Who We Are

Leadership

LAURIE RICH, Executive Director ⇒ laurie@browercenter.org

With a background of over 20 years in the private, corporate, and nonprofit sectors, Laurie brings a wealth of experience and depth of knowledge to directing the Brower Center. A Brower Center stalwart since 2010, Laurie has overseen the conference center, facility management and served on its executive leadership team. After a wide-ranging career, from managing gaming conferences at the Moscone Center to planning gala parties for a SOMA nightclub, she sought a return to the change-making nonprofit sector. Since joining the Brower Center team, Laurie has found it to be the perfect combination of her love of building community and leading a organization dedicated to inspiring change. The Hazel Wolf Gallery also has a great floor for her other love—tap dancing.


 

 

Staff

DEIRDRE ASHBY, Administrative Specialist ⇒ 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.


 

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 Specialist randy@browercenter.org

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 Director ⇒ diana@browercenter.org

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Diana landed in the Bay Area in 2010, and at the Brower Center in 2011. She has been shaking things up in various roles within our conference center ever since. Diana’s background has been focused in performing and visual arts production and programming, primarily working with organizations who use the arts as a tool for social change and community dialogue. This made the transition to environmental work and events management with the Brower Center a natural fit. When not at work, you can find her growing the world’s hottest chili peppers and dreaming up the next award-winning internet cat video with her partner Aaron at their home in East Oakland, where they happily reside with their two cats, Nacho and Taco.


LEORA FRIDMAN, Communications & Programs Manager ⇒ 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 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 books 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, Technical Operations Manager sammanera@browercenter.org

A self-proclaimed tech junkie, Sam is tasked with managing building-wide audio, video and Information systems, as well as managing Brower Conference Center A/V technical staff. Sam left his native southwest in 2004 and moved to the Bay Area from Santa Fe to complete his B.F.A. at The San Francisco Art Institute. Outside of the Brower Center, Sam is a new media artist who creates performance and installation art focused on the many challenges created by 21st century electronic and digital technologies. His work often makes use of unwanted e-waste, as he recycles and repurposes dead or obsolete electronic equipment and devices. Sam's performances and installations have been featured in numerous art galleries and performance venues in the Bay Area and beyond. 


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.

 

KERRY FIERO, House Manager

Kerry has worked in the music and production business for over 20 years. She has managed signed and independent music artists, worked on many recording projects, toured the US and internationally, managed venues, and booked and promoted countless events.  After leaving artist management in 2009, Kerry started Fiero Flair, a company that produces events to educate and inspire musicians and aspiring music business professionals. Kerry is a passionate supporter of 51Oakland, an organization working to get music and art into the curriculum of Oakland public schools, and is also an Adjunct Professor at San Francisco State University in the Music/Recording Industry Program and the Event Planning Program.


TATIANA GELFAND, House Manager

Tatiana brings over 10 years of experience managing events, stage managing, and assisting in the production of film festivals, performance showcases, ballets and more.  She has worked in numerous off-off & off-Broadway productions in NYC. As a co-producer & event manager for Red Productions NYC, she helped put together various theater, music, and art events.  In the Bay Area, she has supported film festivals, theater & electronic music productions, and founded the Soma Salon, a performing arts salon in San Francisco. When she's not at the Brower Center, Tatiana can be found  teaching Pilates, creating theater, filming a web series, or hiking the boundless nature of California.


 

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.

 
 

 

 
DAN LAWRENCE, Audio Visual Technician
 
A native to the Bay Area, Dan has spent over 15 years working with a variety of artists as a music producer and engineer. He enjoys being around creative people and is always excited about starting new projects. Besides his love for music production, he also enjoys DJ’ing and working on his motorcycle.
 
 
 

 

DENNIS LOVE, House Manager
 
Dennis arrived in Berkeley from Costa Rica where he had been living in a beachside treehouse. At Cal, he earned a BA in English and a BA and MFA in Art Practice, all the while working at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. At BAMPFA, Dennis held the positions of Theater Manager, Director of Events, and was the founding director of the Visitor Services Department. He brings decades of experience in event planning and production, including lectures, symposia, weddings, tailgates, and gala fundraising celebrations for clients that included Chez Pannise, Heyday, and the Labor Center at UC. Dennis is also an admitted foodie, and had the "good grace" to be one of the first members of the Cheese Board Pizza Collective.

 


 

ERICKA SOKOLOWER-SHAIN, Audio Visual Technician
 
Ericka is a local filmmaker and theater technician. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a dual degree in Film and American Studies, she returned to the Bay Area. When not at the Brower Center, she works as a camera and production assistant on a wide variety of film projects, and as an over-hire electrician at local theaters. Otherwise, you can find her at home in Oakland baking, on a trail in Redwood Regional Park, or behind a book.

 

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.