ICM Foundation Board
The Park University International Center for Music Foundation exists to secure philanthropic resources that will provide direct and substantial support to the educational and promotional initiatives of the International Center for Music at Park University. With unwavering commitment, the Foundation endeavors to enhance awareness and broaden audiences across local, national, and international spheres. The Foundation Board includes:
Vince Clark, Chairman
Steve Karbank, Secretary
Benny Lee, Treasurer
Angela V. Walker
Shane Smeed, President Park University
Ami Wisdom, Assistant Secretary
Lisa Hickok, Executive Director International Center for Music
Melissa Ford, Chief Advancement Officer
Stanislav Ioudenitch, Piano Studio
Ben Sayevich, Violin Studio
Daniel Veis, Cello Studio
Vince Clark, Chairman
Vince Clark is Vice President of Business Development at Creative Planning and a member of the company’s senior leadership team. He has more than 25 years of Wall Street experience in finance, banking, and management.
Vince is Vice Chair and co-founder of Pathway Financial Education, a nonprofit organization that provides free financial education and training to individuals and families in under-resourced communities and aspires to make generational changes by removing families from the cycle of poverty and poor financial decision-makings.
Vince is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Park University and the current Chairman of its International Center for Music Foundation Board. He is the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman of Children’s Mercy Hospital Board and has served on the board of several other civic and arts organizations.
Vince has a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a Bachelor’s Degree from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.
Steve Karbank, Secretary
Steven Karbank is Chairman of Karbank Real Estate Company. His recent projects include The Barney Building, The 2400 Building and The 1900 Building. The buildings have received LEED Gold certification (Green Building Council), as well as numerous design awards.
Steven is a graduate of Boston University with a degree in philosophy and psychology.
- Boston University’s Board of Advisors, member
- Boston University College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board, member
- William Jewell College, Trustee
- Park University International Center for Music Advisory Council, Co-Chairman
- Orangutan Foundation International, Trustee
- Boston University Alumni Association, President
- Friends of Chamber Music, President and Trustee
- Jewish Community Foundation of Kansas City, Trustee
Benny Lee, Treasurer
Benny is Chairman & CEO of the DuraComm Corporation, based in Kansas City, Missouri, a world-wide supplier of power supplies including its Site Scout Remote Monitoring and Control unit, and new Public Safety Power enclosures approved by the National Fire Protection Association.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Benny graduated from the Tatung Institute of Technology with a major in electrical engineering. He then went to work for the Taipei office of Midland International, the Kansas City company.
Later, he began his own company developing and sourcing several high-profile products, Including the Ginsu 2000 that sold millions of units on American television infomercials, and developed a complete small appliance line for Singer.
He also served Western Auto and Payless Cashways companies by establishing and maintaining import programs, including Western Auto’s Western Flyer bicycle program. This helped Western Auto to remain in the bicycle business and compete for many years against giant retailers that dominated the retail business at that time.
In 1995, Benny moved his family to the United States, where he expanded another of his companies, Top Innovations. He launched an affordable line of SteamFast steamers, including a SteamFast fabric steamer that sold 16,000 SteamFast fabric steamers in one day alone through QVC’s Today’s Special Value program. Top Innovations had sold lines of SteamFast and McCulloch steam products, including irons, steam presses, vacuum cleaners and other innovative merchandise. Benny sold the company in 2008.
Affirming his belief that the United States is the most philanthropic country in the world, Benny lives the practice of giving back to the community. In 2003, he was instrumental in beginning the International Music program for Park University which became a world-renown International Center of Music (ICM).
Benny’s activities include service in many organizations, and his accomplishments have resulted in numerous civic and business awards. He began playing the clarinet in 2013 and performs non-professionally for many audiences both domestically and internationally.
Marilyn Brewster holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance, as well as an Associate’s degree in piano performance. She is also accredited as a Certified Payroll Professional, as well as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. She retired from a career in accounting in 2020 and now works as the controller and payroll tax accountant for several clients in various industries. In addition, Marilyn has served as the treasurer on the board of directors for her homeowners’ association, as well as the Fort Worth Human Resource Management Association. In her spare time, she travels with Park University ICM’s students Ilya Shmukler and Tatiana Dorokhova to attend their multi-national performances, while keeping up with her work as the pianist and choir accompanist for a church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Lisa Browar retired after fifteen years as President of the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology in June 2023, bringing to a close a 47-year career as a rare books and manuscripts librarian and library executive. During her career, Lisa served as Assistant Curator of the Yale Collection of American Literature at Yale’s Beinecke Library; Curator of Special Collections at Vassar College; Assistant Director for Rare Books and Manuscripts at The New York Public Library; Director of Indiana University’s Lilly Library; and University Librarian at The New School in New York City.
Lisa holds a B.A. (English literature); M.L.S. (Library Science), and an Executive M.A. (Philanthropic Studies) from Indiana University, as well as an M.A. (English and American Literature) from the University of Kansas. While studying at Indiana University, Lisa studied voice at I.U.’s Jacobs School of Music as a non-major. In addition to learning technique and repertoire, these studies imparted a thorough understanding of the demands placed upon music students as well as the opportunities available. She feels privileged to be able to support the ICM’s students in their studies.
Stanley Fisher, MD, FANA, FAAN is currently serving as a Vice President and Head of Medical Affairs Specialty Pharma Division of Amneal Pharmaceuticals. He is currently holding adjunct appointments at the Weill Cornell Medical College and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Departments of Neurology. Prior to joining Amneal, he has served as a Co-Director of Saint Luke Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute (SLMBNI) in Kansas City, MO for more than 4 years. Dr. Fisher was a Chair of the Division of Neuroscience and Chief of the Department of Neurology at Saint Luke Physician Group and a member of the physician leadership committee. Dr. Fisher lead SLMBNI to become a top 50 neuroscience program in the country by US News and World report for the last three years. He has established new neurology residency program, reinvigorated research enterprise and created 9 centers of excellence within the division. He held a faculty appointment at the rank of Professor in the Department of Neurology and a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the UMKC School of Medicine. He also was appointed as Edward T. Matheny, JR/Missouri Endowed Chair in Neurosciences, with the mandate to define the future of neuroscience through innovation, research and state-of-the art clinical care as well as the management of an academic program of neurosciences. Dr. Fisher is a Fellow of American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and of American Neurological Association (ANA). He was instrumental in creating and has served first as Vice President and then as a President of the Kansas City Clinical Neuroscience Society as well as a board member of Missouri/Kansas Neurological Society. He has recently served as Vice Chair of the Neural Repair and Rehabilitation Section of AAN. Prior to joining SLMBNI, Dr. Fisher has been with Houston Methodist Neurological Institute (HMNI) for more than nine years, from its inception. He was a Founder and Co-Director of the Movement Disorders and Neurorehabilitation Center at HMNI, Elected Deputy Vice Chair of Neurology at the Houston Methodist Hospital as well as Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College. During his time in Houston, HMNI was consistently ranked in the top 20 neuroscience programs in the nation by US News and World Report. He also was appointed an Associate Member of Houston Methodist Research Institute in recognition of his achievement in clinical and translational research.
Bradley L. Freilich, MD
Dr. Freilich is a board-certified, fellowship-trained gastroenterologist with a special emphasis on hepatology, liver disease, and weight management. Dr. Freilich leads the Kansas City Research Institute. This clinical research unit is a leading site in liver disease, weight management, and digestive disease states.
Dr. Freilich is leads the new telehealth-based metabolic weight loss program at Kansas City Gastroenterology & Hepatology. The program is a resource for overweight and obese patients, and those with chronic conditions like cardiac diseases, diabetes, fatty liver disease, orthopedic issues and more, who need additional support losing weight. The program focuses on accountability, diet and nutrition, medication management, exercise, emotional health and working to break habits that have resulted in overeating.
He is a well-known academian and researcher credited with numerous articles, presentations, talks, and research projects on various aspects of liver disease. This distinction ensures that the patients under his care have access to the latest treatments and technologies to treat liver disease. In addition to his practice, Dr. Freilich serves as the medical director of the Liver & Pancreas Institute at Research Medical Center. He is a diplomat of the American Boards of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology and a member of American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and the American Gastroenterology Association.
Holly Nielsen is a member of the Board of Directors to private equity funds and investment companies in the Baring Private Equity Group in Europe, and to Tecnologias Diffiere S.A.P.I. de C.V., an early-stage digital banking platform in Mexico. She serves as International Legal Counsel for Kaspi.kz, a Kazakh fintech company listed on the London Stock Exchange. From 2006 through 2021, Ms. Nielsen held positions as General Counsel and Senior Funds Counsel for Baring Vostok Capital Partners, the leading private equity firm in Central and Eastern Europe. Ms. Nielsen was the managing partner of the Moscow office for US law firm Baker Botts from 1992-94; the partner-in-charge of the Moscow office of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy from 1997-2000; the co-head of the Moscow office of Debevoise & Plimpton from 2001-2006. During 1995-97 Ms. Nielsen was employed by Harvard University as a senior advisor to the first Chairman of the Russian Securities Commission on matters of policy, agency and market development and legislation. She has also served on many non-profit boards, including the Kansas City Art Institute, International Relations Council of Kansas City, United Way Russia and Houston Grand Opera.
Ronald C. Nolan
Ronald Nolan graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a BS in Psychology, and served in the US Army intelligence service (ASA) in Okinawa as a top-secret cryptographic analyst.
After several years in corporate America, he started a real estate brokerage company, Nolan Associates, and began a property management company that by the mid-1980s was a leader in the region. His firm provided property and asset management services for a variety of financial institutions, and later asset management for the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), disposing of a large body of assets. When the RTC wound down, Nolan moved into acquisitions of multi-family properties. This entity grew to own and manage properties in the Midwest, primarily in Texas.
Ron is a Trustee of Hillsdale College and serves on the Advisory Council of Kansas Policy Institute. His interests lie in limited government policy as it affects education and free enterprise.
John is the Owner and Chairman of UltraSource LLC in Kansas City, Missouri. UltraSource is a worldwide industrial manufacturer and distributor of meat and food processing, packaging, and labeling equipment. UltraSource is the largest and, at 135-years-old, the oldest domestic manufacturer of vacuum packaging equipment. In addition, UltraSource sells a full range of processing, packaging, labeling, and slaughtering technology, as well as consumables used in meat/food processing plants.
John started his career with Bank America Corp. in 1986 as Vice President, Senior Corporate Development Officer. In 1990, he moved to Koch Supplies Inc. as Vice President, Equipment Divisions and International Projects, including overseeing the sale, financing and construction of over 40 meat plants throughout the former Soviet Union. He moved into the President and CEO position with UltraSource in 1998. Under his management the company grew from $25 million to over $100 million in revenue.
John currently serves on a number of professional corporate boards: iOR Holdings, Gemline, and Inline Plastics Corp.
He also serves as Vice Chair, Pomona College Board of Trustees in addition to other philanthropic causes.
John is married with three young adult children and resides in Kansas City, Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Pomona College and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He enjoys world travel, exotic/fine food and wine, art collecting, and golf. As a former professional magician, John is Order of Merlin and a member of The Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA. In 1973-75 he hosted a television program.
He’s survived two major earthquakes and been chased up a tree by a rhinoceros.
Steve Swartzman is a Principal and co-founder of CPC. Previously, as a co-founder of C3 Capital, he helped originate and manage over 35 investments, including national brands such as American Apparel, Traeger Grills, and Grunt Style. Steve’s chief focus remains consumer brands and e-commerce enablement businesses, and he currently serves on the boards of Grunt Style, Accel Clinical Research, Spoke Custom Products, Warne Scope Mounts, and New World Natural Brands.
Prior to C3, Steve structured and managed subordinated debt investments at KC Venture Group, and he spent 7 years as a Vice President with Citibank in New York, managing client relationships for emerging markets clients and structuring over $1 billion in complex trade financings. He is a past President of the Midwest chapter of the Small Business Investment Alliance, and he serves on the board of the International Center for Music at Park University in Kansas City.
Steve received a MBA from Columbia Business School and an AB in History and Literature from Harvard College.
He resides in Kansas City, where he was raised, with his wife Evelina and two sons, Harrison and Zandy. When he’s not working, his favorite activities are fishing, golfing, and eating.
Guy Townsend is President of Townsend Communications, Inc. a privately-owned company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Nationally the company’s education division has developed MyMajors, a unique online assessment that uses artificial intelligence and proprietary algorithms to match students to their best fit majors in college. The division works with colleges and universities assisting them with tools to recruit students and improve student outcomes. The company’s local activities include publishing Gladstone Magazine. Guy is also Chairman of the Arts Engagement Foundation of Kansas City which publishes KC Studio Magazine and has digital platforms supporting the arts in Kansas City.
Prior to joining Townsend Communications in 1986 Guy was a staff auditor assigned to overseas audits for the Emhart Corporation based in in Hartford, Connecticut.
Angela V. Walker
AIR FORCE CAREER (22 YEARS)
- Served in a variety of positions to include Cryptologic Language Analyst, Mission Supervisor, Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge of Flight Operations, and Senior Enlisted Advisor.
- Earned Bachelor’s Degree in Area Studies from the University of Maryland
- Retired as Chief Master Sergeant (E9) in 1998
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DoD) CIVILIAN CAREER (15 YEARS):
- Positions held include Staff Officer, Deputy Senior Language Authority, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Agency’s Education and Training organization, and Deputy Chief of the Center for Language and Area Studies
- Contributed military leadership/management and linguistic expertise to the development of policies and procedures in the recruitment, tracking, training, and utilization of joint service and civilian DoD language personnel.
- Retired as a GG-15 in 2015
- Studied ballet from age 10-18. Corps member and soloist with Kansas City Civic Ballet (now Kansas City Ballet) from ~1969-1972
- Taught ballet/choreographed at local dance schools for ~20 years
- Studied piano from age 8-18 and ice skating from age 5-15
- Patronized ballet/dance programs in Berlin, Germany (Deutsche Oper for ~10 years), in Washington D.C. (Kennedy Center Ballet subscribers for 30+ years); Kansas City Ballet subscriber since 2015.
- Member of KC Ballet Board, Guild and Bolender Society
- Also KC Symphony subscriber and member of the Park ICM Patrons Society!
Shane B. Smeed, President, Park University
Shane Smeed is a highly accomplished leader in higher education. Smeed was appointed as the 18th president of Park University in January 2022, having served as interim president since December 2020. Before his presidential appointment, Smeed served as Park’s vice president and chief operating officer. The son of a university administrator, his passion for higher education was ingrained in him from a young age.
Under Smeed’s leadership, Park University has witnessed significant progress and transformative changes. He has spearheaded numerous major initiatives that have shaped the university’s trajectory as president. One notable achievement is developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic plan, providing a clear roadmap for the institution’s future growth and success.
Furthermore, Smeed has successfully launched the most extensive comprehensive campaign in Park University’s history, securing vital resources and support for the institution’s continued advancement. Recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in higher education, he pioneered the university’s first DEIB initiative, fostering an inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff.
Smeed has instituted a wide-ranging communication plan to enhance communication and engagement, ensuring effective and transparent interactions within the university community. Additionally, he has initiated a strategic partnership and workforce development program, forging strong alliances with local businesses and organizations to foster mutually beneficial collaborations.
With more than 25 years of progressive experience in higher education, Smeed brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role as president. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management and a Master of Arts degree in Student Personnel Administration from St. Louis University.
Beyond his responsibilities at Park University, Smeed actively serves on various boards for non-profit organizations. Notably, he is a valued member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Area Development Council, where he contributes his insights and expertise to drive regional development. Additionally, he holds a position on the Executive Committee of the Command and General Staff College Foundation.
Smeed and his wife, Angela, have three children: Samantha, Andrew, and Landon.