Staff & Board
Our amazing team of employees at NAAM.
LaNesha is a native of Michigan where she attended Kalamazoo College and Michigan State University. She specializes in organizational leadership and management, institutional programming, and strategic engagement, and has dedicated her 20-year career to building success for Black museums. Prior to joining NAAM, LaNesha was Senior Vice President at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. With three masters degrees, respectively in museum studies, history, and library science, LaNesha is currently pursuing a PhD, and serves as national president of the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) Board of Directors. She also serves on the boards of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) as well as the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
LaNesha is a bookstore enthusiast and enjoys visiting libraries internationally. She began her museum career in Nairobi, Kenya and has studied museum and library management in Ghana, South Africa, Germany, England, and Israel.
Briaan is a brand strategist, marketer, graphic designer and copywriter with 7 years of experience across the public, corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has also freelanced as a one-woman creative agency and workshop instructor, helping entrepreneurs, organizational leaders, and indie creatives to develop polished brands that are anchored by a purpose deeper than profit. Her background working with grassroots organizers, and experience interning with media giants like Viacom and Ruff Ryders Entertainment inspire her cross-disciplinary approach to branding and creative direction.
Briaan earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York where she concentrated in African-American Arts & Culture as well as Media Theory. She went on to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film & Television Theory from Boston University Graduate School of Communication. In her spare time, Briaan enjoys experimenting with green smoothie recipes and traveling with friends.
Jen enjoys bringing ideas to life. She is an event, fundraising, communications professional with 25 years of experience across the nonprofit sectors. She helped start Seattle non-profit Water1st International serving as Director of Development and Communications, where she created fundraisers, programs, communication strategies to engage supporters of all ages nationwide to support clean water projects around the world, including the multi-city Carry5 Walk for Water, Water1st-Beer2nd, and the Give Water Give Life Gala growing it to $1.2 million in a single evening. She served as Associate Executive Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Washington State Chapter, managing staff and the Breath of Life Gala, a $2.8 million event.
Jen enjoys connecting with people, learning their stories and discovering their strengths, building teams and community, and engaging people in causes. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in theatre education from Emerson College in Boston, MA and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in communications/public relations from John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH. Jen loves traveling and spending time with her husband and high school daughter – you may find them at Garfield High School cheering on the basketball teams. (Go Bulldogs!).
Moni Tep has been immersed in the Seattle arts and culture community since 2005 with a personal and professional practice of being a musician, healer based in ancestral practices, community mobilizer, and advocate for LGBTQ people, young people, Black people and people of color, women, along with everyone standing at the intersection of these identities, as she does herself. As program director and co-facilitator of a number of art programs in Seattle, WA, specifically focused around engagement from Black youth as well as a focus on intergenerational connections, Moni has been in practice of developing curriculum and effective arts programming to engage and retain communities who are traditionally marginalized and underserved.
Her roots are based in Seattle, WA with branches that reach to Oakland, CA, Brooklyn, NY and Toronto in Canada.
She aligns herself with Black Constellation which consists of a unified cross-disciplinary guild of Soothsayers, Makers, Empaths, and Channels.
Patrice comes to NAAM from a program planning & control background. Her experiences span aerospace companies, nonprofits, and hotels. Patrice is a native Oklahoman and a graduate of the Atlanta University Center Dual Degree Engineering Program. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Spelman College and her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Although her educational background is technical, her passions are rooted in human connection and experience. For this reason, she entered the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Highline College. Patrice hopes to use her background to focus on continuous improvement of the customer experience in hospitality and tourism. There is a beautiful intersection of industrial engineering and hospitality, and she is moving full steam ahead in that nexus.
Jason has been utilizing his educational and musical skills for many years. He studied at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA in Communications Studies with a minor in Music Composition. After college, Jason taught and performed music for Seattle Public Schools and also some private schools in the Seattle area. He has conducted and has written original compositions for theater and writes and produces music for recording artists. At NAAM, he conducts educational experiences and tours for a wide variety of audiences. He facilitates educational programs such as NAAM’s Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program, Seattle Police Department partnership program, and numerous others.
Jamala is a Facilities Coordinator with 3 years of experience. His general focus is to maintain this historical institution, and he does so with great pride. Jamala had the privilege of graduating from Garfield High School. When he is not at NAAM, he loves spending time with his children, and traveling to find new adventures near and far.
NAAM Board of Directors:
Chair: Debbie Bird
Vice Chair: Mimi Gardner Gates
Secretary: Sherry Williams
Treasurer: Lisa Pascuzzi
Norman B. Rice
National Advisory Committee:
M. Lee Pelton
Dr. Thomas L. Purce