Sarah Finley is the co-founder of SASI (Social Arts and Science Institute), a consulting firm focused on social media training and employee advocacy. Sarah brings more than two decades of experience in marketing and professional services to her role as member of the Forklift Danceworks board. She also volunteers as a social venture partner at Greenlights, where she works with some of Austin’s most innovative non-profits to scale their organizations and solve our community’s biggest problems. Prior to SASI, Sarah led Dell efforts across multiple digital marketing disciplines and pioneered Dell’s Global Social CRM strategy for the Consumer business. Sarah has a law degree from GWU and a bachelor’s degree from UT-Austin. In her free time, she enjoys dancing wherever music is or isn’t playing, teaching yoga, and traveling the globe. Her twitter handle is @sarahfinley.
Michele Martell is the co-founder of the digital Event Cinema company The Bigger Picture and its family theatrical matinee program, Kidtoon Films, marketing and releasing more than 200 theatrical events, including groundbreaking live 3D cinecasts and gaming on the big screen. With a background in entertainment and intellectual property law, Michele has been part of the executive management teams for The Jim Henson Company, TNT, Cinedigm Entertainment and most recently was the head of Kids and Family Entertainment for the WWE.
In 2012, Michele helped established the first stereoscopic 3D film curriculum in the US, launching the UT3D film school program with the University of Texas, Austin, funded by the Moody Foundation, and currently serves on the Development Council for UT’s innovative Denius Sams Gaming Academy.
Raised in Los Alamos, NM, Michele obtained her JD from UCLA School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Pomona College. After many years in Los Angeles, Michele is thrilled to be back where the sky is as big as it should be. An avid participant in the many joys of Austin, she can be found instagramming the quirks of South 1st Street while searching for the perfect breakfast taco. Michele tweets @mjmartell & is on instagram @martellmichele.
Lisa Lee is part of the Butler Nonprofit Consulting team, which offers fundraising and organizational consulting services to Central Texas nonprofits. Lisa has been part of the Austin nonprofit community for nearly 20 years, working in professional fund development roles with organizations such as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, St. Edward’s University, Safeplace and the new Austin Children’s Museum, the Thinkery.
Lisa received an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from St. Edward’s University. She has served previously on the board of the Greater Austin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (including a term as president in 2006) and as treasurer of Austin Museum of Digital Art.
Lisa is a competitive masters rower, and can be found on Lady Bird Lake throughout the year training with her Texas Rowing Center teammates. Also big fan of social dance, Lisa knows just enough to be dangerous on a Latin or country dance floor.
Nancy currently works for local non-profit, Big Brothers Big Sisters leading the agency’s finance and operation functions. She is a CPA and has 20 years of accounting and operations experience from a wide range of nonprofit organizations and small businesses in the Austin area. She worked with several boards including at Texas Folklife Resources and The Nobelity Project and has served on the First Unitarian Universalist Church and North Austin Soccer Association boards as Treasurer.
Nancy earned her undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Ancient History from Rice University and has a Master of Public Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin. She has a love of learning and enjoys mastering new skills.
In her free time, Nancy enjoys cooking, creating art, and spending time outdoors. She and her husband live in central Austin and have three children. They enjoy being a foster family for kittens from the Austin Animal Center. Her first experience with Forklift was during their Austin Energy project. She loved seeing the pride of the dancers in their creative work.
Gillian Calley is the Chief of Staff at Double Line, Inc., an education technology firm dedicated to providing educators with data to monitor and improve K-12 student performance. At Double Line, she spearheaded the company’s marketing efforts at conferences like SXSWedu, Tennessee Educators Technology Conference and STATS – DC. Gillian is also a senior event producer and designer at 36th Street Events, where she brings over 10 years of event planning and management experience to each creative endeavor. Gillian is also an accomplished dancer, with dance experience dating back to 1988 (tap/ballet combo class at the ripe age of 2) that has inspired in her a passion for creative, meaningful movement. Over the last 28 years, Gillian has been involved in the dance community in and around Austin, including at Merge Dance Company, Hyline Dance Team, Alisa’s Dance Academy, Shirley McPhail’s School of Dance, Texas State Dance Department, Austin Community College Dance Department, and American College of Dance Festival Association. Gillian is a proud Austinite and considers it a privilege to raise two daughters in the city where she grew up.
Mirasol Enriquez is an independent film and media producer, editor, scholar, and cultural worker who has devoted her career to community building through film and the other arts. She holds a Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA, an M.A. in Cinema Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a B.A. in Feminist Studies from Stanford University. Her scholarship focuses on Latina film producers, media production culture, and representations of race and gender in media. She has been a Research Scholar for UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women and worked on numerous Chicana/o arts projects for the university’s Chicano Studies Research Center.
Mirasol’s industry experience includes serving as Director of Community Media at the Austin Film Society, where she oversaw the education programs and spearheaded the Community Media initiative at Austin Public, the community media center AFS manages for the city of Austin. She has also done work for Nielsen Media Research, The Sundance Institute, The National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and the Women in Film Foundation. Her joy comes from collaborating with independent artists to create socially/politically relevant media that empowers underrepresented populations. It also comes from spending time with her husband and daughter, who agreed to leave sunny California to be closer to her family in Texas.
Manuel Flores is Chief Popsocologist of Mom & Pops All Natural Frozen Pops, a company he co-founded in 2008. He grew up in the west Texas town of El Paso and graduated with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon. He has over 24 years of experience working in the environmental sustainability sector, and has worked for various local and state governments in both Texas and Washington State. He is an alum of Forklift Danceworks, having performed in Trees of Govalle while working as a horticulturist supervisor with the City of Austin, Urban Forestry Program.
As often as possible, Manuel enjoys camping with his children, playing & coaching volleyball, and enjoying the craft foods & spirits of Central Texas.
Dan is the founder and Executive Director of Coda Learning, a veteran-owned small business based in Austin that provides training and program development services nationwide. He has over 26 years’ experience leading the design and delivery of instructor-led and web-based continuing education programming across Texas higher education and state government. Community service through volunteerism is a priority for Dan, and he brings to the Forklift board over 15 years of experience supporting public education as a reading and math tutor at Austin ISD’s Partners in Education and Bryan ISD’s Help One Student to Succeed, serving on Texas Commission on the Arts grant review panels, and as Treasurer of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin’s Board of Trustees. His formal education includes a Master of Public Administration degree from UNT, and an undergraduate degree in music composition from North Texas State University’s School of Music where he studied experimental intermedia performance under Merrill Ellis and William Latham. The arts run deep in Dan’s family: his wife Sam is a fiber artist at Ping, and their son Jesse owns and operates Dai Due butcher shop and supper club, where locally sourced food is occasionally served with cartwheels and backflips by granddaughter Paloma.
Cybil is the VP of Donor Relations at the Austin Community Foundation where she develops strategies and systems to ensure clients have an exemplary experience. She works with the foundation team to connect donors with the causes they care about and to make a difference in the lives of Central Texans.
Cybil’s background is in Arts Education and Public Art. Most of her career has been spent developing experiences for Museum-goers. The work of Forklift resonates with her own creative endeavors, which have included public art projects in partnership with Capital Metro, a pedicab driver, and dancers on Segway scooters. She has been following Forklift since she moved to Austin in 2004, and remembers a mom and baby stroller project catching her eye early on. The intro sequence of Trash Dance brought her to tears, and she still can’t identify why. Her favorite Forklift memories include taking her kids to Trees of Govalle and Bartholomew Swims.
She lives in East Austin with her two elementary-age children, architect husband, and dog. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, and biking.
Julie Remde is a co-founder and producer at Palate Films, a video production company that focuses on food, travel and lifestyle branded content for the web and broadcast. She also works at Butler Nonprofit Consulting where she’s an associate consultant focused on fundraising. Previously, Julie worked at both Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. In her professional and personal life, Julie is the consummate project manager – moving everyone forward toward a common goal while navigating all the bumps along the way. She has a B.S. from Santa Fe University of Art & Design, a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law, and is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Austin Emerge. She and her husband Christian have one daughter, Lucy, who makes them most proud when she takes a Star Wars book to bed at night. Julie’s been dancing as long as she can remember. Current performances can be seen during her daily commute as she spices up Austin traffic.
Allen is a Distribution Director at Austin Energy (AE). His main role at AE is overseeing the design and construction of electric service in the south part of Austin and downtown. He has been with AE since graduating the University of Texas, and was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. That’s right – he moved to Austin and never left.
Allen first came across Forklift Danceworks at Austin Energy by performing in PowerUp and then in Play Ball on Historic Downs Field. In both shows, he performed poetry pieces he wrote specifically for them. Allen has been performing spoken word poetry in Austin and across the nation, and has competed in the National Poetry Slam competition.
Allen also enjoys watching most sports, especially college football, attending poetry events, and live music. And dancing? He can dance, but not with a forklift.
Heath joined King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in May 2015 as the first Center Manager of the Upstream Petroleum Engineering Research Center. KAUST is a graduate research university located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Between 2006-2015, Heath managed fundraising and corporate relationship activities for the University of Texas at Austin, first as Associate Director for Corporate Relations in the Engineering Foundation, and most recently as the Director of External Relations for the Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering. Before joining the University, Heath worked for Skillpoint Alliance (formerly Capital Area Training Foundation), an Austin-based nonprofit with the mission of improving workforce systems in Central Texas. From 1998-2000, he coordinated Research Programs for The Center for Laser and Photonics Research at Oklahoma State University.
A graduate of Leadership Austin (2005-6) and 2009 McBee Fellow in the Austin Area Research Organization, Heath served on boards for the Austin Museum of Digital Art, Manor Education Foundation and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation. Heath graduated from Oklahoma State University with BA and MA degrees in English, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
Heath and his wife Kimberly live on the coast of the Red Sea north of Jeddah, and have been seen doing happy dances when they master a new word in Arabic.
Jennifer Wijangco joined the stellar team of the Houston Grand Opera in late 2014 to lead the Opera’s individual giving program. Prior to her work at HGO, Jennifer was Senior Head of Advancement for the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio where she oversaw development and membership, PR and marketing, public programs and visitor centers. Previously, Jennifer worked as the Director of Development for Leadership Austin and as the Director of Development of Arthouse at the Jones Center (now The Contemporary Austin) and Deputy Director of the Texas Cultural Trust. Before joining the nonprofit world, Jennifer worked in corporate financial planning and analysis.
A native Texan, born and raised in Houston, Jennifer graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1998 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, major in Finance, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art, major in Art History. In 2005 she completed a Masters of Arts in Arts Management, with a Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from the University of Oregon.
In addition to serving on the Board of Forklift Danceworks since January 2012, Jennifer also volunteers with the Ducks Alumni Recruiting Team at the University of Oregon and is the founder and editor of Beautypendence, an Austin and San Antonio-based beauty blog. Never one to sit still, Jennifer is also a movie buff, restaurant aficionado, college football fan and Formula 1 groupie.