Vice President, Finance
Sylia Obagi is Vice President, Finance, at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for finance/accounting, grants & knowledge management, technology, and other business management functions. She leads the Foundation’s strategic due diligence process to support high-quality yet supportive investments in grantees to enable transformational change.
Prior to joining the Blank Family Foundation, Sylia led the Generative Group, a consulting firm that she founded in 2017 dedicated to helping grantmakers turn charitable giving into social impact. She served as the Chief Strategy Officer for a variety of family foundations utilizing her deep programmatic, governance, and operational expertise to help clients design philanthropic strategies and road maps for successful implementation. In addition, she focused on strengthening the sector by co-creating the Think Money First! Program – an innovative, experiential training for grantmakers to align their practices and due diligence process to support high-performing grantees.
She has held executive roles within family foundations, most recently serving as the founding President & CEO of the Roy & Patricia Disney Foundation, which supports cutting-edge environment, economic development and social justice organizations. Prior to Disney, Sylia was the Chief Operating Officer at the Annenberg Foundation for eight years, during which she established the foundation’s Los Angeles headquarters, grew staff from 13 to 90 people, designed their VISION+ responsive grantmaking program, and created the largest capacity building program in the nation – Annenberg Alchemy – training over 1,000 nonprofit CEOs and board chairs in nonprofit sustainability.
Sylia, a California native, began her career as a CPA at Arthur Anderson. She has an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA in Marketing and Strategy and received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting Magna Cum Laude at California State University, Northridge. She is a governance, executive, and change-management coach, accredited by BoardSource, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Robert Gass’s Social Transformation Project.
Sylia loves stand-up comedy, scary movies and haunted houses, and dancing the night away to great music. She has one daughter, who recently graduated from UC Berkeley.