CLEVELAND: Cleveland Play House (CPH) has named Collette Appolito Laisure as interim managing director and Anita H. Cook as chief financial officer. Laisure and Cook will lend their leadership and expertise for the next several months to address organizational needs and pave the way for a smooth transition to a permanent managing director.
“Since the theatres went dark in March of 2020, CPH has been focused on building equitable foundations that will support and sustain our future and allow us to serve our diverse community with excellence and compassion,” artistic director Laura Kepley said in a statement. “Collette’s calm, open, collaborative nature and her years of leadership experience will help steer the ship through these choppy waters.” Additionally, Kepley says, Cook “will fortify our financial systems so that CPH emerges a more flexible, fleet, and prepared organization that can adapt and grow in this rapidly changing environment.”
Laisure, who will co-lead with Kepley during the transition period, served as vice president and executive director of PNC Fairfax Connection from 2012 to 2017. She also previously served as the president and executive director of the Presidents’ Council economic development agency and has held board leadership roles at the Cleveland Public Theatre and Karamu House, among others. Laisure also served as the director of the City of Cleveland’s Office of Equal Opportunity, where she was responsible for administering the female- and minority-owned business enterprise program.
A retired CPA, Cook served as the executive director of the West Side Catholic Center from 2011 to 2017, where she led a historic $2 million capital campaign. She serves on the boards of Better Health Partnership, Neighborhood Family Practice, and Community of Hope, and also serves on the finance committee of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.
The CPH board began the process to create an interim plan to support the company following the sudden and unexpected loss of managing director Kevin Moore in October 2020. The board plans to begin a national search for a permanent managing director in the spring.
Cleveland Play House is dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences across Northeast Ohio through plays and educational programs.
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