& Board of directors
Leslie is the mom of two children, and she always wanted her children to have “experiences” over having “material things”. Her favorite memories are making up character-voices as she read to them and watching her kids experiencing beaches, museums, camps, snow skiing, singing and playing sports. ‘I remember road trips with the kids, listening to Raffi and Veggie Tales (and Queen). 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, Crocker Art Museum, Legion of Honor and many other places. To now have a place of exploration for younger children in downtown Chico is wonderful. My hope is for people to know that museums aren’t exclusive; museums can enrich the lives of everyone.
Leslie earned a BA in Music from Fresno State, studied and performed in Europe, and was a musical theater student at the AMDA in New York City. She has worked in education and healthcare and, recently graduated in 2018 with a Master of Business Administration from Chico State. She L-O-V-E-S dance, art and music.
She has lived in the North Valley since 2005 and enjoys exploring Bidwell Park with her sweet Golden Retriever, hiking trails locally and in the bay area, and shopping and dining 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.
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.
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
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