Academy Leadership

Alison R. Brown

Chief of Staff & Chief Financial Officer

Alison BrownAs the Chief of Staff & Chief Financial Officer, Alison Brown oversees infrastructure and operations for San Francisco's largest cultural attraction, the California Academy of Sciences. She ensures that its resources are managed wisely, and that the organization remains healthy and forward-looking. In addition to ensuring the central coordination of all planning for the Academy, she manages mixed funding sources from the City and County of San Francisco, private funds, state and federal funds, and foundation grants.
The financial projections Alison has developed have seen the organization through the transition to a temporary facility, an extensive rebuilding project, the return to a new building in Golden Gate Park, and the launch of a spectacular new facility. In 2008, she was recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as CFO of the Year in the Transformation Agent category, a testament to her role in guiding the Academy through a remarkable period of growth and change, setting the institution up for success as a museum and research institution of the 21st century. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Business Times recognized Alison as one of the Bay Area’s most influential women in business.
Before joining the Academy in 1999, Alison served as Chief Financial Officer of StayWell, a $100 million sales patient education publishing firm previously owned by Times Mirror. She also spent nine years with the Blood Centers of the Pacific, based in San Francisco, as Treasurer and Director of Finance & Information Systems during the period when the AIDS crisis hit blood centers around the world. Prior to that, Alison was a Senior Consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co.
Alison also volunteers on the Board of Pomona College (Claremont Colleges), San Francisco Botanical Gardens, Blood Centers of the Pacific, and the Music Concourse Community Partnership. In addition, she is a founding member of the Larkin Street Corporate Leadership Council.
Alison received her MBA from the University of Chicago, where her area of concentration was non-profit and government organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, with an emphasis in mathematics, from Pomona College, and is a Certified Management Accountant.