Board of Directors

Michele Martell

Board President

Martell Media House

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Michele Martell is an attorney who has worked extensively in the entertainment, consumer products and technology space. Her consultancy firm, Martell Media House, provides business and legal affairs guidance for clients across a spectrum of industries – from film & TV to toys & games to Internet of Things and Big Data. She got her start at The Jim Henson Company, and has worked with brands ranging from My Little Pony to Mr. Men to the WWE.

In 2012, Michele helped establish the first Immersive Media (3D/VR/AR) film program in the US, at the University of Texas at Austin, and serves on the Advisory Council for the Denius Sams Videogame Academy at UT Austin.

Michele is licensed by the State Bars of California and Texas, and divides her time between Austin, TX and Los Angeles, CA.

Michele tweets at @martell_media and documents her Austin experience on Instagram at @martellmichele.

Headshot of Board Member Cybil Guess

Cybil Guess

Board Vice President

Austin Community Foundation

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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.

Headshot of Forklift Danceworks Board Member Manuel Flores

Manuel Flores

Board Secretary

La Orxateria / Mom & Pops All Natural Frozen Pops

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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.

Adriana Graf

Board Treasurer

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Adriana Graf attended Austin College in Sherman, TX and earned a B.A. in Business Administration. She went on to the University of Texas and received her Master of Professional Accounting degree. She obtained her CPA license and worked for public accounting firms and in industry for a total of 15 years. She has spent the bulk of the last 20 years raising her two children, who are now both in college. During their school years she served as treasurer for the elementary and middle school PTAs as well as the treasurer for the high school band boosters. Adriana’s hobbies include exercising, traveling, cooking, spending times outdoors, and binge-watching a good Netflix series. Her favorite times are spent with family and friends.

Headshot of Forklift Danceworks Board President Sarah Finley

Sarah Finley

Outgoing Board President

Social Arts and Science Institute

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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.

Allison Dancy

OneTouchPoint

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Allison Dancy is Chief Marketing Officer of OneTouchPoint, a national marketing services company headquartered in Wisconsin. She is responsible for the strategic direction and execution of all aspects of marketing in support of the company’s technology transformation and growth goals.

With more than 20 years of experience working in a variety of tech roles, Allison is a transformational leader with expertise in building high performing teams. She has held a variety of leadership roles in sales, partner channels, strategic alliances and marketing for companies such as IBM/Lotus Development, OpenText/Vignette and goTransverse.

Originally from the Midwest, Allison has called Austin home for the past many years. She is an avid traveler and has spent time living and studying in France and Japan, and backpacking around the world. She loves food, live music, hiking and biking the trails, and traveling to cooler places in the summertime. She does not miss winter. She is married and has two sons.

Alejandra Hamlet

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Alejandra (Ale) Hamlet was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Mexico. She has a B.A. in Business Administration with a Minor in International Marketing and upon graduating, pursued a graduate degree in the US. She received her MBA from Illinois State University with a focus on International Business. After graduation Ale moved to Austin, TX, where she worked for Dell Computers in the areas of Marketing and Global Programs. Ale left Corporate America to raise her 3 children with her husband John. For the last 16 years, Ale has been involved in her children’s school as a Pre-K teacher. She is also as an active member of the school’s PTA, with roles ranging from Committee Chair of various committees to PTA President. One of Ale’s passions is the education of adult immigrants. Ale created an ESL program for her church, and has replicated this program at over a dozen churches around Austin. Ale loves spending time feeding her family and friends around the kitchen table. She loves to travel, sail and serve her community.

Headshot of Forklift Danceworks Board Secretary Lisa Lee

Lisa Lee

Beacon Nonprofit Consulting

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Lisa Lee is part of the Beacon 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.

Billy Owens

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Advisory Board

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Billy Owens is a native East Austin resident and longtime community leader. After graduating from LBJ High School, he attended Henderson County Jr. College in East Texas and then joined the United States Football League in San Antonio to play football professionally. He left football to join the Lockheed Corporation in Austin, where he worked as a manager from 1984 – 1995. In 1996, he joined Motorola for four years as a Materials Specialist, running their warehouse. He moved to San Antonio in 2000 to work for the Boeing Corporation until retiring in 2007.

Billy now lives in Austin in the home he grew up in and is on the leadership council for the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he has been a member for over 50 years. In 2017, he was appointed a Commissioner to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Advisory Board by CM Ora Houston and was reappointed by CM Harper-Madison in 2019. He is an active member and former president of the Stonegate Neighborhood Association, where he advocates for neighborhood preservation.

Billy grew up playing sports at Givens Recreation Center and was a lifeguard at Givens Pool from 1974 – 1978. His mother, Queen Owens, was the pool manager at Givens for over 10 years. He performed in Givens Swims as one of the old-school lifeguards.

Jack Sanders

Design, Build, Adventure

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Jack received his master of architecture degree from The University of Texas at Austin and his bachelor of architecture degree from Auburn University. His senior thesis, The Newbern Baseball Club, represented the Rural Studio at the 2002 Whitney Biennial in New York. Jack’s work at the Rural Studio has been exhibited worldwide and is featured in the books, “Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency” and “Proceed and Be Bold: The Rural Studio After Mockbee” — both published by the Princeton Architectural Press.

Jack co-produced a feature-length documentary on Samuel Mockbee and his influence on the education of young architects. Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival in 2010 and has since broadcast nationally on PBS, as well as at universities, museums and theaters around the world.

Jack has been a visiting lecturer and studio instructor at Auburn University’s Rural Studio, Mississippi State University and The University of Texas at Austin. He also has led design-build projects with students in Portland, Oregon, and in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

He and his wife, Ann Tucker of Studio A Group, live in Austin with their two children, Mary Vance and Tuck.

Headshot of Forklift Danceworks Ex Officio Board Member Heath Hignight

Heath Hignight

Ex Officio Board Member

Colorado Rocky Mountain School

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Heath joined Colorado Rocky Mountain School as the Director of Development in July 2019. Between 2015-2019, he lived in Saudi Arabia at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), serving as the first Center Manager of the Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center. Starting in 2006, 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 Hildebrand Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering. Before joining the University, Heath worked for Skillpoint Alliance (formerly Capital Area Training Foundation), a nonprofit focusing on improving Central Texas workforce systems. While at Skillpoint and CATF, Heath served as the Director the Semiconductor Executive Council, Vice President of Youth, College & Career Services, and finally Chief Operations Officer.

A graduate of Leadership Austin (2005-6) and 2009 Austin Area Research Organization McBee Fellow, Heath has worked as a consultant and invited review panelist for the National Science Foundation and various Central Texas workforce councils, committees, and program teams. Outside of his professional activities, Heath enjoys serving on nonprofit boards such as Forklift Danceworks, Austin Museum of Digital Art, Manor Education Foundation and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation, as well as steering committees for SEMI and Capitol BEST Robotics. Heath graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts, English in 1995, and Master of Arts, English in 1998. Heath is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

Heath was born and raised in Oklahoma, with deep family roots reaching back to early settlers venturing to “Indian Territory” for the land runs organized at the end of the 19th century on one side of his family, and Native American heritage on the other. Heath married Kimberly Draper of Houston in 2009, a designer of original jewelry and furniture. Kimberly is a Baylor graduate and a member of the Ottawa Tribe in northeastern Oklahoma.

Headshot of Forklift Danceworks Board Member Julie Remde

Julie Remde

Ex Officio Board Member

Palate Films

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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 Small

Ex Officio Board Member

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Allen first came across Forklift Danceworks when he was working at Austin Energy. He wrote and performed three original poetry pieces as a part of PowerUp. He was then asked to write, perform, and be a play-by-play announcer in Play Ball on Historic Downs Field. After being a part of Forklift for these two fantastic productions, Allen served on the Forklift Board of Directors for four wonderful years from 2015 to 2019.

Allen retired from Austin Energy in 2019 after working there for over 27 years. A graduate of the University of Texas, he was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Allen enjoys time with his wife Christine and their three dogs (Cami, Charlie, and Cooper). Allen enjoys watching sports, especially college football and baseball, and attending spoken word poetry events. He has performed spoken word poetry in Austin and across the nation, and has competed in many poetry slams. And after all these great years with Forklift Danceworks, Allen has danced, worked, but has never driven a forklift.

Jennifer Wijangco

Ex Officio Board Member

YES Prep Public Schools

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Jennifer Wijangco is the Director of Major Gifts at YES Prep Public Schools, a public charter school district in Houston. Her previous development roles were at Houston Grand Opera, Briscoe Western Art Museum, Leadership Austin, Arthouse at the Jones Center (now The Contemporary Austin), and 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 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, major in Finance, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art, major in Art History. She also completed a Masters of Arts in Arts Management, with a Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from the University of Oregon.

In addition to board service with Forklift Danceworks since January 2012, Jennifer also volunteers with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Dress for Success Houston, and Ducks Alumni Recruiting Team at the University of Oregon. She also serves on the Women’s Impact Initiative Committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Never one to sit still, Jennifer is a voracious consumer of opera, plays, movies, F1, and college football, and if at home, often while crocheting.