Staff & Board

Meet Our Team

The Foundation for the Performing Arts Center is fortunate to have a committed staff and knowledgeable Board of Directors.

Staff Members

Interim Executive Director

Erika Neel

Erika’s lifelong love of the arts has tracked well into her role with the Foundation. A Northern California native, Erika came to the Central Coast after graduating from UC Davis where she studied history. Erika has grown to adore those people she is so fortunate to work with- both donors and colleagues – who commit so much time and effort to seeing that arts and culture thrive in SLO. She loves attending Broadway shows at the PAC nearly as much as she loves spending time with her Heeler-mix Walter.

Communications Manager

Elizabeth Robinson

Elizabeth was drawn to the arts while studying abroad in Paris in the Fall of 2014. She received her BA in English from Sonoma State University and moved to Napa after graduating. In December 2019, Elizabeth moved to SLO where her experience in hospitality, customer service, and excitement for live performance brought her to work with the Foundation. When she is away from the office, Elizabeth enjoys wine tasting with her family and hanging out with her cat, Fig.

Board Members

President

Joey Leslie

Joey is the President of Matchfire, an award-winning digital agency that has built campaigns for Fortune 50 companies and global nonprofits. He’s directed cause campaigns that have raised over $100 million for non-profits across the United States. Joey also serves on the Board of the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum.

Immediate Past President

Trudie Safreno

Trudie is co-founder of Trust Automation, has been its CFO for over twenty years also serving on its board of directors. She is a former member of an international management advisory and educational consulting firm. Her board experience includes twelve years with a local non-profit whose major fundraiser brings 500+ participants to the area annually.

 

Secretary

Maryellen Simkins

Maryellen spent most of her professional career as a legal administrator, retiring from Andre, Morris & Buttery in San Luis Obispo. Today she focuses on management consulting with both nonprofit and for profit clients, including the SLO Symphony, Festival Mozaic, and the SLO Repertory Theatre.  She has also served on several local boards and is the Immediate Past President of PCPA Foundation.

Treasurer

Morgen Houlis

Morgen Houlis, a CPA and Principal with Glenn Burdette for 21 years, is an expert in cost segregation studies and fixed and capitalized asset concepts, focusing on the hospitality industry. She is also passionate about trust administration. In addition to serving as acting Treasurer for the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center, Morgen serves as Treasurer for RISE, an organization which provides crisis intervention and treatment services to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. Morgen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly and has practiced as a licensed CPA in New York and Wyoming. She is the former Treasurer of both SLOHS Boosters and San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden.

At-Large

Skye Christakos

Skye Christakos is a shareholder at George Cyr & Christakos, where she specializes in estate planning, trust and probate law, with emphasis on tax planning and administration of estates. She is the past President and Treasurer of the Central Coast Memorial Society, board member of the Women Lawyer’s Association of San Luis Obispo, and an alumni of Leadership SLO’s Class XXI. Skye was born and raised in San Luis Obispo where she currently resides with her husband and kids. When she is not in the office, you may find her writing novels in her spare time.

 

At-Large

Bob Kitamura

Bob Kitamura is currently responsible for family owned businesses and properties in California, Nevada and Hawaii. Bob was the University Architect and Executive Director of Facilities Planning and Capital Projects for Cal Poly State University for 18 years. Previous to that he was a Vice-President with RRM Design Group a local architecture, engineering and planning firm. He is a past Member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation at Hearst Castle and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Science degree from Cal Poly.

At-Large

Geri LaChance

Geri LaChance is President/CEO of SESLOC Federal Credit Union, the largest financial institution headquartered in San Luis Obispo County serving the community since 1942. In addition to FPAC, Geri is serving on the Cal Poly Corporation board, the SLO YMCA board (chair 2015-2017), the CA Credit Union League board and Martin Resorts advisory board. She is past chair of the SLO Chamber board of directors, and previously served as a board member with Leadership SLO and the SLO Housing Trust Fund. Geri has been named one of the Top 50 Women in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times five times; SESLOC Federal Credit Union has been selected as one of the “Best Places to Work on the Central Coast” multiple times by the same publication.

 

Jill Anderson

Jill founded Pacific Repertory Opera (now, Opera SLO), in 1985 and lead the opera for 23 years, producing more than 35 successful operas. Jill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music/Voice from Pomona College, a Master of Music degree in Opera from the University of Southern California, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Sharon Armstrong

Mrs. Armstrong is the First Lady of Cal Poly. In addition to supporting President Armstrong as university ambassador and host, Armstrong currently serves as co-chair of the Campus Wellbeing Committee, a presiding member of the Student Affairs Advisory Council, and volunteers at French Hospital. Mr. & Mrs. Armstrong are also Foundation supporters at the Founders level.

Tony Brizzolara

Tony is Chairman of the Foundation’s Investment Committee. He has previously served on the boards of the American Heart Association, CASA of San Luis Obispo and Festival Mozaic. Tony and his wife Christi reside in San Luis Obispo. They have two daughters, Olivia and Natalia, and their son Vincent.

Kristin Hoover

Kristin spent 15 years serving as a Human Resources Executive for several acute care hospitals before launching her own human capital consulting business in 2019.  She provides clients with services including comprehensive HR strategy, recruitment and retention, benefits administration, organizational development, risk mitigation and compensation.  Kristin is a Leadership SLO alumni (Class XXIII), and has served on several local boards since moving to SLO in 2011. Kristin has been enamored with the performing arts since she was a little girl, singing her first solo on stage at the age of 2.  Now she enjoys sharing her love of singing and the performing arts with her husband and their 2 year old daughter.

Todd LeMay

Todd LeMay began his career as a hairdesigner in 1981 at the age of 18. Over the course of 4 years he became a Matrix Color Advisor, and performed most of the salons color services. After building a clientele, Todd and his husband Stephen Patrick moved to San Luis Obispo and purchased a small 3-chair salon downtown, naming it The Bladerunner. He stayed at that location for over 10 years, expanding the storefront on both sides and growing a larger and more devoted clientele every year. He eventually opened The Bladerunner Day Spa in 1997. Since moving to San Luis Obispo, Todd has participated in theatre productions as a hairdesigner and as an actor. The Bladerunner routinely organizes fashion shows where the hairdesigners are the main attraction, and sponsors or participates in a variety of local events each year. Todd continues to be active in the community, volunteering at local elementary schools and presenting at career day to teach the benefits of working in the beauty industry.

Erin Steed

Erin’s personal community involvement spans the fields of health care and the performing arts. She currently serves on the board of the French Hospital Medical Foundation, where she has chaired the Celebration of Caring Gala for the past decade. In addition to her board service, she spends time each week volunteering at French Hospital, assisting patients, visitors, and medical staff.

In her role as Chief Strategy Officer, Erin was the force behind Meathead Movers nationally recognized program, #MoveToEndDV to organize and encourage other businesses join them in their efforts to provide free services and assistance to victims of domestic violence.

Erin has a degree in agricultural business from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Outside of work and volunteering, Erin enjoys tending to her Edna Valley farm, where she raises goats, chickens, cows, and sheep.

Tom Strait

Prior to assuming his current role, Tom was the Executive Vice President and Region Manager of the Central Coast. Mr. Strait’s banking experience spans three decades, with banks in Los Angeles, San Diego and Texas. He has held a diverse array of positions during his career in banking including, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Credit Officer and Managing Director of Alternative Delivery Channels. Mr. Strait is active in the local nonprofit community, recently serving as the Board Chair of Goodwill Central Coast. He proactively seeks out sponsorship opportunities with valued community groups, such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County. Mr. Strait actively participates in ongoing education through the California Bankers Association and the Risk Management Association.

Skylar Stuck

Skylar has over 24 years of experience in the wine industry. Born in Portland, he has lived around the world and holds an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. Skylar also serves on the Rhône Rangers Board of Directors, Partner Advisory Board of MUST! Charities, and Trade Marketing Committee of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

Ashley Wilken

Ashley Wilken, CFP® is a Senior Wealth Manager and Portfolio Manager at The Rice Partnership in their San Luis Obispo office. Ashley is a Cal Poly graduate with a degree in Agribusiness and an MBA with a concentration in Agribusiness. Previous to The Rice Partnership, she worked as a commercial and agricultural lender in San Luis Obispo County.

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