Meet the Board
Executive & Artistic Director
Kara Lakes She/Her
Kara has been Executive and Artistic Director of Performances To Grow On since 2021 and served as Associate Director for several years before that time, collaborating closely with the organization’s founder, Brian Bemel. Alongside her work with Performances To Grow On, Kara has also been a dedicated educator in the Ojai Valley since 1997. Her passion for storytelling and commitment to education have left a lasting impact on both the organization and the community it serves.
Cassandra Cotham She/They
Near lifetime Ojai resident, Cassandra Cotham, has been serving on the board of directors of Performances To Grow on and The Ojai Storytelling Festival since 2020. She has held the position of Administrative Director since 2021. Cassandra is a long time accessibility activist and has made it her business to lead the organization toward full inclusivity. If she could have one superpower, Cassandra would want to communicate in every language in the world.
Andrew Gilman He/Him
Andy Gilman is the Executive Director of the Agora Foundation. He holds an undergraduate degree in art and a graduate degree in philosophy. He is a founding parent and former board president of Ventura Charter School and former director of admissions and outreach for Oak Grove School. His career has involved design, marketing, writing, consulting, non-profit governance, and teaching.
Board Vice President
Barbara Amador She/Her
On the board of Performances to Grow On, Barbara offers a unique blend of educational expertise and cultural passion. Having crafted impactful courses, she's successfully led as both a teacher and a charter school director. Barbara also has a long-standing appreciation for the Ojai Storytelling Festival, attending for many years. This combination of educational leadership and cultural involvement positions her as a valuable member of the board.
Don Campbell He/Him
Don "Cam" Campbell has been on the Performances to Grow On board since 2016. He is the founder and owner of California Solar Electric. These days he likes to spend most of his time with his adult children and 2 grandsons. He brings his exuberant love of performing arts and storytelling to the table and is always there to lend a hand and a ladder when we need one or both!
Gianna Cagliano She/Her
As a lover of good music and good books, good food and good company, Gianna always has the ingredients for a good tale. Add to that , 35 years as a jeweler; caring for, restoring and creating the talismans that represent her clients life stories, it makes perfect sense that she has found a home at Performances to Grow On. To paraphrase her favorite quote by Neil Gaiman, the four best words of any story are “…and then what happened?”