Board of Directors


Cynthia Francis Chair

Cynthia is the US Managing Director of OpenCities, Inc. with offices in San Francisco and Melbourne, AU. She is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience building and leading pioneering companies in digital and social media. Prior to working in technology, Cynthia earned a BA in Theater and Dance from UC Berkeley, and worked in non-profit theater and arts organizations including four years at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She has been a two-decade long supporter of SF Shakes as an audience member, patron and enthusiastic Shakespeare Camp mom. Seeing the value of Shakespeare camp for her three daughters was a catalyst to join the Board and look to further leverage her shared passions of theater, kids, activism and technology.


Roshni Jain Co-Vice-Chair

Roshni is a theater nerd at heart and loves engaging her right brain to support the festival in bringing Shakespeare to students and local communities across the Bay Area. She is passionate about the mission to bring Shakespeare to all as she believes in its power to transform lives. Roshni worked in management consulting for many years and now leads product at Eventbrite. She holds a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University.


Aaron Kabaker Co-Vice-Chair

Aaron came to Shakespeare in college, where he realized how much he actually enjoyed the Bard when his plays were taught as performance. He performed with the Stanford Shakespeare theater troupe, appearing in Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and As You Like It, and after graduating regularly patronized shows at the Folger Theatre and the Shakespeare Theater Company (STC) in Washington, DC. He is thrilled to be a board member at SF Shakes, which has a goal of bringing Shakespeare to children across the Bay Area through a special blend of performance and study. Aaron works in Business Operations for Google and has a BA in Public Policy from Stanford and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Jennifer, and a rambunctious canine named Dupont.


Robert Chansler Treasurer

Rob brought his enthusiasm for Shakespeare to the South Bay from Pittsburgh where he did graduate work at Carnegie-Mellon University. Rob and his wife Kim attended Free Shakespeare in the Park on their first date. Their daughter Katie is a 4-year veteran of Bay Area Shakespeare Camps and was an acting intern in the 2006 Free Shakespeare. During the day, Rob manages software development for Marin Software.


Michael Li-Ming Wong Secretary

Michael has drawn wisdom and inspiration from Shakespeare’s works for more than two decades, and he believes strongly that Shakespeare can and should be enjoyed by everybody, irrespective of education or background. Michael served as Shakespeare coach to his former boss, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in preparation for her cameo appearance in Henry V at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC; he also wrote his own wedding vows in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. By day, Michael is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and the proud father of two boys who already delight in the sword fights, mistaken identities, hilarious cross-dressing and voyeurism permeating Shakespeare’s body of work.

Aylward Lynn

Lynn Aylward Member

Lynn was delighted to discover SF Shakes when she moved here six years ago to become Director of Marketing and Communications at Grace Cathedral, and she is deeply honored to now be on the Board. Lynn was an economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC for much of her career; since then, she has realized her dream of becoming an aspiring playwright. Her work has appeared at Playground at Berkeley Rep, Potrero Stage, Shelton Theater, SF Fringe Festival, Stanford University, and on Zoom. Lynn now works with Rising Voices, a theater group for justice-involved women, and writes for for Same Boat Theater, the Bay Area's first eco-justice theater. She is inspired by how SF Shakes lives its belief that Shakespeare experienced in community elates, inspires and unifies, as well as its commitment to inclusion and equity. She is in utter awe of the digital magic of SF Shakes’ pandemic production of King Lear. Lynn has two grown sons whose favorite Shakespeare quotes are “O, reason not the need.” (King Lear) and “The game’s afoot.” (Henry V)


James A. Babcock Member

Jim has been on the board of SFSF for over twenty years. He first became involved after one of his daughters played a part in the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is a retired architect from the firm of Sandy/Babcock International. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA and Master's of Architecture. He is on the board of the Presidio Historical Association and is a founding director of Trans Pacific National Bank.


Nishanth Billa Member

Growing up in India, Nishanth’s love for Shakespeare started in middle school with The Merchant of Venice. He believes that Shakespearean themes are timeless, cross-cultural and all-encompassing. They help enrich people’s perspectives in a fast-paced world. He is excited to serve on the board of SFShakes and is passionately committed to its mission of making Shakespeare available to all. Nishanth is a core member of Mozilla's Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) team with extensive experience in executing M&A. Previously, Nishanth was an investment banker at Credit Suisse and also served on the Board of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Northern California, a non-profit dedicated to the practice and teaching of Iyengar Yoga. He holds a B.Tech in Manufacturing Engineering and an M.Tech in Industrial Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

Buddie Raymond M

Raymond M. Buddie Member

Raymond’s passion for SF Shakes stems from his love of Shakespeare which started in High School, reading and studying Julius Caesar. More recently, his appreciation for the efforts that go into the production and presentation of live performances has been enhanced by learning from his daughter, a Theater and Drama student, who has shown him the way theater and arts can be used to both entertain and teach in a way that other mediums cannot. It’s important to Raymond that SF Shakes continues to provide family and youth arts activities in the Bay Area. Raymond has over 35 years of experience as a Construction and Real Estate Attorney practicing in San Francisco and has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top attorneys in Northern California by Chambers and by SuperLawyers. He is currently a Partner with Clark Hill, LLP.

Dim Jesse

Jesse Dim Member

Jesse is a Sr. Operations Associate at DoorDash, and has made her career working at high growth tech startups. Jesse has loved theatre her entire life. In college, she was a member of the Rude Mechanicals the only fully student-run Shakespearean theatre troupe at Dartmouth College. She is thrilled to be a part of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and help bring Shakespeare to the city. Jesse is from Tempe, Arizona.

Frebeck Meghan

Meghan Freebeck Member

Meghan's love for Shakespeare began in elementary school when she would sneak into the movies to see the PG-13 rated Romeo & Juliet. She followed that adoration through college to study English Literature with a term on Theatre Studies in London, and later receiving a Masters Degree with a focus on Renaissance Lit. Meghan was the Director of Communications for the Shakespeare Project of Chicago in 2012, and in 2018 she would celebrate her wedding at the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park. Professionally, Meghan is the CEO of Simply the Basics, a nonprofit that serves the low-income and homeless community with ensuring basic needs are accessible to everyone. In 2019, Meghan worked with SF Shakes to develop "Shakespeare for All Neighbors", an event to bring Shakespeare to the Recipients of her organization. Meghan is honored to join the Board of Directors, and believes that through Shakespeare's plays, we can have a deeper understanding of ourselves and of humanity.

Hamilton Lex

Alexandra "Lex" Hamilton Member

As a Bay Area native, Lex has attended and participated in many of SF Shakes' programs over the last two decades, including four years as a camper and one year as an intern in the Bay Area Shakespeare Camps. As a direct result of those years at Shakespeare Camp, Lex and a few other campers/classmates started a drama club at their middle school, which is still going strong after almost twenty years. From those early experiences, Lex's love of Shakespeare and SF Shakes has only grown. She is particularly passionate about continuing to make Shakespeare accessible to people regardless of background. Lex is a trial lawyer by trade, handling catastrophic personal injury cases at Fiore Achermann in San Francisco.


Raymond Kutz Member

Ray is a manager of pricing strategy at Oracle and has worked in various capacities of marketing, product and services management for the past 20 years at Oracle and Sun Microsystems. He has a BS in Biology and Secondary Education from the University of Missouri and an MBA from San Jose State. Ray has made San Francisco home for 30 plus years after growing up on a farm in Missouri where access to theater and performing arts was extremely limited. That limited access to the arts influences his passion today for making the arts accessible to everyone. This passion was awakened after studying and performing in improvisational theater and volunteering as a photography docent at the Ansel Adams Gallery in the late 90's. More recently, Ray has been singing with the San Francisco City College chorus. His involvement with the Festival began by attending performances and "paying to get out" after each performance. After learning more about the mission and observing the impact of the Festival on multiple communities, Ray joined the board in 2006 and began work as the Board Advancement Chair. He looks forward to seeing the Festival celebrate the next generation of thespians and arts supporters in the Bay Area through its outreach into the Bay Area and communities beyond.


Peter Logan Member

Peter works as a consumer advocate lawyer in San Francisco. He brings a long time love of Shakespeare to his work and his life. Beyond Shakespeare’s depiction of lawyers (he actually likes them; it’s the bad guy that want to “… kill all the lawyers.”) the reach of history and the verities of human nature are invaluable to his work. He has lived in SF since attending USF Law School in the 1970’s, and over the years enjoyed many performances of Free Shakespeare in the Park. He believes in SF Shakes mission to bring Shakespeare, and live theater, to the wider community. He is an active member of SF Rotary and does various kinds of volunteer work. Peter admires major league pitching, as well as music, theater and other arts (and plays in a blues band). His daughter recently received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School, and is currently working in NYC.


Linda Merriweather Member

Linda has been a co-writer/producer/performer with The Shlepperellas: Mothers Gone Mad! A native of Southern California, she studied drama at UCLA before moving to the Bay Area. She also studied improvisational comedy at Stanford University under the direction of Patricia Ryan and Dan Goldstein. Linda worked at Hewlett-Packard in marketing and customer relations, eventually becoming a manager.

Moody Craig Web

Craig Moody Member

Craig believes strongly in the ability of Shakespeare’s works to penetrate and affect the lives of people of all communities and means. His own interest in Shakespeare arose at the age of four; he attended all the plays produced by the Theater Department at Indiana University of which his father was the Director. A child actor, Craig continued his thespian work through high school, college, law school and summer stock. His education took place in Indiana, Hawaii, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Mexico, England and Germany, culminating in B.A and J.D degrees. For years a director and supporter of several Shakespeare theatres, he decided Free Shakespeare for everyone was most important. Professionally, after service in the United States Marine Corps, Craig had an antitrust litigation practice in San Francisco from which he is retired. Craig and Kathy, his wife of forty-five years, have lived in the same house in Piedmont for forty-four years. Their son Ross conveniently is attending UC Berkeley Law School. Craig emphasizes that his interest in SFSF, whose performances he has gratefully seen since Golden Gate Park days, was cemented while attending the classes presented by Artistic Director Rebecca Ennals and her several assistants. When they resume, he highly recommends them to all.

Ozbek Gorkem Kem

Gorkem "Kem" Ozbek Member

Having been introduced to the Bard through the endless footnotes of Arden Shakespeare, Kem has nonetheless been lucky enough to know and work with teachers and artists who have shown him that Shakespeare demands to be seen and heard, not read. He has enjoyed opportunities in acting, directing, and theater research that have taught him the transformative power of Shakespeare’s verse in a way no English literature class could. Kem believes that having free access to Shakespeare in performance can illuminate its true understanding for youth across the Bay's under served communities, and empower them with emotional and intellectual range required to develop empathy, so desperately needed in a society where interactions are increasingly impersonal and biased. Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey and a resident of the Bay Area since 2002, Kem is a Director of Business Development at Dropbox by trade. He lives in Merced Manor with his wife and young daughter.