The Board of Directors oversees Artists United’s administration. The board meets four times per year, including once per year in person, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Board members also commit to helping raise funds to support our work. In addition, board members serve as ambassadors to spread the word about the organization.
Jennifer Wallace has spent 15 years in Fortune 500 marketing, business development, and program management roles. She currently works for a large financial institution designing and launching their new family dynamics offering, which helps families navigate the social and emotional dynamics of wealth stewardship and transfer across the generations. She spent the first part of her career as a nonprofit fundraising and program development director for legal aid and educational organizations. Jennifer is a first-time documentary filmmaker, producing and directing a film about her personal journey to locate and build community with patients of the surgeon who rebuilt her face after the devastating effects of a large facial tumor she developed at birth. Jennifer holds a B.A. in Psychology from Smith College, where she was Dean’s List and First Group Scholar. She lives north of San Francisco and is passionate about independent film, cooking, running, yoga and ballroom dancing.
Jeff Brock is a charismatic, right-and-left-brained communicator with more than 20 years expertise in web design and web development, and 11 years as a photographer, journalist, and media-relations professional. The WordPress expert has spoken at WordCamp conferences in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
A graduate of Stanford University, he’s committed to social change. He worked at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation from 1996-2007 (first as media spokesperson, and then webmaster). In June 2003, he bicycled 585 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in AIDS/LifeCycle, raising thousands of dollars for the AIDS Foundation.
Some of his recent work for nonprofits includes Equal Rights Advocates, DaVita Village Trust, BioBricks Foundation, and InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies Diseases and Disasters). Jeff lives near Seattle with his wife Roberta, and two rescue cats.
Lisa Burger is Board President and acting Executive Director for Independent Arts & Media, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides fiscal sponsorship and development support to non-commercial art and media-related projects. Since 2010, Ms. Burger has served on the Advisory Council for The Crucible, an Oakland nonprofit industrial arts center. She is also a consultant specializing in nonprofit formation, operations, and early strategic development. As an attorney with San Francisco public interest law firm the Lexington Law Group, Ms. Burger’s legal practice is devoted exclusively to representing plaintiffs in environmental enforcement and consumer protection litigation.
David Byrd was born and raised on the musical mecca of 47th street in Chicago, where his uncle, Red Saunders, was the drummer and bandleader at the famous Regal Theatre. On the same block of 47th and Drexel Blvd where he lived, jazz greats like Gene Ammons played at the Southerland hotel.
Byrd went to the jam sessions that were hosted by Sonny Stitt at the Grass Hut on 79th street and then enrolled in Chicago State University to study under the great Bunky Green, forming a jazz band in 1979. Specializing in a jazz vocal tradition called “vocalese,” which originated with Eddie Jefferson.
He has carved out a unique musical niche with the combination of jazz and reggae, forming “Byrds of a Feather,” and spreading his jazzreggae message of love.
Marissa Cohen (www.marissacohen.com) is an award-winning author, blogger, and reviewer. Her piece “Cancerland” was nominated for both the Best of the Net Award and the prestigious Pushcart Prize. The late Poet Laureate of Florida called her work “powerful.” Her work has appeared in many online and print publications, among them the NonBinary Review issues of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Anne of Green Gables, The Cancer Poetry Project 2, Grammarly.com, Wilde Magazine, and in She Magazine as a book columnist and associate editor. Projects Marissa has been associated with have been featured in The New York Times and Time Magazine. She’s also been an editor for the award-winning Bella Books and been interviewed on CBS Radio and The Liz McMullen Show about women’s creativity. Marissa also writes about spirituality and encourages private clients to work with their intuition.
Courteney Coolidge is a fundraising professional who has combined 20 years of experience as a freelance photographer with her passion for social justice and support of nonprofit organizations. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Courteney has worked for 10+ years managing development efforts for community organizations, as well as grants management for educational and arts programming. Her past photo documentaries include a three-year project celebrating family diversity in America and featuring a national exhibition that traveled from the 92nd Street Y in New York City across the country to the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose.
Janis DeLucia is an actor, teacher, voice over artist and filmmaker based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was trained at the American Conservatory Theater and Hamilton College. Her stage roles include Anna in Pinter’s Old Times, Sarah in Pinter’s The Lover, Ilana in Animals Out of Paper, and Solange in The Maids. In 1998, Janis co-founded Coffee and Language, a film production house. She has starred in, directed and/or produced six feature films, including Coffee and Language (Best Film nomination Hamptons International Film Festival) and Stephanie’s Image (starring Melissa Leo). Janis also received a nomination for Best Editing at the Milan International Film Festival for Stephanie’s Image. She works as a private acting coach and has taught at Stanford University.
Spain and ItalyInternational Program Committee Member
Writer, journalist, painter and teacher. Born in Norway, raised in the countryside in a family much dedicated to wildlife and nature. Educated in humanistic subjects and Cultural History at the University of Oslo, with Philosophy, Comparative Religion and Comparative Literature as main subjects.
Teacher of Aesthetics and other subjects at the University of Oslo, Philosophy and Cultural History in Rome and Barcelona. Currently teaching at Kulturakademiet (Norwegian private college), painting and writing articles on future-related issues (climate change, green energy) for acclaimed Norwegian newspapers and magazines. His current book projects include an essay on the future as seen from California and a volume on the philosophy of Peter Sloterdijk. He believes in arts as powerful means for consciousness and change.
Felecia Faulkner is a very accomplished, experienced, and passionate actor, drama teacher, and director. She studied drama and script analysis at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in New York and also studied drama at the Actor’s and Director’s Lab with Jack Garfein. After graduating from the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) with a certificate of accreditation in acting and theater, Felecia was an acting teacher at the Jean Shelton Acting School, was a member of the cast with the Tutti Frutti theater group, and had the opportunity to study dance at Covent Garden in London as well acting. In addition, Felecia was the casting director for several indie films and was a board member and assistant artistic director for the International Theater Ensemble. Felecia is proud of her well-rounded resume that includes classics from Shakespeare to Chekhov as well as more contemporary works in almost a dozen indie films.
Growing up in New Orleans provided Doug with a deep appreciation for art, music, food, and celebration. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Marketing, he continued to strengthen his passions by spending over 10 years in Austin, TX. During that time he supported education by working with companies such as Dell and Apple Computer. At the turn of the century, he took time off to travel the world and explore the cultures of Europe and Asia. Doug retuned home to New Orleans within six months of Hurricane Katrina and has spent the last ten years helping the city rebuild, and working as a distributor of in the healthcare industry. He loves to spend his time studying, supporting, and exploring new ideas.
Whitney Hamilton grew up in New Orleans, LA and Birmingham, AL. She attended Birmingham Southern College earning a BFA in Painting and Pratt Institute as a fine arts MFA candidate. After that she attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and has been a member/actor/board member of several New York-based theater companies. Whitney’s films include the currently filming UNION a Civil War alternative love story, A Rogue in Londinum, premiering at the Lucerne International Film Festival in October 2011 and New Hope, PA Film Fest 2012, winning Honorable Mention for best Art House film and the Independent Spirit Award. My Brother’s War premiered at the Methodfest Film Festival 2005 and was nominated for best low-budget indie and for best actress Whitney Hamilton. It is loosely based on the first part of Firefly, Whitney’s first novel. It has North American distribution. She has directed and or written many short films that went onto festivals around the country. As a writer, Whitney has penned 2 novels, 9 screenplays, and 8 full-length plays, some of which were commissioned and/or produced, while some have won awards. She is also a painter and has several collectors of her work. When she first arrived in New York, she was personal assistant to Barbara Rose and on the staff of The Journal of Art. After that she worked on staff at the Aperture Foundation. Whitneyhamilton.com
Susan Hess Logeais
Susan Hess Logeais brings her passion as a social activist to her work as a filmmaker, creating films that are thought provoking and inspiring. Her background as a dancer, actress, and perpetual student allows her to craft stories that do more than entertain. She also blends the knowledge and understanding earned from over 30 years of spiritual exploration with her technical experience as a filmmaker, providing her with a unique perspective on building projects that draw the viewer into a heartfelt experience of the story. Holding a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Transformational Entertainment and Human Consciousness, Susan recognizes her responsibility as a creative to produce content that serves the human spirit. Currently, Susan is working on a feature documentary highlighting the discoveries of psychedelic psychotherapy pioneer, Stan Grof. Working directly with Stan, she is weaving a story that incorporates her personal exploration of his techniques, revealing the extraordinary healing power of non-ordinary states of consciousness. Recent work includes Soar, a documentary focusing on two sisters —both dancers, one a quad amputee, that aired on PBS, and a project documenting the work of Spacial Dynamics founder, Jaimen McMillan. Past work includes writing and producing the award-winning indie feature, Not Dead Yet.
Ken Hoffman earned his MBA from Kaplan University , and is currently a VP with the Bank of Oklahoma Financial’s Wealth Management area. He has been serving the financial industry for more than three decades in Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis and now Phoenix. He is also a regional director for the United States Bowling Congress (2 years), and president of the non-profit Phoenix Unified Gay Bowling Alliance (member and director for 14 years, president for 6 of the last 7 years). He has been married to fine art photographer, Thomas Fleisher, for the last five years of their 14 years together. On frequent trips for bowling tournaments and holiday travel, the pair can regularly be found on side trips to museums and galleries, often adding to their eclectic personal collection of artworks and objet from around the world.
Sam is a professional director, teacher, designer, creative consultant, acting coach and performer. He has directed award winning productions both on stage and in film, won numerous design awards and has appeared as a performer in over 60 productions including opera, stage, film, and TV. He has worked in Las Vegas as an Assistant Show Director and as a Director for Sabre Latin America both in Miami and Orlando, Florida. Sam has worked with Universal Studios, Artists Repertory Theatre, The Cantilever Project, Bump in the Road Theatre, Van port Square Studios, Staged!, Running Deer Films, Seaside Music Theatre, Hot flash Films and the Portland Area Theatre Alliance (PATA) where he served on the Board of Directors. He was a professor of Theatre for 17 years and has taught at the University of Florida, St. John’s University, College of St. Benedict, Rollins College, the University of Central Florida, PCC and The Art Institute of Portland. Sam has presented at the American Theatre of Higher Education conference (New York City) and served as an international consultant to the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA) in Vancouver, BC. Sam holds an MFA from the University of Florida and two Bachelors from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Sam has built his career on producing, directing and reinventing artistic opportunities for women. He encourages women to look beyond the limitations set by the industry and find new and exciting methods of communicating with the world at large. His primary mission is to raise the awareness of limited opportunities for women in the arts, with a goal of advancing the definition of “women’s work” and creating outlets and partnerships for women in the professional and educational arenas. He is currently serving as the Executive Director and Founder of ARTemis an organization advancing women artists through knowledge building, exposure, and support.
With roots in the Silicon Valley and the East Coast, Cady (pronounced like Elizabeth Cady Stanton) now lives in micro-urban Champaign, IL with her husband, dog, and cat. This events professional is a long-time multi-media artist and “maker” of things with a bachelors degree of Art in Architecture and Urban Planning.
Her work has been published in a scientific journal, and she has been commissioned for artwork from private parties for over ten years. Looking forward, Cady wants to make more of her art and creations available for the general public to enjoy. Not only does she have a lot to share, there is a lot that she wants to learn. Being connected through Artists United is the catalyst by which she and so many artists can thrive, and she is thrilled to be part of it.
Adele James is an organizational development consultant and career/life transition coach with 20 years experience in the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors. She has commissioned and/or facilitated grant programs totaling $173 million throughout California. First-hand knowledge has taught her both about the challenges and supports needed by leaders of color, women, underserved and underrepresented communities in order to catalyze social change. Adele works with statewide, regional and local groups in conducting program planning and design, meeting facilitation, training, grants administration, capacity building and evaluation. A native of Trinidad, West Indies, in Adele’s own life, stepping into purpose and passion has meant taking risks and allowing curiosity and intuition to move her towards the unexplored and things that make her heart smile, even when intellect has wanted to take a safer and less fulfilling route. In the past year Adele began worked with artists in the Caribbean to bring their stories and talents to the world. This has meant combining her organizational development and coaching skills, along with exploration of photography, towards the creation of a book about 20 indigenous and undiscovered artists in Trinidad & Tobago.
Lila LaHood is the publisher of the San Francisco Public Press. She has worked as a nonprofit consultant, and as a freelance writer and editor. She was previously a business writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where she covered retail and real estate. Lila is president of the board of directors of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She has an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. in international relations from Stanford University.
If Razor-sharp intelligence, great people skills, leadership agility, creativity, steady drive, and pragmatism characterize the capabilities of successful producers, then Francesca Prada has them in spades. She comes to Diana Films having gained her expertise in the intensely competitive landscape of national and international film, broadcast, digital, theatrical, and advertising agency production. In her, we find a graceful balance of artistic instincts and a mastery of business affairs— accountability, integrity, passion for art and fiscal responsibility. Francesca is a brilliant content strategist recognized for her ability to identify, recruit and mentor emerging talent and partners, and for her global insights into film, cultural and media trends. Her client and company experience bridges the film/television/theatrical and business worlds having worked on projects backed by Sony Pictures, CBS, Paramount, Converse, Sprite, Clorox and Channel 4. Francesca holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has completed course work at U.C. Berkeley on the Business of Film at the Haas School of Business and holds a certificate in Psychology through Harvard’s extension program, which she earned at the ripe old age of 18 (thoroughly confirming her über dork status in high school.) Francesca is fully bi-lingual in Spanish and English, conversant in Italian, and marginal but not appalling in French. She grew up backstage at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and has been learning ‘the ropes’ ever since she was tall enough to reach them backstage.
Bob’s a screenwriter and director who’s also produced short films and commercials. He grew up in Atlanta, earned his B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, and his M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University, while studying in Oxford and London. He currently has a feature script, co-written with Elizabeth Rockett, under consideration by an independent Hollywood producer, and a TV dramatic series pilot and script bible in development. He has 22+ years of experience as an advertising copywriter/scriptwriter/video producer—including eight years working in L.A. Bob’s passion for filmmaking is equaled by his commitment to building up the Global Village through the power of films, which spread mutual understanding and compassion to people of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions. Bob’s also committed to forging a loving, supportive creative community that will impact the world through the beauty of art. Bob works naturally and fluidly with other writers, actors, cinematographers, producers, cgi and motion graphics artists, video editors, musicians, graphic designers and other creative collaborators. He sees Artists United as a vehicle for the next Cultural Revolution.
Danielle Thys is a graduate of University of Vermont and San Francisco Art Institute. She has worked at The Stanford School of Medicine since 2010 as a Standardized Patient/Educator. Danielle has also been on the board of Shakespearience, an organization that offers K-12 student programs designed to create teamwork and ensemble, while fostering personal expression an developing confidence through Shakespeare’s Works. Danielle Thys as an arts activist also recommended the California Joint Committee on the Arts in Sacramento, CA to consider instituting a Universal Basic Income for Artists.