WGAD started with a casual conversation over dinner between three friends and colleagues who have worked together in the arts and business in various capacities for over twenty years. Combined observation of the constant interchange of ideas between the arts and the business worlds along with a passion for developing both as side by side partners resulted in the idea of working together towards a common goal. That's where it all started and here is where we're going!
To strengthen and inspire a thriving community through quality arts and production.
The Work: To bring more entertainment and arts to the community in a format inspired by today's lifestyle. We will help to create a thriving and vital community atmosphere that also enhances business growth.
The People: Artists, technicians, and community members working together to improve quality of life and community integration.
The Partners: City leaders, educators, community members, successful and creative businesses, and individuals who share our belief that artistic development in the community cultivates prosperity.
Our Environment: We work in an atmosphere that utilizes community and professional talent together in an environment of creative expression and collaboration. We use this environment as a tool to stimulate and further develop strong working relationships between and amongst employees, employers, and our other partners.
Cara L. Stone - President
Ms. Stone has worked in many levels of the entertainment industry, from her work as an artisan for Disney in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, to the national and regional theatre markets both in national tours and salaried positions for specific regional companies. Her work comprises diverse technical and artistic theatre disciplines to include Facility Manager, Production and Stage Manager, Company Manager, Front of House Manager, Scenic Artist, Props, and Costumes. She has also collaborated with Marketing and PR on a variety of shows and entertainment including graphic, web, and program design.
Leslie Mauldin - Vice President
Ms. Mauldin has many years of experience as a professional singer and actress, and is a member of Screen Actors Guild. A Los Angeles native, her work at times has taken her to diverse locations around the globe, and has expanded to include stage direction, musical direction, and compiling of shortened operas and concept variety shows for holidays, outreach and summer festival production. She is also involved in support of K-12 education, and is on the founding board of two public charter schools, one of which she currently serves as Board Chair.
Lisa Billingsley - Secretary/Treasurer
Ms. Billingsley has more than 30 years of experience in accounting and finance. Her love of art truly blossomed during her tenure as accountant at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science (a 501(c) 3 company); her in-gallery office provided a unique opportunity to be part of ever-changing exhibits throughout her six years with the museum. She currently resides in the Louisville, KY area, which provides her and her husband Paul numerous opportunities to take part in the city’s thriving arts community. While visiting Cara Stone, their common interests in the continuing development of the arts, Meridian in particular, culminated in Ms. Billingsley’s subsequent appointment to the Board, where she serves as Secretary/Treasurer.
Maria McElliot - Board Member
Ms. McElliott's experience with working for, consulting with, and owning businesses has brought her from her native Spain to the U.S., where she has worked in many capacities and diverse specialties to include: sales; marketing; management in the news media; independent business consultation; and owning an insurance business. She recently started her own pharmaceutical outlet that she owns and operates. No stranger to the world of entertainment, she also worked in the fashion industry while in Europe both as a model and business manager, and later in haute couture presentation for such giants as Pierre Cardin.
Amy Benakote - Board Member
Ms. Benakote is a seasoned attorney with a diverse background that includes working in civil litigation, employment law, family law, and as an advocate for domestic violence victims. She has always held a deep appreciation for the arts and creative world, which extended into her professional life when she briefly worked for Warner Bros. Records in the radio promotion department prior to her legal career. She is currently working as a Senior Attorney at a California based employment law firm representing employees and advocating on their behalf in the workplace.