Great Lakes Center For The Arts
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Great Lakes Center for the Arts announces new Board members

The Great Lakes Center for the Arts continues to build its leadership team as construction progresses on this new social and cultural hub in Northern Michigan opening in July 2018. The Center’s Executive Director, Jill O’Neill, recently announced the expansion of the Center’s Board of Directors with three new members bringing diverse backgrounds in the arts, nonprofits and professional affiliations. With the addition of the three new members, the Center’s board now includes 15 members, with plans to continue to grow. The Center is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that will open on July 7, 2018.

“We are pleased to have board members from a wide variety of geographic and professional backgrounds,” said O’Neill. “It is important we are representative of the region that we serve, and it also helps staff to be able to draw on the exceptional knowledge our board members bring to the table. They are respected business, philanthropic and community leaders both in Northern Michigan and other communities throughout Michigan and beyond.”

The new board members are:

Orlene Hawks
Okemos and Bay Harbor

Orlene Hawks is Director of the Office of Children’s Ombudsman, an independent state agency formed to receive and investigate complaints concerning children who for reasons of abuse or neglect are under the supervision of the Department of Human Services or its private contracted agencies. The OCO makes recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature, and the DHS for changes in child welfare laws, rules, and policies to improve outcomes for children.

“Improving the quality of life for Michigan’s children is a priority,” said Gov. Rick Snyder, upon appointing Hawks to the state position. “Orlene has experience working with vital programs assisting families and children as well as state government. I know she’ll be a passionate, tireless advocate for our families, making sure they get the assistance they need.”

Since 2010, she has managed the Quality and Program Services section in the Michigan Department of Community Health, working with the Children’s Special Health Care Services Local Advisory Council. She previously managed the Child, Adolescent and Family Health Services section and directed the Office of Statutory and Legislative Compliance. She also served as the Department of Community Health’s legislative liaison, overseeing a statewide legislative agenda affecting the agency’s Public Health, Medical Services Administration, Office of Services to the Aging and Mental Health divisions.

Hawks is a trained dancer and has interest in working with the Center on programming and development. Jamaican by birth, Hawks was raised in Detroit and attended Michigan State University. She and her husband, Mike, have two daughters, Lana and Natalia.

Irene Chan Rogerson
Philadelphia, PA, Sarasota, FLA and Bay Harbor

Irene Rogerson is an experienced business executive having served in various roles at Monsanto, Bayer, Uniroyal, Crompton and Chemtura, from which she retired in 2013.

Rogerson was born, raised and educated in Singapore and started her career there first with United Airlines, followed by Carlton Hotel. She began her management career at global chemical giant Monsanto in 1995, and served in various roles in Customer Service, Logistics and Planning with the firm, and in similar roles with Bayer, Uniroyal, and Crompton Corp. in Singapore.

In 2006, she was promoted by Chemtura Corp., a successor to Crompton, to Director of Logistics and Customer Service for Asia Pacific, and was relocated to its regional headquarters in Shanghai, China. Her responsibilities included overseeing the supply chain for all Asia Pacific, from Korea in the north to Australia in the south, and India in the west. In 2011, she served as Chairman of the company’s Asia Business Council, representing the region as its most senior executive until her retirement in 2013.

Rogerson was involved in both modern dance and voice from an early age in Singapore. She was a worship leader for a local church and continued leading worship in an international church during her assignment in Shanghai. She travels extensively and enjoys interacting with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. Rogerson is involved in a variety of charitable endeavors ranging from education to health and wellness.

She and her husband, Craig, have four children and two grandchildren and enjoy spending time at their homes in Bay Harbor, MI and Sarasota, FL.

Kurt Wietzke
Boyne City

Past president and current Executive Committee chair of the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, Kurt Wietzke has long been a supporter of Northern Michigan and the arts. 

Retired from a successful career as a manufacturing executive and duty-free executive, Wietzke graduated from Kalamazoo College and the University of Michigan. He resides on Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City with his wife, Phoebe.

A number of years ago, upon election as Board President of the Crooked Tree Arts Center, Wietzke said, “I am a person of modest talent but an uncommon passion for the arts.”

Among community activities, he has served in a variety of roles with the CTAC, including the acquisition and growth of the Traverse City Arts Center. Wietzke engineered the merging of Lavender Hills Farms and Aten Place performance center, thereby assuring the continuation of a 23-year concert venue, and he has worked on development for Camp Quality. Wietzke participated in the creation of the Boyne City Main Street program and was involved in founding the popular Boyne Thunder performance boat series. He also aided in creation of the CTAC Up North Vocal Institute.

“Some of my proudest moments involve discovery, where one is reminded what the arts bring to the life of a participant,” Wietzke said.

About the Board of Directors

Also serving on the Great Lakes Center for the Arts Board of Directors are: Deana Blackburn, Bill Clements, Carole Cobb, Marilyn Crawford, David Crouse, Pamella DeVos, David V. Johnson, Jennifer Merriman, Jill O’Neill, Kathy Oswald, Annette Pocica and Elysa Roskam.

The Center’s Strategic Consulting Partner is the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, with Michael M. Kaiser, Chairman.


  • Theater
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Intellectual Dialogue
  • Movies & Film
  • Education