We are women-owned and led, hailing from culturally vibrant cities around the nation with decades of experience across several creative industries. What connects us is not the road travelled, but in our drive to build communities that inspire and make the world a better place.
CEO & Co-Founder
Abby Fanelli applies a commonsense approach and strategic eye to guide purpose-driven minds toward greater outcomes. Over two decades, her creative problem-solving has moved groups through complexity and translated challenges into value-added opportunity. A graduate of the University of Michigan and NYU, she began her career developing policy and programs for mission-driven organizations in the education and arts & culture sectors while earning fellowships at the Ford School of Public Policy and New York City Mayor's Office.
For more than a decade, she worked alongside Hugh O'Neill – former Deputy Secretary under New York State Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo – at the economic development firm, Appleseed. Here, she cultivated a distinct management style that places equal value on people and outcomes while overseeing a portfolio of high-profile clients including Harvard University, Brookhaven National Lab, the Clinton School of Public Service, and Central Park Conservancy. She has since served in leadership roles across the higher education, corporate, and nonprofit sectors, with a pause for an extended family leave in the middle – a deeply influential contribution to her personal journey and growth as a holistic leader.
As CEO & Co-Founder of WAABEL Start-Up Studio, she is driving forward the vision and planning for an organization poised to innovate the business side of the arts, specifically in service to traditionally underrepresented and emerging artist communities. An unapologetic optimist and dreamer, she believes in people and seeks to build capacity for those who think big and imagine a better world.
Miranda J. Budine has built a career as an arts educator, urban planner, and community organizer devoted to the power of arts and culture as a connector and catalyst for community change. She is a savvy convener known for cultivating lasting alliances and sustainable, thriving new programs as Founder of the Fairmont Arts Council and Co-Founder of the Lemon Hill Neighbors Association.
After earning her BFA in Architectural Design from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, she established roots in the Philadelphia-area as Assistant Director of the Philadelphia Art Center for more than a decade. Here she managed daily operations and developed highly-sophisticated GIS and statistical analyses to evaluate the optimal locations and target markets for Center expansion, ultimately leading to the establishment of three thriving satellite locations. She pursued similar research interests at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a Masters of Urban Spatial Analytics with an arts and culture concentration, studying the impact of existing arts resources on local business ownership.
Miranda spent eight years as Lead Art Teacher at the Saint Francis Xavier School where she taught, as well as curated their community-focused annual exhibitions, and cultivated partnerships with Philadelphia’s major arts institutions including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Moore College of Art and Design, and the Philadelphia Art Center.
Miranda is a creative force and essential presence as we establish the foundation of our operations and evolve our annual exhibition and artists ecosystem.
Director of Strategy
Debbie Chesebro is an award-winning creative producer with 100+ feature film, commercial, documentary, and short productions spanning a three decade career. Her sharp eye and practical expertise have brought successful completion to projects across the creative spectrum -- from large 350+ international feature productions to local projects; and built effective and efficient infrastructure to major Hollywood budgets of $100 million as well as smaller independent projects. A graduate of USC Film School, her meticulous hands have supported the full infrastructural roll out of creative projects from start to finish, as well as guiding productions to resolution as they work through turmoil and challenges of every kind. She is the behind-the-scenes backbone of film industry production, adding layers of expertise and thinking to creative groups worldwide.
Debbie is a rare professional in Hollywood, having mastered several nuanced elements of the creative process including writing, production and post-production operations, and accounting & finance. Her work has been a part of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival's Director's Night Showcase and won Best in Show at the 2009 W3 Awards for Comedy - Short Category. She was Senior Producer at the online comedy collective Jash, funded by Google and founded by Adam Carolla, Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts and the comedy duo, Tim & Eric. She produced the company's live channel launches at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and South by Southwest as well as the company's online content. She produced Michael Cera's short film "Gregory Goes Boom" which won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival's Shorts Competition.
Her screenplay "Prom Queen", written with Tyson FitzGerald, won several awards including the 2010 Script Pipeline Screenwriting competition and has made the finals of the AAA Screenwriting Competition as well as the semi-finals of Nicholl Fellowship. "Prom Queen" was optioned by Jeremy Garelick and Classy Films in August 2016.
Debbie is a critical piece to building a sustainable and thriving infrastructure at WAABEL. She is currently supporting the creation of a financial & operational blueprint to ensure foundational strength and launch us into our next phase.
Courtney Martin is an entrepreneur, photographer, and visual artist who applies a sophisticated and empathetic touch to an inspired body of work. After graduating from Cornish College of the Arts, she established Courtney Martin Photography, a full service studio specializing in boudoir, affirmation, family, and branding sessions for clients from all walks of life. Her work has been featured in several high-profile publications including Dark Beauty, the Mob Journal, and the Numinous Magazine: Noir Issue, and more than a dozen group and solo exhibitions around the Seattle-area. The foundation of her inspiration is in discovering the essence of people and the deeply emotional journeys of movement, synergy, and self-discovery that come from connecting through the lens.
As Co-Founder of WAABEL Start-Up Studio, Courtney is supporting the cultivation of a rich, interconnected network of artists to form the basis of our artist community.
Aimee Ferro is a mixed-media visual artist known for exploring unpolished vulnerability in her expansive portfolio of collage, visuals, and wearable art. Her work invites internal reflection through a provocative sensory experience that embraces tension and the chaos within. Born in Phoenix, AZ, Aimee forever calls Seattle home and is currently creating artwork in her dining room while raising a family in Sacramento, CA. A graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, she creates with purpose, having established Leia Beila Designs in memory of her mother who passed away from breast cancer during Aimee’s childhood. A celebration of bold individuality, Leia Beila pieces function as an extension of body and mind for those who dare to be different. Her work has been proudly recognized in Swayy, Seattle Magazine, & Seattle Met and spotlighted as a noteworthy artist entrepreneur in Authority Magazine in 2018. When asked why she chose the arts as her path, her response is always a simply-delivered response, “There’s nothing else I would ever want to do.”
As Co-Founder of WAABEL Start-Up Studio, Aimee is guiding the vision and execution of the support structure around our artists community.
Contemplative Engagement Consultant
As a holistic artist, Robin explores creative expression as a pathway for nurturing partnerships between people and the planet. Meditation and sensorial orientation to Nature guide her inquiry into the synergy between the fine arts and healing arts. As a cultivator of collaborative environments, she fosters reciprocity between ecology and creativity. She roots her research in deep listening and vast witnessing, observing authentic connections as they shape ecosystem wholeness.
Robin’s contemplative ecoarts practice involves honoring organic sources of inspiration through poems, rituals, and mixed media visual art. She celebrates seeds, herbs, and leaves with writing, movement, painting, printmaking, and photography. She is a Terminus artist within Olympic National Park, the founding curator of an international multimedia newsletter named roots, wings & wonder, and the co-author of peer-reviewed research on the value of patient-initiated storytelling in hospital settings. Her poems have appeared in dozens of literary journals, and in 2014, Charing Cross Press published her first book, a poetry collection called the Sound of Seeds.
As an interdisciplinary MFA candidate, Robin draws upon diverse academic fields ranging from queer mycology to progressive pedagogy. Her professional certifications in reflexology, hatha yoga, Japanese Reiki, and vibrational sound therapy also inform her commitment to infusing her career with compassionate communication and her creative process with wonder. Within WAABEL, Robin co-creates contemplative opportunities for writers and artists to embody their goals and visions.
Director of Community Experience & Design
Sarah is a UI/UX designer with a background in fine art. She is a creative and empathetic designer who is passionate about using visual design methods to improve people’s daily lives. Her background in painting and photography informs her design work in an innovative and visually exciting way. Sarah's fine art practice is focused primarily on analog photography and painting, and she is particularly interested in the relationships between visual perception, the act of looking, and intuitive movement.
As Director of Community Experience & Design, Sarah is responsible for leveraging our existing assets to cultivate a robust and active artists' community as our organization grows. She will also manage the design, planning, and execution of WAABEL's long term vision to build a supportive ecosystem for artists and writers worldwide to connect, play, and advance.
Ben Fogel is building a career at the crossroads of technology and creative expression. His journey began at Apple as a computer technician, and continued with roles in product development, organizational strategy, and client-focused management. His distinct style is rooted in a people-oriented philosophy that leverages technology to support productivity, fulfillment, and holistic outcomes. Now at Peloton, Ben is the Manager of Enterprise Systems in the Member Services division where he leads a team of tech professionals focused on building software solutions for the eCommerce support team.
Also a musician, Ben’s professional trajectory has its roots in composition and music technology. He holds a B.A in Music Technology and Composition with a minor in classical guitar from Northeastern University, where his academic focus was building software to produce music and composition for a range of instruments and electronics. He is also a professional musician under the performance titles, FOGES and Ben Focus and formerly produced under the Australian-based label, ESF Records.
As the WAABEL Start-Up Studio Board Chair, Ben is responsible for the strategic growth and management of our Board of Directors. He will provide essential consultation on the development of virtual platforms and provide general guidance of our organization’s evolution more broadly.
WAABEL COMMUNITY VALUES
We are creatives who articulate our values with care. We embody our commitments to personal and collective success. We believe the pursuit of values-driven work is essential to advancing our artists, our community, and our world.
AN ECOSYSTEM OF MUTUAL RECIPROCITY
We value spaces that support individuals and our organization at once. Community members join us with an understanding of personal goals, the goals of the organization, and the natural intersection and alignment of both. Our commitment remains ongoing, as we nurture an open environment to continuously assess our relationships and make space and time for processing adjustments.
FLEXIBILITY & AUTONOMY
Our work together is defined by trust. We empower members of our community to advance through open conversation and articulated shared vision. Where and how you work is left in your hands, in order to adapt to your purpose, your personal life, your strengths, and your preferences.
INCLUSION & ACTIVE AWARENESS
Passion, creativity, beauty and all its artistic forms are most successfully cultivated in diverse and inclusive environments. WAABEL welcomes everyone. We foster belonging and recognize that our individual and organizational outcomes are intertwined. Artists will forever grow and plant seeds in every corner of our world. We therefore remain open to all in our commitment to advancing our artists, wherever and whomever they are.