Leadership and Staff

Executive Director

Anna James Miller

Anna James Miller is a former professional ballet dancer and dance teacher with over a decade of performing arts leadership experience. The daughter of four-time Grammy Award-winning cellist and composer Eugene Friesen, music has played a major role in her life since childhood.

Originally from the East Coast, Anna moved to the Seattle area in 2000 and worked for organizations including Seattle Opera, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Icicle Arts, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, Federal Way Symphony, Auburn Symphony, and Bremerton Symphony. Most recently, Anna worked in a communications role with Kitsap Community Foundation, organizing a regional day of giving expected to raise over $1.5M for 330 local nonprofits, and assisting with the launch of a COVID-19 community relief fund and resource directory.

With a deep passion for education as well as the arts, Anna taught funding and grant writing for nonprofits at Olympic College’s Business and Technology Division and served as a teaching assistant for graduate and PhD courses in Gonzaga University’s School of Leadership Studies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in arts administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Master of Arts in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University, and professional certificates in advanced fundraising and grant and proposal writing.

Anna and her visual artist spouse Bryan, along with their young daughter Cassidy are excited to be in San Luis Obispo. She is thrilled to partner with Maestro Andrew Sewell and take the SLO Symphony to new heights, and bring her arts advocacy to aid SLO County’s cultural recovery during this economically uncertain time.

Board of Directors


Mark Sherman, President
Physician, Pacific Eye

David Hamilton, Past President
Attorney, Frederickson & Hamilton, LLP

Jim Walker, Secretary
Business Service, SESLOC

Jessica Hoffman, Treasurer
PLM Project Manager, Gas and Process Division
Atlas Copco Mafi-Trench Company LLC


Joe Benson – Senior Corporate Counsel, MINDBODY

John Gilbert – Principal, John Gilbert Co., Healthcare Executive Search

Greg Gillett – Attorney, Gillett Law

Matthew Green – Director, Cuesta Sustainability Resource Center

Jeri Hocking – All for Health

Michael Hocking – Owner, Pacific Palace Painting


Michael Johnson – Co-founder, CTO Doculynx

Jill LeMieux – Director of Membership, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce

Robert Lin

Karen Loewi Jones – Compliance Manager, Midnight Cellars

Stefan Podell – Composer and Arranger

Luis Gabe Quiroz – Agency Owner, Farmer’s Insurance

Mike Zigelman


Honorary Life Member

Clifton Swanson

Symphony Staff


Anna James Miller
Executive Director

Jenny Beddy
Office Manager

Kristen Hintz
Marketing and Communications Manager

Artistic Operations

Richard Dobeck
Orchestra and Operations Manager


Leslie A. McKinley
Director of Resource Development

Music Education

Emelia Banninger
Interim Music Education Director