New Faces on the Board of Trustees
Four new members were added to Berklee's Board of Trustees at the June meeting. Three of the new trustees are distinguished Berklee alumni: Luis Alvarez, John Doelp, and Leanne Summers. The new members add further to the diversity of the board and bring total membership to 29.
Luis Alvarez '83 of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is an accomplished business leader. Alvarez has served since 1985 as vice president of Mendez & Company, Inc., a major family-owned Puerto Rican food and beverage company. Under his leadership, Mendez & Company established the celebrated Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest. Alvarez has served as the festival's executive producer since its inception in 1990. In addition to his work with Mendez & Company, Alvarez, a commercial pilot, is president and owner of Copter's Corporation and Aviation Technology Corporation.
As a Berklee alumnus, Alvarez has been a vital link between the college and the Puerto Rican community. He was instrumental in creating the annual Berklee in Puerto Rico educational program, a week-long event that brings Berklee faculty to San Juan to provide training for young students and to award scholarships for Puerto Rican musicians to study at Berklee.
Scott Benson has over 20 years of experience creating and managing computer companies. He is currently the board chair and CEO of Valent Software, a company helping to define the next generation of communities on the Internet. Prior to his work at Valent, Benson was a founder of Accordance Corporation, licensing their Intermail messaging server to AT&T for its WorldNet service. Benson played a key role in the merger of Accordance with Software.com, the leading intranet messaging company.
In addition to serving on the board of directors for Valent Software, Benson has been a member of the boards at Software.com, Accordance Corporation, Newsphere Corporation, and Microsystems Software. He also operates his own Risky Music label and is a guitarist and songwriter.
Benson has been a great supporter of the college. He established an endowed scholarship to provide support to an outstanding pop, rock, or folk songwriting student. His Risky Music company was one of two sponsors for the Rekooperators benefit concert at the Berklee Performance Center in November 1998, which featured rock icon and Berklee Associate Professor Al Kooper and a band of celebrated New York session musicians.
John Doelp '79 has worked at all levels of the music industry as a performer, arranger, producer, and record company executive. Currently, he is president of Crescent Moon Records, a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment. Since 1995, Doelp has served as executive vice president of Sony 550 Music and senior vice president of Epic Records Group. He has also been co-executive producer of Canadian recording artist Celine Dion. Involved in every aspect of Dion's career, Doelp co-produced three of her albums, which have collectively sold over 45 million units worldwide.
As senior vice president of marketing and sales at Epic Records between 1993 and 1995, Doelp created and implemented marketing plans for many successful projects, including recordings by Pearl Jam, the Spin Doctors, Michael Jackson, and Gloria Estefan, to name a few, and the soundtracks from Sleepless in Seattle and Forrest Gump.
In addition to being a Berklee alumnus, Doelp earned a bachelor's degree in sociology/ social psychology from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, and a master's in arts and business administration from Columbia University.
Leanne Summers '88 of Studio City, California, is an accomplished performing artist and vocal coach. As a professional singer, Summers toured with a variety of acts and has performed and/or recorded with such artists as Rita Coolidge, Richie Havens, Eddie Rabbitt, and Crystal Gayle.
Since 1994, she has served as president of Berklee's Los Angeles alumni chapter and has helped to greatly elevate the awareness of Berklee alumni in southern California by hosting panel discussions and alumni events.
Summers operates her own vocal studio and has been a coach to recording artists, actors, and dancers like Brenda Russell, Az Yet, Drew Carey, Shelley Duvall, and Jean Kasem. As a guest speaker and clinician, Summers has given presentations for Grammy in the Schools (NARAS) and the National Academy of Songwriters. She has also authored articles for several music magazines and has served since 1993 as chief financial officer of the Los Angeles Women in Music organization.
"Strengthening the connectedness between Berklee alumni and the college is one of our leading priorities," said President Lee Eliot Berk. "There is no better place to start than with the appointment of deserving alums to our Board of Trustees."