The Walt Disney Family Museum’s Advisory Committee is made up of extraordinary individuals, each with a substantial list of remarkable personal and professional achievements. Their combined insight, experience, and vision provide important strategic guidance for the museum in carrying out its mission and expanding its outreach and impact. Constituted in April 2015 to complement the museum’s Board of Directors, the Advisory Committee comprises the following distinguished members:
Nancy Hellman Bechtle
Nancy Hellman Bechtle, serves on the Board of Directors for the Charles Schwab Corporation and is the Chairman of the Board for the Sugar Bowl Corporation. Previously, Nancy was Chief Financial Officer and Director for J.R. Bechtle & Company from 1979 to 1998. From 1987 to 2001, Nancy was President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Symphony and she has served as a member of its Board of Governors since 1984. Nancy served on the board of the National Park Foundation from 2001 to 2007 and held the board’s Citizen Chair from 2005 to 2007. She was appointed a director of the Presidio Trust in 2008 and served as its Chairman through 2015. Nancy has received several honors, including the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts from the California Arts Council and the Coro Foundation’s Investment in Leadership Award. Nancy holds a bachelor of arts from Stanford University.
Andreas Deja first applied for a job as a Disney animator at the age of 10. Born in Poland and raised in Germany, he recalls writing The Walt Disney Studios immediately after seeing The Jungle Book. The Studios wrote back to Andreas explaining that there were no openings, but they were always on the lookout for new talent. At the age of 20, Andreas applied again and was accepted. Andreas began his Disney career working with Eric Larson, one of the legendary Nine Old Men, and went on to work on animated films such as The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Andreas oversaw the animation of Triton in The Little Mermaid, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, Scar in The Lion King, Mickey Mouse in Runaway Brain, the title character in Hercules, and Lilo in Lilo & Stitch. In 2007 Andreas was honored with the Winsor McKay Award from the International Animated Film Association and was named a Disney Legend in 2015. The Walt Disney Family Museum celebrated Andreas’ prolific career with the exhibition Deja View: The Art of Andreas Deja in 2017.
Don Hahn is producer of the worldwide phenomenon The Lion King and the classic Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar®. Don is Executive Producer of the acclaimed Disneynature films Earth, Oceans, African Cats and Chimpanzee and Disney’s Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. Don’s other credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis, Fantasia 2000, and The Emperor’s New Groove. Don’s books on animation, art, and creativity include the bestseller Brain Storm, the acclaimed educational series Drawn To Life: The Complete Works of Walt Stanchfield, and the much anticipated Before Ever After: The Lost Lectures of Disney’s Animation Studio. Don also serves on the Board of Directors of PBS SoCal and produced The Walt Disney Family Museum’s first fundraising gala in 2015.
Chris Kelly is a Silicon Valley attorney who represents innovative companies on privacy, security, safety, and regulatory affairs. As the first Chief Privacy Officer, General Counsel, and Head of Global Public Policy for Facebook, Chris helped the company grow from its college roots to the ubiquitous communications medium that it is today. Chris left Facebook in 2009 to seek the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of California, garnering 16 percent of the vote in a seven-way race, his first run for statewide office. Since the June 2010 primary, Chris has become an active angel investor in companies seeking transformational improvements in technology, media, and finance.
John Lasseter maintains creative oversight of all films and associated projects from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios, and is involved in a wide range of activities at Walt Disney Imagineering. John made his directorial debut in 1995 with Toy Story, the world’s first feature-length computer-animated film. John also directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Cars (2006), and Cars 2 (2011). John has executive produced all Pixar features since Monsters, Inc. (2001). To date, Pixar’s films have earned more than $8.5 billion in gross box-office receipts. Since assuming creative oversight of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006, John has served as executive producer on all of its feature films and serves as Executive Producer for Disneytoon Studios’ films. In his role as Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, John was instrumental in bringing Radiator Springs to life with the successful 2012 launch of Cars Land, a massive 12-acre expansion of Disney California Adventure Park. Prior to the formation of Pixar in 1986, John was a member of the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. John was part of the inaugural class of the character animation program at California Institute of the Arts and received his bachelor of fine arts in film in 1979.
He was awarded with the Diane Disney Miller Lifetime Achievement Award by The Walt Disney Family Museum in 2017.
Michelle Lund is president of the Sharon D. Lund Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 1973 by her mother (and Walt Disney’s youngest daughter), Sharon Disney Lund, to support initiatives in the arts, health and wellness, human services, and higher education for the future of children and the youth of today. In 2013 the Foundation provided grants totaling more than $5 million to organizations and projects working in its focus areas. Michelle also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary & Retreat Center.
Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. Leonard is best known for his widely-used reference works, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, as well as his 30-year run on Entertainment Tonight. Leonard teaches at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, appears regularly on Reelz Channel, and hosts the weekly podcast Maltin on Movies with Baron Vaughn for the Wolfpop network. Leonard served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. Leonard hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on numerous television programs and documentaries. Leonard has been the recipient of awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, George Eastman House, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International.
Cynthia Rowland, a partner in the Farella Braun + Martel LLC San Francisco office, focuses on charitable giving arrangements and complex structures, as well as a wide variety of business transactions for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Cynthia serves on the Board of Directors for Tax-Aid, which assists low-income taxpayers with free tax preparation services. Cynthia served as Chair of the Nonprofit Organizations Committee for the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section and was named its 2011 Outstanding Attorney of the Year. Cynthia is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the Nonprofit/Charities Law and Tax Law practice areas and has been honored as the 2015 San Francisco “Lawyer of the Year” for Nonprofit/Charities Law.
Tom Sebastian is co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer of Swirl, where he leads the agency’s creativity, growth, and development with co-Chief Executive Officer, John Berg. Tom came to Swirl from the William Morris Agency in Los Angeles, where he led creative development for the firm’s corporate consulting division, eventually co-leading the entertainment marketing division of William Morris Endeavor, including accounts for Coke Zero and 20th Century Fox’s Avatar, Nestle/Purina and Marley and Me, Lady Gaga, and Polaroid. Prior to WME, Tom was the Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of PRN, a San Francisco–based advertising and media firm that pioneered the creation of digital advertising systems. Tom has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of thinkLA and was recently appointed to the board of the San Francisco YMCA.
Bob Weis is the president of Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative, design and delivery arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He is responsible for furthering Imagineering’s vision and developingand delivering extraordinary products and experiences that enhance the emotional connection to the Disney brand. With decades of experience designing Disney theme parks and attractions around the world, Bob has been a creative force on expansions at Disney California Adventure and Tokyo Disney Sea and recently led all creative and design aspects of the state-of-the-art Shanghai Disney Resort.
Diane Disney Miller Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
The Diane Disney Miller Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the board of The Walt Disney Family Museum to individuals who have made an outstanding impact in the field of arts, education, community involvement, and technological advancements.
Richard Sherman—best known as the songwriter, with his late brother Robert, of iconic and beloved songs from Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Disney theme park classics “it’s a small world” and “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.” Richard is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts at the White House in 2008. He was awarded with the Diane Disney Miller Lifetime Achievement Award by The Walt Disney Family Museum in 2015.
For more than half a century, Marty Sklar was instrumental in sharing the magic of Disney-themed entertainment with people around the globe. He began working for The Walt Disney Company in 1955 and, over the years, rose through the ranks to become the creative leader of Walt Disney Imagineering. The only cast member to participate in the opening of all eleven Disney Parks & Resorts around the world, Marty was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2001 and had a window dedicated in his name on Disneyland’s City Hall. He was awarded with the Diane Disney Miller Lifetime Achievement Award by The Walt Disney Family Museum in 2016.
John Lasseter is recognized for his contributions to the entertainment industry and for his extraordinary leadership and innovative storytelling, which have been instrumental in elevating and distinguishing the world of animation. See John's bio above.