Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Board of Directors Biographies

Eric L. Siegel
Board Chair; Chair, Executive Committee; Chair, Advocacy Committee
Executive Vice President/Legal Counsel/LEED, AP
Cohen Siegel Companies

Eric L. Siegel, a principal at the real estate development firm Cohen Siegel Investors and a former civil rights attorney, is responsible for financing acquisition and development opportunities and overseeing the firm’s leasing and property management operations. Siegel appears before governmental bodies regarding zoning issues, signage, permitting and urban strategic planning. As a LEED accredited professional, Siegel focuses on sustainability and green initiatives for company projects. He formerly practiced as a civil rights lawyer.

Roberta F. Shulman (Bobbi)
Board Vice Chair; Chair, Governance Committee

Artist
Shulman Associates, LLC

Bobbi Shulman, formerly president of the Montgomery County Workforce Development Corporation, and senior program officer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Workforce Preparation, is an executive coach, and communications and marketing expert who has served on and chaired the Montgomery College Board of Trustees. Shulman has an MBA from University of Maryland University College, a BA in communications from American University and a Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University. Since 2003, Shulman has been a practicing visual artist.

Fred M. Gober
Board Treasurer; Chair, Finance Committee

Executive Director and Financial Advisor
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Fred M. Gober is a Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Formerly the Director at Barclays Wealth and a Principal at Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Gober was a Partner at Transwestern Carey Winston where he served as a commercial real estate advisor representing national corporations and local entrepreneurial investors for over 12 years. Gober received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland in 1982. He currently serves as an Executive on the Board of Directors for Hearts and Homes for Youth in Maryland.

Michelle Graham-Hicks
Board Secretary
President & CEO
Graham Strategic Solutions, LLC
Michelle Graham Hicks, MBA, is a seasoned management professional and communications strategist with extensive program development, management, and implementation experience. Graham-Hicks is the founder and CEO of Graham Strategic Solutions, LLC., founded out of a desire to help clients meet their communications challenges with candor, clear thinking, and creative problem solving. Michelle is also a Principal at A-G Associates, Inc., a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). In addition to serving on the board for The Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Graham-Hicks is a member of the Montgomery County Workforce Development Board.

Rose Garvin Aquilino
Grants Committee

Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs
Montgomery College
Rose Garvin Aquilino is the Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs for Montgomery College and former Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the College. Garvin Aquilino has held senior development positions with St. Coletta of Great Washington and the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund and formerly worked for several for-profit, arts-related companies in sales and operations, and as a curator and director of collections for the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation. Garvin Aquilino holds a B.A. in Anthropology and History from the University of Rochester, and a M.A. in Anthropology and Certificate in Museum Studies from New York University.

Marilyn Balcombe
President and CEO
Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce
Marilyn Balcombe is the President of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce; co-chair of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan Implementation Committee and she serves on the Board of the Germantown Alliance and Asbury Methodist Village. Prior to the Chamber, Balcombe was the Executive Director of BlackRock Center for the Arts and she served as staff at the Upcounty Regional Services Center. Prior to her work in the community, Balcombe was an Organizational Psychologist with the U.S. Department of Energy. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee.

Eric Burka
Advocacy Committee
Managing Principal
Streetsense

Eric Burka is a Managing Principal for Streetsense, where he specializes in corporate real estate, multi-family residential, commercial, retail, and hospitality branding and marketing. A third generation Washingtonian with over two decades of industry experience and over 12 years at top agencies, where his clientele included a long list of Fortune 500 companies, Burka has an extensive knowledge of real estate and a passion for cohesive marketing strategy and brand management. Burka holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Arizona State University.

Barry Carty
Finance Committee
Vice President
East Coast Acquisitions, Federal Realty
Barry Carty presently serves as Vice President of East Coast Acquisitions for Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), and is responsible for sourcing and closing FRIT’s shopping center investments in its targeted markets including South Florida and Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Formerly a Senior Financial Analyst at FRIT, Carty has been involved in various aspects of financial underwriting, market research, and due diligence for FRIT's acquisition, disposition, and financing efforts. Carty has 22 years of commercial real estate industry experience involving transactions valued at over $3 billion. He received a B.S. Degree in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and is from Miami, Florida.

Erin E. Girard, Esq.
Chair, Audit Committee

Partner 
Linowes and Blocher LLP
Erin E. Girard is a partner in the firm’s Land Use group. She has experience assisting a diverse group of clients, including local, regional and national developers, institutional users, non-profits, and individual and corporate property owners, on a wide range of real estate, land use, zoning, development and administrative issues. These matters have included due diligence review, zoning entitlements, rezoning, subdivision approvals, annexations, special exceptions, variances, master plan development and implementation, historic preservation, administrative appeals, condemnation, and all aspects of the regulatory permitting and licensing process. Girard has represented clients on these matters before various administrative boards, agencies and legislative bodies in Montgomery County, Gaithersburg and Rockville, as well as in state courts.

Marci Bernstein Lu
Chair, Grants Committee

Program Officer, Social Innovation Fund
Corporation for National and Community Service

Marci Bernstein Lu has more than 20 years of experience working with funders, nonprofit practitioners and civic leaders at the federal, state and local levels. She is a passionate proponent of place-based philanthropy, and currently is a senior program officer at the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation. Previously, Bernstein Lu was a program officer at the Social Innovation Fund, a federal evidence-based grantmaking initiative devoted to scaling what works. Before that, Bernstein Lu managed her own consulting practice, where she advised philanthropies and nonprofits on grantmaking, strategy and organizational development. Earlier in her career, Bernstein Lu was a grantmaker at The Cleveland Foundation, a $2 billion community foundation, where she focused on strengthening the social safety net and helped shape a capacity-building strategy for undercapitalized performing arts groups. Bernstein Lu is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and holds a master’s in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University.

Elaine Robnett Moore
Artist and CEO
Elaine Robnett Moore Collection
Elaine Robnett Moore is a jewelry artist, international business consultant, teacher, and author. As an artist/international development consultant, she works through governments, foundations, NGOs and private companies - assisting artists, artisans, and women’s coops in developing skills, establishing cottage industries, and refining products for export to western markets. Robnett Moore’s work has been published and exhibited internationally and she was recently commissioned by the Rwandan government to write their first “how to” book “Professional Jewelry Making With Beads”, an initiative being used to provide an income stream for women and girls throughout the country. Her second book, “The Art of Bead Stringing: Artist to Entrepreneur”, was published in November of 2014. 

Regina L. Oldak, Esq. (Reggie)
Advocate
Reggie Oldak is a tax attorney with more than 30 years' experience working with nonprofits on issues of exempt status, tax and budget policy, and board governance. She has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Alexandria (VA) Commission for the Arts, and she has held positions at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, and the American Institute of Architects. She is also an advocate and leader in the women’s community and has extensive experience working with policymakers at federal, state, and county levels to protect women’s health and economic security. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Smith College.

Ximena Varela
Advocacy Committee
Associate Professor of Arts Management
American University
Ximena Varela is a researcher, educator, and consultant with more than 20 years of experience in international cultural policy, management practice, marketing strategy, arts management research, and culturally sustainable development. She has worked with and advised international organizations, national and regional governments, city agencies, as well as private and nonprofit organizations in arts funding and arts policy. She has published, lectured and taught extensively in the United States, Latin America, Europe and China. She holds an MA in Arts Management for Drexel University, has course PhD studies in Comparative Politics from Temple University, two undergraduate degrees in Business and Finance from the Catholic University of Uruguay, and is a certified Teacher of English to Students of Other Languages.