Jen joined the LGBTQ+ Center Lake County as Program Manager in December 2022. Jen brings nearly 20 years of professional experience to their role as Program Manager, most extensively in event planning and the performing arts sector. Jen started their career as a professional costume designer, where they worked on shows across the globe, from the original Broadway production of American Idiot, to exciting regional theatres across the country, to international opera arenas. After that, they spent 10 years as the Senior Director of Creative Development for RevUp Brands, where they were able to combine their love for dance and design with nurturing young artists to believe in themselves and feel beautiful in their bodies. In this role, Jen traveled the world bringing the joy of dance to communities all over the globe, all while helping to develop reliable integrity-first brands, organizing major international events and helping the company expand from a small local business to an international name brand in the dancewear industry. During those 10 years, Jen also returned to the stage, performing across various theatres in Chicago and the Northshore as well as working as a director, choreographer, writer and producer. In their most recent role, Jen was the Presented Works & Theatrical Production Manager at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, where they curated and planned over 100 events each year including contracting, budgeting and managing staff and volunteers.
Jen earned their BFA in Theatre Arts with a minor in Dance and a secondary focus in Gender Studies & Queer Theory at Illinois Wesleyan University. They earned their MFA in Design for Stage & Film from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Jen has found great fulfilment in representing the queer voice both on and off the stage. Jen’s strong event planning experience combined with their passion for volunteering and activism is what drew them to this opportunity with the LGBTQ+ Center. Having grown up in Lake County during a time when representation and resources for the LGBTQ+ community were non-existent, Jen looks forward to making space for all people in our county to feel safe, welcome and that they belong.
“I’m very excited to help expand the programming and services that the LGBTQ+ Center Lake County offers. I hope to further our focus on resource sharing, as well as develop additional opportunities for connection and collaboration throughout our county.”
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