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Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy announces new board members

September 21, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has announced the election of Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, and Jennifer Votaw to the organization’s board of directors. The election took place at the Conservancy Sept. 21 board meeting.

The three board members are TV-film actor and producer Matthew Rhys; TV and film actress Keri Russell; and cross-country and track coach and sports businessperson Jen Votaw. 

Actor-producer Matthew Rhys. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

A resident of Brooklyn Heights, along with his partner Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys currently produces and stars in HBO’s “Perry Mason,” for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category. Rhys was also recently seen as the lead opposite Tom Hanks in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a biography film based on the life of Fred Rogers.

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He previously starred in his Emmy-winning role opposite Ms. Russell in the popular FX series, “The Americans.” He can also be seen in Steven Spielberg’s film “The Post,” Andy Serkis’ live-action “Jungle Book” for Warner Bros and an episode of HBO’s “Girls.”

Before this, Rhys starred for five years as Kevin Walker on ABC’s hit television series “Brothers & Sisters” and appeared as the  Dylan Thomas in John Maybury’s film “Edge of Love.” He made his New York theater debut in the 2012 revival of “Look Back in Anger,” for which he received rave reviews. 

Rhys, a native of the UK, has served on the boards of several UK nonprofits including Trust PA, which funds and advances awareness for spinal injuries; the Drinks Trust, formed in 1886 to support people in the service industry sector; and Only Boys Aloud, a charitable choir for young boys.

Actress Keri Russell. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Keri Russell, a well-known actress since the age of 15, has appeared in numerous film, television, and theatrical productions. She is currently starring in the upcoming thriller “Cocaine Bear,” directed by Elizabeth Banks and scheduled to be released in 2022 by Universal Pictures.

Russell got her start as a cast member of the Disney Channel’s “All-New Mickey Mouse Club” from 1991-1994. She came to fame for portraying the title role of Felicity Porter on the WB drama series “Felicity” (1998–2002), for which she won a Golden Globe Award. Keri also starred as KGB agent Elizabeth Jennings on the FX spy thriller series “The Americans” (2013–2018), for which she was nominated for Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.

Russell has appeared in several films, some of which include “Honey, I Blew Up the Kids” (1992), “Mission: Impossible III” (2006), “Waitress” (2007),  “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014) and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019). In 2017, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Keri currently resides in Brooklyn Heights with her partner Matthew Rhys and their children. Enthusiastic users of Brooklyn Bridge Park, both Keri and Matthew have been dedicated supporters of the Conservancy, assisting with the organization’s events and fundraising efforts.

“Matthew and I are excited to join the Conservancy board,” said Keri Russell. “We are here practically every day, enjoying the park’s amazing amenities and participating in the Conservancy’s extensive program lineup.” 

Jen Votaw, cross-country and track coach. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Jen Votaw coaches cross country and track at Packer Collegiate Institute. She’s founded a new venture assisting female high school cross country and track athletes navigate the collegiate recruiting process.

Previously, she served as Director of Operations at Peloton, an exercise equipment firm; a strategy and planning consultant at New York Road Runners; and chief financial officer at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports.

Votaw holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business at UVA and a bachelor of science in finance from the University of Colorado. A collegiate cross country and track and field runner, Jen was an NCAA All-American, Big 12 Champion.  

Residing in Brooklyn Heights with her husband Ryan and their two young children, Votaw has been an instrumental volunteer of the Conservancy’s Family and Women’s Luncheon committees. Jen particularly enjoys championing the Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center.

“I cannot imagine our life without Brooklyn Bridge Park! Our family is frequently at the Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center,” she said.

“We run here, we bike here, we learn here, we rest here, we eat here…we enjoy the beauty of the outdoors at one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world.”

 “As longtime supporters of the Conservancy and advocates for our cultural, recreational, and educational programming, we are delighted to welcome Matthew, Keri, and Jen to the board,” said Chris Coffey, Conservancy Board chairman.

Rhys, Russell, and Votaw are the latest in a group of volunteers and supporters who have joined the Conservancy’s Board of Directors in 2021, also including Che Chisholm, Jay Mann, Dee Poku-Spalding, Alex Stanton and Antonia Yuille Williams.


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