Board of Directors
Lynn is a partner in McReynolds Elek Communications, a strategic communications and public relations firm. Before founding the firm in 2002, she was Senior Vice President of Communications for Discovery Networks U.S., where she oversaw communications for Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel and Discovery’s six digital networks. Prior to joining Discovery, she served as vice president of media relations for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and in public and media relations positions with the National Cable Television Association and on Capitol Hill. She has been involved in a wide range of community and non-profit endeavors, including serving on the Boards of My Sister’s Place, Washington, DC’s first domestic violence hotline and shelter, the historic London Town Foundation and the Bay Ridge Trust, a land conservation organization, as well as the Steering Committee of Anne Arundel Women Giving Together. She joined the Board of the Annapolis Film Festival in 2014, served two years as Vice President, and became President in Sept. 2017.
Susan Hicks Walker
Susan is an attorney who practiced commercial real estate law in Florida and Colorado. Moving with her family to Annapolis in 2000, she enthusiastically became involved in the local community. She is an Emeritus Board Member of Friends of the Light House Shelter, has served on the Steering Committee of Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, the Hospice of the Chesapeake Foundation Board, the We Honor Veterans Committee of Hospice of the Chesapeake, and the Gilchrist We Honor Veterans Task Force. Susan was a member of the Founding Board of the Annapolis Film Festival and rejoined the Board in 2015. She has enjoyed learning about the production end of filmmaking through her work as Production Coordinator for FILMSTERS Academy, specializing in costumes and props.
PARABH K. GILL, M.D., MBA
Parabh joined the AFF Board in July 2017 and has served as its Treasurer since August 2017. Dr. Gill is a physician and surgeon at Annapolis OB-GYN, having joined that practice in November 2001 when she moved to Annapolis. Prior to moving to Maryland, Dr Gill was an assistant professor at University of Virginia in the Department of Ob/Gyn. She has received accolades for Best Surgical Hands and Outstanding Teacher to Physicians in training. Presently, she is on the faculty for Anne Arundel Medical Center, helping to train the next generation of physicians. Dr. Gill has always been interested in the arts and enjoyed watching her children perform in school theatre, at local theatres, and at the Kennedy Center. When she experienced how the Festival was thought provoking and inclusive, she was inspired to bring her MBA training to lead the Festival’s budgetary and development needs. Dr. Gill went to Severna Park High School and considers Maryland her home. She enjoys learning about the film industry, engaging in social entrepreneurship with her kids to empower women, skiing, and cooking with her husband.
Regina has demonstrated strong support of the arts in her community. With her family she created The Regina and Joseph Hladky Foundation, a charitable foundation to support local causes such as The Annapolis Film Festival and Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and The Maryland Food Bank.
During a groundbreaking 30 year career at Bell Atlantic and then Verizon, Regina held positions of ever-increasing leadership responsibility ending as Group President for the Small and Medium Business Market. She exhibited success in a broad range of areas including sales and marketing, operations and labor relations in both line and staff position. Ms. Novotny is a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Business Senior Executive Program.
In addition to her broad experience in the business world, she brings a love for music and a belief in the power of education. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame of Maryland she taught music the Baltimore City Public School System for several years.
FESTIVAL DIRECTORS & CO-FOUNDERs
Co-Founder & Festival Director
A television producer and filmmaker for three decades, K. Lee Anderson began her career first as a commercial producer, then later — as a news producer, capturing true stories for broadcast in Maryland. Since that time, she has been a FILMSTERS principal. FILMSTERS, LLC is a production and development company that develops stories, characters and produces documentaries, reality TV, independent films and digital content creation.
Anderson’s credits have appeared on ABC, CBS, Lifetime, Discovery, Turner, Discovery Health and others. She has produced everything from wildlife shows to wedding series, reality TV to hard-hitting issue driven, human-interest indie docs. An award-winning filmmaker, Lee is the recipient of two Telly Awards, a Christopher Columbus Award and a CINE Golden Eagle award. She has also been nominated for a CableACE Award for (TBS’s – Survival of the Yellowstone Wolves) and has won several numerous film festival awards at top tier festivals.
As one of the former producers on ABC primetime show Extreme Makeover, Anderson handled field logistics and production for three seasons producing over 52 weekly episodes a season. She was also the Executive Producer on documentary short, REVOLVING DOORS, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017 (where it won Honorable Mention); it explores the cycles of incarceration and re-offending for non-violent convicted felons in Baltimore. Anderson’s other notable credits include producing the multiple award-winning feature-length documentary, IF I COULD, narrated by Sally Field. The production follows an at-risk teen featured in the CBS Reports film, THE WAGON TRAIN TRIAL, twenty years later. FILMSTERS production company credits include the 2013 indie feature, JAMESY BOY, starring James Woods, Mary Louise Parker and Ving Rhames, based on James Burns, the subject of the award-winning feature doc, IF I COULD. Anderson was also a producer on a LIFETIME reality TV pilot, THE BIG SECRET in 2010.
She is currently an Executive Producer of YAWYE (You Are What You Eat) the new digital Millennial platform, she just completed producing a national PSA campaign for the National Crime Prevention Council, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office about counterfeit products aimed at teens. She oversees all aspects of production management and assists in development for potential feature films, documentaries, scripted programming and reality TV series.
In 2002, Anderson created and co-founded FILMSTERS Academy, a hands-on experiential summer program for youth between the ages of 11-18 that teaches the art of filmmaking. This summer will be its 19th year in existence.
In 2012-2013, she co-founded the Annapolis Film Festival with her longtime producing partner, Patti White where she still serves as one of two Festival Directors and as a member of the Board of Directors.
Co-Founder & Festival Director
Patti O. White is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and television producer. Cutting her teeth at CBS News in New York, White produced for CBS Reports and 60 Minutes, earning three national Emmy awards, three Emmy nominations and a George Foster Peabody Award. Subsequently White’s credits have appeared on CBS, ABC, Lifetime, Discovery, Turner and others, producing everything from hard-hitting documentaries to wildlife films to docu-reality series. White’s work earned her three Cine Golden Eagles and a Cable Ace award as well. As one of ABC’s Extreme Makeover’s producers, White was promoted to Senior Producer in the final season. She was also the Producer and Senior Producer on a LIFETIME reality TV pilot, THE BIG SECRET in 2010.
FILMSTERS, LLC, in which White is a principal, is a production and development company for documentaries, docu-reality TV, and digital content for the web. FILMSTERS also creates concepts for scripted TV and true stories to film. FILMSTERS production company credits include the 2013 indie feature, JAMESY BOY, starring James Woods, Mary Louise Parker and Ving Rhames. Corporate clients for FILMSTERS include Google, Synergics, Pfizer and AT&T and the non-profit, National Crime Prevention Council.
White is an Executive Producer of YAWYE the Millennial content platform, completed a PSA for the National Crime Prevention Council and was the EP on the 2016 feature-length documentary, REVOLVING DOORS, which explores the cycles of incarceration and re-offending for non-violent convicted felons. White’s other notable credits include writing, producing and directing the award-winning feature-length documentary, IF I COULD, narrated by Sally Field. The production follows an at-risk teen featured in White’s “CBS Reports” film, THE WAGON TRAIN TRIAL, twenty years later.
White has earned a reputation for dealing thoughtfully with current event-driven issues concerning the human predicament. White wrote and produced AMERICA AT RISK: SEEDS OF HOPE for Turner Broadcasting and the Tribune Co., focusing on an abandoned generation of youth, drug and alcohol abuse, and the breakdown of the American family.
In 2002, White created and co-founded FILMSTERS Academy, a hands-on experiential summer program for youth between the ages of 11-18 that teaches the art of filmmaking.
In 2012-2013, she co-founded the Annapolis Film Festival with producing partner, Lee Anderson, where she still serves as one of the two Festival/Artistic Directors and as a member of the Board of Directors.
Steve joined the AFF Board in 2017. He is a retired attorney with a background in media law, having served as Associate General Counsel of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Attorney-Advisor in the Mass Media Bureau and the Office of General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and – early in his career and hers – as legislative assistant to then-Congresswoman Barbara A. Mikulski. Prior to law school, Steve was a reporter in New York and Washington and a researcher on government contracts regarding provision of alcoholism, drug abuse and mental health services.
MICHAEL P. DARROW
PAMELA J. GENTRY
Michael is a Senior Partner in the Law Firm of Hillman, Brown & Darrow, P.A., the oldest existing law firm in the city of Annapolis, dating back to the 1930’s. Michael has practiced law in Maryland for 42 years and has obtained “Super Lawyer” status by Baltimore Magazine and “Best Attorney” by the Capital Gazette.
Michael has served on numerous Boards including local businesses in Anne Arundel County, such as Johnson Lumber; Reliable Contracting and Associated Builders & Contractors. He has been on the Advisory Council for St. Joseph University and served on the Board of Directors for St. Mary’s High School, Spaulding High School and also the Providence Center.
Michael resides with his family in Davidsonville, Maryland and has always been involved in many aspects of the Annapolis and surrounding communities.
Pamela is the Senior Advisor to the Office of Minority Health (OMH) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at the Department of Health and Human Services. Gentry’s primary responsibility is to focus on outreach and education for minority communities. Prior to joining the office, Gentry was the Director of the Strategic Marketing Group where she was responsible for the development and execution of national education and outreach campaigns for Medicare, Medicaid, Healthcare Marketplace and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
A former Senior Political Analyst for CNN, National Public Radio and BET Network, she was responsible for daily coverage of the White House and Capitol Hill. In her political blog, “Pamela on Politics” she was widely followed on BET.com. In addition to her blog, Gentry was the Washing to Bureau Chief and Senior Political Producer for BET Networks. As a political producer for C-SPAN in the early 2000’s she covered national and statewide political races across the country and was known for her razor sharp knowledge of the political scene.
PHILIP W. GIBBS
Philip W. Gibbs serves as President of Hamel Builders, which he co-founded with J. Edward Hamel in 1998. Hamel Builders operates several entities as a full service General Contracting firm with offices in Elkridge, MD and Washington, DC. Under Philip’s leadership, Hamel Builders has constructed over 25,000 multi-family housing units and thrives on giving back to the communities in which employees live and work.
Philip has earned a reputation for excellence in multi-family renovation and new construction in the Mid-Atlantic region. He is driven by filling a need with well-designed affordable housing for individuals, families and seniors.
Philip holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Technology from East Carolina University and has served on several boards. Board membership includes Howard Bank, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, Anne Arundel Affordable Housing Coalition as well as numerous advisory boards including Johns Hopkins Pediatric Hospital.
Mandisa is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, where she majored in Psychology, with a Minor in Human Development. She is the Studio Manager at Studio Unknown, a post-production sound studio with offices in Catonsville, MD, Los Angeles, CA, and Burbank, CA. She is also a freelance Music Supervisor, and Voice Over artist.
In the past, Mandisa has spent seven summers working with FILMSTERS Academy as supervising staff and assisting with music supervision. She also volunteers with the Family Crisis Center of Prince George’s County, a Domestic Violence Shelter, and has been a Volunteer Coordinator for Hospice of the Chesapeake. Mandisa’s passion for film and the arts brought her to AFF and she is very excited to help develop the Annapolis Film Festival as a signature community arts event. Mandisa has served on the Board since 2013. She also chairs the Screening Committee for Programming.
Mary Ellen Iwata
Mary Ellen is an Emmy Award winning television executive who has held senior positions across broadcast and cable industries and has been instrumental in growing such esteemed brands as Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV, Scripps Networks International, and The Weather Channel.
As vice president, original content development for The Weather Channel, Iwata was responsible for the day-to-day oversight of development and production of non-scripted series and specials. Before joining The Weather Channel, Iwata served as vice president of programming and development for Scripps Networks International, where she oversaw original program development and production, acquisitions, and program scheduling. She was a key player in launching Food Network in the UK, EMEA and Asia, and continued to oversee the networks’ content after launch.
Prior to working in Scripps’ International division, Iwata was vice president of program and talent development for HGTV, a Scripps-owned network. Iwata joined HGTV from TLC, where she was an executive producer, vice president of production, and ultimately vice president of development. Prior to working at TLC, Iwata was an executive producer at Discovery Channel.
A Baltimore native, Iwata began her career at Maryland Public Broadcasting and then WJZ – TV (CBS) in Baltimore as Executive Producer of Evening Magazine. She holds a degree in fine arts from Towson University.
ELIZABETH A. LIECHTY
Robyn is the Executive Vice President of Campaign Readiness at August Jackson, a national creative agency co-located in Baltimore and Chicago. Robyn leads the Campaign Readiness practice that helps universities, hospital systems, and large non profit organizations prepare for multi-year fundraising campaigns. She has led projects for a broad range of institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, Northwell Health, Rice University, Harvard Business School, and Duke University. She is a regular speaker at philanthropy conferences around the country discussing the modern tools needed to engage today’s donor-investors. Robyn has held leadership positions at major research universities and national nonprofit organizations, guiding staff and cultivating and closing multimillion-dollar gifts.
Robyn has previously served on the boards of Baltimore Museum of Art, The Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, and The Pride of Baltimore. In 2013 the Maryland Daily Record named her to its 40 under 40 Success List. She holds a B.S. in finance from Penn State University and a professional certificate in fundraising management from Goucher College.
Elizabeth A. Liechty, ChFC®, CLU®, ADPA® is a senior partner at Charter Financial Group (CFG), a private financial advisory firm located in Annapolis, Maryland. Elizabeth is registered with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a division of Lincoln Financial Group, a Fortune 500 registered investment advisement company that has been a leader in financial planning in the United States for over 50 years.
Elizabeth’s clientele ranges from nationally respected thought leaders and business executives to small business owners and non-profit organizations. Steadfast in her commitment to empowering others, Elizabeth is a charter board member of Lincoln’s WISE (Women Inspiring, Supporting and Educating) Group, an active member of Lincoln’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a member of The Resource Group (TRG), an elite group of financial planners within Lincoln Financial Advisors, serving as part of the group’s Compliance Committee, as well as a long-standing member of Premier Partners.
Outside of her professional sphere, Elizabeth serves as the chair of the audit committee for the Middle East Investment Initiative, a non-profit organization aimed at creating peace through localized economic development in the Middle East and North Africa. She also serves as the Co-Chair of Hospice of the Chesapeake’s children’s programs under Chesapeake Kids. Acknowledged for both her leadership and volunteer efforts, in 2008 Elizabeth proudly accepted the Legacy Award from Lincoln Financial Advisors for her humanitarian efforts. In 2014 she received the Elite Award for Community Outreach from the National Life and Health Underwriters; and, in 2014 and 2019 acknowledged by her peers statewide as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. In 2018 she received the Invest In Others Global Community Impact Award for the Blue Elephant Canvas Project that supports children in the hospice system, both locally and in South Africa. The Blue Elephant Project has expanded to now include a children’s book, “The Blue Elephant,” written by Elizabeth, and the animated film of the Blue Elephant that debuted at the Annapolis Film Festival in March 2018.
Elizabeth A Liechty is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (Member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name of Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates. Charter Financial Group is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. CRN-2496289-040919
Cheryl is a businesswoman, volunteer and homemaker who has spent a lifetime contributing to the affairs of her native Anne Arundel County and other communities, where she has lived. She has been a sales and marketing executive in the healthcare and financial services sectors, managed her own Events Planning business and developed a commercial real estate portfolio in partnership with her husband of 36 years. A political activist, Cheryl co-founded Anne Arundel County for Obama in 2007; served as an elected Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention; and stood for office as a Maryland State Delegate in the 2014 Democratic Primary. Cheryl is the founder of Project H.O.P.E., an innovative community nutrition and outreach program organized under the auspices of Historic Annapolis, where she formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors.
Michael K. Phillips
Michael is passionate about helping families plan, manage, and protect their wealth. He successfully navigated clients through three economic recessions, the Internet boom and bust, the September 11th attacks, the red hot housing market of 2001 to 2007, the financial meltdown of 2008 and the stagnant economy and roller coaster stock market we are living through today. Vice-President of Investments for UBS Financial Services, Inc., he was formerly the Vice-President of Morgan Stanley, Annapolis and worked as an analyst for the U.S. Treasury Dept. in Washington, D.C.
His bachelor’s degree in economics is from St. Mary’s College and lives with his wife and two sons in Edgewater Maryland.