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  • Heidi James

Board Member Profile: Donna Mezias

I recently had the opportunity to interview Board Member Donna Mezias, Partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Donna has been an invaluable board member since 2016 and has contributed greatly to our organization through the years.

Q; What is your background overall and how did you first come to Bread & Roses?

A: I was born in Connecticut and received a B.A. from Boston College. I moved to the Bay Area to go to Stanford Law School expecting to move back East once I graduated, but fell in love with Northern California. My husband and I ended up living in San Francisco for eight years, then moved to Mill Valley where my daughter and son were born and raised. I have been a lawyer in San Francisco for over 30 years.

Having lived in Marin for a long time, I was familiar with Bread & Roses. Dave Perron, executive director and former board member, formally introduced me to the organization in 2015. We have known Dave since the 1980s. He invited us to a couple of events when he became ED in 2015 and I began to learn more about the organization. Dave asked me to join the board in 2016 and I have been a member ever since.

What makes you passionate about our mission?

Every time I go to a Bread & Roses show, I am so inspired by the sense of excitement, joy and fun that the volunteer performers bring to the audience. This is why I became involved with the organization and what I find most meaningful about the Bread & Roses mission to bring hope, healing and joy through live music to isolated audiences.

Personally, I have always loved music, whether it is to help me find peace and relax or motivate me to go for a hike or trail running. Music reaches everyone in a way that is visceral and soul feeding. It is not necessarily logical, but a nice respite from the rest of my life, which is very logical. It is critical for all of us to have access to music in our lives.

Can you talk about other contributions you have made as a board member?

I am currently the Board Secretary and also serve on the Executive Committee. During my career, I have worked with a lot of business and non-profit organizations. For my client work, I help people solve legal issues and challenges. I try to apply the pragmatic, solution-oriented skills that that I have learned in my legal career to advise Bread & Roses when it is helpful.

Photo by Peter Merts at 2019 Fall Benefit

We are grateful to Donna for sharing her time and talent with us! She is an exemplary board member. Executive Director Dave Perron notes that “The moment Donna made a commitment to join our board, we have been fortunate to benefit from her panoply of skills, contacts and legal counsel. She has the uncanny ability to blend common sense with intellect. We are darn lucky to have her on our team!”

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