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Staff

Kris Sabel, Executive Director

IMG_1146Kris Sabel begins as the Vail Symposium Executive Director on September 1, 2016. Most recently Sabel served as the Executive Director for the Vilar Performing Arts Center for 15 years. Originally form Port Washington, Wisc., Sabel completed his education with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. and a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri. He has resided locally since August of 1999.

He first became familiar with the Vail Symposium when the Symposium hosted the Festival of Words, the Toronto Film Festival, a program with Ayaan Hirsi Ali and others at the VPAC.  He has also worked with the Symposium to moderate discussions on select arts programs.

Sabel’s wife, Ruth Johnson, is the President and CEO of Roundup River Ranch. Outside of work, Sabel enjoys hiking and skiing, spending time with his family, reading, listening to music and watching quality programming like Masterpiece Theatre.

Ashley Cawthorn, Operations Manager

Ashley Cawthorn came to the Symposium in September of 2015. She is starting her fourth winter in the Vail Valley from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her previous winters have been spent with Vail Resorts Signature Clubs, most recently with the Vail Mountain Club as the Children and Family Activities Coordinator. As an advocate for the community, she has dedicated her time to various non-profits throughout the Valley. Her organization of teams for PINK Vail and fundraising for Adopt – A – Family have brought tremendous opportunities to the community.

She plans to carry the same organization, innovation, and creativity to the Vail Symposium. With a background in graphic design and sports marketing, she is inspired to continue her education every day and is excited to bring unique programming to the Vail Symposium. 

While not in the office, Ashley loves all things Colorado! If she isn’t on her bike, you can find her on the river, trail, or trying the latest and greatest Colorado adventure. 

Contact Ashley directly at: ashley@vailsymposium.org

John O’Neill, Marketing Director

Headshot 2John O’Neill came to the Symposium in January of 2014. John’s experience with the Symposium has been in both program management and marketing. He holds a degree in News-Editorial Journalism from Colorado State University where he was the Top Graduate in 2011. He has a professional background in writing for various publications, as well as in digital and traditional marketing.

An intellectual curiosity sustains John’s passionate interest in attending and promoting the Symposium’s annual programs. His addition to the Vail Symposium staff has helped welcome hundreds of new audience members of all ages to the programs.

A true Vail Valley native, John was born in Vail, raised in Edwards and educated in Eagle County Schools. O’Neill competes as a professional triathlete for the United States and spends his time away from the Symposium traveling the world for competition. He enjoys training on the local roads, rivers, lakes and trails most mornings and afternoons.

Contact John directly at: john@vailsymposium.org