Who We Are

 

Staff


Michael Anzalone,
Director of Programs & Business Development

Michael Anzalone was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, where he attended Emory University. Upon graduating, he moved west, settling in mountains of Telluride, Colorado. He was most recently the Director of Marketing & Production at the Sheridan Opera House, producing live concerts, theater, and community art programs and serving on the Sheridan’s Historic Renovation Committee. Michael has resided in the Bay Area since 2008 and welcomes all that the city and its culture have to offer. Michael has worked extensively as a producer on a variety of music, art and film festivals, including Telluride Film Fest and Mountainfilm, as well as the Plein Air,  Bluegrass, and Jazz celebrations in Telluride. 


Taraneh Arhamsadr,
Communications & Outreach Manager

At the Brower Center, Taraneh has been able to combine her love of communications with her passion for environmental awareness. With over a decade of experience working as a writer, editor and consultant in the journalism and public affairs fields, Taraneh has found her home in the nonprofit world, with experience working for such organizations as the Sierra Club Foundation, Pacific Environment and Rising Sun Energy Center. Born and raised in Southern California, Taraneh has been in the Bay Area since 2008. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Irvine and a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Environmental Policy from San Francisco State University.

Berit Ashlas

Berit Ashla,
Executive Director

Berit has more than two decades of nonprofit and philanthropic experience.  Over the course of her career she has worked with communities of donors and activists to create a more just and sustainable world.  She has worked with the Tides Foundation, Foundation Source, the United Nations Environment Program, and the Marin Community Foundation.  Berit has served on many nonprofit boards, including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Abundance Foundation.  Berit holds a BA from Amherst College and lives in Berkeley with her husband and two sons.  Berit is thrilled to be working in her home community for the first time in her career.  An avid hiker, she is happiest in the company of friends and family enjoying the beautiful trails of the Bay Area parks system.

Hillary Brooks

Hillary Brooks,
Director of
Finance & Operations

Hillary is a steadfast problem solver and systems thinker with two decades of experience in both nonprofit administration and information technology. Dedicated to powering progressive movements for sustainability and impact, Hillary previously directed finance and operations functions at Forward Together and Media Alliance and served as an accounting and Macintosh consultant to nonprofits, small businesses, magazines, computer training centers and individuals. A grassroots activist for reproductive and civil rights in her youth, she also put her politics into song, primarily in the New York jazz group Maroon. Hillary has a B.S. in communications research from Boston University and an M.F.A. in jazz performance at California Institute of the Arts. After a quiet childhood in the Hudson Valley, she explored the coasts, then settled happily in Berkeley to raise her young daughter.


Laurie Brown,
Director, Programs & Events

With a background of over 15 years in event planning, from large-scale tradeshows at Moscone Center to weddings at Fort Mason, Laurie brings a wealth of experience and wide range of knowledge to the events at the Brower Center. After a few years away from the nonprofit sector in the corporate world, she realized how important having a career in the nonprofit community was to her. Laurie has found the Brower Center to be the perfect combination for her love of helping people and event expertise.


Rolando Chan,
Facility Assistant

Rolando has been a dedicated member of the Brower Center team since the day it opened in 2009. Prior to that, he worked at BMW as an assistant mechanic. Rolando grew up in Mexico and now lives in San Francisco with his wife and 9 year old son.


Diana Dominguez, 
Events Coordinator

Diana has over a decade of experience working in nonprofits. With a background focused in performing arts production and programming, the move into the environmental sector has been an exciting learning experience. Diana was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and studied theater and Spanish language in both Vermont and Spain. As Production Manager of Intermedia Arts of Minnesota, she was invited to be a panelist and workshop leader for the annual Women’s Theatre Festival in Bogotá, Colombia, and was a recipient of travel grants for young arts administrators. She left Minneapolis to pursue new adventures in the Bay Area and has been a happy Oakland resident since 2010.


Jackie Hasa,
Community Partnerships
Manager

A generalist through and through, Jackie brings extensive experience in the arts, development, communications, and programming to her position at the Brower Center.  She has deep roots in the Bay Area nonprofit community, having worked for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, American Institute of Architects, and most recently in business development at Harder+Company Community Research.  As a believer in the power of the arts to illuminate critical issues and inspire social change, she is excited to support the dynamic community at the Brower Center.  Jackie holds a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley, and loves working in the community where she once studied.


Samuel Vargas,
Facility Manager

Sam Vargas was born and raised in The Bronx, New York City. He is vastly experienced in building management and operations and also teaches at-risk youth creative writing and poetry. With years of building management experience to call his own, the David Brower Center has provided him with a thirst for learning the operations of a state-of-the-art facility.  In New York, he founded various non-profits (The Acentos Foundation, the Acentos Writers Workshops and the Acentos Review) to benefit Latino/a poets across the U.S. Before his move to the Bay Area, he was heavily involved with The louderARTS project, Urban Word, The Knicks Poetry Slam, Bronxworks, Community Word Project. Today, he works heavily with YouthSpeaks, E3, Dominican College, St Ignatius, and S.F Jazz. He has a fully operational woodworking shop where he creates custom-made pieces in his spare time.

 

Rob Woods, House Manager, Meetings and Special Events
Jessica Tyler, House Manager, Meetings and Special Events
Adam Rosendahl, House Manager, Meetings and Special Events
Blake Simons, House Manager, Meetings and Special Events

 

Board of Directors

Peter K. Buckley (Founder, President) initiated the David Brower Center, and has led as Chairman since its inception.  He co-founded the Center for Ecoliteracy in 1995 after a career as CEO of Esprit-Europe and Esprit-International, and an earlier career as an attorney in San Francisco.  He is co-founder of Greenwood School, a K-8 school with an environmental emphasis, in Mill Valley, California.  He also serves on the boards of Conservation Land Trust and Conservacion Patagonica.

Zenobia Barlow is the executive director and cofounder of the Center for Ecoliteracy. She has led the Center’s grant making, educational, and publishing programs since its inception. A pioneer in creating models of education for sustainable living, she leads the Rethinking School Lunch, California Food for California Kids, and Smart by Nature initiatives. Barlow is coauthor of Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence (Jossey-Bass, 2012). She coedited Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World (Sierra Club Books, 2005) and Ecoliteracy: Mapping the Terrain (Learning in the Real World, 2000). She serves on the board of directors of the David Brower Center and is a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute. She also served on an international team of experts that advised the Bhutan government on integrating Gross National Happiness principles into education.

Adam Berman is the Executive Director of Urban Adamah, a community farm and environmental education center in West Berkeley. Prior to founding Urban Adamah, Adam served as the Executive Director of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center (2002-2008), a progressive Jewish retreat center and community in the Connecticut Berkshires. For three years (1996 - 1999), Adam served as the Director of the Teva Learning Center, the leading Jewish environmental education program in the United States. He holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A in Environmental Studies from Brown University. He currently lives in Berkeley with his wife Deena and daughter Shira. 

Kenneth David Brower is the oldest son of David Brower.  His earliest memories are of following his father down various trails in the wild country of the American West.  He is a free-lance writer specializing in environmental issues and the outdoors.  He is a regular contributor to the Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, Smithsonian, various National Geographic publications, and other journals.  He is the co-author of a half-dozen books and the author of 13 more, among them The Starship and the Canoe, Wake of the Whale, A Song for Satawal, Freeing Keiko: The Journey of a Killer Whale from ‘Free Willy’ to the Wild and most recently The Wildness Within: Remembering David Brower.

John Flores (Treasurer) has 30 years of administrative and managerial experience in municipal government. As City Manager of the city of Emeryville for 19 years, he was prominent in the long- and short-term planning of the city’s future and instrumental in the redevelopment and cleanup of numerous toxic sites in that city. He was previously with the city of Oakland for 11 years, serving in increasingly responsible administrative roles leading to the position of Deputy City Manager. John has a masters degree in public administration from Golden Gate University and an undergraduate degree in social science from San Jose State University.  In his retirement, John is active on several nonprofit boards in his favorite fields of education, environment, and the arts.

John A. Knox (Secretary) is Co-Executive Director of Earth Island Institute. He began with Earth Island Institute as a volunteer in 1984, and began serving as Executive Director in 1985. Having begun his environmental work at Friends of the Earth in the early '80s, John has had a key role in consolidating and expanding Earth Island's unique organizational model for growing environmental leadership, integrating public education and membership building with project development/sponsorship and youth leadership support. John received his B.A. degree in psychology from Antioch College in Ohio.

David W. Orr is professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College. At Oberlin, he directed a collaboration of students, staff members and some of the most innovative designers and architects in the world.  Together they designed and built the Environmental Studies Center, a building selected as one of 30 “milestone buildings in the 20th century” by the U.S. Department of Energy.  He is a contributing editor to Conservation Biology, the author of The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics, and the Environment in an Age of Terror, The Nature of Design, Earth in Mind, and Ecological Literacy, and coeditor of The Global Predicament and The Campus and Environmental Responsibility.  

David Phillips is a biologist and Co-Executive Director of the Earth Island Institute. He has served in that capacity since 1985. David specializes in international marine wildlife conservation, directing the Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project, with staff in the US, Thailand, Mexico, Philippines, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ivory Coast and Italy. In 1995, David founded the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, successfully overseeing an ambitious international campaign to attempt the first rescue, rehabilitation and release of an orca whale to its native habitat in Iceland. Mr. Phillips was a cum laude graduate in biology from Colorado College.
 

Nancy Skinner, California State Assemblymember, represents half of Alameda County and half of Contra Costa County in Assembly District 15. She is the chair of the Committee on Rules and the Joint Committee on Rules.  Prior to her election in 2008 to the State Legislature, Skinner worked internationally on climate issues. A founder of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Skinner led ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection program from 1993 to 2004. 

Her expertise in energy efficiency includes initiating the first citywide energy efficiency retrofit laws and the first municipally owned energy services company while she was a Councilmember in the City of Berkeley during the 1980s. As U.S. Director of the London-based Climate Group, Skinner worked with Fortune 500 companies and state, provincial, and national leaders to enact greenhouse gas reduction plans. Skinner passed legislation, Assembly Bill 758, to spearhead the first statewide program to achieve energy efficiency retrofits for all existing residential and commercial buildings. Skinner also authored groundbreaking energy storage legislation, Assembly Bill 2514, paving the way for California to meet its renewable energy goals.  Her landmark pieces of legislation continue to move California's leadership on energy efficiency from gold to platinum and promise to create thousands of new jobs to aid California's economic recovery.