Interim Executive Director
Carrie Blanding is an Oakland-based consultant specializing in interim executive director roles and executive transition management. As an interim director, Carrie has managed a wide variety of organizations, from a science boundary organization partnering closely with state officials, to a nonprofit serving homeless women and children, to an opera company commissioning new work, and more. She has a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from U.C. Berkeley, and has studied board leadership and nonprofit financial stewardship with the Harvard Kennedy School. Carrie loves choral singing, attending live theater, and hiking in the East Bay hills with her family.
Cristina is an artist and writer interested in critical theory and global political economy. She holds BA degrees in Art Practice and Political Economy from UC Berkeley, where she began a rigorous investigation of diverse visual arts modes including painting, drawing, digital projection, installation, and photography. Cristina was selected as a UC Berkeley Art Practice Honors Studio Awardee and has participated in various exhibitions at the Worth Ryder Art Gallery. As the Brower Center’s Administrative Coordinator, she is motivated by her love of art and commitment to social and environmental justice. Outside of her professional and creative pursuits, Cristina dedicates her time to reading widely and practicing Muay Thai.
Naira Diptee is an artist and newcomer to the Bay Area. Her goal is to be able to use her creativity to create positive change in the world. She’s thrilled to bring her background in graphic design and interest in environmental and social sustainability to her role as Communications Assistant. She earned her BA in Studio Art & Theatre from Florida State University. She has a passion for all forms of creative expression and you can often find her playing the piano, singing, drawing, painting, and sitting in the sunshine.
Senior Events Advisor
After several years leading the Brower Center’s event venue rental program, Diana has stepped back into a part time advisory role following a recent move to Lake Tahoe. Diana’s career history is with mission-based nonprofit organizations working in the arts and environment, with a strong emphasis in producing events and program management. In addition to saving the world through sustainability and the power of art, she’s into hiking, cats, cooking, all things vintage, and has a new found love for shoveling Sierra snow.
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 MOMA, LACMA, SFMOMA, 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 son.
Hunter Ford is excited to work at an art gallery within a building that continuously strives to be environmentally friendly. His compassionate work as a Downtown Berkeley Ambassador made him very familiar with the downtown Berkeley community, and at Whole Foods he excelled in multiple positions from cashier to janitor to fishmonger. He comes to us from Stockton via Walnut Creek, and now lives in Oakland. He has a passion for technology, audio engineering, and innovations that unfold with time. Off hours, find him hiking, reading articles, podcasting, and online gaming.
Margaretta Grazier has a BFA in fine arts and moved to the Bay Area to work at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2005. While there for over a decade, she honed the skills that led to a design and carpentry position for an art and music festival company. Margaretta continues to take on carpentry and upholstery projects while starting the exhibits installation position at DBC. Although time is limited with the care of her young daughter, Margaretta enjoys her true passion in creating one of a kind pieces in the fiber arts.
Genevieve Hastings has a MFA from San Francisco State University where she studied Spatial Arts and New Practices. She is Director of the Art Ark Gallery in San Jose and loves adding educational and new media components to each exhibition. Her personal practice in art focuses on engagement, sound, and designing immersive environments. She loves hiking and paddle boarding with her son.
Chief Building Engineer
Ricardo Hernandez brings over 30 years of experience in all facets of building engineering, and a passion for environmental conservation, to the Brower Center. Ricardo is skilled in property management, construction, fire/life safety, building code compliance, and a multitude of other useful skills for a complex building like the Brower Center. As our Chief Building Engineer, he is dedicated to enhancing our building for visitors and resident organizations every day. Ricardo is a San Francisco native who enjoys classic cars and cruising around the Bay Area in his 1965 red Buick Skylark convertible – ask him to show you a picture!
Events Director (current)
Jackie is a lifelong Northern Californian who cut her professional teeth in the performing arts world while pursuing a degree in both environmental sustainability and gender/sexuality studies at UC Berkeley. Her diverse event production roster includes everything from symphonies to rock concerts to academic conferences. At the Brower Center, her work borrows from her entire background in order to support the events program with an eye towards equity for staff members and clients alike. Off the clock, Jackie spends her time dabbling in playwriting, dissecting horror films through a queer feminist lens, and keeping her cat Laurel from knocking things off of every available surface.
Audio Visual Coordinator
A native to the Bay Area, Dan has been involved with audio production for over 15 years. He enjoys working with creative people and is always excited about starting new projects. Besides working with sound, he enjoys wrenching on his motorcycle.
Communications & Development Manager
Since 2000, Verna Lim has used her storytelling skills to help people tell their social impact stories. An Impact Hub member, she fell in love with the Brower Building and its innovative, energy-saving, spacious but friendly design. A jan-of-all-trades with an M.A. in Anthropology (Stanford), she brings grant writing, branding, video, web and graphic design, and content marketing skills to elevate DBC’s work. She founded three businesses: a video evaluation firm, a music learning lab for kids, and a video production company. Her videos helped companies get acquired, achieve unicorn status, and be seen on national networks. A former trainer for grassroots leaders, she’s excited to resume her work for socio-environmental justice—-while getting us closer to drawdown. Off hours, find her frolicking among ferns, jamming with musicians, and cooking up feasts from leftovers in your fridge.
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.
Audio Visual Technician
Chaz is a music loving technology enthusiast born and raised in Northern California who didn’t know “hella” wasn’t a word until he was 8. Around the same age, he begin tinkering with media technology and hasn’t stopped since.With an engineer’s left brain, his passion is building systems and experiences that allow more people to express more ideas.
Laurie joined the Brower Center in 2010 and has overseen the conference center, facility management, property management, exhibition curation and served on its executive leadership team. She was Executive Director from 2015 to March 2022, finding it to be the perfect combination of her love of building community and leading an organization dedicated to inspiring change. Though she moved to Hilo, HI in April 2022, she remains committed to the mission of the Brower Center and continues to serve as Executive Advisor offering support as needed.
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.
Audio Visual Technician
Kerry has worked in the music and production business for over 20 years. After receiving a BA at Cal State University, Northridge, Kerry landed in the Music Business where she managed signed and independent music artists, worked on many recording projects, toured in the US and internationally, managed venues, and booked and promoted countless events. In 2009, Kerry began focusing more on Event Planning and has since produced a range of events (conferences, galas, festivals, etc.) around the Bay Area. Kerry is an Adjunct Professor at San Francisco State University in the Music/Recording Industry Program and the Event Planning Program. When not producing events or teaching, Kerry is the PTA President at her son’s school and loves traveling with her son and husband.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Shirley Huey is a writer and storyteller with a BA from UC Berkeley in English and JD from NYU Law. She has read her work at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, the Bay Area Generations reading series, Quiet Lightning, Liminal, Book Passage, Red Bay Coffee, Kearny Street Workshop, and Eastwind Books of Berkeley. Shirley writes about food, arts and culture, and social justice issues. She is also a facilitator, researcher, and grant writer who works on community engagement, organizational development, and transformational social change projects. Shirley loves to cook, eat, read, explore nature, and wander around Bay neighborhoods.
House Manager (In Memoriam)
In memoriam: Darshan Khalsa, a valued member of the Brower Center events team. We’ll keep her memory alive and forever miss her vibrant presence and warm yet no-nonsense acumen.
APRIL C. TAYLOR
April C. Taylor is an event and theatrical professional who has worked throughout the Bay Area for over twenty years. April is passionate about environmental awareness and considers it an integral part of her identity. She is thankful to work at the Brower Center, a place that unites these two passions: event production and environmental education/justice. April is also a devoted dance and theatre teaching artist who leads classes for families, young children, and K-12 students. She is a faculty member at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center and Yoga Alameda. April loves meeting new people and “hosting” events of all sizes: intimate dinner parties to multi-day weddings, parties or conferences. You can learn more about April at her website.
Board of Directors
PETER K. BUCKLEY
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.
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 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
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 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 represents California’s 9th Senate District, which includes the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Oakland, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, San Leandro and San Pablo. A social justice advocate, energy and climate change trailblazer, and accomplished legislator, Skinner completed three terms in the State Assembly. Senator Skinner began her public service in 1984 as the first and only student to be elected to the Berkeley City Council. On Council Skinner introduced the nation’s first Styrofoam ban and co-founded an international association of cities, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. After her term on the City Council, Skinner served as Executive Director of ICLEI’s US office and International Director of ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection program which engaged cities worldwide to take action to stop climate change. Skinner is a past member of the East Bay Regional Park District Board, a former small business owner and an advocate to increase women in elected office. She served on the Board of the East Bay Women’s Political Caucus and launched the statewide Women in Power Pac (WIP Pac) to support Democratic women.