Staff Bios

Meet the MoAD team!

Monetta White

Executive Director

Monetta White, a native San Franciscan has strong ties to the city both personally and professionally. In 2007 when she and husband Chef David Lawrence opened 1300 on Fillmore, the duo were excited by the opportunity to help revive the neighborhood through good food and music. For the past ten years, White’s business savvy and passion for food and community continues on with her opening 1300 on Fillmore at SFO International Airport. White manages and oversees all business operations and marketing for the restaurant group. White has been recognized for her knowledge and leadership by the City of San Francisco, for which she served as Vice President of the Small Business Commission. She sits on the board of directors for several non-profit and business organizations including SF Travel.

Linda Spain de Bruin

Chief Financial Officer

Linda joined MoAD in March 2013. Her financial career began as a cost accounting instructor at the University of Texas in Austin. Since then she has logged over 25 years as an accomplished financial and operational manager in the private and non-profit sector. As CFO, Linda successfully organized and grew a consumer product company to a multi-million business catering to Fortune 500 retailers.

She has also managed a cross-cultural exchange program and an international economic policy program. Linda’s expertise includes annual budgeting, financial modeling, cash flow forecasting, lending and legal negotiations, and audit management. Linda is also adept at creating order out of chaos and streamlining processes, making her an ideal member of FENG, the Financial Executives Networking Group. Before diving into the world of finance, Linda studied the German, Spanish, French, Arabic, and Japanese languages.

Elizabeth Gessel, Ph.D.

Director of Public Programs

Elizabeth leads MoAD’s Public Programs department; she is a critical thinker with excellent research, writing and communication skills. She has been developing and running public programs at MoAD since 2010. She has launched new program series on spiritual practices, folktales, sacred music, film and dance and overseen the development of two residency programs, the Chef-in-Residence and Poets-in-Residence programs at MoAD. She directed the transition to exclusively virtual programming during the novel coronavirus pandemic for MoAD. Elizabeth has a B.A. (with highest honors) and a Ph.D. in History from University of California, Berkeley.

Elizabeth participated in a Museum Studies program at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation that ignited her interest in working in museums. She loves to tell the extraordinary stories of resilience and joy, and to showcase the historical, cultural, and intellectual contributions of the global African Diaspora. She enjoys collaborating with other institutions and non-profits in the Bay Area and around the world. Elizabeth likes almost any activity she does with her family and her dog, Nova.

Elizabeth participated in a Museum Studies program at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Since then, she has worked with museums developing and producing educational curriculum, leading school tours, and working with community non-profit organizations. She brings a level of leadership and experience to MoAD, having worked with educational institutions and community groups managing projects and programs.

Elizabeth likes almost any activity she does with her family who include her two sons, Milo and Henry, and her dog, Nova.

Elena Gross

Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs

Elena Gross is an independent writer and culture critic living in Oakland, CA. She received an MA in Visual & Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts in 2016, and her BA in Art History and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2012. She specializes in representations of identity in fine art, photography, and popular media. Elena was formerly the creator and co-host of the arts & visual culture podcast what are you looking at? published by Art Practical. Her most recent research has been centered around conceptual and material abstractions of the body in the work of Black modern and contemporary artists. She has presented her writing and research at institutions and conferences across the U.S., including Nook Gallery, Southern Exposure, KADIST, Harvard College, YBCA, California College of the Arts, and the GLBT History Museum.

Demetri Broxton

Senior Director of Education

Demetri Broxton joined MoAD in January 2016 as the Director of Education. An Oakland-native, Broxton has over 16 years of experience working in the field of education and the arts. At MoAD, he leads the educational programs that enhance the visitor experience at the Museum. His department helps to connect youth, educators, and the public to the historical, cultural, and intellectual contributions of the worldwide African Diaspora.

This appointment marks Broxton’s second tenure with MoAD. He previously served as Education Program Manager for MoAD from 2007 through 2010. Outside of his role at MoAD, Demetri is an independent curator and educator. In 2012, Broxton founded Demetri Broxton Studio, an independent curatorial service and has served as curator for the City of Berkeley’s Civic Arts galleries since 2013. Demetri’s largest projects include Decoding Identity, which he co-curated at MoAD in 2009 and Past Forward, at the African American Art and Culture Complex (SF) in 2010.

Demetri graduated from San Francisco State University with an M.A. in Museum Studies with a dual emphasis on Education and Curatorial Practice. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from UC Berkeley in Art Practice and Education.

Janan Sirhan

Director of Facilities

Janan joined the MoAD in March 2019 as the Facilities Director. She holds a B.A. in Classical Studies and a minor in American History from UC Santa Cruz. During her studies, she focused on numismatic portraiture in the Augustan era, as well as the scope of Roman funerary portraiture from 8th c. BCE through 3rd c. CE. She also volunteered to transcribe century-old diaries from local Santa Cruz history as part of a collaboration to preserve several generations of historic community female voices and relevant documentation of California-focused, Victorian-era daily life.

She previously worked for a science center and zoo in San Mateo as the Facility Rental and Museum Experience Manager. At this position, she developed a thriving rental and events program and also created a First Friday Family Nights program from scratch. In collaboration with the Exhibits department, she also project managed temporary pop-up exhibitions that created hands-on, relevant physical and life science experiences for families in the Bay Area Peninsula.

Sedey Gebreyes

Senior Education Program Manager

(T)sedey Gebreyes, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and beekeeping enthusiast. Her creative work and teaching style are greatly influenced by the wonderful visual artists, theater performers, and storytellers of her childhood community. After moving to the United States, she studied Studio Arts at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Fine Arts and Spanish at University of Veracruz, Mexico.

Following her passion, she moved to San Francisco, California in 2007 where she has held a variety of positions including Adjunct Educator at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Teaching Artist at the DeYoung Museum, Co-founder and Teaching Artist at MiCultura Art Project, After School Program Manager at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and San Francisco Unified School District.

Nia McAllister

Public Programs Manager

Nia McAllister is a Bay Area born poet, writer, environmental justice advocate working at the intersection of art, activism, and public engagement. She received her B.A. in Environmental Analysis: Race, Class, Gender, and the Environment from Pomona College. Nia went on to join MoAD in December 2017 where she worked in the Visitor Experience Department and managed the museum bookstore.

In her current role as the Public Programs Manager, Nia strives to create participatory spaces for creative expression and literary dialogue. She leads the museum’s literary events under the MoAD Lit program and is the host and founder of the Open Mic series at MoAD. Since launching the series in April 2018, Nia has been integral in growing a vibrant poetry community at the Museum. At MoAD and beyond, Nia has committed herself to creating platforms for amplifying the work of Black artists on a global scale. Nia’s writing and poetry have been featured on Poets of Color Podcast, Nomadic Press Dial-A-Poet Series, Radicle Magazine, and in forthcoming publications.

Sheeka Arbuthnot

Chief Development Officer

Sheeka deeply believes that art and culture are functions of a progressive and evolving society. She has committed her career as a development professional to ensuring that art institutions are securely funded and have the ability to thrive. Knowing that artists are innovators of societal change on all levels, and art institutions play a key role in fostering a public space and community dialogue for innovation, she is humbled to be a part of this community process. Prior to joining the team at MoAD, she worked as the Development Director for Path with Art, an arts organization in Seattle providing access to creative engagement for adults navigating trauma. Sheeka was born, raised, and educated in the Bay Area: graduating from Mills College with a B.A. in Art History and from San Francisco Art Institute with an M.A. in Contemporary Art History. She is thrilled to be back in San Francisco with her family.

Tinashe Wertz Chidarikire

Digital Content Manager

Tinashe Wertz Chidarikire is a videographer, photographer, and web designer. He designs and produces online experiences that share the insights, personality, and stories of his subjects. Tinashe develops functional digital tools and grows online audiences for inspired projects. As the Digital Content Manager with MoAD, Tinashe creates and distributes social media, website, live-stream, and graphic design content to expand the community’s relationship to art and to cultivate art accessibility. Tinashe received a B.A. in Film and Digital Media Production from the University of California UCSC and was born in Harare, Zimbabwe.

When not behind a camera, Tinashe enjoys agritourism and spending time in nature.