Board of Directors
President – Nik Rokop
Vice President – James Robinson
Treasurer – Ian McCutcheon
Secretary – Genevieve Thiers
Hannah B. Higgins
Samuel G. Kramer
President Emeritus – Judith Neisser
Nik Rokop is Industry Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at IIT Stuart School of Business. He teaches entrepreneurship at the undergraduate and graduate level, in addition to assisting on special projects for the Dean of IIT Stuart, supporting the Entrepreneurship Academy, recruiting for the undergraduate business program, and supporting IIT’s Innovation Center.
As a life-long entrepreneur, advisor to and investor in entrepreneurial ventures, Rokop has a passion for creating new businesses and helping others succeed. Rokop is past President & CEO of nLake Technology Partners, a management, business development, and technology commercialization group specializing in nanotechnology. He has more than 20 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and international operations. His career spans the iron and steel industries, manufacturing, consulting and the Internet.
James Robinson is CEO of Septentrion Studios, a design-thinking consulting firm. He is also a Realtor and real estate investor with Septentrion Properties, helping international clients invest in Chicago real estate. James previously served as the Director for Strategy, Innovation, and Evaluation at Rotary International where he was responsible for developing and implementing global membership, fundraising and grant making strategies; evaluating the global impact of Rotary clubs; and facilitating change management. Prior to this role, James launched The Rotary Foundation’s new grant making model called the Future Vision plan, which was a 2013 Edison Award winner for social innovation. He has a BA in international relations from Michigan State University and an MPA in nonprofit leadership from Grand Valley State University. James enjoys opportunities exploring the arts and culture scene in more than 40 countries he has visited. He has an active interest in art therapy programs, meditation, sound therapy and Jungian Psychology, as well as composing electronic music.
Ian McCutcheon, a native of Chicago, is now a custom letterpress printer and owner Squanto Press, LLC, on West Chicago Avenue. He comes to printing after 20 years of institutional and residential architecture in Chicago and in Europe. Ian works and lives in Chicago and spends an increasing portion of his time in West Illinois where he and his family have built a traditional post & beam timber barn residence and greenhouse outbuildings for organic farming. He is involved with local conservation foundations in West Illinois and is also a Trustee for the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Ian has long been involved with Chicago concert choir organizations and continues his regular trumpet studies with Fulcrum Point Artistic Director, Stephen Burns.
Genevieve Thiers is a disruptor, entrepreneur, speaker and investor that lives in the Chicago area. Her first company, Sittercity.com, is America’s first company to take caregiving services online. Sittercity.com now has millions of users and new locations in the UK and Canada.
Genevieve was recognized by President Bush at the White House as the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year for 2006, and her companies have won over 18 major awards, including the CEC Momentum Award, the WBDC Rising Start Award, a CNN Young Heroes feature, the UPS Out of the Box Award, the INC 500 list, and more. Genevieve has been featured thousands of times in the press for her work, by the TODAY show, Ellen, the View, MSNBC, the CBS Early Show, CNN, Live & Style, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Redbook, Parents, Parenting, Marie Clare, TIME, Better Homes and Gardens, Working Mother and more. She has lectured or spoken at the TED Global, Cusp, Amex, Groupon, Enova, Inland, the CEO Conference, the Heartland Conference, Microsoft, Harvard business school, Kellogg, Columbia, Babson, Boston College, U Chicago and for hundreds of other entrepreneurial groups around the country. She is the author of the book Love at First Sit, and frequently writes for various tech publications in the Chicago area.
Genevieve has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs throughout her career. She is on the board of the CEC, which has created 1871, a co-working space in Chicago. Genevieve teaches classes at 1871 and is a frequent mentor and teacher within the space. She is also an investor in TechStars and the Firestarter fund, and in several female-run new tech startups that target women and lesser-known industries. A mother of twins, she speaks regularly on the lack of women in tech and how to right the balance.
Born in Heredia, Costa Rica, Wagner Campos graduated from Baylor and DePaul Universities. His love for teaching has brought him to the faculties of the Costa Rican Youth Symphony, Merit Music Program, Lake Forest Academy, the Sherwood Conservatory, and, currently, DePaul University. He has given masterclasses in Bogota, Colombia and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He coaches the woodwinds for the Protg Philharmonic and the Classical Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to his dedication to teaching, he is also an active freelance clarinetist, performing with groups such as Fulcrum Point New Music Project, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, AWRMusic, Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Ensemble, Chicago Chamber Musicians, CSO Music Now.
Hannah Higgins is the author of an important history of the Fluxus movement, Fluxus Experience, published in 2002 by the University of California Press. The Grid Book, her interdisciplinary history of this defining form in Western culture, was published by MIT Press in early 2009. With Douglas Kahn, she is co-editing an anthology of computer art (1960-1970) called Mainframe Experimentalism.
She attended preparatory school in New York at the Dalton School. She received her B.A. in 1988 from Oberlin College, her M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1990, and graduated with her Ph.D. in 1994 from the University of Chicago. The daughter of Fluxus artists Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, Higgins is married to Joe Reinstein, Deputy Social Secretary at the White House, and has two children: Zoe and Nathalie. Her twin sister, Jessica Higgins, is a New York and Massachusetts based intermedia artist.
She is leaving her job as associate professor of art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago to teach a course on Black Mountain College (home in the 1950s to innovative artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Robert Motherwell and Willem and Elaine de Kooning) as a fellow at the Phillips Collection Center for the Study of Modern Art.
Samuel G. Kramer is a partner with the firm Baker McKenzie. His practice focuses on multi-jurisdictional outsourcing, complex technology licensing, commercial contracting, and supply chain agreements and integration. He is frequently involved in outsourcing transactions and large scale IT services projects. Mr. Kramer also focuses on emerging technology services, including mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) transactions. He is the North American coordinator of the Firm’s MVNO practice.
Mr. Kramer is recognized in Chambers Global in the field of outsourcing, and in Chambers USA in the fields of Technology Law and Business Process Outsourcing. He also is recognized in The Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in technology outsourcing. In 2004, he was selected as one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch.” Mr. Kramer is an adjunct faculty member at the John Marshall Law School where he has taught Cyberspace Law in the Information Technology LLM Program. He spent nine months in Baker & McKenzie’s Hong Kong office as an associate in the information technology and telecoms group.
Artistic Director – Stephen Burns
Executive Director – Pamela Hanratty
Curator of Inclusion & Discoveries – Seth Parker Woods
Marketing/Outreach Director – Anna Munzesheimer
Business Manager – Jessica Marasa
Education Program Director/Musician Union Contractor – Jeff Handley
Media Relations – The Silverman Group
Lighting Designer – Geoffrey Bushor
Graphic Design – JNL Graphic Design
Trumpet virtuoso and conductor Stephen Burns is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project in Chicago. He has been acclaimed on four continents for his consistently and widely varied performances encompassing recitals, orchestral appearances, chamber ensemble engagements, and innovative multi-media presentations involving video, dance theatre, and sculpture.
In 1998 Stephen Burns was invited to create innovative new music programs as the Artist in Residence with Performing Arts Chicago. He founded Fulcrum Point New Music Project whose mission is to champion classical music influenced and inspired by Pop culture, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Latin, Folk, Klezmer, World Music, literature, film, art, dance, and theatre.
Originally from Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, Stephen Burns studied under Armando Ghitalla, Gerard Schwarz, Pierre Thibaud, and Arnold Jacobs at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Julliard School (BM/MM 1981-82), as well as in Paris and Chicago for post-graduate studies. He has won many prestigious awards including the 1981 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, 1982 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 1983 National Endowment for the Arts Recitalist Grant, the Naumburg Scholarship at Juilliard, “Outstanding Brass Player” at Tanglewood and the aforementioned 1988 Maurice Andre Concour International de Paris. Sought after internationally for master classes, Mr. Burns is a former tenured Professor of Music at Indiana University and Visiting Lecturer at the Arturo Toscanini Foundation Corso MYTHOS in Bologna, Italy. He presently resides in Chicago with his wife, school psychologist, Kate Neisser and their twin sons Edward and Isaac. Stephen Burns is a Yamaha performing artist.
Pamela Hanratty’s entrepreneurial ambition has led her to serve as Founder, CEO, President, executive board member, financial strategic advisor and proprietary trader. With over 25 years of industry expertise in the development and implementation of investment startups, she has established a record of success as fundraising professional and leader. Her strong pioneering spirit thrives on problem solving and strategic relationships.
Most recently her passion to help not for profits led her to develop a tech startup that is being developed into a SaaS platform. As CEO/Founder working with her CTO out of Silicon Valley, donors and bidders will be able to collaborate to fundraise for their favorite not for profits continually throughout the year. Additionally, she sits on the 1871 member council and offers mentoring advice to new entrepreneurs.
“This is an exciting time for me to help this extraordinary ensemble. I was captivated by Fulcrum Point because of my love of music and their larger mission. I feel fortunate to be part of a team that is allowing me to help create synergy between music and tech and to further their voice. It also brings me back to the time when I was both an actress and ballerina. I feel like I have come full circle.”
Seth Parker Woods, critiqued as “a cellist of power and grace” (The Guardian) and possessing “mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink,” has established an international reputation as a versatile musician and composer straddling several genres. Outside of the solo performance setting, he has performed with the Ictus Ensemble (Brussels, BE), Ensemble L’Arsenale (IT), zone Experimental (CH) Basel Sinfonietta (CH), New York City Ballet, Ensemble LPR and Orchestra of St. Luke’s (US). A fierce advocate for contemporary arts, he has collaborated and worked with a wide range of artists ranging from the likes of Louis Andriessen, Heinz Holliger, G.F. Haas, Helmut Lachenmann, Klaus Lang, Steve Mackey and Peter Eotvos to Peter Gabriel, Sting, Lou Reed, Dame Shirley Bassey, Rachael Yamagata, Aldo Tambellini and Jack Early.
Having completed a PhD from the University of Huddersfield (UK), his principal teachers were Thomas Demenga, Lucas Fels, Frederik Zlotkin, and Daniel Morganstern. In the last years he has given talks, workshops and performances at Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain (FR), Le Poisson Rouge and the Bohemian National Hall (USA), Cafe OTO (London, UK), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Klang Festival (Durham, UK), INTER/actions Symposium (Wales), ICMC-SMS Conference (Athens, GR), NIME Conference (London), Sound and Body Festival (Lille, Brussels), Instalakcje Festival (PL), Virginia Tech, La Salle College (Singapore), and FINDARS (Malaysia) amongst others. Recent awards include a Earle Brown/ Morton Feldman Foundation Grant (USA), McGill University-CIRMMT/IDMIL Visiting Researcher Residency (CA), Centre Intermondes Artist Residency (FR), Francis Chagrin Award (UK) , Concours [Re]connaissance- Premiere Prix (FR) and the Paul Sacher Stiftung Research Scholarship (CH).
Anna Munzesheimer is heavily involved in the Chicago arts community. She comes from a theatre background and has worked for companies such as Redmoon Theatre and The House Theatre of Chicago. While at Redmoon, she coordinated the Silent Auction for Spectacle Lunatique 2014. In addition to working as the Marketing Director for Fulcrum Point, she is also a core member of Crosstown Collective, a Chicago based film collective.
Anna received her BA from Knox College, majoring in theatre and psychology, while dabbling in creative writing. After school, she worked as an Americorps teacher in New Orleans where she designed and implemented a successful cross-age peer mentorship program for 4th and 6th grade students.
Jessica Marasa is a dancer, performer, writer, producer and arts administrator. She is Founder and Director of The Watering Can Dance and has worked extensively with Chicago dance makers Molly Shanahan, Ayako Kato and Onye Ozuzu. As an administrator she gained experience leading the operational team at the CG Jung Institute of Chicago and through curation and collaboration with Links Hall and The Chicago Moving Company.
Jessica’s work cultivates opportunities for herself and her community to give and receive their changing interests at heart and offers programs such as The Joy In Moving (The JIM) and SET FREE. Recently her work Jewel Tones was recognized by Laura Molzhan as one of the “Dance Top 10 for 2015” in The Chicago Tribune and was included by Newcity as one of their “Players 50” for 2017.
She has newly discovered her love for her Italian heritage and works as Project Manager for the pop up pasta shop Pasta Monster.
Jeff Handley is a highly sought after percussionist in Chicago. He is Principal Percussion with Chicago Sinfonietta, which includes several recordings and tours to Switzerland and the Canary Islands. Jeff is also the Musician’s Contractor and core member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project. Other ensembles Jeff performs with are: Chicago Opera Theater, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Lyric Opera, Grant Park Symphony, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Jeff was recently heard with Andrea Bocelli, Peter Cetera, Dennis DeYoung, Charlotte Church, and productions of “Spamalot”, “Wicked”, “Color Purple”, “Mary Poppins”, and “Shrek” at the Cadillac Palace Theater. An active clinician and educator, Jeff is the Education Director with Sinfonietta and Fulcrum Point. He currently has music programs in over 50 Chicago Public Schools. Jeff received his Masters of Music Performance degree in 1988 from DePaul University. Jeff currently resides in Westmont with his wife and 2 boys.