Lex is a public school mom and experienced educator who works to protect vital services and resources for San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents. She guides the city’s Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, a multi-agency collaboration to help nonprofits, especially those deeply rooted in low-income and historically underserved communities, thrive in the communities they serve; the program is part of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Since 2015 the NSI has helped nonprofits and secured space for child care, after school programs, youth job training, healthcare, housing support and counseling.
Lex has a demonstrated track record leading community collaborations and transforming organizations. Before stepping into her current job,Lex was executive director of SOMArts Cultural Center (2008-2015). Lex has been widely recognized for leading a challenging and ultimately successful organizational turnaround, responding swiftly to community needs and forging new and lasting partnerships such as the Youth Art Exchange’s annual youth summit, after school programs, and programs that foster the talents of transitional-age youth. She launched Flag Stories: Citizenship Unbound, an international exchange program to promote understanding of Islamic heritage, culture and scholarship between Muslim and non-Muslim youth, and expanded free access for youth to attend SOMArts’ annual Día de los Muertos exhibition, curated by legendary San Francisco artist and activist René Yañez and his son Rio Yañez.
Lex has fought for equitable access to San Francisco’s opportunities and amenities. In 2014, with co-founder Ebony McKinney, Lex established Arts for a Better Bay Area, a network to build public will for the arts and activate arts workers for positive change. In its first year ABBA engaged more than 500 arts allies and secured a $7 million commitment from the City and County of San Francisco, including an ongoing increase of $1m to the Cultural Equity Endowment, an historic 50% increase and the first such increase in the 20 years of the endowment.
Lex has been nationally recognized as an innovative leader. Among other honors, she was one of 50 international CEOs selected for National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program, an honor she has paid forward as a mentor in leadership development programs that prioritize racial, gender and economic justice. She has been a guest lecturer, speaker and panelist for University of San Francisco, California College of the Arts, Emerging Arts Professionals, and the Foundation Center, and is currently a member of Northern California Grantmakers’ working group on nonprofit displacement.
Lex lives in Outer Sunset and has been a San Francisco resident for almost a decade. Her husband, Dan, serves as Secretary on the Family Council at Noriega Early Elementary School, where her oldest son is a student. She attended early neighborhood meetings for the future site of affordable educator housing and has volunteered over the past two years to help the site become temporarily activated as a community skate park and garden.
Lex holds a Master of Arts Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University, and a BFA from Drake University. Before coming to SOMArts she was the assistant director of Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, where she taught low-income youth and worked with a team of teachers and students to triple the enrollment in evening and weekend classes. Her belief in the essential role of teachers is rooted in 11 years' experience teaching and running education programs.