Monterey Jazz Festival Announces Larry Williams, Cydney Payton, and Tom LaFaille as New Board Members for 2021

Monterey, Calif., October 20, 2021; The Monterey Jazz Festival, a leader in jazz presentation and education since 1958, has announced three newly-elected board members for 2021, including arts administrator and curator Cydney Payton, retired attorney Tom LaFaille, and real estate executive and business leader Larry Williams.

MJF Board President Laura Zehm is also in her second year and is the first woman to be elected as Board President. “Each of these board members brings an important and unique perspective and experience to MJF,” said Zehm. “Larry has the relationship with TSU and the understanding of how to bring the two organizations together resulting in the new partnership we have today. Cydney brings years of experience with other non-profit art organizations. Tom has public/private partnership experience that will be important to MJF as we explore our future growth. We are thrilled that all three of these individuals have agreed to serve on the MJF board.”

Larry Williams is a longtime MJF patron and Ambassador and is directly responsible for the partnership with Texas Southern University that launched in 2019. Larry is a 28-year real estate veteran and started his career at IBM, where he worked for 29 years. Larry attended Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, and earned advanced business degrees from Syracuse University.

Cydney Payton has been a leader in the arts for over 25 years. As the director and chief curator for both the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, she curated nearly 200 exhibitions and created visual art, dance, theater, and experimental jazz programs. Payton moved to Monterey in 2018 with her husband Kevin Causey, vice president of Montage Health Foundation.

Tom LaFaille, has served as Vice President and International Trade Counsel at Wine Institute and is a former staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Senate. Tom is a graduate of San Francisco State University; the University of California Hastings College of the Law and is now retired. Tom and his wife Barbara Paul are enthusiastic supporters of the festival’s jazz education programs and live in Pebble Beach.

Elected Board President in 2020, Laura Zehm continues to navigate the organization through the unforeseen challenges of COVID-19. As Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, she is also the number two executive of Montage Health and is responsible for leading strategic planning. In this role, Laura has been instrumental in planning and implementing new business lines, acquisitions and mergers, and expansions of the enterprise’s business.

Founded in 1958, MJF’s Board of Directors serves as the governing body, providing financial oversight and ensuring the organization’s compliance with non-profit regulations. Tasked with supporting the Monterey Jazz Festival in its work by using jazz to create a more diverse, accepting and artistically engaged world, the board approves policies, procedures, and plans to provide the framework for MJF’s major organizational goals.

The 65th Monterey Jazz Festival will take place September 23-25, 2022. Details about the festival, including the lineup, scope and stages will be announced in the spring of 2022. For more information, visit


For interview opportunities and other MJF information, please contact:

Timothy Orr, Marketing Associate
Direct Line: 831.646.8670 / MJF Phone: 831.373.3366

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