Board of Directors

Sue Bell, Kirkland Arts Center board member
Sue Bell spent her 30+ year career as a retail corporate merchandising and marketing executive with companies such as The Gap, Eddie Bauer, The Body Shop, and Blue Nile, from which she retired as Senior Vice President in 2012. She finds fulfillment in leveraging her business expertise in the non-profit environment of the Kirkland Arts Center, where she has been a ceramics student and enthusiastic advocate since 2013. She also serves on the board of directors of Artful Home, a direct retailer specializing in art, decor, and apparel handmade by American artists.
Steve Dunn, Kirkland Arts Center board member
Steve Dunn is an 18 year Microsoft veteran and has held senior finance positions at the company both in the US and overseas. He is currently the General Manager of Finance for Microsoft’s Small and Mid-market Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) Organization. Previous roles include Senior Director of Finance for Microsoft’s Worldwide Pricing and Licensing Group, CFO of Microsoft’s UK and New Zealand subsidiaries, and Enterprise Controller for Microsoft’s US Subsidiary. Prior to joining Microsoft, Steve worked for Ernst & Young LLP in their financial audit group. He has an undergraduate degree from Lehigh University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Rohit serves as a Finance Director at Microsoft Inc. He is a finance professional with experience in technology, advertising, consulting and energy and utilities industries. He is a CPA, Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Chartered Accountant, Information Systems Auditor and, Certified Global Management Accountant. He is also a student of the Ceramic Arts program at KAC.
John Adams, Kirkland Arts Center board member
With his wife and fellow architect, Anne Adams, John is  the owner of Adams Architecture, a Seattle-based architecture practice founded in 2014. The firm endeavors to create buildings that are compelling and thoughtfully executed; direct yet beautiful; contextual and intriguing.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in design of the environment from the University of Pennsylvania, John obtained his master’s of architecture with distinction from the University of Michigan. John was instrumental in the development of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, coordinating the design of the curtain wall system and overseeing the project cost-estimating effort.  In Seattle, he has worked on a number of commercial projects including Brouwer’s Cafe in the Fremont neighborhood, office building design for Salmon Bay and several medical/dental buildings. John has also executed a number of luxury residential projects thoughout the country.

John likes to get his hands dirty remodeling his Seattle home and whenever possible going fly fishing in Michigan. But more typically reads avidly about theoretical physics, zen buddhism, and cooking the perfect rack of barbecued ribs.

Jesse Freedman works as a program manager on Google’s campus in Kirkland, where his team focuses on the next generation of search technologies. Before joining Google, Jesse worked as a marketing manager at Amazon and before that as a high school history teacher.

Jesse was raised in Providence, R.I., and completed his undergraduate degree at Amherst College. He holds a master’s degree – also in history – from Oxford University. At Google, Jesse manages a program designed to highlight the work of local artists; he’s also involved with Historic Seattle, where he serves as a volunteer coordinator for the organization’s young professionals group. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Ashwin Gonibeed
Ashwin Gonibeed is a 15 year veteran of T-Mobile currently leading Business Development efforts within Financial Services. Prior to this, Ashwin held leadership roles in engineering, customer service and sales.

Outside of T-Mobile, Ashwin is an active angel investor/advisor – a founding member of the WEMBA 38 Angels Fund, a mentor at TechStars and an investor in Prapati, a smart grid focused startup in India. Ashwin has an MS in Engineering from the University Of Central Florida and an MBA from the Wharton School Of Business.

Serving on the Board of the Kirkland Arts Center allows Ashwin to utilize his business skills to give back to the community and indulge his passion for the arts. He is currently taking a drawing class at KAC, which painfully reminds him why he maintains a day job.

Ryan James, Kirkland Arts Center board member
Ryan James moved his gallery from Bellevue to Kirkland during the summer of 2013. He was approached by the City Manager Office of Kirkland to become an integral part of rebuilding the arts culture in our community.

ryan james fine arts has been operating in Kirkland for the past two years, representing 25 Washington artists. This is the only gallery that specializes in Abstract, Modern, and Conceptual Arts on the Eastside. Located in Totem Square, ryan james fine arts works with their neighboring wineries every month in the 2nd Thursday Art and Wine Walk.

Ryan contributes endless hours to community groups. Vice Chair of Kirkland Arts and Cultural Commission, Board Member Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, President of the Ambassadors Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, Co-Founder Kirkland Young Professionals, Board Member and Co-Chair of the Symphony Guild for Lake WA Symphony Orchestra, Board Member Kirkland Arts Center, and Committee Member and Co-Chair of the arts for Kirkland Summerfest.

Tori Campbell Nelson was an award-winning broadcast journalist for nearly 3 decades. She was co-anchor of Mornings on 2, the #1 morning newscast in the San Francisco market for 19 years. She covered all the top stories of the day, and regularly hosted interview segments with a variety of guests, such as Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Christie Brinkley, Drew Barrymore, Ben Stiller, and photographer Annie Leibovitz.  Before getting into television, Nelson worked as a radio anchor, reporter and producer in San Francisco and the New York metropolitan area.

Since moving to Kirkland in 2015, Nelson has gotten involved in a variety of organizations, including the Kirkland Women’s Club, Daughters of the British Empire, St John’s Church and now the Kirkland Art Center. She is also doing volunteer voice-over work, reading online news articles for people who are blind. Nelson graduated from Hamilton College in upstate New York with a degree in French Literature. Her favorite hobbies are plant-based cooking, traveling, reading historical fiction and hiking.

Carlyn van Engelen is currently a Principal at Social Impact Consulting LLC and has spent over 20 years working with both for profit companies and nonprofit organizations in a variety of roles:  Consultant,  Business Operations, Finance, Program Management, Business Development, Community Engagement, Organizational Assessment & Planning, Partner Collaboration, Education & Outreach and with many diverse organizations:  Independent Television Service (ITVS), Hopelink, KTCS Channel 9, Northwest African American Museum, Monroe Public Schools Foundation, Frye Art Museum, Friends of Youth.   


Her current focus is on programs and initiatives that improve the social and economic well being of people and their communities within Arts & Cultural organizations, independent media, human & social services, environmental, green building / housing , and educational foundations.
Carlyn was raised on the east coast and attended Villanova University for her undergraduate degree in Finance as well graduate Cultural Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  After moving to Seattle, she later attended the University of Washington for the Nonprofit Management Program and currently holds a WA real estate brokers license.  

Role of the Board

The Board of Directors plays a vital role in the leadership of Kirkland Arts Center. The Board provides the guidance and support necessary for KAC to fulfill its mission, vision, and goals. Board members actively participate in areas such as finance, marketing, fundraising, and strategic and event planning.

Contact the Board

Please direct any inquiries relating to the Board of Directors to the KAC Board President. To nominate a qualified individual or receive an application, please email our Executive Director.

There are opportunities to join the KAC Board of Directors

Join the Board

KAC is seeking to fill one or more new Board of Director positions.  We are looking for candidates who are visionary leaders committed to KAC’s mission and share our commitment to nonprofit excellence.

In particular, we want board candidates with real world skills and experience in finance, business management, arts education, technology, legal governance, or nonprofit leadership. This is a tangible opportunity for a committed individual to make a difference on behalf of the arts community in the Puget Sound.

Prior board experience is desired but not required. Board positions are unpaid. Board meetings occur at KAC’s offices in Kirkland. Consistent attendance is expected.

Advisory Council

  • Susan Pappalardo, Co-Chair
  • Brad Weed, Co-Chair
  • William Ballantine
  • Carol Belval
  • Merrily Dicks
  • Judy Harris
  • Joan McBride
  • Margaret Meister
  • Suzy Mings
  • Michael Monroe
  • Susan Thurston
  • Joan Wrench

Guidance Council

  • Rick Nicholson
  • Phil Sandifer
  • William G. Snead
  • Tracy Thorleifson