Advisory Committee


Esailama Artry-Diouf began her professional career as a performing artist with Diamano Coura West African Dance Company in 1989 based in Oakland, California. As an artist and scholar with a Ph.D., she has lectured throughout the United States and conducted long–term teaching and performance residencies around the world. She is the Founding Director of Bisemi Inc., supporting African-derived cultural artists, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) and the Silicon Valley African Film Festival. She is also a former board member of Good Work Network, an organization helping minority- and women-owned businesses start, grow, and succeed by providing business development services. Much of Esailama’s work is as an arts administrator, scholar and advocate exploring challenges and solutions for cultural artists in the 21st century - in particular, maintaining the continued vitality of cultural arts for marginalized communities in the United States.


Steve Berger has over 40 years’ experience as owner, President and Chairman of various private companies including New York Fabrics (acquired by JoAnn Stores), NYF Properties, TurnItIn (acquired by Insight Venture Partners) and 2lemetry (acquired by Amazon) and Alight, Inc. Steve is an investor and advisor to various early stage companies, often leading early stage investment rounds and serving on the board of directors. He has had a long interest in education, serving as a math coach for competitions, mentor for an entrepreneurial class at UC Berkeley and competitions at various universities, and has served on the Board of College Preparatory School.  Steve is also past Chairman and current board member of The Partners Program, a non-profit educational organization providing free academically challenging summer programs, year-round tutoring and more for underserved Oakland middle school youth. Steve is a graduate of Stanford University, an avid cyclist and a Berkeley resident.


Diane Bernbaum is retired from a career in education.  She began as a public school social studies teacher and after moving to California in 1976 moved into Jewish education, serving for 33 years as Director of Midrasha, a community based supplementary high school program for Jewish teens.  Diane has her BA from Brandeis University, with a double major in History and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Harvard University.  She and her husband Ed have an adult son, David, and lost their younger son Jonathan in the Ghost Ship fire.

tom Dolan

As an architect, Vital Arts Co-Founder Thomas Dolan has specialized in mixed-use urban infill for 35 years, including designing and building the nation’s first purpose-built live-work space. Tom consults extensively with the City of Oakland on building codes, and has a comprehensive knowledge of live-work spaces in Oakland. He is the author of Live-Work Planning and Design (John Wiley), and two guides on local live-work codes: Live-Work in Plain English for the City of Oakland, and Work/Live in Vancouver for Vancouver, BC. As a founding member of Safer DIY Spaces, Tom works directly with residents of creative spaces to preserve, legalize, and better regulate where they live and work. Tom lives in Oakland with his wife and two children. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism.


Bob Epstein is an entrepreneur and holds a PhD from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering and computer science, specializing in distributed database systems. He has been heavily involved in founding the Berkeley Food Institute that works to catalyze and support transformative change in food systems, to promote diversity, justice, resilience, and health, from the local to the global. He is Chairman of the NRDC Action Fund. Epstein is a co-founder of five companies: Sybase, New Resource Bank, GetActive Software, Colorado Microdisplay and Britton-Lee. He is also a co-founder of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national community of professionals and business people working to influence state and national environmental policy. Under his leadership, E2 helped pass California’s major global warming bills – the “Clean Cars Bill” and the “Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006”. His early career was focused on the commercialization of databases and networking. In 1984 he was a leading architect and proponent for client/server computing with the creation of Sybase and the development of SQL Server.


Susan Duhan Felix is an internationally exhibited ceramic artist. Her artworks are in museum permanent collections including the Magnes, Skirball Museum, and Jewish Museum in Russia. She was the first Executive Director of the Jewish Arts Community of the Bay.  For 20 years Susan was Executive Director of an award winning nonprofit, UA Housing, that created housing services for the homeless. She was president of the Berkeley Art Commission and served on the Waterfront and Housing Advisory Commission. She is a founding member of the Berkeley Cultural Trust and Berkeley’s first Art Ambassador. She’s been honored by the California Assembly and the United States Senate. Since April 4, 2018, she has been hosting a monthly program on the arts on Berkeley-TV Channel 28.


Malcolm Margolin, founder and for more than forty years publisher and executive director of Heyday Books, arrived in Berkeley in the late 1960s in a VW bus. He’s written several books, the best known being The Ohlone Way, Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area. He has also founded or co-founded several other non-profit institutions, among them Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Bay Nature Magazine, and Inlandia Institute (a literary center in Riverside). He has long been involved with the California Indian world—as a publisher, writer, and “friend of the family.” He retired from Heyday at the end of 2015, and after a few months of shuffling around and pretending to be taking care off himself, he un-retired and has created a new organization called the California Institute for Community, Art, and Nature. He’s currently engaged in a number of projects with a number of collaborators. His spiritual exercise is “deep hanging out."


Amir Massih is Co-Founder and President, Northern California, of 4Terra, which develops and builds mixed-use and multi-family housing projects.  He is a recognized leader in identifying and entitling multifamily development opportunities in the Bay Area. His most recent position was Group Vice President for Archstone, a national owner and developer of multifamily properties. Amir was responsible for all development in the City of San Francisco. Previously, Amir was Land Manager at Pulte Homes, responsible for acquiring and entitling property in the urban Bay Area, focusing on conversion of industrial property to high-density residential housing. Prior to transitioning to real estate, Amir was Director of Operating Strategies at Gap, Inc., leading an eleven-member team in analyzing operational efficiency and revenue growth opportunities across corporate, domestic and international brands. Amir holds a Masters Degree in Health Policy and Administration from UC Berkeley.   His non-profit work includes board positions at La Cocina, a food incubator cultivating immigrant entrepreneurs, and Halt Homelessness, which is working to eliminate street homelessness.