New Crucible Board Members Ready To Expand On Our Mission In 2020

By Cathy Niland | 01.07.2020

We are so thrilled to welcome four new members to The Crucible Board of Directors in 2020: Jana Pastena, Jeremy Sugerman, Taj Wilson, and Karyn Flynn. These wonderful community leaders bring their expertise and passion for the arts to The Crucible Board, providing strategic direction and oversight to The Crucible’s long-term strategy and working to advance our mission.

With these four new directors, the total size of The Crucible Board of Directors becomes sixteen members—the largest in the organization’s history. As The Crucible begins it 21st year as an industrial arts school, expanding and diversifying our board has been crucial to ensure we have leaders with varied experience and perspectives involved in our highest level of decision making.

Karyn, Jana, Jeremy, and Taj each bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and perspective, all vital in helping us continue to expand our mission in 2020 and beyond. See below for their bios and why they are excited to join The Crucible Board of Directors.

We have an amazing group of energetic and diverse new board members joining us in January 2020. It’s thrilling to have talents like Jana Pastena, Karyn Flynn, Jeremy Sugerman, and Taj Wilson join the board; I know they are going to each have a profound impact as we deepen our mission in the new year.

Susan Mernit
Executive Director, The Crucible

Please Welcome Our Newest Crucible Board Members


I am looking forward to joining the board of The Crucible as they give everyone an opportunity to bring alive their creative talents through hands-on arts education. The space, the people and how approachable they make learning something new are all incredible! I am excited to help this unique organization thrive in the coming years.

Karen Flynn joins our board after recently stepping down as CEO of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, a position she’d held since 2011. Prior to becoming CEO, Flynn was a Trustee for the Bay Area Discovery Museum for five years, serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Development Committee. Flynn has also served on the boards of community organizations including The Financial Women’s Association, Heyday Books, and the Mountain Play Association.

new board members 2020


I am excited about joining The Crucible’s Board because of their real focus on their surrounding community in West Oakland and their commitment to incorporate more youth from the community into their programs. Right now in particular, there is an opportunity for The Crucible to set the tone for what positive growth in West Oakland looks like, and I am inspired to participate in that work.

Jana Pastena is a graduate of Oakland’s Mills College, where she earned a degree in Ethnic Studies, and Golden Gate University School of Law. Pastena currently sits on the boards of directors of Children’s Fairyland and the Oakland Indie Alliance. She and her husband have opened a number of Oakland restaurants, including Chop Bar, Calavera, and Tribune Tavern.

new board members 2020


In a time when we are each increasingly isolated by our screens, it’s incredibly important that we create and maintain a place to teach the creation of physical arts, particularly to those who are not professional artists or enrolled in an art school. The Crucible provides a program and a place that creates civic engagement while also encouraging individual growth.  I’m excited to join the board at a time when its work is more vital than ever.

Jeremy Sugerman is an Oakland-based attorney who has represented a number of working artists and nonprofit organizations. He has held a variety of leadership roles, including as a board member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and as past President of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Senior Center. He is also a current board member of the American Safe Climbing Association.

new board members 2020


Growing up in the East Bay and being involved with a variety of nonprofit education-based organizations, I truly appreciate the role that The Crucible has played—and can more deeply play—as an educational and community hub for the industrial arts. I’m excited to help The Crucible support local artists and expand this community’s access to the transformational experience of making art, learning new skills, and engaging in creative expression.

Taj Wilson grew up in East Bay and has been involved with a variety of nonprofit, education-based organizations. He is currently Senior Counsel at Loon, and previously worked as Corporate Counsel to Google and as a Deputy Associate Counsel at the White House during Obama’s presidency. Wilson joins our board after serving as a member of The Crucible’s Advisory Council.

new board members 2020

Meet the folks behind the scenes!

Our Crucible team includes hundreds of passionate Bay Area community members dedicated to making industrial arts education accessible. From board members, to volunteers, to faculty, it takes a village. Learn more about the community behind The Crucible!

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