Chief Executive Officer
Steven Haines has more than 25 years of experience in non-profit and performing arts management, working with some of the country’s most notable organizations and artists.
Most recently he joined the iconic San Francisco Zoo as its Vice President of Strategic Growth & Marketing where he was responsible for all areas of earned revenues while developing new areas of growth which align with The Zoo’s strategic and master plan.
From 2006 until his joining San Francisco Zoo in May of 2016, Haines was Executive Director of San Francisco’s Stern Grove Festival, one of the country’s foremost presenters of admission-free concerts and outreach programs. Under Haines’s leadership, The Festival thrived as a model of financial sustainability, increasing its budget by nearly 40% and maintaining a balanced budget, while providing world-class performances to more than 100,000 Bay Area residents and visitors annually. Haines oversaw the development of numerous recording projects for the Festival, including its most recent, Pete Escovedo, Live! from Stern Grove Festival, as well as the yearly Live! from Stern Grove Festival recordings. In 2012, the Festival celebrated its 75th Season, launching a new opening day concert celebration and benefit, “The Big Picnic.” Haines also created “Grove on the Road,” a mobile festival and community engagement program which travelled throughout the City of San Francisco.
Prior to joining the Festival, Haines was the Vice President for POPS of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and President & CEO of Peter Nero and the Philly Pops for nearly eight years prior to that. Haines increased The POPS’ budget over three-fold and created budget surpluses several years in a row. During his tenure, Peter Nero and The Philly Pops presented special performances in New York, Long Island, New Jersey and special engagements for the 40th Anniversary of NASA in Washington D.C., and the Republican National Convention. He also produced ABC’s Nationwide Live TV Fourth of July production, Independence Day 2001, with performances by Blue Man Group and Garth Brooks and featuring readings by Michael Douglas, Whoopie Goldberg, Kevin Spacey and Kathy Bates to name a few. The POPS also recorded its first CD, Holiday POPS!Haines brought many firsts to this venerable organization. Extremely unique to today’s orchestras, Haines negotiated and signed a multi-album, five-year recording contract with DRG records. In addition, Haines led The POPS to their first nationwide, NPR broadcast on July 4, 2002. In 2001, he led the organization to become the first Resident Company of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to officially sign their tenant agreement. In December 2001, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops moved its home to Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center. In the summer of 2004, Haines negotiated with the City of Philadelphia and the National Parks Service to produce POPS on Independence, returning a full Independence Day concert to The Mall with Independence Hall as the backdrop, which continues to date.
Additionally, Haines produced the musical elements for the Liberty Medal Ceremonies in 2004, 2005 and 2006 with guests and honorees President Hamid Karzi of Afghanistan and Elton John. In 2005, The POPS was the musical host to Rufus Wainwright, Patti LaBelle and Elton John on the Fourth of July for over 1 million spectators.
With Music Director Peter Nero, a musical product second to none, an increased staff and wider exposure throughout the region and country, The POPS’ stats were amazing: during his tenure, audience attendance quadrupled, the organization nearly tripled the number of concerts and the budget increased over 300%.
Haines has had much concert and cultural arts experience. Before moving to the Northeast in 1997, Steven worked with several of the most successful arts organizations in Florida. Haines served as Associate Director of Marketing and then Marketing Manager of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. Working with the FPO from 1995 to 1997, he is proud of his association with this orchestra, which was the largest cultural organization in the State of Florida. Haines successfully marketed sold out performance with nearly 20,000 subscribers, varying from classical Masterworks series, children’s series, POPS and Latin POPS. The Florida Philharmonic was also the producer of Beethoven By The Beach music festival, which was one of the first, and most successful cultural tourism collaborative initiatives in the country. The FPO also recorded the Concert on Miami Beach with Pavarotti, seen nationally on PBS.
Prior to the Florida Philharmonic, he was Marketing and Concert Director for the Palm Beach Pops. During that period, he organized a concert tour to New York City, producing a concert at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Haines also served as Director of Marketing and Public Relations from 1991 to 1994 for the Florida Symphonic Pops.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Haines received cum laude honors with a degree in French and International Communications. A musician by avocation, he considers himself lucky to share his professional expertise with his passion for music.
In San Francisco, Steven was also proud to serve as a member of the board of directors of the San Francisco Travel Association.
Chief Artistic Officer
Bill has established an international following as Artistic Director of The Young Americans. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, Japan, and the U.S. under the auspices of Columbia Artists, with The Music Man, Oklahoma!, Tribute to Richard Rodgers, and The Young Americans in Concert. Bill has also worked on a multitude of television specials with major networks as Director/Choreographer. Some of his favorite memories include working with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jerry Lewis, Liberace, and performing for President Ford in Washington, DC. In addition, he produced entertainment at Super Bowl XXX with Diana Ross, World Soccer with Whitney Houston, and was Director of Entertainment at Coca Cola City at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Bill is Co-Founder of the successful Young Americans International Music Outreach Program, which continues to shape music and performance in schools around the world with its Signature Workshops. The program has reached over 800,000 students and families in over 30 countries and on five continents. Two documentary film programs have highlighted the work and success of the Outreach Program and have been viewed by millions all over Europe.
In addition to his busy and successful life, Bill also acts as director of the Tarbell Awards Show and during the years has worked with Brian Stokes Mitchell (Tony Award winner), Susan Egan (Star of Beauty & the Beast and Cabaret), Hugh Panaro (Star of Les Misérables), Laura Bell Bundy (Lead role in Legally Blonde and Tony Award nominee), Miss Shirley Jones (Oscar winner and Theatre Icon), and the Emmy Award winning Musical Director, Mark Watters.
Mr. Brawley is Artistic Director of Summer at the Center, an educational performing arts program which takes place at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in conjunction with the center’s Educational Department, Orange County Department of Education’s ACCESS Division, and Bill’s artistic team of musical directors and choreographers.
One of the highlights of Bill’s year is directing and writing an annual original show for the Summer Dinner Theatre at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Michigan. The theatre is proud to be the 2nd longest running dinner theatre in the U.S.
Bill, his wife Robyn, and daughter Lizzie live in Long Beach, California, right near the beach.
Director & Choreographer
Robyn Brawley is an internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer, director, and master teacher. She began her career dancing with some of the greats in classical ballet – Nureyv, Antoinette Sibley, Jurgen Schneider (Ballet Master in the movie, Turning Point) and has been directed by Sir Robert Helpmann (star of the movie, Red Shoes) and Vera Volkava (world famous Russian director). Robyn has performed with the Australian Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, International Dance Company – Japan, and the Russian Balalaika Ensemble.
Robyn was born in Australia and following her illustrious dance career, she became Founder and Artistic Director of one of the largest performing arts colleges in Sydney, Australia – Australian College of Entertainment. Beginning in 1997, she joined the master teacher panel of Dance Excellence, a renowned international dance festival in Los Angeles, California, and she continues to be part of their annual conference.
Her choreography has been featured in the Royal Nottingham Theatre, England; The Operetta Theatre of Kiev; “La Plaza de Toros” – a 400 year-old Bull Ring in Marbella, Spain; Minato Mirai Concert Hall in Yokohama, Japan; and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (one of the largest and most successful regional theatres in the USA); to name a few.
Robyn has also directed and choreographed works and shows with television, film, Broadway, and recording artists including film and television personalities Carol Burnett, Shirley Jones, Mark Walberg, and Marc Cherry (creator of Desperate Housewives); Broadway stars Brian Stokes Mitchell (Tony Award winner for Kiss Me, Kate), Laura Bell Bundy (Tony nominee for Legally Blonde), Susan Egan (original Belle and Tony nominee for Beauty & the Beast), Hugh Panaro (Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera), Carlos Thomas and Khalid Freeman (leads in Stomp and choreographer, Stomp the Yard), and Rick Hilsabeck and Sarah Pfisterer (Phantom of the Opera); Recording Artists Natalie Imbruglia, and Delta Goodrem (top Australian vocalist & recording artist).
In 1997 Robyn relocated to the United States to become the Resident Choreographer and Co-Director for The Young Americans, an international performance group. She is an Artist in Residence at The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts and collaborates with Executive and Artistic Director, Bill Brawley, her husband. Together, Bill and Robyn direct over 400 performances a year, on 5 continents, including National and International Tours to Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Gibraltar, Ukraine, Russia, South Africa, Japan, Canada, and over 40 states in the U.S.
Robyn is a masterful teacher of dance and life and has positively impacted the lives of thousands of students around the world. She considers all of her students, past and present, a great part of her life and members of her “family”. She is forever grateful for her Australian roots and the many students, family, and dear friends from her home country whom she carries with her in her heart always.
Robyn now resides in Long Beach, California with her husband Bill and their daughter Lizzie.
College President and Vice President of Administration
After meeting The Young Americans during a visit to the U.S. with her Australian dance company, Kat moved to the U.S. to join the organization as its first Australian member. Kat spent several years touring with the organization throughout the U.S. in addition to participating in the first international tours to Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
Chief Financial Officer and Board Member
Cameron was a member of the group from 1975 to 1980. He is a licensed attorney (inactive) and Certified Public Accountant (inactive) in the state of California. He is graduated California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a BS in Accounting in 1980, worked for Coopers & Lybrand in Newport Beach as an auditor from 1980 to 1983, and became a Certified Public Accountant in California in 1982. Cameron attended Hastings College of Law, graduating in 1986 with a Juris Doctor and admitted to the California State Bar in 1986. Cameron practiced law for over 25 years, specializing in civil trial work. Cameron has been a member of The Young Americans’ Board of Directors since 1992, and now serves full-time as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Director of Development
Born in Staten Island, New York and raised in the Midwest, Joan has always loved music and all-things entertainment. Her favorite classes in school were orchestra and choir, and to her parent’s amusement, she had an obsession with recording awards shows on VHS tapes.
She participated in the very first National Music Outreach Tour in 1992-1993 when it came through her hometown of Muskegon, Michigan…and she was hooked. She moved to California and joined the group as a New Kid in 1995.
After 4 life-changing years of performing, touring, and company managing, Joan left the group to pursue a career in live production and events. She had a passion for the “behind-the-scenes” aspects of entertainment, and was fortunate enough to work for many years on such events as the annual Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, and the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2002, she took a position at Paramount Pictures and within 4 years, had become Director of Operations for Digital Post Services within Worldwide Technical Operations. Over the next 10 years, she oversaw an ever-growing business comprised of four post production facilities, annual revenue of $18 million, and a staff of 50 employees.
Now, Joan is thrilled to be “back home” with YA! Her role as Director of Development includes strategic planning, oversight, partnerships, and implementation of all fundraising-related activities to ensure the successful realization of The Young Americans mission statement around the world. She is honored to be part of such an amazing team, who so passionately work to inspire the world through music.
Dean of Administrative Services
Mike grew up in a small northern California town, participating in band, choir, and theatre since the age of 10. After joining The Young Americans in college, Mike had the opportunity to travel on 11 International Music Outreach Tours as a performer, merchandise manager, business manager, and company manager. He was fortunate to travel on the first tours to England, Germany, and Ukraine. While assisting with production operations in The Young Americans business offices, Mike graduated cum laude from California State University, Long Beach with his Bachelor’s degree in International Business and also received his Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Walden University.
After The Young Americans, Mike moved to the Orange County Performing Arts Center for five years where he managed many of the Center’s education programs including the Family Series, the Center’s field trip opportunities, master classes, scholarship programs, and Summer at the Center. He is proud to have overseen events serving over 15,000 students and families annually.
In 2010, Mike returned to The Young Americans as the Dean of Administrative Services for their College of the Performing Arts. He is happy to be back with such an extraordinary organization that has given him so many amazing opportunities, including meeting his wife, Dalisa.
Dr. LeeAnn Stone
Dean of Instruction
Ed.D. Instructional Technology, Pepperdine University.
As a higher-ed consultant, university administrator, and teacher educator, and through her work developing technology-based learning content, Dr. Stone’s career focuses on developing effective teaching materials and curriculum as well as instructor capacity to engage, energize and launch learners.
Dean of Students & Associate Director
Travis has always enjoyed the performing arts. In his youth he excelled at musical theatre and instrumental music. He met The Young Americans when he took a National Music Outreach Tour Workshop as a senior in high school. The following fall Travis moved to Southern California to join The Young Americans. By the age of 23, Travis traveled on 12 International Outreach Tours, spent 4 summers performing in the Dinner Theatre in Northern Michigan with The Young Americans, and stage managed the first Outreach Tours to go to Canada, England, Germany, and Ukraine. At the age of 22, Travis became the youngest Associate Director of The Young Americans for the International Outreach Tours. Over the last 18 years with The Young Americans he has toured 16 different countries including Japan, Germany, and the first International Outreach Tour to Russia.
International Booking Director, North America
TJ grew up in a small town just outside of Omaha – Blair, Nebraska. Throughout high school, he participated in basketball, football, and baseball alongside theatre, show choir, and forensics club. His proudest achievement in high school was being inducted into the Hall of Fame for distinction in the Dramatic Arts. After joining The Young Americans in college, he had the honor of touring on 10 outreach tours as a performer, stage manger, and company manager. In 2008, he began to assist with internal operations out of California and spent two seasons as the Company and Dining Room Manager of The Young Americans Dinner Theatre. He is thrilled that The Young Americans became a career for him and is very excited to see what is to come.
International Booking Director, United Kingdom & South Africa
– BA(Hons) in Music, Cambridge, England
– PGCE Secondary, Durham, England
Born in Mansfield, a stone’s throw from the legendary Sherwood Forest, Simon joined The Young Americans’ staff part-time in 2001 after falling in love with our work firsthand whilst a Director of Music and Pastoral Care Leader in a challenging UK Secondary (High) School. As a musician, educator, performer, and choral director, our relationship grew organically and with his natural flare and skill in production logistics, as well as his openness to ‘all ideas slightly crazy’, we realized he was ideally suited to the challenges of expanding our work internationally. Simon now works full-time booking, developing, and producing our overseas projects across the UK and Ireland, as well as having responsibility for emerging opportunities in Africa and developing nations.
Michael “Nartan” Heib
International Booking Director, Europe
International Booking Director, Japan
Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1960 and graduated from Keio University, Sano has organized The Young Americans Outreach Tours in Japan for over ten years. Sano spent time offering enterprise business support, business training, and support projects through the college recruiting center and acted as the Research Works chief editor. He left in October 2005 to begin his new venture. Currently, his goal is to create a new place for children to learn who will lead the next generation.
Tara Smart Stoltz
Director of Production
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Ontario, Canada, Tara Smart a professionally trained gymnast and dancer with a strong passion for the performing arts. She has taught students of all ages and performed as a dancer in a variety of styles including jazz, ballet, hip hop, and tap. As a gymnast, she has been trained by Olympic medalists, and has competed in all gymnastic events at a national level. Since joining in 2003, Tara has toured the world with The Young Americans as a performer, teacher, associate director, and assistant producer. Her skills as a dancer, gymnast and choreographer are incomparable and her dedication to her chosen profession is unfaltering. She is, by all definitions of the term, a “Team Leader”.
Director of Publicity
Brooke was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and moved to Nashville when she was 21 to pursue a career in music. She recorded several albums and two of her original songs appeared in the major motion picture, Cowboys and Angels. After working as a nanny, teacher, and in the music industry for several years, she decided to go back to school at Belmont University and study Music Business. After graduation she took a job working for Cumulus Broadcast Company and WSM Radio where she wrote and sold major advertising for 5 top radio stations in Nashville for three years. Soon after she met and married the man of her dreams and moved to Southern California to live with him. She joined The Young Americans’s staff in July of 2009 as their Publicist and has great aspirations for the growth and publicity of the group. She is proud to be able to put to use her years of experience in the music industry, education in Music Business as well as advertising, to contribute to The Young Americans and their amazing organization. Currently she spends her time writing music, press releases, advertising, jingles and children’s books.
Director of Media Operations
Joe Dull is a Filmmaker (22 years), College Professor (17 years), Song-And-Dance Man (12 years), and Daddy (6 years and counting). He’s even won awards in two of those professions, and a “Best Dad Ever” grill apron for a third. Joe’s an editor, writer, director, decent enough audio guy, and can fake his way around a camera. He’s also been paid as a colorist for multiple films, despite being pretty colorblind. The clients knew and hired him anyway. Joe’s that kind of guy.
His award-winning feature length films “Table at Luigi’s” and “Sympathy Pains” have screened at theaters and film festivals around the country. His films starring his kids are big hits with the in-laws. And everything he’s making for the Young Americans is at https://www.youtube.com/TheYoungAmericansINC. You should go check out that stuff.
Director of Admissions
A Southern California native, Becky began her performing career when she appeared in her first commercial at the age of 6. Over the next 11 years she appeared in more than 15 commercials and made guest appearances on television shows such as Growing Pains, Days of our Lives, and Married With Children. She attended the Orange County High School of the Arts and was selected to join The Young Americans at age 14. Following high school she attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for a term, after which she returned to California and was cast on the very first Young Americans Music Outreach Tour.
Becky continued touring and performing with YAs for another 3 years and had the honor of co-directing 3 “New Kids Shows”. She then began working as a Guest Talent Coordinator at Disneyland which lead to a 10-year career with The Walt Disney Company that included roles with Disney Sports Entertainment, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Entertainment Casting. Eventually she was selected for a two-year term as The Disneyland Resort Ambassador, an official spokesperson for the Resort, during Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Becky is thrilled to be back with her Young Americans family as Director of Admissions where she is able to assist other young people along their journey to becoming part of this incredible program!
Susie Freeman Johnson
Director of Michigan Projects
Susie joined the group at the age of 15 and was one of the group’s first company managers for its tours with Columbia Artists. Since then, Susie has gone on to become a Television Production Coordinator working for Paramount Pictures Television Production for 30 years. Her credits include TV shows such as Cheers, Bob Newhart Shows, Girlfriends; she has worked on over 40 television shows. Since she retired, she’s now a producer for The Young Americans summer program, Boyne Highlands Dinner Theatre and Northern Michigan Concert Series. She helped create all of those programs and has worked with the organization for over 40 years.
Senior Producer, Southern California Outreach
Nada Nasserdeen is a performer, music educator, and director who loves all genres of music. She has obtained her BA degree in Vocal Performance from Cal State Long Beach and her Masters Degree in Teacher Education Leadership from National University. Nada has performed all over the world in countries such as Russia, Japan, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Gibraltar, and many more. In addition, she has worked and performed with some of Broadway’s most talented leading actors. However, Nada is not only an accomplished performer but she is an educator and director for the performing arts. She has taught for years working with students of all ages and talents. Nada loves the performing arts in all aspects as it has been a passion of hers since she was a child. Nada is going on 14 years with The Young Americans and is so happy and honored to continue her journey with them as it fulfills every passion.
Adam is a California transplant from his hometown of Muskegon, MI. He has enjoyed being involved with the organization since 2008 as a cast-member, guest director, and now, senior producer of the summer camp program. His brother and fiance were also members of the organization. In his spare time, he attends the University of California – Irvine as a Biological Sciences major. Go Anteaters!
Brendan was born in Los Angeles, but was raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He and his two sisters, Chelsea and Courtney, grew up hearing stories about The Young Americans from their parents (who are both alumni of the group) but had never been exposed to the YAs until a Young Americans Outreach Tour came through a local high school in 2003. He and his sisters fell in love with the work that the YAs were doing in the world and, after their respective graduations, each made the choice to make the move to California to be a part of the organization.
After joining the YAs in 2007, Brendan had the opportunity to travel and teach all around Europe, Japan, and the United States, and spend four amazing summers at The Young Americans’ Dinner Theatre at Boyne Highlands, taking on roles in the group such as Stage Manager, Sound Designer/Engineer, Technical Director, and Staging Director. After his active time in the YAs, Brendan has worked in live event production for companies such as Nike, Google, and Kashi, as an audio engineer for concerts and theatre productions around Southern California, a video editor, and as a Sound Stage Manager for Universal Studios Hollywood. He is excited to be back with The Young Americans, using and developing his skills to further the mission of this wonderful organization.
Jordan Mantey grew up on a seed corn farm in Fairgrove, MI. He is currently an Associate Director with The Young Americans, touring and teaching globally throughout the year. From 2009 to 2011, he was the Vocal Music Director at Valley Christian High School in Cerritos, CA. Jordan holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Michigan State University and teaching credentials in both Michigan and California. While at MSU, he was a member of the trombone section in the Spartan Marching Band and sang in the State Singers choir. Since joining The Young Americans in 2003, Jordan has been a member of six international tour casts, traveling to 14 countries and teaching over 30,000 students as part of the group’s International Music Outreach program. Over the course of five summers, he returned home to perform at The Young Americans Dinner Theatre in northern Michigan. Jordan has played supporting roles in the concert version of South Pacific, My Fair Lady, and The Music Man at the Orange County Performing Arts Center for the annual Tarbell Realtors Awards Show. He has used his talents as a keyboardist, vocalist, choral arranger, and teacher for numerous projects, workshops, and shows around the world. When not surrounded by music, you’ll see him soaring in the sky above Southern California with his private pilot’s license.
Cordell was born and raised in Southern California where he grew up playing many sports. He had always been associated with music, performing in school choirs and playing drums on the side. He was told in his senior year at Los Alamitos High School, that he should audition for a group called The Young Americans. Having only been to The Young Americans Magic of Christmas when he was ten, he was hesitant but went anyway. He became a New Kid in 2011, and thought the group was school classes and a show here or there, but not traveling or teaching.
Cordell feels honored to have been apart of 10 tours as a performer, Stage Manager, Company Manager, and Young American traveling to Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan, and America. He now works for The Young Americans and wants to help create experiences for more Young Americans and kids around the world.
Kala grew up in the dance studio, if she wasn’t dancing she was teaching. After high school she auditioned for numerous colleges and planned to move to Las Vegas and attend the INLV dance department, but her fate with the Young Americans wouldn’t have it. About a month before move in day, Kala decided to audition and to her surprise, considering the lateness of her applications, she got in. She went on seven tours, all of which were international. She business managed, stage directed, and held many other jobs. She stepped away for about two years and did her time in the freelance production world, on tv shows such as Bullseye,and traveling on weekends with the dance convention, Nuvo, only to find her way right back to the Young Americans. She began working in July of 2016 as an Associate Producer and it has already been the most fun rollercoaster she has every been on. She is beyond honored to work for this group as and spend everyday learning the ins and outs of such an inspiring, uplifting organization!
“The Young Americans have changed my life, my dream is to take part in giving the incoming YAs a shot at experiencing what I did on the road and here at our headquarters. It is like nothing else”
Director of Student Services
YA Alumni 1962
BA in Psychology, Marymount College, Palos Verdes, CA, 1966.
MSW, Masters of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 1980.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, California License Number LCS 10153, 1983-present.
Charleston grew up in Gainesville, GA where she trained at the Gainesville Ballet Company for 13 years and served as Dance Captain for 12 musicals at Gainesville High School. Growing up she participated in Summer Community Theatre productions with her family and friends and later choreographed for many of the shows.
After graduating from GHS, she attended Georgia College & State University for two years studying political science. While attending, she was heavily involved in on campus activities such as Phi Mu Fraternity, GCSU Judicial Board, and GCSU Ambassador Team. Missing her passion for performing she followed her sister’s footsteps and joined The Young Americans in 2012. Since joining, Charleston has had the opportunity to perform, teach, Business Manage and Company Manage all around the world.
After 7 tours experiencing new cultures, meeting hundreds of incredible kids and learning countless things from homestays, she is excited to continue to be a part of an organization that encourages passion and self-confidence!
Editor, Media Department
Thien was born in Vietnam and grew up in California. After high school he went to school in Arkansas where he studied digital filmmaking and theatre. There he was able to work on numerous productions and build his skills. Coming into The Young Americans he had little to no knowledge of the organization’s goals and programs. As such, he is constantly blown away by what The Young Americans do. He is thrilled to have an opportunity to be a part of the team and grow alongside the company.
Documentarian, Media Department
Michael grew up in the friendly Oklahoma City. He always found entertaining his family and friends to be a big part of his motivation. Having acted in school plays, doing 300 hours of community service or doing videos for the high school assemblies, Michael always wants and loves to get involved.
Michael graduated with a Digital Filmmaking degree at the University of Central Arkansas and founded a historic website in Arkansas that documents old, abandoned structures that are falling into disrepair.
He plans to continue entertaining people through telling stories through a lens, and is thrilled to be apart of Young Americans!
Jacob “Fig” Figueroa
I have always surrounded myself with music. Growing up, my dad would always play different instruments around me which inspired me to start playing an instrument my self, and to join band and choir in school. After joining the Young Americans in 2010, I have had the chance to study many different styles of music and dance around the world.
Growing up in Wyoming, I was heavily involved in the performing arts. Through choir, drama, and orchestra, I had many opportunities to travel the United States and share the gift of music. In 2010, I was thrilled to have the chance to be a member of The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts, a group that shared the same passions that I had had my whole life: music and travel. Since becoming a Young American, I have traveled 10 different countries on 13 music outreach tours, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to a Company Manager on three of those tours. I am so grateful and honored for what The Young Americans have given to me already in my life, and I am excited to continue my journey with The Young Americans.
Carley grew up surrounded by an extremely influential music and arts culture in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. She began singing and playing the trumpet at a very young age and ended up attending Charleston County School of the Arts for high school as a trumpet major. At the tender of 17 she began attending Coastal Carolina University as a Biology major, fully intending on pursuing a career in medicine when she was unexpectedly introduced to the Young Americans. After her first year of college, she decided to transfer to The Young Americans College of the Performing Arts and ended up taking part in nine of our Music Outreach Tours, two of our summers at The Young Americans Dinner Theater at Boyne Highlands, and Company Managing four times. She looks forward to bright and fulfilling future while working here in the Young Americans World Headquarters!
Erick “Spider” Paul
Originally from Seattle, WA, hip hop dancer “Spider” began his training in 2005 when he joined The Young Americans. He has shared his talents throughout the world in over 20 countries and 4 continents and now resides in North Hollywood, CA working as a professional dancer. Credits Include: TruTV’s FAKE OFF-Team Wilderbe, Nick Cannon-Music Video, R. Kelly-BET Awards, Todrick Hall-Youtube Flash’d, Alyson Stoner Music Video, Walk the Moon-Music Video, I-Luminate.
– BA in Music Education, Otterbein College, Ohio
– MA in Music Education, College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati
Gary Delk has taught junior high, high school, and college choir, band, and handbells in Ohio and California for 32 years. Gary continues to serve as Massed Conductor, Clinician, and Teacher for the AGEHR (American Guild of English Handbell Ringers) annual conferences. He has the distinction of serving on the staff of The Young Americans for 35 years and has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East on 15 Young Americans tours. He has worked behind the scenes as Choral/Orchestra Conductor on many Young Americans TV guest appearances.
Gary was Managing Director/Conductor for The Young Americans Bicentennial Celebration, in Washington D.C., 1976.
Corkey Lee has enjoyed a long and successful career in entertainment production, and it all started years ago as a performer with the Young Americans. When he “graduated” from YAs in the 1970s, he accepted a position with Disneyworld in Florida, where he was in charge of live entertainment at the park including the now legendary Kids of the Kingdom. From there, he was recruited to Marriott’s Great America in Chicago. As the new park’s Director of Entertainment, it fell to Corkey to oversee the construction of the theaters that would eventually house all live performances. Corkey soon brought all this new expertise back home to The Young Americans when he took on the role of production/stage manager, taking tours out all over the world. He then received an opportunity to get in on the ground floor working at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Corkey worked his way up through the video operations department, and is now Vice President of Production and Editorial Services. Corkey is grateful that Paramount has made it possible for him to still be affiliated with the Young Americans – his “life and heartbeat” – as a Guest Director. He cherishes every opportunity to give back to the organization that helped make him what he is today.
Guest Director and Board Member
Mindy began her career as a producer/director on the Creative Development team at the Walt Disney Company in the early 1980s and stayed in international theme park production with Dr Jeekahn’s in Tokyo, Lotte World in Seoul, and Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Expanding into the world of sports and spectaculars, Mindy’s work continued with MLB’s All-Star Games, NFL’s Super Bowl halftime shows, FIFA’s World Cup Soccer opening and closing ceremonies and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, including the design and production of all entertainment for the host sponsor, The Coca Cola Company. In the world of politics, Mindy has produced events for past Presidents Bush and Carter, and late past Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and for clients including M & M/Mars, Delta Airlines, Louis Vuitton/Moët/Hennesey, and Philip Morris.