About Us

Westbeth Corp. is a New York not-for-profit corporation and qualifies under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3). It is governed by a board of directors, whose members volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that Westbeth's mission as a center for the arts and a source of affordable housing for artists is met. Three of its current members are residential tenants of Westbeth. The corporation retains Phipps Housing Services to help it run day-to-day operations and ensure that the needs of its 384 residential households as well as of its commercial tenants are met.

Westbeth Board of Directors

Susan Binet, secretary

Susan is a registered nurse and a trained first responder in the New York City Medical Reserve Corps. In that capacity, she assists some of the elderly residents at Westbeth. Prior to 1970, when Susan moved to Westbeth, she had a background in theatre and dance in Ohio. She appeared in productions at the Kettering Oakwood Theatre and the Dayton Theatre Guild and on local television in dance performances. Early on at Westbeth, she served on the board under the leadership of Joan Kaplan. She participated in the "Women's Collective," a literary and performing arts venue and performed in "Global Groove," a creation of video pioneer and artist Nam June Paik. She executed costumes for a dance company and fabrications for a visual artist's presentation. Currently the corporation's secretary, she has devoted many years of service to Westbeth, including a stint as president of the Westbeth Artists-Residents Council.

Carmi Bee, president

Carmi is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a graduate of The Cooper Union and Princeton University, and is president of RKT&B, an architecture and design firm based in New York City. He is also emeritus professor of architectural design at the City College of New York. He has received many awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Institute for Architectural Education, Princeton's Center for Urban and Environmental Studies, and The Cooper Union, as well as numerous design awards, including a First Honor Award for Design Excellence from the national AIA and the Andrew J. Thomas Award from the AIA's New York chapter.

Christina Brown

Currently the chief of staff of the New York City Charter School Center,  Christina has more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining the Charter School Center, Christina was director of the Union Square Partnership, a local development corporation driving the revitalization of Manhattan's 14th Street-Union Square district. In addition to her fundraising duties, Christina was responsible for bringing residents, property owners and retailers together to create a shared vision for the area's development. Before moving to New York, Christina worked for two of Long Island's leading arts venues, the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts and the Staller Center for the Arts, developing arts-in-education programs, fundraising and managing theaters and galleries.

Ronni Denes, vice president

Ronni Denes is president of New Jersey Seeds (Scholars, Educators, Excellence, Dedication, Success), a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 that prepares motivated, high-achieving, low-income students for admission to private schools and colleges across the county. NJSeeds strives to ensure that its students receive full financial aid from the independent preparatory schools, boarding schools and colleges they attend. Prior to joining NJSeeds, Ronni was vice president for external affairs of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, responsible for institutional advancement, public affairs, communications, alumni relations, continuing education and public programs.  A contributor to research and practice in minority education, Denes also spent 15 years at NACME, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation established at the National Academy of Engineering to increase access to careers in the scientific enterprise. As chief operating officer, she managed the organization's research and public policy agenda, academic programs, institutional advancement and public information.

Lisa Megeaski, treasurer

Lisa has more than 20 years of experience in risk management and finance in the financial services industry. Now a director of Promontory Financial Group, she was most recently the chief credit officer for Chartis International, where she oversaw global credit approval and led the development of an enhanced risk framework. Lisa brings a high appreciation of the arts and has served as a consultant to arts organizations within the City of New York. Lisa is treasurer of the corporation and sits on the audit-finance and real estate committees.

Barbara Prete

Barbara is a painter and writer who has lived in Westbeth since 1977. She raised three children here, one of whom, Allison, is now an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Barbara also has a background in finance; she attended the Harvard Business School and was director of Program Finance at the Empire State Development Corporation. She served as director of the National Book Awards for 10 years and as a development officer for several arts-related nonprofit organizations. Barbara was president of WARC for six years. She is also an award-winning journalist and an NEA fellowship winner.

Merble Harrington Reagon

Merble is executive director of the Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement in New York City.  She has worked for more than 35 years to create greater opportunities for low-wage workers and low-income women in the business and public sectors.  Current community involvement includes board membership at Wider Opportunities for Women, the New York State Defenders Association, the Justice Fund, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, and the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund.  Previous board memberships include Grace Church School, NYC Private Industry Council, and the Support Center for Nonprofit Management.  She has received numerous awards including the Ellen Lurie Award from the Community Service Society in recognition of her efforts on behalf of the poor; the Woman of Color Award from the NY Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs; and, the Susan B. Anthony Award from NOW NYC. She is a graduate of Smith College and the New York University School of Law.

Marc Rosen

Born in New York City, Marc grew up in and around Chicago, returning to New York to attend college.  He is an honors graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law School and has a master's degree in American History from Harvard. Following law school, Marc worked for 15 years for New York City including positions with the Planning Department and the Mayor's Office before serving as executive director of the Board of Correction and, later, deputy commissioner and general counsel of the City's Correction Department. He then moved to Connecticut where he was deputy secretary of state. In the second half of his career, he helped direct government relations activities for Southern New England Telephone Company and later AT&T. He has had a lifelong interest in both the visual and performing arts serving on the boards of a number of arts and other non-profit organizations, mostly in the Boston area where he lived during his years with AT&T. These included, among others, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Huntington Theater, the Dance Umbrella and the AT&T Foundation. Marc is now semi-retired and lives in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

BC Vermeersch

A native of the east side of Detroit, Michigan, BC Vermeersch is the executive director of the Musicians' Foundation, and served for many years as the director of Greenwich House Music School in the West Village. He also is on the board of the Friends of Washington Square Park and Washington Square Association. He has lived in Community Board 2 as long as he has been in NYC. His experience includes taxi driving, restaurant management, sales, philanthropy, teaching and concert productions. He has been a Board member for two years.

Glenn Erikson

Glenn is an architect and developer. He designed and developed Venice ArtBlock, a 20-unit live/work project in Venice, CA, and developed Main Street Mews, a 16-unit live/work project in Freeport, N.Y., with Time Equities, Inc. Current work includes managing projects in New York; Trenton, N.J.;  Annapolis, Md.; Bristol, Tenn.; Seattle, Wash.; and Berlin, Germany. He is also principal of EF Capital, which owns and manages 240 apartments in upstate New York. Glenn has a bachelor's degree in architecture, a master's in real estate and finance, and a doctorate in urban affairs, and has been on architectural teams that have won design awards on six projects. An active fly fisher, he is the conservation director of the International Federation of Fly Fishers, and is a board member of Architecture/Omi and Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn.

Michael Lappin

Mike is the president of MLappin & Associates LLC, involved in financing and development of affordable and market-rate housing. He is also Senior Advisor to the Sparhawk Group, an energy engineering company. For more than 30 years, he was the president and chief executive officer of The Community Preservation Corporation and CPC Resources, Inc. Under his leadership, CPC became New York State’s leading financier of affordable housing units. Its housing programs included the rehabilitation and stabilization of existing housing; the rebuilding of vacant publically owned properties; the development of new affordable and work force housing; the stabilization of distressed cooperatively owned housing, the development of senior and other special need housing, the rebuilding of deteriorated downtown areas; and financing programs to improve energy efficiency in existing multifamily housing. He has served on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac national advisory committees, co-chaired the affordable housing committee of the New York Federal Home Loan Bank, is a founding member of National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, and served on boards of many non-profit housing groups. He has also written widely and lectured in the field of affordable housing and community development and is a former adjunct professor at Hunter College and guest lecturer at many leading universities.