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UCLA History Department Board of Advisors


Tina Canales

Laura Black Dawson
Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs
NBC Universal Entertainment

PlaceholderClare De Briere 
Executive Vice President
Skanska USA Commercial Development, Los Angeles

Clare De Briere leads the Los Angeles region of Skanska USA Commercial Development, which delivers customer-focused, highly sustainable office, mixed-use and multi-family properties across the United States. A native Angeleno, De Briere has spent her career spearheading countless innovative real estate developments across Los Angeles that benefit tenants and their surrounding communities.

In her current role, Clare has been responsible for leading the company’s commercial development entry into Los Angeles, which includes land acquisitions, the development and design of new projects, tenant leasing strategy and execution of future projects.  In 2019, De Briere secured the acquisition of the group’s first Los Angeles site, a fully-entitled building at 9000 Wilshire. With the guidance of Clare’s forward-thinking approach and design, Skanska will construct a 46,000-square-foot office building in the heart of one of the most desired submarkets across the country, Beverly Hills. The project is designed for LEED® Gold Certification and expects to achieve LEED Platinum upon completion.

Clare is also charged with building Skanska Commercial Development’s Los Angeles community outreach strategy, which has fostered partnerships with the Downtown Women’s Center, City of Hope, United Way’s HomeWalk, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and Via Care Community Health Center, among others.

Prior to her current role, Clare was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ratkovich Company. There she led the development of The Hercules Campus converting the former headquarters of Hughes Aircraft including the historic Spruce Goose hangar into an innovative creative campus in Los Angeles’ Playa Vista neighborhood. The award-winning campus is now home to Google,72 and Sunny. Clare also led The Ratkovich Company’s development of the Alhambra a 900,000-square foot urban community, 5900 Wilshire a 32-story tower in LA’s Miracle Mile, and 800 Wilshire. Her most notable work was the Bloc in downtown Los Angeles. The project boasts an unprecedented open-air urban center including a 34-story office tower with one of the first open air roof top tenant lounges in a downtown LA office building, premier retail, gathering space, and a flagship 500 room Sheraton Grand Hotel. 

Clare serves on the Urban Land Institute’s (“ULI”) Americas’ DEI Committee, and is the immediate past chair of the Los Angeles District Council for ULI where she currently serves as Chair of the Governance Committee. She is a Global Trustee, and sits on the national Advisory Committee for Building Healthy Places and Building Healthy Corridors. Previously she has sat on the ULI Advisory Panel in the City of Denver and on a local Technical Assistance Panels for the Huntington Hospital and Cal Poly Pomona.

Staying connected to her alma maters, Clare is a current board member of the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, a member of the University of Southern California’s Price School’s Real Estate Advisory Board, as well as the Advisory Board for UCLA’s History Department where she has focused on engaging the undergraduates with successful alumni in various fields.  She is a member of the Huntington Library’s Society of Fellows, the executive committee of the Central City Association and is a former board member and present supporter of the Los Angeles Conservancy.

De Briere holds a Masters of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from UCLA.

PlaceholderRoy Geiger 
King Parret & Droste LLP

Mr. Roy S. Geiger is counsel with the firm King Parret & Droste LLP. Mr. Geiger is a former partner of Irell & Manella LLP, where he was a member of the real estate and banking practice groups for over 25 years. He has been involved with major financings and workouts, representing both borrowers and lenders.

His practice Areas include bankruptcy, reorganization & creditors' rights, debt finance, and real estate.  He has written for and has been featured in many real estate and law publications.

Mr. Geiger received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1979 from the University of California, Berkeley.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 from the University of California, Los Angeles where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

PlaceholderPaula Judge
Vice President, Talent

Paula Judge joined Accel in 2018 to focus on Accel’s talent efforts. Prior to Accel, Paula led America’s go-to-market recruiting efforts at Palo Alto Networks during a period of significant revenue and headcount growth. She joined Palo Alto Networks from Heidrick and Struggles, a retained executive search firm, where she conducted executive level searches for the technology practice. Paula began her career in the non-profit sector, holding a number of fundraising and programmatic roles with San Francisco Ballet and the Toigo Foundation. Paula grew up in Massachusetts and earned her degree in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Thomas E. Lifka
Associate Vice Chancellor (Retired)
UCLA Student Academic Services

Tom Lifka came to UCLA as Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Academic Services (SAS), in 1982. Over the next 29 years, he put his stamp on every area of student service provided by SAS. One project he directed to imporve upon was undergraduate recruitment, admission, and enrollment, which has seen UCLA rise to the position of one of the most highly competitive and most sought-after institutions in the country. He was also a key contributor to UCLA’s efforts to increase the numbers of enrolled African American students. Tom had been a leader in the steadily increasing use of computer technology in the processing of registration and enrollment. From the “olden days” when the waiting times at Registrar’s service windows rivaled those of popular rides at Disneyland, nearly all facets of the process can be completed remotely. Mainframe technology developed under Tom’s leadership and now serves as the foundation for student services including the financial aid system, the degree audit/counseling system, the undergraduate admissions system, and the Student Records System.

Kristin Mirek
Founder and Owner
Kristin Mirek Consulting

Kristin Mirek has operated in the entertainment and digital media space in almost every aspect her entire career - working with traditional entertainment platforms, ISPs, websites, start-ups - you name it, she probably did it. She's earned a few platinum records, met Mr. Moviefone, built several multi-million follower social and YouTube channels, won some industry awards, and even helped bring SpongeBob SquarePants to Broadway. Through it all, Kristin has built incredible teams who excelled at the fundamentals, telling more engaging stories on behalf of brands and businesses in the process.

She recently launched her own advisory business, Kristin Mirek Consulting, using her decades of experience to help organizations get the most out of their social media and content channels. Her clients range from established brands like Scholastic Book Fairs to non-profit initiatives such as Women For Biden-Harris. Prior to venturing out on her own, Kristin served as Nickelodeon’s Senior Vice President of social media and digital video strategy, and was instrumental in sustaining Nick’s run as the #1 kids’ television network and building brand relevance for a new generation.

Currently residing in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles with her husband and daughter, Kristin is an alumna of UCLA and proud Double Bruin (’91 & ’04), holding an MBA from The UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BA in History with a Business Emphasis. Go Bruins!

PlaceholderBenjamin E. Nickoll
Managing Partner
El Faro Partners

Mr. Ben Nickoll is the Managing Partner of El Faro Partners, a Holding Company with interests in Real Estate, Credit and Private Equity. Prior to founding El Faro Mr. Nickoll was the CIO of Ore Hill Partners, an event driven hedge fund firm he Co-Founded in 2002 with Frederick Wahl and later sold to the Man Group. He began his career on Wall Street in 1986 at Lehman Brothers where he ran their High Yield Trading operation. He subsequently was Managing Director and Head of Global High Yield Trading at Morgan Stanley.

He is a 1986 graduate of the Honors College at UCLA with distinction in History and currently sits on the boards of the Fink Center of Finance at the Anderson School of Business and the History Department. He serves of the board of the Steeprock Association, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and Agrovision Corporation. He is married with two children and lives in Connecticut.

Greg Onken

Dean Rydquist
Senior Vice President
American Funds Distributors

Dean Rydquist is Senior Vice President Chief Compliance Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for American Funds Distributors (AFD), part of the Capital Group. Dean has been with American Funds since 1984 in marketing, wholesaling and compliance positions in Los Angeles and Atlanta, Georgia. Dean is currently responsible for the compliance efforts of AFD, having returned to Los Angeles in 2003 to take on that role. Dean and his wife Donna live in Southern California with their two daughters.

Dean graduated in 1981 with a bachelors degree in History from the University of California, Los Angeles and has FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Series 6, 26, 51, 63, and 99 licenses. He is a member of the Financial Planning Association, UCLA Alumni Association and the National Society of Compliance Professionals.


Mark Verge