Team & Board

Meet The Crew


Chief Executive Officer

Hal Real

Hal Real is the founder and CEO of World Cafe Live. In 1998, Hal proposed a groundbreaking partnership to public radio station WXPN to jointly create and share this house of music, including XPN’s offices and studios as well as WCL’s two stages featuring exceptional acoustics, lighting and sightlines, diverse programming, and world-class hospitality. Since its 2004 opening, World Cafe Live has built a continuum of arts access and opportunity by nurturing emerging and established artists, creating innovative educational programs for youth and people with disabilities, building workforce development programs and welcoming audiences of all ages. In 2023, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance honored Hal with its inaugural Changemaker Award “for exhibiting visionary leadership and initiative to create lasting change in the arts and culture in the Philadelphia region and beyond.”

Hal is a co-founder of NIVA (the National Independent Venue Association) and NIVF (the National Independent Venue Foundation), serving on both boards and as president of the Foundation board. Formed in April 2020, just three weeks into the pandemic shutdown, NIVA was the driving force behind lobbying and grassroots efforts to pass the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act. Officially named the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant Program, it was signed into law as part of the second COVID-19 Relief Bill on December 27, 2020. The program allocated $16.5 billion in federal emergency relief via the Small Business Administration, saving the live performing arts industry from mass collapse.

Hal is the immediate past board chair of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, chair of the People’s Light Honorary Board (Malvern, PA) and a board member of the Freire (Charter Schools) Foundation. Hal plays piano, enjoys traveling and spending time in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his wife and two yellow labs. He is a graduate of Kenyon College and Temple University School of Law.

Chief Operating Officer 

Kerri Park

Motivated by a lifetime of seeking live music experiences and a deep love for all things Philadelphia, Kerri was drawn to World Cafe Live from the very beginning and was hired as part of the Food & Beverage department prior to opening in September 2004. Maintaining a presence in multiple departments lead to her role as General Manager in 2018, where she is driven by the impact a venue has on the community. Kerri helped navigate the combining of in residence 501c3 music education organization LiveConnections with World Cafe Live in 2019 and now as Chief Operating Officer continues to work on overseeing all daily operations with a focus on pushing the bounds of what an independent nonprofit music venue can and should be. Additionally Kerri is a LEADERSHIP Philadelphia Fellow, a member of the Advisory Board for the Director of Nighttime Economy, on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia Music Alliance, currently the President for NIVA’s Pennsylvania chapter and was recently named a 2024 VenuesNow Women of Live honoree.

Director of Food & Beverage

Rob Cottman

Chef Rob’s road to professional kitchens was driven by an entrepreneurial spirit when a unique opportunity presented itself to operate his own restaurant. After selling his first establishment, he decided to return to the basics and climb the ranks in established kitchens. Absorbing every ounce of knowledge around him, he accepted a position at World Cafe Live’s former location in his hometown of Wilmington, DE and spent years covering all aspects of the business from large scale a la carte service to formal catered dinners to specialty pairing menus. Now as the Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Rob is responsible for the dining experience of over 100,000 guests a year, overseeing service in two spaces daily and over 200 catered events annually while playing an integral role in the next stages of the organization’s development. Rob is also a LEADERSHIP Philadelphia Fellow.

Director of Development

Jessica Pasquariello

Jessica Pasquariello is an experienced fundraising professional with a lifelong passion for music, theatre, and dance. Jessica is thrilled to join the World Cafe Live team as the Director of Development. Jessica began her professional career at Philadelphia Theatre Company with a marketing internship in 2008. Jessica joined the front-of-house team working during performances while studying Entertainment and Arts Management and Business Administration at Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree, she continually rose through the ranks eventually running the Development program at the theatre company in 2017. Throughout 12 successful years of fundraising events and campaigns, she was a vital part of the team that led the company through a leadership transition, financial turnaround, and the pandemic. Jessica has volunteered with the Riverdale Land Conservatory, to preserve history in her hometown. She lives in South Philly with her husband Chris.

Director of Operations

Mallorie McRea

Mallorie grew up in the Philadelphia area and has been with World Cafe Live since September 2021. She joined WCL as the Ticketing & Guest Services Manager and is now Director of Operations as of June 2023. She cut her teeth in Nashville by working in venue box offices, as a talent buyer, and a booking agent routing tours before moving back to the area in 2021 during the pandemic. It was a full circle moment to score a dream position at World Cafe Live, where she had previously loved catching live music and even met some of her heroes (like Brandi Carlile).

Director of Programming

Helen Smith

Helen has been a talent buyer in the Philadelphia region for over 10 years, previously working for City Winery and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Before she came to Philly, she was a talent buyer at SteelStacks/Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA where she booked somewhere in the ballpark of 500+ artists per year. She got her start in Bethlehem booking jazz bands on weekends at the Bookstore Speakeasy. If she’s not at a show – or booking a show – she’s hanging out with her dog, Dexter.

Production Manager

Jorgan Krug

Jorgan has been a member of the World Cafe Live Production team since 2007. Initially focused on producing demos and albums in recording studios, Jorgan delved into concert production and promotion while living in a DIY artist collective/concert space. Subsequent years of experience touring North America and Europe with several artists have given him a grounded viewpoint of concert logistics. As Production Manager for World Cafe Live, Jorgan leads a crew of skilled lighting and sound technicians while overseeing production for events of all types.


Julia Barbuto» Accountant
Briana Clarke » Education Program Manager
Cortez Dessus » Facilities Manager
Joe Kusy » Graphic Designer
Lola Ojo » Events Manager
Arely Peña » Front of House Manager
Bo Rains » Grant Coordinator
Dana Schwartz » Marketing & Promotions Manager
Hayley Simmons » Guest Services Coordinator
Mike Stiltner » Bar Manager

Interested in joining the WCL team? Visit our employment page here to see current openings and apply.


Hal Real, President & CEO » Founder, World Cafe Live
Paralee Knight, Chair » Vice President, Wells Fargo Philanthropy and Community Impact
Robert J. Crowder, Vice Chair » Founder and Managing Partner, Chapman Farrell Group
Steve Barnes​, Treasurer » Chief Financial Officer, Accolade, Inc.
Courtney M. Johnson, Secretary » Chief Administrative Officer, Philadelphia Zoo
Lori Landew, Immediate Past Chair » General Counsel, Audible
David Bradley » Chaplain, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Arts Consultant
Val Chavenson » Account Supervisor, BNO a creative agency
Katie E. Everett » President, Katalyst Productions
David E. Griffith »Chairman, Modern Group Ltd/Head Coach Emeritus, Episcopal Community Services
Rob Penn » Interactive Product, Comcast
Katie Samson » Director of Education, Art-Reach
Alex Shaw » Musician & Teaching Artist
David Thornburgh » Senior Advisor, Committee of Seventy; Chair, Ballot PA