Board of Directors
Dianne Conway, President
Dianne is a partner at Gordon Thomas Honeywell, one of the region’s largest law firms, based in Tacoma and Seattle. Her primary areas of practice are in environmental law, real estate litigation, natural resources law, and land use. She holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from the University of Washington. She is past president of the Point Defiance Zoo Society and was the 2013 Zoobilee Chair. Other previous board positions include the Washington Agriculture-Forestry Education Foundation and the KBTC Association. In addition, she participated in the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. She “ran-limped-crawled” two marathons for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program. A lifelong classical music lover, Dianne grew up playing the violin.
Rick Meeder, First Vice President
A lifelong musician and devotee of symphonic music, Rick joined the Symphony Board in 2015 with a focus on supporting the orchestra as it achieves new levels of artistic performance and community impact. As the corporate affairs manager for Intel in Washington, Rick was responsible for government and media relations, community engagement, education outreach and contributions. He worked with school districts and community organizations to support STEM education programs that engage and motivate students. Prior to joining Intel, Rick spent 20 years in broadcast journalism, working for radio and television stations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Rick is also a member of the board for United Way of Pierce County and an active Special Olympics volunteer. He and his wife, Sue Barrett, live in Gig Harbor.
Julie Dunbar, Second Vice President
Julie joined the Symphony Board in 2018. She loves music and Tacoma. Her interest in music began at an early age (around three) when someone put a violin under her chin. She began playing at the age of seven when music lessons were a part of public school curriculum. She transitioned to the viola in middle school and has performed as a member of several symphony orchestras in Washington, including Everett Youth Symphony, Everett Symphony, Cascade Symphony, Port Angeles Symphony and currently the Tacoma Community College Orchestra. She currently serves as budget manager for Tacoma Community College. Julie considers Symphony Tacoma a gem of the community and wants to do her part to maintain the Symphony’s important and strong presence in the community by expanding its efforts to inspire audiences. She considers music vital for both the individual and for the continuation of the arts in humanity. Julie is the proud mom of three grown children and a daughter-in-law who all love music. In her spare time, she enjoys weightlifting and working out several days a week, gardening, reading, playing chess, and of course, listening to and playing great music.
Sharon Williamson, Treasurer
Sharon grew up in Tacoma, learning to appreciate music while playing the flute and studying dance. After earning an Environmental Engineering degree from New Mexico Tech, she returned to the Northwest where she climbed smokestacks as an air quality test engineer. She then switched to the aerospace industry, working first at General Plastics Manufacturing Company and then Vaupell Northwest Molding and Tooling, from which she retired as Quality Manager. Retirement allows Sharon to keep up her garden, which suffered while she was commuting. She and her husband Russ love to travel and have been around the world to various sites in Egypt, Peru, Ecuador and Central Europe. Lately, they have been using their R-Pod travel trailer to find the best Northwest hiking spots.
Andrea Hynes, Secretary
Andrea first joined the Board in 2009. She has served as chairperson of the Audience Engagement Committee. An enthusiastic fan of the Symphony, Andrea is a longtime season subscriber and enjoys her service to the organization. She recently retired from her position as the teacher librarian at Graham Elementary School in the Bethel School District.
Deborah is a lifelong Tacoma resident who has followed the Symphony’s progress and presence in the community since her childhood. As a member of the Board, she is honored to help “pay forward” the influence it has had on her life. Deborah began composing at the age of 6 and has now completed nearly 90 works. She graduated from Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) with a degree in French. After graduation, she worked as a nanny in Paris, then taught English for two years with the Peace Corps in Tunisia where she learned to play the ‘oud and sing in Arabic. Soon after, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of studying the English Renaissance lute. In 1979 she earned her master’s degree in French from the University of Washington and taught French on the college level. Over the years, she has studied seven foreign languages and continues to travel widely throughout the world. She enjoys gourmet cooking, watercolor painting, basic gardening and the arts. She has sung in a number of choirs, including ten years with the PLU Choral Union.
Connie was elected to the port commission in 1997. She serves as advisor to the Asia Pacific Cultural Center and Fuzhou Committee and is co-chair of Water Partners Tacoma. Connie also serves on the Urban Waters Board and the Port of Tacoma Audit Committee. A member of the Transportation Club of Tacoma and Tacoma Propeller Club, she is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum and member of the advisory board to the Port of Tacoma Endowed Chair at the University of Washington, Tacoma. She is an emeritus member of the Northwest Sinfonietta Board. Bacon is a former executive director of the World Trade Center Tacoma and served eight years as special assistant to former Washington Governor Booth Gardner. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and earned a master’s degree from The Evergreen State College.
A member of the Symphony Board since 2006, Clark has served as first vice president, secretary, and two separate terms as president. Other past assignments include chairing the Strategic Planning, Gala, Music Director Search, and Leadership/Governance committees. He has also served as a member of the Finance and Fund Development committees. Prior to joining the Symphony Board, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Point Defiance Zoo Society for eight years and served as its president for two years. Clark is a retired Intel Corporation program manager, and his hobbies and passions include landscape gardening, as well as tasting, collecting and reading about wine. He and his wife Eileen live in Gig Harbor.
Kit joined the Board in 2019 after completing her tenure as interim executive director of Symphony Tacoma. She possesses more than 40 years of experience as an executive director for Hilltop Artists and other organizations, including domestic violence shelters, sexual assault centers, AIDS housing and the arts. While creating organizations, developing programs and advocating, she has also raised over $22 million for programs and facilities. Kit has been active on multiple boards and commissions over the years, is a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum, and is member of Tacoma’s Rotary 8. Kit earned her MA from Antioch Seattle and her BA from The Evergreen State College.
Desireé Wilkins Finch
Bob has long enjoyed attending the Symphony and other Tacoma performing arts organizations, and retirement has enabled him to focus on supporting that which has brought him such pleasure and satisfaction for so many years. A member of the Board since 2016, Bob brings to the team more than 43 years of experience managing money for a major investment bank as well as a special facility for working with people and fostering the growth of community organizations. He currently serves on both the Finance and Fund Development committees, where his assistance is invaluable in creating and revising financial and investment policies, as well as identifying and cultivating new sources of sponsorship and other support. Bob is passionate about at least two things in life: investments and fly-fishing. He lives in Gig Harbor with his wife, Margie, a retired schoolteacher.
As a Tacoma native, Ron understands that Symphony Tacoma is an important part of the fabric of this community. He spent half his career in advertising and communications and the other half in government management. Ron’s goal as a board member is to use his marketing skills and executive leadership experience to help the Symphony continue the important job of inspiring audiences and educating children.
Dan and his wife Karen are long-time donors, subscribers, and supporters of the Symphony. Dan joined the Symphony Board in 2015. He played tuba and sang in chorus from elementary through high school and continued his musical training during college years as an applied voice major. Dan’s father taught band and his stepmother, who was his first voice teacher, was an assistant professor of music at University of Montana, making music a lifelong passion. Dan was a member of Symphony Tacoma Chorus for 12 years and served as chorus representative to the Symphony Board for six years. He has served on the boards of several non-profit and professional organizations in a variety of roles. Dan retired from his role as facilities manager for Fife School District, and he and Karen reside in Federal Way. Their interests include learning about wine and exploring Washington’s wineries, travel, entertaining and sailing.
Kenton began performing music at the age of three. He was raised in a family of six musical children in Minnesota, where he studied the piano, voice and viola. His love of both music and ministry led him to Life Center, Tacoma, where he has worked for more than 30 years as the Minister of Worship and Creative Arts. Kenton directs Life Center’s Singing Christmas Tree each December and serves on a creative team that coordinates ongoing weekly services and other seasonal events. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music (piano), a Masters in Theology and a Doctorate in Worship Studies. He is a published composer and arranger. Kenton is married to his teenage sweetheart, Benita, also a pianist. They have raised four musical children and are now enjoying six grandchildren. Kenton and Benita live in University Place.
A Denver native, Jorge-Ayn “Jay” Riley worked for more than 25 years as an elementary school principal in Colorado. During her career, Jay authored a book for the Great Lives in Colorado History Series about the life of Corky Gonzales, a Chicano activist. It continues to be used by several school districts in Colorado. Her community service has included holding the position of planning commissioner for Aurora, CO and serving as a board member and vice chair for the Cherry Creek Valley Water Board. She is a member of the Tacoma chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Alumni and a member of The Links, Incorporated. Jay enjoys playing the cello and gardening when time permits. She and her dog, Riley, live in University Place.
Dick Bowe, Emeritus
Dick Bowe was a walking incarnation of Symphony Tacoma’s mission statement, building community through music. He loved the Symphony because it was all about people. He knew everyone in town and was constantly introducing new folks to the organization: bringing friends to concerts, connecting the staff to corporate and foundation leaders to generate new sponsorships, and introducing prospects for potential service on the Board. He was one of a handful of leaders who did everything they could to connect the Symphony with its community in new ways. Without Dick Bowe, Symphony Tacoma would not be the organization it is today.
Karina Bharne, Executive Director
Symphony Tacoma welcomed Karina in 2018. Experienced in all facets of orchestra administration, Karina’s previous role was interim executive director with the San Antonio Symphony where she successfully stabilized operations during a time of significant organizational change. Her roles at San Antonio Symphony also included vice president/general manager and director of orchestra personnel. Prior to San Antonio, Karina worked as the managing director of operations for the Goh Ballet in Vancouver, BC, and in a variety of roles with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. A trained musician, Karina earned her BFA in trombone performance and MAM in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University. In her free time, she enjoys running and cooking with her husband, Ilan Morgenstern, who is the bass trombonist for the Vancouver Symphony.
Denise Cline, Finance Manager
Denise first joined the Symphony staff in 1999 as operations and ticket manager. After a five year absence, she returned in 2009. Denise grew up in upstate New York in a town with a rich community music history as well as a thriving public school music program. She played trumpet and cello throughout her school years beginning in the third grade. She continued her music education at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music near Cleveland, where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance under the instruction of James Darling. Denise also played principal trumpet in the Cleveland Youth Orchestra for two years under Maestro Jahja Ling and was incredibly humbled to rehearse and perform in Cleveland’s Severance Hall under his direction.
Saul Cline, General Manager
A member of the Symphony staff since 2003, Saul oversees the organization’s concert operations, artistic administration, orchestra personnel and educational programs. He is responsible for maintaining compliance with the collective bargaining agreement and for all artistic contracting. He supervises the part-time music librarian and is the liaison with the stage and production crews of Tacoma Arts Live. Saul received a Master of Music degree from Central Washington University and a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has served as lecturer on the affiliate music faculty at Pacific Lutheran University and as an elementary music teacher in the Bethel School District. An accomplished reed player, Saul performs regularly throughout the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.
Dr. Anna Jensen, Education Specialist
With 20+ years in performance and education, Anna has the ability to develop an instant rapport with youth of all ages, quickly establishing a sense of trust and shared respect that makes learning comfortable and effective. She is the assistant principal bassist of Symphony Tacoma, the principal bassist of the Tacoma Opera Orchestra, and regularly performs with orchestras across the region. Anna holds degrees from the University of Michigan (DMA and MM) and Central Washington University (BM). Her passion for music translates to her deep involvement in education. In addition to instructing positions at Pacific Lutheran University and Central Washington University, Anna teaches double bass and music theory at the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association and maintains a large private studio. When not performing or teaching, Anna can be found making mud pies with her four young children, hiking in the woods, or encouraging her own family’s improvisational skills and joy of music! Check out Anna’s WEBSITE.
Susan Newsom, Marketing & Communications Manager
Susan grew up in Port Orchard and has lived in Tacoma for more than 20 years. She earned her BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Washington, Tacoma and has spent much of her career in a variety of marketing and communications roles, primarily for local nonprofits. She was a member of the inaugural marketing team at the Museum of Glass and worked there for 11 years. After five years with healthcare and social service organizations, Susan was thrilled to return to the Tacoma arts community with Symphony Tacoma in 2018.
Lydia Robinson, Patron Services Manager
As a Tacoma native, Lydia has been an active member of the Tacoma music community since childhood. She has enjoyed many playing opportunities as an oboist in the Pacific Northwest, including All-State and Honor Band participation, Tacoma Youth Symphony, and most recently PLU Wind Ensemble and University Symphony Orchestra. She has also served as a member of the orchestra in the Orchestra Recital Series sponsored by the Tacoma Chapter of the WSMTA for the past seven years. Lydia graduated cum laude from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Music in oboe performance. She is looking forward to growing her oboe studio and continuing to play locally. As Patron Services Manager, Lydia assists patrons, maintains the database and ticket sales, and serves as the assistant to the executive director. Lydia looks forward to sharing her love of music by offering her best service to the music patrons of Symphony Tacoma.
Laura Stone, Advancement Manager
Laura received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, with a minor in Elementary Education from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. After several years in direct social work, she took a grantwriting course and has been working in non-profits ever since. She began her non-profit career working for the Symphony back in 2000 as its marketing & development coordinator. After that, she served as grants manager for the Museum of Glass during its exciting rise to opening in 2002. Laura then shifted gears by spending three years working on the other side of the “grants table” in philanthropy, as the grants administrator for the Forest and Sequoia Foundations. She came full circle when she returned to the Symphony in 2008. Laura has presided over a significant expansion of the Symphony’s pool of foundation donors and provides the organization with effective counseling on maintaining positive foundation relations.
901 Broadway, Suite 600
Tacoma, WA 98402
Administrative, Subscriber and Patron Services 253-272-7264
Single Tickets 253-591-5894 or 800-291-7593