ROBERTA C. BROOKS
Professional: Worked for 30 years for U.S. Congress in the Oakland District offices of Congressman Ron Dellums and later Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Since being retired, has served on a couple Boards including LifeLong Medical Care for 12 years where she chaired a capital campaign for the West Berkeley Clinic. Serves as a docent at Rosie the Riveter National Park. Active with IndivisibleBerkeley and other resistance groups.
Personal: Currently married to Billy McDonald and between them has four grown sons. Two in Bay Area, one in Florida with grandson, and one in San Diego. Long time resident of Berkeley.
Freight Connection: Attended many concerts at both old and new Freight. Also, was part of Girlfriendz, a vocal group directed by Ellen Robinson. Girlfriendz was the lead group at Open Mic on two occasions.
Music Connection: Loves to sing and has taken various singing classes from time to time. Listens to and appreciates all kinds of music.
Professional: Writer and creative director currently leading a user experience team at Google.
Personal: Lives in North Berkeley with his wife and two musical kids—one who plays mandolin, the other fiddle, and both piano. Guitar player, photographer, and wood carver.
Freight Connection: First visited the “middle Freight” in the mid-1990s. Since then has attended countless shows, is a regular at the Freight’s bluegrass jams, and has even seen his kids perform onstage in student concerts.
Music Connection: Lifelong musician who started college as a music major (but finished with degrees in philosophy and literature). Can be found flatpicking on his Martin D-18 on his front porch and throughout the Bay Area bluegrass scene.
Professional: Lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter in many styles including rock, acoustic, soul, jazz and funk. Performs live and a recording artist, as a band leader and side musician. Co-creator, screenwriter and musical director of a feature film. Occasional guitar teacher.
Personal: Grew up in Berkeley and lives with her wife and 9-year-old son.
Freight Connection: Has performed at the Freight many times with the Shelley Doty X-tet, Skip the Needle, Sistas in the Pit, Cris Williamson, and in a duo with Vicki Randle. Board member since 2015.
Music Connection: See above.
BRYAN S. DYER
Professional: A veteran of some of the Bay Area’s top vocal groups, including Street Sounds, SoVoSo, Slammin All Body Band, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, CHELLE! And Friends, and Bobby McFerrin’s MOTION. Bryan also performs with the Funk Revival Orchestra, Rankin Scroo and Ginger, Juke Joint, and the percussion and dance ensemble Crosspulse.
Personal: His musical experiences have taken him around the globe, including several trips throughout Europe, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Jamaica, and many legendary stages including Montreaux Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Lincoln Center in New York. Bryan’s talents have landed him alongside such artists as Al Green, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the soundtrack for the movie “La Missión” with Benjamin Bratt, and recording and performing with Huey Lewis and The News, to name a few. He is also a member of The Recording Academy and a voting member of The Grammy Awards.
Music Connection: A multi-talented musician who not only sings, but plays and teaches several instruments, including bass guitar, percussion, and piano; writes and arranges music, conducts choirs and groups, and works in television, radio, and film.
Professional: Chief Financial Officer, Cal Performances, UC Berkeley
Personal: Lives in Berkeley with wife Deborah Sperber. Enjoys cycling, hiking, and photography. Both daughters attended Berkeley public schools.
Freight Connection: Board member since 2017.
Music Connection: Avid music listener with broadening musical interests. Former Board Member & Chair, Berkeley Public Schools Fund.
Professional: Retired. Former COO/CFO in the hedge fund industry in the San Francisco area. Spent 13 years with an international public accounting firm in their San Francisco and New York City offices.
Personal: Has lived in the Bay Area since 1980 with wife Carol. Has two adult married children, two grandsons, and a granddaughter.
Freight Connection: Performed at the last open mic at the previous Freight with his wife Carol and his music teacher at the time. Prior Freight board member and Treasurer from 2001 to 2012. Rejoined the board in 2016.
Music connection: Has been trying to learn guitar since 2001.
Professional: Renee Hayes served as the Associate Director of Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) for 22 years. She has been involved in arts philanthropy for more than 30 years and was co-chair of the Berkeley’s Civic Arts Commission. She is a nationally certified counselor and life coach specializing in artistic careers.
Personal: Lives in Berkeley with her husband Joseph Hicks and fur-daughter (cat) “Berklee.”
Freight Connection: Over the last 20 years, she has performed at the Freight with The Irrationals, Linda Waterfall, Susan Anders and Don Arbor.
Music Connection: Renee has a diverse musical background: performing in choruses, pop bands and musical theatre as well as recording commercial jingles, back-up vocals and two CD’s with the whimsical a cappella soul group–The Irrationals. Her latest CD “Renewable Soul,” is ‘a musical community garden with growing instructions.’
Professional: Composer, pianist, fiddler, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Has performed on more than 100 albums. Was the first female instrumentalist to compose and record for Windham Hill Records. Tours nationally and internationally. Grammy nominated and a Bammy Award winner.
Personal: Lives in Albany. Married with a high school-aged daughter.
Freight Connection: Long-time and frequent performer on the Freight stage. Was a board member from 2005 to 2014. Rejoined the board in 2016.
Music Connection: See above.
Professional: Corporate Research Librarian at private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.
Personal: Lives in Alameda with wife Linda Benson
Freight Connection: Has attended concerts at Freight for 20+ years and is a Life Member. Board member since 2015.
Music Connection: Avid listener and festival attendee. Former folk music deejay.
Professional: Lawyer and former digital media exec. In roles at YouTube, Google, and Rhapsody (the first on-demand streaming subscription service), helped develop the businesses and licensing models that pay artists for music online. More recent focus is voting rights and election law.
Personal: Shares time between the Mission District in SF and Mill Valley with her husband Jeff and their sweet pooch. Serves on the board of The Kitchen, a progressive Jewish community in SF, and on SFJAZZ’s digital strategy committee. Aspiring gardener.
Freight Connection: Has attended and cherished countless shows at The Freight for over 30 years, starting back at the “middle Freight.” A few faves include Townes Van Zandt, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mary Gauthier, Linda Tillery, DakhaBrakha, Marty Stuart, Evie Ladin and Iris Dement.
Music Connection: Grew up going to the Philadelphia Folk Festival with her parents, and has been an intensely passionate roots music fan ever since.
Professional: Immigration attorney and leading expert in U.S.-Cuba cultural exchanges and artists’ visas.
Personal: Single, living in Pleasant Hill
Freight Connection: Attended many concerts at Freight over the past few years; collaborated with Peter Williams for a couple of decades in bringing international artists to the Bay Area.
Music Connection: Co-founded the Encuentro del Canto Popular, a San Francisco-based Latin American music festival in ’81; producer and stage manager for concerts and cultural exchanges throughout the Bay Area.
Professional: Student/Founder Regents & Chancellor’s Scholar at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Entrepreneurial co-founder of WorkerBee. Former Journeyman HVAC service technician. Guitar instructor.
Personal: Lives in Oakland for ten years, by way of Chicago, with his dog Layla. Focused on creating businesses that serve the community. Loves to jam, wax poetic on just about anything, and meet new people.
Freight Connection: New to Freight & Salvage after changing careers and becoming active in the Berkeley community. As a new board member, he is learning where he can best apply his resources to maintain the values of the Freight and ensure its prepared for the future. You can catch him at Open Mics.
Music Connection: Life-long musician. Teaches, plays, and performs guitar. Also sings and plays trumpet. Loves the live experience.
RUSSELL D. POLLOCK
Professional: Recently retired after 40 years in private practice as an attorney in San Francisco, focusing on commercial, business and financial transactions. Served on volunteer board of Slide Ranch, a nonprofit environmental education center on West Marin coast.
Personal: Lives in Berkeley, married to a gifted fine artist, and has two grown sons, one of whom is in the music industry in Los Angeles, and another in Berkeley who is a medical professional and plays the drums.
Freight Connection: Served on the Freight board from 2010 through 2018. Rejoined the board in 2021. Have participated in many classes and jams at the Freight over the years, and attended shows regularly. Provide pro bono legal services to the Freight.
Music Connection: Life-long interest in music. Play guitar and mandolin. Performed in professional boys choir as a child, majored in ethnomusicology in college, played in acoustic bands through high school and college, and currently enjoy being part of a community of local musician friends met through the Freight.
Professional: Retired. Former Executive Director of the California Minority Counsel Program, a non-profit providing access & opportunity for attorneys of color for business & professional development, and former Deputy General Counsel at Wells Fargo. Currently a member of the California Change Lawyers Board of Directors, and the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession Advisory Committee.
Personal: Lives in Oakland. Has a son, daughter-in-law & grandson. Marci is a serious student of Nia – a dance, martial arts & wellness program – and is a certified Black Belt Nia teacher.
Freight Connection: Freight attendee since it opened in 1968. Prior Freight Board member from 2000-2012, and Board Chair from 2006-2012. Rejoined the Board in 2022.
Music Connection: Music lover. Attended folk music concerts since 5 years old.
ELIZABETH SEJA MIN
Professional: Executive coach, consultant, facilitator, strategist with nonprofits, social enterprises, and foundations working on social change issues—work with leaders and teams on raising resources, developing people, communications and leadership.
Personal: Came to East Bay from San Francisco years ago to direct Oakland Youth Chorus, and never left. Loves to be in water and is a fan of all dogs and other four-leggeds.
Freight Connection: Board member since 2014. Have always loved and appreciated the Freight.
Music Connection: Enjoyed a long career in Bay Area music as Founding Music Director & Conductor of The Women’s Philharmonic and Artistic Director of Redwood Records & Redwood Cultural Work, among others.
Professional: Jonathan is a longtime employee-side labor and employment attorney with an emphasis on representing the victims of discrimination and harassment. He serves as the general counsel of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.
Personal: Jonathan and his wife Aixa Gannon have lived in Oakland for thirty-five years, where they raised their two daughters. He enjoys the outdoors including fishing and hiking, cooking, reading and listening to music. He is proud to have served as the Board Chair of St. Paul’s
Episcopal School in Oakland, which his daughters attended, and which has received national awards for its efforts towards diversity and inclusion..
Freight Connection: Jonathan has been going to shows at the Freight since the San Pablo days when he lived in Berkeley. He was excited to learn of the Freight’s initiatives around equity and inclusion and is happy to combine his enjoyment of board service and music.
Music Connection: Jonathan initially learned his love of musical performance from his first-generation dad who taught him (and himself) about anyone from Pete Seeger to Art Tatum to Gilbert & Sullivan. He regrets he gave up the trumpet in high school and both admires and is jealous of the incredible talents on this Board.
SHARON J. WASHINGTON
Professional: Higher Education Strategic Leadership Consultant. Former non-profit ED; former Provost and Professor at colleges in the west, southeast, northeast and midwest; focus in diversity, equity and inclusion.
Personal: Lives in Oakland with wife Barbara. Enjoys dance, theatre, and travel.
Freight Connection: Board member since 2019. Performed at the second “old” Freight in the 1990s and at the “new” Freight in the past decade.
Music Connection: Singer —touring musician with my sister in the 1980s and 1990s; currently in the Oakland Interfaith Community Choir with my mom.
Professional: Assistant Dean of the Arts & Humanities Division at UC Berkeley.
Personal: Has lived in Berkeley since attending Cal. Married to actor/clarinetist Charles Shaw Robinson. They have one son, Walker, a student and cellist attending UC Santa Barbara.
Freight Connection: Long-time audience member and Board member since 2017.
Music Connection: An avid listener who is blessed to be surrounded by musicians at home and at work and among her friends.