South Florida -- Donald R. Walters, Esq., board president of the Carbonell Awards, South Florida’s most highly coveted recognition of theatrical and performance excellence, today announced the nonprofit organization’s officers and board members for the 2019-2020 season.

Donald R. WaltersDonald R. WaltersPresident & Treasurer:
Donald R. Walters, president of Donald R. Walters, P.A., a Coral Springs real estate law firm. He is also chairing the board’s Executive and Governance committees.

Vice President:
Gary Schweikhart, president of PR-BS, a Boca-based public relations firm, and co-founder of the series Culture & Cocktails At The Colony. He is also serving as chair of the board’s PR & Communications Committee.

Jody LeshinskyJody LeshinskySecretary:
Jody Leshinsky, cultural venues programming manager for the Pompano Beach Cultural Affairs Department with 35 years of arts administration experience in South Florida.

Managing Director:
Mary Damiano, veteran arts and entertainment writer and theatre critic, co-founder of

Board Members:

Joanne Matsuura Benkö, marketing director for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. She will also chair the board’s Ticketing Committee for the annual Carbonell Awards.

Linda Birdsey, director of marketing and public relations for the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

Leslie Fordham, public arts & design administrator for the Broward Cultural Division in Fort Lauderdale.

Ricardo J. Gonzalez III, director of the Beaux Arts Gallery in Miami, representing Manuel Carbonell & Family.

Jan Goodheart, vice president of external affairs for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

Jeff KiltieJeff KiltieJeff Kiltie, general manager of Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, stage manager, producer and member of Actors’ Equity Association. He is also serving as chair of the board’s Production & Programming Committee.

Javier Siut, member of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. He is also chairing the board’s Scholarship Committee.

About The Carbonell Awards:

The Carbonell Awards fosters the artistic growth of professional theater in South Florida by celebrating the diversity of our theater artists, providing educational scholarships, and building audience appreciation and civic pride by highlighting achievements of our theater community. More than 25 professional theater companies in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties participate in the awards process every year. Each season volunteer panelists and judges choose nominees and recipients from nearly 100 shows produced on area stages. The Carbonell Awards also celebrate the accomplishments of local artistic leaders by presenting ‘Special Awards’ and support the next generation of artists and journalists by awarding scholarships.

Along with New York’s Drama Desk and Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards, the Carbonell Awards are among the nation’s senior regional arts awards and predate others, including Washington, D.C.’s Helen Hayes Awards. The Carbonell Awards are named after Manuel Carbonell, an internationally-renowned sculptor, who designed the original solid bronze and marble award in 1976, the signature trophy that is given annually to Carbonell Award winners. For more information, please visit

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