Staff & Board of Directors

Brandi Varnell – Artistic Director:
Brandi is an Equity Actress, Director, and Co-Founder of Squeaky Bicycle Productions. She holds a BA in Theatre from New School University. In addition to her touring, regional and NYC performing credits, she has held positions at various companies including Central Park Conservancy, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and Brown Harris Stevens. As Artistic Director of Squeaky Bicycle she is dedicated to bringing illuminating stories to the stage and hopes to bring the best out in all who work with us. She sits on the Board of the Weathervane Theater Alumni Association, and in her spare time enjoys exploring NYC with her family.

Kathryn McConnell – Executive Producer:
Kathryn is a co-founder of Squeaky Bicycle Productions. She is a Director, Producer, and Dramaturg with a BFA from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to SBP, Kathryn has had the pleasure to work with The Hippodrome in Gainesville, FL, Oklahoma City Theatre Company, Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT, and Workshop Theatre, NYWIFT, Sanguine Theatre Company, the Estrogenius Festival, and many more in New York. She’s dedicated to supporting new plays, and has assisted a number of playwrights in the development of projects produced across the country. She believes that stories have the power to change the world.
Speaking of changing the world – Kathryn is also proud to serve on the National Council of Phi Sigma Pi, a gender-inclusive Honor Fraternity dedicated to the ideals of Scholarship, Leadership, and Fellowship whose members are making a difference in communities across the world.

Robert Waxlax – Chair, Board of Directors:
Robert is a Business Development Associate at Connecticut-based Louis Dreyfus Company, which means that he spends way too much time working on spreadsheets and sitting/standing in Metro-North trains. Robert’s primary goal is to help Squeaky Bicycle Productions grow its financial resources so that Kathryn and Brandi can spend more of their time producing great theatre. Robert has a BS in Economics from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of Miami. In his spare time, he dabbles in photography and composting; he does both poorly.

Anne Brownlee – Member, Board of Directors:
Anne is Director of Research for Corporate and Foundation Relations at New York University where she leads a team that identifies, researches, and tracks corporate and foundation funders for projects across NYU. Prior to joining NYU in January 2016, she was Manager, Prospect Research and Due Diligence at the University of Adelaide in Australia. She has also worked at Yeshiva University in New York, where she was Senior Director of Research and Data Management and spent seven years at Harvard University, working at the University’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Development and Harvard Medical School. She began her career in prospect development at Brandeis University and also worked at Brown University. Anne has a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.L.S. from Indiana University. She previously served on the boards of NEDRA and APRA GNY.

David Chesnick – Member, Board of Directors:
David is the Senior Director of Supply and Risk Mitigation at RRH Energy Services LLC. A data-driven analytics manager, he is passionate about optimization and visual analytics. He serves as the Senior Director of Supply and Risk Mitigation at RRH Energy Services LLC. David received his bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University where he majored in marketing, as well as an MBA from Lehigh with a focus in project management.  He’s also an avid theatergoer and took acting classes in high school and college, but knows his limitations.

Heather Poli – Member, Board of Directors:
As a brand strategy consultant, Heather helps clients hunt down consumer insights and transform them into powerful brand, business and communication strategies.  Working with a wide range of clients, from global powerhouses to budding startups, Heather has traveled the globe investigating fleeting trends and timeless motivations.
Over the years, Heather has held positions with Egg Strategy and Hall & Partners consultancies, and advertising agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and McClain Finlon, as well as spending years embracing the freelance economy as an independent consultant.
When not at work, you’ll find Heather indulging in her love of art and design, food, and global travel—ideally all at once.

Jon Stranske – Member, Board of Directors:
Jon has held roles in strategy, finance and leadership at media companies including NBC and Univision Communications.  He currently is a Project Leader in the Office of the CEO of Univision where his team is responsible for corporate strategy and business development functions.  Previously Jon led financial valuations for major media rights and investments at both Univision and NBC.  He holds an MBA with specialization in strategy and finance from NYU’s Stern School of business.
When he is not at work you’ll find Jon adventuring to find interesting food anywhere in NYC or scheming about the next far-flung travel destination on his list.

Larissa Barkley – Producer, Audience Engagement:
Larissa joined the Squeaky Bicycle team after graduating in 2016 from Clemson University, having completed a BA in English: Writing and Publication Studies and a minor in Communications. Larissa worked with the Brooks Center for Performing Arts’ theater program located in Clemson, SC during her time in college, and is excited to get to continue her love for the theater in her new home in NYC. She is an avid reader, watcher, and writer of plays and hopes to explore her passions more in the future!

Kathryn Lieber – Producer, Production Management:
Kathryn comes to Squeaky Bicycle Productions from the world of tech theater and design, with an MFA from University of California, San Diego. Her professional focus is in crafting immersive worlds through sets and projections, embracing the power of holistic design. As a freelance designer, Kathryn has had the pleasure of working with companies across the country including Pioneers Go East Collective, Saint Ann’s School, The Nora Theater, Fordham University, and Company One. She is currently the Draftsperson for The Public Theater. Alongside her design work, Kathryn has embraced her love of working with non-profit organizations such as Phi Sigma Pi, a gender-inclusive Honor Fraternity, Fresh Ink Theatre Company, and now Squeaky Bicycle Productions, after earning a professional certificate in Arts Management from UMass Amherst.