Meet Our Staff
Drawing on over two decades of experience working in the arts at world-class institutions, Elysia Dawn has measurably demonstrated her advocacy for the organizations she served with business acumen and artistry. With a background in professional ballet and a Nonprofit Management master’s degree from Columbia University, Elysia has worked for organizations including the Florence Dance Festival at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the Frick Collection, GALLIM, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
At The Met, she helped annually produce hundreds of events for MetLiveArts, more than tripled their audience in the hundreds of thousands, and increased their funding by over a third of their annual budget. While serving as Fundraising Director for GALLIM, Elysia created a comprehensive fundraising plan through the pandemic that resulted in their most ambitious and successful initiative to date, increasing contributions by over twofold and founding their Artist in Residence program.
Receiving multiple King’s Crown Leadership Awards as well as a community service award from Columbia University, Elysia was recognized for serving the Columbia Ballet Collaborative as their Artistic Director and founder of both their Outreach Program and the Ivy Ballet Exchange. She’s been a featured speaker at Columbia and served on the university’s General Studies Alumni Association. She received her bachelors’ degree from Columbia with a major in Art History and a minor in Business Management.
Elysia is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of individuals and the communities we constitute. She greatly values devoting her passion and professionalism toward strengthening organizations to achieve their vision and improve the conditions of the world we live in. A Naples native, Elysia enjoys spending her free time dancing, teaching Pilates, dining, and being with family and friends, especially by or in our beautiful beaches and great outdoors.
Danielle grew up in Lee County, Florida and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Central Florida. She comes to United Arts Collier with a history of developing customer relationships, programmatic and operational efficiencies, and a love and appreciation of the arts and arts community. Previous work in the arts and culture nonprofit sector has led to a deep appreciation for art to inspire reflection, community, creative expression, and healing.
Outside of work, Danielle can be found renovating her home, reading, or hanging out with her two fur babies, Ernie and Gochu.
Community Engagement Coordinator
As a Florida native, Martina is proud to serve Collier County as the Community Engagement Coordinator. Hailing all the way from up the street, Martina grew up in Fort Myers surrounded by & immersed in the arts. At an early age, she became involved in the performing arts which lead her to obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. In addition, she served art organizations such as The Young Artist Program affiliated with the Alliance for the Arts. Martina still performs regionally and internationally, with her most recent credit as a solo headliner with her show “Women of the 60’s” for Carnival Cruise Lines.
Meet Our Board
Vice President (2018-present)
Matt’s commitment to United Arts Collier stems from his roots as a Naples native, his upbringing in the world of fine woodwork, and his passion for the arts. Born and raised in Naples, Matt has witnessed the explosive growth of Collier County and understands the responsibility and influence its citizens, local businesses & organizations, and local government have on the culture, vitality, and direction of the community.
Now 2nd generation owner & CEO Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild (a provider of fine interior woodwork, furniture, and finishes), as well as, founding partner of Method & Concept (a contemporary art gallery & design studio), Matt witnesses the power of arts and artisanship on a daily basis, not only for the beauty the they bring to our surroundings but the economic impact and opportunities the arts provide.
As the state designated Local Arts Agency (LAA), Matt sees UAC as being uniquely positioned to be a driving force for Collier County to be a thriving and diverse arts community and making the arts and arts education accessible to all citizens of Collier County.
Matt is for President of the UAC Board of Directors and former co-chair of the 2017 Stars in the Arts Awards Gala.
Suzette Fernandes, is a retired IBM Project Director and has been responsible for customer relationships, service excellence and delivery, business growth, and innovation for large, multinational corporations in the Retail and Industrial sector. She graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in Accounting and an MBA from Pace University. Suzette lived in Bedford Hills, NY before making Naples, Florida home in 2013.
Secretary (June 2022-present)
Laura Alexander is an independent consultant, helping businesses and non-profit organizations achieve strategic growth. Laura’s background is a mix of legal, operations and merchandising leadership roles. Most recently she held the position of SVP, Chief Merchandising Officer for Regis Corporation, the global hair salon leader. She also owned the organization's relationship with Walmart, operating more than 2,000 salons in the US and Canada. Laura received her BA from Mount Holyoke College and JD from William Mitchell College of Law, and is a member of the Minnesota Bar Association. Laura and her husband spend most of their free time traveling with family, including their three young children. Laura is passionate about improving access to all forms of art, particularly for underserved populations.
Jennifer O’Dell grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and has lived full time in Naples since 1999. She and her husband, Scott, are co-founders of The Wellington Group at Morgan Stanley, a financial advisory team for high-net worth individuals and families. They and their team provide a personalized, boutique-like financial planning and wealth management experience for their clients. This five-star service approach, combined with access to the tremendous array of tools and resources through Morgan Stanley allow them to deliver comprehensive and customized financial solutions with the highest standards of care. Jennifer and Scott have two grown sons, Ryan and Colin. They, like their parents, appreciate the beauty and lifestyle of South Florida. Currently, they are all living in Naples and have all been enjoying the family time. Jennifer is looking forward to the many exciting things UAC has in store for the community!
Director (June 2022-present)
Daryl Berg is a long-time entertainment and music executive whose career has been filled with experiences of growing the music brand inside companies with a broader media platform. Prior to launching moving to Southwest Florida, he ran the music department for a division of Fox Entertainment as well as the Hallmark Channel and its affiliated properties and two other major independent production companies. Originally from New York, he spent a majority of his career in Los Angeles, so he scoffs when people complain about the worsening Collier County traffic. His career as a business-minded creative has seen a focus on musical aspects as diverse as talent booking, music publishing analysis, strategic partnerships and creative marketing. Daryl is an omnivorous music fan with tastes spreading from outlaw country to Afro-beat and post-punk to black metal. He also has a deep passion for photography, street art, and the culinary arts. His biggest belief that there is no delineation between “low” art and “high” but rather, all art should be championed so long as it’s a product of artistic expression. Outside of music and the arts, his greatest joys are his daughter Lennox and his maniac spaniel mixes, Remi and Arlo.
Raegan Gillette is an entertainment executive passionate about exploring the intersection of music, art, and culture — and the role they play in uplifting and enriching communities. Born and raised in Clearwater Florida, Raegan spent 8 years living in New York before moving to back to Southwest Florida in 2022. In her current role as Brand Director for Live Nation, she works closely with the world’s biggest artists and brands — including Coldplay, Katy Perry, Dave Matthews, Amazon, Citi, Hilton, Verizon and more — to create and manage immersive brand activations, world-class concerts, and in-person art and media experiences nationwide. She’s also responsible for launching Citi Sound Vault, a platform that brings fans closer to their favorite artists through exclusive, intimate private shows. Raegan believes art and music play an integral role in community development, and she’s interested in leveraging her 10+ years of expertise and connections to bring more of both to Southwest Florida.
Director (March 2020-present)
Nature's beauty is the source of my strength and inspiration. Growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, I learned to love the miracle of the nature that surrounded me. Then, in 1985 when I moved to Naples, Florida, I realized that the unique beauty here spoke to me in a way I had never before experienced.
Through photography, I developed a great passion for preserving my vision of the landscape and wildlife of God's amazing creations. And so, my journey began. I got married, started a family, and a few businesses along the way. Nevertheless, my camera was always close at hand. I searched for secret places and unique perspectives when I had the time.
I found ways to incorporate my love of photography into my everyday life. As I shared these images with friends and family, I often heard, "Why aren't you sharing these with more people?" After a while, I thought, "Why aren't I?" Drawing on my personal inspiration and the loving support of my wife and family, I took a leap of faith. I pursued my passion by opening a gallery. I devoted myself to photography. Since then, I've learned what it means to work and grow within my true calling. I focus most of my work on the Florida Everglades. The connection I feel for our land and its inhabitants are indescribable. It's a spiritual expedition that includes the endless vistas populated by birds, alligators, snakes, diverse foliage, and so much more. There is no better reward than searching for-and sometimes finding-that perfect moment and capturing it in a photograph. Sharing these images with others provides even greater inspiration as I share the stories I see unfolding right in front of me. I hope that my photography helps people realize how important it is to observe and protect the natural world around us.
From my perspective, I have had the honor and privilege to be recognized for my craft on 28 magazine covers and nine pano awards. My photographs have been published in Gulfshore Life Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, Life in Naples, Naples Scene, Marco Scene, Island Scene, Kiplinger Magazine, Connection Magazine, and Views Magazine. In addition, my awards include Nature's Best Photography Awards, National Audubon Photography Awards, Epson Pano Awards, and various art show awards.
I look forward to continuing to tell the stories of the Everglades that will last for generations to come.