Executive Director: José Rivera
José Rivera has been in the field of operations and support for close to 20 years, having held field, staff, executive, and consulting positions in various organizations during that time. He has been right-hand man to three Chief Executive Officers in industries ranging from high-tech to environmental services. He has also worked in non-profit environments such as education, the arts, foundations and government, serving as Executive Director, board member and individual contributor. The past ten years he has spent working on education philanthropy, teaching individuals to become entrepreneurs and masters of their own destiny, as well as grow and scale an educational start-up which provides customized education to disadvantaged kids, achieving remarkable results where other systems have failed. He was interim CEO and COO of a major venture philanthropy in the San Francisco Bay Area and has mentored founders of small to midsize companies, helping with business and strategic planning. He served as advisor to an inner city economic development entity in Oakland and still mentors a number of minority students. He is co-author of an entrepreneurship workbook used in various colleges and universities in Puerto Rico; a former theater and film producer, screenwriter and classical pianist. He is a resident of Albany, California for the past 25 years.
Performing Arts Institute Director: Sadie Harmon
Sadie Harmon is currently the Performing Arts Institute Director at Stagebridge. She administers classes at our Performing Arts Institute as well as performances and workshops through Seniors Reaching Out. She earned her MFA in interdisciplinary studio art from California College of the Arts in 2013, and has a background in arts administration, arts education, and museum studies. She has presented her work with older adults at arts institutions including the Portland Art Museum and the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco; and at conferences including Open Engagement, the California Assisted Living Association, and American Society on Aging. Her professional focus is on using the arts to encourage intergenerational, dementia-friendly communities, increase the visibility of older people, and facilitate larger cultural conversations around aging.
Storytelling/TimeSlips Director: Kirk Waller, M.A.
With a lifelong love of story, literature and the performing arts, Kirk Waller has been immersed in these art forms for over 20 years. He has garnered national recognition for his storytelling, including being awarded the J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant by the National Storytelling Network, receiving a Parent’s Choice Foundation GOLD award for his CD, “But Why? Stories, Music and Songs” and being a storyteller at the Exchange Place at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. In addition to being the Director of Storytelling at Stagebridge, he is current chair of the Storytelling Association of California and is on the advisory board of Tell It On Tuesday at the Marsh in Berkeley. Kirk received his bachelor’s degree in English and his Master’s in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.
Schools Program Coordinator: Barbara Johnson
As Schools Program Coordinator, Barbara works closely with elementary school principals and teachers in four East Bay school districts, booking assemblies and classroom workshops in storytelling, drama, and improvisation, and ensuring that schools comply with foundation and government grant requirements. A native of Louisiana and resident of West Oakland, Barbara attended Laney College and came to Stagebridge in 1995 after flying worldwide as an airline flight attendant, serving as a hostess and bartender, and driving a big rig.
Grantwriter: Michael Stephens
Michael Stephens is a 1973 anthropology graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Early in his career he worked as a museum anthropologist at U.C.B.’s Hearst Museum of Anthropology and with the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, N.M. He became Grants Manager at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 1984 and later worked as Associate Director of Development – Foundations & Corporations at San Diego Opera and then Director of Development at California Shakespeare Festival. He has served as a board member for the Southwestern Association of Indian Affairs, Sinfonia San Francisco and several other cultural organizations.
Marketing Coordinator: Vicki Wong
Drawing on a varied background in film production and episodic television production and now expanding to focus on theatre, Vicki is Stagebridge's Marketing Coordinator. Her experience in multiple roles including producing, screenplay editing, script supervising, and production management includes the award-winning indie feature film East Side Sushi and indie comedy Nowhere Girl. Her varied production experience also includes freelance video work, two animated Star Wars television series and an extensive career in visual FX on feature films such as Charlotte’s Web, The Matrix Revolutions, and Hellboy, as well as commercials for clients such as Chevy and Sirius Radio.
CCA CONNECTS FELLOW: SHRUTI GUNDA
Stagebridge welcomes Shruti Gunda, our CCA Connects Fellow, who is helping us out for 2017-18 and is studying Graphic Design at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She is an international student from Pune, India and she moved to the Bay Area two years ago. She hopes to create meaningful designs for Stagebridge, and learn how incorporating creativity in our lives, regardless of the differences in our age, ethnicity or gender, can make a real difference. She is also an obsessive murder-mystery novels enthusiast and enjoys watching baking shows on television.