Artown Board of Directors
Mark Hatjakes (Artown Board Chairman)
As Chairman of the Board, Mark Hatjakes is a passionate Artown supporter. Mark is also the co-founder of SoSu.TV, an enterprise video production corporation and nindeo.com, a broadcasting technology firm headquartered in Reno. Through his companies, Mark helps organizations engage with the community through video communications. Mark and his team have earned numerous local and national awards and recognition for excellence in their work.
As a lifelong artist and serial entrepreneur, Mark sees the cultural and economic impact of community art. In addition to Artown, Hatjakes has served on the board of directors for the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and the Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NCET).
Hatjakes holds two degrees in Art and Digital Media from Truckee Meadows as well as a bachelor’s degree in Television, Film and New Media from San Diego State University. Mark believes in paying his passion forward and has taught the creative arts at both the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College.
As a fourth generation Nevadan, Mark cares deeply about the enrichment of our place and inclusion of all people through all forms of expression. Mark currently explores the natural beauty of our region through his visual art at aerialpainter.com.
Abigail G. Stephenson (Artown Vice Chair)
Abbey Stephenson, JD, is a planned giving officer at the Renown Health Foundation. After spending ten years practicing law—primarily in the areas of estate planning and business law—she is happy to return to the non-profit sector where she started her career as a fundraiser. At Renown, Abbey is responsible for building the planned giving program and will also have the opportunity to increase general community knowledge about estate planning, about which she is passionate. In addition to serving as Vice Chair of Artown, Abbey serves on the board of directors for the Planned Giving Roundtable of Northern Nevada. She served as Secretary of Northern Nevada HOPES for roughly five years.
Abbey is an avid arts supporter and enthusiast. The daughter of a custom goldsmith and two skilled musicians, she was fortunate to grow up surrounded by beautiful art and creative people, both of which she finds in abundance in Reno. She enjoys sharing the arts and nature with her husband and two children.
Roberto García (Artown Treasurer)
Mr. Garcia is the current Artown Treasurer and a long-time Reno/Sparks resident. He currently works at Eide Bailly LLP as a Senior Manager in their National Assurance Office. With over 15 years of work experience, he provides accounting and consulting services to clients in a variety of industries. He also serves as Treasurer for the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Nevada with the mission to advance the prosperity, equality of LGBTQ+ and allied businesses through referrals, education, and networking opportunities. Roberto is an avid supporter of local art and artists and is grateful to assist Artown with its financial needs in order to keep the organization’s July festival free for the community. He is a graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Information Systems and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Nevada. Roberto was born in Lima, Peru and is fluent in Spanish.
Khalilah Smith Cage (Artown Secretary)
A long-time Reno resident and University of Nevada alumni, Khalilah has a wide and diverse background in sales, marketing and customer service in real estate, mortgage lending, and restaurant industries. In addition to her role as marketing manager at Tolles Development Company, Khalilah is a partner/owner of five Reno restaurant/bars, including The Brewer’s Cabinet, a full-service bar/restaurant and micro distillery, and Shim’s Surplus Supplies, Reno’s first modern speakeasy. Khalilah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the University of Nevada, Reno, serves on the Artown Board of Directors and is co-creator and host of the “I am her” podcast.
Meredith Tanzer has made a huge impact on her adopted home of Reno, Nevada. Upon arrival from San Francisco, arriving in Reno, she established the award-winning La Bussola boutique, a one-stop creative retail space and buzz center in downtown Reno for delightful art oddities. The boutique helped support and develop artists who would eventually make art their fulltime livelihood. Meredith opened the HeartSpot Gallery, Deuce and Tree House Lounge. But it is Meredith’s numerous civic contributions that have been most profound, and through her efforts at the SPCA of Northern Nevada, Washoe County Homeless Youth Point in Time Count and Eddy House. Meredith helped to both improve and save the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. An award-winning gay rights activist, Meredith was a vital part of the capital campaign that opened Our Center, a vital community outreach, education and drop-in center for the underserved and at-risk LGBTQAI+ community, where she served on the board for nearly 10 years. Meredith, a resident artist at 1995 Dickerson (Sierra Arts), serves on the Board of Directors at Artown and is a part of the Northern Nevada HOPES family in downtown Reno. She considers herself a community connector with a unique combination of entrepreneurial mentality, nonprofit thoughtfulness, and corporate strategic planning experience.
Michon Eben (BA, MSW)
Michon Eben (BA, MSW) is a member of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC) of Reno Nevada where she is the Cultural Resource Manager/Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. Within this role, she seeks to preserve Native American ancestral cultural sites by participating in government to government consultation with federal and state agencies. Michon is dedicated to expanding the appreciation, understanding and preservation of Native American cultural resources and history within the traditional Nevada homelands of her ancestors. Michon is a Co-Founder of the all Native American Woman Drum and Singing Group The Mankillers.
Jana Benton is the SVP and Statewide Business Banking Manager at Nevada State Bank. Jana has been in banking for 43 years and over 20 years in Reno. She loves the natural beauty of northern Nevada, and loves to ski, hike and mountain bike and is passionate about great food and the wonderful restaurants we have in our communities. Jana is honored to be a board member for Artown as it brings so much beauty and culture to northern Nevada, as well as education and diversification.
Nancy Leuenhagen is the communications director for Washoe County and brings a diverse media background to her position.
As a former television and radio journalist, Nancy brings three decades of media and communications experience to the position and prides herself on using those skills to connect the public to each and every aspect that Washoe County has to offer. The Communications Division is located within the Office of the County Manager and is responsible for all internal and external communications, crisis communications, Washoe311 service center, media relations, commission support, broadcasting / WCTV, website, social media, and digital & branding outreach.
Leuenhagen’s career has been marked with accolades such as: Lifetime Achievement Award from the PRSA Sierra Nevada Chapter, Women of Achievement award from the Nevada Women’s Fund, Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Spike Awards, and the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Award for arts and entertainment.
Leuenhagen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Pat Cashell is a native Nevadan who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Pat currently serves as the Regional Director of Volunteers of America (VOA), and is a board member at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Reno, Nevada. As Regional Director of VOA, Pat leads a 70-person program staff in providing shelter, outreach, case management, affordable housing and other services for thousands of men, women and children in northern Nevada. Additionally, Pat is the manager and co-founder of Reno Works, a workforce development program that provides homeless shelter residents with an opportunity to transition into the workforce and permanent housing. The Reno Works program facilitates employability skills training, long-term employment support, and wraparound case management and mentoring through a 9-week course that Pat helped implement. Pat’s past community service includes work as a volunteer and Advisory Board member for the VOA; work as a board member of Quest Counseling and Consulting, and service as a founding board member for Safe Talk for Teens. He also helped form a parent support group for Join Together Northern Nevada aimed at providing support to parents who struggle with kids battling addiction. Pat was also a noteworthy keynote speaker at the Volunteers of America Shelter from the Storm breakfast. Pat is also the co-founder and president of the board for the Karma Box Project.
Pat’s passion for community service comes from his own experience with homelessness and addiction. Today, with over fourteen years of recovery under his belt, Pat harnesses his experience and knowledge in providing insightful solutions to complex matters with regard to mental illness, homelessness and addiction. Pat believes that by sharing his story, he’ll inspire hope in those struggling as well as help shed the stigma surrounding these issues. Today Pat has started a new life script and in his free time he has taken a keen interest in commercial real estate and investments.
Zelalem Bogale is a Senior Attorney at NV Energy, overseeing and managing the legal aspects of the multi-billion-dollar Procurement Department; negotiating and drafting agreements for capital renewable energy projects, power purchase agreements, and renewable energy transmission infrastructure, as well as conducting litigation. He also serves as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group at NV Energy. Zelalem is Adjunct Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno teaching ETS (Ethnic Studies) 307: Topics in Race and Racism—Race and Law, and CRJ (Criminal Justice) 320: Courts in Criminal Justice. As District Coordinator for the Nevada Center for Civic Engagement, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution in Congressional District 2, Zelalem advises public, private, and charter schools on substantive areas of the civics curriculum; assists in expanding the We the People program to other schools within the district, and organizes and conducts district and statewide We the People competitions.
Christopher Galli is a fifth generation Reno native who is deeply passionate about the Reno area and the quality of life it has to offer. Chris joined Dickson Realty in 2010, and has been consistently ranked as a top performing broker/salesperson in northern Nevada. He is the broker of their downtown office, and works with local and national corporate clients on their relocation efforts as the Vice President of Relocation. He loves getting new members of our community connected and engaged with all the incredible opportunities and resources Reno has to offer.
He currently serves as chair of the board for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, is on the board of directors for Each One. Tell One., a nonprofit breast cancer awareness organization, and is a board member for the Lilley Museum of Art. Chris recently established the Christopher Galli Art Acquisitions Endowment for the purpose of supporting the acquisition of works of art for public display and to enhance the permanent collection of the John & Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art.
Chris holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Vassar College. In addition to his love of the arts, Chris loves home design, and enjoys rehabbing and investing in homes around the area.