Christopher Back

Board Member

Christopher brings a varied background to his responsibilities with FORT:LA. A California native, his interest in Los Angeles architecture sprung out of the ground-breaking MOCA exhibition on Case Study houses “Blueprints for Modern Living” in 1989. This led to study at UCLA on architectural history and interior design, along with participation in the LACMA Decorative Arts Council for several years. In 2001, during a three-year sabbatical in Paris, he deepened his knowledge with art and language courses at the Sorbonne, École du Louvre and completed a certificate program in Art, Decorative Arts and Architectural history of France at Christies Education, Paris. Since 2018 he has been a docent at the Gamble House, and is a past board member of Friends of the Gamble House (FOGH). 

His professional experience includes over twenty years in technology sales that included stints living in London, Paris and Melbourne, Australia. He was also the founder of Paris Private Guides, a top-rated bespoke tour company that offered personalized private tours of Paris; including art, architecture, fashion and gastronomy led by noted experts and authors on Paris.

Meghan Brener

Board Member

Born in Knoxville, TN, Meghan made Los Angeles her home after graduating from FIDM and UCLA. She is a comedic actress who came up through the Upright Citizen’s Brigade theater in Hollywood. She also writes for tv, film, and animation and dabbles in directing. Her passions outside of work are her husband, two dogs, and well-stocked craft room.

Victoria Massengale

Board Member

A native Angeleno with roots that go back nearly 100 years, Victoria has a true love of all things Los Angeles, including its rich architectural diversity. This love merged perfectly when she became a Realtor, allowing her to expand her knowledge of architectural styles and the history of her beloved city.

Lisa Conn

Board Member

Lisa Conn is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the workplace connection platform, Gatheround. Gatheround helps companies like Disney, Gusto, and GE build an inclusive, supportive culture, no matter where or how their employees choose to work.

Lisa has previously held leadership roles at Facebook, the MIT Media Lab,, and President Obama’s campaign. At Facebook, Lisa led the company’s efforts to build products that reduce polarization and build empathy on the platform. At the MIT Media Lab, Lisa managed the Electome which tracked the public response on Twitter to the 2016 U.S Presidential election and produced the first visualizations of the electorate’s ideological polarization, described by Vice Magazine as “a treasure trove on how Americans discussed one of the most contentious presidential races in history.”

Lisa’s roots are in community organizing: she led large-scale community organizing programs as the National Organizing Director of, and served as a field director in the battleground state of Florida for President Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign.

Lisa received her B.A. from NYU, and MBA from MIT. Formerly named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, her work has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Vice News, and more. She sits on the Board of Directors for Facing History and Ourselves, a global education non-profit organization that challenges teachers and students to use lessons of history to stand up to bigotry and hate.

Chris Erric Maddox

Board Member

Chris Erric Maddox attended Winchester, Massachusett’s A Better Chance Program for boarding school, Tufts University for his Bachelor’s Degree, and Columbia University for his Master of Fine Arts Degree. Since completing his education, Chris has worked as an actor, writer, and producer. After touring the country, performing Shakespeare’s canon, and landing numerous roles acting on television shows like “Accidentally on Purpose,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family,” “Mom,” “Castle,” and “Dads,” Chris began his writing career. He was accepted into the Paramount Writers Mentoring Program in 2015 and, afterward, began writing and producing television shows, including “Bull,” “A Million Little Things,” “Monarch,” and “Dynasty.”

Jake Lazere

Board Member

Jake Lazere is a licensed Realtor who is trained as an architect. He brings over a decade of experience in architecture to his real estate clients at DPP Brokerage. Having worked at respected Los Angeles architecture firms including Frederick Fisher and Partners and Koning Eizenberg, he gained a discerning eye for quality design and construction as well as a keen understanding of the regulatory processes of building. For residential clients as well as institutional ones including the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and Princeton University, he honed skills to assist clients in making difficult decisions to achieve their goals. As a real estate agent he works with clients from first-time home buyers to astute investors, helping them achieve their goals with his knowledge of architecture, construction, Los Angeles city and its real estate market.

He grew up in Southern California and loves living in Los Angeles. He’s enamored by the city’s exciting diversity of residential architecture – the homes from the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement, the Hollywood-inspired storybook houses of the 1920s, the homes of the mid-century modernist boom, and the great contemporary architecture that is being designed and built today. He holds a Master of Architecture from the Tulane School of Architecture, where he graduated with the award for design excellence and currently sits on the school’s alumni council.

Teresa Grimes

Board Member

Teresa Grimes has 30 years of experience in the field of historic preservation. She is widely recognized as an expert in the identification and evaluation of historical resources having successfully prepared dozens of landmark and historic district applications for a wide variety of property types. Teresa graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Master of Art degree in Architecture and has worked in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Maintaining a leadership role from inspection to completion, Teresa has overseen numerous rehabilitation and adaptive reuse projects as well as expertly guided property owners through the process of securing Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits and Mills Act Historic Property Contracts. She has managed the preparation of historic structure reports and worked with architects, engineers, and conservators to comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Teresa  also has extensive experience in the preparation of environmental compliance documents in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act including the identification of historical resources, analysis of direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts, and development of mitigation measures.

Melanie Becker

Board Member

Development Director, California – Sossego, Modern Brazilian Design

Melanie Becker is a brand ambassador, product specialist and an experienced leader who specializes in the integration of European and Domestic brands within the communities of architects, designers and corporate end users in North America. She most recently held the position of Vice President, Western Region at Vitra, pioneering the brand throughout the US since 2000.

Joe Guzman

Board Member

Joe is a member of O’Melveny’s Litigation and White Collar Defense & Corporate Investigations practices.  Joe has a broad practice at O’Melveny, involving corporate investigations, litigation, arbitration, and counseling on regulatory matters.  Joe has conducted trials in state court, federal court, and before arbitrators, argued cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and represented clients in state and local administrative proceedings.  Joe has also represented undocumented clients in immigration proceedings, a prominent Mexican American artist in a legal dispute over ownership of his artwork, and a class of plaintiffs seeking significant reform of Nevada’s system of indigent defense.

Prior to joining O’Melveny, Joe served as a law clerk at the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.  While in law school, Joe externed in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and in the Executive Office of then-California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.  Prior to law school, Joe worked in the Antitrust Division and the Office of Legislative Affairs of the United States Department of Justice. 

Joe is a Board Member of Central City Neighborhood Partners, a Trustee of the Mexican American Bar Association, and serves as the head of O’Melveny’s Latinx Attorneys employee network.

Priscilla Fraser

Board Member

Priscilla Fraser, Director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, has been working on exhibitions, publications, and projects in the field of architecture for over fifteen years. As a senior designer and project manager for the LACMA, she supervised trail-blazing installations such as Chris Burden’s Metropolis II and a James Turrell retrospective, among others. Prior to joining the MAK Center, Fraser was LACMA’s internal project manager for architect Peter Zumthor’s expansion proposal for the new permanent collection building. In New York, Fraser was responsible for exhibitions and publications at the architectural firm of Steven Holl and worked under Barry Bergdoll in the Architecture Department of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Photo credit: Lauren Ross