Board of Directors

Officers and Directors of The Salisbury Forum for 2017-2018 Season:

Donald Ross, President: Ross served for 2 years in the US Peace Corps (Nigeria); graduated from NYU law school; and worked as a consumer advocate for Ralph Nader.  He helped found and led the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and then directed the Rockefeller Family Fund for 14 years.  Ross served as the Chair of Greenpeace USA.  He is a senior partner in the Albany-based law firm of Malkin & Ross.  For the last 8 years, he led the National Campaign to Reform State Juvenile Justice Systems for the John D & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Frank Fitzmaurice, Vice President:  Frank had a career of more than 35 years managing broadcast facilities and producing news and public affairs programs in Washington D.C. He was the first executive producer of NPR's Morning Edition and was the recipient of the George Polk Award, The Overseas Press Club Award and two Columbia Dupont Awards.

Leon Graham, Treasurer:  Leon has a Masters Degree in Spanish-American Civilization from Southern Methodist University. He has had a long career in sales and marketing at American Express, CBS Columbia House, Scali, McCabe, Sloves and Bertelsmann/BMG USA . He is on the Advisory Board of the Gay Mens Health Crisis, NYC, and the Steering Committee of the Village Democratic Club, NYC.

Gretchen Babarovic: Former Chief of Staff for the late Peter Jennings, ABC news anchor. She is a Board member of the Connecticut Family and Children’s Aid Society of Connecticut, and  the Project Administrator for The Connecticut Project For The Constitution.

Caroline Burchfield:  Director of Community Relations and Development at Noble Horizons in Salisbury, CT.   Caroline was Director of the Annual Fund at the Hotchkiss School from which she graduated as a member of the school's first class of girls. She has worked with The Jane Lloyd Fund for over a decade, the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service and the Northwest Corner Triad.  Caroline attended St. Lawrence University (BA) and Wesleyan University (MALS).

Claudia Cayne:  A founding member of The Salisbury Forum, Claudia is Director of the Scoville Memorial Library.

Verena Drake, Ph.D.:  Instructor in history and art history at The Hotchkiss School. From 1990 to 2002 she was an associate professor of History and Quest for Human Understanding at Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.

Joshua Ginsberg, Ph. D.:  President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.  He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and his B.S. from Yale University.  His career in conservation science spans 35 years and several continents. During the 1980s and 1990s, he led ecology and conservation projects in Asia and East and Southern Africa.  For 18 years at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), he held a series of senior management roles that benefited from his scientific, fiscal, and administrative expertise.  Dr. Ginsberg has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University since 1998.

Eliza Klose:  Executive Director of ISAR, a DC-based non-profit working to build NGO’s in the former Soviet Union, 1989-2004. Eliza lived in Russia 1977-1981 and translated the works of Lydia Chukovskaya, To the Memory of Childhood and Sofia Petrovna, which were published by Northwestern University Press in 1988. She came to the Northwest Corner of Connecticut in 2010 and belongs to a number of local organizations.

Richard Lanier:  President of the Asian Cultural Council and Chair of the Trust for Mutual Understanding. He is a member of the Asian Art Visiting Committee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a former member of the President’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee. He currently serves on the boards of the Rubin Museum of Art, the Japan Society, and the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center.

Mary Close Oppenheimer:  Mary worked as a graphic designer and illustrator in New York from 1977 to 1986. Since then she has worked almost exclusively as a fine artist focusing on painting and drawing. For over 25 years she has served on the board of The Reading Reform Foundation of New York helping inner-city public schools teach literacy. She also served on the board of the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council and is currently a member of the Salisbury Affordable Housing Commission.

Lisa Sheble: Lisa left New York for Salisbury in 1986. She had been Director of Publications and an instructor in photography at a girls’ day school. She also had a freelance photography business serving non-profit organizations. She became Director of Publications and taught photography at The Salisbury School. She also earned a Master’s degree in Religious Studies and now teaches World Religions and World Ethics. Her volunteer work includes the Salisbury Winter Sports Association, Women’s Support Service and Hands In Outreach, a small foundation dedicated to providing funds for the education of girls in Nepal.

Ian Strever:  Ian is Assistant Principal at Housatonic Valley Regional High School and an Adjunct Professor of English at UConn Torrington. He has worked in education for 16 years at the secondary and college levels, and he has also published prose and poetry in a variety of journals and periodicals.

Alex Taylor:  Alex is a senior editor-at-large for Fortune magazine and CNN/Money.com, where he writes the “MotorWorld” column. In 2010, his memoir Sixty to Zero was published by Yale University Press. He is a former adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a juror for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.