Read more about the folks who serve as working board and advisory board members in the bios below.
Tim Bishop is a man of many hats. A history major in college, he moved to the Bay Area over 30 years ago, fell into the technology industry and has spent the last 30 years trying to turn technology into products that improve people's lives. During the day, he currently works on making the internet faster, safer and more reliable. At nighttime and on weekends, he is an avid theatregoer, Theatre Bay Area adjudicator, webmaster for another small East Bay Theatre Company, Anton's Well, and runs a meetup focused bringing people to productions put on by small Bay Area theatre companies. He is also an extremely proud father of a college senior, brought up in the East Bay. He believes in, and has personally experienced, the power of theatre to transform young people's lives, so is delighted to serve the youth and mission of Gritty City Rep.
Shyanna Bryan graduated from the Theater Dance and Performance Studies Department at UC Berkeley. Shyanna has performed with a variety of theatre companies around the Bay, including Ubuntu Theater Project's Dance of the Holy Ghost by Marcus Gardley, and Plethos Productions' Next to Normal. Shyanna currently teaches theatre at Leadership Public Schools in Hayward. She hopes to use theater to empower young people through awareness of their immediate communities as well as their placement as citizens of the world in order to foster love for themselves and empathy for others.
Lindsay Krumbein See Staff Bios
Sue Krumbein, who recently completed a three-year term as President of Women's Club of Palo Alto, has been working with teenagers as a teacher, librarian, and advocate for more than 40 years. She has seen, first hand, how the arts, and in particular theatre, can interest and engage students who might otherwise be disinterested in learning. She herself loves and supports theatre and attends plays as often as possible.
Robert Paige See Staff Bios
Abby Pollak is a retired translator and professor of comparative literature, and a New York transplant happily ensconced in Oakland (with her wife, border collie, and fat black cat) for the past 25 years. During this time, she's served on the board of the Oakland Public Library, volunteered as an after-school tutor for at-risk children in South Berkeley, and written three unpublished novels. She is currently on the Steering Committee of the Upper Broadway Advocates and the head of the Rockridge Neighborhood Association. Her love of theater dates from elementary school, where she played the Golux in James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks, and she continued to act through high school and college. She attends many different theater and music productions throughout the Bay Area and New York, and has been beyond impressed with and excited by Lindsay’s work since the inaugural of GCRep.
Vanessa Ramos believes that the arts, in all forms of expression, are an important part of everyday life and shares a great passion for music, theater, and dance. She spends much of her time advocating for the power of the arts to improve lives, effect social change and build community. Over the last few years she has become familiar with many companies across the Bay Area and has worked with them in different capacities. Some recent credits include New Conservatory Theatre Center, American Conservatory Theater, Ballet San Jose, Central Works Theater, Those Women Productions, Indra’s Net Theater, Anton’s Well Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Performing Arts Academy of Marin and Diablo Valley Ballet. Vanessa also has enjoyed teaching music, movement & storytelling to children in the Bay Area for over a decade. She has had the opportunity to teach at public schools, private institutions, and run the administrative side of arts education. Eventually, she developed her own curriculum: Treble Tales, a program that encourages children to create simple, theatrical performances while playing and learning basic music composition and choreography. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she studied Music, Theater & Performance Studies. She received her Orff Training at The San Francisco School, and is a member of NCAOSA, the Northern California American Orff-Schulwerk Association. She is currently a graduate student at Drexel University studying Arts Administration.
Maccewill Yip's experience in theater has mainly been as builder/stagehand back in high school at Saint Mary’s in Berkeley, in college at Seattle University, and for a couple of shows with Gritty City. He believes that theater can not only entertain, but has the capacity to provoke and reflect on personal and societal issues, and that it can also give words to express ideas when we find our own lacking, not only for the audience, but for the performers as well. Born and raised in Oakland (except for a brief period in Hong Kong), he is currently working at Grand Lake Ace Hardware in the electrical department, and helped make it one of the number one seller of G.E. bulbs and Heath Zenith motion fixtures. He volunteers at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), whose mission is to protect science teaching in schools with emphasis on evolution and climate change. Maccewill had also done work at Lifelong AIDS Alliance with events and duties at their thrift shop, helped with citizenship applications at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), and volunteered on a few projects for Rebuilding Together, one of which he had led as co-house captain. Occasionally he contributes to the blog 10 Years Ago: Films in Retrospective, reviewing movies that were released a decade back. He graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Science and an emphasis in Forensic Science.
Susi Damilano is co-founder and Producing Director of The SF Playhouse; she is a three-time recipient of the Bay Area Critic Circle Award for Best Female Performance in Bug, Six Degrees of Separation, and Reckless. At the SF Playhouse she has performed leading roles in Harper Regan, Coraline, Slasher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Landscape of the Body, First Person Shooter, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, The Crucible, Kimberly Akimbo, Our Town and The Smell of the Kill. Her directing credits include Wirehead, Den of Thieves and the West Coast Premieres of Honey Brown Eyes, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Coronado, The Mystery Plays and Roulette and the World Premiere of Daniel Heath’s Seven Days in the 2010 Sandbox Series. By day, Susi holds a CPA and works as the Vice President of Human Resources at MSCI in Berkeley.
Albert Dyrness, a native of San Francisco, holds an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with support from a graduate fellowship sponsored by the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering. Mr. Dyrness is a founding principal of ADVENT Engineering, a privately-held engineering services firm that serves the energy and life sciences industries, and currently heads its Life Sciences Division. Mr. Dyrness serves on the board of directors of Oncobiologics, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Mr. Dyrness currently serves as the Vice-Chairperson for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Bioprocess Equipment Standard (AMSE-BPE) System Design subcommittee. Mr. Dyrness is an Industrial Advisory Board Member of the University of the Pacific’s Bioengineering Program. Mr. Dyrness has a passion for arts as an instrument to reach underserved youth. He believes that education is a great equalizer among the social classes. He also believes that confidence and self-esteem are the first hurdles to achieving academic success. The arts provide a challenging, yet safe space for youth to find and build a foundation of self worth, opening their minds to unlimited opportunities.
Colleen Egan is a San Francisco native who received her Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts from Seattle University. She focused on the intersection of Theater Arts and social justice, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars for charities that work to end violence against women in the Seattle Area as two-time director of V-DAY and the Vagina Monologues. In the process, Colleen stood up against much push back from the Archdiocese, Cardinal Newman Society and other conservative factions at the Catholic School. Colleen currently works as an actor and project manager in the Bay Area, and is in the process of completing a Teaching Credential at Holy Names University. She has assistant directed at both the Magic and SF Playhouse.
Margo Hall is an award winning actor/director/playwright. As an actress Margo was last seen onstage at California Shakespeare Theater in American Night: the Ballad of Juan Jose and SPUNK. She debuted as a Director with The World Premiere of Joyride, from the novel Grand Avenue by Greg Sarris, which was the Bay Area Critics Circle Winner for Best Original Script; the SF Weekly Black Box Awards for Best Production, Best Ensemble, Best Director; Drama-Logue Awards-Northern California for Best Production, Best Ensemble; the Backstage West-Garland Awards- Northern California for Best Production, Best Ensemble, and the Bay Guardian GOLDIE Award Winner for Stage. Margo completed her first writing project in April 2005 with the World Premier of The People’s Temple at Berkeley Repertory Theater, which won the Glickman award for best new play in the Bay Area for 2005. She is a founding member of Campo Santo, a theater company dedicated to producing new plays by people of color.
Shamont Hussey is an Oakland, California Native, passionate about his community, youth and families. He has served as an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ and minority youth within the Juvenile Court and Child Welfare system. He believes in the need for education, equity, understanding not tolerance and the power of radical inclusion in the lives of the marginalized and oppressed. Over the years Shamont has performed as a vocalist with various creative projects using music and the arts as an avenue for both personal and professional motivation and inspiration.
Joan Lasselle is President and founder of Lasselle-Ramsay, Inc. For over 25 years Lasselle-Ramsay has provided custom learning and content services to over 800 clients. Joan is a pioneer in self-paced and computer-based training materials as well as usability testing. She has over 25 years experience developing new product content and training for high tech, healthcare, finance and insurance industries. She is a past board member of Content Management Professionals (CMPros), and a regular contributor at industry conferences. Joan was recognized by the Womens Business Enterprise National Council as one of 14 national business stars. The San Jose Business Journal recognized Lasselle-Ramsay as one of the top 60 women-owned businesses in Silicon Valley. Joan holds an M.Ed. from the University of Oregon. As a former classroom teacher and drama lover, Joan is a raving fan of Lindsay Krumbein and her work with youth theatre; she is pleased to be able to serve as an advisor to GCR.
Marc-Éddy Loriston See Staff Bios
Mayra Padilla, Dean of Diversity at Contra Costa College, grew up in Richmond, California. As a teen, her outlook on life was grim, as is often the case with kids that grow up in communities experiencing poverty, violence, and lack of educational opportunities. That outlook shifted when she began participating in theatre arts. She developed a marvelous imagination, a resilient sense of self, and the confidence to create her own reality. To understand adolescent behavior, Mayra got her doctorate in neuroscience and studies adolescent brain development. Because she is passionate about helping youth develop the skills to follow their dreams, she has, for the past ten years, also directed a program in Richmond called Metas, the Spanish word for goals. In her spare time she teaches courses in meditation to incarcerated juveniles in various local facilities in the Bay Area. Mayra is committed to serving youth. She is certain that Gritty City Rep transforms the lives of teens in Oakland, and empowers them to follow their dreams!
Rachel Williams joined Yelp (again!) in November of 2014 as the Head of Diversity and Inclusion. She is currently focused on building Yelp’s diversity initiatives to accelerate action. Having grown up in San Mateo, CA, Rachel often found that she was one of only a couple faces of color in her classrooms. This early awareness of her own differences inspired her thirst for increased diversity and inclusion at a young age. With a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and more than 15 years of human resources experience in a variety of industries including technology, life sciences, consumer products and retail, Rachel has honed her expertise in recruitment, organizational development, and strategic change activities. She is thrilled to be able to narrow her focus on Diversity and Inclusion, a very important element of the employee experience, and a passion for Rachel. She returns to Yelp after most recently serving as the Head of Talent Acquisition for ClearSlide. She has also held talent acquisition roles at SolarCity and Peet's Coffee & Tea, and was Recruiting Manager at Yelp in 2010.