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Des Moines Symphony announces new Association Board of Trustees members

Posted August 04, 2014 in Web Exclusives

DES MOINES – The Des Moines Symphony Association is pleased to announce four new Association Board of Trustees members for the 2014-15 season: Megan Britt, Kate Hightshoe, Rob Larsen and Phyllis Staplin.

Megan Britt is Director of Investment Management at DuPont Pioneer. She leads a team of investment professionals, working closely with senior management to develop an aligned investment strategy across three key asset classes to ensure global investments are connected with business strategy. Prior to her current role, Megan served in a number of other roles for Pioneer. She was a senior finance manager, marketing manager and economist. In addition to her tenure at Pioneer, Megan worked at the Principal Financial Group as a senior analyst in corporate marketing.

Megan is married and has two lively preschool-age children, Henry and Clara. She is an active member of the United Way of Central Iowa and is on the Education Leadership Initiative Advisory Council, serving as co-chair of the Membership Development Committee. Megan received her Bachelor and Master of Science in Agriculture and Applied Economics degrees from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Kate Hightshoe is Manager of HCM (Hubbell Community Management) at Hubbell Realty Company. At the age of five she began her journey in and passion for music by enrolling in Suzuki piano lessons. After graduating from high school, Kate was offered and accepted a scholarship to study Oboe Performance at the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City. Kate received her undergraduate and graduate degrees as an Oboe Performance and Music Composition double major at the UMKC Conservatory. In addition, she also holds an Interdisciplinary Master’s in Liberal Arts – her studies in this program focused on the convergence of ethnomusicology, American history and minority studies. Kate has extensive teaching experience through her private music studio and has subbed nationally with a number of professional symphonies, including the Kansas City Symphony. Kate has also performed in over 100 live music venues as the lead singer and keyboardist for a jazz, blues, R&B, and hip-hop fusion group.

Kate began her career in real estate and property management solutions nine years ago in Kansas City and specializes in multi-family property management, internal audit and fraud investigation. Kate previously worked for NFI Property Management in Overland Park, Kansas as the Director of Internal Audit. In addition to her music interests, her hobbies include international travel, fitness and the performing and fine arts.

Rob Larsen works at Meredith Corporation where he administers an infrastructure supporting the communication and security of over 2,500 mobile phones and tablets deployed at locations throughout the United States. Rob has lived in the Des Moines area for 28 years. Prior to his work at Meredith, he spent 11 years working in IT sales, support and administration. He graduated from Drake University with a degree in computer science and geography.

Rob and his wife Dawn have four children ranging in age from 7 to 20, all of whom are involved in music. Rob, himself, played trombone at Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyoming where he was honored with the John Philip Sousa Award. He was a three-time member of the Wyoming High School All-State Band, and was a member of the All-Northwest (six-state region) High School Honor Band.  At Drake, he enjoyed participating in the marching and pep bands. He continues to sing bass in competitive barbershop quartets.

Phyllis Staplin is currently adjunct professor of Education Teaching and Learning at Drake University. Before taking her post at Drake, Phyllis taught primary and secondary education for 38 years, 33 of which were at the West Des Moines school district. Along with her teaching duties at West Des Moines, Phyllis served for 23 years as Director of Curriculum for the district. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Piano and Organ Studies from SUNY Buffalo, her Master’s degree in Teaching Education from Washington University and her Education Specialist Degree in Reading along with her Doctorate in Curriculum and Leadership from Drake University.

Phyllis has two children: Elizabeth Tausner, who lives in Edgewater, New Jersey with her husband, Eric and three children, and Bill Staplin who lives in Des Moines with his wife, Ruth and two children. Phyllis was past president of Civic Music Association, past president of Friends of the West Des Moines Library Association and was a former member of the Des Moines Symphony Association Board from 2007 to 2013 and currently serves on the Des Moines Symphony Academy’s Education Advisory Committee.

The Des Moines Symphony Association Board of Directors provides strategic direction and ensures fiscal soundness, financial viability and sustainability of the Symphony. View members of the 2014-15 Des Moines Symphony Board of Trustees here.

For more information, please contact Sophia S. Ahmad, Director of Marketing & Public Relations at or at 515.280.4000, ext. 4011.

The Des Moines Symphony is a not-for-profit, professional orchestra formed in 1937 to enrich, educate and entertain the community by performing great orchestral music. The Symphony Association, governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and operating on an annual budget of more than $2.8 million, supports the Symphony Academy and its numerous music education programs including three youth orchestras, and supports the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra which performs seven pairs of Masterworks concerts, the traditional pops performance on New Year’s Eve, education, outreach and family concerts,  and other special events in its home at the Des Moines Civic Center. The Des Moines Symphony also produces and performs the annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert in July on the grounds of the Iowa State Capitol, which for the past several years attracted more than 100,000, the largest single day attendance of any concert event in the State.  -DMSO-

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