Joyce Gattas, PhD, Chair
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.
Connie Matsui, Vice 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.
Carol Littlejohn Chang, Immediate Past Chair
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.
Tomás Herrera-Mishler, President and Chief Executive Officer
Mexican-born landscape architect Tomás Herrera-Mishler came to San Diego after seven years as CEO and President of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. In Buffalo, he helped lead a parks renaissance, securing over $30 million for capital improvement projects and raising the daily maintenance operations to best-in-class levels. His work was recognized when Buffalo’s signature Delaware Park was recently named one of America’s Great Public Places. Herrera-Mishler was named Preservation Hero in 2013 and Outstanding Leader in Landscape Architecture in 2015.
Herrera-Mishler has worked on design and planning projects across the Caribbean, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He is a registered landscape architect in Florida and Pennsylvania. His master plan for the National Conservation Center of Costa Rica is one of his most notable projects. Herrera-Mishler has served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston and Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Herrera-Mishler holds a Masters in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan.
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 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.
Li-Rong Lilly Cheng, PhD
Dr. Li-Rong Lilly Cheng is a Professor and the Managing Director of the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University (SDSU). She is a Fellow of ASHA and received the Honors of ASHA (the highest honor) in 2013.
Cheng is the Past Chair of the Multicultural Issues Board for the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), served as Chair of the Education Committee for the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) and is the President Elect of IALP and serves on the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.
Cheng was selected by ABC as one of 25 most influential women in the history of San Diego. She was selected as the outstanding alumnus of Michigan State University. Cheng is the recipient of the 1997 ASHA Award for special contributions to Multicultural Affairs and the 2002 Diversity Award from the CSHA. She also received the Humanitarian Award from the Asian Heritage Foundation and the 2012 Monty’s Award from SDSU.
Cheng received a PhD from Claremont Graduate University and SDSU.
Roger Conlee’s journalism career includes working as a sportswriter for the San Diego Evening Tribune and as an assistant editor and columnist for the Chicago Daily News. He also worked for Phillips-Ramsey Advertising and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce as its marketing director, and he co-founded his own agency, Conlee & Butler Public Relations. In addition, Conlee is an award- winning novelist in the genre of historical fiction.
Conlee has served as President of the House of Hospitality Association and on the San Diego State University Alumni Association board, the American Cancer Society regional board, the San Diego Civic Light Opera board, the Sigma Delta Chi professional journalism society, the San Diego Press Club board, the Chicago Press Club board, the Balboa Park Central Board and currently on the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.
Conlee is winner of the Public Relations Society of America’s prestigious Eva Irving Award, the Military Writers Society Distinguished Honor Award, the San Diego Book Awards Best Novel, fiction category, and the Writer’s Digest Best Short Story Award. He was also named the San Diego Public Relations professional of the year.
Pam Crooks is a former Deputy Executive Director, Public Operations at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (1978-98). She has been an employee and/or a volunteer in Balboa Park for nearly 40 years. During this time, she helped create and launch such collaborative Balboa Park programs as Christmas on the Prado (Balboa Park December Nights), the Passport to Balboa Park, and Balboa Park Marketing. A long-time board member of the Balboa Park Central/House of Hospitality Association, she served as president of the Association during the House of Hospitality’s reconstruction in the mid-1990s. She is also a former member and chair of the Balboa Park Trust—an advisory committee at The San Diego Foundation. She currently serves as a member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.
Crooks is also a communications professional who has written and published numerous books and articles on Balboa Park, including two editions of a comprehensive guidebook (Discover Balboa Park) and two walking guides to Balboa Park.
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.
Charles Hellerich, Esq.
Charles Hellerich is a retired attorney who practiced at the San Diego law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps for 39 years and served as managing partner
of the firm for over eight years. His practice focused on real property transactional work in which he represented a variety of real estate owners, developers, and financial institutions. Prior to enrolling in law school, he worked for three years in the Pacific Northwest as a research engineer for Battelle Northwest, a subsidiary of Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio.
For many years, Hellerich has been active in a variety of San Diego community organizations, including Downtown San Diego Partnership, Downtown YMCA, Downtown Rotary, and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. For the last decade, he has focused on community efforts aimed at sustaining and enhancing Balboa Park and its institutions. He currently serves on the boards of the Balboa Park Conservancy, The San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park Online Collaborative and is a founding member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.
Hellerich has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California
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.
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.
Brian Matthews’s professional career includes working as the Director of Marketing/Promotions at Clear Channel Radio in San Diego and Director of Marketing/Promotions at Imhotech in San Francisco. He was also the Tour Manager for Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Jill Scott and has worked as an Instructor of Early Childhood Education for San Diego Unified School District.
In the San Diego community, Matthews has served as a Board Member of the African American Advisory Council for San Diego Repertory Theater, a sound coordinator for San Diego’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, and Coordinator for the annual San Diego Kuumba Fest. He has also been a Board Member for the International Association of African American Music (IAAAM) Foundation. He served on the Balboa Park Central Board and currently serves on the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.
Matthews holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communications at San Diego State University.
Paul Meyer was an equity partner and served on the global Executive Committee at Latham & Watkins LLP, a law firm with offices in 32 cities around the world. His principal areas of practice were real estate law and finance, with special emphasis on downtown redevelopment. Among his projects are Staples Center in Los Angeles; the Spring Training Facility for the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners in Peoria, Arizona; City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah; and Petco Park and One America Plaza in downtown San Diego. Meyer also taught and published extensively in the areas of public-private development and secured real estate finance. He was repeatedly named one of The Best Lawyers in America. Prior to his work in San Diego, he worked for a poverty law agency in San Francisco.
Meyer has served as President of the Old Globe Theatre, as President of the La Jolla Chamber Music Society, as President of the Board of Visitors to the Judaic Studies Program at UCSD, as President of the San Diego Chapter and member of the National Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee, as Chairman of the Balboa Park Trust, as a member of the Board of Governors of the San Diego Foundation, and as a member of the Board of Overseers at UCSD. He is a founding member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.
Meyer is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He completed three years on active duty as a Captain in the US Marine Corps.
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.
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.
Alan Spector, MD, Ph.D
Dr. Alan R. Spector is a retired board certified specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology, who was in private practice in San Diego for more than 28 years.
His past professional experience includes being President of the San Diego Gynecological Society, Chief of the Obstetrical and Gynecology Department of Alvarado Hospital, and Medical Director of the Labor and Delivery Unit at Alvarado Hospital.
Spector has served on and led numerous community boards including the San Diego Foundation’s Balboa Park Trust Committee (past chair), SDSU’s Executive MBA Advisory Board (past president), Rotary Club 33, the Junior Achievement Board and the San Diego Foundation’s Science and Technology Working Group. In addition, Spector was instrumental in bringing about the enhancement of the Balboa Park Sixth Avenue playground. Spector is a current member of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board of Directors.
Spector has an SB and SM from the University of Chicago, a PhD (Biochemistry) and MD from Northwestern University, and an Executive MBA from San Diego State University.
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.
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
Herman Parker, 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