About: Board of Directors

Nick Maschari

Board Chairperson

Nick Maschari is Director of Global Business Development at APCO Worldwide, a leading strategic communication firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. His  professional experience has focused on corporate growth and strategy in markets such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Greater China and Europe. Previously, Nick was Business Development Manager at MSLGROUP, one of the largest PR and communications agencies in the world. He started his career in Hong Kong with DFS Group, a holding of LVMH Groupe, where he focused on emerging markets and corporate development for the global retailer. Nick holds a BSJ from West Virginia University’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism, and stays connected to his alma mater through an alumni mentorship program that pairs graduates with rising seniors. He is also a member of the Middle East Institute.

Alan Simensky

Board Treasurer; Chairperson, Finance & Governance Committee

Alan Simensky is the principal at B.A.’s Business Services, LLC, which provides customized accounting and financial management services to small businesses. He has his BBA from George Washington University. Simensky is also a self-taught painter. His work is included in many private and corporate collections such as: Sallie Mae, Washington DC; aloft Hotel, National Harbor, MD; Lincoln Property Co., Washington, DC; Kaiser Permanente, Tysons, VA, and many others. He is Treasurer for the Board of Directors of The Public Forum Institute, and for the Board of Directors of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and is a member of the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors of the Washington Project for the Arts.

Matthew McGuire

Board Secretary; Finance & Governance Committee

Matthew McGuire is an attorney whose practice experience has included financial regulation, legislation, governance and non-profit issues.  He currently is a Managing Associate General Counsel at Freddie Mac.  He has also worked as a 5th through 8th grade science teacher and photography instructor.  In addition to being a Project Create Board member, Matt is Chairman of the Bannockburn Educational Foundation.  Matt has a B.A. in American Literature from Middlebury College, a J.D. from Columbia Law School and an M.P.P. from Georgetown University.

Kira Marchenese

Board & Staff Development Committee Chairperson

Kira Marchenese is digital strategy expert who specializes in working with nonprofits. Early in her career, she helped launch the Washington Post’s web site and worked at America Online. She’s now senior director of digital strategy at Environmental Defense Fund. Her volunteer experience includes marketing Artomatic, a major DC arts festival, and serving on the board of On-Ramps to Careers. She earned a BA in public policy from Duke University and an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Jade Floyd

Chairperson, Special Events Committee

Jade Floyd serves as Senior Director of Communications at the Case Foundation and Revolution. She has more than a decade of strategic communications experience at several leading D.C.-based public affairs firms. Her clients have included the American Dental Association, Center for Wine Origins, Champagne Bureau, Fields Family Foundation, DuPont, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and many more where she has supported government relations and public affairs initiatives. She served for nine years on the board of directors for the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative and a member of the Leadership Council of Sitar Arts Center. She is involved in a number of philanthropic projects related to arts and animal welfare.

Elyce Grimes Forbes

Marketing & Communications

Elyce Grimes Forbes is a Government Contractor as a Business Analyst. She received her B.A. in Communications from Regis College and her Masters in Management and Leadership from Webster University. Elyce has volunteered with Artomatic, various Film Festivals, and We are Family, delivering food to those less fortunate. Previously, she was a researcher at various TV stations in Philadelphia and in Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida.

Lauren Stillwell Patterson

Senior Program Officer

Lauren Stillwell is Program Officer at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.  Previously, she managed grantmaking and donor engagement at The Community Foundation for Montgomery County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.  Lauren has also served on the Steering Committee of Nonprofit Montgomery, an affiliate of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, working to increase the collective strength, visibility and influence of the nonprofit sector.  Lauren holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the College of the Holy Cross.

Kara Lilian

Board Member At - Large

Kara Lilian is Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at Lynx Investment Advisory, an independent investment consulting firm in Washington, DC. She has more than twenty years of financial services experience, working in client service, portfolio administration, compliance and performance reporting capacities.  Kara has a MBA in Finance from The Ohio State University and a BBA degree in International Business from The George Washington University. Her prior volunteer experience was as a mentor to DC youth in the Coaching for College program.

Sharon J. Burton

Board Member At - Large

Sharon J. Burton is an education program specialist who works with providing technical assistance for local and state education agencies across the country.  Her career has focused on working with programs on the local, state, regional and national level in human services, youth development,  education and public health, with a primary focus on underserved youth. In addition, she is a mixed media visual artist  and has established a career in fine arts to include art advising for collectors and curating. Her current volunteer involvement includes serving on the Board of the Millennium Arts Salon, the advisory committee of Personal Visions Gallery at the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda, Maryland and the Ambassadors of the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

Christie Walser

Ex Officio

Christie Walser joined Project Create as Executive Director in January, 2011, bringing with her nearly two decades of nonprofit administration experience, a strong arts management background, a passionate commitment to child advocacy, and a long-time avocation as a community-theater actor/director/producer. Ms. Walser holds a Master of Public Administration degree, along with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management.