Staff & Board

National Steinbeck Center Staff

Colleen Finegan Bailey, Executive Director

Colleen Small ImageColleen Finegan Bailey joined the National Steinbeck Center in April 2008 as the Director of Community Engagement and Learning and has served the organization as its Executive Director since October 2009. Her accomplishments at the Center earned her the distinction as the 2010 Newsmaker of the Year from the Salinas Californian. Before working at the Center, Colleen was an arts educator and administrator in schools in Central and Southern California and Colorado. She has won numerous awards for her teaching, including Who's Who Among American Teachers (2000) and the National Society of High School Scholars Class Novel Educator of Distinction (2007).

Colleen is a graduate of the Stevenson School and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California, a graduate degree from Northwestern University and has completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Colleen is a member of the Rotary Club of Salinas and The Alternative Board (TAB) and serves on the boards of the Rancho San Carlos Education Foundation, Sacred Heart School, the Non Profit Alliance of Monterey County, the Central Coast Tourism Council, the Salinas Valley Tourism and Visitors Bureau and the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Colleen is a proud native and current resident of Salinas.

David Butler, Director of Finance & Administration

David ButlerDavid joined the NSC in 2008 and is responsible for all accounting and HR activities. He was the Chief Accountant at the Natividad Medical Center from 1988-1995 before leaving to become a controller for AdvantaCare, which was a partnership of local hospitals that provided home infusion and home medical equipment. Between 2005-2006, he worked briefly as the Staff Accountant for Kasavan & Pope, a local CPA firm, and then from 2006-2008 as the Controller for Saroyan Construction, and architect and real estate company managing residential and commercial properties.

David is a licensed CPA in Arizona and holds a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State University.

Elizabeth Welden-Smith, Curator of Education and Public Programs

Elizabeth 2013Elizabeth joined the National Steinbeck Center in October, 2011 as the Curator of Education and Public Programs. She received her Master’s in Museum Studies from the Australian National University and her Bachelor of Arts in European History and Film Studies from Mills College in Oakland, California. A Monterey County local, Elizabeth returned to the peninsula after spending four years in Australia.

She has worked with international museums including the National Gallery of Australia, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian, and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian. She has also worked for the Sydney based cultural nonprofit, International Cultural Exchange, on community pride building programs for Sydney’s Western suburbs.

Lori Wood, Grants Officer and Campaign Manager

Lori WoodLori has over 20 years of experience raising funds for non-profits and educational institutions and creating programs in the arts and education fields. Lori was the Curator of Education and Public Programs at the National Steinbeck Center from 2007-2008, and curated Steinbeck Festivals 2010, 2011 and 2012, initiating the Steinbeck Festival International Fringe Fest. She led the community conversations, literary landmarks and Blueprint for a City of Letters projects for the Salinas Public Library during the two-year collaboration between the National Steinbeck Center and the Library, among other projects. Lori initiated and coordinated an international series of 18 residencies for the Arab writers honored by the Hay Festival’s Beirut39 prize, in association with the Alliance of Artists Communities. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, an M.A. in Management and International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and the Lauder Institute and an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School.

Marcos Cabrera, Curator of Marketing and Community Engagement

Cabrera030409 1 JpgMarcos joined the NSC in September, 2013.  A veteran community journalist, Marcos began his professional reporting career as the education reporter at the Salinas Californian in 1994, at the age of 18. He moved to the Monterey County Herald in 2001, spending time as a sports reporter and Salinas city reporter before becoming a features staff writer in 2005. Marcos serves as Executive Director of the San Jose Mercury News Mosaic High School Journalism Workshop, held each summer at San Jose State University. In 2009, he was selected as a Fellow in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater at the USC-Annenberg School of Journalism.


Diane Arellano, Volunteer Coordinator

Diane Arellano

Jesse Banda, Performing Arts and Events Sales Manager

Jesse BAnda