2018 Conference Speakers

Professional Development Session Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Afa Dworkin
President and Artistic Director, The Sphinx Organization

Named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Influencers in the nation and Detroit Crain’s 40 Under 40, Afa Sadykhly Dworkin is a musical thought leader and cross-sector strategist driving national programming that promotes diversity in classical music. She currently serves as President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, the nation’s leading organization transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. In this role, she oversees all fundraising, strategic and artistic initiatives through which Sphinx expands access to classical music education and supports a national roster of distinguished musicians of color, while annually reaching 10,000 through its programming and more than 2 million through live and broadcast audiences. During her tenure, Ms. Dworkin has expanded the organization’s international partner network to 50+ foundations and leading enterprises, resulting in the organization’s most successful fundraising campaign in its twenty-year history. Under her leadership, her team’s national artistic network has also grown to 30+ symphony orchestras, enabling Sphinx to continue scaling its programming to new audiences worldwide. The strength of Ms. Dworkin’s leadership across sectors and national divides is informed by her musical training, 20+ years of experience in the field, as well as her international corporate experience as a trilingual interpreter and Executive Assistant to the President of ARCO, The International Oil and Gas Company in Baku, Azerbaijan.

In addition to her role at Sphinx, Ms. Dworkin has helped to shape the national classical music landscape as a multi-year orchestra grant review panelist for the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, 3Arts Awards, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the MetLife Awards administered by The League of American Orchestras. Beyond the orchestral community, she has aided grant review for the Surdna Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Charlotte Arts and Sciences Council, Independent Sector’s American Express NGen Awards, and numerous state councils across the United States.

Ms. Dworkin has delivered ongoing thought leadership through an extensive roster of speaking engagements including those at the International Arts & Ideas Festival, Independent Sector, Grantmakers in the Arts, Young Audiences Norway, Esmeraldas Festival in Ecuador, Chamber Music America, National Association for Schools of Music, League of American Orchestras, ICSOM, and Association of Canadian Orchestras. Former faculty at Clarkston Conservatory in Michigan, she serves as a lecturer at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance and as adjunct faculty at Roosevelt University’s Master’s in Arts Administration program, with past lectures at Bowling Green State University, Penn State and Central Michigan University. Ms. Dworkin also builds capacity for the midwestern arts community as a trustee for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Creative Many Michigan and CultureSource.

Born in Moscow and raised in Azerbaijan, Ms. Dworkin’s music training began with the Soviet training at the prestigious Azerbaijan National Conservatory where she honed her craft under the tutelage of the region’s leading artists. She subsequently joined the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra as an entering freshman at the University of Michigan School of Music, also earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Violin Performance with High Honors.  Her career as a performer has taken her to Russia, Switzerland, Austria, and the United States.  She is an avid chef and foodie with her culinary accomplishments simply known as “Afa Food.”  Ms. Dworkin makes her home in Ann Arbor, MI, with her husband Aaron Dworkin (an internationally renowned leader in cultural entrepreneurship) in their home, Alegria (“Joy”) in Ann Arbor, MI. 

Ceci Dadisman
Digital Marketing Manager at FORM and president of Cardinal + Company

Ceci is a multi-faceted marketing professional with over 10 years of experience successfully marketing the arts and nonprofits utilizing innovative and cutting-edge initiatives. Currently the Digital Marketing Manager at FORM and the President of Cardinal + Company, she is nationally recognized as a leader in digital and social media marketing and specializes in the integration of digital marketing and technology into traditional marketing methods.

A frequent public speaker, Ceci’s recent and upcoming engagements feature national conference appearances at NTEN, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, and Chorus America in addition to many other local and regional events. Known for her easy-going and vernacular style, she creates open learning environments with an emphasis on information sharing and useful takeaways.

Ceci is passionate about empowering people through marketing and is a contributor to Arts Hacker where she regularly shares timely information and step-by-step tutorials.

A chronic early-adopter, Ceci has a passion for discovering ways that technology can be used to create more engaging arts experiences.  The Curated Arts Experience focuses on collecting real-world case studies about how organizations around the world are using technology to engage the participant or enrich the experience at an arts event.

She is on the Arts Midwest Conference Professional Development Committee, the NTEN 2018 Conference Session Advisory Committee, is the Immediate Past President and Chapter Founder of Femfessionals West Palm Beach, the Immediate Past Chapter Leader and Chapter Founder of the West Palm Beach Chapter of Girl Develop It, the Immediate Past President of the South Florida Chapter of the American Marketing Association, and served for many years on the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee and as the OPERA America Marketing Network Chair.  She was recently appointed to the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee.

Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from West Virginia University with a music degree in vocal performance.  She currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Thomas Mynsberge
President, Critcial Incident Management

Thomas Mynsberge, President of Critical Incident Management, Inc. specializes in school/business/responder crisis training. Tom retired from the Michigan State Police as a Specialist/Sergeant with the Fire Marshall Division after 27 years of service with the Department. He was a Senior Sergeant and Tactical Member of the Emergency Support Team (SWAT), responding to hundreds of calls in hostage situations, barricaded gunman, VIP security, civil disorder and high risk search warrants.

Tom has trained over 400 public and private schools, many business, hospital and government entities in crisis reactions as well as hundreds of police/firefighter responders in coordinated response. This practical training is a direct result of personal response experiences. Tom has written two articles for the Campus Safety Journal, is a member of the Michigan Safe School Initiative, and testified before the Michigan House and Senate committees on school safety legislation. He taught continuing education programs in school/police crisis response for the University of Michigan-Flint. He has addressed many other professional organizations in school and business crisis response.

Mynsberge is responsible for county-wide coordination of school responses and training of school/responders to respond to incidents in Saginaw, Midland, Lapeer, Shiawassee, the Thumb Region of Michigan and Region 7 Homeland Security. Tom trains both police and fire response to critical incidents for a unified response. He also maintains a liaison with Emergency Management for school resources in these communities. He is a strong proponent of a statewide initiative to create consistency throughout the state in responses for schools, businesses, and government agencies.