Board of Directors

The Sierra Nevada Ally’s board of directors meets quarterly to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities while acting with care in the best interest of the organization. The board’s charge is to remain loyal to the organization’s mission and exercise judgment when providing direction to staff.  Its standing committees may include leadership, editorial, and finance.

Lily Baran – Director

Lily has been a community organizer recently active in a leadership capacity for Reno Nevada’s Black Lives Matter movement.

She as a professional artist since 2005. working as an accomplished jazz singer, teacher, vocal coach, and arts activist.

Lily attended the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City, appeared in the Broadway production of Rent, recorded a full-length album, and acted in multiple commercials, print ad campaigns, New York Fashion Week shows, and done voiceover work for Comedy Central. She has traveled the world as an actor, dancer, and singer. 

Closer to home, she has worked as director, producer, and choreographer for the Tahoe Players, a company founded by her legendary Grandma, Monica Folio, and for several other musical theater companies in the area. She served on Nevada’s curriculum revision committee for the creation of public education’s Arts standards.

Lily specializes in training students for auditions, be it for a community theater or professional production. In the last eight years, she has helped many students in high school navigate the all-encompassing “Unified Auditions” for performing arts universities and conservatories, as well as summer intensives, for institutions including Interlochen, Idyllwild Arts, Walnut Hill, Pacific Northwest Ballet, LINES, and American Ballet Theater.

Susan Boskoff – Board Vice President

No one in the last 30 years has done more for Nevada’s artists and arts organizations than Susan. 

For starters, Susan has served as the executive director of the Nevada Arts Council for 24 years, from 1993 to 2017. During her tenure, she professionalized every aspect of the Arts Council’s responsibilities, its grants programs in particular. 

Most importantly, she worked tirelessly every day to elevate awareness and boost nationwide recognition of Nevada’s wonderful artists in dance, theater, music, visual and literary arts.

During her stint as the NAC’s executive director, she served on and added her expertise in board development to numerous regional and national boards including the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Western States Arts Federation. She sat on the state partnership grants panel for the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Retirement has not slowed Susan down. She currently serves on the boards of the Utah Repertory Dance Company, Truckee Meadows Tomorrow, KNPB TV’s Community Advisory Board, and Noteable Music Therapy Services.  

To top it all off, she has a bachelor’s degree from Wisconsin-Madison in communication, film, radio, and television.

Frank X Mullen – Director

Renowned journalist Frank X Mullen is a Reno-based newspaperman, author, historian,  adjunct professor, and Chautauqua scholar. 

He is known for his hard-hitting investigative pieces. He broke stories about rural cancer clusters, dangerous Nevada doctors, and toxic clouds generated by burning munitions in Lassen County. 

He was an editor and reporter at the Reno Gazette-Journal for 25 years and currently is editor of the Reno News & Review online. 

He taught part-time at the Reynolds’s School of Journalism at UNR for 15 years and now teaches continuing education classes at Truckee Meadows Community College. 

He is the author of “The Donner Party Chronicles,” a history of the Donner Party tragedy, and has appeared in programs on the History Channel, National Geographic, the BBC, PBS, and other TV networks. 

Frank has twice been named Nevada’s Outstanding Journalist by the Nevada Press Association and has won many state and national reporting and writing awards. 

His Chautauqua characters since 1998 include Henry VIII, Babe Ruth, Benedict Arnold, Edward R. Murrow, and Albert Einstein. He performs at Chautauqua festivals and in community theaters in several states.

Lara Pearson – Board President

Lara is an attorney currently based in Incline Village, Nevada. Her practice focuses on solutions to intellectual property issues and the natural environment.

Her work centers around trademark and copyright law serving two primary communities: the LOHAS community (Lifestyles of Health And Sustainability) and the live music community. 

She is a graduate of Northeastern University with a J.D in 1999. 

Lara’s professional associations include the Institute of Green Professionals, Keep the Sierra Green, Certified Green Business, the first business in Incline Village to receive such a certification.

Her practice is a Certified B Corporation, a Nevada Green Business, as well as a member of 1% for the Planet and Social Venture Circle.

Deidre Pike – Director

Associate Professor Deidre Pike teaches Beginning Reporting, Journalism Tools, Advanced News Writing and Mass Media, Environmental Reporting, News Parody: Theory and Practice and Mass Media & the Popular Arts. She served previously as department chair.

Deidre came to Humboldt State University in August 2012 after teaching at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (2011-2012) and at the University of Nevada, Reno (2003-2011). 

She’s worked as a newspaper reporter, editor, website content wrangler and freelance writer. 

She has analyzed ecological themes in popular culture in the book “Enviro-Toons: Green Themes in Animated Cinema and Television” (2012), published by McFarland. 

In 2014, her book “Media Literacy: Seeking Honesty, Independence and Productivity in Today’s Mass Messages” was published by IDEA, funded by the Open Society Foundation. 

Ben Spillman – Board Secretary

Ben is a communications pro with a journalism background. As recently as early 2020, he reported on the environment and outdoor recreation, politics, and business. Now he tells people about energy in California. He is also an FAA-licensed drone pilot trained through the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.

From 2014 – 2020, Ben served as the outdoor journalist for the Reno Gazette-Journal covering all things outdoors in Northern Nevada and California, from Lake Tahoe to Great Basin National Park and everything in between. 

From 2006 – 2014, he reported for the Las Vegas Review-Journal covering a variety of high-profile beats including; tourism and airlines, politics, Nevada Legislature, and Las Vegas City Hall. He also served as an assistant city editor, gaining experience and an in-depth understanding of the political and economic forces that drive the news cycle in Nevada.

He served as a Board member of the Mojave National Preserve Conservancy between 2012-2014 in Barstow, California. He served as its director on the volunteer board while coordinating communication strategies and events to raise awareness about how to respond to issues affecting the Mojave National Preserve.

He worked as a journalist for the Desert Sun in Palm Springs California for more than six years, 2000- 2006, covering six tribal governments in Coachella Valley and news and trends in Indian gaming in California. He also served as the paper’s environment reporter, which included coverage of Joshua Tree National Park, the Salton Sea, water issues, and endangered species.

Ben holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has licenses & certifications in Wilderness/Remote Location First Aid with the National Association For Search And Rescue and as a Commercially licensed drone pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Amber Torres – Director

Amber Torres, is a tribal citizen of the Walker River Paiute Tribe in Schurz, Nevada. She has been elected to serve on the Walker River Tribal Council since 2010 and held the role of the Tribal Chairman since 2016. 

She worked for the Walker River Tribal Health Clinic in Purchased Referred Care for thirteen years prior to assuming her role as Tribal Chairman. 

She currently represents Nevada tribes in multiple capacities by serving on: 

  • The Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada Executive Board
  • The Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona Steering Committee
  • National Indian Health Board
  • Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee for IHS/SDPI
  • Tribal Interior Budget Council for BIIHS Director’s Workgroup on Improving Purchase Referred Care
  • Native Farm Bill Coalition
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Chairman USDA Tribal Leaders Consultation Workgroup
  •  Co-Chair for Indian Health Service National Budget Formulation Committee
  • The National Congress of American Indians Executive Board. 

She was chosen to serve on these boards as the Phoenix Area Representative which represents the Arizona, Nevada, and Utah tribes.