Leadership

Where Oakland community & arts meet.

We're a team of passionate, community-conscious individuals.

Team

Shari Godinez
Executive Director, KONO Community Benefit District

Shari is a third-generation Oaklander and since 2010 has been Executive Director for the nonprofit KONO Community Benefit District, which produces Oakland First Fridays. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a BA in Political Science. Prior to joining KONO, Shari was the Programs Manager/Executive Director for the nonprofit Oakland Merchants’ Leadership Forum (OMLF), served on the Oakland Grown marketing committee, spent 15 years as a private business owner of a retail store and has worked as a property manager for the past 22 years. Shari loves this city and has spent the last 17 years advocating for Oakland and Oakland’s small businesses. Shari has overseen staff and production of Oakland First Fridays since it was taken over by KONO in 2013.
Greg Harris
Festival Director

Greg has run When In Need (W.I.N.) MC/DJ services for 27 years, working around the world with artists ranging from the Temptations to Snoop Dogg. He’s also an engineer, producer and writer with more than a decade of experience in event coordination, including a run as Oakland First Fridays’ Sound and Stage Manager before stepping up as Festival Coordinator. Aside from managing event logistics and security, his work includes implementing outreach strategies, securing sponsorships and establishing collaborations with artists, donors and volunteers. Greg is responsible for managing logistics, staff and permits for the event; booking performance and activities; and coordinating staff, intern and volunteer efforts.
Venessa McGhee
Accounts Manager, KONO Lounge Lead

Venessa McGhee shares her family’s passion for small businesses and community engagement with more than a decade working for agencies including OMLF (Oakland Merchant Leadership Forum) and the Membership Coordinator for Oakland Grown. An Oakland native, she’s been part of  First Fridays since 2015, establishing the festival’s first outdoor bar and growing into the current KONO Lounge on Sycamore Street, which she still manages. She also handles vendor relations, registration and placement, and is so gifted with arts and crafts that we wouldn’t be surprised to see her vending at the festival too.
Sara Mae Heady
Director of Community Relations

Sara’s background is in communications and marketing after receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of California. Before accepting her permanent role with Oakland First Fridays, she volunteered for several months with Koreatown Northgate aiding in event coordination and logistics. In addition to her position as a manager, Sara co-founded an environmental sustainability non-profit, owned and operated a stained glass business, and has recently been accepted into the Coro 2020 Women’s Leadership Program, whose alumni include Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Sara is responsible for managing the volunteer program, public and private sponsorships, performance scouting and contracts, public relations, and assisting the festival director.
Mike Woolson
Marketing and Communications Director

Mike's background is in journalism, design and communications. He spent fifteen years as creative director for a Silicon Valley marketing agency. For over twenty years he's been involved in the East Bay arts scene, doing documentary photography and event support for artists and organizations including The Crucible and Burning Man; and as a contributing artist for Five Ton Crane, the Oakland artist collective whose most recent immersive installation was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution. Mike manages social media, media outreach, event promotion and documentation for Oakland First Fridays and the KONO Community Benefit District. He holds a master's in journalism and visual communication from Ohio University, and a bachelor's in English from the University of Michigan.
Oakland First Fridays is a program of the KONO Community Benefit District, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Oakland, CA.


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