Executive Team Biographies

Deborah H. How, CEO

Deborah H. How received a PhD in Musicology from the USC Thornton School of Music, MA in Ethnomusicology from the UCLA School of Music, and BA in Humanities (Music and Theater Studies) from Swarthmore College. She is completing an MBA at the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management (degree expected 2014–2015), where her special interest is in Social Media Strategy.

Dr. How is a consultant for pedagogical responsibility, studio management, and organizational strategic & business planning. She travels throughout the U.S. giving lectures and workshops, including presentations/panels at the Mu Phi Epsilon International Convention, MTNA National Conference, NFA National Convention, CAPMT State Conference, and MTAC State Convention. She is widely known as a connection builder and fundraising architect for music education and performing arts organizations.

Committed to non-profit community work, Dr. How is Co-Founder and President of the Westside Music Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public benefit charity for music education. She is the immediate past MTNA Composition Competition State Coordinator for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) and the immediate past Young Composers Guild State Chair for the Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC). Dr. How currently holds the positions of Composer's Today State Adjudicator Chair for MTAC, Co-Founder and Treasurer of MTAC Santa Monica Bay Branch, and Treasurer of Mu Phi Epsilon Los Angeles Alumni Chapter; she also sits on the board of the Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF) and is a member of the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra (LADSO) Advisory Board. In addition, Dr. How is the President of the Friends of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College, a member of the Swarthmore College Alumni Council, and the Swarthmore College Los Angeles Alumni Connections Chair.  She is the volunteer web master and Director of IT for over a dozen organizations.

Dr. How  specializes in both advanced performance studies (classical piano, flute, chamber music) and academic music studies (literature, theory, history). She maintains a private music studio with national-level competition winners in both performance and composition. As a performer, she concertizes regularly (piano and flute) in ensemble groups and as a concerto soloist for commumnity outreach concerts and fundraising events.

Dr. How is a member of The Honor Societies of Pi Kappa Lambda (music), Phi Kappa Phi (academic), and Beta Sigma Gamma (business). She is also a member of Mu Phi Epsilon (professional music fraternity).


James Ramos, COO

James Ramos holds a MPA (Master of Public Administration) with Distinction in Non-Profit Sector Management at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He also has earned a MM degree with advanced doctoral work in Piano Performance from the University of Arizona and a BM degree in Piano Performance from the University of Redlands with a minor in Psychology.

Mr. Ramos has extensive experience in designing/redesigning and implementing new programs and systems in local to statewide organizations and small business. Focused on change management and organizational analysis, he is known for exploring, developing, and playing with ideas and concepts. He also relishes the opportunity to work with business owners and managers in improving their individual performance and potential. His work has included balancing the competing interests of improved efficiency with the importance of effectiveness and impact, in addition to addressing the resource and deployment challenges of technology integration.

In addition to his work with Bravura Innovations, Mr. Ramos is currently the Managing Partner of Ramos Piano Studios. Other highlights include being the former Executive Director for the University of Redlands Piano Camp and Regional Associate for The Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program (TAP).

Mr. Ramos is the current President of the Riverside-San Bernardino Counties Chapter of California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT), President of the Redlands Branch of the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC), and Vice President of the Elvin Samuel McGaughey Music Foundation. Mr. Ramos is also former Endowment Fund Chair and MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Foundation Chair for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT), MTAC Foundation Chair, and MTAC State Membership Secretary and Board Member.

Mr. Ramos is also a music education and performance specialist in the Greater Los Angeles community. His focus areas include Classical Piano, Jazz/Contemporary Piano Styles, Collaborative Piano, Improvisation, and Composition. Presentations have included hands-on workshops with music students, seminars with music instructors, and lectures at state music conferences with topics including technology integration, new music, and music improvisation.

A winner and recipient of numerous performance awards and prizes, Mr. Ramos had the honor of being named University of Redlands Performer of the Year. He is a former Faculty/Coordinator of Piano Accompanying at CSU Bakersfield. He is also a past Instructor of Piano, as well as a past Musical Director/Vocal Coach of the Opera Scenes Program at the University of Arizona, where he was nominated for teacher/mentor of the year.


Fresas Flores Balistreri, CFO

Fresas Flores Balistreri received a BA in Music and BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Colorado Technical University. She is both a pianist and lead vocalist. Her notable appearances include performances for the US troops as part of the US Army's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program in Afghanistan and Qatar. She maintains a private music studio for piano performance and music theory, and was the recipient of an MTNA STAR Award.

While active in the music world, Ms. Balistreri has developed her leadership, team-building, and decision-making skills in the corporate world, where she has been committed to exceptional customer service and client service management and relations. She specializes in strategic planning and business development. Her professional experience includes being the Teacher Community Manager at TakeLessons.com and the Customer Success Manager at SmartDrive Systems, Inc. She is currently a Google Helpouts service provider.

Ms. Balistreri is a former Center Representative for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (MDP) and was a Regional Associate for The Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program (TAP). She is a supporter of higher education and was an Adjunct Instructor for Colorado Technical University, where she developed the curriculum for a music appreciation and music history lecture series.

Ms. Balistreri is also active in community service for both music and business causes. She is the immediate past State Treasurer for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) and District I Vice President of Public Relations & Media. Her non-profit organization leadership roles extend to the Filipino-American community, where she is a member of the Board of Directors for the Philippine American Community of San Diego County (PACSDC), Inc., Fil-Am Youth Achievers Foundation, and ACCESS, Intl. (American Commerce, Culture, Education & Social Services International). Ms. Balistreri is also the Director of Information & Technology for the PACSDC Miss Philippines Pageant.

© BRAVURA innovations 2013, 2014