Meet the dedicated professionals at the CIVIC Leadership Institute.

Mary Kate Andris, Ed.D.

President & CEO

Prior to being named President and Chief Executive Officer of the CIVIC Leadership Institute, Dr. Andris served as a Director of Council Partnerships for the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). There she supported more than 30 Council CEOs and their Board Chairs in annual and strategic planning for growth and sustainability.

Before joining GSUSA, Dr. Andris served as President and CEO of the YWCA South Hampton Roads where she worked to increase revenue from philanthropic sources and build awareness of the YWCA South Hampton Roads’ brand.  During her tenure, the organization received its largest private gift ever: $2 million from MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and author.

Dr. Andris serves on the Virginia Council on Women and was an Inside Business Women in Business Honoree. She holds two degrees from Widener University: a Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Management from Moravian University.

Mary Kate and her husband, Kevin, have two teenage boys and a dog named Nyx.

Mary Kate Andris, President and CEO, CIVIC Leadership Institute

Tage S. Counts

Vice President of Strategic Engagement

Tage Counts joins CIVIC Leadership Institute after serving the City of Norfolk as a Business Development Manager for the Economic Development department. Since returning to the Hampton Roads community in 1995, Tage has spent the majority of his professional career in marketing, sales, membership and business development. Previous roles included Vice President Membership with the Hampton Roads Chamber and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Tidewater Home Funding. Tage has consistently delivered exceptional results throughout his career. His passion for fostering business growth and building lasting relationships has earned him recognition as Salesperson of the Year, Employee of the Year, Top Forty Under 40 alum, and bronze recipient of CoVaBiz’s Best Local Leader Making A Difference.

Tage’s desire and passion to serve our community reaches well beyond his professional life having given a great deal of his time, talent and treasures to support non-profit organizations throughout the Hampton Roads region. A current board member for VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads, Tage has also given of his time as a servant leader for organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Portsmouth Partnership, and Portsmouth Partnership, and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. His efforts were recognized as a previous recipient of VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads’ Corporate Volunteer Excellence Awards. Tage is a 2019 graduate of LEAD Hampton Roads and a 2020 graduate of the Vann H. Lefcoe Leadership Development Program.

Tage currently resides in the city of Virginia Beach with his spouse of 28 years, Diana. They are the proud parents of Chase, who after graduating from Hampden-Sydney College resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Kacey, who is completing her senior year of studies at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. In his free time, Tage enjoys kayak fishing on the Back Bay and spending time with Diana and his family.

Tage S Counts

Lianna Arbitter

CIVIC Scholars Program Director

Lianna Arbitter has been working in the field of events for over 7 years.  She has a passion for helping others and she is certain that positivity and adaptability are key components to being successful. Lianna is always looking for ways to use her people skills to build connections with everyone she meets.

On a personal note, Lianna grew up in Plymouth, Michigan and graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Liberty University (GO FLAMES!) and moved to Hampton Roads in 2018. She enjoys listening to live music at the Oceanfront, trying new restaurants and fishing down in the Outer Banks with her Fiancé.

Lianna Arbitter

Christina Shipman

Events and Logistics Manager

Christina’s background includes office administration and customer service as well as leadership experience.  She dabbled in entrepreneurship with a home bakery, but decided it was more enjoyable as a hobby.  Unfortunately, she lost her job early in the pandemic, but took the opportunity to focus on her son. 

As her son began school in Fall 2022, she too reentered the workforce as the Administrative Assistant for CIVIC Leadership Institute and now assumes the role of Events and Logistics Manager. 

She graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Although a native to southwestern Virginia, she has been a resident of Hampton Roads since 2015 and considers it her home. She resides in Norfolk with her husband, Philip, and son, Duncan, where they enjoy family adventures that include biking, kayaking, and LEGO building.

Contact the CIVIC Team by email at or or call the CIVIC Office at 757-683-6890.