Cynthia Shoup Schiffrin, President
Cynthia is a registered architect with over 25 years of professional experience in design, project management and construction of office, university, research & development and residential buildings. She brings both a strong design and concrete business sense to her work, as well as a commitment to energy efficient, sustainably designed buildings. She practiced architecture in Philadelphia for 20 years prior to moving to Washington DC with her husband and son. Her lifelong love of dance and the visual arts have led her to pursue numerous artistic endeavors which include working with her son's school on theater set design and construction, as well as painting, book making and dance classes. A former board member of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks and a co-chair of various arts endeavors, she has substantial experience with artistic not-for profit board-level work. She is always interested in new ideas and experiences, especially in the arts, which is what led her to Chamber Dance Project. She also enjoys skiing, yoga, photography and food.
Deborah Downey is a graduate of University of South Carolina Law School and began her career in Washington DC. Deborah worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law as well as the FERC to work in the regulation and litigation of natural gas law. Deborah and her husband Bruce have raised their family in the DC area. They have had a long-standing appreciation of the fine arts. As a family, the Downeys remain active in attending theatre, ballet, concerts and museums, both in Washington DC and in New York City. Deborah’s lifelong learning in the arts, her devotion to family, and her career in the legal sector have helped define her role on the Board as an advocate for community engagement to underserved populations by the Chamber Dance Project.
Deborah fell in love with ballet when she saw her first performance of Nutcracker in New York City at a young age and started ballet at the age of six. For the next twelve years, she was fortunate enough to study at American Ballet Theater, Joffrey (when it was still a NYC company), and New Jersey Classic Ballet. At NJCB, Deborah studied the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. She also got to perform in many classical ballets, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty and, of course, Nutcracker (in which she danced Clara). Recognizing that she would never become a principal at ABT, Deborah hung up her pointe shoes to attend college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and law school at at American University. Over the years, she has worked in private practice as a food regulatory lawyer, an industry representative for the supermarket community, the executive director of a small trade association, and currently serves as the general counsel of a trade association representing the major US retailers and head of their litigation center. Deborah has gone back to enjoy ballet classes at The Washington Ballet over the past 20 years that she's lived in DC. She is married to the highly accomplished and supportive John Motley and her smart, focused daughter Madelyn is studying to become a computer engineer.
Shirley NeffShirley Neff is a Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Energy Information Administration (EIA). She has lead staff responsibility for Secretarial priorities including engagement in trilateral work with Canada and Mexico and a federal-state effort to provide transparency into oil and gas well level information. Prior to joining EIA, she was the economist for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She managed a team of experts, under contract to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, developing policy proposals for expanding solar photovoltaic implementation in California, Arizona and Texas. Ms. Neff was an adjunct lecturer in energy policy at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and is a past President of the United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE). She has held a number of previous federal appointments including as a board member of the National Petroleum Council (NPC) and the Federal Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee. She was appointed as a senior advisor to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission. She also served on the advisory board of the Center for Energy Economics at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin and as a Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She has an M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She written and lectured extensively on energy policy and geopolitics, including authoring the chapters on North America in both editions (2005 and 2013) of Energy and Security published by the Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins University Press.
Allen DeLeon, TreasurerAl DeLeon is a founding partner of DeLeon & Stang. His specialties include audit, tax, financial and advisory services for businesses and not- for-profit organizations. Al brings to his clients over 30 years’ experience in the accounting profession, encompassing 35 years in public accounting. In addition, he worked for 15 years in private industry as the controller and CFO for not- for-profit organizations. Al’s experience in the private industry and public accounting gives him invaluable insight into helping his clients anticipate issues and leverage opportunities at the most appropriate time. Al has provided a wide range of services to businesses throughout his 30 years of experience. Many of these businesses have continued to prosper and grow with the help of his dedication to giving his personal attention to the complexities of running a company.
Reina Brekke, SecretaryThe child of professional musicians, Reina grew up in a culture that had great appreciation for all of the performing arts. Some of her earliest childhood memories are of her mother’s impromptu string quartets playing into the wee hours of the morning. Reina’s love of dance began as a child with ballet instruction and has lasted throughout her life. Now retired from a career as a nurse and health educator, she is devoted to serving in the non-profit sector. Reina has had over 25 years of experience lending her time and talent towards worthwhile causes. She brings leadership, strong organizational skills, wisdom and passion into whatever she pursues. Besides her role on the CDP Board, Reina is currently involved in working with N Street Village, whose mission is to support homeless women. She serves on the N Street Village Ambassadors Council, as well as facilitating a creative writing group for one of the women’s shelters
Paul AshePaul Ashe is founding chief executive of the fine pearls and luxury goods company Spey, based in Washington, DC. His successes span international trade development and business strategy, with a particular enthusiasm for products of origin and the culture that defines an industry. A native of Illinois, Paul’s work has taken him from Berlin to London and has influenced some of the largest luxury goods brands on the market. When not championing the pearl, he serves in the honor guard of the St. Andrew’s Society, has launched a foundation for the preservation of the River Spey in Scotland (from which his company takes its name), and campaigns for the development of arts in the District. Most of all, Paul is proud his company forms a small but lustrous part of the capital community, and is working toward a better and more beautiful Washington, DC.
Jason C. Jarrell is a Washington, D.C., resident and leads the global practice for Interel, a European-based international public affairs firm. His background spans both the public and private sectors, with more than fifteen years of experience in diplomacy, international trade, executive education and corporate public affairs. As both a professional communicator and a lifelong supporter of the arts, Jason has a passion for the innovative and the creative, taking original ideas from thought to reality to inspire and make an impact. A native of Illinois, Jason grew up in an artistic household and has enjoyed discovering hidden and unique museums and theaters around the world, particularly in St. Petersburg and Moscow Russia where he lived for several years. When not helping his clients with international issues, Jason likes to spend time hiking in the Shenandoah mountains or exploring the Eastern Shore.