Board of Directors

Want to help shape our future?  CounterPulse is looking for new members to join our Board of Directors who want to contribute their passion and vision to the organization.

To apply, submit your application through this online form. For questions, please contact Jeanne Pfeffer, Development Manager,

About Board Service

CounterPulse is unique in that it combines the vibrancy and energy of a small arts organization with the professionalism of a much larger institution. Consequently, board meetings are warm, convivial, and enjoyable, while also being extremely efficient. Each board member has the opportunity to utilize his or her creativity and skills to serve the organization, while receiving the support and guidance of a highly professional staff.

Board participation includes both “big picture” thinking and “hands on” work, and there are many opportunities for members to engage with the organizations and the artists that we support. Board members represent CounterPulse to the community– sharing information about our programs and events, attracting new supporters and donors. They also represent the community to CounterPulse — ensuring that multiple perspectives are recognized, and that the organization is constantly responsive to the constituency it serves.


CounterPulse Board of Directors

Juliette Acker

Juliette Acker photo

Juliette Acker is an educator and a visual artist. She teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages for  Rosetta Stone and has worked for educational institutions around the world including Polytechnic Institute  of New York University, the Methodist University of Sao Paulo, the University of Cape Town, among other  universities. She also provides management expertise to artists and creative businesses in the Bay Area and  Washington, DC. She’s passionate about the arts as a means for social change. She enjoys hiking, sewing,  and traveling.

Doug Benson

Doug Benson is a software exec with a long history in the tech side of the visual arts. As co-founder and COO at Lanica, Inc. he helped create a new platform for mobile game development and interactive apps. As Sr. Director of Product Development at Adobe, he was at various times responsible for Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe Edge Animate, Fireworks, Dreamweaver and FreeHand, as well as multiple start-up projects. He is passionate about software design, visual creativity, writing, music and his family.



Kush Amerasinghe


Kush is currently a futurist/scientist at Adobe exploring and experimenting with cutting edge and future creative tools and technologies.  He is also a multi-disciplinary artist keen on connecting dots across seemingly unrelated fields with a strong background in fusing art, technology and the business of digital media, spanning across several industries with many fast paced years of experience working in 6 countries across 3 continents.

He is in constant lookout for impact-full opportunities for doing good such as playing the role of a Project director in the Adobe pro-bono program, a volunteer for Adobe Youth Voices, a technology adviser for a global innovative environmental conservation initiative, an emerging technologies consultant for an aviation company based in France, Co-creator of a social mindfulness app for meaningful inter personal connections, and many other initiatives aimed at empowering the world through technology and creativity.


Dress (a.k.a. Dave Wedding Dress) has been an activist for peace and justice for nearly 30 years, working with non-hierarchical groups on direct action projects to stop war and injustice, and bring more equality and balance to the lives of poor and oppressed peoples. In 1982, dress joined Livermore Action Group, where he learned about using non-violent resistance and organizing. He has worked with numerous peace and justice groups, such as Food Not Bombs, Abalone Alliance, Rocky Flats Truth Force, Earth First!  His personal action for over 25 years has been to wear dresses with no affectation, embracing the feminine within publicly.  He enjoys playing saxophone and clarinet as part of the Funky Nixons, a political satire rock-and-roll band. He’s also a member of the Brass Liberation Orchestra, SF’s infamous progressive marching band. He enjoys jam sessions wherever and whenever possible, especially around a campfire.  dress is an active member in Reclaiming, an earth-based spiritual activist group for which he has helped organize numerous events, including the Spiral Dance and Witchlets in the Woods.

Laura Elaine Ellis

Board Chair

Laura Elaine Ellis is a dancer, choreographer and producer. Presently, she is the Executive Director of the Young Saints Scholarship Foundation and the Executive Director of the African and African American Performing Arts Coalition (AAAPAC) – a San Francisco based, non-profit organization, founded in 1995 by a collective of artists looking to create better performance opportunities for and produce shows that reflect the aesthetic and cultural representation of Africans and African Americans. As AAAPAC’s executive director, Laura Elaine Ellis has co-produced successful events such as the Labor of Love Dance Series, The Quilt Project: Pieces of Me, and currently the Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now. The Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now is a community event of dance concerts, symposia, mentoring programs and workshops celebrating the legacy and artistry of African and African American choreographers.Funding awards for AAAPAC projects include: The Creative Work Fund, The Irvine Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, The San Francisco Foundation, the Walter & Elise Haas Fund and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

Connie Marie Gaglio

Lines Gala 2010[2] - Version 8

Dr. Gaglio, a former entrepreneur, has been involved in teaching entrepreneurship as a means to economic self-sufficiency for over twenty years. She has held positions at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and San Francisco State University. In addition, she has lectured in Sweden, England, and France giving master classes on curriculum design Her innovative curriculum designs received awards from the international association of entrepreneurship educators.  Her research has been published in the key academic journals including Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice and Small Business Economics.

Dr. Gaglio has been involved in dance all her life, continues to take ballet class daily. She strongly believes that the nonverbal characteristic of art truly expresses the fundamental truths about being human and consequently, art is the best bridge across almost all kinds of human differences. Furthermore, she feels one of the major purposes for art in our lives is to help us develop new sides to ourselves, uncover new insights and new ways to make sense of our lives and the world around us.

Her previous pro-bono work includes developing advertising and marketing plans for the Chicago Children’s Museum and assisting in the development of a direct marketing campaign for the San Francisco Ballet (pre-Helgi days), and is now coordinating the gift shop for Peninsula Ballet Theatre.

Anne Ho

Board Secretary

Anne Ho is the Managing Attorney at CREATE Legal, a law firm serving individuals and organizations in the arts and entertainment industries. Anne is also a professional commercial actor and model, appearing in theater, film, television, industrials, and print.  She previously worked as a Law Fellow at California Lawyers for the Arts on its Legal Referral Services team.

Anne has significant experience in the areas of research, analytics, and consulting with concentrations in the fields of international economic law, international development, and corporate governance. Past employment include stints at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and EMpower: The Emerging Markets Foundation. Prior to obtaining her graduate degrees, Anne worked for Blue Shield of California where she advised employer group clients on managed care plan design and utilization.

Anne received her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. and M.B.A. from University of San Francisco. She is currently pursuing her M.L.A. from Stanford University.

Seth Meisler 

Seth Meisler is an Architect / Senior Associate with the San Francisco office of Perkins+Will. His 30 year career has focused on the creation of innovative and collaborative science and technology research spaces locally and around the world. A passionate designer, he believes in the arts and architecture as a means of social influence. In addition to his service on the CounterPulse board, Seth is the local leader of Perkins+Will’s Social Responsibility Initiative which has completed pro bono design work for local institutions including the Uptown Tenderloin Museum and SOMArts.

Kate Patterson-Murphy

Kate Patterson-Murphy received her BA in Art History from Smith College in 2000. Prior to joining the Arts Commission where she overseespublic relations and community outreach, Kate was Manager of Public Relations & Marketing at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. From 2003 to 2005, she was the Marketing & Sales Manager at Acoustiguide Inc., a leading interpretive audio and multimedia tour company. She has also worked at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, South Street Seaport Museum, the Vorpal Gallery and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery.

Antoaneta Petkova, Ph.D

Board Treasurer

Antoaneta Petkova is an Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at San Francisco State University, where she teaches MBA and undergraduate classes in strategic management. Her research focuses on strategies that young entrepreneurial organizations use to solicit resources and support from critical stakeholders.



Beth L. Schecter

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Beth L. Schecter, MPH, MBA is a nonprofit consultant specializing in Executive Staff Transitions, executive coaching, program development, and board governance and leadership. She has over 20 years of executive management experience and approaches her work with clarity, calmness, and a practical approach to addressing most nonprofit challenges. Beth has served in an interim CEO or Deputy Director position for five organizations in the last three years. While in this role she tackles many staffing, fundraising and board governance issues while she prepares the organization for new leadership.

Before she began consulting in 2010, she served as the Director of the Peninsula Region of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, providing numerous programs from early childhood through seniors. She served as the Executive Director of three non-profits – Center for Human Development, New Connections, and Community Violence Solutions. She has extensive fundraising experience and is well versed in negotiating and collaborating with foundations and government entities. She also served as Director of Business Development for WestEd, a leading national education research and development firm, and Director of New Business for United Behavioral Health, a for-profit managed health care company.

She has served on approximately eight regional committees, task forces and Boards.

Beth holds a BS in Health Science, MPH in school and community health and MBA in organizational leadership.

Judith Zissman

Judith Zissman is the founder and principal of Apicule, a product strategy consultancy. She works with startups and established companies in a variety of industries to develop and bring new products to market. She particularly enjoys projects with a focus on sustainable design, innovation and community development. Judith also works as a visual artist, and enjoys cooking, reading, and time with her mischievous dog, Lyle.




Former Members of the Board

Edward Grant is a photographer, producer, and co-owner of spaceB gallery in Oakland, California. He is on the advisory board of sorvillo/blindsight, a dance company, and has previously served on the board of ZZYZYVA magazine and on the Joffery Ballet San Francisco support board.

Cole Krawitz is a writer and a poet whose work has appeared in such publications as Tidal Basin Review, Connotation Press, Zeek, OCHO,Newsday and The Forward. A Lambda Fellow, he received an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. He has been a Lecturer in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People Program at University of California, Berkeley and the MA in English Program at Holy Names University. He has also been a contributing host on “Beyond the Pale: A Progressive Jewish Radio Hour” on WBAI in New York, and was the founder of Cole also has many years of experience in the non-profit sector, including in communications and event production and promotion. He was recently commissioned by the Queer Cultural Center through the Creating Queer Communities Grant to produce an event for the 2011 National Queer Arts Festival. Cole currently works at The San Francisco Foundation as the Public Affairs and Communications Online Specialist, and as an independent communications consultant. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Jez Kuono`ono Lee moved to the Bay Area in 1999 from Hawai`i became deeply involved in the local arts scene, specifically working within the Asian Pacific Islander and Queer communities. Both performing with dance and theater companies and working behind the scenes to promote the arts, Lee has served as Director of Asian American Dance Performances, as a Board Member of Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, as a member of the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee, and as an Advisory Member of Circo Zero and Fresh Meat Productions. Lee’s own artwork has recently included participation with the 24 Hour Show and twincest, and through engagement with the sex-positive community through companies such as Pink & White Productions, Center for Sex & Culture, Transmarch, and Femina Potens. Through a myriad of projects, Lee cultivates queer/gender and multi-cultural artistic growth and looks to further artists’ ability to self-promote their work through technological accessibility.

Alan Millar is currently designing next-generation user interfaces for Autodesk, one the world’s leading developers of architectural, engineering, media and entertainment design software. Alan earned his B.A. degree in Entertainment Management Production and Promotion at San Francisco State University while working in marketing, ambiance and stage production for Bill Graham Presents. He founded, a non-profit arts organization focused on presenting new performance works in traditional and site-specific settings. The following year Alan co-founded The LAB with a group of interdisciplinary artists from SFSU’s Center for Interdisciplinary Arts. Alan was the The LAB’s founding Executive Director. He was the Executive Director of Capp Street Project and the founding Events Manager at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He was a board member of the National Association of Artists Organizations (NAAO), a site visitor and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts; and as a panelist for the California Arts Council and the Isadora Duncan awards.

Patrick Simms is owner of Patrick Simms Music Studios. He has worked as an audio engineer in over a dozen San Francisco nightclubs, including his own (theICAN Gallery), which formerly occupied the current Counter Pulse location. Simms has been involved in the singer/songwriter community as performer, booker, recordist and producer. The ICAN Gallery was his attempt to create a space for musicians, visual artists and filmmakers. Simms is the founder of the Independent Community Arts Network (ICAN Gallery), a 10 year member of the Mid Market PAC Committee, a member of AFM Local 6 where he has operated the recording studio there since 1999, and one of the co-hosts and assistant program director of the People In Plazas noon summer concerts series since 2000.

Catherine Moller Spaulding is City Performance Deputy Director at the City and County of San Francisco Controller’s Office.   Her role is to help the City improve outcomes and efficiencies in public health, nonprofit service delivery, children and youth programs, and human services.  She is responsible for the planning and execution of analytical and technical assistance projects.  She presents findings and recommendations to the public, oversight bodies, and elected officials, as well as serves on citywide advisory committees and task forces.

Vidya Sundaram is an actress, bharatnatyam dancer, writer, producer and non-profit professional. She has performed with many Bay Area theater groups including Eastenders, Theater Rhino and PianoFight Productions. Vidya is currently developing a one-woman show about Indian temple dancers. Vidya is a member of Kala Vandana Dance Company and Kalanjali Dances of India. She has organized successful fundraising efforts for education and arts nonprofit organizations. Currently, Vidya is a media consultant, producing educational videos for underserved communities. Once upon a time, she was a software engineer after graduating from Stanford with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After completing her MBA and masters in public policy, she worked in both nonprofit development and venture capital. She is proud to serve as an advisor for Bay Area non-profits …Ad Still…, Education Pioneers and Woodfish Institute.