, and staged the first black nativity for Holiday in the Heart of the City, 2019. She has also directed performances for international dignitaries from Ghana, West Africa, while assisting in collaborations within the faith-based community. Glecia’s greatest passion is creating opportunities for people of color within the theatre. She established EVOC Productions, LLC in Saginaw, a collaborative training and performance company for black actors, directors, and playwrights. It is her hope that theatre will become a vehicle of cultural healing and a voice for the stories of all people.

Rachel Timlin - Rachel has always believed in the transformative power of the arts. Born to artist parents, her lifelong passion for art took her to the Glasgow School of Art Scotland, and the University of New Mexico, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2001. Timlin joined the City of Farmington Hills as a part-time arts programmer in 2005 and worked her way into a full-time coordinator position two years later. In 2014, she became supervisor of the division and by 2020 was working with a dedicated team on an ambitious expansion while contending with the Covid19 pandemic. After opening of The Hawk Community Center in 2021, Timlin’s team of four expanded into a workforce of more than 100 people and the offerings of the division grew exponentially. With the complex’s 6,000-square-foot Makerspace, 2-D and 3-D art studios, 762-seat theatre, black box performance space, exhibit areas, dance studios and music lesson spaces, the Hawk helps put Farmington Hills over the top as having the largest municipal arts division in the state. Additionally, outside of The Hawk, Timlin’s team produces the Farmington Hills Public Art Program, as well as Art on the Grand, a street art fair which draws 60,000 attendees annually.

Kailey Wracan – Kailey is the Manager of Development and Membership at Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan. Kailey holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology from Alma College, during which time she had the pleasure of fulfilling an internship at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. After working outside of the arts and culture community for some time, she returned to academia and received a Master of Arts in Arts and Cultural Management and Museum Studies from Michigan State University, during which time she was employed by both Beal Botanical Garden as a Graduate Assistant and the MSU Museum as a Visitor Services Assistant. Kailey is passionate about making arts and cultural accessible to all and using those spaces for inspiring and cultivating curiosity in everyone. In her free time Kailey enjoys working on her family farm, doing anything outside, and spending time exploring Michigan with her husband and four year old son. 

Testimonials from former Rising Leaders Participants

While I can say I've participated in several leadership institutes in the past, "Rising Leaders" blew the other ones out of the water. I'm thinking this is for two reasons. 1) it was specific to arts leaders so I already had that common denominator w/ my cohort going in. 2) with each in-person session being shorter, lessons were more concentrated and focused so it felt like every minute was worth it, plus there was plenty of time to relax and let it all "soak in" mentally. Excellent pacing!

I now have more tools to utilize in my daily leadership opportunities and have noticed growth as a leader within myself.

This was my first time working with a cohort over a long period of time, rather than a single day workshop, quick series of short workshops. I loved the opportunity that gave me to reflect and put things into practice, come back to discuss, learn more and do it again.

I am more confident in where I stand as a leader. I have taken stock of my values and I am more grounded in how I approach others in problem solving.

I’ve taken time to pause listen and consider more before responding and ensure that my response is building upon the other thoughts being shared in the space. This additional awareness and skill has been helpful in communication both in and out of the workplace.

Loved being able to connect with a group of peers from throughout the state, and get to know them personally and their work and passions.

What a wonderful experience to do leadership training with people of like minds and from different areas of the state. I enjoyed learning about all their various art forms. It gave me a real appreciation for mediums outside of my own and expanded how I thought about my own artistic medium in relation to others.

The connections facilitated between other young leaders in the state, the commitment by the arts council to invest in young leaders in the arts, and the space to share insights, experiences, and ideas for new ways of working with peers were truly the most valuable aspects of this program.

More than anything I think the experience of participating in the program was as valuable as the content itself. Unlike other workshops and conferences, the small intimate size of the participant group did indeed lend itself to a richer learning environment.

I am forever thankful for the experiences that I have gained in this program and it's made me feel supported overall in the arts.