Meet Our Board of Directors
Rev. Robert Hay, Chief Executive Officer
Rev. Bob Hay serves as President and CEO of the Karitos Christian Arts Association. He has been involved in music and arts-related ministries for over forty years and is viewed by many as a pioneer in the field of Contemporary Christian Music.
Bob formerly served as President of the Fellowship of Contemporary Christian Ministries. Begun in 1975, the FCCM was the first national organization serving those in what was known at the time simply as Jesus Music. Keith Green, Love Song, and 2nd Chapter of Acts were just a few of the 400+ musicians and music-related ministries that were part of the organization.
Bob was quick to recognize the power of this new music as a tool for evangelism. He staged one of the very first Jesus Festivals on a college campus in the summer of 1972. He went on to promote countless concerts featuring many of the top Christian artists and he also took the music out of the concert hall to reach those who might never attend a Christian concert. Using lasers and special effects, he created a Cosmic Concert at a planetarium. Two concerts staged in a skateboard park so impressed the park's owners that they turned the park over to Bob.
Bob's creativity and ability to bring people together serve him well as he leads Karitos into new and exciting avenues of ministry.
Rev. Courtney Hay, Vice President
Rev. Courtney Hay, daughter of Karitos President Bob Hay, is a gifted instrumentalist whose life has revolved around music. After graduating from college with high honors and a degree in oboe performance she shunned a promising symphony career, choosing rather to use her music in service to God. Courtney also plays flute, sax, and a variety of ethnic flutes and whistles and sings.
After college, Courtney held several music-related positions serving as both a school music director and a band director. Sensing that God was leading her into a more intentional ministry-related lifestyle, she moved to Cambridge, Ontario to attend a Youth With A Missions Discipleship Training School (DTS). At the time, the Cambridge base was serving as YWAM's North American Performing Arts Base.
It was here that she had her first missions experience, spending several months in Guatemala working with a team that included musicians, actors and dancers. The experience opened her eyes to the tremendous potential of using the arts in missions. Returning to Cambridge, she went on to complete the Arts in Ministry School, this time traveling to Finland and Estonia. Upon completion of the AIM school she was asked to join the staff of the School of Music serving at one point as the school's director.
Since leaving YWAM Courtney has formed her own ministry, Reignsong, and has served as Minister of Music for several congregations. She guest lectures at conferences, worship related schools and events. However, her heart for the world has never left. For fifteen years she was part of the worship team for the Christian Celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.
Susannah Francis, Secretary
Susannah has been in love with the arts ever since she climbed up to her Great Aunt Betty’s organ at the age of two. Her passion led her to performing in school musicals and choirs, as well as playing flute and oboe in band. In her middle/high school years she received first place in state vocal competitions. She also has dabbled in dance throughout the years as well, learning the basics of ballet, modern, tap, clogging and swing. She attended Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College on a vocal scholarship and completed courses under the double major of Music Education.
Susannah her husband Zachary founded 1heart Arts Ministries, fusing the drama, praise band and Artist Bible study ministries under one umbrella. In 2011, they began Karitos INDY, a smaller version of the Chicago conference that poured so much into their lives and ministry work. Susannah and Zach both have a desire to see artists move into their calling and connect as the Body, so a large portion of their time has been spent in one-on-one fellowship and support of artists and leadership of arts organizations. As a continued effort to fulfill the ministry’s mission of “connecting, equipping and encouraging artists”, 1heart Arts also began offering opportunities throughout the year to creatively serve the local community and meet other artists.
Beyond the arts, Susannah has a deep passion for administrative work and the opportunity to work within the Body using these skills. She has served in many areas of the business world, including the travel industry, office support, computer support and serving at non-profit organizations. She also completed a number college courses as a Business Administration major. In 2009, Susannah began working under the name “Kingdom Design Administrative Ministry” at her home office, serving ministries through her developing gifts and continues to do so today.
Mitzi Blanchard, Board Member
Mitzi currently serves on the Executive Board of Karitos Christian Arts Association. She also serves as the Worship Arts Pastor at Cross Point Church in Lockport, Illinois, and as a member of the Lockport Summer Arts Series committee. In the past, Mitzi has served in various capacities on the Taft Elementary School District 90 School Board, on the Will County Historical Society Board of Directors, and as the Treasurer for Karitos Christian Arts Association.
The granddaughter of an Old-world master craftsman and daughter of a wildly creative and talented mother, Mitzi began pursuing all things art since she was old enough to hold a crayon.
Mitzi’s father was as logical minded as her mother was artistic, and Mitzi appropriated characteristics of both personalities, producing in her the unusual combination of administrative and artistic strengths.
Her artistic side has found expression in various disciplines, including theatre, music, visual arts, and writing. Mitzi has performed in street theatre, built props and sets, and costumed such performances as Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest. During high school, she participated in writing and performing readers’ theatre for the Chicago National Public Radio station, and went on to write, produce and perform radio commercials for markets in New Mexico and Montana. She has been singing and playing guitar since her teen-aged years, performing in local venues and churches. She is currently the worship leader at her church.
Painting became a passion for Mitzi as a young girl. She would lock herself in her room for hours, painting portraits and landscapes. She continues to draw and paint, using such media as oil paints, watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil, and markers.
Mitzi has a heart to help the gifts of the Creator be awakened and honored in people of all ages. She has taught art in private lessons as well as school settings for grades K through 8. She currently leads an arts group at her church in her capacity as Worship Arts pastor, and believes that the arts, in all their expressive forms, have a unique capacity to bypass the brain and go straight to the heart, and to the spirit, and to speak the deepest truths in ways that are most effective.
Zachary T. Francis, Treasurer