Who we are



ALISON KORMAN   Executive Director / Founder

Alison is an entrepreneur and classically trained actor from New York.  She lived and worked in Mexico and Senegal, then worked in the non-profit sector at The Metropolitan Opera and The 92nd Street Y in NYC before founding her own arts management company.  After 25 years as an executive procuring and producing $5 million annually in still photography while simultaneously performing in countless theatrical venues in NYC and abroad, she retired her business.  Full-time in Los Angeles since 1997, she has served as an Account Director for the Taproot Foundation, performed for hundreds of schoolchildren with the LA Assistance League’s Nine O’Clock Players, and began teaching Shakespeare to Title 1 elementary school children in South Los Angeles in 2009.   She conceived the idea for The Young Shakespeareans Program in 2010, officially founded the organization in 2017, and has developed its curriculum in the conviction that unleashing the awareness and potential of Title 1 public school children not only transforms them, but serves the broader community as well.  Alison continues to perform in theatre, film, and television.  She received her degree in Special Education and Foreign Language from Washington University in St. Louis. 


     PATRICIA DOKTOR   Chief Development Officer

Patricia has had a lifetime career in the arts.  She is an award‐winning graphic designer and illustrator, having created visuals for many illustrious print and corporate clients in animated film, cartoons, theme parks, and theatrical events, as well as conceiving and branding events for charitable organizations.  She created, organized, and implemented the “Hands On” Art Project funded through the Gene Autry Foundation which included the participation of 990 K-5 students at Carpenter Elementary School, and also founded and ran a private studio based on the need to teach K-5 children that art was notabout making pretty pictures and staying within the lines.   She next conquered a life-long fear of being on stage by performing for Title 1 school children with the LA Assistance League’s Nine O’Clock Players.  Floored when she attended her first Shakespearean performance in a South LA school that was just like the Title 1 Public Schools she herself had attended growing up, she joined Alison to bring Shakespeare to underserved communities in South Los Angeles. She has been instrumental in documenting the Program's curriculum, and specializes in coaching the students one-on-one to foster their comprehension, confidence, and courage.  Trish’s organizational focus is on branding and fundraising to support the Program’s broader reach and goals.   She holds a BFA from Art Center College of Design and is certified in the UCLA Social Emotional Arts (SEA) Program. 


KENN HELLER   Chief Operating Officer

A key player in UCLA Student Affairs for almost 40 years, Kenn served as the Advisor/Supervisor of Concerts, Films, and Speakers, and developed Corporate Sponsorship policies for student organizations and University; as Assistant Dean of Students, he presided over the appropriate use of digital content and the adjudication of disciplinary cases related to the Digital Millennium Act (DMCA); as Chief Innovation Officer for the Division of Campus Life, he identified and implemented creative uses of technology to further the mission of Student Affairs and the University as a whole. Concurrently, Kenn was a partner in an Arts and Events management firm producing large-scale events for municipalities within Southern California. Once retiring from UCLA, Kenn launched ComeHellerHighwater, a strategic planning and management consulting firm for commercial businesses and not-for-profit organizations.  He currently serves as Head of Acquisitions for Random Media (an independent film distribution company), and serves as a visiting lecturer at the University of Chichester in the U.K.     Introduced to The Young Shakespeareans in 2017, Kenn immediately recognized the Program’s potential and came on board to take part in forwarding its vision and scope. Kenn received his BA in Economics from UCLA in 1972, and his MBA from The California State University, Northridge in 2007.










Founder and Artistic Director of the Downtown Repertory Theater Company (DRTC) Devon has produced and directed many plays, a feature film, several short films and a web series, all in partnership with DRTC's ongoing patrons including the City of Los Angeles and the Department of Cultural Affairs.  He is a graduate of SUNY Purchase in New York, has also studied at LAMDA in London, and is an award-winning Shakespearean actor.  He performs with DRTC, Open Fist, the Long Beach Playhouse, and the Lyric Theater in Los Angeles.   Devon has directed "Romeo & Juliet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Nevin Avenue Elementary School, and teaches specialty workshops in Stage Combat for The Young Shakespeareans, and is on the faculty at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA).



Lauren is a graduate of The Juilliard School’s Drama Division, and has appeared on many stages across the country including The Alley in Houston, Long Wharf in New Haven, McCarter in Princeton, Indiana Rep in Indianapolis, The Old Globe in San Diego, Pennsylvania Shakespeare in Center Valley, and in LA at the Mark Taper Forum, Open Fist Theater Company and the Geffen Playhouse.  Lauren has taught acting and voice and speech at AMDA-LA and now at The Art of Acting Studios. She been a private acting and vocal coach for 14 years.   Lauren has directed "Macbeth" at Nevin Avenue Elementary School.



A recent transplant from the Bay area, Matthew holds a BA in Acting from Sonoma State University, has studied at Antaeus Theatre Academy in Los Angeles, and is a Company Member at Rogue Machine Theatre.  He has performed in various films and theatre venues in California and has assistant-directed "Macbeth" at Nevin Avenue Elementary School.  He has a strong passion for educating youth and for making Shakespeare's language tangible for an audience. With over 12 years experience of summer camps and outdoor education, Matthew couldn’t wait to combine his two passions at the Young Shakespeareans.




Mary holds a BA in Theatre with a strong foundation in Dance, has toured throughout the East Coast as an Actor/Stage Manager/Set Builder/Make-Up Artist in children’s theater, and in Los Angeles has taught Scene Study to 5th and 6th graders.  She volunteered with The Young Shakespeareans in 2018 and, by serving as an Acting, Text, and Movement Coach, helped to launch the Program at West Vernon Elementary School. She helmed the Inaugural Benefit in September 2018 and will be serving as a Teaching Artist in Spring 2019. Mary is also a gifted Visual Artist whose recent work has garnered private commissions and has been exhibited in the San Gabriel Valley.




Nadja graduated Magna Cum Laude and received her Marketing Degree from Pace University.    She is a Veteran of the US Army, has raised two children, and is an experienced actress in theatre and film.  Since relocating to Los Angeles eight years ago, she has been repeatedly drawn to its large community of underprivileged children, and to participating in realistic and hands-on solutions to assist them.  She has served as a tutor for LAUSD and the No Child Left Behind program, has tutored professionally in English, Math, History, and Literature, and has volunteered for Young Storytellers (mentoring underserved children in finding their voice through writing).  Currently, she maintains the actor’s life auditioning and performing, and will be serving as a Teaching Artist in Spring 2019.   



Sasha is an award-winning Costume Designer, Fashion Designer & Wardrobe Stylist with many credits in stage venues in Chicago and Los Angeles and television productions.  He holds a BFA in Theatre/Costume Design from Columbia College in Chicago, and is also a very active member of the Impulse LA, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and the Human Rights Campaign.




Dave serves as the Operations Manager at Wrapal, a film/tech startup in Los Angeles, and has championed their Student Ambassador Program.  He holds a BA in Film from California State University/Long Beach, and has written and produced over 20 film projects including web series, shorts, sketches and podcasts.  



KENNETH I. GROSS   President

Based in Los Angeles, Kenneth I. Gross & Associates has provided legal counsel for individuals and businesses for over 30 years, serving clients both in the United States and internationally.  Ken was born and raised in Philadelphia, and spent a number of years working with businesses in southwest China where he was among the first foreign attorneys to be licensed there. Over the course of his career, he has cultivated and maintained  involvement in the local community in various capacities serving on the Board of Directors of the Fremont Centre Theatre, a nonprofit performing arts center in South Pasadena, and was the longest serving President of Temple Beth David of the San Gabriel Valley in its 70 year history.   A long-time supporter of The Young Shakespeareans, he provides all legal counsel, is squiring the organization to full 501(c)(3) status, and is slated to head its Board of Directors.  Ken is admitted to practice in California and Pennsylvania, as well as the U.S. District Court and the Court of Appeals.




Karen Wirick, CFRE, is associate vice president of development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who raises philanthropic support for hospital priorities including Child Life and the Institute for Nursing and Interprofessional Research. Karen joined Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 2006 to raise major gifts for the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion. At the conclusion of the Living Proof Campaign Karen designed and launched the Ambassadors and Junior Ambassadors program for leadership annual donors. Prior to joining the hospital, Karen was the Director of Development at Kayne Eras Center, a nonpublic school in Culver City and the National Chapter Director at Cure Autism Now Foundation (now Autism Speaks.) In addition to Karen’s role on The Young Shakespeareans Advisory Board, Karen has most recently served on the board of the Child Educational Center, a model early childhood education program in California.Karen earned a degree in English Literature, found her passion for Shakespeare and launched her nonprofit career from her tenure at the University of California, Los Angeles.




Janet Loeb’s passion is creating and leading programs in arts and culture, education, and philanthropic endeavors. A Wharton MBA, Janet’s experience in investment banking and consulting spans 3 decades. She has designed programs, taught, and administered grants in Art, Media Arts, and Technology awarded to Los Angeles Unified schools by the California Department of Education, the Autry Foundation, CBS, and Laurel Promenade Developers.   Janet is the Project Originator/Manager/Curator for ArtHealingArtists founded in 2015 to create live, interactive “pop-up” exhibitions in which the public can experience an artist’s journey while learning about life-altering conditions from the artist’s personal perspective. Janet has served on several boards in the non-profit sector where her responsibilities included fundraising, community education, curriculum, and strategic planning.  She has received several awards and honors for her leadership in the Los Angeles community and brings a unique perspective of financial savvy to creative and humanitarian endeavors.




Wendy is an active and well-respected member of Los Angeles’ entertainment industry.  A stand-up comedian, she has appeared on The Larry Sanders Show, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. In 1996, she won the American Comedy Award for Female Stand-up Comedian of the Year.  She wrote, performed and directed the Showtime special Wendy Liebman: Taller On TV, and has also written and performed on stand-up specials Girls' Night Out, Women of the Night IV, Comic Relief VII, and HBO Comedy Half-Hour, among others. She currently produces the monthly Locally Grown Comedy at The E Spot Lounge in Studio City.  Wendy lends her name and talent to various fundraisers including Susan G. Komen for the Cure, weSPARK, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, FSH Muscular Dystrophy Society, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Center, LADDERS/Doug Flutie’s Autism Foundation, and Poor People’s United Fund/Community Works and is thrilled to be instrumental in the success and growth of The Young Shakespeareans.




In addition to having served as one of The Young Shakespeareans Teaching Artists, Lauren will serve on its Advisory Board bringing her expertise in Shakespeare to the Curriculum and its implementation.  Lauren also serves on the Advisory Committee for Sessions, a Non–Profit whose mission is to help creative, hardworking professionals take another step forward in their careers (www.sessionstheshow.com).



Community Partners

For more than 25 years, hundreds of individuals, groups, foundations and other institutions have worked with Community Partners to create new nonprofit projects, establish coalitions, and manage major philanthropic initiatives to benefit the region. Our mission is to accelerate ideas into action to advance the public good. We achieve this in three basic ways:


Fiscal Sponsorship 
We provide the structure, finance and administrative services, and expert counsel that help nonprofit leaders succeed

Intermediary Services
We help foundations, corporations, government agencies and other institutions achieve greater impact

Knowledge Sharing
Workshops, reports, speaking engagements and a range of publications help strengthen the field

Today Community Partners supports upwards of 150 of those creative solutions. Taken together, these efforts offer a panoramic view of the social innovation taking place across the region, and beyond. Our projects are using the arts to build self-esteem among young women, helping disadvantaged students achieve their dreams for college, addressing food justice, tackling obesity, and much more.

OUR VISION: a vibrant society in which individuals and institutions use knowledge, resources, and relationships to build equitable, democratic and thriving communities.

© The Young Shakespeareans 

          2019 All Rights Reserved.