Leadership

LAURIE RICH bio image

LAURIE RICH
Executive Director

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 bio image

DEIRDRE ASHBY
Administrative Manager

Originally from Huntington Beach, California, Deirdre moved to the Bay Area in the mid 90’s by way of New York City, where she earned her B.A. in Dramatic Literature, Theater History & the Cinema from New York University. 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 Chapter, and then as an Administrator with ODC Dance. Having studied dance, voice and acting from a young age, Deirdre is passionate about the performing arts and is active as a performer and choreographer. In her free time, Deirdre can be found either hiking with her dog Iris, attending the theater or at the ballpark rooting for the SF Giants!

KAITLIN BUICKEL bio image

KAITLIN BUICKEL
Community Engagement Coordinator

Kaitlin was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, and received her BA from the University of Florida. In 2013, she moved to the Bay Area to pursue a MA in Museum Studies from the University of San Francisco. With a passion for working with people and nonprofits, Kaitlin has held positions at a number of different museums, including the Florida Museum of Natural History, the California Academy of Sciences, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Most recently, she helped manage social media and community outreach efforts for the galleries at the Academy of Art University. Kaitlin currently lives in Berkeley, and outside of work she can be found volunteering in the collections department at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, hiking with her dog, and checking out local events.

ROLANDO CHAN bio image

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.

DIANA DOMINGUEZ bio image

DIANA DOMINGUEZ
Events Director

Originally from Minneapolis, Diana landed in the Bay Area in 2010, and 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.

KEITH EVANS bio image

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.

RICARDO HERNANDEZ bio image

RICARDO HERNANDEZ
Chief Engineer

JACKIE HURLEY bio image

JACKIE HURLEY
Events Coordinator

Jackie is a born and bred Californian who has been poking around outdoors since she was in diapers. This led to a love of ecology and environmentalism she’s very excited to bring to the Brower Center. While at school at UC Berkeley, she earned her BA in Integrative Biology with a minor in Gender and Sexuality in Performance. In addition to coordinating events for the Brower Center, she also splits her time as an event manager at Cal Performances, putting together conferences and performances. When not elbow deep in event work, Jackie can be found burrowing through local thrift stores, hiking through every redwood grove she can find, and investigating East Bay breweries.

NADYA LATEEF bio image

NADYA LATEEF
Events Coordinator

A Berkeley native, Nadya’s passion and participation in the performing and creative arts world has been the cornerstone for her work in event planning, coordination and production. With an immense love of languages, diverse cultures, and travel, Nadya earned her B.A. in Italian studies with a dance minor from CSULB. Upon her return to the Bay Area, Nadya dove deep into the world of events and community, gaining experience in live music, corporate and non-profit events, and co- Founding Breaking Ground Productions, a boutique event production company focused on connecting community through arts, music and cultural events. When not at the Brower Center, Nadya can be found planning her next international adventure, and stretching it out at her favorite yoga spot.

DAN LAWRENCE bio image

DAN LAWRENCE
Audio Visual Coordinator

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.

JENNY SMREKAR bio image

JENNY SMREKAR
Communications & Development Manager

Jenny is a native Oregonian and proud resident of the Bay Area. After receiving her MA in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003, she moved to San Francisco and began her career in nonprofit fundraising at the San Francisco Art Institute. Since then, Jenny has worked for numerous arts and education institutions around the country, including The Girls’ School of Austin (TX) and her alma mater, Oregon State University (Go Beavs!). After finding their way back to California in 2014, her family settled in Oakland and has no plans to leave ever again! Working for the Brower Center, with its focus on art, education, and the environment, is a perfect combination of her professional and personal interests.

ELLEN WHITTOM bio image

ELLEN WHITTOM
Senior Advisor

Ellen is delighted to rejoin the amazing and dedicated Brower Center team as a Senior Advisor after spending several years as the Center’s first Director of Finance and Operations. Ellen came to the nonprofit sector following 20-year career in municipal government management. She served as the Assistant City Manager in Emeryville, managing the City’s financial and administrative functions, and also held positions in several other East Bay cities, including Oakland, Albany, Dublin and San Leandro. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Ellen has lived in the Bay Area since 1983. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Events Team

JEN DECICCO bio image

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.

KERRY FIERO bio image

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 bio image

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.

HUNTER ISHAM bio image

HUNTER ISHAM
House Manager

Born and raised in Oakland, Hunter is a recent college graduate with experience in special events support for the Producers Guild of America and the Center for Ecoliteracy. He received his B.A. in Film and TV Production with a minor in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television in Los Angeles, and has an eye toward a future in screenwriting and film criticism. While at LMU, he wrote and directed two short films and worked in various capacities on shorts made by his peers. When he’s not at the Brower Center, Hunter is watching and reviewing the latest movies, and working on creative projects of his own.

RICK JOHNSON bio image

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.

ALEX KEERD bio image

ALEX KEERD
Audio Visual Technician

GARRETT LORIA bio image

GARRETT LORIA
Audio Visual Technician

Garrett grew up in Orange County but has called the East Bay home since 2010 when he relocated to attend UC Berkeley. When not involved with behind-the-scenes event production, Garrett is on stage as a club, corporate, and special event DJ. His biggest passion, music, began at age five with piano lessons. He eventually launched an electronic music career after falling in love with underground dance DJing, music production, and studio recording. Garrett’s expertise behind the soundboard and upbeat personality keep his events running smoothly, and his love for progressive art keeps Berkeley his favorite place to be.

ERICKA SOKOLOWER-SHAIN bio image

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.

Board of Directors

PETER K. BUCKLEY
Founder, President

PETER K. BUCKLEY 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

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

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

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

JOHN FLORES 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

JOHN A. KNOX is Executive Director Emeritus of Earth Island Institute. He began with Earth Island 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. in psychology from Antioch College in Ohio.

DAVID W. ORR

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

DAVID PHILLIPS is 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

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.