John Caner, CEO
John brings over twenty years business, non-profit, and community development experience to the DBA, including strategic planning, new business development, marketing, finance, project management, and general management. Prior to coming to the DBA, John served for three and a half years as the Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Oakland where he significantly expanded programs and funding, serving low-income seniors and non-profit community facilities. Before entering the nonprofit world, he served in a number of management and strategy positions in the private sector, including Berkeley-based Loansoft Inc. and Nextel Communications. And during the twenty-two years he has lived in Berkeley, he has served on the boards Berkeley Partners for Parks, Willard Neighbourhood Association, City of Berkeley Pools Master Plan Task Force, City of Berkeley Disaster and Fire Safety Commission. John currently serves on the board of the Aurora Theatre and Berkeley Alliance, as well as on the fundraising committees for the South Branch Library and Berkeley City College. John also has a long-time interest in education, having served as a volunteer teacher's assistant at Willard Middle School, volunteer instructor with the Presidential Classroom, and entrepreneurship mentor with BUILD.org. John earned an M.B.A. from UCLA and an undergraduate degree in Government from Harvard.
Lance Gorée, Operations Manager
Each day Lance wakes with three challenges, to make today at least a little better than yesterday, to make a positive difference in Downtown Berkeley for everyone, and to make sure his adorable toddler Jackson doesn’t flush his iPhone.
Lance brings 15 years of retail experience to the Operations Manager position here in Berkeley. As a contractor, Block By Block employee, Lance was bestowed the 2012 Local Impact Award amongst his national peers for his work here in Berkeley. Although born in Kansas, Lance was raised in Berkeley, attending Franklin Pre and Elementary schools as well as Martin Luther King Junior High and Berkeley High School. He eventually returned to Kansas and attended Hutchinson Community College and Kansas State University on a baseball scholarship.
When Lance is not dedicating himself to Downtown Berkeley and its progress, you can find him preparing delicious meals (Brined and Roasted Cornish Game Hens with a Sausage Wild Rice are a fan favorite) and he routinely has to chase the very active Jackson around the house. In addition, Lance and his amazing wife enjoy entertaining and remodeling their east bay home.
Matthew Jervis, Director of Vitality
From punk rock musician to art director to college professor to experiential learning designer for Bay Area schools to human design thinker to Maker Faire presenter to author. Matthew brings a unique combination of skills and experience to the DBA, including 10 years of creative marketing experience. As the Director of Vitality, he is responsible for marketing, communications, public space activation, and stakeholder engagement.
For 20 years, Matthew has led creative strategy teams in advertising, the music industry, education, and the arts, providing design and brand direction to educational non-profits and for-profit organizations. Matthew has leveraged this experience to design a creativity curriculum for students and adults, including The MacGyver Class and Maker Club, after-school enrichment programs that has been implemented here in Berkeley and cities across the Bay Area. Most recently, Matthew has spent the past 5 years teaching branding and creative strategy at the Academy of Art University in addition to maintaining a consulting practice in creative thinking and brand strategy. Matthew is also the author of How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids. Matthew graduated with distinction from The California College of the Arts in 2004 with a BA in graphic design. Matthew has called Berkeley home for 17 years where he is also raising 2 kids.
“I’m very excited about my role as Vitality Director of the DBA and about all the exciting projects I get to be part of. Plus, I can ride my bike or even walk to work!”
Meredith Metz, Marketing Manager
Meredith Metz joined the DBA on September 5, as our new Marketing Manager supporting Matthew Jervis with the Downtown Berkeley Marketing/Vitality Program. According to Matthew, "I am delighted to have Meredith join our team. She brings tremendous marketing and customer service experience. Moreover, she has Berkeley in her DNA. Her great grandfather, Charles Dingley Heywood, was Mayor of Berkeley!" Meredith joins the DBA from several years at Bay.org and Aquarium of the Bay, where she was responsible for advertising, managing promotional campaigns, and creative services. As DBA Marketing Manager, Meredith will be focused on communications, social media, events, merchant and resident outreach, and public space activation.
Board of Directors
Bill Schrader, Owner
The Austin Group
DBA VICE PRESIDENT
Robert Hatheway, Assistant Vice-Chancellor
University of California, Berkeley
Laksh Lakireddy, President
Dorothée Mitrani, Business Owner
La Note Restaurant
Viv and Ingrid
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
Dev. City of Berkeley
2000 Center Street LLC
Univ. of California, Berkeley
Hotel Shattuck Plaza
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
The David Brower Center
Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
SG Real Estate
Tipping Structural Engineers
ELS Architecture & Urban Design