Team & Board
Meet The Crew
Chief Executive Officer
Hal Real is the Founder and President of World Cafe Live and co-founder of LiveConnections (now merged with World Cafe Live.) Hal is a co-founder and board member of NIVA (the National Independent Venue Association) and a co-founder and board president of NIVF (the National Independent Venue Foundation). He also serves on the boards of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (immediate past chair) and the Freire (Charter Schools) Foundation, and chairs the Honorary Board of People’s Light (Malvern, PA). In the past he chaired the Boards of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the Main Line Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the People’s Light and Philadelphia’s Fringe Arts boards, as well as the Chairman’s Council of the Philadelphia Zoo and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Board. Hal plays piano, loves dogs, and 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 service staff two weeks before the doors officially opened in October 2004. Rising through the ranks of the Food & Beverage department led to key management roles and additional operational responsibilities. Kerri played a support role to the newly formed LiveConnections nonprofit in 2008, and continued to expand her reach into other departments with a focus on finance. Maintaining a presence in multiple departments lead to her role as General Manager in 2018, where she is driven by the hard work of her dedicated team and the magic that is providing memorable live music and dining experiences for all of World Cafe Live’s guests. Kerri helped navigate the merger of 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 and currently the lead organizer for PIVOT, a collective of independent venues working to raise the profile of Philadelphia as a live music destination.
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.
Artistic Director of Education & Engagement
Josh is an award-winning teaching artist, arts administrator, and creative who has worked for arts and arts education organizations in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Over the course of his career, he has worked with various populations including students in grades K-12, English Language Learners, and the creative aging community in a variety of settings including libraries, shelters, virtual rooms, and juvenile justice facilities. As a facilitator he has developed workshops focusing on the intersection of creativity, leadership, equity, vulnerability, and black artmaking traditions. As an artist, he works in the choreopoem tradition, blending spoken word, movement, multimedia, and musicality of the late 90s to create spaces that reimagine the possibilities of freedom and liberation. Currently, he is a member of Jouska Playworks, a Philadelphia playwriting collective focused on amplified stories of the African American diaspora. A Baltimore native, he is a graduate of the University of the Arts and Baltimore School for the Arts where he studied classical music and the tuba.
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
Jeff has been a Talent Buyer in the Philadelphia region for over 10 years, previously working for Boot & Saddle and Neshaminy Creek Brewing before joining World Cafe Live in 2018. He got his start booking shows by renting out VFW and Rec halls in Bucks County as a teenager. Jeff is also a musician himself and has toured nationally and internationally as the drummer for Restorations. Now as WCL’s Senior Talent Buyer in charge of booking both stages, Jeff is dedicated to bringing live music of various genres to the community.
Director of Events
Kate grew up in Bath, England. She co-founded an Educational Events company in London, that eventually relocated across the pond in 2014. Kate spent her first year in the States absorbing what the American Event Industry had to offer. She completed Hospitality Management at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York to then join Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study as the Catering and Events Assistant Manager. Captivated by the energy and spirit of the city, she finally made the move to Philadelphia and accepted a position at the University of Pennsylvania Law School as Events Coordinator. Gradually immersing herself more and more in the community, and with her heartfelt passion for tailoring special events, it was only a matter of time before Kate joined the family at World Cafe Live as Director of Events.
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.
Sandra Riddick » Director of Finance
Jacinda Arellano » Promotions & Booking Coordinator
Julia Barbuto » Accountant
Christiana Benton » Guest Services Coordinator
Cortez Dessus » Facilities Manager
Molly Jo Gifford » Events Coordinator
Joey Horn » Operations Manager
Daquisha Jones » Individual Giving Manager
Joe Kusy » Graphic Designer
Tierra McKinney » Front of House Manager
Mallorie McRea » Ticketing & Guest Services 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 of World Cafe Live
Lori Landew, Chair » General Counsel, Audible
Paralee Knight, Vice Chair » Vice President, Wells Fargo Philanthropy and Community Impact
Sally Bullard, Treasurer » Financial Executive (retired)
Courtney M. Johnson, Secretary » Chief Administrative Officer, Philadelphia Zoo
Steve Barnes » Chief Financial Officer, Accolade, Inc.
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
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