The UNCSA Board of Trustees has elected a new slate of officers for 2023-24.
Peter Juran of Winston-Salem, who served as vice chair last year, was elected chair. School of Drama alumna Rhoda Griffis, of Atlanta, Georgia, who served as secretary last year, was elected vice chair. School of Music alumna Nia Imani Franklin of Winston-Salem was elected secretary. The officers were elected unanimously in a regular meeting (rescheduled from July) held virtually on Aug. 15. Juran succeeds School of Dance alumnus Mark Land, who served as chair last year.
The board also welcomed UNC Board of Governors appointees Jonah Bokaer of Brooklyn, New York, a School of Dance alumnus; Jerri Irby of Cincinnati, Ohio; David Neill of Winston-Salem; and John Wigodsky of Winston-Salem, as well as legislative appointee Eric Flow of Winston-Salem. All terms are from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2027.
The board also welcomed new Student Body President Jack Sargeant of High Point, a rising third-year student in the School of Music who graduated from High School in 2021.
Peter Juran, Chair
Peter Juran is a legal counselor and litigator in Winston-Salem, advising business clients in all manner of legal issues, including commercial, contractual, employment, real property and construction disputes. He earned a B.A. in philosophy and religion from Colgate College before studying at Duke University, where he earned an M.A. in philosophy, as well as his Juris Doctor (J.D.).
Juran formerly served on the UNCSA Foundation Board of Directors for six years before joining the board of trustees in 2021. He has also served on the boards of directors of Leadership Winston-Salem, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, Hospice and Palliative Care Center, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.
Rhoda Griffis, Vice Chair
A native of North Carolina, Rhoda Griffis has made her home and galvanized her professional career in the Southeast market. She is a professional working actress with more than 40 years and 250+ credits in film, television, theater, commercials, voice-overs and print. Her career includes such memorable roles as Jacqueline Kennedy in “Love Field,” Rikki Coleman in “Runaway Jury,” Beth in “The Blind Side,” Lenore Baker in “Army Wives,” Paula in “Drop Dead Diva,” Viv in “Fear the Walking Dead,” Judge Bachab in “Just Mercy” and Judge Mayhew in “Ozark.”
Griffis received her B.F.A. from the School of Drama in 1983. She was a member of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival acting company for seven seasons, and toured the East Coast teaching Shakespeare in schools. Between acting work, Griffis charges her artistic batteries teaching on-camera acting, theater and voice-overs and assistant directs in the Fine Arts Department of The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia. She joined the UNCSA Board of Trustees in 2021.
Nia Imani Franklin, Secretary
Nia Imani Franklin is a composer, actress and singer whose music has been performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Friction Quartet, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and many others. As composer-in-residence at Festival Napa Valley in 2021, she premiered several works and was awarded the Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Classical Music.
Upon finishing her Lincoln Center Fellowship in New York City, she earned the jobs of Miss New York 2018 and Miss America 2019 where she devoted her service to arts education advocacy. In September 2021, Franklin released her EP, “Extended,” which featured an assortment of all-original R&B songs, and her orchestra piece, “Chrysalis Extended,” which has 3.7 million views on her TikTok profile. In July 2022, she premiered her choral piece, “Polaris,” which celebrates Juneteenth having recently become a national holiday in the United States. Festival Napa Valley commissioned this piece and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City performed it live.
Franklin holds a bachelor’s degree in music composition and theory from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, as well as a master’s degree in music composition from UNCSA. In 2019, she founded Compose Her, an initiative with an ongoing objective of empowering women in music. She sits on the board of Opera On Tap, which is a nonprofit organization based in New York City dedicated to making opera accessible to all.
Jonah Bokaer has cultivated a new form of choreography merged with visual art and design. American and Middle Eastern, he has deeply interwoven an international career: as an exhibiting museum artist; with a touring multiethnic dance company; and with a nonprofit practice that has succeeded in delivering four arts facilities for younger artists.
As a choreographer, Bokaer has authored 67 original works produced in 35 nations, 294 cities and 27 of the United States – including 41 museum exhibitions worldwide. The impact of earned, contributed and granted funds between 2002-present have realized four art spaces, more than 14 diverse jobs, more than $11 million in revenue, and one citywide festival.
Bokaer is Tunisian-American, an LGBTQIA leader, and is currently exhibiting and touring with eight international dancers. The company is among the few to tour to the Middle East, Middle East North Africa (MENA), MENASA (MENA plus Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India) and Israeli regions equally. Openly gay since the 1980s, Bokaer has consistently received prizes, philanthropic support and humanitarian acknowledgment internationally, with increasing program alignment and recognition from the global south. He graduated from the High School Contemporary Dance program in 2000.
The Jonah Bokaer Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which oversees the choreography, visual art and art spaces created by him. Through the support of its board, individual donors, foundation grants, government leveraging, and more recently COVID-19 relief efforts, the organization succeeds in crafting and fulfilling a dual mission: To foster the development, research and presentation of new performance works across disciplines, while establishing affordable arts facilities for other artists, notably Chez Bushwick (2002) and CPR (co-founded 2008), adjacent affordable studios in Brooklyn, and Space 428 Hudson (2016).
Eric Flow is the chief operating officer and president of management services for Flow Automotive Companies, a leading retail automotive group headquartered in Winston-Salem, with over 53 franchises. In his role at Flow Automotive, he is responsible for variable operations, fixed operations, strategy, marketing, consolidated accounting, the customer relationship center, human capital development, software development, IT & systems, business development, drive flow, and strategic partnerships.
Prior to becoming the president of management services, he worked for years in various operational roles in multiple Flow stores; he has extensive operational and strategic experience in the automotive sector in both traditional and new ventures.
Flow is also a founder and board member of Inmar Automotive, a joint venture between Flow Automotive Companies and Inmar focused on delivering data science-driven marketing to retail automotive.
Flow received a B.S. in commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Eric met his wife, Meghan, a native of Chicago, at the University of Virginia where she was also a student. He has served on the board of Summit School since 2019.
Jerri Irby has most recently served as the chair over the Human Resources Workforce Practice at Mayo Clinic, based out of its headquarters in Rochester, Minnesota. In this capacity, she led all human resources centers of expertise (COEs) – 170 professionals across the country responsible for the delivery of expert high-value services such as compensation and benefits, learning and development, people analytics, and engagement and well-being strategies that align with Mayo’s strong and unique values-aligned culture. With responsibility for driving the strategic direction of the HR function, she worked as a collaborator with other system leaders, defining and activating the current and future talent needs that align with patient care and organizational growth goals.
Irby brings a diverse background of experience to her profession, having also served in senior HR roles across other industries, including financial services, insurance and manufacturing. Prior to joining Mayo, she served as the vice president of human resources at Wake Forest Baptist Health, leading the talent management, talent acquisition, employee relations, employee assistance, HR compliance, and HR business partnership teams. She spent the earlier years of her career with Accenture, consulting on business operations and processes, and becoming knowledgeable in Lean Six Sigma methodologies and practices. Over the course of her career, Irby has supported many companies through growth and change, and has dedicated herself to helping organizations engage and retain their talented team members in order to achieve business success.
Irby earned a degree in mathematics from Spelman College, a master’s in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech, and her MBA from Stanford University. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, as well as The Links, Incorporated, which consists of over 10,000 Black women committed to serving their communities. With a passion for the arts, Irby serves on the boards for nationally known arts and culture centers, museums and educational institutions, while her greatest passion is embracing the many gifts that come with raising two young children.
President of Bob Neill Inc. since 1986, David Neill is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
He currently serves on the boards of Novant Health, Reynolda House Museum of American Art (past chair), Greater Winston-Salem Inc. (past chair), UNC Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship (past chair), Winston-Salem Alliance, Hopeway Advisory Board, and Piedmont Triad Partnership.
His past board service includes the Winston-Salem Foundation (board chair), Kaleideum Capital Campaign, Twin City Soccer Association (Winning Goals Campaign Chair), and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities Commission (board chair).
Neill is also a member of the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. He and his wife, Scottie, have four grown children.
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in San Antonio, Texas, John Wigodsky received an A.B. in management science from Duke University and a Master of Science in marketing from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following graduation, he married and moved to North Carolina to work in marketing at Hanes Knitwear in Winston-Salem.
In the late 1970s, he and his wife, Mary Lynn, became involved with UNCSA as part of the Host Family Program for High School students. They remained involved until 1986, when they moved to Kentucky, and John Wigodsky began working for Fruit of the Loom as vice president of marketing. In 1999, they moved back to Winston-Salem and resumed their involvement with UNCSA through the Host Family Program and the Giannini Society.
In 2012, the couple became members of the Giannini Advisory Council, which they co-chaired from 2016-20. In 2015, John Wigodsky joined the UNCSA Foundation Board and served in several capacities including treasurer before becoming president in 2020. Additionally, he has served on the board of the Industries for the Blind and as an adjunct professor at the Babcock School of Wake Forest University.
He and his wife have been married for 49 years and have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. They currently fund two scholarships at UNCSA, one for Music and one for Dance.
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August 24, 2023