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Welcoming New Board Members to the Jazz Community

November 2021  —  Recently, two new board members have joined us who will add a whole new dimension to our jazz community. Welcome Karen Bernhardt and Raki McGregor to the family.

Karen Bernhardt (Vice Chair)
Senior Vice President of Mass Advertising, Bank of America

Karen loves to travel and to delve into the community arts scene. She has been involved actively in a variety of organizations from WDAV, to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte. She says her engagement as a leader came from her parents who loved the arts and modeled participating as more than an attendee.

She describes herself as introductory level to jazz, drawn to the music and to the passion of the organization. When seeking the kind of organization to focus her attention, she was looking for a way to help Charlotte address issues of access, equity, and structural inclusion.

Karen feels strongly about the impact of arts on the community. “There are a lot of reasons someone moves to a place. Certainly, the job environment. That said, when looking at Charlotte versus other cities in which there was opportunity, I was comparing what makes those cities rich and vibrant and a place people want to live.”

Following the footsteps of her parents, Karen identifies that there are two sides to that coin – the arts and the business community must interplay. “Businesses and individuals support a vibrant arts scene in a number of factors, like funding and resources, as well as an investment of talent on boards and committees, offering a mutual respect for both types of organizations and the value they bring back to the community.”

Raymond McGregor
Vice President of New Business Growth, Novant Health

Raki is a morning person, and a family man who enjoys fishing when he can. His son’s name is Myles, so it is clear he enjoys jazz. “It affords the opportunity to escape. There’s jazz for every emotion that I feel.”

Beyond that, there is a natural synergy between his interest in jazz and his work at Novant Health. Music Therapy is a recognized and growing opportunity in hospitals, Novant Health is committed to an alignment with arts, and Raki is happy to be part of that connection.

Raki describes his vision of what jazz can do to enhance the health of our communities. “In a world constantly separating people who have different views and opinions, music is a universal language. What if we started from a common thread of music, that helps us understand that there is more that binds than separates us. What if we connect kids stimulated with music, and that becomes the foundation that brings people with differences together.“

We are thrilled by the energy and ideas already offered by these new JazzArts Charlotte Board members as they help to offer their unique perspectives and guidance to our growing organization. We expect yet another transformational year at JazzArts Charlotte in which to contribute.

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