Kathie Stuempert (Chair)
Kathie holds a BA degree from the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN She has enjoyed many years of volunteer work from the days at school while raising her two boys, to now serving her church community. She has held many volunteer positions over the course of 20 years working with the North Star Winter Color Guard and the Govenaires Senior Drum and Bugle Corps. She currently resides in Mahtomedi with her husband, Dean. They have a total of 4 children and 12 grandchildren. She is looking forward to offering her time and talents to this endeavor.
Robin Anthony (Vice Chair)
Robin Anthony is the Executive Director of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce since April of 2016. Prior to that, she worked 12 years in local and state government, 8 years in global consulting, and 6 years as a small business owner building a business from the ground up. In her prior life, she instructed marching band for 15 years across the State of Minnesota, hoping to make a difference in young adults.
Robin’s focus is on collaboration, leadership, team building, serving the public, and has a passion for social justice. She is proud to serve the St. Croix Valley and considers herself a life-long-learner to continue to improve, expand, and streamline processes and policy. Her expertise includes organizational management, project management, legislative affairs and elections, and business and community engagement.
She attended St. Cloud State University, Communications Major 1986 and her continuing education includes multiple programs, certificates and courses from: Century College, University of St. Thomas, St. Charles Illinois, U of M, Auburn University, Capella University and just recently a 2019 graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management, US Chamber of Commerce.
Robin has lived in the Stillwater Area for over 30 years and has two adult children who both attended the Stillwater Schools. Tyler a former Marine, and currently, Military Police for the Stillwater National Guard and an Officer for the City of Crystal Police Department. Her oldest daughter Nicole is a teacher for the Hudson, Wisconsin School District. She is passionate and proud of her family, community, region and country.
Christopher Lepage (Treasurer)
Chris Lepage is a pediatric neuropsychologist and owner of a private practice right here in downtown Stillwater. The last ten plus years of professional development brought him to Northern WI and across Northern CA (Santa Cruz, Mountain View, Sacramento). About four years ago Chris moved back to the Midwest with his wife, son, and two feisty fun-loving dogs. Still a newcomer Minnesota, the roots are growing with a new private practice, membership in Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, completion of the inaugural 2019-2020 Leadership in the Valley cohort, participation in the downtown parking commission, and now engaging with the Zephyr Board. Chris is excited to be a new board member and offers a wave of fresh ideas.
Beyond ongoing dedication to supporting children in his private practice and engaging in community service, he enjoys spending time with his family (wife and two boys), a 10-year old energetic lovely border-collie-black lab Pinot, gardening, and spending four seasons outdoors.
Nicole Bartelt (Secretary)
Nicole Bartelt is a Manager at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), and currently is the Bridge Planning and Hydraulics Engineer. Nicole has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering, both from Michigan State University. Nicole serves on the Board of the Society of Women Engineers Minnesota Section, as well as on the Stillwater Area High School Project Lead the Way Community Advisory Board. She is an advocate for education and outreach in all forms, having served as the STEM Education and Outreach Liaison for MnDOT. She lives in Oak Park Heights with her husband and 2 children. Her son found his passion in music and theatre, and has participated in numerous Zephyr Theatre productions. This pushed the whole family to join in supporting and championing this wonderful theatre, and to provide a connection between the Zephyr Theatre and young families. Nicole joined the Board in June 2019 and currently serves as the Board Secretary.
Dr. Gary Bird
Dr. Gary Bird, Retired Professor Emeritus of Music from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (1968), Master of Music from University of North Texas (1971) and a Doctor of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington (1992). He is presently an adjunct Professor of Music at UW-River Falls. In his professional career he has been the conductor of the following Musical Theater productions: West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Fantasticks, The Pirates of Penzance, Working, On the Town, My Fair Lady, Hair, Cabaret, Into the Woods, Kiss Me Kate, A New Brain, Candide, A Little Shop of Horrors, Guys and Dolls, Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat, Gigi, Lady Be Good, and Jacob’s Ladder.
Alex is an experienced Operations Manager and Event Coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in the Hospitality Management Industry. He currently serves as the Concierge Manager and Sales Director of the Historic Water Street Inn and was brought on to open their new addition, which includes 20 additional guest rooms, 3 conference rooms, and a Rooftop restaurant: Papa’s. Prior to that he was the General Manager responsible for opening the Boutique Hotel Crosby, Downtown Stillwater, as well as remodeling the AmericInn Hotel and Suites by Wyndham located in Oak Park Heights.
He is also skilled in nonprofit organizations, event management, fundraising, and volunteer management through his work supporting United Way of Washington County East, Knights of Columbus co. 1632 and the American Cancer Society. Most notably was Alex’s experience leading the Relay for Life of Stillwater where he raised over 1 million dollars during his time there and built the event to become the largest in the state and top 10 nationwide (Per Capita) with the help of the Stillwater Community.
He lives in Lake St. Croix Beach and enjoys outdoor activities around his home on the St. Croix River. As a child he was a novice playwright, writing and directing plays in his backyard with friends and cousins putting on performances for family and neighbors. His theatre experience continued through school productions and now as a consumer in adulthood. He met Calyssa Hall in 2017 and has supported The Zephyr from the beginning now serving on the Board starting in 2019.
Rachael Harvey is a real estate agent with Edina Realty and has her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University Of Minnesota Carlson School Of Business. Rachael was previously with Seagate Technology and Control Data selling hard drives to OEM manufacturers including Cray Research, Silicon Graphics and Gateway. She is an avid skier and has been on the National Ski Patrol for 48 years. She is on the Board of Bayport Marina, and an Ambassador for the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. She has volunteered her expertise to many organizations including Past Commander of the St. Paul Sail and Power Squadron and does vessel safety checks on the St. Croix River, the Board of Women’s Business Bridge and an Ambassador for Valley Outreach. Rachael has also acted at The Phipps and the Lowery Lab and volunteers at the Guthrie Theatre. Rachael is currently leading the volunteer efforts for The Zephyr Theatre.
Blaise has lived in Stillwater his whole life. His parents and siblings all acted, sang or played musical instruments. So, naturally he did too, from elementary band to church choir. He became more involved in high school, diving into tech, as well as improv comedy. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in writing from Metropolitan State University in 2010, he started volunteering for the Stillwater Public Library, which he continues to this day, sharing his love of reading and writing. In 2016, he attended his first city council meeting in support of the Zephyr Theatre, and immediately signed on to volunteer there as well. Since 2018, Blaise has also served on the Stillwater Human Rights Commission, advocating for disability awareness. His continued involvement with Zephyr Theatre does and will enable him to advocate for literacy, creativity and inclusion.
Michael’s efforts to support the Zephyr stem from the cognitive benefits he sees the arts provide, while testing comfort zones of the individual. His creative interests were refined early through acrylic painting while attending Stillwater High School. In 2014 Michael began piano lessons revealing a hidden talent for improvisation, quickly composing many original pieces…even rewriting a Satie classic within five months and performing at the Phipps twice by invitation. He leads an innovation practice centered on civic issues, with ‘sustainability’ being the current focus.
Lara Otsuka has spent the last five years working in the nonprofit world as the Operations Director for United Way St. Croix Valley. Prior to this she worked as a journalist and then as a litigator at a Chicago law firm. While working as an attorney and then later while staying home with her two daughters, Lara became an active volunteer with a variety of nonprofits and when she returned to the workforce she decided to turn her focus to this work. Growing up, Lara’s family was heavily involved in community theater and her own two daughters have inherited this love of performing. Lara moved to Stillwater from Chicago in 2015 with her husband Greg and daughters Mallory, 15, and Mia, 12. After trying different theater programs in other towns, the family was thrilled when the Zephyr opened its doors and the girls quickly found a home there taking classes and appearing in youth productions. Lara received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from California State University, Chico and a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law. In addition to theater, she enjoys running, reading and exploring all the beautiful hiking trails in the area with her 130-lb dog, Milo.
Annette is the Director of Community Education for Stillwater Area Public Schools. She has more than 25 years of experience in education. She completed her Leadership in Education master’s degree at the University of Minnesota and has a BA in psychology with an elementary teaching license from Hamline University. After joining the Stillwater school district in 2004, Annette served in several roles before assuming the director’s position in 2014. Although she does not live in Stillwater she considers this her community. Beyond her work for the school district, she is a board member for United Way Washington County East, serves on the Lakeview Health Foundation Health and Well-Being Advisory Committee and is an active chamber member.