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Walt Disney Family Museum assembles Advisory Committee


The Walt Disney Family Museum just announced a new advisory committee to complement its Board of Directors. The committee is made up of eleven extraordinary individuals, some with connections to the Disney legacy, some independent, whose personal and professional achievements and experience will provide important strategic guidance for the museum. Among the new members are animator Andreas Deja, producers Don Hahn, and Pixar Animation Studios creative genius John Lasseter.

The museum’s Advisory Committee is made up of the following distinguished members:

Andreas Deja first applied for a job as a Disney animator at the age of 10. Born in Poland and raised in Germany, he recalls writing the Studios immediately after seeing The Jungle Book. The Studios wrote back to Andreas explaining that there were no openings, but they were always on the lookout for new talent. At the age of 20, Andreas applied again and was accepted. Andreas began his Disney career working with Eric Larson, one of the legendary “Nine Old Men,” and went on to work on animated films such as The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Andreas oversaw the animation of Triton in The Little Mermaid, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King, Mickey Mouse in Runaway Brain, the title character in Hercules, and Lilo in Lilo & Stitch. In 2007, Andreas was honored with the Winsor McKay Award from the International Animated Film Association.

Don Hahn is producer of the worldwide phenomenon The Lion King and the classic Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Don is Executive Producer of the acclaimed Disneynature Films Earth, Oceans, African Cats,and Chimpanzee, and Disney’s Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. Don’s other credits include Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis, Fantasia 2000, and The Emperor’s New Groove. Don’s books on animation, art, and creativity include the best seller Brain Storm, the acclaimed educational series Drawn To Life: The Complete Works of Walt Stanchfield, and the much anticipated Before Ever After: The Lost Lectures of Disney’s Animation Studio due out in the fall of 2015. Don also serves on the Board of Directors of PBS SoCal.

John Lasseter maintains creative oversight of all films and associated projects from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios, and is involved in a wide range of activities at Walt Disney Imagineering. John made his directorial debut in 1995 with Toy Story, the world’s first feature-length computer-animated film. John also directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011). John has executive produced all Pixar features since Monsters, Inc. (2001). To date, Pixar’s films have earned more than $8.5 billion in gross box-office receipts. Since assuming creative oversight of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006, John has served as executive producer on all of its feature films and serves as executive producer for Disneytoon Studios’ films. In John’s role as Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, John was instrumental in bringing Radiator Springs to life with the successful 2012 launch of Cars Land, a massive 12-acre expansion of Disney California Adventure Park. Prior to the formation of Pixar in 1986, John was a member of the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. John was part of the inaugural class of the character animation program at California Institute of the Arts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in film in 1979.

Michelle Lund is president of the Sharon D. Lund Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 1973 by her mother (and Walt Disney’s youngest daughter), Sharon Disney Lund, to support initiatives in the arts, health and wellness, human services, and higher education for the future of children and the youth of today. In 2013, the Foundation provided grants totaling more than $5 million to organizations and projects working in its focus areas. Michelle also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary & Retreat Center.

Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Chair of the Presidio Trust Board, serves on the Board of Directors for the Charles Schwab Corporation and is the Chairman of the Board for the Sugar Bowl Corporation. Previously, Nancy was Chief Financial Officer and Director for J.R. Bechtle & Company from 1979 to 1998. From 1987 to 2001, Nancy was President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Symphony and has served as a member of its Board of Governors since 1984. Nancy served on the board of the National Park Foundation from 2001 to 2007 and held the board’s Citizen Chair from 2005 to 2007. Nancy has received several honors, including the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts from the California Arts Council and the Coro Foundation’s Investment in Leadership award. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University. Nancy was appointed to the Presidio Trust board of directors by President George W. Bush in 2008 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Alice Carter is an illustrator, writer, and a professor at San Jose State University. Alice’s illustration clients include Lucasfilm Ltd., Rolling Stone magazine, The New York Times, and ABC Television. Alice’s work has been exhibited at the New York Society of Illustrators’ Museum of American Illustration, The Norman Rockwell Museum, the Art Institute of Houston, the New Britain Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, and the Erie Art Museum. Alice’s teaching awards include the Outstanding Professor Award from San Jose State University, the New York Society of Illustrators Distinguished Educator in the Arts award, and a Fulbright Fellowship at Helwan University, Cairo. An in-demand lecturer, Alice has also curated exhibitions at the Woodmere Art Museum, The Norman Rockwell Museum, and The Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration.

Elaine Chao—the 24th U. S. Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009—is the first American woman of Asian descent in our nation’s history to be appointed to a Presidential Cabinet. Elaine is the longest tenured Secretary of Labor since World War II. Under Elaine’s leadership, the U.S. Department of Labor achieved record results in protecting the health, safety, wages, and retirement security of the nation’s workforce. Elaine has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America and as Director of the Peace Corps. Elaine’s government service also includes serving as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator, and White House Fellow. Recognized with many awards for her public and community service, Elaine is the recipient of 34 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities across the globe.

Chris Kelly is a Silicon Valley attorney who represents innovative companies on privacy, security, safety and regulatory affairs. As the first Chief Privacy Officer, General Counsel, and Head of Global Public Policy for Facebook, Chris helped the company grow from its college roots to the ubiquitous communications medium that it is today. Chris left Facebook in 2009 to seek the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of California, garnering 16 percent of the vote in a seven-way race, his first run for statewide office. Since the June 2010 primary, Chris has become an active angel investor in companies seeking transformational improvements in technology, media, and finance.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. Leonard is best known for his widely-used reference works, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, as well as his 30-year run on Entertainment Tonight. Leonard teaches at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, appears regularly on Reelz Channel, and hosts the weekly podcast Maltin on Movies with Baron Vaughn for the Wolfpop network. Leonard served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. Leonard hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on numerous television programs and documentaries. Leonard has been the recipient of awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, George Eastman House, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International.

Cynthia Rowland, a partner in the Farella Braun + Martel LLC San Francisco office, focuses on charitable giving arrangements and complex structures, as well as a wide variety of business transactions for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Cynthia serves on the Board of Directors for Tax-Aid, which assists low-income taxpayers with free tax preparation services. Cynthia served as Chair of the Nonprofit Organizations Committee for the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section and was named its 2011 Outstanding Attorney of the Year. Cynthia is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the Nonprofit/Charities Law and Tax Law practice areas and has been honored as the 2015 San Francisco “Lawyer of the Year” for Nonprofit/Charities Law.

Tom Sebastian is co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer of Swirl, where he leads the agency’s creativity, growth, and development with co-Chief Executive Officer, John Berg. Tom came to Swirl from the William Morris Agency in Los Angeles, where he led creative development for the firm’s corporate consulting division, eventually co-leading the entertainment marketing division of William Morris Endeavor, including accounts for Coke Zero and 20th Century Fox’s Avatar, Nestle/Purina and Marley and Me, Lady Gaga, and Polaroid. Prior to WME, Tom was the Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of PRN, a San Francisco–based advertising and media firm that pioneered the creation of digital advertising systems. Tom has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of thinkLA and was recently appointed to the board of the San Francisco YMCA.

(photo credit Jim Heaphy, CC-By-SA 3.0 license)