Youth in Arts is thrilled to welcome new board members Lorenzo Jones and Sarita Patel.
Jones and Patel are consultants and entrepreneurs who bring a wealth of creativity, experience and business acumen to the board. Both have seen the value that creative thinking plays in becoming a well-rounded person – or building a company.
“We can’t lose focus or sight on this conversation around the importance of engaging kids to tap into their creativity and imagination,” Lorenzo said.
Lorenzo grew up in Wichita, Kansas. His first creative memory is being given a set of bongo drums by his mother when he was very young. He came to Youth in Arts after meeting Executive Director Kristen Jacobson last year.
Lorenzo wants to use his management skills to support the board and help the organization in becoming more financially and operationally efficient. One of the values he shares with Youth in Arts is the gift of the imagination.
“To bring imagination to life is extremely important,” he said. “The light of possibility has to live within all of us. Being able to explore those areas of creativity only enhances our experiences to live.”
Lorenzo is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design with extensive experience as an executive coach and leader. When he was just 22, he managed a team older than he was and ran a $5 million business. He now heads his own consulting and coaching group. His client list includes AAA, Bank of Marin, Eden Housing Vivalon, the county of Marin, the city of San Rafael, the county of Solano, and Toyota.
When he’s not at the office, Lorenzo’s creative passion is dance. He also enjoys photography and is an avid cook (his wife is the baker, he adds). They live in San Anselmo.
“Everyone’s experience has something to do with movement,” Lorenzo said. “Moving your body and expression yourself and letting go is extremely important.
“I love all things creative,” he said.
Sarita said her first creative memory was watching her grandfather fill a notebook with mantras he wrote over and over in beautiful Indian handwriting.
“It looked like calligraphy, like artwork,” she said. “The artwork, sound and motion … it all kind of mixed together.”
She also remembers drawing by the heater growing up in Chicago, with crayons her mother had given her and her sisters.
“My parents really raised us to find the creativity inside ourselves first,” she said.
Her first job was at 13, working at a McDonald’s. She eventually attended Indiana University, where she majored in journalism and business. After she graduated, one of her sisters was fundraising for Carnegie Mellon University. Andy Warhol was on the list, and she dared Sarita to call him and ask for a job.
Sarita did. And from then on, college breaks and vacations were spent as an intern at Interview magazine in New York.
“I was just this little Midwestern girl in the 1980s at The Factory,” she said. “Everyone in the whole world was there.”
Through her career, she’s worked at Spiegel, GAP, Esprit and other companies. For more than 20 years, she was filmmaker George Lucas’s personal assistant.
In 2015, it was time to forge a new path. Sarita founded a consulting company, Madmana, which morphed into a heart-based entertainment studio. Sarita, who lives in San Rafael with her son, came to Youth in Arts through her friend, board member Janine Simerly.
“What Youth in Arts has done during COVID is unbelievable to me – how they’ve pivoted and taken advantage of opportunities,” she said. “I want to highlight an organization that’s been around for 50 years.”
Sarita said she also wants young people to know that they can succeed and thrive as artists.
“Creatives need teams, just like corporations,” she said. “I’m trying to debunk this idea that an artist needs to starve to make it. Creativity is what’s missing in our honoring of humanity.”
Board President Naomi Tamura said Youth in Arts is thrilled to welcome Lorenzo and Sarita to the board.
“Both bring unique and varied experiences and perspectives along with a deep history of community involvement and passion for the arts and arts education,” she said. “We are so fortunate to have them as valued and dedicated members of our small but mighty team.”