Fox Cities P.A.C. announces new staff structure, expands leadership team


L-R: Nicholas J. Reising, Amy Gosz, Trisha Witt, Pilar Martiniz, Maria Van Laanen, Ryan Brzozowski, Jane Wehrel, Kristin Schroeder, Lisa Shovan, Gerald Henley

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce the successful implementation of a new leadership structure focused on continuing to deliver exceptional live experiences to its audiences and community. In the planning stages for several years, the 2021-22 Season will be the first that fully transitions the Fox Cities P.A.C. staff to be led by current president and now CEO Maria Van Laanen with an executive leadership team and senior leadership team guiding respective departments in creating the magical moments that make the arts come to life in our community.

“Restructuring our staff allows us to continue to remain focused on the future of live performing arts while ensuring we remain flexible in listening and responding to the needs of changing times and audiences,” said Van Lannen. “We know the arts are an important part of everyone’s life in unique ways and everyone participates in them differently. I am thrilled to have this group of skilled leaders creating a variety of exceptional experiences that will continue on our promise to inspire, transform and build our community through the arts.”

The change took effect July 1, 2021 and the staff has already been hard at work preparing to welcome back audiences, training new team members and sharing the live performing arts with our community, in-person, once again.


Maria Van Laanen – President and CEO
Van Laanen has been with the Center since October 2001.  Drawing on nearly 30 years of experience in arts management, Van Laanen oversees all areas of operations at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.  She is a Tony voting member of The Broadway League and serves on the Intra-Industry Legislative Council and Diversity & Inclusion Committee.  In the community, she is the chair of the YMCA – Appleton Board of Directors, is a member of the Imagine Fox Cities’ Belonging Group as well as many other local advisory committees.

Executive Leadership Team

Ryan Brzozowski – Chief Event Operations Officer
Brzozowski has been with the Center since February 2002. As the chief event operations officer, he provides strategic oversight of all event execution and facility operations for the Center. After receiving his degree from UW-Green Bay, he served in a variety of ticketing positions at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Green Bay and the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Brzozowski is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers.

Amy Gosz – Chief Programming Officer
Amy Gosz was hired as the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s first Education Coordinator in September 2002. As the Center’s Chief Programming Officer Gosz leads the development and implementation of programs that engage, entertain, educate and enhance the community through the arts. Prior to her roles at the Center, Gosz was an elementary school teacher. She serves on Appleton West High School’s Business Advisory Board, Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities’ Education and Outreach Committee, Fox Arts Network and Vice Chair of Region 3 of Wisconsin Presenters Network. Gosz received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.

Nicholas J. Reising – Chief Audience Development Officer
Reising, hired in January 2016, has spent much of his professional career in fundraising and now oversees fundraising, marketing, creative services and ticket operations. He received his undergraduate degree from UW-Stevens Point in Theater Design/Technology and Business Administration as well as his masters from Colorado State University in Organizational Leadership. Reising serves on Association of Fundraising Professionals - Northeast Wisconsin Chapter & Board Member, United Way Emerging Leaders Committee, YMCA Corporate Financial Development Committee, Young Wishmakers of Wisconsin- NE Wisconsin member, and as a UW-Stevens Point COFAC Advisory Council member.

Lisa Shovan – Chief Finance Officer
Shovan was hired as the Chief Finance Officer in January 2018 and is responsible for managing the Center’s finances, as well as overseeing information technology and human resources. Prior to joining the Center, Shovan spent fourteen years at Trudeau Institute, Inc. concluding as Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer & Assistant Secretary, and most recently five years as Vice President for Administration and Finance at SUNY Clinton Community College. Shovan graduated from the State University of New York - Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

Senior Leadership Team

Gerald Henley – Director of Production and Facility Operations
Since 2004, Henley has served as stage manager, production stage manager, director of theatrical productions and now as the director of production and facility operations. Henley oversees all production related activities, commercial booking at the Center, in addition to leading all facets of the facility operations teams. He is a Grammy voter and serves on the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Board of Directors. Henley graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with degrees in music and political science (pre-law).

Pilar Martinez – Senior Manager of Event Services
Martinez has been with the Center in various roles since 2009. As the senior manager of event services, her team is responsible for coordinating and executing events, front of house operations including food, beverage, valet, volunteer and audience services. Her background is in non-profit fundraising and special events. Martinez graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management. She currently serves on the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Northeast Wisconsin Chapter Board of Directors, National Philanthropy Day Committee Co-Chair and Rotary Club of Appleton Marketing and Communications Co-Chair.

Kristin Schroeder – Senior Manager of Creative Services
Schroeder has been with the Center since 2004. In her role as senior manager of creative services, she provides leadership and oversees the Center’s brand and creative development for all marketing and communication materials used to promote the organization. Schroeder graduated from St. Norbert College and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has a background in a variety of entertainment marketing positions throughout her career. She currently serves on the Appleton Education Foundation Board of Directors and Communications Committee.

Jane Wehrel – Senior Manager of Ticketing Services
Wehrel has been with the Center since 2007. As the senior manager of ticketing services, she works with clients and partners to put Center ticketed events on sale to the public and provides leadership for the ticket services team. Wehrel has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UW-Green Bay and a background in retail management. Wehrel is a member of INTIX, an international ticketing association.  

Trisha Witt – Director of Marketing and Communications
Witt was hired as the director of marketing and communications in 2015 and is responsible for all Center marketing and communications. Prior to joining the Center, Witt spent 17 years in marketing and communications at Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Witt graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh with a Radio/TV/Film major and English minor. Witt currently serves on the Broadway League Road Marketing Committee, Convention and Visitors Bureau Marketing Committee, Harbor House Marketing Committee, and is a Pillars volunteer.

A Senior Manager of Development position will be responsible for overseeing Center fundraising initiatives and donor relationships. The role is currently in the process of being filled.

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