DALLAS (February 8, 2023) — The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of retired Dallas attorney Lee Michaels as the new Chair of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum Board of Directors. Nine newly elected members will also join the board in 2023.
Ms. Michaels previously served as vice chair of the Board of the nationally recognized Museum, which is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. She also served for two years as the chair of the Current Issues Committee, which oversees the issuance of statements by the Museum condemning acts of antisemitism and other hate crimes and highlighting human rights issues.
“Lee has been an incredible asset for the Museum and has served faithfully in a variety of important leadership roles to help us fulfill our mission,” said Mary Pat Higgins, Museum president and CEO. “We have full faith in her abilities to lead this institution at a critical time when antisemitism is on the rise, and we look forward to reaching new heights in the years to come.”
Michaels boasts an extensive professional resume, having worked as a corporate attorney for Baker Botts, L.L.P.; Gardere & Wynn, L.L.P.; A.H. Belo Corporation; and Hicks, Muse & Co. She also worked for SMU Dedman School of Law as a Career Advisor. More recently, Ms. Michaels served as a trustee for six years for Highland Park Independent School District, board chair for CARE-Dallas, and as co-chair for annual fundraising events for Grant Halliburton Foundation and Vogel Alcove. She received her B.A. in economics from Vassar and J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law.
“I am humbled to be named board chair and to take on this important responsibility to ensure the next generation has access to the critical information and educational resources we provide at the Museum,” said Michaels. “The year 2023 will be an important year for Holocaust and human rights education in North Texas and beyond, and I look forward to playing a key role in bringing more students and visitors to the Museum than ever before.”
The Museum board has also elected nine new members for 2023. Each addition is a valuable member of the community who brings highly regarded and diverse professional expertise to the Museum’s leadership team.
“The Museum continues to benefit from skilled and passionate members of the Board of Directors, and our nine new members that we will be welcoming in 2023 are no exception,” said Higgins. “We are excited to accomplish new goals together at the Museum.”
Newly Appointed Board Members
Tonika Cheek Clayton
Tonika Cheek Clayton is a results-focused ed tech investor and accomplished business leader with a proven track record of success and commitment to underserved communities. Clayton serves on the boards of Dallas College Foundation, St. Mark’s School of Texas, and Acelero Learning.
Wanda Gierhart Fearing
Wanda Gierhart Fearing is the executive vice president and global chief marketing and content officer for Cinemark Holdings, Inc., which operates 533 theaters in 42 states and 15 countries. She maintains a strong commitment to charity and community service, serving on the boards of the Texas International Theatrical Arts Society and The Arts Community Alliance.
Gavin Felder is the chief strategy officer of Yum! Brands, Inc. Since 2008 he has held a variety of leadership roles including global strategy, finance and general management. From 2014 to 2019, he served as Chief Financial Officer of KFC Global. He is a native of South Africa, and both of his grandfathers are Holocaust refugees.
Pam Hochster Fine
Pam Hochster Fine, LCSW, has worked in a private psychotherapy practice and supported the Jewish community for over 40 years, serving as the director of March of the Living Dallas, board officer for the Jewish Federation, and board chair of both Akiba and Yavneh Academies.
Maria A. Gomez
Maria A. Gomez, AIA, LEED AP, is a principal at GFF Architects and functions as studio director. She has served on the boards of AIA Dallas, the Dallas Arboretum, and many more. Gomez is part of the Trinity Park Conservancy Design Advocacy Committee and was appointed by the City of Dallas to serve on the Comprehensive Land Use Plan Committee.
Sandy Lobenstein is group vice president of Toyota Motors of North America where he leads the Toyota Production System Administrative Kaizen Team. Lobenstein serves as a member of the board of the Toyota USA Foundation. His parents and grandparents were Holocaust survivors who fled Germany to South America in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Melissa Lowenkron is the SVP, general manager of the Fossil brand and is responsible for strategy, design, product development, merchandising, and marketing. All four of her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. She lost seven of her eight great-grandparents and two great-great grandparents during the Holocaust.
Jay B. Shipowitz
Jay B. Shipowitz is the chairman and chief executive officer of Populus Financial Group, which delivers a broad range of financial products and services. He serves as a director and member of the executive committee of INFiN – A Financial Services Alliance and has served as the Chairman of the National Board of Directors for Back on My Feet and continues to serve on the National Board.
Alysa Teichman owns and operates Wildlike, a luxury piercing concept she founded in 2021, and Ylang 23, her family’s 35+ year old designer jewelry company. A graduate of Leadership Dallas, she serves on the board of Jubilee Park and Community Center and was the co-chair of the 2022 Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Awards event.. She is a third generation Holocaust survivor.
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About the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
The mission of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Founded in 1984 by local Holocaust survivors, the institution now resides in a new building in downtown Dallas where visitors experience a deeper immersion into the history of the Holocaust, human and civil rights, their centrality to our democracy, and their vital importance in preventing events like those of the Holocaust from happening again. The 55,000-square-foot permanent home covers three floors, and the main exhibition includes four wings that teach about the Holocaust, the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after World War II, historical and contemporary genocides, and America’s civil rights journey. Please visit DHHRM.org or call (214) 741-7500 for more information.