Board of Directors

Dan Carroll, Treasurer, is a founding partner of Brooklands Capital Strategies and an acknowledged pioneer in the Asian private equity industry. Prior to forming Brooklands, Mr. Carroll was a Partner of TPG Capital, joining the firm in 1995 when he co-founded TPG’s Asian investment business, formerly Newbridge Capital. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and a master of business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has been a resident of Healdsburg and San Francisco for over 20 years, and music runs deep for him, both while growing up, and with his own family. Dan has served on many boards,  including Reading Partners and Blum Center for Developing Economies at Berkeley. (He/him)

Karen Masterson Dienst, Secretary, is a seasoned corporate, securities and M&A lawyer. She is a founding partner of boutique corporate law firm, Montgomery Pacific LLP, where her practice includes corporate counseling, angel and VC financings, M&A, corporate governance, and serving as outside general counsel. Karen previously served as VP and general counsel of a publicly-traded medical device company, as in-house counsel to a software company and as a partner in a large law firm. Karen also served as a trustee of The Hamlin School in San Francisco. She received an AB in Government from Dartmouth College, and her JD from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. (She/her)

Jessica Lusher is a marketing and communications professional, currently leading a national engagement consulting team as Vice President of Retirement Plan Services at T. Rowe Price. She is an active supporter of the arts in Healdsburg, fueled by a life-long passion for music and the belief that the arts have the power to bring people together. (She/her)

Mark McMullen is a computer and small business consultant who has been doing business in Sonoma County for over 20 years. He previously served on a non-profit performing arts board and the Executive Committee of Healdsburg Performing Arts Theater. He is active in the community and is part of the Creative Leadership Team. (He/him)

Stephan Passalacqua is a practicing attorney, with expertise in Estate Planning, Business Law, Real Estate, Land Use, Wine & Beverage Law, Wills & Trust Administration, Personal Injury, Entertainment Law, Alcohol Beverage Control Law, Government Affairs, and other strategic areas. He is a former District Attorney in Sonoma County, and he is an active leader of the Healdsburg community. (He/him)

Jack Raineault, Chair, retired as Director-Beverage Alcohol Law after a 30year career with Diageo and previously served on the Board of CancerCare of Connecticut. He has been an active volunteer with the Festival since moving to Sonoma County in 2015, volunteers at Legal Aid of Sonoma County and has been a lover of jazz for over 40 years.

Chad Richard is Senior Vice President of Business & Corporate Development at Yelp. Prior to Yelp, Chad was a Senior Director of Product Marketing at Apple and was also CEO and co-founder of consumer technology companies earlier in his career. In 2006 Chad co-founded Furthermore Wines which is located in Sebastopol and has a tasting lounge with live jazz on weekends in Healdsburg. Chad lives in Sonoma County with his wife and two kids and spends his free time playing jazz guitar in a band that he leads called Rainbow Jazz Collective.

Marcus Shelby, Artistic Director, is an accomplished composer, arranger, bandleader, bassist, and educator. He has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 2013. He has been resident artist director for San Francisco Jazz, artist in residence with Yerba Buena Gardens, and has served as the music director of the Healdsburg Freedom Jazz Choir and the Black History Month youth choir and ensemble. (He/him)

Gayle Okumura Sullivan, Executive Director, has over 15 years of experience directing marketing for a range of technology firms, from Fortune 500s to startups. She was instrumental in taking two of these companies public, Advent Software being the last. Gayle was the first dedicated marketer for Alonzo King LINES Ballet and she has taught marketing at Golden Gate University. Gayle has served on many boards, including the San Francisco Friends School. She grew up listening to jazz, her father was a jazz clarinetist (and orthopedic surgeon), and her son a beneficiary of the excellent HBG Jazz music education programs. She is the co-owner of Dry Creek Peach & Produce in Healdsburg. (She/her)

Kathy Taylor, Vice Chair, has a 20-year background in executive recruitment for Silicon Valley startups and has served on the board of directors for Upwardly Global in San Francisco. Kathy is a true leader in the community and she also serves on the Farm to Pantry and Russian Riverkeeper boards. Kathy has always loved music, and jazz, in particular, moves and guides her. (She/her)

Claudia Vecchio has been a resident of Sonoma County for six years. She moved to the area in October 2017 to take the role as CEO of Sonoma County Tourism (SCT). During a turbulent six years, Claudia and the team reshaped direction of SCT to become a destination stewardship organization, guided the industry through numerous natural and global crises, launched the “Life Opens Up” brand and completed a destination master plan. Music has been part of her life since the age of five when her father taught her to play the piano. Through the years, she played with organized jazz bands, swing choirs and jazz ensembles before realizing her playing was best kept within the confines of her living room. Welcome Claudia!

Founder

Jessica Felix. The three-day festival that Jessica established in 1999 evolved, with her leadership, into an acclaimed, year-round music-presenting and education organization with a national reputation for its capacity to present top jazz performers in a welcoming environment. By fostering close ties with non-profits, the business community, and area residents, Jessica strengthened Healdsburg Jazz’s long-term sustainability despite its distance from the urban centers that traditionally support jazz. Jessica began producing jazz in Northern California in 1980 and founded the Eddie Moore Festival and co-founded the Oakland-based organization Jazz in Flight. She founded the Healdsburg Jazz Festival in 1999 and retired in 2020.

Artistic Director

Marcus Shelby is an accomplished composer, bandleader, bassist, educator, and musical leader. Before his appointment as Artistic Director in October 2020, he worked closely with Healdsburg Jazz for years, guiding the Black History Month education program and directing the Freedom Jazz Choir, youth choir, and youth music ensemble. He has performed at the Festival, served on the Healdsburg Jazz board, and he has known founder Jessica Felix for over 30 years. His work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education. Marcus has served as artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, resident artist director for the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and has been on the San Francisco Arts Commission. Marcus has composed several oratorios and suites.

Education Coordinator

Stella Heath is delighted to join the Healdsburg Jazz team as Education Coordinator. Singing since the age of eight, Stella feels wholly blessed to be able to express herself through music and song, and to carry forth the torch of Jazz Music that she loves so dearly. She grew up in the North San Francisco Bay Area, went on to graduate from Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Acting and Cultural Geography from Syracuse University. She spent many years as a Shakespearean actress based out of New York City, where she began to sing Jazz again with the incredible Marjorie Eliot in Harlem. She moved to her home state of California in 2014, and began playing music full time. In 2019 she debuted The Billie Holiday Project, a historically-centered musical tribute to the great Lady Day. Stella has a passion for uncovering old musical gems from the library and music archives. She has a deep love for Jazz and its history, and believes it should be an integral part of American childhood curriculum. She is also a new mother of twins, a boy and a girl.

Operations

Josep Miàs i Miàs, an Arts and Culture Manager Specialist, believes in the capacity of art and culture to make a positive contribution to society, and he has a long commitment to this sector, both professionally and as a volunteer. His background includes several years of management of artistic and cultural top-ranked organizations in his hometown Barcelona and more recently in California. Music is an essential part of his life, both as a performer and composer, and as an eclectic and avid music listener. (He/him)

Office Manager

Michele Rahmn, Office Manager, has lived in Santa Rosa since 1984, and has years of office management experience. Being community minded, she has also held related positions as Director of Fund Development for Coffey Strong, assistant marketing administrator for Santa Rosa Salsa dance festivals, Director for Rebuild North Bay, and Director for Santa Rosa Parks Foundation. Growing up listening to jazz, especially Latin Jazz, with her grandfather, inspired her in later life to learn salsa dancing and perform. She now knows the power that music and dance has of bringing joy, healing, and connecting people of all ages.

Executive Director

Gayle Okumura Sullivan has been in Healdsburg for over 20 years and is acknowledged as an important and active leader in the community. She built a strong reputation as co-owner of nationally recognized Dry Creek Peach. Prior to which, she spent over 15 years in San Francisco and Silicon Valley leading marketing efforts for technology firms ranging from Fortune 500 companies like Hewlett-Packard to Advent Software. In the non-profit sector, Gayle was the first dedicated marketer for LINES Ballet in San Francisco. She has taught Marketing at Golden Gate University. Her son Patrick is a drummer and he got his start with Healdsburg Jazz. She is a firm believer in the transformative power of music and jazz.