Act One Youth Theater was founded by Lauri Hunter Mershon on Jan 2, 2014. Its purpose was to allow children from all income levels to particpate in live theater. She believes that live theater is very instrumental to building a well rounded individual. Children learn life skills like public speaking, creative thinking and how to work as a team to accomplish a goal. They also learn there are no small parts. Just as everyone has an important part to play in life, they all have an important part to play on stage. What would a show be without the ensemble?

Participation in theater teaches young people to be creative thinkers, team players and confident public speakers. They will carry these life skills forward and become very successful in their adult life.

Current Board Members:

Lauri Hunter Mershon, Founding member and President, is originally from North Dakota, and transferred to ASU in 1996 to defrost. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University where she received her Bachelors degree. In the past, she has served as the marketing chair for Entrepreneurial Mothers Association (EMA) and a board member for a local children's theater. She has also been involved with several committees to help raise money for charities in the community including United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She enjoys cooking for and spending time with her family.

Ryan Neilsen, Vice President, Environmental Compliance Engineer. Ryan Nielsen is a member of the Act One Youth Theater board since the beginning. His background in directing environmental projects and working with budgets will lend well to the developing board. He is married and has one daughter in middle school and the other in elementary school.

Ed Balli, Treasurer, is the founding member of Majestic Insurance. Bio to follow.

Laura Schiesl, Secretary is Senior Corporate Counsel at Insight Enterprises. She received her JD from Loyola Law School in 2004 and is licensed to practice law in California and Arizona. Laura is currently on the Board to the Insight charitable foundation, the In It Together Foundation. She has also served on various non-profit boards including Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club and currently serves on the Board of the Arizona State Bar Committee on Ethics. Volunteerism has, and will always be, a very important part of who I am and what I do. Over the course of the past ten years, I have had the privilege to serve on various non-profit boards and participate in numerous volunteer and fundraising events. I have a young daughter and have seen firsthand how important and influential youth theatre can be and what a positive impact it has on a child. I think that all children can benefit from theatre and I hope to help make it a reality for as many children as possible. It would be a privilege to serve on the Act One Youth Theatre Board and be part of Act One’s many successes

Lisa Leathers-Cox, is a native Arizonan and has served as Board Member, Chairperson, and Task Force Facilitator for various groups/organization throughout the Valley.
As an experienced business development/marketer with a background in broadcasting, media relations and strategic partnerships, she has been involved in the construction/development industry since the mid 90's.

Mary Ellen Rosinski Almost a native Mary Ellen Rosinski has lived in Phoenix for most of her life, going to Chaparral High School and graduating from ASU with a major in Accounting and a minor in business. She continued on to received her CPA and then went to worked for Arthur Young Accounting Firm in both the audit and tax department, were she specialized in working with banks. She has a lovely talented 11 year old daughter which attends the Arizona School for the Arts. She is an avid skier, scuba diver and hiker. She is currently Treasurer of the International Reciprocal Trade Association which is the barter industries association which educates new exchanges on how to run and operated a quality barter exchange. She is the co-founder of Tradesource Trade Exchange the oldest most respected barter exchange in the valley which was founded in 1987 and has bartered over $200 million dollars in the phoenix market.