Los Angeles, CA (July 7, 2021)—Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC), today announced leadership changes to the Museums’ Board of Trustees and Board of Governors for the next fiscal year, effective July 1, 2021. Heather de Roos has been named Board of Trustees President, succeeding Shannon Faulk, who has served as Board of Trustees President for four years and will become Board of Trustees Chair. Megan McGowan Epstein has been named Board of Trustees Vice President. Kermit Crawford has been named a new Board of Trustees member and Naomi Rainey-Pierson has been elected to the NHMLAC Board of Governors by 4th District Supervisor, Janice Hahn. Sarah Meeker Jensen, FAIA, former Board President and most recently Board Chair, will no longer be an officer on the Board.
“NHMLAC is incredibly fortunate to have a Board of Trustees with an inspiring vision, boundless enthusiasm and a progressive commitment to building and uplifting community through our lens of nature and culture,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga. “We could not have gotten through this past year without their fearless and steadfast leadership. In partnership with Heather, Shannon, Megan and our new members, we join our county in recovery and reopening, and are filled with optimism and excitement as we discover new ways to bring our mission to life, as museums of, for, and with Los Angeles.”
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) is a public-private partnership between the non-profit Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Foundation and the County of Los Angeles and includes the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall. NHMLAC is governed by dedicated individuals serving on the Natural History Museum Foundation Board of Trustees and the County-appointed Commission of the Board of Governors. Together, the Executive Leadership Team and the Board work to champion the museums' vision, protect the collections, and carry out their strategic goals. The Board of Trustees currently has 38 members, including Governors.
“As home to over 35 million specimens and artifacts, NHMLAC has the largest natural and cultural history collection in the western United States, a range of indoor and outdoor experiences across three sites which serve 1.3 million visitors a year, and the only active urban paleontological excavation site in the world at the Tar Pits,” said Heather de Roos, newly appointed Board of Trustees President. “I am honored to serve NHMLAC and the wider Los Angeles community in my new role. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Shannon Faulk, building upon the accomplishments that he and Sarah Meeker Jensen have made throughout their tenure on the Board, as we work to increase access to the Museums’ incredible research and collections and inspire the next generation of scientists and culture workers.”
Heather de Roos has been on NHMLAC’s Board of Trustees since 2012 and served as Vice President of the Board from September 2019 through June 2021. De Roos is a civic leader and the Director of The Carol H. and Kevin W. Sharer Education Foundation with a background in human resources, strategy & planning, consulting, and retail. De Roos has held management and consulting positions at Northrop Grumman, Home Depot and Amazon.com, Mercer Management Consulting and Towers Perrin. De Roos received her MBA from The Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary and her BS in Mathematics from Roanoke College. A longtime resident of Manhattan Beach, CA, de Roos has actively supported area schools through PTA leadership roles and is currently PTA President for Mira Costa High School. She also serves as a Board member for the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation and as Vice President of Fundraising for scholarships for the Neptunian Woman’s Club.
Shannon Faulk has served on NHMLAC’s Board since 2008, when he was appointed by then Second District Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke to the Board of Governors. Faulk is a graduate of San Francisco State University and the Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Clark Atlanta University. After executive sales management and development positions at the Pitney Bowes Corporation and an internet company, he went on to establish his own independent insurance agency through the Farmers Corporation. He focuses on urban development by providing insurance and financial services products to urban-based community businesses and the private sector. He serves on the board of several non-profit organizations including Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Californian State Democratic Convention.
Megan McGowan Epstein has served on NHMLAC’s Board of Trustees since 2018 and will serve as Vice President, beginning July 2021. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2000 as the Business Unit Manager of PWM in Los Angeles after having spent a brief period of time in the New York Institutional Equity Group. Megan graduated from Harvard Business School in 2000 in Finance and Entrepreneurial Studies. She also received her chef’s degree from the Culinary Institute of Education in 1999. Megan worked four years prior to business school at Credit Suisse First Boston as an Analyst in the Global Power Investment Banking Division and as an Associate in Equity Capital Markets. She received her B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University, in Economics and Political Science. Megan serves on the Los Angeles Natural History Museum Board of Directors, the Brentwood Country Club Board of Directors and the Finance Committee for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
Sarah Meeker Jensen, FAIA, has been a member of NHMLAC’s Board of Trustees since 1999, helping guide the NHM Next Campaign, the hiring of current Museum leadership, and directly supporting Museum programs, research and collections. She has served on the Advancement, Budget, Compensation and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Ad Hoc (IDEA) committees and NHM’s Next Decade Task Force and Strategic Planning Task Force, chairing the Executive and Capital Projects Ad Hoc committees. Meeker Jensen was President from 2012 – 2017 and Chair from 2017 – 2021. She will remain a Trustee though she will no longer be an officer.
Naomi Rainey-Pierson has been appointed as an NHMLAC Governor by Fourth District Supervisor, Janice Hahn, and will begin in July 2021. Rainey-Pierson was sworn into the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners in October 2020 by Mayor Robert Garcia, and is an award-winning educator, philanthropist, entrepreneur and civil rights activist who works with thousands of community members, including many at-risk children. She previously served as Vice President of the California State Conference NAACP and has served as president of the award winning Long Beach Branch NAACP since 2000. Rainey-Pierson holds a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Long Beach in theatre arts, as well as two master’s degrees in education, and several teaching credentials. She also has certifications in cultural diversity and human relations.
Kermit Crawford joined NHMLAC’s Board of Trustees in December 2020 and was elected for a full term in July 2021. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Rite Aid Corporation from 2017 to 2019 and was an Operating Partner and Advisor with private equity firm Sycamore Partners from 2015 to 2017. He retired from Walgreens as Executive Vice President and President of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Division in 2014 after 30 years at the company. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
About the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) include the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall. They operate under the collective vision to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. The museums hold one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history—more than 35 million objects. Using these collections for groundbreaking scientific and historical research, the museums also incorporate them into on- and offsite nature and culture exploration in L.A. neighborhoods, and a slate of community science programs—creating indoor-outdoor visitor experiences that explore the past, present, and future. Visit NHMLAC.ORG for adventure, education, and entertainment opportunities
Sally Marquez, NHMLAC
Maura Klosterman-Vu, Polskin Arts