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Oakland Museum Of California Announces Additions To Senior Staff In Philanthropy, Visitor Experience, Marketing And Communications; Education And Programming; Human Resources, And Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, And Access

Oakland, CA, March 11, 2022—Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) Director and CEO Lori Fogarty has announced recent additions to the Museum’s senior staff that represent  decades of experience in philanthropy, education, public programming, marketing, communications, visitor experience, human resources, diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA). Mary Ann Bonet Guardia, L. Autumn King, Talance Orme and Katy Wafle join the 53-year-old Museum internationally known for cross-disciplinary focus on art, history and natural sciences that tell the many stories of California and Californians.

“Mary Ann, Autumn, Talance, and Katy bring a remarkable breadth of experience, commitment, and vision to OMCA and will each be instrumental in taking us to the next level of inspiring Californians to create a more vibrant future for themselves and their communities,” said Fogarty. “OMCA embraces the opportunities and challenges of our unique time. These new team members join a dedicated staff and board of trustees with tremendous skill and years of experience making museums and nonprofit organizations welcoming, responsive, and relevant.”


Mary Ann Bonet Guardia has joined OMCA staff as Senior Director of Learning, Experience and Programming. Most recently, Bonet Guardia served as the bilingual Director of Community Engagement at the Dallas Museum of Art where she oversaw strategic partnerships with community groups, educational organizations, and city departments and supervised community and access programs. She helped craft cross-departmental strategies advancing the Museum’s diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion efforts, and outside of work was a community organizer for climate justice. Previously, Bonet Guardia was Manager of Community Engagement at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University and Program Coordinator of Family and Teen Programs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She began her museum career at El Museo del Barrio as an Education Programs Coordinator and at the Brooklyn Museum as a Museum Education Fellow. 

As Senior Director of Learning, Experience and Programming (LEP), Bonet Guardia will oversee leadership and execution of OMCA’s public programming and educational initiatives including K-12 education, exhibition interpretation, exhibition and collection related programs and large-scale events and festivals including Friday Nights @ OMCA, Día de los Muertos, and Lunar New Year. Bonet Guardia received her B.A. from Columbia University in History and her M.A. in Art and Art Education, also from Columbia. In graduate school, she was a Research Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art and worked on Room to Rise: The Lasting Impact of Intensive Teen Programs in Art Museums, a groundbreaking research and evaluation initiative. 

As Senior Director of Marketing, Communications and Visitor Experience, L. Autumn King brings more than 20 years of experience working in marketing and communications in many capacities, including media relations, public relations, public information, and public engagement. Most recently, King served as the Public Information Officer in the Office of the City Administrator for the City of Oakland, where she specifically served the Planning & Building and Housing & Community Development departments. An Oakland resident, King has taken particular pride in supporting her city knowing, sometimes personally, the many residents who were affected by the actions and efforts of these departments with which she worked. Prior to her more recent roles, she was the manager of marketing and public relations at Chabot Space & Science Center. There, she oversaw advertising and promotion for the institution and worked to develop Chabot’s brand and presence as “the go-to place for Earth and space” in the Bay Area. She began her work at Chabot as Visitor and Community Engagement Manager, where she led the Center’s community partnership strategy and designed and managed a wide range of programming.

King received her BA from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and her Masters in Art in Museums Studies from JFK University. Her thesis topic was: “Changing the Face of Museums: Do African American Museum Professionals Impact African American Audiences?” She also received the Gail Anderson Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Museums and Social Responsibility.

Talance Orme is OMCA’s new Senior Director of People, bringing more than 25 years in senior human resources, volunteer management, and operations roles. Most recently, Orme served as Director of Training and Business Operations at The Tech Interactive (formerly The Tech Museum of Innovation) in San Jose, overseeing all aspects of the volunteer services department and managing various aspects of human resources including employee relations, recruitment strategy and implementation, onboarding, employee and volunteer orientation, benefits administration, payroll approval, and people strategies. He also served as Co-Leader of the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Committee at The Tech and has been committed to fostering inclusive working environments and giving employees the tools to do their best work through the lens of equity and anti-racism. He is active in the museum community as a member of the program planning committee for the annual conferences of the Association of Science and Technology Center. Prior to his nine years at The Tech, Orme was the Human Resources Manager at DAJA International (a management services company) and Raging Waters Water Park. 

Orme graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Human Resources Management and has also been a volunteer in his community for many years, including as a Little League coach and leader.

Katy Wafle has joined OMCA as Senior Director of Philanthropy. Wafle has served in various capacities at Freight & Salvage, a non-profit venue for traditional music in Berkeley, since 2015, most recently as Interim Managing Director and for several years as Director of Development as well as Grants Manager. She also served as Capital Campaign Manager for the campaign to build the Contemporary Jewish Museum and subsequently served as the Director of Development following the CJM’s opening. Between these two stints, Wafle was a development consultant and also owned and operated her own coffee bar and cafe, Local 123, in Berkeley.

As Senior Director of Philanthropy, Wafle will oversee Development and Membership functions. Her breadth of experience will benefit OMCA as it moves from its successful All In campaign to the next phase of philanthropy, aligning fundraising and membership efforts to our commitment to equity and anti-racism, which had been a focus of her work at the Freight.

Wafle received her BA in Gender and Feminist Studies from Scripps College. She is an active volunteer in her community.

Photos by Terry Lorant may be downloaded here:


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state’s art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multidisciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. The Museum is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world.


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $16 general; $11 seniors and students with valid ID, $7 youth ages 13 to 17, and free for Members and children 12 and under. There is a $5 charge in addition to general admission pricing for special exhibitions in the Great Hall. OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. An accessibility ramp is located at the 1000 Oak Street main entrance to the Museum.