Board of Directors
- Cathy Weiss–Chair
- David Grain–Vice-Chair
- Alison Shaw–Secretary
- Meredith Degen–Treasurer
- Nat Benjamin
- Robert Blacklow
- Jeb Blatt
- Jonathan Blum
- Marcia Mulford Cini
- Jill Cowan
- Gordon Cromwell
- Sam Fleming
- David Foster
- Fred Jackson
- André Koester
- David Lewis
- Calvin Linnemann
- Christopher Morse
- Elizabeth Reisner Pickman
- Phil Regan
- Art Robinson
- Bruce Stewart
- Shelley Stewart
- Kahina Van Dyke
- Elizabeth Hawes Weinstock
- Denys Wortman
- Stever Aubrey, Trustee Emeritus
- Elizabeth Beim, Trustee Emeritus
Nat Benjamin is the founder and co-owner of Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway in Vineyard Haven. He came to the island in 1972 with his wife, Pam, and young daughter, Jessica, looking to settle down and work at a boatyard after various sailing expeditions to locations such as Spain, Morocco, and islands in the Caribbean. In 1968, Benjamin was hired to sail a nearly forty-foot schooner from Malta to Newport, RI, a journey that took over one year to complete.
In 2014, Benjamin sailed his fifty-foot, auxiliary schooner to Haiti to deliver books, craft materials, clothes, games and other supplies to a local orphanage; a journey Benjamin documented in his two-part booklet, Passage to Haiti. This story earned him the Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize member award from the Cruising Club of America in March of 2017. Today, Benjamin resides in Vineyard Haven with his wife, Pam.
Dr. Robert Blacklow is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and College Director of the Harvard Alumni Association. Over the last forty years, he has held senior professorial and administrative posts at Harvard University, Rush University of Chicago, Jefferson Medical College, and most recently President and Dean of Northeastern Ohio Medical University, from which he retired in 2002. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, Bob is the recipient of honorary degrees from Kent State University and the University of Pécs in Hungary. Bob has been on the board of many non-profit organizations including Chicago Red Cross, Akron Regional Development Board, Akron Symphony, Phillips Brooks House Association, and the East Chop Association. Bob and his wife Wini have summered on the Vineyard for over fifty years and split their time between East Chop and Lincoln, MA. They have three sons.
Jeb Blatt is Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing at Jack Morton Worldwide where he oversees Account Services, New Business, and the agency’s global Integrated Marketing practice. Over his career, he has worked with Fortune 100 companies including Subway Restaurants, Liberty Mutual, CVS, Walmart, Reebok, and the American Heart Association. He is particularly proud of his work with pro-bono organizations suce as Thompson Island Outward Bound and Metro Lacrosse, both of which help to bridge the opportunity gap facing underprivileged students. Additionally, Jeb is a visiting Faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter. He has also been a guest speaker at a variety of national marketing and advertising conferences. He’s a passionate writer, loves golf and it occasionally loves him back. Jeb and his wife Elena have three daughters, live in Weston and Edgartown, and are members of the Edgartown Yacht Club and Chappaquiddick Beach Club.
Jonathan Blum is the owner of Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery, which he founded in 2013. Blum was an executive with Yum Brands until he retired in 2016 as senior Vice President, chief of public affairs, and global nutrition officer. Prior to his 23 year tenure at Yum, Blum worked for Oglivy Public Relations and in the Carter White House after receiving his JD from Western New England School of Law and his BA from George Washington University. In addition to his career accomplishments, Blum has been a long time supporter of Island non-profits including Sheriff’s Meadow, the Preservation Trust, and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Blum purchased a house in Edgartown in 1989 where he lived seasonally until moving to the Island year-round in 2013 with his wife Jennifer.
Marcia Mulford Cini
Marcia Mulford Cini led an active civil law practice with offices in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, specializing in real estate, zoning, affordable housing, historic property preservation and nonprofit organizations for over two decades. She has served two terms on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, spent a decade on the West Tisbury Historic District Commission, and has been a selectmen’s appointee to the Tisbury Community Preservation Committee since its inception. She holds a Master of Arts in Preservation Studies and Juris Doctor degrees from Boston University. Marcia splits her time between West Palm Beach, FL and Vineyard Haven with her husband Bill.
Jill Cowan graduated from Wellesley College in 1988 and then launched her business career with the management consulting firm Jewell Jackson McCabe Associates in New York City. While there, she worked under founder Jewell Jackson McCabe and was introduced to The National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She remained in New York and worked in the development and special events fields for New General Hospital and various other businesses over the next decade. Cowan has served on many boards including The San Francisco Boys and Girls Clubs, The Children’s Creativity Museum of San Francisco, The San Francisco YMCA, Pacific Primary Preschool, and Slide Ranch. She is currently on the boards of the Museum of African Diaspora, National Summer Search Board, San Francisco University High School, and the American Conservatory Theatre. She and her husband Stephen own a home in East Chop. She is a member of the East Chop Beach and Tennis Clubs as well as the Vineyard Golf Club. In the off-season they reside in San Francisco with their three children.
Gordon Cromwell is the Director of Strategic Finance and Operations at Empower Schools in Boston, Massachusetts. After receiving his Bachelors from Denison University and Masters of Business Administration from Vanderbilt, Cromwell held positions in equity analysis and sales at Canaccord Genuity, Turner Investment Partners, and The Boston Company Asset Management. Cromwell is involved in a variety of non-profits including the Brookline Food Pantry, and serves on the Advisory Boards of Citizen Schools, Boston Prep Charter School, and Rehearsal for Life. Cromwell resides in Chestnut Hill and West Chop with his wife Wendy and their two children.
Meredith Degen has come to the Vineyard her whole life staying with family on East Chop as a child and Lower Mckonikey as an adult. Meredith and her husband, Tom Degen now have a home in Vineyard Haven and summer there.
After graduating from Smith College with a degree in Economics, Meredith was employed by a regional investment firm in Texas, and following that was an underwriting manager with Chubb Insurance in Texas and Wisconsin.
Since the birth of her four children, Meredith has concentrated on volunteer work in Madison WI. She currently works one on one with preschoolers at One City Schools. She is also an active volunteer with Madison’s Attic Angel Association; serving on the Community Grants committee, running activities for seniors, and as a member of the Board.
A public media professional for more than forty years, Sam Fleming was the Managing Director of News & Programs at WBUR in Boston from 1991 to 2021. Sam also served as interim WBUR General Manager during 2019. Prior to his time at WBUR, Sam worked at WGBH in Boston and New Hampshire Public Television in Durham, New Hampshire, and New Hampshire Public Radio in Concord, NH. After growing up in Pennsylvania, Sam attended the University of New Hampshire where he received his bachelors in political science and history. A long-time Vineyard visitor, Sam’s grandparents owned a home in Edgartown. Sam now lives on the Island year-round with his wife, Emily Bramhall.
David Foster has been a Harvard faculty member in biology since 1983 and the Director of the Harvard Forest since 1990. Foster graduated from Connecticut College in 1977 with a focus in Botany and Religious Studies and then continued on to the University of Minnesota to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology. He is the author of six books including his most recent, A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha’s Vineyard (2017) that explores the island’s history, ecology, and conservation.
Foster serves on various boards for foundations and organizations and is also a research associate at the Polly Hill Arboretum, the Principal Investigator at the Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research Program, as well as the Chairman and President at the Highstead Foundation. Foster splits his time on his properties in Cambridge and West Tisbury with his wife, Marianne Jorgensen, and their two children.
David Grain is the Managing Director and CEO of Grain Management. Prior to Grain, David served as President of Global Signal, Inc. (formerly NYSE: GSL), the largest communication tower owner/operator at the time. David has also served as Senior Vice President at AT&T Broadband’s New England Region and was an Executive Director in the High Yield Finance department at Morgan Stanley. He also served as an Operating Advisor to General Catalyst.
David received a B.A. in English from the College of the Holy Cross and M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Company.
David is a 1980 graduate of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, he and his family moved to Vineyard Haven full time in 1974. His father, Walter Grain, grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. and first visited the Vineyard in 1954. Mr. Grain’s mother, Dora Grain, was a longtime community activist and active member of the Vineyard chapter of the NAACP. David and his wife Dr. Lisa Butler were married on the Vineyard. They currently split their time between Sarasota, FL and West Chop and have two adult children.
Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Frederick Jackson, Jr., attended the University of Chicago. While working his way through college, Jackson founded and sold two companies in the electrical supply industry before creating and selling a financial services company named ChecKlear Corporation.
Fred joined the marketing department of IBM in 1977. His roles included the management of field sales, a headquarters marketing function and a corporate finance function while also serving as CEO of RDN Corporation, an IBM internal investment holding company. When he moved to Florida, he continued in his role with IBM as Business Development Executive for the Software Group with responsibilities for software mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances worldwide. After retiring from IBM in 2005, he launched the consulting firm of BeecherJackson.
Fred is a founding sponsor of The Institute for the Study of the African American Child (ISAAC). He has served on the board of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Internet Coast Advisory Council, United Way, One Community One Goal Career Academies, and the Regional Business Alliance. He and his wife Yvonne split their time between Coral Gables, FL and Oak Bluffs.
André Koester held a variety of positions before pivoting to a career in luxury travel planning. She founded Koester Travel in 2013 and has spent the past nine years leading the business as CEO of the full-service, luxury travel company, specializing in immersive itineraries. André received her bachelors from Davidson College and MBA from Dartmouth. She spent two years teaching English in Japan, worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, DC, and was a Product Manager at the Colgate-Palmolive Company. André was first brought to the Island by her step-father who grew up spending summers in Edgartown. André and her husband, Michael, now split their time between their home in Westchester County and West Chop.
David Lewis holds a masters degree in History Museum Studies from the State University of New York, and has served as a museum educator, researcher, curator, and exhibit designer for numerous museum projects. David is a recognized expert in American firefighting history, and is frequently requested as a speaker, guest researcher, and historian. He has worked on countless firefighting history books, and consulted and/or curated dozens of firefighting history exhibits at museums across the United States.
David was first appointed Curator of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum in 1989 and has played an active role in the ongoing preservation and restoration of Aurora’s old Central Fire Station ever since. David is active in Aurora’s downtown community. He was a funding member of the Cultural Creatives who planned and implemented the Aurora ArtWalks. Currently he serves on the board of directors for the Aurora Cultural Creatives and the Aurora Public Library Foundation.
David’s family has a long history on Martha’s Vineyard. He splits his time between Aurora, IL and East Chop.
Calvin Linnemann is a retired professor, physician, and research scientist from Cincinnati, OH who has been coming to the Vineyard with his family since the 1980s. They have a home on the north head of Hines Point on Lagoon Pond, where he sails Faith, a small wooden boat built by Gannon & Benjamin. His current interests include the preservation of environmental and historical properties for which he has been involved in projects around the country. On the Vineyard, this has included the restoration of the 19th century Tashmoo Spring Building and the acquisition of the Marine Hospital by the Museum. Dr. Linnemann is a graduate of Trinity College and the College of Medicine at Duke University, and did postgraduate training at the University of Washington and Emory University.
Chris Morse began working at the Red Barn Gallery in 1987 when it was owned and operated by Bruce Blackwell and Brandon Wight. He and his wife Sheila purchased the gallery in 1996 and now own three of the premier galleries on the Island: the Granary (formerly the Red Barn) and Field Galleries in West Tisbury and the North Water Gallery in Edgartown. The three galleries are among the most popular on the Vineyard, with well-known artists from the Island and across the world featuring their works of art for the community to enjoy. Chris and Sheila live in West Tisbury year-round with their three daughters. Chris has served on the Museum’s Board of Directors for over two decades and also serves on the collections, advancement, and executive committees.
Elizabeth Reisner Pickman
In 1982, Elizabeth Pickman co-founded Policy Studies Associates in Washington, DC, an organization dedicated to evaluating initiatives that improve public schools and developing and scaling out-of-school services for at-risk children. Since her retirement, she serves as a trustee of Publicolor in New York City where she chairs its program committee and serves on its governance and nominating committee. Pickman is a member of the program committee of the Partnership for After School Education in New York. On the Vineyard, she serves on the Advisory Board of MVYouth and volunteers at the Aquinnah Cultural Center. She holds a Bachelors of Arts from Smith College and a Master’s in Education from Harvard Graduate School. Pickman lives in both Aquinnah and New York City with her husband Jim. They have two adult sons who live in California.
Philip Regan received his bachelor of architecture from the University of Miami in 1988. When he returned to the island, he began a three-year internship that blossomed into a lifelong career and in 2004; Phil was named Managing Principal of Hutker Architects’ Martha’s Vineyard office where he continues to work today. Phil has served on the board of Sherriff’s Meadow Foundation since 2011 and is a founding member of the Cottage City Historic District Commission and has been the commissioner since 2003. Phil is passionate about island sports and was the lead design consultant and fundraiser on both the Shark Tank and Penn field. Phil and his wife Debbie reside in Oak Bluffs with their three children.
Art Robinson is a renowned lawyer specializing in leveraged finance, equity capital markets, governance, and restructuring. He received his bachelors from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was awarded the school’s highest honor, the Margaret G. Hyde Award. Art joined Simpson Thacher in 1988 and was appointed as Partner in 1997. At Simpson Thacher, he has served as Global Head of the Capital Markets Practice and Chair of the Business Development Committee, as well as a long-standing member of the Executive Committee. Art is a trustee of the University of Virginia School of Law and a member of its faculty and a former member of the National Advisory Board of the Netter Center of the University of Pennsylvania. After visiting the Island for the first time in 1990, Art has visited every summer since. Art and his wife, Soraya Mariel, purchased the old Hammett Farm in Chilmark in 2004. Active participants in the Island community, they’re members of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, Vineyard Golf Club, and The Boathouse.
Alison has been a photographer all of her professional life and has lived on Martha’s Vineyard full-time since 1975. She received her bachelors from Smith College before starting her career with the Vineyard Gazette doing production work and freelance photography. She was also the former archivist at the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society (now MVM). During her 25-year tenure at the Gazette, she was a four-time recipient of the New England Press Association’s “Photographer of the Year” award. In 2000, Alison left the Gazette and, along with her partner Sue Dawson, opened the Alison Shaw Gallery in the Arts District of Oak Bluffs. She is also in her 35th year exhibiting her work at the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury. Alison has twenty published books to her name and thousands of her fine art photos are in public and private collections. She is regularly published in major magazines, runs a photography mentorship program with Sue, and teaches photography workshops worldwide.
Alison is on the boards of Martha’s Vineyard Bank, Martha’s Vineyard Bank Charitable Foundation, Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts, and Expressive Digital Imagery Institute. She is a Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Art Fund committee member and a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Art Association. Alison was the recipient of the 2021 Sail Martha’s Vineyard “Water Cronkite” award.
President & CEO of Perch Energy, Bruce Stewart is an accomplished business leader. Bruce received his bachelors in English from College of the Holy Cross and his JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Prior to joining Perch Energy, Bruce served as President at Direct Energy Home and Co-President of Centrica US Holdings. Bruce’s ties to the Island go back to the late 1960s. Growing up spending his summers at a family home on East Chop, Bruce and his wife, Lauretta, purchased a home on East Chop a decade ago. In addition to his business accomplishments, Bruce is an avid supporter of various organizations and serves as the President of the East Chop Tennis Club. The Stewarts split their time between East Chop and Houston, Texas.
Shelley Stewart, Jr. has been coming to the Vineyard for almost fifty years. Shelley recently retired as the Chief Procurement Officer at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. In that role he led procurement, global sourcing and logistics, as well as real estate and facility services, with a focus on delivering benefits through a strategic approach to supplier management, and assuring efficient facility utilization and maximizing the real estate footprint. Prior to joining DuPont in 2012, Shelley served in senior leadership roles at Tyco International, Raytheon Company, Invensys, and United Technologies Corporation. In his various roles, he led operational excellence, procurement, supply chain, and sourcing departments.
Shelley currently serves on the boards of Otis Worldwide and Kontoor Brands. He was elected chairman of the Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. (BDR), a top-level advocacy organization that promotes corporate supplier diversity excellence and advances best practices through its member companies. Shelley currently serves as a Trustee at Howard University and he is on the Board of Governors for the University of New Haven.
Shelley holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University and received his MBA from the University of New Haven. He splits his time between Philadelphia, PA and Oak Bluffs with his wife Ann.
Kahina Van Dyke
Kahina Van Dyke has more than twenty years of experience in banking and technology. She is the Global Head of Digital Channels and Data Analytics at Standard Chartered. Her past roles include senior management at Facebook, MasterCard, and Citibank. Most recently, she was SVP of Business and Corporate Development at the blockchain company Ripple. Van Dyke has been an independent board director of Progressive Insurance and a former Board Observer of MoneyGram International. She was named #1 Global Woman in Fintech in 2019 by the Financial Technology Report and has received multiple awards for services to technology and finance. Van Dyke is based in Singapore with her family and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Rockefeller College, University at Albany. In 2018, she and her husband bought the Narragansett House in Oak Bluffs and renovated it. They operate it for six months every year as an inn welcoming visitors to the Island.
Elizabeth Hawes Weinstock
Betsy Weinstock is an author of biography, journalism, and creative nonfiction. She writes under her maiden name, Elizabeth Hawes. Betsy and her family have ties to the Vineyard going back more than 35 years. They’ve owned a home in Chilmark since 1990.
Betsy has served on the summer board of the Chilmark Community Center for many years, and for nearly two decades she ran the center’s Thursday night lecture series. Speaking as an author, Weinstock sees the Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s mission of preserving the Island’s history has a distinctly high calling. “It’s all about stories,” she says. “Everything is.”
Weinstock is married with three children and resides in New York City and Chilmark.
With more than thirty years of service in the public and philanthropic sectors, Cathy Weiss brings a wealth of experience in family foundation management, governance and strategic planning, organizational and resource development, grantmaking, and program development.
As the Executive Director of Stoneleigh Foundation for four years, Cathy oversaw all aspects of the foundation working to improve the lives of children impacted by violence. Prior to the Stoneleigh Foundation, she served as the first non-family Executive Director of Claneil Foundation, a 40-year-old family foundation, based in Philadelphia. She has served as the Program Officer of the Rockefeller Family Fund and also worked for the William Penn Foundation.
Cathy came to the philanthropic sector after a distinguished career in government. She was the Assistant to Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode (1985-1991) and New York Mayor Edward I. Koch (1982-1984). Cathy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors from the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. She lives in Philadelphia and summers in Chilmark with her husband Ed.
Son of cartoonist Denys Wortman, Mr. Wortman grew up on Martha’s Vineyard after his family had been visiting for many years. After graduating from Tisbury High School and Wentworth Institute of Technology, Mr. Wortman spent the next 40 years at Arthur W. Wood in Boston as a stockbroker and Vice-President. In 1996, he realized that the Island was where he wanted to be. He purchased his childhood home on Hines Point from Tom Hale, and two years later, moved to the Island full-time with his wife Marilyn. Mr. Wortman co-founded Martha’s Vineyard Community Television and has served on the boards of Featherstone Center for the Arts, Tisbury Waterways, and Tashmoo Spring Building Restoration Committee. He also served as a selectman in Tisbury from 2006-2009 and on Tisbury’s finance and advisory board for ten years.
Stever Aubrey, Trustee Emeritus
Elizabeth Beim, Trustee Emeritus
Elizabeth Beim’s extensive Board affiliation and charitable work has included but not been limited to serving as Board Director for Planned Parenthood of New York City from 1972-2003, serving as Board Director for the New York City Outward Bound Center from 1989-2005, serving as Committee and Advisory Board member for the Robert S. Peabody Museum (Andover, MA) from 1998-present, and serving as founding Director and President of Pestalozzi World from 2008-present.
Beim was educated at Hollins College and did her graduate studies in International Relations at The London School of Economics. She went on to hold the position of Development and Public Affairs Officer for Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation from 1977 to 1991. Beim began working in Development with the Americas Society in 1991 and held the position of Senior Director on Cultural Affairs from 1994 to 2001.
She resides in both New York City and Vineyard Haven, and is an active member of the West Chop Club and community.