Spotlight on Board of Directors Members Mohammad ElBsat & Haly Besaw
By Jane Flieller, Development Director
Mohammad ElBsat hails from Saida, Lebanon. He arrived in Milwaukee in 2006 to study at Marquette University where he earned a Masters in the field of electrical engineering. He now works for Johnson Controls, applying advanced algorithms for energy cost and occupant comfort optimization.
Mohammad went on to earn a PhD at Marquette, during which time he discovered their theatre department. He landed a role in THE CHERRY ORCHARD and then went on to perform the title role in THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT. From Marquette, he went on to work for other theatre companies such as Windfall Theatre, Milwaukee Entertainment Group and the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
A friend recommended Mohammad to Next Act Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, David Cecsarini, for consideration of the role of Asfoor in BACK OF THE THROAT (2015-16). He considers it one of the best experiences in the theatre he’s ever had. “The quality of the production, the professionalism of the cast and crew, and the family-like atmosphere all contributed to making that experience great. I was curious as to what it took to serve on the board. I expressed interest to the Development Director, she put me in touch with [Next Act’s Board President] Dave Anderson and I was on from that point forward.”
Mohammad feels the most rewarding aspect to serving on [Next Act’s] Board is “knowing that you are helping a theatre company maintain its ground and prosper. As we all know, live theatre faces many challenges, so to have the opportunity to help the theatre overcome its challenges and continue its mission of community engagement while raising societal issues, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
In true Board of Director fashion, Mohammad leaves us with one final thought: “Live theatre needs support now more than ever. With the pandemic at hand, theatre is one of the most affected industries. Being on the board, I know what it takes to keep theatres afloat. Consider making a donation to Next Act and other theatres in Milwaukee to help keep the theatre community alive.”
Haly Besaw is a new addition to Next Act Theatre’s Board of Directors, having arrived just prior to the onset of the pandemic. Haly is originally from Oneida, Wisconsin, and she went to high school in Green Bay. She attended MSOE in Milwaukee, graduating with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Haly and her husband, Mike, spent ten “glorious” years in California, but ultimately returned to her roots in Wisconsin. She currently works at Baird Wealth Management as a Financial Advisor.
While not an actor herself, Haly loves attending live theatre and enjoyed watching her kids perform over the years. Her creative energies are now spent playing the flute in the Lakeshore Symphonic Band and spending a lot of time outside in her garden.
Haly was referred to Next Act by former NAT Board member and Baird colleague, Beth Kavelaris. Haly’s reaction to serving on the board was one of excitement to be involved in “such a wonderful organization. I’m looking forward to building a great relationship with all of the Board members. I look forward to engaging in creative ways to help Next Act through this pandemic.”
In her spare time, Haly enjoys participating in triathlons, swimming and hiking. She is a self-professed “cat lady”.