National Steinbeck Center Staff
Michele Speich: Executive Director
Michele Speich is the National Steinbeck Center’s Executive Director. Speich has nearly a decade of experience in fundraising, public relations, and marketing for nonprofits and foundations, through fund development and marketing positions. She has worked for organizations including The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Tracy Hospital Foundation and most recently, the Present Future Citizens Foundation.Speich holds a BA in Liberal Studies from California State University, Fullerton
Eric Mora: Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator
Eric is currently the Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Steinbeck Center. 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—and helps with programs and grants. 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. Lisa 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.
Tara Spada: Exhibits & Events Coordinator
Tara has an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University (2017) and a B.A. in Anthropology from Washington College in Maryland. For the past six years, Tara has worked in the museum/non-profit field. She is a passionate lifelong learner and she believes museums can change hearts and minds through their unique ability to be transformative. Tara enjoys learning new things, meeting new people, and facilitating programs that allow diverse groups to come together to share, learn, and think. Her work at the National Steinbeck Center focuses on educational programing and events.
Cat Harper: Guest Service Manager
Cat Harper, our new Guest Services Manager, comes directly from having held a similar position at the Monterey Museum of Art. In addition to her experience at MMA, Cat also has over a dozen years experience as a professional planner and designer of special events. Cat is also a professional photographer and artist.
Ariana Mora: Assistant Guest Services Manager
Being a part-time employee at the National Steinbeck Center has given Ariana an incredible insight into downtown Salinas and the number of tourists that visit the area every day. Aside from being a part-time employee, Ariana is also a part-time student pursuing a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies with an Urban Planning/Studies minor. She hopes to help Salinas grow after she completes her bachelor’s degree. When she is not working or studying, Ariana enjoys hanging out with friends and family, and simply exploring the wonders nature has to offer, especially going camping.
Maria Almanza: Sales Associate
Maria Almanza is a part time Sales Associate at the NSC (National Steinbeck Center) since September 2017. I was born and raised in Salinas; I’m the oldest of four, trying to set a great example to my younger siblings by being a college student trying to get her AA degree in Elementary Teacher Education. Even though I was raised in Salinas I can say I didn’t have the knowledge of who Steinbeck was. Although I recall reading some of his books in high school I never knew he was from this area. Thanks to this job opportunity I’m aware of who he was and what he wrote and I can say he was such a great author, and he’s still inspiring a lot of people out there just like myself. Something I really like is that he spoke the true.
Jennifer Leon: Sales Associate
Laura Harris: Grant Writer
Julie Minnis: Writing Programs Coordinator
Natalia Luna: Museum Program Developer
Other Current NSC Associates
Sandra Silva – Valley of the World Event Manager
Julie Flanders – Interim Director of Finance and Administration
Bertha deJasso Guzman
Deborah (Deb) Evans
Alan (Al) French
Al Van Hise