Board

HumanitiesDC is governed by a diverse Board of Directors, including two Mayoral appointees. They bring a wide array of talents to their role as stewards and guides of the organization including: humanities scholarship, communications and marketing, fundraising and development, advocacy and public programming.

Michele Collison is a freelance writer published in both the New York Times and The Washington Post. She’s the author of the bestselling book, “It’s all Good Hair,” published by Harper Collins Books. She is the former Assistant Editor for the Chronicle of Higher Education where she wrote news and feature stories for the nation’s popular national education newspaper. Ms. Collison’s work has been applauded by both national and international audience, having covered Nelson Mandela’s visit to Morehouse College, the late renowned scholar Manning Marable and the declining number of African-American young men attending college. She has traveled extensively throughout the country to attend academic conferences to cover tenure and faculty research issues.

Cole Fiala works to empower communities and inspire change around the world through museum exhibitions, events, and people-to-people exchanges. Since 2018, his focus has been on the environment and sustainability, serving as Manager of International Traveling Exhibitions for the National Geographic Society. Previously, he helped achieve the public diplomacy goals of the U.S. Department of State and diplomatic corps partners while at the Meridian International Center. He was appointed by Mayor Bowser to the Board of the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, in 2020, and has regularly served as a grant review panelist for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Cole earned his MA in Museums Studies from Marist College and the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici and his BA in Art History and International Studies from Loyola University Chicago. He can often be found taking his dog on long walks in Columbia Heights or dining out with his husband and friends at their favorite local establishments.

As a proven leader and decorated strategist, Brendan Kelly best exhibits his expertise in marketing and business administration. Receiving a Masters in Business Administration and Business Leadership at Notre Dame after serving as a US naval officer for seven years, Mr. Kelly has thrived in project management, working with Andaman Capital Partners. He is currently a Strategy and Operations Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, LLC.

Lee Murphy has a passion for helping people achieve their dreams. Her mission to assist her clients to navigate their path to home ownership has driven her to become a premiere realtor in Washington, DC. As featured in the Wall Street Journal, Ms. Murphy has consistently been ranked in the Top 20 in Individual Sales Volume since 2014 for the Washington, DC area. She received her undergraduate degree in International Studies and French from Austin College and the American University in Cairo.

Maceo Thomas is an advocate in the local creative community with over 10 years of experience in programming and event planning. Receiving his Masters in Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Thomas has applied his instincts for public service to creating opportunities for artists in Washington, DC. Working with musicians and painters alike, Mr. Thomas has created various programs including a monthly art exhibit and music festival, garnering the recognition of The Community Foundation with the Linowes Award in 2011. He is is currently a real estate sales associate and independent property manager in the DC and Maryland area.

Evelyn Boyd Simmons is a senior executive with broad and varied experience with Fortune 100 companies, federal and civic governments, nonprofits and entrepreneurial ventures. A committed civic leader, Ms. Simmons has been an active parent and community leader on education and school issues. She is a past President of the Logan Circle Community Association, having previously been awarded the organization’s Community Improvement Award. Ms. Simmons is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She is a certified Partnership Broker and Parent Leadership Training Institute Facilitator and an alum of the International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation Fellow program at Harvard Business School and Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD).

Donna Woolf is an International Communications Strategist with the U.S. Department of State. She has strong management skills and extensive media and public diplomacy experience in Europe and the Middle East. In addition, Ms. Woolf is a documentary producer/director with experience leading creative teams to produce over 15 award-winning audio and video programs for national and international audiences. She is fluent in French, Arabic and Spanish.