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Exploratorium announces new board chair, William “Bill” F. Mellin, and officer slate

Exploratorium announces new board chair, William “Bill” F. Mellin, and officer slate

Roberta Katz, Irvenia Waters, LaMar Bunts, and Sharon Flanagan to serve as board officers


SAN FRANCISCO (July 5, 2022) — The Exploratorium Board of Trustees has elected William “Bill” F. Mellin to serve as Board Chair. Mellin succeeds Roberta Katz, who has held the position since June 2018 and will continue to serve on the Board as Vice Chair. 

“Bill is passionate about leading organizations through transformative changes and brings more than two decades of board governance and leadership experience to his new role,” Katz said. “I’m very proud of how the Exploratorium has adapted to the global challenges of the past few years, especially the ways that we advanced science learning at home and in virtual classrooms during the pandemic, the statewide expansion of our professional development programs for K-12 science teachers, and the vibrant and inclusive museum programming that brings forward the rich diversity of scientists and artists who contribute to our understanding of the world. Bill shares my commitment to the Exploratorium’s values of curiosity, inclusion, and lifelong learning, and I am so honored that he is taking the helm and helping to write the next chapter of this important institution.” 

Mellin has been a member of the Exploratorium’s Board of Trustees since 2013. He began his finance career in the mergers and acquisition department at Morgan Stanley. He later joined HFS Partners, the predecessor to Farallon Capital Management, and became the youngest Managing Member at FCM, specializing in global distressed credit investing. Mellin retired from professional investing in order to devote his efforts to family, philanthropy and nonprofit board leadership. He is especially committed to advancing education for youth with high potential, but limited opportunities.

A founding Board member for the Bay School of San Francisco, Mellin endowed the Philanthropy Initiative and served as trustee and Board President of Lick-Wilmerding High School, and served as Chair of the Board of Aim High, where he remains a trustee. He and his wife, Stephanie, live in San Francisco, where they raised their three children.

“For over five decades the Exploratorium has been on the cutting edge of science learning and education, providing tens of millions of people with the opportunity to experience the joy of exploring natural phenomena and the empowerment of the inquiry process itself,” Mellin said. “We hope these experiences give individuals the courage and tools to seek truth and understanding in all aspects of their lives, especially in this current era of disinformation and science denial. The Exploratorium’s inquiry-based approach to learning and truth seeking is more important than ever, and I am honored and humbled to be elected Chair of the board at this time. I am deeply grateful to Roberta for her stewardship of the Exploratorium over the past four years, and I look forward to working with our visionary new CEO Lindsay Bierman to grow our impact here in the Bay Area and around the world. The Exploratorium has inspired me and my family, and I am personally driven to ensure that this organization continues to inspire learners of all ages for generations to come.”

Mellin and Katz were both a part of the search that brought Bierman to the Exploratorium as the Sakurako and William Fisher Executive Director and CEO in April 2022. Bierman previously served as CEO of PBS North Carolina and Chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). 

In addition to Mellin and Katz’s new roles, the Board of Trustees has also elected the following officers: 

From left to right: Irvenia Waters, LaMar Bunts, Sharon Flanagan

Irvenia Waters, Vice Chair 

Waters is a certified executive coach, team performance educator, and consultant recognized for her work with mission-driven organizations. She has deep experience in strategy planning and execution, leadership development, and group facilitation in industries ranging from healthcare and education to technology and agribusiness. Waters holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina, and an MBA from UC Berkeley.

LaMar Bunts, Treasurer 

Bunts, a native of Oakland, has held senior roles in finance and business operations in tech and online education, including at Dell, Viridis, and CalBright College. He also led international business for the college testing firm ACT. Bunts speaks Portuguese and has extensive business and personal connections in Brazil. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford University.

Sharon Flanagan, Secretary

Flanagan is a managing partner at Sidley Austin LLP. She has nearly 20 years of experience representing life sciences, technology, and financial services companies in a broad range of merger and acquisition transactions, securities offerings and corporate governance matters. She was selected by The Recorder as one of their “10 Power Players in California,” lawyers who stand out as “trailblazers, mentors, and advocates for women in tech.” She graduated from Columbia University and received a law degree from Harvard University.


About the Exploratorium

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The Exploratorium is a portal to the astonishing scientific phenomena that animate our world and shape our actions. We create extraordinary learning experiences that ignite curiosity, upend perceptions, and inspire brave leaps forward. Since 1969, the Exploratorium’s museum in San Francisco has been home to a renowned collection of exhibits that draw together science, art, and human perception, and that have changed the way science is taught. Our award-winning programs provide a forum for the public to engage with artists, scientists, policymakers, educators, and tinkerers to explore the world around them. We celebrate diversity of thought, inspired investigation, and collaboration across all boundaries.

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