Board of Directors

Susan Lindheim, MD

Susan Lindheim is a retired pediatrician who was based out of Richmond Kaiser Permanente. Over the course of her career, she held a variety of positions which included Site Chief of Pediatrics at Richmond, Assistant Physician-in-Chief of Service and Physician HR for the East Bay, and Northern California Chair of the Diversity Council. Susan has served the community more than 30 years. Having lived near the Center for over 20 years, she more recently moved to Oakland. She has been a part of East Bay Center for the Performing Arts since the late 1980’s when she, her two sons and her husband took lessons at the Center. Susan finds working as a volunteer very rewarding both locally and abroad. She has recently volunteered on medical missions in Guatemala and Nicaragua. It has been an honor for her to be part of East Bay Center for the Performing Arts family for so many years and to see so many young people, many her patients, benefit from all it has to offer.

Mayra L. Padilla
Vice President

Dr. Mayra Padilla grew up in Richmond and San Pablo, California. She graduated from Richmond High School. She is an alumna of the East Bay Center for Performing Arts where she gained a passion for dance and theater. Through these art forms she learned the healing power of creative expression. Thanks to the support and mentorship she received through the Metas and the Center for Science Excellence programs at Contra Costa College (CCC), she successfully completed her bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics from UC Davis and her doctorate in Neuroscience from UC Berkeley. Dr. Padilla worked as a neuroscientist at the San Francisco Brain Institute, SRI International, and Sands Research, Inc. As a result of seeing too few Latinx and Black scientists, Dr. Padilla returned home to take on the role of director for the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) grant at CCC to encourage students of color to pursue careers in STEM. Today Dr. Padilla is the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness & Equity at CCC. Dr. Padilla has received numerous awards for her work at CCC including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, STEM Woman of the Year from Senator Nancy Skinner, Contra Costa County Women’s Hall of Fame for “Building Community” and the San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Civic Unity Fellowship. Most recently, she was featured in the SF Business Times Notable People section as a Champion for Richmond.

Tamina Ramos Alon

Tamina Alon, Esq., is the Director of Operations at Family Justice Center. She has two teenage students at the Center, one studying violin and the other in the Young Artist Diploma Program. Tamina is infinitely impressed by the Center’s energy and animation:  “This place is so amazing and it really does change the world every single day.” Tamina enthusiastically welcomes you to East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. Tamina, a 2008 graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law, was raised on Guam. She joined the Family Justice Center from Bay Area Legal Aid’s housing unit where she represented clients and managed Contra Costa’s court-based Housing Law Clinics in Richmond, Martinez, Concord, and Pittsburg. Tamina has been a teacher for over 10 years and is an advocate for the student-parent and student-families population.  While at UC Berkeley, Tamina taught courses on success as a student-parent and preparing for life after college.  At the Family Justice Center, Tamina is excited to be working on the newly-formed Lawyers for Family Justice legal incubator project. 

Richard Zhu

Richard Zhu is an alumnus of the Center, where he studied piano for fourteen years, beginning at the age of four. Richard was active in the Richmond Chamber Ensemble and Richmond Jazz Ensemble, and also attended several summer intensives that were central to the genesis of today's Young Artist Diploma Program. Richard went on to attend college at UC Berkeley, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business, while continuing his studies in classical piano with faculty in the Department of Music. Richard is now a Vice President in the Investment Solutions group of Merrill Lynch, where he works with financial advisors across 18 states in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest to deliver the firm's capital markets solutions to investors.  Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Richard spent 9 years at Wells Fargo in progressive roles within the Securities division.  In his spare time, Richard enjoys traveling, attending concerts, playing classical piano, and collecting spirits from around the world.


john clawson
John Clawson

John Clawson is a founding partner of Equity Community Builders (ECB) and is committed to responsible development that contributes to the strength and vitality of communities throughout Northern California. ECB is recognized for its expertise in affordable and market rate housing, historic rehabilitation, sustainable development practices and management of the development process on behalf of non-profit organizations, including several independent schools. John was a founding member of the Board of Trustees for the Bay School of San Francisco and previously served on the Board of Trustees for Marin Country Day School. John currently serves on the board of Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, where he is leading the replacement and development of new campus facilities. John earned a master’s degree from the MIT Center for Real Estate Development in 1985 and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Arizona State University in 1981. 

Gail Covington

Gail Covington is a Senior Vice President in the Financial Services industry. Assisting affluent clients and families for over 16 years, the core of her practice centers around helping clients protect and grow their financial assets. Gail received her BA from Williams College and MBA from Harvard Business School. She is currently a trustee with the San Francisco Symphony where she serves on the Executive and Investment Committees. Gail is a Bay Area native, and she and her husband make their home in San Francisco along with their two children. In her spare time, Gail enjoys long walks with her two Portuguese Water dogs, yoga and Bordeaux wine.

Kelly Finley

Kelly Finley is the Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Joy Street Design, a full-service interior design firm. Kelly is an expert at space planning and project management while assisting clients deal with the trials and tribulations related to major residential renovations. Kelly studied interior design and interior architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to design, Kelly practiced law in San Francisco at a national law firm. She holds a law degree from Stanford Law School and a business degree from Emory University. Kelly is a California transplant who has lived in the Bay Area for fifteen years (with a brief hiatus in Los Angeles). Kelly is passionate about providing equal opportunities to the students in the Bay Area. She currently serves on the board of the Oakland Museum of California and also runs the nonprofit Joy By Design.

Monica Pressley

Monica Pressley is Chief Financial Officer of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, overseeing finance, investments, information technology and human resources. Previously, Monica worked for 13 years as Chief Financial Officer of the San Francisco Foundation. In this position, she managed the community foundation’s financial assets, which grew from $650 million to $1.3 billion under her stewardship. Among her other responsibilities, she initiated and led the foundation’s program-related investments fund, which provides below-market loans and loan guarantees to nonprofits and other eligible organizations working to advance the foundation’s social equity goals. Before joining the San Francisco Foundation, Monica worked in senior finance positions in the private sector, including seven years with Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco. She serves as a member of the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for the San Francisco Unified School District. Monica also is a Director of the Latino Community Foundation. Monica earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCLA and an MBA from the Harvard Business School

Joel Ramirez

Joel Ramirez is an Associate Director of Investor Relations for The Clorox Company. Since joining Clorox in 2011, he has held various finance management roles supporting a range of business units through forecast, accounting, new product commercialization, and corporate mergers and acquisition. His career in finance spans the technology, healthcare and consumer packaged goods industries. He received his dual B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Stanford University and his M.B.A from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He is a strong believer in the transformative power of the arts in young people’s lives. His own journey with music and the arts started at an early age through elementary school music programs and continued on through college where he was one of the founding members of the Mariachi Cardenal de Stanford. He is a former student of the Center, having played with Son de la Tierra, and is active the Bay Area’s Son Jarocho community. He and his wife are raising two kids, and when he is not coaching soccer or playing Son Jarocho, he enjoys roasting coffee and traveling.

Timothy Thompson-Cook

Timothy Thompson-Cook is the prior Regional Vice President of Operations for the Western United States for Alliance Healthcare Services. Additionally, Tim previously served as Chief Operations Officer at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers, Vice President for Service Excellence, Outpatient Services, and Ambulatory Care at LAC Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Tim earned his MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from Argosy University. He is a servant leader with extensive hands-on clinical and operational excellence. His strengths include staff coaching and development, interdisciplinary team building and motivation. Tim has a superior track record for improving and sustaining patient satisfaction in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He is passionate about seeking new ways of improving the patient and staff experience, while also improving operational efficiency and overall organizational performance through continuous improvement. And, he is committed to discovering new ways in which he can foster an environment that breeds compassion for patient care through tapping into staff creativity and collaboration. He is a devoted supporter of youth in the arts, volunteers in youth soccer and at the West Los Angeles Veteran's Administration Healthcare Center in Southern California.

Vanessa Whang

Vanessa Whang is an independent consultant, advisor, and thought partner to funders and organizations engaged with culture/arts/humanities and has had a career in the non-profit sector for over 30 years. From 2008-2014, Vanessa was Director of Programs for Cal Humanities, California’s state humanities council. She was responsible for the strategic design, development, and evaluation of all programs, including both grantmaking and direct services. She and her team identified issues and opportunities to enrich the lives of communities through the public humanities and build common cause with other sectors. Before returning to California, Vanessa was based in New York addressing issues in arts philanthropy, cultural equity, and changing demographics. Her principal clients included the Ford Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. She also served as Director of Multidisciplinary Arts and Presenting at the National Endowment for the Arts with a portfolio of large-scale presenting institutions, community-based cultural centers, alternative art spaces, arts education and service organizations, and artists communities. In earlier years, Vanessa headed a youth-centered arts learning initiative at East Bay Community Foundation, and gained invaluable experience as a community cultural activist at La Peña Cultural Center and as a recording/touring musician. In addition to sitting on the board of East Bay Center, she also serves as board treasurer of The Whitman Institute, a trust-based funder for social good.