Executive staff

& Board of directors


Executive Director

Leslie is the mom of two children, and wanted them to have “experiences” over “material things”. Favorite memories include making up character-voices as she read to them and watching her kids experience beaches, museums, camps, snow skiing, singing and playing sports. ‘I remember road trips, listening to Raffi and Veggie Tales and I remember watching my kids’ faces light-up and their curiosity piqued as they explored places like the DeYoung Museum, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Sac Train Museum, to name a few. To now have a place of exploration for children in downtown Chico is wonderful. My hope is for people to know museums aren’t exclusive; they enrich the lives of everyone.’

Leslie earned a BA in Music from Fresno State, studied musical theater at AMDA in New York City. and graduated in 2018 with an MBA from Chico State. She L-O-V-E-S dance, art and music, hiking trails locally and in the bay area and Tahoe, Bidwell Park and shopping and dining with friends in downtown Chico.


President & Chairman

Jovanni is the father of 2 boys, 8 and 10 years old. With them, his hobbies include building Hotwheels race tracks, creating with Legos and throwing around Nerf footballs.  He currently serves as the Director for Response and Recovery with North Valley Community Foundation in response to the 2018 Camp Fire.

His philanthropy knows NO bounds... literally. He is often found in remote parts of the world giving his heart and manpower to those in need.

Jovanni received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA and has a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.

Nicknamed "Chico's non-profit GURU," Jovanni has moved mountains for CCM's development. Every museum needs a Jovanni.


Co-Founder & Treasurer


Victoria grew up in a farming family and has lived in the Chico area for nearly 40 years. She has worked in the AG industry for 22 years and is currently the Controller/Manager at Capay Farms, Inc. 

She has two children, Seth (18) and Emily (14).  In addition to being a working mom, she is a constant source of inspiration to our team through her overwhelming energy and enthusiasm for her philanthropic efforts. Our community's most common question to Vicki is "HOW do you do SO much?" 

For the past four years she has served as the Director of Sponsorship and Scholarship on the Board for Durham Youth Football and Cheer. She's a devoted supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley, and has served on multiple other committees/chaired many fundraisers for the Chico Elks Lodge.  

Victoria is passionate about children’s causes, and leads by example in her efforts to cultivate a sense of camaraderie and excitement about the project goals when working with youths. Her unwavering motivation is simply contagious.



Vice President


Lee Hamre is the owner of Hamre Heavy Equipment in North Chico. It's not uncommon for him to be in 3 countries in 3 weeks. He brings a very useful skillset to our board with his familiarity in global transport and cross-cultural communication. Lee is very business savvy and keeps us connected in the world of Agriculture, which is a HUGE focus for the Chico Children's Museum!

When you sit in our interactive Dentist Chair at the museum one day, you can thank Hamre for guiding it across the globe and into our doors. 


Sarah Murphy: Secretary

Sarah could not wait to join the Chico Children’s Museum board in 2018 when she accepted an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology position at Chico State! Sarah finds it quite meaningful to use her educational background to serve her hometown of Chico.

Sarah earned her PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin and currently serves as an Early Career Representative for the International Society for Research in Child Development.

Sarah often pulls from her experience as a preschool teacher and family researcher to inform decisions made for the museum. Pick an exhibit - Sarah will point out the social, emotional, cognitive, language, and physical developmental benefits of the exhibit for children in our community.

Founder & Past President


To our founder…

Dana Leslie has officially passed the ball and we are so very grateful for the gift she gave to this community in bringing a children’s museum.

“Chico is a city with tremendous history and life running through its veins. As a visitor, it beckons your return… that’s why we moved here after only one visit. As the mother of a young child, I quickly recognized the opportunity to enrich the childhood experience in this unique and education-based city, through a hands-on, minds-on ‘wonderland’ of sorts. In other cities, they call such places 'Children’s Museums,’ although they certainly aren’t just enjoyed by children, and they’re quite non-museum-ish.

At the launch of CCM she was Mom to a 5-year-old daughter, and was an active child and animal advocate in her community. Just before her move to Chico, Dana was proudly named Austin’s Philanthropist of the month for February, 2013 in INSIDE Austin Magazine. She was also recognized on ABC’s Live with Kelly & Michael as one of America’s Unstoppable Moms, and featured in People Magazine and Family Fun Magazine. She has volunteered for the Butte Humane Society, served as an Ambassador for Citizen Generation in Austin, volunteered for The Austin Shelter for Women & Children, The Seedling Foundation, The Center for Child Protection, and was a tireless rescue aide for Austin Pets Alive.

Her commitment to the advancement of early childhood education shined bright in Chico, as her vision for a children’s museum transformed the 300 block of Downtown Chico.

Bio to come...


Board of directors

ASHLEY SMITH- North State Events

SAGE BOWMAN- Nantucket Home

ASHLEY DEKELLIS- Heirloom Fox Design

Want to be a board member? Contact us! info@chicochildrensmuseum.org