Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is comprised of individuals with expertise in many sectors, who share their talents and energy with Youth Art Exchange. Our legal board is the Board of its fiscal sponsor, The Tides Center. The Tides’ Board is not involved in the organizational development of Youth Art Exchange. The below Advisory Board functions as a full working board except in the case of legal functions. To learn more about joining the Advisory Board, please contact Reed at

Eleanor Pries Advisory Board Chair

Eleanor Pries has designed for our cities’ essential sites since 1999. Principal and founder of EPDesign, Eleanor is widely trained in architecture, urban design, landscape and planning. She excels at bringing large, multi-disciplinary teams together on complex sites and envisioning the possibilities of our future public spaces. Part of Eleanor’s success is her ability to see and think from macro to micro — from essential vision, to strategy on efficiency and buildability, to the design of urban installations for active spaces.

Her current work includes the redevelopment of sublime, post-industrial sites such as the Potrero Power Plant in San Francisco and Kaiser Steel Napa Pipe Site in Napa, building on her experience reimagining Pier 70 and the 5M Project in San Francisco. Before founding her practice, Eleanor was a Partner at SITELAB urban studio, an Urban Designer at SMWM, Inc and Urban Planner at The Cecil Group in Boston. Her work focuses on large, urban waterfront projects—for sites such as Russia Wharf and the Central Artery/Tunnel in Boston, Piers 92-94 in New York, downtown San Pedro in Los Angeles, and Hunters Point Shipyard and Treasure Island in San Francisco.

Eleanor has a BA from Harvard University, a MA in architectural theory from UVA, and a M.Arch from UC Berkeley. While at Berkeley, she received the John K. Branner Traveling Fellowship, a year of self-directed research on the architecture and ecologies of water systems. An innovator in the field, Eleanor has been featured in The Atlantic Cities, Archinect, Pruned, and Wired Magazine for her exploratory research and design installations. An adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley, she teaches architecture and lectures on design and research. An east coast transplant, Eleanor has lived, worked, and surfed in San Francisco since 2005.

Mannie Ajayi  |  Advisory Board Vice Chair

Mannie Ajayi was an associate at TPG Growth, a private equity firm in San Francisco, and is now a graduate student at Stanford. He previously spent two years as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, after graduating from the University of Virginia with a major in Commerce. He was born in Vancouver, Canada and spent some time living in the Dubai before moving to Philadelphia during high school. During his free time, Mannie likes to travel, is an avid reader, and supports the Vancouver Canucks.

Robin Abad Ocubillo 

Robin is an Urban Designer with the San Francisco Planning Department. His current and past scholarship has focused on the production and performance evaluation of small urban open spaces; including design and implementation of a longitudinal assessment of pilot parklets in southern California (with the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and UCLA Lewis Center) and triangle parks in Washington, D.C. (with Harvard University at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Gardens). Prior to assuming his role at the San Francisco Planning Department, Robin was engaged as a complete streets advocate and researcher in Los Angeles; authoring Parklet and Plaza Application and Evaluation Manuals for LADOT’s award-winning People St Program. Before his work in Southern California, Robin served for several years as a Project Manager with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy; working on cultural landscape projects on Alcatraz Island, the Presidio, Fort Mason and Fort Baker. Robin has been involved in several of YAX’s projects and has been a great advocate and friend of our work.

Krista Canellakis

Krista is Deputy Innovation Officer in the Office of Mayor Edwin M. Lee in the City of San Francisco. She aims to build an open innovation program to make San Francisco more inclusive, diverse and responsive. She’s passionate about building a community of civic entrepreneurs inside and outside of local government. Prior to this role, she was the co-founder of a start-up crowdfunding platform for communities to raise funding for neighborhood improvement projects and also led communications at a national renewable energy firm. Krista has a BA in International Relations and French from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Building and Urban Design in Development from University College London. Find her on Twitter: @kristallakis

Jessica Chao

Jessica is a recent transplant to San Francisco and was very excited to learn about Youth Art Exchange from colleagues at TPG Capital that have participated on our Advisory Board previously. The organization’s mission really resonated with her because of personal exposure to the arts in high school as a member of the after school “art club”.

After high school, she attended Harvard University and studied economics and government. Since graduation, she has been working in finance, first at Goldman Sachs’ Consumer Retail / Healthcare group in New York and now at TPG in San Francisco. She is excited to work with people with diverse, creative perspectives and a passion for the arts. She knows first-hand the profound impact of a robust arts education on young people, and looks forward to the opportunity to further this mission and serve the youth of San Francisco.

Cassie Hoeprich

Cassie is a Senior Strategist with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office’s Fix-It Team, which works with a variety of San Francisco communities to identify quality of life concerns – immediate and systemic – and prioritize safety and cleaning services with city agencies and private partners. Prior to this role, she worked with the San Francisco Planning Department’s City Design Group and the Office on Economic and Workforce Development on interagency, public-private urban design and public space management projects in the city’s Central Market, Tenderloin and Civic Center neighborhoods. Outside of work, Cassie is a Big Sister through the Big Brother Big Sister Association and tackles obscure art/ethnography projects. Cassie attended the University of Washington in Seattle where she received B.A. degrees in Comparative History of Ideas and Communication Technology and Society.

Steve Gennrich

Steve grew up in Wisconsin building skateboard ramps, doodling imaginary landscapes, and challenging teachers with unconventional homework. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in Mechanical Engineering along with taking art classes with an emphasis on printmaking. He worked as an engineer at Honda, troubleshooting the ‘96 Civic and at Bryte Technologies, testing aerospace materials, before deciding to start volunteering at the Exploratorium 15 years ago. For six years, Steve managed exhibit design and engineering staff and led over 100 projects, including creating some of the first hands-on exhibits at science institutions around the world. In ’99 Steve helped establish the first Science of Skateboarding program which matured over the years to involve curating two exhibitions, professional demos, a website, a TV show, and a mobile exhibition. He took a one-year sabbatical to work at Pèndulum and design the Jardi de les Percepcions, an outdoor exhibit area in Parc de Vallparadís, Terrassa, Spain. Upon returning to the Exploratorium, Steve managed a National Science Foundation project to build and study twenty outdoor exhibits at Fort Mason, a National Park on San Francisco’s waterfront. He enjoyed the nature of this work so much that he spent the last eight years in the Studio for Public Spaces leading a team of designers, engineers, and architects, focused on creating social learning environments in public spaces. He especially appreciates the potential impact of site-specific exhibits in public space, reaching a more diverse group of people and igniting their interest in the world around them.

Elaine Liu

Elaine Liu is an associate at GI Partners, a private equity firm in San Francisco. Elaine focuses on investments in the healthcare sector. Prior to GI, she spent two years in New York City at a boutique investment bank, Peter J. Solomon Company, where she primarily worked on retail and consumer deals. She grew up in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco before moving to Princeton, New Jersey and considers both coasts home. She earned her B.S. in economics and B.A. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania. In her spare time, Elaine loves to paint, visit Napa, practice yoga and go on long runs.

Yukiko Meadows

Yukiko is not only a dedicated and passionate supporter of YAX, but she is also the parent of one of our program participants, Miles. Here’s a little bit more about her! Yukiko is the Director of Development and Communications for Marin Primary & Middle School, a nursery-8th grade independent school in Larkspur, CA .  She previously was the Director of Development for the Lycée Français de San Francisco and Alumni Director for School of the Sacred Heart. Yukiko earned her Bachelors in Management from USF and is a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive). A native San Franciscan, Yukiko lives in the city with her husband and three children and has been actively involved with many non-profit groups.


These former Board Members have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to Youth Art Exchange and continue to be supports, advocates, and ad hoc advisors.

Amy Guittard

Amy Guittard is a fifth-generation San Franciscan, a graduate of Lick-Wilmerding High School and Barnard College, Columbia University with a degree in English Literature and Cultural Anthropology, and an MBA from California College of the Arts. She currently works for her 140 year old family Business, Guittard Chocolates.

Josh Brankman  

Josh Brankman is the Executive Director of Outward Bound California, based in San Francisco. Outward Bound California is the leading provider of outdoor experiential education-based programs in California. He has been an educator for over fifteen years with primary focus on alternative education and low-income youth. Josh was the Principal at City Arts and Tech High School (CAT), a public charter school in San Francisco, part of nonprofit Envision Education. For five years, Out of Site was first based at CAT. He has been a lead teacher at Life Learning Academy (of the Delancey Street Foundation) and a teaching fellow at Eagle Rock School. Josh has a MA in Education from University of California, Berkeley and an BA from Princeton University. Josh has enthusiastically worked with Youth Art Exchange since 2006.

Diane Foug

Diane Foug is a sculptor living in San Francisco. She has served on the board of Human Rights Watch Northern California, ran her own design studio (Diane Foug Design) for ten years, has been honored by the Art Director’s Clubs of Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as Communication Arts and Print Mag­azine, and has taught design and typography at the San Francisco Art Academy. Ms. Foug is a graduate of UC Berkeley, Art Center College of Design, and Stanford University. She is also a parent of two students at Lick-Wilmerding High School.

Paul Chasan

Paul is an Urban Planner/Urban Designer with the City of San Francisco. He has extensive experience as a planner, and also as a designer for graphic design and arts installation projects. Originally from the Seattle area, he received Masters in Urban Planning with a Certificate in Urban Design and Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington. He earned his Bachelors in Cultural Anthropology from Western Washington University. Paul has been involved in Youth Art Exchange as a volunteer, an advocate, and a liaison with the City’s Planning Department for several years, helping us to navigate the parklet permitting process and connecting us with resources.