Teatro Vista announces the appointment of five new board members, expanding support, oversight and important new visibility for Chicago’s only Equity-affiliated Latine theater company.
Joining the board are Jorge Lopez, Associate General Counsel, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Irma A. Ortiz, Senior Director, Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for College Access and Success; Travis Parr, Executive Creative Director, Fallon New York; Letticia Flores Poole, Senior Manager-Industry Vertical at BMO Harris Bank - Black and Latinx Program; and Emilio Williams, a Chicago-based playwright and educator.
Joining Teatro Vista’s board are (from left) Jorge Lopez, Associate General Counsel, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Irma A. Ortiz, Senior Director, Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for College Access and Success; Travis Parr, Executive Creative Director, Fallon New York; Letticia Flores Poole, Senior Manager-Industry Vertical at BMO Harris Bank - Black and Latinx Program; and Emilio Williams, a playwright and educator.
“Teatro Vista is on an aggressive growth path, and we’re successfully reaching into the upper echelons of the city’s Latine and business communities to recruit new board members dedicated to lifting up first voice, Latine artists,” said Teatro Vista Board President Adela Cepeda. “Leaders like Jorge Lopez, Irma Ortiz, Travis Parr, Letticia Flores Poole and Emilio Williams see renewed vitality within Teatro Vista, brought forth by our new co-artistic directors, Wendy Mateo and Lorena Diaz. In their first year alone, Teatro Vista successfully produced two acclaimed, world premiere productions. Enough to Let the Light In closed last month at Steppenwolf as one of the hottest tickets in town. And our largest production in company history, Somewhere Over the Border, just won three Equity Jeff Awards for Best Musical, Director and Ensemble. Successes like these, on stage and behind the scenes, are fueling new attention, board expansion and institutional support for Teatro Vista.”
Earlier this year, Teatro Vista was thrilled to announce Rosa Escareño, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, has joined its board, which is led by Adela Cepeda, President and Julieta LaMalfa, Treasurer. Veteran board members are Kareem Mohamednur, Carina Sanchez and Jose A. Vazquez.
Next spring, Teatro Vista will mount another major undertaking, the world premiere of The Dream King, a “silent musical” by Teatro Vista ensemble member Marvin Quijada. Using no words, The Dream King tells the story of a man who falls in love with the woman of his dreams while in his dreams, told through movement, circus, projections, puppetry, and a willingness to let go of what one thinks a play should be. Teatro Vista ensemble member Sandra Márquez will co-direct with Alice da Cunha, co-artistic director, Physical Theater Festival Chicago.
Meet Teatro Vista’s new board members
Associate General Counsel
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Jorge Lopez is Associate General Counsel at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he provides legal counsel and operational support to the Foundation’s staff, management, and Board of Directors. Lopez is a 2021 Leadership Greater Chicago Signature Fellow. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Ingenuity, Inc., an organization focused on increasing arts education access in Chicago public schools. Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Board of the Luevano Foundation and is part of the Advisory Council for the annual Mex Talks hosted by Latinos Progresando. Previously, he Chaired the Tax Section of the State Bar of California’s Exempt Organizations Committee (the first Latino elected to this position) and was a member of the Pacific Coast TE/GE Exempt Organizations Council.
Irma A. Ortiz
Northeastern Illinois University's Center for College Access and Success
Irma A. Ortiz is Senior Director for the Center for College Access and Success at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), which is the K-12 outreach department for the university and maintains numerous grants and programs that support academics, arts, STEM, early college and more. Since 2018, she has served as the project director of NEIU’s Title V Individual Development grant to increase retention at the university. She also served on the NEIU President’s Transition Committee (2018), the University Budget and Planning Council (2020-present), the university collective bargaining team, and has chaired multiple searches for high-level university positions. Ortiz also served as the National President for Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc., a Latina-oriented sisterhood, founded in 1991. She was named in the Negocios Now "Latinos 40 Under 40" Class of 2019, recognized in the 2020 “Mesa Latina” by Chicago BUILD and has hosted webinars on remote engagement of PK-16 and Latinas in Leadership for Latinos for Education, a national non-profit organization. Ortiz, born and raised on the south side of Chicago and a proud CPS graduate, began her career in 2002 as a student employee at NEIU, through the federally funded grant program, GEAR UP, focused on college access for CPS students. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago, she began to work full-time as a NEIU GEAR UP Student Services Coordinator, where she partnered with Foreman, Amundson and Clemente high schools to increase college enrollment. She earned her master’s degree in School Counseling from Concordia University Chicago, and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign in the Education Policy, Organization and Leadership department. Her focus is Diversity and Equity, and her research focus is on Latinx student success at Hispanic Serving Institutions.
Executive Creative Director
Fallon New York
Over the past 15 years, Travis Parr has built his career on refreshing brands, rebuilding teams and creating award winning campaigns that are inclusive, iconic and effective. He currently serves as an executive creative director for Walmart at Fallon New York, coordinating a multi-agency Publicis team to surround the brand. Before that, he served as a group creative director at DDB Chicago, and as creative lead at DDB San Francisco. He has "won" March Madness advertising for three years running, was the first creative to license a Prince song for creative film, launched a whole new car for Porsche, rebranded "Miller Time," and once swept a local awards show with work that had a zero-dollar budget. He has brought iconic work to brands like Fiat-Chrysler, Molson Coors, McDonald's, Wells Fargo and State Farm Insurance with the help of people like Spike Lee, Tom Hooper, Ringan Ledwidge and Erich Joiner. Parr proudly serves on the Board of Visitors at the University of Oklahoma College of Journalism, his alma mater. He's based in Wilmette, where he lives with his husband, their Australian labradoodle, and two daughters.
Letticia Flores Poole
Senior Manager-Industry Vertical - Black and Latinx Program
BMO Harris Bank
Letticia Flores Poole has been a banking professional for more than 20 years. She joined BMO Harris Bank as a branch manager in 2016, became Regional Sales Manager in 2019, and was promoted to Senior Manager-Industry Vertical-Black and Latinx Program in May 2021. She has a proven record of community service, having held volunteer, board and board leadership positions with area non-profit organizations including Supporting Professionals Network Association, South Chicago Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Connection Chamber, Latinas in Childcare and Northside Latin Progress.
Playwright and Educator
Emilio Williams is a bilingual (Spanish/English) award-winning writer and educator. His critically acclaimed plays have been produced in Argentina, Estonia, France, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. He is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists where he is also a faculty member. His experimental prose has appeared in Brevity Magazine, Writing Disorder, Hinterland Magazine, Imagined Theatres, and the anthology Beyond Queer Words 2021. Williams has lectured around the world, and taught at several U.S. universities, including DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Georgia State University. He has held executive positions at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The University of Chicago Medical Center. He was also a producer for CNN in Atlanta and Washington DC. He holds a BA in Film and Video and an MFA in Writing. In 2016, he completed the Executive Program for Emerging Leaders at the Booth School of Business of The University of Chicago. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Physical Theater Festival Chicago. He is a former board member of 3Arts. He volunteers and supports YEPP!, an arts organization dedicated to serve LGBTQ+ youth at risk of homelessness.
About Teatro Vista
Teatro Vista is Chicago’s largest, Equity-affiliated professional Latine theater company and one of the nation’s premier Latine arts organizations.The company’s primary focus is producing new works by Latine theater artists from its own ensemble, a group of multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi-disciplinary artists.
Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo were appointed Co-Artistic Directors of Teatro Vista in July 2021. Ensemble members include Charín Álvarez, Max Arciniega, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Ramón Camín, Laura Dahl, Sandra Delgado, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Isaac Gómez, Erik Juárez, Jon Lyon, Sandra Márquez, Eddie Martinez, Joe Minoso, Ayssette Muñoz, Marvin Quijada, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Gabriel Ruiz, Nate Santana, and co-founder Edward Torres.
Teatro Vista is supported by Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Cultural Treasures, Chicago Filmmaker Grant, CLATA (Chicago Latino Theater Alliance), DCASE (Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), Fidelity Charitable, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, The Joyce Foundation, The Latinos Progresando Excellerator Fund, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and the Walder Foundation.