About Us: Board
Gordon Yamate, President
Gordon Yamate currently serves on the boards of the Silicon Valley Directors’ Exchange, which provides educational programs and networking opportunities for directors and senior executives of Silicon Valley public companies, and the Japanese American National Museum headquartered in Los Angeles, where he presided as chair of the Board of Trustees from 2010-15. He recently completed his tenure on the Board of Directors of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, serving since 2008. He is also a former chair of the board of directors of Silicon Valley FACES, a human relations organization that operated the Silicon Valley regional office of the National Conference of Christians & Jews (NCCJ).
Gordon served as vice president and general counsel of newspaper publisher Knight Ridder until its acquisition by McClatchy in 2006 and prior to that Liberate Technologies, a Silicon Valley company that provided a software platform enabling Internet functionality through set-top boxes. Prior to Liberate, he was a corporate partner in the Silicon Valley offices of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen (later Bingham McCutchen). He received his law degree from Santa Clara University and his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis. He currently teaches a corporate governance seminar class as an adjunct lecturer in law at Santa Clara Law and the University of Augsburg in Germany.
Gordon’s interest in contemporary art and the ICA derives in part from his work as a former member of the City of San Jose’s Fine Arts Commission and as a former officer and board member of the San Jose Museum of Art, in addition to the Japanese American National Museum. He views artists as creative and critical problem solvers, often working with limited resources, to create work that explains what makes us uniquely human.
Jon Thomas, Vice President and Treasurer
Jon is a Managing Director with the investment-banking firm, Woodside Capital. Jon’s background includes over 15 years of investment banking, restructuring, and hedge fund portfolio management. At Woodside Capital Partners his focus is capital structure advisory, debt and equity capital raise, special situations M&A, and restructuring.
Prior to joining Woodside Capital Partners, Jon was a Senior Portfolio Manager at Ziegler Lotsoff Capital, a boutique asset management firm in Chicago, where he managed a credit opportunities hedge fund. Prior to Ziegler Lotsoff, he co-founded a high yield and distressed hedge fund, Simran Capital, where he was also a Senior Portfolio Manager. Jon published high yield and distressed debt research while he was at sell side broker firms Advest and RW Pressprich. He was also a restructuring advisor for Crossroads LLC, where he advised debtors and creditors on restructurings both in an out of bankruptcy. He began his career as an investment banker with JP Morgan Chase, where he focused on M&A, high yield new issues, and loan syndication. While at JP Morgan he held positions in New York, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Jon received a BS in Finance and International Business from Babson College.
Cathy Grape, Secretary
Cathy Grape recently retired after 38 years with IBM where she held a variety of leadership and technical positions in software, hardware, and services. She led large global system integration projects with worldwide teams, developed relationships with IBM customers representing all industries, developed commercial software applications, and negotiated contracts with critical business partners. Career highlights include being part of the team that led IBM’s systems integration of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, building a call center in the Philippines, and developing and delivering software products used by 95% of the Fortune 500 companies.
Growing up, her parents took Cathy to museums and theatre which led to an abiding interest in the arts. She received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Vassar College and a MS in Computer Science from Syracuse University. While at Vassar she took advantage of their renowned Art History department and studied art from ancient to contemporary.
Cathy has been a supporter of the arts for many years here in the Bay Area and in New York City which she visits often. Cathy is honored to be on the board of the ICA to help promote the mission to bring greater awareness, understanding, and appreciation of contemporary art to the community.
Mark Waxman serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of CBIZ, Inc, an NYSE-listed professional services firm. Prior to CBIZ, Mark was a founding partner of SK Consulting and the CEO/Creative Director for Carter Waxman Advertising and P.R., one of Silicon Valley’s leading advertising agencies.
Mark is a well-known speaker and author, having written a featured column (“Street Smart Marketing”) for the Silicon Valley Business Journal and spoken at conferences nationwide. He advises many early stage Silicon Valley companies, and has received numerous honors and awards for his business, community and creative work, including being named Outstanding Alumni of the San Jose State University School of Journalism and Mass Communications, being honored with the San Jose/Silicon Valley Leadership Excellence Award, the Silicon Valley Economic Development Award, and the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal.
Mark has served as Chairman of the Board of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, the President of both The Silicon Valley Ad Club and The San Jose Repertory Theater, the Chair of both the KTEH-TV Auction and Artsopolis.com, the Program Director for the Community Leadership Program of Gilroy, CA., and currently serves (in addition to the ICA) on the boards of ChamberPAC, Silicon Valley Creates and the West Valley Mission Advancement Foundation. As a former musician and performer, he has been a supporter of the arts all his life.
Liz Waldo has been involved with the ICA for thirty years in multiple capacities – as a volunteer, a former Board member, and as Assistant director for nine years. She watched the ICA grow from an under $400K budget, operating in a storefront with no heat or A/C, to owning their own building and a budget of nearly a million dollars. After the ICA she served as Development Director at Montalvo Arts Center for 2 ½ years. Post-retirement she was an independent development consultant working with MACLA, Arts Council San Jose, Museums of Los Gatos (now NUMU) and the ICA. She feels that her recent appointment to the Board completes a full circle of engagement with an organization that she has valued for most of her adult life.
Though without an artistic bone in her body, Liz is nonetheless an avid enthusiast of contemporary art and the artists who create it. The art historian and curator Peter Selz once talked about “the river of art” with its many modernist movements being tributaries that will sometimes become rivers of their own, sometimes rejoin the mainstream or sometimes shrink into a trickle that goes nowhere. The fun is in following along.
Jackie Whittier Kubicka
Jackie is one of twelve in her family to have graduated from Cal. A Cornell business school grad, she worked as a marketing communications manager for many years and supports this function on the board. She also holds a college counseling credential and teaches a summer workshop on careers in STEM to underserved high school women. An ardent supporter of the California Community Colleges system, she’s studied theatre, writing and art history (Humanities AA) with excellent local instructors. Free time finds her pondering art that pulls at our seams and opens our minds.
Nicki Moffat graduated from Stanford University in 1971, with a degree in Psychology, and a nearly equal amount of coursework in English, Studio Art, and Art History, all of which have played important parts in her life. She was accepted into MFA programs in northern and southern California but opted for a PhD program in Clinical Psychology instead. Disillusioned with the state of clinical psychology at the time, she dropped out of the program and then worked as one of the initial teachers at the first Stanford Day Care Center. She also did free lance drawing for children’s textbooks, and worked as a teacher and counselor at Planned Parenthood. In her twenties, she became a teacher at Menlo School in Atherton, eventually becoming the first female administrator at the school when it went co-ed. As Dean of Students, she did counseling for students with emotional and academic problems, founded and ran its first Community Service Program, began and led the Big Sisters Program, the Peer Tutoring Program, and a class advisors Activity Program, among other projects. She taught American Literature to sophomores for a time, as well as Art and U.S. History in the Middle School. Eventually, she taught a senior elective, Modern World Literature, up until her retirement from the school. In recent years she started a landscape design business, Nicki Moffat Garden Design, but is now retired.
Art in all of its forms has been important to Nicki and a passion of hers since childhood. Whatever form it takes, whether it be painting, drawing, collage, the poetry she writes, landscape design, the design of her own home and garden, or her art collection with her husband, Pete, art is central to her life and gives her great joy. She feels that art represents the best part of humanity and that some relationship with it is part of being a complete person. She and Pete have been enthusiastic members of the ICA for many years, and Nicki is now very happy to be serving on the Board Of Directors. The ICA is, to her, a kind of second home, and its members, a family.
Aldo Billingslea is the Father William J. Rewak S. J., Professor of Theatre Arts at Santa Clara University. A member of Actor’s Equity Association and the Screen Actor’s Guild, Billingslea has appeared in numerous theatrical productions in the Bay Area and across the country. Aldo has served on the Board of The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, and PlayGround. He resides in Santa Clara with Renee Billingslea, his visual-artist wife who also teaches at Santa Clara University.
Chris is a Sr. Director of Engineering at Lam Research Corporation, a leading manufacturer of silicon wafer processing equipment for the semiconductor industry. His work-related passion is lean product design through innovation and collaboration, and he derives great joy from recruiting and mentoring engineering interns and new college graduates.
Exposure to art began in Chris’ childhood, when his mother took him to art galleries and museums. When she became a full-time art writer at the San Jose Mercury News, she brought Chris to numerous press openings. Most relevant, thirty years ago she sent Chris and his wife Karla to the ICA for their very first art auction.
Chris is most passionate about contemporary art that either triggers human empathy, engages intellectual curiosity, or demonstrates creative and clearly refined techniques. He and Karla have recently been drawn to works that highlight social, political, and climate issues. They enjoy collecting, for which ICA auctions and art trips over the years have been a primary source.
With over 25 years of experience in intellectual property and corporate law, throughout her professional career, Michelle Branch (she/her) has provided expert legal counsel in areas such as organizational structure, fundraising, and strategic transactions. As principal of Branch Law Group, she has served as lead counsel to Twilio (now a NYSE company), Founders Fund, and Avestria Health VC, among other organizations. She began her legal career at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto as lead corporate associate for Google.
Branch has over 15 years of experience as a nonprofit board member. She currently serves on the boards of Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture and United Way Bay Area and on the national advisory council for Theatre Communications Group. She is also a founding board member of SIRUM.org, a TED Audacious Award winner. From 2018 to 2022 as its Board President, Branch steered San Francisco Camerawork though a strategic restructure process and the COVID-19 pandemic. Outcomes included establishing SF Camerawork at its new and current home on the San Francisco waterfront at Fort Mason and garnering increased institutional funding and recognition for emerging photographic artists and their practices.
A former chair of the United Way Worldwide Women United Global Leadership Council, Branch is a sought-after speaker on the topics of philanthropy and nonprofit arts governance. In 2020 United Way Bay Area awarded Branch the AFP Spirit of Philanthropy award. In 2018 United Ways of California acknowledged Branch with its inaugural Carol Jackson Advocate of the Year award.
Branch holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in United States History from the University of California, Berkeley, a B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. For several years, she taught as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and at New York University Law School. In her free time, she enjoys learning about visual art and artists, attending performing arts events, researching history and reading historical fiction, and traveling to explore various cultures, all of which further deepen her connection to and understanding of arts and cultural communities.