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

Meet our Board

Board Members


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.



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.


Morgen Houlis

Morgen Houlis, a CPA and Principal with Glenn Burdette for 25 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.


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.


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.



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.

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.

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.


Brandon Downing

Brandon is marketing and creative services director at KSBY-TV, a position he has held since 2008. He started his broadcast career 26 years ago as an intern in the station’s promotion department before being hired in news, serving as production manager and director of the top-rated evening newscasts for 12 years, prior to his current role.
Brandon’s skills are diverse. His technical background in editing, writing, producing, and directing, combined with his strategic and thoughtful thinking has made Brandon a key asset in many areas of the television station.
Brandon is active in the local community, serving on numerous non-profit boards such as the Cal Poly Athletics Stampede Club, Downtown SLO, and the advisory council for Old Mission School. He’s a member of the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. He’s also served on the boards for the San Luis Obispo County YMCA, United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County, and Leadership San Luis Obispo where he served two terms as board chair.
He spent most of his childhood in the small coastal town of Cambria near Hearst Castle and graduated from Cal Poly with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. He and his wife Shannon, live in Arroyo Grande with their 11-year-old son, Carter.

Maren Hufton

With over 15 years of experience as an attorney, Maren focuses her practice on litigation, corporate work, ethics and compliance, while offering risk-weighted and practical business advice.
Before her move to the central coast, Maren focused on investigations and enforcement defense while a partner at a large Orange County-based law firm. In her next venture, she gained significant client-side experience as a compliance professional in the public sector at a nationally ranked university. A Pepperdine-trained mediator, Maren has experience with administrative hearings, alternative dispute resolution, discourtesy and bias community facilitation, and restorative justice solutions.
Maren is active with the Women Lawyers Association of San Luis Obispo, and the proud parent of two SLCUSD students. The Huftons reside in San Luis Obispo, near Maren’s parents and her sister – a Cal Poly Proud grad. Maren enjoys fitness, book clubs, and hiking with her labradoodle Barley.

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.

Nicole Mainini

Nicole is a SLO native and is deeply connected and involved in our local community. Nicole is a CPA and Principal at Russell, Mainini, and Franklin, LLP. She earned a Master of Business degree in Financial Accounting and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at Cal Poly and is a devoted Mustang!
Nicole has enjoyed volunteering with organizations in the community, including the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Reading is Fundamental, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the VITA Clinic at Cal Poly.
Nicole’s passion for the arts started when she was just three years old, when she began taking dance classes. Nicole danced through high school with local studios in San Luis Obispo, grew up performing on the stage of the Performing Arts Center, and eventually concluded her college career choreographing with Cal Poly’s dance program. She loves living on the central coast, spending time with her big family and sweet puppy Sadie, and serving the San Luis Obispo community

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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