Board


Dr. S Ama Wray

S. Ama Wray, PhD, was recognized by the Comparative & International Education Society, receiving their African Diaspora Emerging Scholars Award in 2018. An Associate Professor of Dance at UC Irvine, she gave the 2019 closing plenary for Dance/USA’s conference in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her PhD in dance studies at the University of Surrey, developing – Embodiology® her Africana-informed improvisation praxis. Embodiology® has been introduced at the following institutions: Temple University, Martha Graham School, UC Berkeley, Atlantic Center for the Arts, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Ghana, Legon, University of Texas, Austin, World Dance Alliance Conference, NDEO Conference, Dance Studies Association, Middlesex University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Princeton University, Urban Movement Arts, Serendipity-UK, Jazz Antiqua, and the California Dance Educators Association. She is the custodian of Jane Dudley’s emblematic solo, Harmonica Breakdown (1938). Awarded a National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts Fellowship in the UK, she co-produced the award winning Te x t e r r i t o r y, a cellphone-based interactive storytelling performance. As founder of JazzXchange her collaborators have included music: Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Gary Crosby, MBE, Zoe Rahman and Julian Joseph, OBE, Gary Crosby, MBE and Derek Bermel. Her work continues to be performed and commissioned on three continents.

President – Rosa Garcia

Rosa Garcia is the recipient of the Donald McKayle Medal Scholar from UC, Irvine with a MFA in Dance Choreography in Mexican-American Dance & Cultural Identity. Originally from Santa Ana, she has degrees in dance
from CSULB and New York’s Alvin Ailey American Dance School paid by scholarships. Her passion in education brought her back to southern California to give back to her Santa Ana community receiving certifications in classical ballet Cecchetti USA. Her passion in teaching dance of various styles has become a journey for her in becoming an eclectic teacher for over 30 years in higher education. Seventeen of those years, she developed dance programs for ages 1 and up for various organizations and community venues. She coaches, mentors her Santa Ana College students where she teaches to develop entrepreneurial skills and choreographing for Quinceañeras. She brings guest speakers
to the Santa Ana community such as, the Executive Producer for the upcoming docu-drama film, “Think: The Legacy” where he addressed helping families in financial literacy. That same month, Mrs. Garcia was appointed by Santa Ana City Councilman Jose Solorio to serve as Commissioner of the Arts & Culture. She’s been an Ambassador for JazzXchange – Shinning Stars.
Ms. Garcia has performed for various venues and for many award-winning choreographers such as Marie de la Palme and featured in a documentary, “Rhythms of Peace” https://youtu.be/pDPJLDviAeM

Amir Banifatemi

Amir Banifatemi is a twenty five-year experienced high tech executive having worked in Europe, Asia, and in the US. He is both an avid entrepreneur and promoter of everything innovation.Amir has held various senior executive positions with P&L responsibilities within very large companies such as EADS, AP-HP (largest European hospital group), and the European commission division for information society and media. His career began in Europe working in R&D and system design for on-board spacecraft medical and scientific experiments. His vision of a broader industrialization led him to establish partnerships with university labs and incubators to productize and market their research projects.His constant focus has always been on identifying and developing future and emerging technologies that can impact society. He has contributed to the formation of more than 20 startups with emphasis on healthcare, medical devices, media technologies and telecom. He was at the origin of the first implementation of a pediatric telemedicine network in Europe in 1989 and won France Telecom best technological innovation award in 1991 for his work in the tele-health field.Amir Banifatemi is an active angel investor, and President of Tech Coast Angels Orange County Network. He is a founding member of K5Launch, one of the first startup accelerators in Southern California. He is the curator of TEDxOrangeCoast and has high hopes for Orange County and Socal as a new center for the arts and science, entrepreneurship and engaged lifestyle

Sylvia Jackson

A St. Louis, MO native started her professional career as a
vocalist and dancer touring nationally and as far afield as
Canada and Japan. Parenting replaced touring and Sylvia
became the host of the “Original Comedy Store” the “Belly
Room” in Hollywood.
Sylvia is currently the Recruitment Director for the Riverside
County Black Chamber of Commerce where as a successful
recruiter and trainer management professional with over thirty
years experience and measurable achievements, she is a
visionary leader and team player affecting customer
relationship management, and community outreach
penetration. Sylvia is the recipient of the RCBCC People Award
for outstanding Community Outreach 3 years consecutively.
She is an active and dedicated volunteer with our youth, the
homeless, the hungry, and incarcerated women. Music and
Dance is crucial in Sylvia’s life and creativity and she is a
consistent and committed supporter of the arts. She can still be
persuaded to take on small performing assignments from time
to time just for pleasure.

SAUNDRA HOLMES

Saundra is the Principle Contract Manager for the Government and Commercial Systems at Safran Electronics & Defense, Avionics USA LLC formerly Rockwell Collins, Electromechanical Systems Division (EMS). She directs Safran’s EMS contract functions throughout the division, providing strategic policy, leadership, and direction. She guides and oversees Safran’s EMS contacting activities in every area from programs studying advanced material testing to Aircraft Pilot Controls Systems. She represents Safran EMS and oversees contracting procurements to various Agencies of the Federal Government, industry, and international organizations. Mrs. Holmes holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern California and a Master’s Degree from Loyola Marymount University. She is a long standing member of the National Contract Management Association, serving two terms in the Southern California South Bay Chapter as Treasure and two years serving the National Black MBA Association as Publications Chair.


Wynton Marsalis

Wynton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1961, to Ellis and Dolores Marsalis, the second of six sons. At an early age he exhibited a superior aptitude for music and a desire to participate in American culture. Wynton assembled his own band in 1981 and hit the road, performing over 120 concerts every year for 15 consecutive years. With the power of his superior musicianship, the infectious sound of his swinging bands and an exhaustive series of performances and music workshops, Marsalis rekindled widespread interest in jazz throughout the world.