Executive Team

James apRoberts, Founder & CEO, Subplot Studio

James apRoberts

Founder & CEO

Prior to co-founding Subplot Studio in 2011, James worked for more than a decade in digital and print design, focusing on creative strategy and brand development for independent and corporate brands in the arts, entertainment, sports, medical and active lifestyle industries including Dewey Weber Surfboards, Horace Grant, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Lisa Leonard Designs and Widmer Brothers Brewing.

James serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Liberal Arts at Cal Poly, the advisory board for Cal Poly Arts, the Board of Directors at Woods Humane Society and is a mentor for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cal Poly.

James graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Art & Design and a minor in Economics.

Brian Christopher, Founder & Creative Director, Subplot Studio

Brian Christopher

Founder & Creative Director

Before co-founding Subplot Studio in 2011, Brian focused much of his career on print and web design for the theatre and performing arts industries, always finding the balance between commercial and fine art. His ability to move between print and web made him a very valuable asset to his clients, including PCPA Theatrefest, SLO Rep, Festool and Etna Interactive.

Brian has been very involved with the San Luis Obispo Hot House, a local incubator and accelerator, Innovation Quest and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cal Poly.

Brian graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in Fine Art with concentrations in figure drawing, painting and printmaking.

Kurt Schulz, Director of Digital Strategy, Subplot Studio

Kurt Schulz

Director of Digital Strategy

Before joining the team at Subplot Studio, Kurt worked as the Director of Creative Services at Etna Interactive and was responsible for the overall strategy, creative direction, design, production and copywriting to drive new business to some of the most prominent names in elective healthcare and medical device manufacturers like Merz Aesthetics, Kaiser Permanente, Allergan and Zeltiq.

Prior to Etna Interactive, Kurt was the Lead Developer on the creative team at Rosetta where he worked with clients like Apple, Hewlett Packard, ESPN Zone and Quiksilver.

Kurt holds a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communication from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Cory Karpin, Corporate Relationships, Subplot Studio

Cory Karpin

Corporate Relationships

Before joining Subplot Studio, Cory served as the Executive Director at Woods Humane Society where he increased adoptions by more than 30% and doubled the annual budget. Prior to Woods, Cory was the Executive Director and the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a 1,300 seat performance venue that is home to more than 300 concerts and events each year. Cory also served in a Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations role at SFJAZZ, where he established partnerships with global companies including Fidelity Investments, Infiniti, Starbucks and Jet Blue.

Cory has a Masters Degree in Psychology from Antioch University and earned a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the UCSB.

Board of Directors

Heather Sturt Haaga

Artist and Philanthropist

Heather has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit board leadership. Beginning with a local YMCA in 1986 where she was elected the first female Board Chair, she has since served on sixteen boards and committees for both local and global nonprofit organizations. She is Chair of the Salzburg Global Seminar, based in Austria and Washington, DC, where she has helped to envision a new strategic direction for the next decade. She is a Trustee of Descanso Gardens, a 150-acre green space in metropolitan Los Angeles, a Trustee of Vassar College, a Trustee of Princeton Theological Seminary, where she also serves as co-chair of the $100 million Library Capital Campaign, and a Trustee of the African Wildlife Foundation headquartered in Nairobi.

Paul Haaga Jr.

President and CEO, National Public Radio (Retired)

Most recently serving as acting president and CEO of National Public Radio, Paul has served on the Board of Directors since 2011. In 2012, Paul retired from Capital Research and Management Company where he was Chairman of the Board. Paul served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute, the trade association for the mutual fund industry and is credited with helping to restore the industry’s reputation after the market timing scandal of 2003. He has also served as President of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, President and Major Gifts Chair for Princeton’s Class of 1970 and a Trustee of the Princeton Rugby Endowment.

Bill Haggerty

Sentinel Rock Capital, COO/CFO (Retired)

Bill was most recently the COO/CFO at Sentinel Rock Capital, LLC. He was previously a principal and Chief Operating Officer of Seasons Capital Management, a hedge fund with investments primarily in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications sectors. Prior to joining Seasons, Bill was a Managing Partner and the COO for Aesop Capital Partners. Bill serves on the Board of Directors for the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California and Hedge Funds Care in San Francisco, California.

Carol Haggerty

Volunteer and Musician

Carol's early days on the trading desk at Morgan Stanley gave her an appreciation for market mechanics but her twin passions for lifelong learning and the natural world have shaped most of her work experiences. Most recently, as an Instructional Designer with an M.Ed. focus on Public Education Carol has been involved in projects at the state and local level including public outreach events for the California Oak Mortality Task Force, (COMTF), and the Festival Director of the Marin Environmental Film Festival, (MEFF). She is currently serving as Vice President and Web Manager of the Larkspur Library Foundation Board and participating in the Wildlife Photo Index project (WPI) of OneTam in Marin County. Occasionally, Carol steps in as the bass player in local rock bands.


Kevin Harris

SLO Rep, Managing Artistic Director

Kevin Harris received his MFA in Directing from the University of Iowa, his BFA in Acting from New York University, and his California Teaching Credential from Chapman University. While at NYU, he spent three years at the Atlantic Theatre Company studying acting under David Mamet, William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman. In 2005, he traveled to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to co-write and direct an original play with Ashtar Theatre, Palestine’s only professional theatre company. Kevin has taught at the University of Iowa and the University of Chicago.

Laura Pickering

NetApp, VP (Retired)

With over 29 years in the high technology industry, Laura Pickering has a proven record as a leader and catalyst for growth. Having joined two very successful, high growth Silicon Valley startups when they were young, NetApp and Oracle, Laura has spent the majority of her career contributing to and learning from the best.

Jonathan York

Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business, Professor

Jonathan is a professor and consultant with over 30 years experience as a CEO and venture capitalist. He has worked in technology, services, healthcare, government, and international business development and has extensive experience in organization development consulting, with a PhD from Michigan State in psychology and a BA from Yale. He specializes in capital acquisition, business and strategic planning, human resources, marketing, government relations and lobbying, general business management, education and training.