Team & Board
Meet The Crew
Chief Executive Officer
Hal Real is the founder and CEO of World Cafe Live. In 1998, Hal proposed a groundbreaking partnership to public radio station WXPN to jointly create and share this house of music, including XPN’s offices and studios as well as WCL’s two stages featuring exceptional acoustics, lighting and sightlines, diverse programming, and world-class hospitality. Since its 2004 opening, World Cafe Live has built a continuum of arts access and opportunity by nurturing emerging and established artists, creating innovative educational programs for youth and people with disabilities, building workforce development programs and welcoming audiences of all ages. In 2023, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance honored Hal with its inaugural Changemaker Award “for exhibiting visionary leadership and initiative to create lasting change in the arts and culture in the Philadelphia region and beyond.”
Hal is a co-founder of NIVA (the National Independent Venue Association) and NIVF (the National Independent Venue Foundation), serving on both boards and as president of the Foundation board. Formed in April 2020, just three weeks into the pandemic shutdown, NIVA was the driving force behind lobbying and grassroots efforts to pass the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act. Officially named the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant Program, it was signed into law as part of the second COVID-19 Relief Bill on December 27, 2020. The program allocated $16.5 billion in federal emergency relief via the Small Business Administration, saving the live performing arts industry from mass collapse.
Hal is the immediate past board chair of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, chair of the People’s Light Honorary Board (Malvern, PA) and a board member of the Freire (Charter Schools) Foundation. Hal plays piano, enjoys traveling and spending time in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his wife and two yellow labs. He is a graduate of Kenyon College and Temple University School of Law.
Chief Operating Officer
Motivated by a lifetime of seeking out live music experiences and a deep love for all things Philadelphia, Kerri was drawn to World Cafe Live from the very beginning and was hired as part of the Food & Beverage department in October 2004. Maintaining a presence in multiple departments lead to her role as General Manager in 2018, where she is driven by the impact a venue has on the community. Kerri helped navigate the merger of 501c3 LiveConnections with World Cafe Live in 2019 and now as Chief Operating Officer continues to work on overseeing all departments with a focus on pushing the bounds of what a nonprofit music venue can and should be. Additionally Kerri is a LEADERSHIP Philadelphia Fellow, a member of the Advisory Board for the Director of Nighttime Economy, on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Music Alliance, and the current chapter President for NIVA’s Northeast Corridor.
Director of Food & Beverage
Chef Rob’s road to professional kitchens was driven by an entrepreneurial spirit when a unique opportunity presented itself to operate his own restaurant. After selling his first establishment, he decided to return to the basics and climb the ranks in established kitchens. Absorbing every ounce of knowledge around him, he accepted a position at World Cafe Live’s former location in his hometown of Wilmington, DE and spent years covering all aspects of the business from large scale a la carte service to formal catered dinners to specialty pairing menus. Now as the Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Rob is responsible for the dining experience of over 100,000 guests a year, overseeing service in two spaces daily and over 200 catered events annually while playing an integral role in the next stages of the organization’s development.
Director of Development
Jessica Pasquariello is an experienced fundraising professional with a lifelong passion for music, theatre, and dance. Jessica is thrilled to join the World Cafe Live team as the Director of Development. Jessica began her professional career at Philadelphia Theatre Company with a marketing internship in 2008. Jessica joined the front-of-house team working during performances while studying Entertainment and Arts Management and Business Administration at Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree, she continually rose through the ranks eventually running the Development program at the theatre company in 2017. Throughout 12 successful years of fundraising events and campaigns, she was a vital part of the team that led the company through a leadership transition, financial turnaround, and the pandemic. Jessica has volunteered with the Riverdale Land Conservatory, to preserve history in her hometown. She lives in South Philly with her husband Chris.
Director of Operations
Mallorie grew up in the Philadelphia area and has been with World Cafe Live since September 2021. She joined WCL as the Ticketing & Guest Services Manager and is now Director of Operations as of June 2023. She cut her teeth in Nashville by working in venue box offices, as a talent buyer, and a booking agent routing tours before moving back to the area in 2021 during the pandemic. It was a full circle moment to score a dream position at World Cafe Live, where she had previously loved catching live music and even met some of her heroes (like Brandi Carlile).
Director of Communications
Tori began her journey with World Cafe Live as a marketing intern in 2013, unless you count the many concerts she attended as a longtime fan of the venue. During her studies at neighboring Drexel University in the Music Industry program, she wrote concert and album reviews for a local music blog, assisted on several releases with Mad Dragon Records, and worked as a publicist for local artists. Tori graduated from Drexel in 2014 with a degree in Music Industry and Communications. She found her way back to World Cafe Live shortly thereafter and has been with the venue full-time ever since. Now as Director of Communications, Tori manages all marketing, advertising, promotions, publicity, and branding for WCL.
Director of Programming
Helen has been a talent buyer in the Philadelphia region for over 10 years, previously working for City Winery and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Before she came to Philly, she was a talent buyer at SteelStacks/Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA where she booked somewhere in the ballpark of 500+ artists per year. She got her start in Bethlehem booking jazz bands on weekends at the Bookstore Speakeasy. If she’s not at a show – or booking a show – she’s hanging out with her dog, Dexter.
Jorgan has been a member of the World Cafe Live Production team since 2007. Initially focused on producing demos and albums in recording studios, Jorgan delved into concert production and promotion while living in a DIY artist collective/concert space. Subsequent years of experience touring North America and Europe with several artists have given him a grounded viewpoint of concert logistics. As Production Manager for World Cafe Live, Jorgan leads a crew of skilled lighting and sound technicians while overseeing production for events of all types.
Julia Barbuto » Accountant
Cortez Dessus » Facilities Manager
Joey Horn » Operations Manager
Joe Kusy » Graphic Designer
Lola Ojo » Events Coordinator
Arely Peña » Front of House Manager
Hayley Simmons » Guest Services Coordinator
Mike Stiltner » Bar Manager
Interested in joining the WCL team? Visit our employment page here to see current openings and apply.
Hal Real, President & CEO » Founder, World Cafe Live
Lori Landew, Chair » General Counsel, Audible
Paralee Knight, Vice Chair » Vice President, Wells Fargo Philanthropy and Community Impact
Steve Barnes, Treasurer » Chief Financial Officer, Accolade, Inc.
Courtney M. Johnson, Secretary » Chief Administrative Officer, Philadelphia Zoo
David Bradley » Theater Director, Educator & Arts Consultant
Tony Brown » The Curtis Institute of Music (retired)
Val Chavenson » Account Supervisor, BNO a creative agency
Robert J. Crowder » Founder and Managing Partner, Chapman Farrell Group
Katie E. Everett » President, Katalyst Productions
David E. Griffith » Executive Director and Head Coach Emeritus, Episcopal Community Services
Tamar Lelkes Oded, Co-Founder » Independent Consultant
Rob Penn » Interactive Product, Comcast
Greg Reh » Principal, Deloitte, LLP
Katie Samson » Director of Education, Art-Reach
Alex Shaw » Musician & Teaching Artist
David Thornburgh » Senior Advisor, Committee of Seventy; Chair, Ballot PA