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A.C.T. Appoints New Trustees

Syche Phillips December 8, 2021

A.C.T. Executive Director Jennifer Bielstein and Artistic Director Pam MacKinnon announced the appointment of seven members to their Board of Trustees—Schatzie Allen-Jefferson, Jill Cowan, Kathleen Donohue, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., Cristy Johnston Limón, Jomar Tagatac, and BD Wong. The seven new trustees join a board of 32 influential community leaders who provide strategic support for the continued growth and advancement of A.C.T.’s mission—to engage the spirit of the San Francisco Bay Area, activate stories that resonate, promote a diversity of voices and points of view, and empower theater-makers and audiences to celebrate liveness. 

"As Trustees, our role is to support and advance the mission of A.C.T. so it remains a treasure for the Bay Area,” says A.C.T. Board of Trustees Chair David Riemer and Board of Trustees President Robina Riccitiello. “We are excited to bring a number of wonderful new voices to our conversations by adding several artists, educators, small business owners, and seasoned board members to the A.C.T. Board of Trustees. BD, Cristy, Jill, Jomar, Kathleen, Rodney, and Schatzie are all talented leaders and we are lucky that they have chosen to bring their passion and commitment to our community."

Schatzie Allen-Jefferson has had a distinguished 35-year career. She continues a family entrepreneurial legacy as President of The Allen Group, LLC, a project and construction management firm founded by her mother, LaVerda Allen. Schatzie received a BA in Telecommunications from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communications. She spent the first 10 years of her career in television production, serving as Production Manager and Associate Producer for ABC News programs such as “20/20” and “Good Morning America,” and for Metromedia Studio including “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” “Diff’rent Strokes” and musical variety specials.

Jill Cowan launched her business career in New York City with the management consulting firm Jewell Jackson McCabe Associates. While there, Jill worked under founder Jewell Jackson McCabe and learned everything from fundraising and event planning to how to develop and implement employee volunteer programs for major corporations. In addition to being a busy mother of three, Jill has continued to work hard on behalf of children and her community and has been actively involved on many boards including: The San Francisco Boys and Girls Clubs, The Children’s Creativity Museum of San Francisco, The San Francisco YMCA, Pacific Primary Preschool and Slide Ranch. In addition to A.C.T., Jill is currently on the boards of Museum of African Diaspora, National Summer Search Board, San Francisco University High School.

A longstanding A.C.T. subscriber, Kathleen Donohue is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in San Mateo. For nearly a decade she served on the faculty at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education and Department of Psychology. After receiving her BA in English with Theater Studies at Yale, she went on to earn her MA and PhD in Clinical and Community Psychology at UC Berkeley. She is currently the Board Co-Chair at The Nueva School, where she helped lead the biennial Innovative Learning Conference and the Twenty-First Century Learning Task Force, which envisioned programming for the new high school. An Ambassador for KIPP Northern California, she served on the Transformation Fund Committee for Second Harvest of Silicon Valley.

Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. is the Artistic Director & Co-Founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre (SFBATCO). He made his Broadway debut in The Book of Mormon and was last seen at American Conservatory Theatre in the West Coast premiere of Toni Stone. Prior to that he traveled North America in the first national tour of Motown: The Musical. A San Francisco native who built his love and foundation for art and theatre in public city organizations such as SFArtsEd, San Francisco Recreation and Park’s Young People’s Teen Musical Theater Company, and the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts where he graduated from the theatre department. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.

Cristy Johnston Limón is the Executive Director at the Center for Social Sector Leadership at the Berkeley Haas School of Business where she leads social impact programs and partnerships that train and empower leaders and nonprofit organizations to advance social change. Cristy is a serial social sector leader having most recently held executive director roles at national poetry and spoken word organization Youth Speaks, Oakland-based performing arts organization Destiny Arts Center, and having founded and scaled an economic development nonprofit in San Francisco. Cristy speaks often about distributed leadership models, community engagement, diversity in recruitment, hiring, board engagement, and how to sustainably develop arts and cultural facilities and programming centered around connection and place keeping.

Jomar Tagatac was most recently seen as Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths and Mark in Art at San Francisco Playhouse, as well as DJ Loki in Today is My Birthday (Theater Mu). At American Conservatory Theater he played Mr. Botard in Rhinoceros and Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. Other credits at A.C.T include Playwright and others in Vietgone, Fortinbras in Hamlet, Fortunado in Monstress. Bay Area credits include George in The Language Archive (TheatreWorks); Actor 1 in King of the Yees, Actor 3 in Tiny Beautiful Things, Daniel in You Mean to Do Me Harm (San Francisco Playhouse); Quang in Vietgone, Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths (Capital Stage Company); Banquo in Macbeth, Jacques in As You Like It, Life is a Dream, and other roles in Everybody and The War of the Roses (CalShakes); The Happy Ones, and Dogeaters (Magic Theatre). Jomar is the recipient of a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Principal Actor in a Play, and TBA Award for Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from A.C.T.

Tony Award winner BD Wong has been seen in Bird Box, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Jurassic World, The Normal Heart, Focus, Mulan (1 & 2), The Salton Sea, Executive Decision, Seven Years in Tibet, Jurassic Park, Father of the Bride (1 & 2) and The Freshman. He received the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Theater World, Clarence Derwent, and Tony Awards for his Broadway debut in M. Butterfly—an achievement not yet duplicated by another actor. Recent television includes Wally in Comedy Central’s Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Whiterose in Mr. Robot (Emmy and Critic’s Choice nominations), Prof. Hugo Strange in Gotham, and Baldwin Pennypacker in American Horror Story. Other television includes Law & Order: SVUAll-American GirlOzAnd the Band Played On, and Awake. Other Broadway includes You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Pacific Overtures. Regional theater includes The Orphan of Zhao (A.C.T., La Jolla Playhouse), The Great Leap (A.C.T.), Herringbone (Williamstown Theatre Festival, McCarter Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse). He is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Following Foo: (the electronic adventures of the Chestnut Man) (Harper Entertainment). He has been honored by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian AIDS Project, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The Anti-Violence Project, Lambda Legal, Museum of Chinese in America, and Marriage Equality New York. He is a board member of The Actors’ Fund, and Rosie’s Theater Kids. BD Wong is a proud San Francisco native, a graduate of Lincoln High School, and holds an honorary MFA from American Conservatory Theater.

To see the full list of A.C.T.'s Board of Trustees, click here.