Who We Are

Leadership Team

In 2014, the Brower Center embarked on an innovative new leadership model, in which the traditional executive director functions are shared across a team of veteran managing directors. Developed with the support of Rockwood Leadership Initiative’s Building Capacity for Organizational Resilience and Renewal program, the Brower Center’s model takes advantage of the many benefits of a more collaborative structure. Just as natural systems benefit from diversity, so too does the Center, which gains leadership stability during times of transition and deeper cross-fertilization of skills and ideas within the organization. Each leadership team member oversees individual departments within the Brower Center and also works together as a team to make major organizational decisions.


HILLARY BROOKS, Co-Managing Director ⇒ hillary@browercenter.org

Hillary brings two decades of experience in nonprofit operations to the leadership team now managing the Brower Center, where she oversees finance and administration. Dedicated to powering progressive movements for sustainability and impact, she also serves on the board of the Center for Media Justice. Hillary previously directed finance, operations and human resources 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.


JACKIE HASA, Co-Managing Director ⇒ jackie@browercenter.org

A generalist through and through, Jackie brings extensive nonprofit experience to the leadership team at the Brower Center, where she manages development, communications, and programming. A believer in the power of the arts to illuminate critical issues and inspire social change, 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. In her spare time, she has volunteered as a member of the editorial team of the arts policy site Createquity, contributing articles and reviewing the latest research in the field, a fellow with the Emerging Arts Professionals, and a co-organizer with the urban hiking collective Wanderers Union. Jackie holds a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley, and loves working in the community where she once studied.


LAURIE RICH, Co-Managing Director ⇒ laurie@browercenter.org

With a background of over 20 years in event management, Laurie brings a wealth of experience and depth of knowledge to directing the Brower Center’s Conference Center and serving on its executive leadership team. After a wide-ranging career in the event world, from managing gaming conferences at the Moscone Center to planning gala parties for a SOMA nightclub, she realized the importance of having a career in the nonprofit sector. Since joining the Brower Center team in 2010, Laurie has found it to be the perfect combination of her love of building community and managing highly regarded events. The Hazel Wolf Gallery also has a great floor for her other love—tap dancing.


Staff Team

 

DEIRDRE ASHBY, Administrative Coordinator ⇒ deirdre@browercenter.org

Deirdre grew up in Huntington Beach, California and attended New York University where she earned her B.A. in Dramatic Literature, Theater History and the Cinema. She moved to the Bay Area in 1993. After spending ten years in elementary education, Deirdre transitioned to the non profit sector, first as Chapter Coordinator of the Sierra Club's San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, and then as Administrative Associate with ODC Dance. Having studied dance, voice and acting, Deirdre is passionate about performing arts and active as a performer and choreographer in the musical theater scene.


 

ROLANDO CHAN, Facility Assistant ⇒ rolando@browercenter.org

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 young son.

 

 

 

 


RANDY COLLINS, Events Coordinator

Randy is a photographer, videographer, media arts educator, event facilitator, and audio-visual consultant who's been calling Oakland home since 2011. A graduate of The University of Pittsburgh's Film Studies Program, Randy brings over a decade of experience in managing cinema-related businesses and events, as General Manager of The Oaks Theater in Pittsburgh, Programming Manager at The New Parkway in Oakland and Technical Director of Oakland's Matatu Film Festival. Randy has been teaching both traditional and digital photography since 2005. In 2007 he was selected to be a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Teaching Artist in Residence. He hopes to someday photograph the Northern Lights, and to publish a book of his photography.


DIANA DOMINGUEZ, Events Manager ⇒ diana@browercenter.org

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 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.


LEORA FRIDMAN, Community Engagement Specialist ⇒ leora@browercenter.org

A writer, organizer, editor, and educator with over ten years of experience in the nonprofit world, Leora brings a diverse array of expertise in communications and community-building to her work at the Brower Center. After earning her B.A. in Literary Arts at Brown University, Leora managed and evaluated youth programming in Israel/Palestine, Boston, and Oakland. She then went on to complete her M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she taught creative writing and composition and served as Assistant Director for the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. Leora is passionate about connecting creative arts and social justice, building supportive networks between and across communities, and developing resources to support intersectional programming. In her spare time, Leora volunteers as a career coach for Summer Search, serves on several nonprofit boards, edits Spoke Too Soon: A Journal of the Longer, enjoys the wilds of California, and grows, cooks and preserves food from her backyard. Leora is the author of numerous chapbooks of poetry and translations, and is a recipient of grants and fellowships from institutions including the Dorot Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and the Center for Cultural Innovation. 


SAM MANERA, A/V and IT Systems Administrator

A self-proclaimed tech junkie, Sam is tasked with operating and administrating building-wide audio and video systems as well as assisting clients and guests with any technological support during Brower Center events. Outside his "mic wrangling" duties, Sam is a new media artist who in his spare time creates performance and installation art focused on the many challenges created by 21st century electronic and digital technologies. His work often makes extensive use of e-waste, as he recycles and repurposes dead and obsolete technological detritus. Leaving his native southwest in 2004, Sam moved to the Bay Area from Santa Fe to complete his B.F.A. at The San Francisco Art Institute.


SAMUEL VARGAS, Senior Facility Manager ⇒ samuel@browercenter.org

Sam was born and raised in The Bronx, New York City, and brings 25 years of building operations and nonprofit experience to the Brower Center. Sam has managed the Center’s cutting-edge, LEED Platinum facility since joining the team in 2012, working to conserve energy, cut costs, and make sure our resident organizations feel at home. Visitors can usually find him roaming the Brower Center halls, whistling and jingling his keys on his daily rounds. In New York, he founded various non-profits (The Acentos Foundation, the Acentos Writers Workshops and the Acentos Review) to serve Latino/a poets across the U.S. Today, he continues his work in art and education with YouthSpeaks, E3, Dominican College, St. Ignatius, and SF Jazz.


 

 

Events Team

JEN DECICCO, House Manager
 
Jen brings over 15 years of experience managing venues and organizing festivals, concerts, and other events. Originally from the East Coast, Jen received her B.A. in Theatre and her M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Alfred University in New York.  For 11 years she lived in Boston, working as the Associate Director of Special Events for Berklee College of Music. Since relocating to the Bay Area in 2013, Jen has worked for several local music, film, and art festivals. When she isn't at the David Brower Center, Jen coordinates events at three different San Francisco museums. In her spare time, she enjoys vegan cooking, hiking, and animal activism.
 

KEITH EVANS, Preparator

Keith is an artist and activist who has been working and performing in the Bay Area for 25 years. A jack-of-all-trades, he makes a living as an art presentation technician, preparator, exhibition designer, massage therapist, and audio-visual technician. Co-creation has been a core element of his own artistic practice, having founded the experimental cinematic trio silt in 1989 and participated in many artist collaboratives, most recently with Thingamajigs performance group. His work has been presented in galleries, museums, and cinemas all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Biennial in 2002. As a volunteer, he has had the honor of taking Oakland youth on backpacking excursions into the Sierra Nevada wilderness. He lives in Bolinas with his wife and young son.


RICK JOHNSON, Audio Visual Technician

Born and raised in the East Bay, Rick gained experience in audio engineering in the recording arts and live events during his time at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree. Since then, he has managed the audio and visual needs of a variety of live events, ranging from live music to corporate conferences to weddings. When he’s not working at a Brower Center event, Rick helps manage a small audio-video rental office and works live events all over the Bay Area.

 


MARCY KISER, House Manager 
 
With a background in design and a passion for people, Marcy found her niche in special events. She loves the opportunity to build relationships, be creative and strategic, and focus on the big picture and the important details. With over seven years in the industry, Marcy has planned an array of events ranging from weddings to philanthropic events focused on giving back to local and global communities. She holds a B.A. in Events Management and now calls Oakland home.
 
 

BLAKE SIMONS, House Manager

Blake brings nonprofit and activist experience to the David Brower Center. A native of the Bay Area, Blake is finishing his undergraduate education at UC Berkeley, where he will receive a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in African American Studies. Blake serves as a member on the national Loss and Bereavement Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and on the Black Student Union at UC Berkeley. After graduation, Blake plans to attend law school, with the ultimate goal of continuing to advocate for social justice as an attorney.

 


 

JASON WOODLEY, Audio Visual Technician

A sound and video enthusiast, Jason has served in a variety of production roles, from camera operator and live sound engineer to video editor and sound designer for film and video games. Jason is a passionate musician, and you can find him onstage playing live and DJing at venues around the Bay Area (including the Brower Center!). When he is not knee-deep in cables and wires, he enjoys his time outdoors hiking, biking, and exploring the Bay Area, always with his favorite headphones. Jason received a B.A. in Broadcast and Electronic Communications from San Francisco State University.

 


Board of Directors

PETER K. BUCKLEY (Founder, President) initiated the David Brower Center, and has led as President 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, he is active on several nonprofit boards in his favorite fields of education, environment, and the arts. A longtime Oakland resident, in 2015, John temporarily came out of retirement to serve as Interim City Administrator under new mayor Libby Schaaf.

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 was California's State Assemblymember, representing half of Alameda County and half of Contra Costa County in Assembly District 15, from 2008 to 2014. 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 moved California's leadership on energy efficiency from gold to platinum.