Who We Are

Leadership Team

Michael Anzalone, Director of Programs

The longest-tenured staff member, Michael has been with the Brower Center since 2008, before the doors were open. Originally hired to develop the Conference Center business and lead grand opening efforts, Michael now stewards the Brower Center as part of its leadership team and directs community programs and property management. He grew up in Atlanta and attended Emory University before being drawn to the mountains of Telluride, Colorado where he resided for eight years. As Director of Marketing & Production at the Sheridan Opera House, he served on the historic landmark's restoration committee and produced live shows and community art programs. He also worked as a producer for many music, art and film festivals, among them Mountainfilm, Telluride Jazz Festival and Telluride Plein Air. Michael still spends as much time in the outdoors as possible, albeit mostly in the High Sierra. Michael completed his M.B.A. from University of San Francisco.

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Hillary Brooks, Director of Finance and Operations
 
Hillary brings two decades of experience in both nonprofit finance and information technology to the leadership team now managing the Brower Center. Dedicated to powering progressive movements for sustainability and impact, 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.

Laurie Brown, Director of Events
 
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.
 

Jackie Hasa, Director of Community Partnerships and Exhibitions
 
A generalist through and through, Jackie brings extensive experience in the arts, development, communications, and programming to the leadership team at the Brower Center. 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 an active participant in the new advocacy effort Arts for a Better Bay Area. Jackie holds a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley, and loves working in the community where she once studied.
 

 

Staff Team

Jessica Boerschinger, Front Desk/Administrative Assistant

With a background in visual arts, Jessica strives to infuse creativity into every task. She graduated with a fine arts degree in painting from Tyler School of Art and has since been featured in numerous group exhibitions and projects. She believes that art is a powerful way to enrich our experiences and inspire action for social and environmental causes. After earning her B.F.A., she started a collective to showcase emerging arts practitioners and use art as a platform for community improvement projects. Jessica has lived all over the world, spending time in Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Canada, the Netherlands, and Italy, before happily finding a West Coast family at the Brower Center.

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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 young son.

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Diana Dominguez, Events Production Manager

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.

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Samuel Vargas, Facility Manager

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.

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Events Team

Randy Collins, House Manager and Audio Visual Technician

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.


Keith Evans, Preparator and Audio Visual Technician

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.


Sam Manera, AV Systems Engineer

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.


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

 


 

 

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.