LESLIE KOCH, President

Leslie Koch, a native New Yorker, spent more than a decade in the high tech sector in Seattle, principally at Microsoft where she oversaw the development and marketing of several flagship products.

She returned to New York City to launch the Fund for Public Schools in 2003. Under her leadership, the Fund, which is the partner to the New York City Department of Education, raised more than $160 million in support of NYC’s public schools.  

From 2006 to 2016, she spearheaded the revitalization of Governors Island as President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. Under her leadership, Governors Island was transformed from an abandoned military base to a vibrant public space, with an extraordinary new park, up-to-date infrastructure, a mix of year-round tenants and an innovative array of arts and cultural programs. During her tenure, visitation grew from 8,000 per season to more than 600,000, drawing New Yorkers from all five boroughs and visitors from around the world.

Since 2016, she has served as an independent advisor on public-private partnerships in the fields of culture, education, and public space around the country, working with such organizations as Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates, as well as the New York Public Library.

Koch received a BA from Yale College summa cum laude and a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dogs.

BILL RAUCH, Artistic Director

Bill Rauch is the inaugural Artistic Director of The Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performing Arts. His work as a theater director has been seen across the nation, from low-income community centers to Broadway in the Tony Award-winning production of Robert Schenkkan’s “All The Way,” as well as at many of the largest regional theaters in the country. His other New York credits include the world premiere of Naomi Wallace’s “Night Is A Room” at Signature Theatre, the New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s “The Clean House” at Lincoln Center Theater, and a site-specific Occasional Grace in multiple Manhattan churches for En Garde Arts. His production of “The Great Society,” the companion play to “All The Way,” is currently in performance on Broadway, starring Brian Cox.

From 2007 to 2019, Bill was Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the country’s oldest and largest rotating repertory theater, where he has directed seven world premieres and 20 other plays including several by Shakespeare as well as innovative productions of classic musicals including a queer re-envisioning of “Oklahoma!" Among his initiatives at OSF, Bill committed to commissioning 37 new plays to dramatize moments of change in American history. “American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle” is now in its tenth year of productions, resulting in such watershed plays as Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat” (winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize), Paula Vogel’s “Indecent,” the 1491s’ “Between Two Knees,” Lisa Loomer’s “Roe,”  Universes’ “Party People,” Culture Clash’s “American Night,” and both of Robert Schenkkan’s plays about LBJ, among others.

Bill is also co-founder of Cornerstone Theater Company where he served as artistic director from 1986 to 2006, directing more than 40 productions, most of them collaborations with diverse rural and urban communities nationwide. He has directed world premieres at Portland Center Stage, Center Theater Group, and South Coast Rep, and has directed multiple times each at American Repertory Theater, Yale Rep, the Guthrie, Arena Stage, and Seattle Rep, as well as at Long Wharf Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, and Great Lakes Theater Festival. His production of “The Pirates of Penzance” performed at Portland Opera.

Bill twice won the Independent Reviewers of New England Award. He is also the recipient of the 2018 Ivy Bethune Award from Actors’ Equity Association for his commitment to diversity in casting and producing, a 2015 Ford Fellowship, the 2012 Fichandler Award from the Society of Directors and Choreographers, Theatre Communications Group’s Visionary Leadership Award in 2010, the Margo Jones Medal for his commitment to living writers in 2009, and the United States Artists Prudential Award in 2008. Other honors include Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Best Direction of “All The Way,” as well as Helen Hayes, Ovation, Los Angeles Weekly, DramaLogue, Garland, and Connecticut Critics’ Circle Awards, and he is the only artist to have won the inaugural “Leadership for a Changing World” award from the Ford Foundation.

He was a Claire Trevor Professor at the University of California Irvine, and has also taught at the University of Southern California and U.C.L.A. Bill was educated at Harvard College. He lives in New York City with his husband Christopher Liam Moore and their two children, Liam and Xava Rauch-Moore.

DAVID LANGFORD, Chief Operating Officer

David Langford joined the effort to rebuild the World Trade Center site in 2005 as the CFO of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. This organization was created to raise funds, design, construct and operate the cultural components in the redevelopment plans. As the 9/11 Memorial and Museum were completed, David shifted his focus to The Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performing Arts.

Prior to joining the WTC redevelopment effort, David was the Vice President for Finance and Administration, overseeing the operations of the Museum of the City of New York, where, at the time, a building addition and major renovation were underway. David’s personal interest in the arts and cultural organizations in NYC drove his break from the banking field. David previously worked in a number of lead financial roles for banking institutions, from major Wall Street firms to start-up financial organizations, where David honed his talents steering an organization through the challenges of rapid growth.

David graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting. 

SUANY CHOUGH, Director of Project Development

Suany Chough is Director of Project Development at The Perelman Center.  Suany is a project manager with a broad background in design and construction, real estate development, and transportation planning.  She has over 20 years of professional experience working on large-scale projects in New York and San Francisco, including the revitalization of Times Square, the design and planning of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, redevelopment of Governors Island, and transit expansion projects for the San Francisco Municipal Railway. 

Suany chairs the board of The Civilians, an investigative theater company. 

MATT WILSON, Construction Manager

Matt Wilson’s background is in construction management working on large commercial projects. He brings experience from multiple roles including contract administration, material procurement, and site engineering. He has worked in building design, construction, equipment installation, and commissioning.

Previous to his work on the Perelman, he worked as Site Engineer completing a $1.2 billion public healthcare facility, The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Melbourne, Australia. Matt worked in various roles across the project which was the largest public/private funded facility of its kind in Australia. He also worked as Project Engineer at The American Dream project in New Jersey, where he primarily managed the various contractors on site constructing the $700 million water park sector of the development.

Matt received a Bachelor of Construction Management from the University of Melbourne while working for a leading residential construction firm in Melbourne.

CATHERINE BLANEY, Development Consultant

Catherine joined the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in the fall of 2006. Along with Chairman Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, she has helped spearhead fundraising for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum for both the capital campaign and for operational and program development.  She is also the CEO of CBlaney Group (formerly Cathy Blaney & Associates), a nationally recognized fundraising firm in the political and not-for-profit world.   Most recently, Catherine is continuing fundraising and developing partnerships with several different initiatives that are partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies.  She received her law degree from St. John’s University and a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Fordham University.

JULIE PYUN, Development Consultant

Julie Pyun is a seasoned development executive with 20 years of experience specializing in non-profit initiatives, partnership development, strategic planning, project management and fundraising compliance work. Julie continues to focus on fundraising and developing efforts with several different organizations that are partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies.  Her continuous role as a managing director of CBlaney Group (formerly known as Cathy Blaney and Associates), continues to build synergy to a nationally recognized fundraising firm in the political and not-for-profit world. 

 
JENNY GERSTEN, Consulting Producer

Jenny Gersten has been the Consulting Producer for The Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performing Arts for over four years and produces independently including the long-running Off Broadway “pie shop” production of “Sweeney Todd,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “Live Cinema” workshops, the forthcoming musical of “Beetlejuice,” and several projects for Virgin Voyages first ship (setting sail in 2020).

Prior to The Perelman Center, Ms. Gersten was the Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, responsible for programming and maintaining one of the great public spaces in New York City. She was Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF) for four seasons, and the Associate Producer of The Public Theater in New York City for four years.  

She also spent five years at the inner-city mentoring program The 52nd Street Project, and once was a casting director for “Billy Elliot the Musical” as well as for visual artist Gregory Crewdson. She has served as a grant adjudicator for TCG, the J.M. Kaplan Innovation Fund, and Pew Center for Art and Culture, taught theater producing at NYU and Williams College, and served as a Tony Nominator.

Ms. Gersten studied archaeology and art history at Oberlin College. Her preferred method of transportation is bicycle.