Dr. Robert Braun
Dr. Robert Braun President
Dr. Robert Braun has been on the LBO Board of Directors for five years prior to becoming President of the Board in 2016. During that time, he has served as chair of the development committee and on the executive committee. Dr. Braun is also president of the board of directors at MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art) and president of S.M. Morgan, Inc., a real estate management company. He received his BA from USC in 1970, his MD from UAG (Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico) in 1975, and his specialty in psychiatry from LAC-USC Medical Center in 1979. Dr. Braun worked as the medical director of Los Angeles PSRO from 1981 to 1983 and as medical director for US Administrators from 1983 to 1985. In 1985, he became the president of S.M. Morgan, Inc. Dr. Braun is a member of the Heifitz International Music Institute at Mary Baldwin College. In addition, he serves on the advisory council of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and is also a member of the board of directors of Diamond Bank and Bainum Bancorp in Arkansas. He has served as a board member and treasurer of the Los Angeles Committee for Philanthropic Arts, the Los Angeles Opera League, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Business and Professional Committee.
Allan Dinkoff Vice-President
Allan Dinkoff moved five years ago from New York City to the Los Angeles area with his wife of 37 years, Roseanna DeMaria. Mr. Dinkoff is an attorney who has spent his long legal career in both private practice and a variety of in-house positions. He currently is Associate General Counsel of Amgen Inc., the world’s largest biotech company, where he heads the firm’s Employment Law Group. His prior experience includes Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., where he was a Managing Director and head of the Employment Law Group, and Of Counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. He has published and lectured widely on a variety of legal topics, including legal ethics, class actions, whistleblowing, bankruptcy, corporate governance, arbitration, and employment issues. Mr. Dinkoff and his wife were active with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where they were Patrons and members of the Metropolitan Opera Club. They are avid folk art collectors.
Karen Molleson Vice President
Mark Taylor Secretary
Mark W. Taylor serves as the Chief of Staff to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. As Chief of Staff, Mark has helped make significant accomplishments in the Mayor’s first term including the Passage of Measures A & MA – the first two municipal sales tax increases adopted by Long Beach voters in a generation; Creation of a $1 billion Public-Private-Partnership (P3) to rebuild the Civic Center with a new City Hall, Main Library, Port Headquarters, and Lincoln Park in Downtown Long Beach; and Securing a $3 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies for an Innovation Team to support economic development & public safety.
Prior to his role in the Mayor’s Office, Mark served Long Beach City College as the
Director of College Advancement, Public Affairs, and Governmental Relations. He represented the college in Sacramento and Washington DC, and worked to support the success of LBCC students through innovative policies at the local and state levels. Mark led the effort to pass three pieces of legislation at LBCC, all of which were signed into law, including one to allow a pilot for community colleges to offer extension courses for the first time in state history. He also helped lead the development of the Long Beach College Promise partnership and the Promise Pathways initiative which have significantly increased college access and success for local students. Mark is a southern California native who graduated from Whitney High School, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Economics at Whittier College and a Master’s Degree in the History of American Civilization at Brandeis University. He and his family live in downtown Long Beach.
Sue Bienkowski Treasurer
Sue Bienkowski retired as senior program director for implantable devices at the Cardiac Rhythm Management Division of St. Jude Medical. She has both an MA in mathematics and an MBA in International Business from USC, and served in the Peace Corps, 1973-75. She is a member of the National Trustee Forum of Opera America, past vice president of the Ojai Music Festival Board of Directors and treasurer of Jacaranda Music in Santa Monica. Sue is also currently treasurer of Beth Morrison Projects. Sue and her husband Wang Lee have commissioned several chamber music pieces from Asian composers. She is an avid supporter of opera and contemporary music and has a special interest in Southeast Asian tribal art and adornment. Sue has been a board member at Long Beach Opera for 15 years, with 10 years as president. In 2015 she was the recipient of Opera America’s Opera Trustee Recognition Award for her work in transforming LBO from a small, local organization to a robust and nationally recognized company.
Marjorie Beale is an independent fundraising consultant with extensive experience in fundraising for higher education and the arts. Before she launched her consulting business in 2021, her career focused on developing and securing resources for major institutional projects in science and engineering. Previously, Beale served as Executive Director of Foundation Relations and Principal Gifts at the California Institute of Technology, as Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at USC Dornsife College, as Executive Director of Development for Science at the University of California, Irvine, and as Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at the University of Texas, where she worked with the campus-wide Grand Challenges program under the auspices of the Vice President for Research.
Beale also serves as a member of the Board of Governors for the Ojai Music Festival and a Trustee of Claremont Lincoln University. She also serves as a board member for the Orange County Women’s Chorus, where she has also been a singer for the past 24 years.
Earlier in her career, Beale was an assistant professor of history at UC Irvine, publishing The Modernist Enterprise (Stanford, 1999), which examined the emergence of the advertising industry and scientific management in pre-WWII France. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in European Intellectual History from UC Berkeley, and her A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard/Radcliffe Colleges in History and Literature.
Barbara Boies has been an opera lover and patron since she fell in love with the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts during her time in college at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. After graduating with an M.A. in English and Philosophy, Barbara taught English to junior high and high school students in Tustin, CA for 27 years.
Barbara spent 7 years as a volunteer and patron at Opera Pacific and has been LBO’s official volunteer archivist for the past 10 years, coming into the office every Wednesday. An avid lover of classical music, Barbara is a regular presence on the Los Angeles and Orange County cultural scene with subscriptions to L.A. Opera, L.A. Philharmonic, Orange County Philharmonic Society and the Segerstrom Chamber Music Series in addition to LBO.
Barbara takes several opera trips per season to New York City, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and occasionally to Europe. She currently lives in Orange County with her husband of 40 years, Bob Boies, who graduated from Lakewood High School and Claremont Men’s College. After a lengthy teaching career, Bob became a high school principal in Tustin and Newport Beach.
Peolia Kansas (PK) Fonsworth III, MD/MBA
Peolia Kansas (PK) Fonsworth III, MD/MBA
In his trajectory from low-income orphan to the first in his family to attend college, to pursuing an MD/MBA from UC Irvine and a psychiatry residency and fellowship with UCLA, Dr. PK Fonsworth has experienced widely divergent levels of privilege and its lack. These experiences have heightened his sensibility to marginalized populations and the power of "giving back." Philanthropy has helped him make sense of his past, his challenges, and his lived experience. Dr. Fonsworth works at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Healthcare in South Central and co-created an Integrative Behavioral Health program model for greater continuity of care for patients suffering from mental illness and or addiction. He is passionate about addressing the needs of the monolingual Spanish-speaking community in urban LA and team-based timely interventions to improve the quality of mental health care and patient outcomes.
He is thrilled to put to use the leadership and advocacy skills he has obtained from his business, medical, and psychiatric training for the betterment of LBO. In his words, "One of my greatest strengths is being a cultural broker—whether it is between mainstream and marginalized communities, between Spanish and English languages, or between business and medicine. I belong to both Filipino and African-American heritages, but my cultural circle extends much further. Born in the Philippines and raised in the Bay Area, I speak Spanish fluently, and my adoptive family—my adoptive grandmother—is Japanese-American. Because of my background and life experiences, I always look forward to meeting and working with other compelling boundary-crossing people, in a constant effort to innovate and serve society. I am fortunate to have found that at LBO." Southern California is home -- he lives in Long Beach with his partner, Dar Ritter.
Diana Hobson was educated at the Connecticut College for Women and Trinity University. Native to New York, she started her art career before moving to Los Angeles and establishing herself as a bi-coastal artist. She settled in Venice, and in order to finance her life as a single parent and artist, she worked in real estate. That sense of determination pulled her through, for she continued painting while raising her children. She plugged into the art community in Venice and became one of the major participants in the early days of the Venice Art Walk. She continued painting regularly in her studio, establishing herself on the renowned Abbot Kinney Boulevard, in the heart of Venice. Her work was represented by the Space Gallery and she has shown at the Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park repeatedly. She has also had her work shown in New York venues like the Mercantile Exchange and in international exhibits, such as being one of the artists representing the city of Los Angeles at our sister city’s Nagoya City Museum in Nagoya, Japan.
Sally Kurnick, with her late husband Dr. Nathaniel Kurnick, has been a subscriber and supporter of Long Beach Opera for many years. A longtime arts advocate, she joined the LBO Board in 2018. She holds a B.A. from UCLA with a major in Sociology and a focus in Elementary Education, and an M.A. in Art History from CSUN. During her career she has served as an elementary school teacher, and later as Director of Education at the University Art Museum, CSULB. At the UAM she utilized both her elementary education and art history background to share the museum’s innovative exhibitions with university and education communities. As a consultant in Arts and Museum Education, in collaboration with the Orange County Department of Education, she developed and implemented an annual conference for K-12 educators, Art Brings Cultures Together, demonstrating how the arts strengthen both curriculum and cultural understanding. She further collaborated with the OCDE in the professional development series, Voice of the Artist, connecting educators with community arts providers through firsthand arts encounters.
Sally is fortunate to have travelled extensively and continues her interest in the arts, through her own firsthand arts encounters. LBO provides many adventurous firsthand encounters!
Greta Johnson Mandell, M.D.
Greta Johnson Mandell, M.D.
Greta Johnson Mandell was born in Brooklyn Borough, New York, New York, and moved to California with her family in 1954, where she attended public schools in Compton. She enrolled at Occidental College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, and soon after, earned a Medical Doctorate from the USC School of Medicine. She undertook her Residency in Child and Adult Psychiatry, LAC-USC and Augustus F. Hawkins psychiatric hospitals between 1979 and 1985, thus starting her long career in inpatient and outpatient psychiatric evaluation, as well as holistic and alternative general medical care and pain management. Greta retired in 2019.
With a tandem passion for art and fashion, Greta earned a Certification in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in 1987. She recognized that fashion was a natural fit with her psychiatric background and her professional research in artistic expression and meaning, noting that fashion art is a form of communication and visual presentation. Clothing helps tell a person’s story, and Greta relished the practice of applying observational technique to examine the cultural production of humans’ everyday lives; she is proud of her unique skills as a “cultural code reader.”
Greta’s philanthropic leadership is impressive. She has served on the Advisory Board for Pasadena Symphony, POPS, and Youth Orchestras, 2014-present; she was a Founding Member of the Theatrical Diversity Project, Pasadena Playhouse, where she also was on the Advisory Committee to the Board, and currently serves as a member of the Diversity Committee. From 2007-2010, she was a Board member at Theatre at Boston Court, and is a Trustee at Occidental College since 2015. Greta is also the Founder and Director of the Compton Arts Council, a nonprofit arts support organization. She credits her early years in the church and the practice of tithing for shaping her passion for philanthropy and her sense of abundance. “I learned very early that I always had enough to give to someone somewhere and somehow.” Greta lives in Altadena with her husband, Peter Mandell, a CPA.
Keith Simmons was born in Long Beach at historic Harriman Jones Clinic and currently resides in College Park Estates. A graduate of CSULB with a degree in Political Science, Simmons owns and operates his own computer consulting company (R.D. Simmons & Associates., Inc.) in Los Alamitos. Along with his interest in music and the arts, Simmons likes to stay fit through hiking, tennis, swimming, and golf. He is active in the preparation for disasters with the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) in Long Beach. He has been a member of the Long Beach Opera Board of Directors for over 20 years.
Vina Spiehler, Ph.D
Vina Spiehler, Ph.D
Vina Spiehler is President and owner of Spiehler & Associates, a forensic pharmacology consulting business. Dr. Spiehler received her Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from the medical school at the University of California, Irvine, and currently teaches forensic toxicology at CSUF. She has published over one hundred papers, book chapters, and Internet courses. Throughout her life Dr. Spiehler has been involved in many organizations. She is currently the United States Regional Representative to the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists, and is a past President of the California Association of Toxicologists, and the Society of Forensic toxicologists. She is also involved with many music organizations including Treasurer of Baroque Music Festival of Corona del Mar and a member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Dr. Spiehler is passionate about opera and classical music, and travels to experience opera around the world.
This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at cac.ca.gov
Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.
Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission