Leadership: Board of Directors

Mike Farrah, Leo Villareal, Will Roger Peterson, Jennifer Raiser, David Walker, Michael Mikel, Crimson Rose, Chip Conley, Kay Morrison, Larry Harvey, Marian Goodell, Rae Richman, Harley K. DuBois, Christopher Weitz, Terry "Lightning" Gross, Mercedes Martinez, Christopher Bently

Mike Farrah, Leo Villareal, Will Roger Peterson, Jennifer Raiser, David Walker, Michael Mikel, Crimson Rose, Chip Conley, Kay Morrison, Larry Harvey, Marian Goodell, Rae Richman, Harley K. DuBois, Christopher Weitz, Terry “Lightning” Gross, Mercedes Martinez, Christopher Bently

Christopher Bently

Christopher Bently moved to San Francisco in 1984 where he immediately developed a deep love for the city, its architecture, and its people. Today he is an avid environmentalist, musician and businessman with an affinity for foreign languages and travel. In 2001 he and his wife, Amber Marie Bently founded Bently Holdings, an environmentally conscious, investment and holding company focused on architecturally significant and historic buildings as well as preserving open land.Working to maintain the harmonic balance between nature and civilization also prompted the endeavor of Bently Biofuels, which produces biodiesel processed from waste vegetable oil for consumer and agricultural use. It was his first voyage to Black Rock City that revolutionized his life. The Playa is where he learned of a community based solely on gifting, art, music, self reliance and love. This profound experience prompted a major course correction in his life and made him the awarded philanthropist he is today. He advises and sits on the board of several organizations both for and nonprofit that are associated with preserving the environment or the arts. Chris is a very proud member of the communities of San Francisco and Black Rock City always working to improve,
maintain and merge the spirit and integrity of both.

Chip Conley

Hospitality guru. Author. Speaker. Traveling philosopher.

The founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JDV), for 24 years Chip created more boutique hotels than anyone on the planet. Starting JDV at age 26 with no industry experience, he was on a mission to “create joy” and transformed his first inner city motel into the second largest boutique hotel brand in the world.

The author of four books, Chip shared his prescription for success in PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow, based on Abraham Maslow’s iconic Hierarchy of Needs. In his latest New York Times bestseller, EMOTIONAL EQUATIONS: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success, he places meaning at the top of the balance sheet. Chip presents his theories – in business and in life – to audiences around the world, including the main stage at TED.

The San Francisco Business Times named Chip the Most Innovative CEO in the Bay Area. He received a BA and MBA from Stanford University and holds an Honorary Doctorate in Psychology from Saybrook University, where he is the 2012/2013 Scholar-Practitioner in residence. Chip serves on the Boards of the Burning Man Project, Esalen Institute, and Youth Speaks.

In 2013, Chip launched Fest300 where he shares his passion for world travel, cultures, and festivals. And he joined Airbnb as Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, where he’s sharing his proven methods with hundreds of thousands of hosts in nearly 200 countries. His adventures can be found on his blog at Fest300.

Harley K. Dubois

Chief Transition Officer, Burning Man
Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

As a co-founder of Burning Man and founding board member of Burning Man Project, Harley K. Dubois possesses nearly 20 years of project management, art facilitation and city planning experience.

She is the Chief Transition Officer of the 501c-3 Burning Man Project, and currently oversees the complex transition of the Burning Man for-profit event production company into a subsidiary under the non-profit. Harley is also a founding member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, where she created the Grants to Artist program and acts as the foundation’s liaison with Burning Man Project.

Harley has received extensive education in the visual and performing arts, and at one time served as a San Francisco fire fighter.

Mike Farrah

Michael Farrah has worked in government and politics at the municipal, state and national levels for the last 20 years. Farrah has worked as an advisor to public officials including San Francisco Mayors Edwin Lee, Gavin Newsom, and Frank Jordan, San Francisco Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier, Bill Maher, Angela Alioto, Annemarie Conroy, and Barbra Kaufman, and United States Congressman Tom Lantos.

In 2004, Farrah traveled to the Black Rock Desert and experienced Burning Man for the first time. The immersion in community and the arts altered his life in ways that he never imagined possible; it fundamentally changed the way that he viewed government and its responsibility to the arts and changed his perceptions about how community could be built.

He has previously served on the Board of the Arab Culture and Community Center in San Francisco. He is married to Maya Draisin and lives in Manhattan, New York with his sons Finnegan and Elijah Farrah.

Matt Goldberg

Matt Goldberg was named Senior Vice President of Global Market Development at QVC, Inc. in October 2013. With more than 20 years of experience in global business development, new market expansion, strategy and operations, Goldberg is responsible for driving QVC’s overall global market expansion for the nearly $9 billion multichannel retail organization.

Previously, Matt served in a number of leadership positions in media and technology, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Lonely Planet Publications Pty. Ltd where he focused on the transformation of the business and driving the geographic expansion into China, India, Brazil, and Russia. He also worked at Dow Jones & Company, where his various responsibilities included the chief operating role for The Wall Street Digital Network, including WSJ.com, MarketWatch, Barrons.com and All Things Digital. Mr. Goldberg held several positions at Bertelsmann, Inc. in New York, rising to senior director, U.S. business development. He previously served as Director of strategic planning for the Illinois Housing Development Authority in Chicago; as Campaign Officer for the Liberty Party of Australia; and as an Assistant to the Governor of Illinois.

Matt serves as an advisor and board member for a number of non-profits, including The Conversation Media Group in Melbourne Australia, Cornell University Council in Ithaca NY, and previously Winning Workplaces in Evanston, IL.

Matt earned his Bachelor’s degree in English from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in International Relations from The University of Melbourne,  and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Matt has been attending Burning Man since 2003.

Marian Goodell

CEO, Burning Man
Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

As the organization’s recently named first CEO, Marian oversees Burning Man’s year-round staff of 65 employees and its annual operating budget of approximately $30 million.

Marian first attended the event in 1995 and has been a leader in its production since 1997 when she co-founded the Burning Man organization. Since then, she has developed the Burning Man Regional Network, was the organization’s first Communications Director, and became a founding board member of the Burning Man Project, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and Black Rock Solar. Marian is currently leading her organization’s efforts to facilitate and extend the Burning Man ethos globally.

Terry Gross

Terry has engaged in significant complex litigation on behalf of private clients and civil liberties organizations for over 25 years. He has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer from that recognitions inception. He has an extensive focus on the changing face of copyright, trademark and media law in the digital age and in matters of intellectual property. As General Counsel to Burning Man, the internationally known arts festival, he has negotiated, advised and litigated numerous trademark, copyright and privacy matters on its behalf, including a successful defense of a lawsuit challenging the events major trademarks. Terry also represents authors, artists, performers and their agents in negotiating contracts for publication, performance, and sale of motion picture and television rights.

Larry Harvey

Chief Philosophic Officer, Burning Man
President and Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

In 1986, Larry Harvey was inspired to build a sculpture of a man with his friends, and burn it on beach in San Francisco. Nearly three decades on, this manifestation of a creative impulse, and the annual event that it has become, has changed the course of modern history: Burning Man is now a world-renowned cultural movement.

Larry has been involved with the growth of Burning Man at every stage. He also co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and was the Co-Chair of Burning Man Arts. He currently serves as the Chief Philosophic Officer of Burning Man, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a year-round staff of 65 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $30 million.

Larry scripts and co-curates Burning Man’s annual art theme, and collaborates with artists in creating aspects of the art theme and the design of Black Rock City and the iconic Man sculpture.

As a recognized visionary and steward of a remarkable creative culture, Larry speaks frequently around the world at notable institutes of higher learning in the humanities and business, and other cultural crossroads. He has spoken at Harvard University, The Commonwealth Club of California, The Economist World In Conference, London’s Southbank Centre, Austin’s South by Southwest conference, and was interviewed on Charlie Rose in 2014.

Mercedes Martinez

Mercedes Martinez followed a career as a teacher and performer with work in film production. She has combined the most challenging aspects of all three in her latest vocation, parenting. She currently serves on the boards of  Homeboy Industries and Seven Arrows Elementary School.

Michael Mikel

Co-Founder, Burning Man
Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

An avid futurist with an interest in technology and social communities, Michael Mikel joined Burning Man in 1988 and initialized much of Burning Man’s progress over the years. In 1992 he drove the first art car to Burning Man, founded the Black Rock Rangers, and edited the first on-site newspaper. In 1995, he developed the logo design which has become the symbol of the Burning Man community. In 1997, he launched containerized storage and transport for the Burning Man festival with the acquisition of the first shipping container. In 2001 he visited regional communities across the US during his Tour of America as an ambassador for Burning Man. In 2008, he managed the development of Burning Man’s presence in the virtual world of the online game Second Life.

He has also been involved with many San Francisco social, cultural and technology institutions. He was a founding member of San Francisco’s Cacophony Society, and also a crew member of the machine performance group, Survival Research Labs. During the 1970′s his Silicon Valley career began in the early days of the personal computer as an electro-mechanical systems engineer for Fairchild Semiconductor. During the early 1980s he was a consultant to Caltrans doing research on intelligent freeway systems in Los Angeles. Branching into automated systems in the mid-1980s, he developed the first robotic assembly line for Apple Computer’s Fremont plant in 1986. In 1988 he was a co-founder of Jasmine Technology, the first technology company to be located within San Francisco’s city limits. As a content contributor and social catalyst, he was influential to many local technology startups, including Wired, Laughing Squid, Boing Boing and the Internet Archive.

He has contributed printed and written material to the Cacophony Society archive in the San Francisco Main Library, and also to the Burning Man archive in the Bancroft Library in Berkeley. Within the Burning Man community, he is best known by his playa persona: Danger Ranger.

Kay Morrison

For well over a decade Kay Morrison has been honing her skills in nonprofit and for profit community business development. She has worked for: the Seattle affiliate and the National office of NPower, a nonprofit organization that brings information technology services to nonprofits; Static Factory, a for profit artist support business; Shunpike, a nonprofit fiscal sponsorship organization for small to mid range nonprofits, Currently she works at Stopsky’s Delicatessen, a community focused Jewish Delicatessen just outside of Seattle. In 2005 she helped found Ignition Northwest, a 501c3 organization whose mission is to foster radical self-expression, participatory art, and the creation of positive social change in the Pacific Northwest, and has just been reelected to her third term on the board. When not helping start or maintain businesses Kay enjoys blacksmithing and metal working, singing jazz, taking Blaze the fluffy dog for walks and cooking. Kay also has been developing Burning Man regional work for 8 years and is currently a regional contact for Seattle.

Jennifer Raiser

Jennifer Raiser is Treasurer of the Burning Man Project, and serves on the Senior Executive Committee. Jennifer is also a journalist, covering the people and places of San Francisco for her website, SFWire, and for the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, and other publications. She is the author of Burning Man: Art on Fire, Race Point Press, and is at work on In the Spirit of Napa Valley to be published by Assouline. Jennifer also works with her family business on strategic planning and commercial real estate investment.

Previously, Jennifer was CEO of Raiser Senior Services, a full-service provider of luxury retirement in the Bay Area, combining health care, dining, and long-term care. She is the co-author of Designing Retirement Communities for the Future, John Wiley and Sons. Her previous experience includes marketing with Procter and Gamble and BBDO/Omnicom Advertising, and management consulting with Fortune 500 corporations.

A longtime community volunteer, Jennifer has served as a Director of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Peninsula Community Foundation, the Junior Statesmen Foundation, Community Gatepath, and the Coyote Point Museum. Jennifer received a BA in English Literature and MBA from Harvard University. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, a retired English professor, two children, and three flat-coated retrievers. Known on the Playa as CocoCabana, she is a Black Rock Ranger and decade-long Burner who camps in her eponymous leopard-upholstered vintage Airstream.

Rae Richman

Rae is a senior philanthropic leader with more than fifteen years experience providing strategic consulting to organizations of all sizes, including family and corporate foundations, leading nonprofits and a wide range of Fortune 500 global corporations.

She is currently the Head of Global Citizenship for Airbnb, responsible for the company’s philanthropy, volunteerism and other activities related to it being a good neighbor.

Before joining Airbnb, she was the Vice President of the Bay Area office of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA).  There, her funding expertise included climate change and environmental protection, education, and social entrepreneurship. She was also been actively involved in RPA’s leadership on the issue of impact investing.

Rae is formerly a consultant with expertise in corporate social responsibility, meeting facilitation and organizational development. In this role, she worked with corporations and nonprofits to develop and lead projects, meetings and retreats to ensure maximum goal achievement, productivity and creativity.

Prior to starting her own consultancy for values-based organizations, she was Senior Manager of Consulting Services at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), working with Fortune 500 companies to facilitate their stakeholder engagement efforts, assist them in implementing more socially responsible policies and practices, and provide counsel on issues of global corporate community engagement. Rae brings to her work a decade of marketing and production experience at entertainment, multimedia and high-tech companies.

She received her BA from the University of Virginia and her MBA from the UC Berkeley/Columbia University Executive MBA program. Rae also formerly served as a board member and officer of the Black Rock Arts Foundation and  has attended Burning Man every year since 1996.

Will Roger

Co-Founder, Burning Man
Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

Will Roger discovered Burning Man in 1994, through his life partner Crimson Rose. Together and with several others, they co-founded the organization that has overseen the Burning Man event for nearly twenty years.

Will founded and managed the Black Rock City Department of Public Works — a team of several hundred people responsible for the pre-event and post-event construction logistics and production. He is a founding board member of Burning Man Project, and is the Vice-President of Friends of the Black Rock/High Rock. Will is heavily involved in conservation efforts of the Black Rock Desert, which is the United State’s largest National Conservation Area, and which is home to the Burning Man event.

Will is also an accomplished photographer, and worked nearly 20 years at the Rhode Island Institute of Technology as a photo chemist, administrator, associate professor, and assistant director.

Crimson Rose

Co-Founder, Burning Man
Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

As a co-founder of Burning Man, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and Burning Man Project, Crimson Rose’s life passion and work have focused on the arts and artistic expression.

She began participating in the Burning Man event in 1991, and developed the organization’s Art Department, including the infrastructure, financial and other support services that make possible the large-scale participatory art works that Burning Man is renowned for.

With Crimson’s guidance, Burning Man serves as an inspirational limitless canvas, the works of which now find public placement in cities around the world and serve as catalytic sparks for community collaboration.

Jim Tananbaum

Jim Tananbaum is founder and CEO of Foresite Capital, a leading healthcare investment fund. For the last 20 years, Jim has been a change agent in healthcare.  He started Geltex (acquired by Genzyme/Sanofi) and Theravance/Theravance Bio, which produce leading drugs for renal failure, asthma and emphysema. Over the last 15 years he has also lead financing for numerous transformative healthcare companies which range from Amerigroup (HMO for the poor) to Jazz Pharmaceuticals (drugs for central nervous system) to Intarcia (drugs for type II diabetes). Jim is currently passionate about accelerating revolutionary treatment, diagnostics and delivery systems in healthcare.

Jim has been a 6 year burner, lover of music and art. Jim  graduated from Yale University with a BS/BSEE in 1985 and a Harvard MD in 1989 and MBA in 1991. During this time he also received an MA from MIT in 1989.

Leo Villareal

Leo Villarealʻs light sculpture and installations have been presented at museums in the United States and around the world.In 2010, the San Jose Museum presented a traveling survey exhibition and monograph of the artist’s work. Villareal has created many large scale, site-specific installations with renowned architects such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and in architecturally significant buildings like I. M. Peis East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Villarealʼs work is part of the permanent collection of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. He has been commissioned by both Federal and State agencies to create public works for such sites as a courthouse in El Paso, Texas and a New York Citysubway station.Villareal attended Yale University where he studied installation sculpture and went on to receive his Masters Degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. From 1994-1996 Villareal served as a member of the research staff at Interval Research, a private think tank in Palo Alto, CA founded by Paul Allen. Villareal has attended the Burning Man festival every year since 1994 and is a founder of Disorient. He currently lives in New York with his wife, Yvonne Force Villareal and their two children, Cuatro and Lux.

David B. Walker

Born in Santa Monica, California, David joined the Nevada Museum of Art as Executive Director and CEO in 2007. In addition to establishing a vision and strategic plan for the Museum, he launched the Museum s Center for Art + Environment, an internationally-recognized research initiative. Prior, he served 11 years as the Dean of Public Programs at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he successfully created the school of Public Programs and provided the vision and leadership for the Collegeʼs 100,000 square-foot South Campus. During this time, he founded The Design High School, a public charter school that employs design-based learning across the curriculum. David also served as Director and Founding Partner of the Walker and Walker Gallery in Santa Monica from 1989 to 1992 where he represented more than 20 artists, established the curatorial tone and oversaw construction of the new exhibition space. His background also includes serving as an associate with McBain, Rose Partners, an investment banking firm specializing in leveraged buyouts, and was editor and publisher for Element magazine, an internationally-distributed arts quarterly. Along with his wife, a drummer, he formed two original rock bands that signed deals with Warner Bros. Music and Chrysalis Music. David received a bachelors degree from Humboldt State University and did his graduate work at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design.