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board of directors

of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

Cynthia Francis headshotCYNTHIA FRANCIS
Cynthia is the US Managing Director of OpenCities, Inc. with offices in San Francisco and Melbourne, AU. She is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience building and leading pioneering companies in digital and social media. Prior to working in technology, Cynthia earned a BA in Theater and Dance from UC Berkeley, and worked in non-profit theater and arts organizations including four years at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She has been a two-decade long supporter of SF Shakes as an audience member, patron and enthusiastic Shakespeare Camp mom. Seeing the value of Shakespeare camp for her three daughters was a catalyst to join the Board and look to further leverage her shared passions of theater, kids, activism and technology.

Roshni Jain headshotRoshni Jain
Roshni is a theater nerd at heart and loves engaging her right brain to support the festival in bringing Shakespeare to students and local communities across the Bay Area. She is passionate about the mission to bring Shakespeare to all as she believes in its power to transform lives. Roshni worked in management consulting for many years and now leads product at Eventbrite. She holds a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University.

Aaron Kabaker headshotAARON KABAKER
Aaron came to Shakespeare in college, where he realized how much he enjoyed the Bard when his plays were taught as performance. He performed with the Stanford Shakespeare theater troupe, appearing in Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and As You Like It, and after graduating regularly patronized shows at the Folger Theatre and the Shakespeare Theater Company (STC) in Washington, DC. He is thrilled to be a board member at SF Shakes, which has a goal of bringing Shakespeare to children across the Bay Area through a special blend of performance and study. Aaron works in Strategy for Google and has a BA in Public Policy from Stanford and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

Raymond Kutz headshotRAYMOND KUTZ
Ray has worked in various capacities of marketing, product and services management for the 20 years at Oracle and Sun Microsystems. He has a BS in Biology and Secondary Education from the University of Missouri and an MBA from San Jose State. Ray has made San Francisco home for 30 plus years after growing up on a farm in Missouri where access to theater and performing arts was extremely limited. That limited access to the arts influences his passion today for making the arts accessible to everyone. This passion was awakened after studying and performing in improvisational theater and volunteering as a photography docent at the Ansel Adams Gallery in the late 90’s. More recently, Ray has been singing with the San Francisco City College chorus. His involvement with the Festival began by attending performances and “paying to get out” after each performance. After learning more about the mission and observing the impact of the Festival on multiple communities, Ray joined the board in 2006 and began work as the Board Advancement Chair. He looks forward to seeing the Festival celebrate the next generation of thespians and arts supporters in the Bay Area through its outreach into the Bay Area and communities beyond.

Michael Li-Ming Wong HeadshotMICHAEL LI-MING WONG
Michael has drawn wisdom and inspiration from Shakespeare’s works for more than two decades, and he believes strongly that Shakespeare can and should be enjoyed by everybody, irrespective of education or background. Michael served as Shakespeare coach to his former boss, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in preparation for her cameo appearance in Henry V at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC; he also wrote his own wedding vows in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. By day, Michael is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and the proud father of two boys who already delight in the sword fights, mistaken identities, hilarious cross-dressing and voyeurism permeating Shakespeare’s body of work.

James A Babcock headshotJAMES A. BABCOCK
Jim has been on the board of SFSF for over twenty years. He first became involved after one of his daughters played a part in the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is a retired architect from the firm of Sandy/Babcock International. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA and Master’s of Architecture. He is on the board of the Presidio Historical Association and is a founding director of Trans Pacific National Bank.

Raymond M Buddie headshotRAYMOND M. BUDDIE
Raymond’s passion for SF Shakes stems from his love of Shakespeare which started in High School, reading and studying Julius Caesar. More recently, his appreciation for the efforts that go into the production and presentation of live performances has been enhanced by learning from his daughter, a Theater and Drama student, who has shown him the way theater and arts can be used to both entertain and teach in a way that other mediums cannot. It’s important to Raymond that SF Shakes continues to provide family and youth arts activities in the Bay Area. Raymond has over 35 years of experience as a Construction and Real Estate Attorney practicing in San Francisco and has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top attorneys in Northern California by Chambers and by SuperLawyers. He is currently a Partner with Clark Hill, LLP.

Jesse Dim headshotJESSE DIM
Jesse is a Sr. Operations Associate at DoorDash, and has made her career working at high growth tech startups. Jesse has loved theatre her entire life. In college, she was a member of the Rude Mechanicals the only fully student-run Shakespearean theatre troupe at Dartmouth College. She is thrilled to be a part of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and help bring Shakespeare to the city. Jesse is from Tempe, Arizona.

Meghan Freebeck headshotMEGHAN FREEBECK

Meghan’s love for Shakespeare began in elementary school when she would sneak into the movies to see the PG-13 rated Romeo & Juliet. She followed that adoration through college to study English Literature with a term on Theatre Studies in London, and later receiving a Masters Degree with a focus on Renaissance Lit. Meghan was the Director of Communications for the Shakespeare Project of Chicago in 2012, and in 2018 she would celebrate her wedding at the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park. Professionally, Meghan is the CEO of Simply the Basics, a nonprofit that serves the low-income and homeless community with ensuring basic needs are accessible to everyone. In 2019, Meghan worked with SF Shakes to develop “Shakespeare for All Neighbors”, an event to bring Shakespeare to the Recipients of her organization. Meghan is honored to join the Board of Directors, and believes that through Shakespeare’s plays, we can have a deeper understanding of ourselves and of humanity.

Alexandra Lex Hamilton headshotALEXANDRA “LEX” HAMILTON
As a Bay Area native, Lex has attended and participated in many of SF Shakes’ programs over the last two decades, including four years as a camper and one year as an intern in the Bay Area Shakespeare Camps. As a direct result of those years at Shakespeare Camp, Lex and a few other campers/classmates started a drama club at their middle school, which is still going strong after almost twenty years. From those early experiences, Lex’s love of Shakespeare and SF Shakes has only grown. She is particularly passionate about continuing to make Shakespeare accessible to people regardless of background. Lex is a trial lawyer by trade, handling catastrophic personal injury cases at The Hamilton Law Firm in San Francisco.

Adam Lashinsky HeadshotADAM LASHINSKY
Adam Lashinsky is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author, and seasoned TV and radio commentator who has covered the technology industry, finance, and other topics for more than 30 years, with postings and assignments on three continents. He is an editor at large for the San Francisco Standard and a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, and his work appears regularly in publications including The Information, Airmail News, and Business Insider. In the spring of 2023, he was the A.M. Rosenthal Writer in Residence at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. Lashinsky is the former executive editor of Fortune Magazine, where for two decades he covered the biggest and fastest-growing companies in Silicon Valley. He has written two books, the New York Times bestseller Insider Apple: How America’s Most Admire—and Secretive—Company Really Works (2012) and Wild Ride: Inside Uber’s Quest for World Domination (2017), and currently is at work on a biography of the journalist William Safire. Before joining Fortune, Lashinsky held positions at, The San Jose Mercury News, and Crain’s Chicago Business. In 1994, on a Henry Luce Scholars fellowship, he was a reporter for The Nikkei Weekly in Tokyo. A native of Chicago, Lashinsky is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

Gorkem Kem Ozbek headshotGORKEM “KEM” OZBEK
Having been introduced to the Bard through the endless footnotes of Arden Shakespeare, Kem has nonetheless been lucky enough to know and work with teachers and artists who have shown him that Shakespeare demands to be seen and heard, not read. He has enjoyed opportunities in acting, directing, and theater research that have taught him the transformative power of Shakespeare’s verse in a way no English literature class could. Kem believes that having free access to Shakespeare in performance can illuminate its true understanding for youth across the Bay’s under served communities, and empower them with emotional and intellectual range required to develop empathy, so desperately needed in a society where interactions are increasingly impersonal and biased. Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey and a resident of the Bay Area since 2002, Kem is a Director of Business Development at Dropbox by trade. He lives in Merced Manor with his wife and young daughter.

Jonathan Palley HeadshotJONATHAN PALLEY
Jonathan is an entrepreneur who has worked across the worlds of technology and theater. He is the co-founder/CEO of Clever Tiny Homes, a leading Tiny Home/ADU manufacturer and affordable housing developer and partner at QR Code Generator Hub, a SaaS marketing platform. He was previously the co-founder/CEO of Spire Health, a respiratory remote patient monitoring company. In the world of theater, his experience includes co-founding and directing Beijing Improv (which hosted workshops, shows and festivals for 100k+ people) and acting professionally in large-scale shows in Asia. He studied theater and physics at Stanford University.

Daniel L Rabinowitz - HeadshotDANIEL L. RABINOWITZ, ESQ. MEMBER
Dan has been a committed Shakespearian for four decades. He and his wife have run a Shakespeare Reading Group, the Saltmarsh Players, for 30 years. He served as the Chairman of Shakespeare’s Globe USA, the US Support Board for Shakespeare’s Globe, London, and as a Trustee of the Shakespeare’s Globe Trust, in London. He is proud to have been a supporter and colleague of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival since 2019. Dan began his career as a lawyer, and served as a federal law clerk, as a federal prosecutor in the US Department of Justice, and as a very active partner in two law firms: McCarter & English, and Shearman & Sterling. In 2007 Dan left the law and became President and CEO of The Athena Group, LLC, a troubled hedge fund. After successfully resolving Athena over the next five years, Dan was recruited to join the senior management group assembled to rescue and rebuild AIG, the global insurance giant. At AIG he served as Vice President and Global Head of Regulatory Capital, and was AIG’s global diplomat for regulatory, capital and risk management affairs. Since 2017, when he left AIG, he has served as an independent director and business advisor to several companies, including: Atlantic Industries, Inc; Aurora Bank, FSB; Archaio LLC; Gracie Terrace Apartment Corp.; and Altmayer Management, Inc. Dan served as a Director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund for 34 years, and is now a Senior Director. During that time he led the LDF Scholarship and Education Committee, served on the Executive Committee, and represented, pro bono, numerous death-sentenced indigent inmates across the South. None were executed. Dan also served on the Board of Friends Seminary, a coeducational pre-Revolutionary War Quaker educational institution in New York City, and also serves as a Trustee of Lamplighters Music Theater, here in San Francisco.