The Los Angeles County Natural History Museums (NHMLAC) have announced a roster of new volunteer leaders for the museums board of trustees and board of governors for the next fiscal year, starting July 1, 2021.
Heather de Roos has been appointed Chair of the Board, succeeding Shannon Faulk, who served as Chair of the Board for four years and will become Chair of the Board. Megan McGowan Epstein has been appointed vice-chair of the board. Kermit Crawford was named a new board member and Naomi Rainey-Pierson was elected to the NHMLAC board of governors by 4th district supervisor Janice Hahn. Sarah Meeker Jensen, FAIA, former chair of the board and most recently chair of the board, will no longer be a member of the board.
“NHMLAC is incredibly fortunate to have a board of directors with an inspiring vision, boundless enthusiasm and a progressive commitment to building and uplifting a community through our focus of nature and culture,” said Dr Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director. “We couldn’t have made it through this past year without their fearless and unwavering leadership. Partnering with Heather, Shannon, Megan and our new members, we join our county in recovery and reopening, and are filled with optimism and enthusiasm as we discover new ways to bring our mission to life, as museums of, for and with Los Angèle. “
De Roos has served on the NHMLAC Board of Directors since 2012 and served as Vice Chairman of the Board from September 2019 to June 2021 (Full disclosure: This writer served with her on the NHM Board of Directors). She follows a family tradition of service at NHMLAC where her father, Kevin W. Sharer, served as chairman of the board and led a major renovation of the fairgrounds which included three large exhibition halls.
“He’s been very encouraging,” de Roos told The Buzz. She is also the director of the Carol H. and Kevin W. Sharer Education Foundation, which recently launched a scholarship program to help community college students transitioning to four-year universities.
Initially, de Roos said she was reluctant to take on the role she thought her predecessor Shannon Faulk had fulfilled so well; but she’s more comfortable now than she should be. De Roos is a hard working member of the board of directors with a lot of experience. She also serves on the board of directors of the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation and as the vice president of fundraising for the Neptunian Woman’s Club scholarships as well as the president of the PTA for Mira Costa High School.
She laughed when we suggested that being president of the PTA is one of the toughest jobs we’ve ever done!
“Yes, it’s nice to attend a meeting and see the food already prepared,” she joked.
Although it is a difficult time, De Roos said she was very excited to lead efforts to reopen the museum to visitors after being closed for so long due to the pandemic.
“We are fortunate to have donors and Los Angeles County leaders supporting our mission, so we are poised to recoup our earned income in the form of ticket sales and income from our stores and cafes to pre-pandemic levels, ”de Roos said. She hopes people will react to the members’ new efforts and news of an upcoming exhibition this fall on the life and work of Jane Goodall. De Roos said Goodall plans to visit, noting that his work is perfectly aligned with the museum’s mission to inspire the next generation of scientists.
“Fortunately, we have been able to maintain all of our staff thanks to closed site grants, continued county support and our endowment,” said de Roos. “The good thing about this pandemic has been that we were able to bring the museum to so many people. We really started balancing ourselves from a purely location-based institution to really having a bigger digital presence. Thanks to the virtual programming that we added and the mobile museum that we added, we have really improved our reach beyond our walls and I am really proud of it.
De Roos is also proud to lead an increasingly diverse board with the addition Naomi Rainey Pierson, appointed NHMLAC governor by Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn and will begin in July 2021. Rainey-Pierson was sworn in to the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners in October 2020 by Mayor Robert Garcia, and is a award-winning educator, philanthropist, entrepreneur and civil rights activist who works with thousands of community members, including many at-risk children. She previously served as vice president of the California State Conference NAACP and president of the Long Beach branch of the NAACP since 2000. Rainey-Pierson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach in Theater Arts. , as well as two master’s degrees in education and several teaching credentials. She also has certifications in cultural diversity and human relations.
Also joining the board as a director is Kermit Crawford. He was President and COO of Rite Aid Corporation from 2017 to 2019 and was an operating partner and advisor to private equity firm Sycamore Partners from 2015 to 2017. He retired from Walgreens as as executive vice president and president of pharmacy, health and wellness. Division in 2014 after 30 years in the company. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Faulk, who has served on the NHMLAC board since 2008, when he was appointed by Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke, then Los Angeles County Second District Supervisor, to the Board of Governors, will now serve as Chairman of the Board. advice.
“We are making very active efforts to increase the inclusion and diversity of museum staff and management,” said de Roos. We want to have the most welcoming and inclusive environment possible for the community. “
Before the end of the year, the museum will inaugurate The Commons, a new visitor center located on the southwest side of the museum grounds in the exhibition grounds. The plan is to be ready for the opening of the Lucas Museum, which will bring more visitors to the fairgrounds and NHMLAC is hoping they will cross the street and visit the museum as well.
“This will be a new programming area for the museum where people can visit without a ticket,” de Roos explained. The project included a renovation of the current theater, a new café and landscaped gardens designed by Studio-MLA who also designed the Museum’s Nature Gardens.
Plans are also underway to reinvent the Tar Pits Museum in Hancock Park. Recently, the museum completed its master planning process for the project which included extensive community outreach. De Roos will lead efforts to rally financial support for the project.
“I am very proud of the community involvement,” said de Roos. “This is exactly the kind of approach I want us to continue to take. We see the Tar Pits Museum as a center for science and community. It is a historic site and it must be treated appropriately. It’s going to take a lot of support, but it’s a great opportunity to further exhibit our incredible collection, the majority of which is not currently on display.