NYFA Board of Directors Elects Five New Members
NYFA is very pleased to announce the election of five new members to its Board of Directors: Filmmaker Mira Nair; Author Saïd Sayrafiezadeh; attorney Emily Kirsch, real estate broker Sharon Held, and William Draper, a Founding Director of the Exetor Group. These new Board Members represent not only extraordinary talent in their respective fields, but a dedication to enriching the lives and developing the skills and crafts of those around them. The Board and Staff of NYFA are lucky to count themselves among the many recipients of the time and generosity of these five cultural leaders. Please keep reading for more information on Mira, Saïd, Emily, Sharon and William.
Mira Nair was awarded a NYFA Film Fellowship in 1988. Her first feature, 1988’s Salaam Bombay!, was the first Indian film to win the coveted Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988, followed by more than 25 international awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars in 1989. In 2001, Nair’s film Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion, Venice’s top prize in cinema, becoming one of the highest-grossing foreign films of all time. She is currently in production of the stage musical of the film, set to open on Broadway in 2015. In addition to her film and theater work, Ms. Nair has established the Maisha Film Lab, a non-profit training initiative for emerging East African filmmakers.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Pittsburgh, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh has been awarded NYFA Fellowships in Playwriting/Screenwriting in 1996 and 2006, and in Fiction in 2010. He is the author of the story collection, Brief Encounters With the Enemy, a finalist for the 2014 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Fiction Prize, and the critically acclaimed memoir When Skateboards Will Be Free, selected as one of the ten best books of the year by Dwight Garner of The New York Times. His short stories and personal essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney’s, The New York Times, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and numerous anthologies. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction and a fiction fellowship from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Saïd lives in New York City with his wife, the artist Karen Mainenti, and teaches memoir in the MFA program at Hunter College, and creative writing at New York University, where he received a 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award.
In her twenty-year career in Intellectual Property Litigation, Emily Kirsch was most recently Acting General Counsel at Bridgewater Associates. Having attended Yale University on a vocal studies scholarship, her interest in creative work is rooted in her performing arts background. Throughout her career she has gained expertise in sectors as diverse as financial services, consumer products, health care, technology and new media, working with clients from established corporations to fledgling start-ups. Emily has recently returned to private practice from the hedge fund world, and is looking forward to devoting more of her time to her creative interests and pro bono work.
Held has long possessed a deep
appreciation for the arts, and a fascination with the creative process.
Sharon’s passion for art and aesthetics was honed throughout the intricate
process of home renovations and restorations, and most recently of building a
substantial residential property on the east end of Long Island. Overcoming obstacles
has proved a great strength for Sharon. She has found success merging her
financial experience with her real estate business, where she has worked for
the past 14 years. She is an accomplished Broker with the Corcoran Group, where
she helps clients through the daunting real estate process. She is driven by
the belief that dedication to others can make a genuine difference in all
facets of life. A native of Rhode Island, where her family business continues
to be costume jewelry, Sharon has called Manhattan home since 1977. She studied
business at George Washington University, after which she began her career in
commodities at a metal refinery and Fleet National Bank before joining the
commodity division of JP Morgan in New York. She then transferred to London
where she worked both for JP Morgan and for the BBC’s Business News Division
before returning to Manhattan. Sharon is a Trustee of Reading Reform Foundation
of New York, a member of the Leadership Council for the Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ), a Trustee of Concordia Learning Center at St Joseph’s School
for the Blind in Jersey City, and a founding member of the Conservator’s
Council for Central Park.
A 20-year consultant and 13-year partner with McKinsey & Company, William (“Will”) Draper is a founding director of The Exetor Group, which specializes in professional and leadership development. He brings to the company a deep knowledge of management consulting across a range of disciplines, including organization development, strategy, technology, and finance. He also brings strong industry experience in transportation, media and entertainment, pharmaceuticals, and professional services. Will’s consulting experience in program design, professional development systems and reinforcements, and large-scale program delivery made him a natural fit for McKinsey’s Firm Learning, a group of partners responsible for the company’s worldwide professional development investments. During his 7-year tenure as a leader in this role, Will drove the design and rollout of most of McKinsey’s company-wide training programs, ensured support of the partnership, and guaranteed consistent follow-through and reinforcement of this learning throughout the McKinsey offices.