Research Design & Statistics
DDP is fortunate to have the following individuals as a resource in designing our research studies, to check our methodology and statistical protocols. We are grateful for their collaboration.
Project and Research Consultant
Patrick is a Corporate Counsel with U.S. Anesthesia Partners in Dallas, Texas, where he focuses on payor contracting, litigation, and dispute resolution. Prior to his current role, Patrick worked as a healthcare strategy consultant for PwC, and also spent over a decade in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate. He has been involved with dance throughout his life, including working as an accompanist, composer, and performer for the dance departments at Texas Christian University and the University of Richmond. He is thrilled to be able to contribute to the amazing work DDP is doing to support equity initiatives in classical ballet.
Patrick holds a B.S., magna cum laude, in Psychology from Texas Christian University, a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Richmond School of Law, and an M.B.A., with honors, from the University of California, Berkeley.
Melanie Doerner is a proven arts leader and fundraiser with 19 years of nonprofit management experience, and has raised over $15M for the arts. Melanie began her career in arts administration in 2001 with the José Limón Dance Company. She is currently the Director of Development for North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh, previously working for Carolina Ballet and Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose. She is a founding board member of sjDANCEco. Melanie holds a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School and formerly practiced as a corporate attorney in her native Canada. Her husband Michael Doerner is a ballet dancer, having performed with the National Ballet of Canada under Reid Anderson and James Kudelka, Alberta Ballet under Mikko Nissinen, and Ballet San Jose under Dennis Nahat.
Erica Lynette Edwards
Project and Research Consultant
Erica Lynette Edwards is an accomplished consultant and public speaker who champions change to advance the art of dance. With diversity, equity, and inclusion as the core foundation of her work, she transforms visions into reality. After a rewarding 15-year career as a ballerina at The Joffrey Ballet and five years as the Director of Community Engagement, she founded Cultivating Better Tomorrows. Through this consulting company Erica reshapes the dynamics of dance communities to produce environments where all students can thrive. Highly skilled in delivering consistent success and effective change, she is passionate about facilitating results driven conversations and workshops focused on reflection and knowledge building. Her visionary leadership has earned her many honors and opportunities, including speaking on national panels, giving a TEDx talk, and being selected as a member of Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40.” Visit Erica’s personal website here. Visit the website for Cultivating Better Tomorrows here.
Sumru Erkut, PHD
Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., is senior scholar and former senior research scientist and associate director at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) whose research has focused on racial/ethnic diversity and gender equity in leadership and development across the life course. She was part of a team that found that three or more women on a corporate board of directors constitute a critical mass, which improves the functioning of corporate boards, and she has analyzed data from interviews with diverse women leaders, which resulted in Inside Women’s Power: Learning from Leaders. Erkut directed the postdoctoral research training program on variations in child and adolescent development funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development.
Iyun Ashani Harrison is an Associate Professor & the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Dance at Duke University. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he received his MFA from Hollins University and is currently a doctoral candidate in education at Marymount University. He has danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico, Ailey II, and the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. Harrison is the executive director of Ballet Ashani and his choreography has been commissioned by the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Ailey School, Boston Conservatory, Collage Dance Collective, American Dance Festival, University of Florida, Henderson State University, Pomona College, Jamaica School of Dance, and the University of the West Indies. He has held several academic positions including Cornish College of the Arts, Goucher College, and Webster University. Harrison has also taught on the faculties of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, The Ailey School, and Peabody Conservatory.
Lory currently leads The Philanthropy Workshop’s Americas East portfolio and partners with philanthropists and social investors to establish social impact goals, create strategic roadmaps for community engagement and educational programs, and curate expert connections and resources for her members. Lory graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Economics and received her M.S. in Global Affairs from New York University. She currently serves as an Advisor to the President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, is a Next Generation member of UNICEF USA and NEXUS Global, and a 21/64 Certified Advisor on Multigenerational Family Philanthropy. Lory also performed for the Quezon City Ballet from 2003-2007.
Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder and publisher of Philanthropy Women. A former Senior Editor for Inside Philanthropy, Kiersten is the author of hundreds of articles on gender equity funding as well as two books. Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes and Cooking for Emotional Wellness: Recipes to Nourish Your Archetypes. Kiersten served as Board Member and Treasurer for the Rhode Island Center for Law and Public Policy from 2008 to 2016, working to support legal services for those with limited financial means. In 2004, Kiersten helped her family facilitate the creation of the Stoppleworth Conservation Area in Tolland, Connecticut, a 55-acre open space hiking park.
For over 20 years, Kiersten has been practicing clinical social work, specializing in trauma recovery and identity development for all ages. She lives with her family in Rhode Island.
Sandra Parks is a choreographer, dance educator, and an advocate for female leadership. She is the founder and Executive Director of Women in Dance, a non-profit organization that promotes female leadership in dance and related fields. The mission of Women in Dance is to provide opportunities in accessing broader and more visible platforms, expanding the voices of artists/scholars, and strengthening the capacity and vibrancy of women in dance making and dance related fields.
Sandra has toured nationally and internationally and has choreographed more than 80 live concerts. She danced with Bosoma Dance Company, Dance Collective, and Impulse Dance Company in Boston and has presented her work at professional venues across the globe. She holds her BFA from New York University and MFA from Smith College, MA. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Sandra danced as a soloist with Four Seasons Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company.
Timothy M. Russell is currently the Vice President of Community Engagement and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of Chicago-based Window to the World Communications, Inc. (WWCI), parent company of public television station WTTW and classical music station WFMT. Tim is responsible for leading WWCI’s community engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts focused on shaping the organization’s vision and strategy with relevant influencers, nonprofits, foundations, and business partners ensuring that they align with the organization’s strategic plan.
Tim received his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and religion from Oberlin College, earned a Masters of Theological Studies with a concentration in Ethics and Society from Garrett Theological Seminary and completed a certificate program in Business Administration at Loyola University Chicago. Tim and his wife, Joi-Anissa, and their children – Mark and Ava – live in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, IL.
Project and Research Consultant
Isabelle Vail joins the Advisory Council after four years of leading DDP’s research and special projects teams. Isabelle oversaw DDP’s collaboration with institutional and independent research partners, coordinating new examinations of the state of gender equity in ballet, and spearheaded strategic engagement through DDP’s social media channels and auxiliary programming. She began consulting for DDP in 2017 as a part-time research assistant and went on to play an active role in the founding of DDP as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, advising on the organization’s early research endeavors and engagement before becoming DDP’s first full-time consultant in 2019. She attended Wake Forest University as a Presidential Scholar of Dance, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Psychology and French in 2018. From 2018-2019, Isabelle resided in Rouen, France, working as a language assistant in two local collèges. Vail recently joined the team at Bliss Point Media as Manager of Client Strategy & Analytics.
Project and Research Consultant
Susan West is an active supporter of the arts and an advocate of diversity in the workplace. She joined the Dance Data Project® in 2016 as Lead Researcher, now serving as a research and project consultant. Susan has spent her career working for and with higher education institutions. She is a Manager in the Higher Education Strategy & Operations practice at Huron Consulting Group where she leads a discussion group on women in the workplace and engages in numerous efforts to support, promote, and recruit women in higher education consulting. Prior to joining Huron, Susan was Associate Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), at Yale University. While at Yale Susan served as Co-Chair of Yale’s LGBTQ Affinity Group from 2013-2015 and co-founded the organization Women in IT (WIT) @ Yale in 2013.
Susan holds an M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in Communication Studies from Furman University.
Charles Whitaker is Dean and professor at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Before joining the Medill faculty, Whitaker was a senior editor at Ebony Magazine. Whitaker has also led a prolific journalism career, working with institutions such as the Miami Herald and the Louisville (Ky.) Times, and contributing articles to the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, Jet Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Saturday Evening Post, Chicago Parent magazine, and Folio, the magazine of the magazine industry. Among Whitaker’s many notable roles and endeavors, he authored four statistical analyses of the hiring of women and minorities in the magazine industry, co-directed Project Masthead (a program designed to encourage students of color to consider careers in the magazine industry), and has served as an adviser on diversity issues for the Magazine Publishers of America.
Ty Woodfolk is an Executive leader with thirty-plus years of driving full systems HR processes in all HR facets, including management, analysis, and diversity leadership within high profile non-profit arts organizations and for-profit corporations. Currently, as the Director of Human Resources, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Ty is involved in championing the organization’s core values and strategic commitment to attract, retain, advance, and support a broadly diverse workforce. Ty previously was the Director of Human Resources for the Houston Ballet Foundation. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Human Resources Management, and is a current member of the Society for Human Resources Management.
A Texas native, Jason is currently a combined MD/PhD student at the University of Texas Medical Branch. His prior education includes a BS in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University and an MS in Infectious Disease and Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
Before pursuing a career as a physician scientist, Jason was a ballet dancer. Having trained at the Harid Conservatory, Jason went on to dance with Tulsa Ballet II and won awards at the 2015 Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition Finals and Semi-finals. In 2018, Jason started an independent blog analyzing publicly available ballet data (pointes.data.blog/), leading him to join DDP. He is excited to apply his data science and ballet experience to further the advocacy goals of DDP.