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The Kahilu Theatre staff is comprised of both full and part time employees as well as independent contractors, all who generously share their passion and expertise in support of our organization's mission and vision. Mahalo! 

Deborah Goodwin – Executive Director
Deborah Goodwin’s enthusiasm is in full bloom. In her role as the Executive Director of the Kahilu Theatre Foundation, her focus is on the long-term sustainability of our organization, including the development of a comprehensive arts education program at the Theatre that will benefit both youth and adults in our community.
An island girl at heart, Deborah was raised on O‘ahu and has been connected to North Hawai‘i for more than 30 years. She brings to Kahilu an extensive background in non-profit management, writing, filmmaking, fundraising, research and education, and has professionally served a diverse set of noble organizations including the Nature Conservancy, Oceanic Institute, W. M. Keck Observatory, Parker School, Humboldt State University, Humboldt Arts Council, and the Morris Graves Museum of Art. As founding director of her own non-profit, Advance Awareness, Inc., Deborah led cultural exchanges between the former Soviet Union and the Aloha State during the final years of the Cold War, and produced two internationally distributed documentaries, “Hot Siberians” and “Aloha, Comrade.”
Educated as a marine biologist, Deborah is also an experienced blue water sailor and enjoys all things ocean. 
Chuck Gessert – Artistic Director

Chuck brings to our arts organization more than thirty years of experience as a theater executive. Most recently he was the Managing Director of the South Bend Civic Theatre in Indiana. Chuckʻs career includes 10 years serving as General Manager at Theatre at the Center, a professional Equity theatre in Chicago. He was also the General Manager for one of the largest amphitheaters in North America at Tinley Park, Chicago. One of his many event credits was generating 10,000 unpaid extras to take part in the filming of the parade in the movie “Ferris Buellerʻs Day Off”.

In some way, shape or form, Chuck estimates that he has been involved in over 1,000 concerts, more than 200 theatrical productions, several movies and commercials, completed three marathons and one Ironman Triathlon!

In his role as Artistic Director, Chuck is responsible for leading the selection of programming for our Kahilu Presents and Kahilu Produces Season and the Arts Ed program. 
Rachel Lansdale – Operations Manager

Rachel was born in Anchorage, Alaska and grew up on the Island of Hawai’i. She graduated from West Hawaii Explorations Academy with a love for the arts, agriculture, marine biology and project management. Her professional experience has included administrative work for Parker Ranch, Americorps, and Ua Nahele Mahi’ai-Holualoa. She is the owner of Honey Nut Farms with properties in Kealakekua and Honoka’a. 

Bringing to the Kahilu Theatre a diverse skill set, ambition and attention to detail, Rachel is honored to join the professional staff of our arts organization.

When she is not at the theater, you can find her working the soil on her tropical farms and raising her two children.
Peter Gorman – Development Associate

Peter Gorman started his career in non-profit organizations on the mainland and has many years of experience in development. He is also an artist and self-publisher. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo, and has previously called Boston and Seattle home.

Peter loves to travel. In 2014, he completed a one-year, 11,000-mile, solo bicycle trek around North America in one big loop. After the trip, he designed graphic maps inspired by the places he visited. Since then his designs, Barely Maps, have been featured in the Seattle Times, SF Gate, the Chicago Tribune, Curbed, Hawaii News Now, and more.

He is thrilled to have settled on the Big Island of Hawaii, where he will bring his passion for the arts and nonprofit professional experience to support Kahilu Theatre.
Eric Kwan – Box Office Manager

Born and raised in Asia and Australia, Eric has lived on the Island of Hawaiʻi for more than a decade. He has spent over 30 years in the hospitality industry in sales and marketing with Hyatt Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Mandarin Oriental Hotels.

This is Eric’s second go-around with Kahilu Theatre where he oversaw the Box Office before its ‘intermission’. Prior to rejoining the Theatre, he worked with Louis Vuitton and was a travel consultant arranging customized itineraries for travels around the globe.

Eric’s hospitality industry experience includes opening hotels and resorts in the U.S. and international destinations, regional/international sales responsibilities, sales training, coaching, customer relations development, and feasibility studies for new hotel/resort projects.

Food and travel are two of Eric’s passions. Education is a third – Eric strongly believes that a well-rounded education is important to every child. 
Ashley Jones – Executive Assistant

Ashley was raised in North Carolina where she earned a degree in Psychology from the UNC Charlotte. After working at a medical billing office for 2 years, the pull of the islands took her to Oahu and there she met her husband in 2012. In 2014 they moved to the Big Island and Ashley became a volunteer at the theatre. Her husband’s job temporarily took them back to the mainland which enabled Ashley to care for their two children while completing an MBA. The family returned to the Big Island late in 2017, and Ashley is very happy and grateful to be back in one of her favorite towns in the world.

She is passionate about music and the performing arts and is very excited to return to the Kahilu theatre.
Kristin Lake – Marketing Associate

Kristin was born and raised in Holualoa, on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Raised in an artistic family, her parents instilled in her at a young age an appreciation of fine craftsmanship and design. During high school, she was involved with community theatre and it was there she was introduced to the world of lighting design. Following her passion, Kristin studied Theatrical Lighting Design at Southern Oregon University, and participated in internships at the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival. After graduating in 2010, she returned home and joined Kahilu Theatre’s Technical Department, working as an electrician and lighting designer.

Kristin is a teacher in our Kahilu-Arts partnership with Waimea Middle School and a member of the Hawai‘i Artist Collaboration, co-founded by her father, Tai Lake. The artists’ collaborative brings master craftspeople together to creatively face the challenges of working in the artistic world and to also benefit the next generation of Hawai‘i artists.

In her new role as Marketing Associate, Kristin is excited to share her love of art through promoting Kahilu Theatre’s quality programs and education services. 
Margo Ray – Kahilu Exhibits Coordinator

Margo is an artist from the Big Island of Hawai’i. She holds an MFA from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec and a BA in Studio Arts from University of Hawaii at Hilo. Her works have been exhibited in venues such as Second Street Gallery (Charlottesville, VA), The Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center (Honolulu, HI) and Parisian Laundry (Montreal, QC). Her artwork can be found in the collections of the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, The Honolulu Museum of Art Gift Print collection, and the Artist Book Collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale du Quebec.    

From 2006 to 2015 she was co-owner and operator of Ironwood Custom Framing and Design, a custom picture framing business in Kamuela, HI. Since selling the business she has focused on her art practice and raising two young children, in 2016, she was hired as the Kahilu Exhibits coordinator. As coordinator, she is working in partnership with the Exhibitions Committee and Executive Director Deb Goodwin to create a leading edge art gallery at Kahilu Theatre. The Gallery is dedicated to expanding the visibility of diverse and experimental visual arts within our region, enlivening our island community through dynamic programming of both solo and thematic group exhibitions that create access to quality art and artists which inspires new ways of thinking, seeing, and doing.
Lisa Shattuck – Education Coordinator

Lisa came to the Big Island in 2005 with her family and began working in the Kahilu Box Office in 2006. Shortly thereafter she became the Volunteer Coordinator and then took on the role of Youth Education Coordinator and K-Arts Coordinator. As the youth program coordinator, Lisa arranges for thousands of Pre-K to 12th grade students to see the world class performances that come to the theatre. As laughing and being a little silly comes naturally to her, managing groups of young students is the perfect fit. Her educational background in the Behavioral Sciences, including being a substitute high school teacher in Los Angeles, gives her a great foundation for working with teachers, students and the arts. And being a Girl Scout leader for 12 years certainly helps. Exposing students to the amazing variety of music and art that Kahilu Theatre offers through its concerts, gallery exhibitions, and outreach programs continues to inspire Lisa.  

Her love of paddling and world travel also keep spirits high and her focus on the next generation, while living in Waimea in an old paniolo house keeps her grounded in our local history.

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