Our Staff

Kris Sabel, Executive Director

Kris Sabel began 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 from 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.

Email Kris at ksabel@vailsymposium.org

Claire Noble, Program Manager

Claire Noble joined the Vail Symposium as Program Manager in May 2018, working with the Programming Committee to design the Symposium’s seasons, from planning topics and approaches to topics to developing speakers and organizing individual programs.

Noble started her career as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force delivering intelligence briefings, instruction and situation updates to commanders and personnel. She also served as Director of Training for city managers in Washington, D.C. and worked as an instructor for the Air Force’s Commissioned Officer Training School in Montgomery, AL.

Noble and her family lived in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Switzerland from 2000 – 2016 where she worked as a writer, editor and voice-over artist. Frequent visitors to Vail, Noble moved to the Vail Valley permanently in 2016. Since then, she’s volunteered at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, served as a contributing writer for the Vail Daily and co-hosted Good Morning Vail on TV8.

Email Claire at cnoble@vailsymposium.org

Arzu Basyildiz, Office and Event Manager

Arzu is a long time resident of the Vail Valley. She loves volunteering throughout the Vail Valley and joined Vail Symposium team in September 2017.

Before joining the Vail Symposium team, she worked at Vail Jazz; she also works part-time at Vail Resorts. She and her husband own a small retail shop in Edwards, Nomadic Collection, where she was the buyer and store manager for more than 15 years. She also managed a bank branch for seven years when she was living in Turkey. She has Economics and Interior designs degrees and is also a professional interpreter for legal needs.

She loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Email Arzu at arzu@vailsymposium.org

Katie Coakley, Marketing Manager

Katie Coakley joined the Vail Symposium as the marketing manager in June 2017.

Katie has worked in the Vail area for more than 14 years. She began as an Account Supervisor with Peeples Ink PR, working with businesses and organizations like Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Vail International Dance Festival and Vail Summer. In 2011, she started Katydid PR, providing communications services for events and organizations in addition to providing contracting and consulting work for other public relations firms.

She is also a freelance journalist, contributing to local publications like the Vail Daily and Vail Valley Magazine as well as state-wide and national editorial outlets.

Katie received a BA in English with a secondary education certificate from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and taught high school English for several years before moving to Colorado.

Contact Katie at kcoakley@vailsymposium.org