National Steinbeck Center Staff
Dr. Susan Shillinglaw: Director
Susan Shillinglaw has been a favorite presenter at the Steinbeck Festival for 25 years. She is a Professor of English at San Jose State University and the SJSU President's Scholar for 2012-13. Shillinglaw directed the San Jose State University Steinbeck Center for 18 years. Since 1987, she has been actively involved with the National Steinbeck Center, helping coordinate Steinbeck Festivals and assisting with strategic planning of the National Steinbeck Center in the 1990s. She has served on the NSC Board of Trustees for eight years and has acted as Scholar in Residence at the NSC since 2005 as well as a historical and literary consultant for the Center.
Shillinglaw has been teaching and writing about Steinbeck for 27 years and has never tired of either man or writer. She has published widely on Steinbeck, most recently Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage (University of Nevada Press, 2013) and On Reading The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin, 2014) as well as A Journey into Steinbeck's California (2006; 2011). She also wrote introductions to several of Steinbeck's books for Penguin New American Library editions of Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, A Russian Journal and The Winter of Our Discontent. Other publications include collections of scholarly essays (i.e. Steinbeck and the Environment, 1997) as well as an edition of Steinbeck's journalism, America and Americas and Selected Nonfiction (2002).
Susan Shillinglaw brings to the position an enthusiasm for Steinbeck's legacy and his career, which touched on key issues of the 20th century: migrations west; ethnicity; Mexican heritage; ecology and the environment; World War II; Vietnam; and the meaning of the "common good" during the turbulent 1960s. She hopes to draw from these themes in presenting future programs at the Center. She is a resident of the Monterey Peninsula.
David Butler: Director of Finance & Administration
David 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, a partnership of local hospitals providing 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, an 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.
Diane Arellano: Volunteer Coordinator/Museum Guest Services
A Salinas native, Diane joined the National Steinbeck Center in July 2010. Diane worked 20 years in television newsrooms in Salinas, Las Vegas, NV, and Portland, OR. She was the Executive Producer at KION/KCBA, before making a change to work in the non-profit sector. Diane served two years of National and Community Service through the AmeriCorp VIP program, during which she reworked the infrastructure of the volunteer program at the National Steinbeck Center. In 2012, Diane participated in the inaugural certification class to become a Monterey Bay Ambassador and was recognized by U.S. Representative Sam Farr. Diane is earning her degree in Communications.
Jesse Banda: Facilities and Front Desk Manager and Comic Con Director
Jesse joined the National Steinbeck Center team in 2013 as the Facilities Coordinator at the Steinbeck Institute of Arts and Culture. During this time he oversaw a variety of performances and events, including The Nutcracker, Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards, the U.S. Navy Band, and performances by the Monterey Symphony. From here Jesse was promoted to Performing Arts and Event Sales Manager by then NSC Executive Director, Colleen Bailey. Since that time Jesse has helped create events at the Center for clients such as Facebook, Aspire Health, and PG&E. In 2014 Jesse brought comic culture to Salinas by creating the first Salinas Valley Comic Con. This became the highest attended event in National Steinbeck Center history with over 2,000 people attending this one night only pop culture event.
Prior to joining the Center, Jesse helped run special events at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. During his time there he helped put together a New Year’s Eve celebration that was named one of the top New Year’s parties to attend by Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. Before bringing his event talents to the Central Coast, Jesse spent many years honing his guest service and event skills working at the Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Eric Mora: Marketing and Membership Coordinator
As a lifelong resident of Salinas, Eric is very excited to join the National Steinbeck Center as a Marketing & Membership Coordinator. Eric’s responsibilities include overseeing the membership program, processing donations and managing the Center’s social media platforms. Prior to becoming a staff member, he volunteered at the Center as a museum greeter and an administrative staff assistant. Volunteering at the Center instilled in him a deep appreciation for the wonderful community of supporters that National Steinbeck Center has amassed over the years. Eric earned his Bachelors of Arts degree at Cornell University.
Lisa Josephs: Archivist
Lisa Josephs is the National Steinbeck Center’s Archivist. She is responsible for organizing and cataloging the National Steinbeck Center-owned archival materials and managing the archival collection as a whole, which includes both NSC and City of Salinas holdings. She also helps researchers utilize the collection to enhance their research projects with primary-source Steinbeck materials. She is a transplant to Salinas from the East Coast, where she was studying Anthropology, South Asia, and socio-economic class. Moving out of the world of academia, she started at the NSC as a volunteer and quickly became involved in various NSC projects, which led to her hiring as Archivist.
Lisa earned her Bachelor's degree in Linguistics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her Master’s degree in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.