Board of Trustees

The Balboa Park Conservancy’s Board of Trustees oversees and advises the organization on a range of issues, from marketing and fundraising to creative solutions for park issues.

Officers

Board Members

Liaison Board Members

Officers

Connie Matsui, Chair

Connie Matsui started her general management career at Wells Fargo Bank and after 15 years joined a young biotech company, IDEC Pharmaceuticals, and subsequently IDEC’s Executive Committee. Concurrently, Matsui served on both for-profit and non-profit boards, including chairing the National Board of the Girl Scouts of the USA from 1999 to 2002. Matsui retired from Biogen Idec as an Executive Vice President in January 2009.

Matsui continues her work in innovation, transformation and entrepreneurship by serving on the boards of Halozyme Therapeutics Inc., San Diego Grantmakers, World Foundation for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, the San Diego Foundation Board of Trustees (Chair) and is a founding member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.

Among the honors Matsui has received are Athena San Diego Pinnacle Award for individual in Life Sciences, Stanford Graduate School of Business John W. Gardner Volunteer Leadership Award, and International Year of the Volunteer honoree, UN Association of the USA Council of Organizations.

Matsui earned both her BA and MBA from Stanford University.

Gaidi Finnie, Secretary

Prior to his most recent appointment as executive director of the AjA Project, Gaidi Finnie served four years as Managing Director of the North Coast Repertory Theatre, Solana Beach, CA., where he was responsible for the fiscal management of the organization and all aspects of human resources. During his tenure, despite the national economic downturn, the theater grew and did not have to compromise quality programing. Upon his departure the theater was in a strong financial position. 

From 1997-2007 Mr. Finnie served as Assistant Director of The San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA). During his final year, he served as MOPA’s Interim Director. Among his accomplishments were the oversight of a complex two-year re-accreditation process; financial guidance of the capital campaign when the Museum quadrupled its physical size; management of construction contracts for the new facility; the movement of the bookstore and staff to temporary locations, and the negotiation of a 25-year lease with the city.

Mr. Finnie feels strongly about improving the community in which he resides. He served on the Port of San Diego Public Art Committee from 2002 to 2008, chairing the organization in 2006. He was involved with the “Spirit of Imperial Beach” sculpture and “Banner Art” public art installations for the city. Prior to ending his term on the Arts Committee he personally arranged for the donation of a $35,000 sculpture, One with the Wave,” as a parting gift to the City of Imperial Beach.

He has chaired the Imperial Beach Public Art Board as well the Architectural Design Review Board.  He is the former President of the Board of Directors for Balboa Park Central, a nonprofit organization task with the coordination of the numerous institutions occupying the park and the visitors they serve. In 2014, the Balboa Park Central merged with the Balboa Park Conservancy. Gaidi currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors.

He has received numerous awards and recognition including being named San Diego Magazine’s 2009 “ 50 People to Watch”, recognition by the City of Imperial Beach City Council and the Port of San Diego for his work to bring public art to public spaces.

In 2013, Gaidi Finnie was responsible for reestablishing the San Diego California African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA).

Mr. Finnie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Augsburg College, a Certificate of the French Language from the College International Academy Français, and a Juris Doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law.

Pemberton Smith, Treasurer

Pemberton Smith enjoyed a more than 35 year career in program management in both engineering and finance with General Dynamics in both the Information Technology unit and the Space Systems Division. His expertise has been nationally recognized in the area of cost accounting and forecasting, financial planning and systems analysis along with managerial roles in engineering services, MIS and process improvement and general operational management.

Smith is both well-known and highly regarded professionally as a leader in management accounting having served as the local and regional president of the Institute of Management Association and most recently as a member of the organization’s Global Board of Directors. He further has served as a member and leader within the National Defense Industrial Association.

Smith has a BSE from the University of Michigan and an MBA in finance from San Diego State University. He holds CMA (Certified Management Accountant) and CFM (Certified Financial Management) certification from the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. He also holds a Certified Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt from the American Society for Quality and has a CDFM (Certified Defense Financial Manager) certification from the American Society of Military Comptrollers.

Joyce Gattas, PhD, Past Chair 2017–2020

Dr. Joyce Gattas is Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at San Diego State University, where she leads 10 schools with centers and research institutes, ranging from the visual and performing arts to communication, public affairs, hospitality management, and ROTC programs, which comprise more than 5,000 majors and nearly 400 faculty and staff. Prior to her role as Dean, she served as the Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs at SDSU and taught at CSU Long Beach and Hayward.

Well known in the San Diego civic and philanthropic communities, she is dedicated to connecting the college to the community through her direct involvement. Gattas currently serves on the boards the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Public Library Foundation, Inewsource, e3 Civic High and is a founding member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.

Her many honors include “50 People to Watch,” “10 Cool Women,” Who’s Who in San Diego, Women Who Mean Business, the “Ginger Award” for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts, and a Women of Dedication Honoree.

Gattas has a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and is a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Carol Littlejohn Chang, Past Chair 2014–2017

Carol Littlejohn Chang’s professional career spanned 30 years in health care planning and organizational behavior, serving as an academic administrator and national consultant in health care delivery systems and academic health sciences programs. She retired from UC San Francisco as Associate Dean for Administration and Clinics, School of Dentistry and moved to San Diego where she began an active role in the community as a volunteer leader.

Chang is well known in the region for her work in the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Among her activities, she has served as president or chair on numerous boards, including the boards of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Women’s Foundation, and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. Chang currently serves as the Chair of the UC San Diego Foundation Board of Trustees and Chair and founding member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.

Her many honors include “50 People to Watch” and Women Who Mean Business, and she is a Women of Dedication honoree.

Chang has a Masters in Public Health degree with an emphasis in Strategic Planning and Organizational Development from the University of California Berkeley.

Board MEMBERS

Jonathan Bailey

Jonathan Bailey has more than 30 years of direct experience in the marketing communications industry, starting as an intern at a San Francisco agency and moving to become CEO of Bailey Gardiner, one of San Diego’s leading integrated agencies. He has been an early pioneer in an integrated strategy among the marketing functions, instead focusing on one strategic brand idea to succeed across multiple platforms.

Bailey currently is the principal at i.d.e.a focusing his firm’s attention on brand partners based on such an integrated approach with such clients as the San Diego Museum of Art, Scripps Health, and Pentel Pens of America. His professional career has included guest instructorships at UC San Diego, San Diego State University and University of San Diego. Bailey is Chair of the International Board of Governors for TAAN Global Agency Network, Chair of the San Diego Ad Club, and Past Chair of the Board of SDX (San Diego Ad Club) and the Public Relations Society of America San Diego Chapter.

As a community leader and volunteer, Jon serves on the Executive Committee for the San Diego City Commission for Arts and Culture, Marketing Chair for LEAD San Diego   and a member of the Balboa Park Trust Committee of the San Diego Foundation.

Bailey has a B.A. in mass communication from UC Berkeley.

Joye Blount

Joye Blount serves as a Wealth Management Advisor with the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank. In this role she helps successful individuals and their families meet their unique financial needs. Blount has more than 19 years of experience in banking, including philanthropic management, strategic communications, personnel management, private wealth management, trust, and investments. She has served as a United Nations Official Observer for the Mexican presidential election in 2001 and 2006.

Active in the San Diego community, Blount serves on the boards of the Zoological Society of San Diego Foundation, the National Conflict Resolution Center, the Point Loma Trust and is a founding member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.

Blount has earned numerous national business and community awards and nominations, including YWCA Twin Award, Women Who Mean Business, Women Who Move the City, Salvation Army Women of Dedication, Girl Scouts Cool Women of San Diego, and a recipient of the 2016 American Heart Association Legendary Woman Award.

Blount is a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Winthrop University and a Master’s Degree in Leadership from the University of North Carolina. She also holds a FINRA Series 7, a Six Sigma Green Belt certification, and 66 other certifications.

Gerard J. Buckley

Gerard (Jerry) Buckley is well known and regarded as a successful leader in the field of fund development and acquisition particularly in the community of non-profit organizations.

He has had a more than 40-year career as a development and fundraising professional, serving both as a consultant to many philanthropic organizations locally and nationally as well as leading external relations and fund raising initiatives at numerous local institutions. These have included both serving on faculty at UC San Diego, Director of Development for the Gemological Institute of America, Vice President of Development for the Escondido Humane Society and Vice President for Annual Giving at the Scripps Health Foundation.

Buckley has served on professional society boards as president and board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and as a board member of the North County Philanthropy Council. He also has volunteered in the community, serving on numerous nonprofit boards including serving as president and board member of the San Diego Performing Arts League, the Malashock Dance Board, the Mo’oleol Performing Arts Company and on the advisory board of the Cygnet Theatre.

Buckley has a BA in English Literature and graduate work in business from St. John’s University and an MA in University Administration from Columbia University.

James Dawe

Jim Dawe is former partner, officer, and member of Executive Committee at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek and Chair of Land Use and Environmental Law Group. He is also a founding Chair of the San Diego Public Library Foundation and former Chair of the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

Peter Dennehy

Peter Dennehy is Vice President, Customer & Market Research for Newland. A college internship with the City of Pasadena introduced Dennehy to the development industry and led to 30 years of working with the nation’s preeminent market research companies specializing in the real estate industry. He has extensive experience analyzing real estate developments for developers, financial institutions, and public agencies throughout the United States and has directed consulting engagements for hundreds of clients, covering a wide array of product types and real estate asset classes, with a particular focus on rental and for-sale residential projects, mixed-use urban infill developments, master planned communities, and portfolio analysis. Dennehy now heads up customer and market research for the largest private developer of planned residential and urban mixed-use communities in the United States. 

Prior to joining Newland, Dennehy worked for a number of leading national real estate research companies, including Meyers Research, John Burns Real Estate Consulting, Sullivan Group, and RCLCO. Dennehy holds a J.D. from University of San Diego’s School of Law and a B.A. in Government/Public Policy from Pomona College. He is past Co-Chair of the Urban Land Institute’s San Diego-Tijuana District Council, an appointed member of the City of San Diego’s Consolidated Plan Advisory Board, and on the board of ArtForm. He is a volunteer for the Academy of Our Lady of Peace and serves on the Boundless Campaign and annual Women’s Symposium committees.

Emily Fox

Emily Fox is a partner at Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP, the largest women-owned law firm in San Diego, specializing in labor and employment practice. Her legal practice focuses on representing employers, large and small, in all aspects of labor and employment law. She also provides regular counsel to employers on a wide variety of employment-related matters, including discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wage-and-hour practices. 

Fox is President of Camp Fire San Diego, Outreach Committee Co-Chair of Women and Families Resource Fair, and on the board of San Diego Best & Brightest.

Victoria Hamilton

Hamilton has had a career in the arts and culture world for more than 35 years having served as the Founding Director of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission for 8 years prior to moving to San Diego where she was the Founding Executive Director for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture for 15 years. She currently serves as the Arts and Culture Advocate for the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

Hamilton has volunteered extensively in the arts and culture community, serving as chair and/or president of numerous boards including the SD Regional Chamber of Commerce ABC Committee and the US Urban Arts Federation, California Arts Advocates, Californians for Arts and California Confederation of the Arts. She has been a member of the San Diego Foundation’s Arts and Culture Working Group as well as the Balboa Park Trust Committee. Further, she has served on the SD Regional Arts and Culture Coalition Steering Committee, the NTC Foundation Board and the SD Tourism Authority Marketing Committee.

Hamilton has been recognized through many awards including the Ray Hanley Innovation Award from the US Urban Arts Federation, the Selena Roberts Ottum Award from the Americans for the Arts, the Outstanding Leadership Award from the California Arts Council and has been honored by the California Women in its Tribute to Women in Government.

Hamilton has a BA with a double major in Journalism and Fine and Performing Arts from Western Washington University.

Conny Jamison

Conny Jamison has had a long standing professional career in the field of financial management, including more than 10 yeas as the founder and owner of Medmetric Corporation. She is well known and regarded for her public service as the City Treasurer for the City of San Diego for more than 19 years where she managed the collection and investment of over $1 billion annually.

Jamison has held numerous leadership roles in her professional field, serving as President of both the California Municipal Treasurers Association and the Finance Officers Division of the League of California Cities. She served as a Trustee of San Diego’s $3 billion pension fund and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Government Finance Officers Association of the US and Canada.

Her community volunteer work has included service on the Peace Corps, membership on the boards of the San Diego Kiwanis Foundation and The San Diego Foundation as well as a member of the San Diego Hospice’ Planned Giving Committee.

Jamison has a BA in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College and a Master’s in City Planning from San Diego State University. She has competed all courses toward a PhD in Economics from the University of California.

Katherine Johnston

Katherine Johnston is Vice President of Presidio Public Affairs Group and Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Mayor Kevin Faulconer. She also serves as Senior Vice President of Communications for the Downtown San Diego Partnership and is current Chair of the Balboa Park Committee.

Jo Ann Kilty

Jo Ann Kilty is a frequent park user concerned with the care and maintenance of the park. Kilty is also a member of the Old Globe Board of Directors.

David Kinney

David Kinney has enjoyed a more than 30-year career as an administrator in Balboa Park. His professional work has included serving as Director of Retail and Film Curator for the Museum of Photographic Arts from 1983-97, Executive Director of Balboa Park Central and the House of Hospitality from 1997-2014 and as the Interim Director of the Balboa Park Conservancy from 2014-15 wherein he played a leadership role in the merging of the Conservancy and Balboa Central.

Kinney’s current volunteer work includes service on the Mayor-appointed Balboa Park Committee where he has served as Chair from 2012-present, member and Vice Chair of the San Diego Park and Recreation Board, member of the Timken Museum of Art Board of Trustees and Treasurer of the Society for American Baseball Research.

He has received numerous awards and acknowledgements for his professional and community service particularly within Balboa Park including from the San Diego Office of the Mayor, the San Diego Police Department and from the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department.

Kinney has a BA from San Diego State University.

Gonzalo Rojas

Gonzalo Rojas is retired after more than 35 years in university administration and teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and San Diego State University (SDSU). While at SDSU, he served as Director of Student Outreach, Director of University Collaborative Programs and was instrumental in developing the award-winning Compact for Success. He also served in numerous university committees and initiatives, including the University Centennial and the University Future Search Committees.

Rojas has held leadership positions in various educational, community development, and economic and social justice efforts at the national, state, and local level, including the statewide Chicano/Latino lntersegmental Convocation and lntersegmental Student Preparation Coalition. He has also been recognized with numerous university, student, and community awards.

He has also served on numerous local community boards and participated in grassroots efforts, including Balboa Park Central, Copley YMCA, Promise Charter School, Latino Summit 2000, and the 2006 March for Dignity, Respect and Hope, the Balboa Park Central Board and the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.

Rojas earned a BA in History from UCLA and a Masters in Education from SDSU.

Allison Rossett

Dr. Allison Rossett, recently retired after many years as Professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State University, continues to work as a consultant in learning and technology. A member of Training magazine’s HRD Hall of Fame, Rossett now serves on the boards of the E-learning Guild and Chief Learning Officer. Previously, she served on the international board of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and was honored by ASTD for lifelong contributions to workplace learning and performance. She has also been honored as an International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) Member-for-Life and received their Thomas Gilbert Award.

Rossett is the author or co-author of six books, several of them award-winners, in the subject areas of needs analysis, technology-based learning, and engagement in a world with increasing contributions from technology-based learning and performance support. Rossett keynotes and teaches at conferences and events all over the world. In addition, she conducts studies and consults on learning strategy, instructional design and technology, and performance support.

Glenn Rossman

Glenn Rossman began his career as a Pension Actuary with Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in Fort Wayne and moved to Buck Consultants in 1982. He attained Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries in 1976 and became an Enrolled Actuary licensed to practice before the IRS in 1978. In 1999 Rossman retired from his position as Consulting Actuary/Operations Manager of the Fort Wayne, Indiana Office of Buck Consultants (worldwide employee benefit consulting firm based in New York City).

Following his retirement, Rossman has focused on community volunteer work including service on the boards of Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for Northeast Indiana (founding board member and first Treasurer), Lutheran Ministries Media (including six years as Treasurer), and the Indiana University Purdue University of Fort Wayne (IPFW) Foundation. On relocating to San Diego, Rossman joined the board of Balboa Park Central, serves as a founding member of the San Diego Toy and Doll Museum and has volunteered in the Balboa Park Visitors Center since 2001. He currently serve on the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.

Rossman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Actuarial Science from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Joe Szalkiewicz

Joe Szalkiewicz is the President of Yellow Line Digital, the digital marketing agency he co-founded in 2012. A Southern California native, his career began at Community Interface Services where he spent his first few years helping people with disabilities integrate into independent living. From there he transitioned to a career in sales when he accepted a position at Technology Integration Group. Still in his twenties he purchased a small HP & IBM resellership that he and his partners grew from nothing to a National Reseller doing $50 million in annual sales, with offices in several states throughout the US. He sold his equity in The Pinnacle Group to his partners in 2010 and spent a short time helping a small local university, JPCatholic, with fundraising before launching Yellow Line Digital. Like the yellow line on the road, he and his company are committed to unifying a divided world.

He is a co-founder of the Society of Catholic Leaders, an active member of the pontifical foundation Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, the San Diego North County Economic Development Council, and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. In his spare time, he is an avid mountaineer who has successfully summited the highest peaks on four of the seven continents, and it is this connection to nature and the outdoors that inspired his interest in helping to support Balboa Park.

Szalkiewicz has a BA from Northern Arizona University in Religious Studies with a minor in Philosophy. 

John Toman

John Toman has 23 years of wealth management experience. Prior to founding Jet Wealth Advisors in La Jolla, California, in 2013, he was Senior Vice President for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. He currently resides in San Diego with his wife and three boys. Toman loves to spend time with his family and is an avid skier and runner. He is also actively involved in many San Diego charities.

With experience in estate investment planning, executive financial services, retirement planning, wealth services, and much more, Toman is dedicated to delivering personalized investment planning for each and every client.

Toman graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. He currently holds registrations for Series 7 (General Securities Representative), Series 8 (General Securities Sales Supervisor), Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam), and Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam). He is also a member of the Financial Services Institute, a professional organization for independent financial service firms and independent financial advisors.

John Venekamp

John Venekamp had a 35-year corporate career in business management and marketing with JC Penney and Access Marketing in New York. Since 1994 he has been in the real estate profession, serving as Vice-President and Managing Director with Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales in New York City.

Venekamp has had a long commitment to community service both in New York City and in San Diego and particularly in the fields of arts and culture. In NYC he served on the Empire State Craft Alliance where he was Board Chair, on the Museum of Art and Design and Ziff Marketing, Inc. Board of Directors. In San Diego he has served on the Commission for Arts and Culture (Vice Chair) and the Balboa Park Trust Committee; he currently is a member of the Board of the Museum of Photographic Arts, serving as Vice Chair.

Venekamp received a BS in Business from the University of South Dakota. He also did Executive Graduate Studies in Business Administration at the University of Tennessee and Harvard.

Pete Wheeler

Pete Wheeler has over 55 years of experience in the financial services industry and is a Chartered Life Underwriter, Certified Financial Planner®, and a Chartered Financial Consultant. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Finance (Insurance).

He is a recognized expert in the industry and has been featured on numerous television and radio programs and in a variety of financial journals. He has authored several books and is currently working on two: Activities, Things and Dreams and My Precious Darling – A Story of Love, Life, and Lost Legacy. He is a retired Navy Commander, having served three tours in Vietnam.

Originally from Canada, Wheeler lives in Point Loma close to three of his five children and has a passion for travel and woodworking.

Michael Yee

Michael Yee’s professional career is as an IT Administrator. Since 2003, he has   sered as the Project Coordinator/Analyst-Programmer for the California State University at San Marcos.

Yee’s community work has included membership with the Balboa Park Trust Committee and the Conservancy’s Project Planning and Design Committee. He currently serves as the President of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum where he has been actively engaged in the building and growth of that organization.

Yee has a BS in Management Information Systems, Cum Laude from San Diego State University.

Liaison Board Members

John Bolthouse, Executive Director, Friends of Balboa Park

Molly Chase, Chief of Staff, Councilmember Chris Ward

Peter Comiskey, Executive Director, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership

Salvatore Giametta, Chief of Staff to County Supervisor Ron Roberts

Stephen Hill, District Director, Assemblyman Todd Gloria

Nik Honeysett, Executive Director, Balboa Park Online Collaborative

Andrew Field, Director of Parks and Recreation, City of San Diego

Micah Parzen, Executive Director, Museum of Man and Vice Chair, BPCP

Deanna Spehn, Special Assistant to State Senator Toni Atkins