Meet The Team

 Create Now’s is only made possible by its dedicated staff and amazing Board of Directors. Their continued support allows Create now to run their programs and fulfill their mission goals.

 

 

Staff

Brandon Dean Johnson

Brandon Dean Johnson

CEO
brandon@createnow.org

Laura Kelly

Director of Programs
laura@createnow.org

Lola Kate

Program Manager
lola@createnow.org

Brandon volunteered with Create Now for six years, teaching the arts and mentoring youth. He also served as the Board Chair. In 2021, he became our CEO. He studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Brandon lived throughout Europe where he taught visual arts programs to kids.

He worked for Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ as the Art Director and Production Coordinator. Brandon was later hired by Pure Imagination Studios where he worked with all of the top entertainment companies. He also founded BigFooters, a production company that produces high-quality content.

Email: brandon@createnow.org

Program Director Laura Kelly has developed and delivered arts programming for Create Now for over 12 years. She has developed new programs, new relationships with schools and agencies who serve youth 3-24 in the Los Angeles region, and strengthened existing programs. Laura is the face of Create Now’s relationships with Title 1 schools and youth agencies.Laura has a long history of producing performances in Los Angeles, including the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and The Ford Amphitheatre. She is also a Board Member of Vida Flamenca, a nonprofit committed to bringing the finest of Spanish dance and music to the Los Angeles area.
Ms. Kelly has over 40 years of experience in nonprofit programming in Los Angeles including 3 years as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

A Penn State grad, Lola previously volunteered at Create Now starting in the summer of 2019 by teaching a visual arts program at Angel’s Flight shelter called “Expressive Arts.” She also organized the volunteers at our Power of the Arts Festival. She was hired as Create Now’s Volunteer Coordinator in October 2019.

With a compassionate understanding of youths’ needs, Lola matches volunteers with the partners in our network and organizes these projects. She also serves as Create Now’s Program Manager. In addition, Lola coordinates our marketing team of volunteers. She is dedicated to expanding Create Now’s impact and operations.

We’re delighted that Taelor Barren has joined Create Now as our Cultural Journeys intern, thanks to a grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. Living in Carson, she is a 19-year-old third year college student who attends El Camino College. Taelor’s dream is to become a nurse because she loves caring for others and helping them to heal. She’ll be doing a lot of that while building our Cultural Journeys program since bringing youth-in-need to concerts, plays and other cultural events assists them to heal from trauma while exposing them to the many benefits of the therapeutic power of the arts.

Some of Taelor’s favorite hobbies include tending to her garden, reading novels, catching up on her favorite K-Dramas/anime shows, and surfing the internet. She likes to think of herself as a secret artist and is inspired to take up painting during her free time. She’s also learning new languages and stepping out of the box when it comes to music in a variety of genres, even country music. Taelor is grateful and delighted to have been given this opportunity to be a part of the Create Now team, and we’re equally thrilled to have her with us.

Board of Directors

Lauren DeVillier

Lauren DeVillier

Board Chair

Tracy Solomon Clark

Vice Chair

Cees Klumper

Cees Klumper

Treasurer

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Struum

Lauren is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Struum. As an award-winning senior executive in the digital media and entertainment industries, she has successfully led businesses for some of the world’s largest consumer brands including The Walt Disney Company and Microsoft. Lauren is recognized for driving innovation, including pioneering the new Direct-to-Consumer IPTV and SVOD business models that are now standard in the industry.

Backed by Michael Eisner’s venture firm, Tornante, Lauren co-founded Struum in February 2020. As CEO, Lauren  leads Struum, in their mission to help top tier aspirational streaming services and more specialized SVOD offerings optimize the reach of their programs and services, while providing an increasingly frustrated and underserved consumer base with a simple way to find programming and services they want easy access to are most likely to enjoy.

Prior to Struum, Lauren was the Head of Product at Discovery Ventures. She is an award-winning senior executive in the digital media and entertainment industries, Lauren worked for the Walt Disney Company, Discovery, Microsoft and Yahoo! With strong operational skills, and an expertise in content and product development, she launched market leading products across mobile, online and OTT platforms. Responsibilities include: P&L oversight, building and growing a deeply-engaged digital consumer audience with 60M+ app downloads over a three-year period along with spearheading a social media business with over 25M subscribers, and a top-tiered website presence.

Under Lauren’s leadership, the DATG Digital Media team delivered the highest grossing kids app in the Apple App Store for two years, and won multiple awards. As an executive at Yahoo!, she oversaw general business and the P&L of Yahoo! Kids. At Microsoft, Lauren led over 1,000 third-party National and International developers, content creators and vendors working on the Microsoft TV Foundation Edition platform to build proof of concept case for distribution reaching 5M TV subscribers.

Lauren is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is an advisory board member to the Alliance for Women in Media.

Independent Consultant at Solomon Clark & Associates

Tracy Solomon Clark is a Development Executive with over twenty years of experience in all areas of fundraising in the Los Angeles, non-profit sector. Ms. Clark has led countless Capital Campaigns, Signature Event/Planning, Marketing, Advertisement, Public Relations, and Internal/External Communications.

Tracy’s experience includes executive management skills. (i.e. developing/executing new fundraising programs for organizations with budgets ranging from $300,000 to 25 million dollars, developing several comprehensive campaigns to raise awareness and secure funds for more than 100,000 people throughout the Los Angeles area).

She has managed fundraising programs for more than seven core programs for five satellite offices annually. Tracy has completed a Capital Campaign for 100 million dollars, resulting in the completion of two construction projects.

Tracy is a consultant for non-profit and for-profit businesses. Previously, she worked with the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles as the Director of Development. However, Tracy”s true passion is for children. She demonstrates that fervor by making sure that each child has what he/she needs to excel, and that Create Now is a continued step in the right direction for all children.

Chief Audit & Compliance Officer, International Medical Corps

Cees Klumper lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He serves as the Chief Audit & Compliance Officer of the International Medical Corps, a not-for-profit organization that delivers emergency healthcare and related services to those affected by conflict, natural disaster and disease, in some of the most challenging countries in the world.

Before International Medical Corps, Cees held positions as Chief Risk Officer of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Managing Director of Internal Audit of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, both organizations headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Cees was also an audit and consulting partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG, a Chief Financial Officer of a retail chain, and a Vice President of Internal Control at a global supermarket and food service company.

Cees has lived in The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Florida and now California. He is married to artist Anneke, and they have one son, Victor, who studies mechanical engineering at the University of California Irvine. Cees has extensive experience as a Board member of not-for-profit organizations in the arts, animal protection and other causes.

His hobbies include maintaining the boat that Anneke and he live on in Marina del Rey, tinkering with old cars and motorcycles, woodworking, bicycle riding and preparing sushi. Cees is also a Board member of Community Career Development Inc., another not-for-profit organization that operates in Los Angeles to, among other things, provide free employment services to 20,000+ adult and 500+ youth job seekers in the greater Los Angeles area each year.

Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs at TechStyle Fashion Group

Stephanie is a solutions-oriented strategic business partner, providing commercially focused, cost effective legal counsel to drive revenue and mitigate business risk for all functions and business teams. She’s a leader in providing efficient, decisive, collaborative and creative approaches to problem solving, plan implementation and litigation. An avid and strong negotiator in both conflict situations such as litigation and in collaborative commercial areas.

In her position at Techstyle Fashion Group, Stephanie works directly with General Counsel and the executive management team providing advice and legal analysis regarding all aspects of the corporation, including, but not limited to, labor and employment issues, supply chain management, advertising and marketing, commercial production and union issues, IP management, data security, executive immigration issues and compliance matters. She is responsible for managing all litigation and compliance matters as well as negotiating and drafting commercial agreements.

Natalie Brill retired from the City of Los Angeles in November 2020 after 33 years, where she was the Debt Manager for over 20 years. Ms. Brill managed a $6 billion debt portfolio, completing 108 transactions. Many of these programs included innovative re-financings producing millions of dollars in savings to the City’s taxpayers. Ms. Brill diversified the City’s pool of vendors, which created opportunities for women-owned and minority-owned firms and benefited the City through the opening of offices in Los Angeles. 

Ms. Brill received the California Public Service Association “Award in Excellence” for her work in public finance. The National Women in Public Finance awarded her the “She’s My Hero Award” for her ability to balance her professional and private lives. Ms. Brill was a finalist for the Los Angeles Business Journal Women Summit Award, recognizing her work as the City’s Debt Manager in saving taxpayers millions of dollars. In 2019, she received the Social Bond Award for the 2018 Housing Bond from Environmental Finance, and the Excellence in Disclosure award from the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. 

Ms. Brill has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Pomona College and a Master of Arts Degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Ms. Brill lives in the City of Los Angeles with her husband and has two grown children.

In addition to Create Now, Natalie is currently serving on several non-profit boards, such as Women in Public Finance as National Secretary and National Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, on the Los Angeles Chapter Board as National Board Liaison, and on the Latino in Public Finance Board as Treasurer.

CEO & Co-Founder at The Canvas

Christopher uses the cutting-edge of technology combined with immersive storytelling to create impact. He’s a Vision Realization Officer whose mission is to empower a world of freedom, abundance, and love through the blend of art, business, science, and personal development. Using emerging realities (V/A/MR) technology. He is a world traveler, designer, thinker, cinematographer, photographer, and complex problem solver.

After receiving a B.A. in Economics from Occidental College, Christopher knew that he wanted to integrate his ability to understand systems with his love for creativity. That’s when he found the dual Masters in Design at The Institute of Design (IIT) and an M.B.A. at the Stuart School of Business (IIT) and knew it was the perfect fit for what he wanted to learn and ultimately create in the world.

After completing his studies, Christopher traveled around the world for 15 months. He created a project (“The Priti Life”) to document how different cultures celebrated around the world as he traveled through 26 countries and 100+ cities. While in South Africa, he started “Footprints,” which is the first global VR show that tells powerful stories with beautiful visuals in a compelling and relatable way. Upon returning to the United States, Christopher established the Sights and Sounds Media House with some of his fellow creatives, and has since evolved into The Canvas where he uses his expertise to empower a future we want to live into.

Tricia Snyder

Tricia Snyder

Board Fellow

Associate Vice President, Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Tricia is an experienced Fundraising and Philanthropy professional with nearly 15 years in academic medicine, working on major and principal gifts, planned giving, and strategic and campaign planning. 

Tricia recently completed the Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy (WOC)® Radiant Leadership Institute and has additional experience in corporate finance, accounting, government and law. Tricia holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills, certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Willamette University.

Her interest in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is both professional and personal. She believes philanthropy has significant areas for progress including who leads the workforce, who donates, and who serves on boards