UMS Board Elects New Officers, New Member at Annual Meeting


Ann Arbor, MI (June 24, 2019) — As part of its annual meeting on Tuesday, June 11, theUniversity Musical Society’s (UMS) Board of Directors elected Mike Martin as its newest member. Martin’s four-year appointment officially begins on July 1. The Board also elected four officers for the new term, including Chair Tim Petersen, who succeeds outgoing chair Sarah Nicoli. Due to a bylaws change that adjusted the length of the terms of Elected Directors, no terms expired this year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike Martin as the newest member of the UMS Board of Directors,” said UMS President Matthew VanBesien. “He plays an integral part in ensuring that our community continues to thrive, both economically and culturally, and his expertise and counsel will be a tremendous contribution to our Board.”

The Board also elected three new officers and re-elected another. Tim Petersen, managing director at Arboretum Ventures and former vice chair of the Board, will serve as chair. Rachel Bendit, co-chair of the UMS National Council whose most recent employment was with Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, will serve as vice chair. Chris Conlin, president and owner of Conlin Travel, will serve as secretary. Lisa D. Cook, associate professor of international relations and economics at Michigan State University, was re-elected to serve as treasurer.

For a full roster of the UMS Board of Directors visit


Chris Conlin
 is the president and owner of Conlin Travel, a second generation company founded in 1959 and located in Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, and San Francisco. Chris is a native of Ann Arbor and a community servant. He serves as chairman of the Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital Community Development Board and has also served as chairman of the Washtenaw County Red Cross, secretary of the Greenhills School Board of Trustees, and as a member of the Belmont University Parent Leadership Council, the Butler University Leadership Organization, the University of Michigan’s Washtenaw County Leadership Committee, and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization. Chris is a graduate of Miami University where he was a member of the Miami University Glee Club. Chris is married to Dr. Dana Sachs and together they have three children, Lindsay, Tom, and Dylan.

Dr. Lisa D. Cook is an associate professor in the Department of Economics and in International Relations (James Madison College) at Michigan State University. As a Marshall Scholar, she received a second BA from Oxford University in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Dr. Cook earned a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Among her current research interests are economic growth and development, financial institutions and markets, innovation, and economic history. She was a national fellow at Stanford University and served as a senior economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. She served as president of the National Economic Association and currently serves as director of the American Economic Association Summer Training Program. She is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. 

Rachel Bendit presently serves on the board of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, co-chairs the board of Jewish Women’s Archive, and serves as co-chair of the UMS National Council. Additionally, she serves on the Womens’ Health Leadership Board of Michigan Medicine. Previously, she worked in various roles at Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, and served on the boards of Jewish Funders Network and the Dispute Resolution Center. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan, a MEd from Loyola University of Maryland, and a JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and now lives in Ann Arbor.

An Ann Arbor native, Mike Martin is currently president of the family business, First Martin Corporation, a local real estate development and management firm. He is a member of the Board of Directors at the Bank of Ann Arbor, a $3 billion community bank headquartered in Ann Arbor. Prior to returning to Ann Arbor in 2005, Mr. Martin worked for the commercial real estate firm CBRE in New York City before working with his brother in Chicago at Martin Capital Group. Mike earned a BA in History from Kenyon College in 1999. Married with three children, Mr. Martin has served on various boards and committees in Ann Arbor, notably as chair of the Board at Arbor Hospice and serving on the board at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Tim Petersen is a managing partner at Arboretum Ventures, a healthcare venture capital firm that he co-founded in 2002. Tim focuses on transformative opportunities that disrupt healthcare sectors starved of technology or business model innovation. His investments span a variety of healthcare sectors, including healthcare information technology, medical device, and research instrumentation companies. Before co-founding Arboretum, Tim helped establish the Zell Lurie Institute (ZLI) for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan, serving as its managing director. He also directed the activities of the Wolverine Venture Fund, which invests in early-stage life science and technology investments. Prior to ZLI, Tim was a manager in the investment banking practice at Plante Moran and served as a management consultant at Industrial Economics in Cambridge, MA. Tim currently serves as an advisory board member for ZLI and the Wolverine Venture Fund. He holds a BA in Economics from Williams College, an MS in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

A recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, UMS (also known as the University Musical Society) contributes to a vibrant cultural community by connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. Founded in 1879, UMS is one of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country. An independent non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Michigan, UMS presents over 70 music, theater, and dance performances by professional touring artists each season, along with over 200 free educational activities. UMS is committed to bold artistic leadership, engaged learning through the arts, and access and inclusiveness. A national leader in student arts engagement, the organization has co-commissioned and supported the production of nearly 80 new or reimagined works since 1990. Matthew VanBesien became the organization’s seventh president in July 2017.

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