STAFF AND BOARD
Jack Kolb-Williams – Executive Director, Co-Founder
Jack Kolb-Williams is a music educator and performer who has spent the last 15 years composing, developing curricula, leading ensembles, and teaching students of all ages. Since co-founding Twin Cities Catalyst Music in 2015, he has devoted his time to providing opportunities for and advocating on behalf of young people across the metro region.
Rob Frost III – Audio Visual Coordinator
Robert Frost III is a Composer/Sound Designer, Entrepreneur, Pro Audio and Video Professional, Acoustics Consultant, and Educator. He built and manages The GARAGE Recording Studio, produces Live Streaming events, and teaches music production on behalf of Catalyst Music. He also co-founded and operates Space Mace, a video game studio, where he creates music and sound effects for various published video games.
ASHLEY SUKHU – COMMUNITY OUTREACH SPECIALIST
Ashley (Ash) Sukhu enjoys music, but really loves how music builds community. She works with the Youth Advisory Board and uses creative communications including social media and digital storytelling to develop relationships. In addition to her work as the Community Outreach Specialist, she loves making special effects videos and spending time with her cats.
CHADWICK PHILLIPS – ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Chadwick “Niles” Phillips is an artist, renaissance man, and founder of “The Avant Garde”, which is a music and entertainment company that produces Neo-Soul, R&B, spoken-word, and conscious hip-hop performance events with live instrumentalists and visual artists. He is also the founder of “Hip-Hop, History & The Arts” which is a youth artist development program that he has taught for the last 10 years. He enjoys cultivating empowerment and enlightenment within society through music and artistic expression.
Caitlyn Williams – General Manager
Caitlyn Williams has an immense passion for all things music. She started her music career as a percussionist in the sixth grade, obtained a B.A. degree in Music Business from Augsburg College, and has continued to follow her passion by learning the ropes at Catalyst to become the General Manager. While surrounding her daily life with different types of music and learning everything she can within the music industry she also devotes her time to her family and tuxedo cat, Oreo.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
shannon robinson – President
Shannon L. Robinson is a seasoned non-profit arts professional with nearly thirteen years of experience working primarily in the field of fundraising. She is currently the Managing Director at the Jungle Theater where her ultimate career goals is to connect people to their artistic communities and inspire them to make thoughtful choices that enrich and diversify their lives and the lives of others. For the past seven years, she has worked at the Guthrie Theater focusing on individual giving strategy and general operations of the development department. Shannon worked at The New York Pops, an 80-piece orchestra with one of the highest selling subscription series at Carnegie Hall, for nearly six years prior to moving home to Minnesota. She has a degree in music, and tries to see as much theater, dance and music as this town has to offer.
James taylor – Vice President
James moved to Minneapolis in 2015 after spending 16 years in Austin, TX, where he attended the University of Texas and dedicated his life to a career in music after graduating. As a touring musician, James has performed in 35 states and 5 countries. Previous board positions include the Austin Music Foundation, focused on career development and mentoring for aspiring professional musicians, and Austin Music People, an advocacy group for “bands, brands, and fans” in the Live Music Capital. In 2012, James and business partners opened Holy Mountain, a 200-cap bar and live music venue in Austin’s Red River Cultural District. Most recently, James joined the booking team at First Avenue in 2017.
Amir Berenjian – Treasurer
Amir was first influenced by music at a very young age when his parents taught him how to read music on an upright piano (with a bit of help from the notes written on the keys). After picking up percussion in middle school, Amir eventually learned to play the drums and was quickly hooked on making music with his friends. Regretfully, he never played a gig at a venue as cool as THE GARAGE. As a Minnesota native and University of Minnesota graduate, Amir spends his days as an investment banker at a Minneapolis-based boutique; however, he has not completely given up on the dream of becoming an internationally respected rock star. Amir currently resides in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis with his wife Molly and pup Charlie.
carrie schaffer – Secretary
Carrie grew up in Green Bay, WI where she spent most weekends hanging out at record stores and punk shows. Her love of music (especially of the live variety) grew fast and furious and drove her to Minneapolis to attend the University of MN where she studied Communications. She fell in love with the city and has been here ever since. She’s held a variety of professional roles all centered around relationship management, but her true love remains live music. She has instilled that passion in her two teenage daughters who both attend an arts school in Eden Prairie. You can find all of them in their south Mpls neighborhood frequenting their favorite spots as well as traveling to shows all around the country.
Growing up in Guyana, South America a small, poor, multiracial developing country, Renita saw the consequences of poverty, the breakdown of race relations, and the lack of development of women and young people. A Burnsville resident for 20 years after living around the world in Zambia, London, Northern Ireland and China where she attended the Beijing Language & Culture University to complete Mandarin Studies. She is a Consultant and Vice President in corporate policy management in mortgage banking operations. Mom of a 16yr old son, Michael who attends Burnsville High School, has influenced Renita’s passion to advocate for transformational change by mentoring the next generation to promote civic participation for their empowered success. She currently serves as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advocacy Outcomes Chair for Wells Fargo’s Minnesota Chapter of the Black/African American Connection Team Member Network. She organizes local community conversations to address racism and inequity, moderates conversations that brings Red and Blue Americans together to heal divides, and advocates for legislative changes at the local and state level for racial and gender equity.
A Twin Cities native, Craig spent his teenage years driving in from the suburbs to every all-ages show he could find. Now a married father and attorney living in St. Paul, Craig joined Catalyst Music with the goal of providing teens the access he didn’t have in the 90s. When he’s not busy chasing after his young son, Craig can be found either at a local club listening to punk or hip hop (the angrier the better) or watching the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Twins break his heart. Again.
Lisa has more than 20 years of collective experience supporting Human Resources, Leadership Development, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice equity and inclusion strategies for individuals, nonprofit and corporate organizations across the U.S. She currently serves as Founder and Lead Consultant of Holyfield Consulting, LLC. Lisa is a Community partner and works collaboratively with many leaders and organizations throughout the Twin Cities. She is passionately and purposefully committed to eradicating disparities and barriers for Youth and Community. In her spare time, she enjoys all things Music! Lisa comes from a musical family and in her youth played Alto and Tenor sax in school. She enjoys Live Music, Rockumentaries, Music History and listening to all genres of Music.
Jennifer Sorenson is the Campus Director for Brightmont Academy, an accredited private school offering one-to-one instruction for students in grades 6-12, and tutoring for students in grades 3-12. She operates the Apple Valley, MN and Plymouth, MN campuses where she oversees all operations including student success initiatives, academic outcomes, staff development, and effective internal and external relationships. Her background includes operations, recruiting, and creating, implementing and facilitating an executive development program. She is passionate about providing all young people access to an education that allows them to pursue their chosen path.
After attending Gustavus Adolphus College, The University of Minnesota Law School and Georgetown University Law Center Joel pursued a career in finance that spanned forty years. He lives in Eden Prairie since retiring from the professional pursuits that kept him and his family moving around the United States and the world for many years. Joel has a passion for bringing the skills he has developed to organizations that are making a difference in their communities. In addition to being an avid music fan, Joel saw the importance that access to the music world has upon young people as his two kids grew up while they were living in London, with his son ultimately becoming a professional musician. He would like to see all young people have those opportunities to experience what music can bring to their lives.