Sam Aquillano

Executive Director, Design Museum Foundation

Sam Aquillano is Founder and Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation, a national network of local design museums operating three sites Design Museum Boston, Design Museum Portland in Oregon, Design Museum San Francisco, and growing across the country. Their mission is to educate the world about the importance of design in our lives.

Design is everywhere, so the museum has no permanent address — instead, Sam and his team turn the museum inside out and turn entire cities into locally-focused, nomadic design museums. Sam earned a BFA in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology and went on to design consumer electronics at Bose Corporation, as well as to teach design at Wentworth Institute of Technology, MassArt, and Babson College — where he earned his MBA.

With a passion for design, creativity, and learning, Sam creates a long-term vision for the museum and leads a dedicated team while managing key programs and strategic operations. In 2013 Sam and his team were named one of BostInno’s 50 on Fire.

Liz Pawlak

Vice President, Design Museum Foundation

Liz is the Vice President of Design Museum Foundation. She has a background in architecture and a passion for design. Her goal is to elevate design through education and her work with the Museum is constantly upholding that.  Liz places real value on clear communication and thoughtful design.

After earning a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University, Liz went on to work as a Designer at Payette for five years. She worked on laboratory and healthcare projects that ranged in scale from a room to an entire University. Her expertise in workplace culture and education stemmed from her time as the co-chair of Payette’s Young Designers Core (YDC),  where she developed unique educational opportunities within the firm. Since, she has presented on such topics as, Developing Young Leaders and Generosity in the Workplace.





Erica Rife

Managing Director, Design Museum Portland

Erica Rife is the Managing Director of Design Museum Portland. She comes from a professional background of early-stage startup support and program design, with a personal passion for art history and nutrition.

Erica began her career at MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator, where she served as the Program Director of events and educational curriculum. She holds a special interest in designing experiences and educational programs for innovative thinkers while benefitting the community as a whole. Erica loves her dog Jackson L. Samuel, hummus, hedgehogs, and Batman. She is seeking Portland’s best nachos and is open for suggestions!

Amanda Hawkins

Exhibitions Manager, Design Museum Foundation

Amanda is the Exhibitions Manager for Design Museum Foundation.  With a degree in Art History from Skidmore College she is devoted to museum education and a self-described ‘organized creative’.  A lifelong passion for art and design led to her work with contemporary art museums and design firms from New York City to Florence, Italy.

Amanda thrives in collaborative environments and combines her wide range of interests and experiences at Design Museum Foundation where she works to curate, produce, and travel national exhibitions about design. Originally from New Hampshire, she is very proud of her years of volunteer work with children and enjoys traveling and playing tennis.

Jennifer Jackson

Executive Associate, Design Museum Foundation

Jennifer is the Executive Associate at Design Museum Foundation. Originally from Los Angeles, Jennifer graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in Studio Art with a focus in Design and a double minor in Psychology and Architectural Studies.


Through her experience in political and consulting non-profits, Jennifer links together the intersections of business, art, and education to make things happen. Jennifer is motivated to make Design Museum accessible and exciting for people from all backgrounds. She enjoys the great outdoors and fulfilling her lifelong quest to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Parker Green

Program Producer, Design Museum Portland

Parker is the Program Producer for Design Museum Portland. A New York native, Parker graduated from Wesleyan University with a double major in Film Studies and Art History. Parker is passionate about the power of the visual arts to create empathy and inspire change. In her spare time, she enjoys food carts and playing with dogs of all sizes.

Zachary Thomas

Digital Marketing, Design Museum Foundation

Zach leads Digital Marketing for Design Museum Foundation. With a degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies from Boston University, Zach is dedicated to social impact on a global scale and seeks spaces where design, art, and social issues intersect. This obsessive search has even taken him all the way to Lima, Peru.

Zach is endlessly amazed by social media’s growth and evolution. For him, it’s a potent yet energizing tool and his goal is to make Design Museum’s social media as approachable, energetic, and innovative as its staff. He’s originally from West Palm Beach, FL and is always seeking out the bright colors and warmth of his home everywhere else in the world.