Thank you to all who came out on October 21st and took part in our annual election. Congratulations to Lisa Schwartz, Judith Herbst and Jason Dempsey. Please read below for Board Member bios.
"I have a long history with both the Philadelphia Folksong Society and the Philadelphia Folk Festival that began in 1973 when my big sister brought me to Emlen Street to work on a mailing. I had no idea eight years later after returning home from college, I would return to Emlen Street as the office manager for the Folksong Society, a job I held for almost two years. I had no clue that I would serve our organization as a volunteer for the Folk Festival for the next 39 consecutive years. And, it never occurred to me that one day I would join the Board of Directors and lead the Folksong Society.
I have had the honor to serve as President of the Philadelphia Folksong Society since June, 2007. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, including hiring a full time Executive Director, crafting our second long term Strategic Plan, and celebrating the 50th anniversary of our beloved Philadelphia Folk Festival, which enjoyed record attendance. Under my direction, the PFS is becoming a more vibrant and inclusive organization again, with increasing membership and event attendance, and with a broadening scope of music. My dedication to fiscal responsibility and resulting prosperity has led to improved financial stability for the PFS.
When not volunteering for the PFS or PFF, my professional life includes being a senior sales and marketing specialist with more than 29 years of experience providing marketing, project management and consulting services. I possess an in-depth understanding of core sales and marketing strategies, including brand identity, sales negotiation, customer service, mentoring and team building with a focus on training and development. My core experience involves sales and marketing activities in the new home construction, education, arts marketing, manufacturing, and retail arenas.
Two and a half years ago, I opened a small artisan’s gallery in the historic borough of Doylestown where I represent the creations of more than 85 different local, regional, and national artists. I have a rich and varied background that allows me to communicate and interact with ease on multiple levels with different individuals. I believe that everything begins with language, so I have also honed my skills as a copywriter, and have created compelling collateral and communication vehicles for such varied clients as custom homebuilders, an educational products company, organization development and culture change consultants, telecommunication companies, as well as our own Philadelphia Folk Festival."
Judith Herbst has her most recent professional experience with eighteen years at Keswick Theatre where she earned her way through progressive experience to General Manager. This journey involved immersion in financial, event logistics, and management, marketing/PR and operations. Working with a team of talented professional associates and mentors, she has participated in the venue blossoming into one of the Top 100 Theater venues worldwide (Pollstar). During this time, she has also worked directly managing two other venues, with professional organizations such as League of Historic American Theaters and International Ticketing Association (2004 Conference Committee and Education Committee) and with two major international Promoters as owners.
Prior to the Keswick, Herbst worked for a number of organizations both commercial and nonprofit including Betz Laboratories, Greater Berks Food Bank, Abington YMCA, in the construction and banking fields. A passion for the history and importance of culture and history stems back to majoring in American Studies at Case Western Reserve. While in Cleveland, she also booked bands for local clubs. Additional personal interests include writing (author of book on Keswick Theatre and in trade journals as well as published poetry), volunteerism (Creative Montco initiative Steering Committee, Greater Glenside Chamber of Commerce Board Member), education and mentorship for students including home schooling initiatives.
Philadelphia Folk Song Society Involvement
New to formal membership of the Society, I’ve worked with the Society as a supporter and sponsor for about five years. Keswick Theatre was one of the first ‘venue tables’, I’ve worked to assist the Society with formal and informal events at Keswick Theatre directly and indirectly (Tabling at Events, “Sing Out” Sponsorship, Doc Watson and Trombone Shorty events). Additionally, I’ve advocated for their involvement via other shows here either by encouraging Society tabling, charity contributions, email blasts for Society events.
Professionally: Jason is a licensed Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker. He is the Owner and Broker of record for Dempsey Development & Brokerage (“DD&B”) based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. DD&B is a privately held boutique commercial real estate firm. Over the course of his career Jason has transacted nearly $500 million dollars in commercial real estate transactions throughout North America and Canada. His experience in complex negotiations and the nuances of commercial transactions will prove useful to the Philadelphia Folk Song Society and support the goals set under his platform.
Personally: Jason is the founder and Chairman of the Friend’s of the Summer Stage, a non-profit established to bring free live music to the residents and visitors of Chester County. The organization is completely sponsor and donor driven. Jason was solely responsible for the establishment and fundraising for Friend’s of the Summer Stage. This experience will add value to the Philadelphia Folk Song Society based on his experience with non-profits and efforts required to raise funds to support music based projects.
PFS: Jason has long been an attendee of events and with a focus of promoting and bringing families and new members. Recently he started a tradition in his community of organizing a group Fathers and Daughters to attend the popular Fall Fling. Last year there were 17 attendees in his group which has grown to 23 this year. He found the privilege in being last year’s MC for the Kid’s Open Stage where his group performed.