Nancy Gonchar | Co-Chair
Gonchar is the principal of Nancy Gonchar & Associates. Her practice offers the following services: arts project management; small business development and analysis; interim executive director; executive coaching; organizational change and transition coaching; strategic planning; non-profit finance, budget and operations; human resource management; fundraising including foundation, government and individual giving; facility planning and design; web and database development; retreat facilitation; and board development. She served as the Interim Director and Deputy Director for the Arts Commission for the City of San Francisco for fourteen years where she managed a staff of 35 and a budget of $10 million dollars. Among her many duties, she was responsible for the civic design review committee of architects and designers who reviewed all of the City of San Francisco’s building projects. Earlier in her career, she was the director of New Langton Arts and prior to moving to the Bay Area, she was the Associate Director and Curator at the University Art Museum of Binghamton University. A trained artist, Nancy holds degrees from the Visual Studies Workshop and the University of Buffalo and Ohio University. She has served on several boards including GroundSpeak, Mobilization Against Aids and Light Work. Gonchar is a Commissioner of the San Leandro Arts Commission.
Harold Lowe | Co-Chair & Treasurer
Harold is a consultant and financial planner with over 25 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development in six industries. He holds the Series 7, Series 66, and California Life and Health Insurance designations. Harold is a fourth generation Oakland resident, earning a B.A. in African American Studies from UC Berkeley, and an M.A. in Public Administration from California State University Hayward. He is a member of 100 Black Men of America, Oakland Rotary, and has served on over 20 boards and commissions. Harold lives in Oakland with his wife (also a lifelong resident) and their three children; Taylor, Harold Lowe IV, and Daniel.
Lordy Rodriguez | Secretary
Lordy was born in 1976, in the Philippines, raised in Louisiana and Texas, and recently moved with his family to Benicia, CA. He obtained his BFA degree from The School of Visual Arts, New York and his MFA at Stanford University. For several years he has been working on a series of ink drawings that critically look at the effect visual languages have on culture and identity through the use of mapping and cartography. His recent exhibitions include “The Map as Art”, Kemper Museum, St. Louis, MO (2012), “Code Switch” and “The Map is Not the Territory”, Hosfelt Gallery New York, New York (2013 and 2011 respectively), “Surface Depths”, Nevada Art Museum (2009), “States of America”, Austin Museum of Art (2009), “Optimism in the Age of Global War”, 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey, (2007), “The California Biennial”, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2006), as well as public art projects with the San Francisco Arts Commission and the GSA, a Federal Agency. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Arts Entrepreneurship at San Jose State University.
Bob is Project Manager at Madison Park Financial and focuses on managing the development and construction of many of MPF’s residential and commercial developments. In addition, he currently serves as Property Manager for the 1080 Lofts, one of Madison Park’s early loft conversion projects. Huff has been with Madison Park for over two decades in various roles including Property Manager, Facility Manager and Property Services Manager. Bob is a lifelong Oakland resident and has experience in virtually every aspect of construction and building maintenance. Madison Park is a dynamic full service real estate company that creates value in communities through investment, development, asset management and property management in Oakland and adjacent communities.
Since 2005, Meg has been in the role of Galleries Director at the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), the arts agency of the City and County of San Francisco. The SFAC Galleries curates and produces exhibitions in four Civic center locations featuring the work of approximately 300 local, national and international artists annually. Meg has been a faculty member of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute, working with students pursuing advanced degrees in Urban Studies, Exhibition and Museum Studies, and History and Theory of Contemporary Art. She has also worked as a columnist for SFMOMA’s Open Space blog, and she lectures regularly to students, artists and arts professionals on a variety of topics ranging from the business of art to art history to multidisciplinary curatorial practices.
Sorell is the Director of Anthem B. Gallery in Oakland, CA. A curatorial focus on process and cross-pollination, Athen B. aims to exhibit unique process driven exhibitions by collaborating artists from different areas. Athen B. aims to build relationships between Oakland’s emerging artists and the incoming wave of young collectors. Sorell also runs a separate business called Brick and Cotton, which allows artists to turn their artwork into wearable merchandise without having to front overhead costs or forfeit the rights to their work.
Mehdi El Hajoui
Mehdi El Hajoui co-leads Business Strategy at Dropbox, a global leader in cross-platform cloud storage, sharing and collaboration. In this capacity, he drives critical projects for the company’s senior executives and Board of Directors. Prior to Dropbox, he was a management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and Partners in Performance. Outside of work, Mehdi is an avid bibliophile who has built a collection around the Internationale Situationniste, a leading avant-garde artistic and political movement. A graduate of Harvard University in Romance Languages & Literatures (2006), Mehdi received his MBA from the Wharton School in 2010 and later completed the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) in 2015. He also sits on the Board of Directors of Booklyn, a NYC-based non-profit that concentrates on documenting, exhibiting, and distributing artwork that deals with provocative subject matter including environmental, historical, linguistic and political issues. Born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, Mehdi speaks fluent Moroccan Arabic, French, English and Spanish.
As the Program Director of Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge, Amy is at her best designing and implementing this initiative to empower and inspire environmental designers and allied professionals to expand the impact of their work in vulnerable communities. Most recently, she was the Director of the internationally recognized 1+ program at Public Architecture, a nonprofit that engages architects and designers, nonprofits, and manufacturers to commit to design for the public good. Amy advanced the reach and scale of this program to provide $56MM in pro bono design services annually for nonprofits that collectively serve millions of beneficiaries. Amy’s projects include CITIES+, an initiative that matches civic environmental challenges with pro bono A+D services in support of city leaders with early stage great ideas, but limited resources. Her professional history bridges design and the arts through her work as the curatorial coordinator in Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and additional board service for CCA’s Center for Art and Public Life and the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries.
Laura Schewel is the founder, board member, and Chief Executive Officer of StreetLight Data, a data analytics start-up dedicated to improving transportation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by applying data to transportation infrastructure problems. She’s an advocate and researcher in advanced transportation, with particular expertise in transportation systems, sustainability and safety, and vehicle/system modeling and analysis. After completing degrees in Environmental Engineering and Comparative Literature at Yale University, she worked at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Next, Laura joined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop planning for regulatory strategy for electric vehicles and energy storage. Laura’s work at StreetLight is an extension of her graduate studies at UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Energy Engineering, and the author of several publications about vehicle electrification and sustainable transportation. Laura also serves on the board of BANANAS, a child care resource and referral non-profit, and is a long-time volunteer at BOOST! West Oakland, an after-school program for elementary school students.