As Director of Community Services for the Burning Man Project (http://www.burningman.com/), it is Harley's job to put her ear to the ground, listen to what participants want, and make it happen. The Department of Public Works builds Black Rock City; Harley fills it in. Her responsibilities include placing all services, camps and villages, managing ingress and egress, managing the volunteer process, and overseeing Playa Information Services, Greeters, Cafe, Burning Man Recycling, Earth Guardians, the Lamplighters, the Bus Depot, Town Meetings, and many staff meetings and functions. As Director of the Playa Safety Team, Harley oversees the Rangers, the Gate and Perimeter, Department of Mutant Vehicles and the Emergency Services Department. She enjoys using her creative problem solving skills in an environment typically steeped with bureaucracy and
There are over 60 different departments within the Burning Man organization, each run primarily by volunteers. And it takes over 2,000 volunteers to create the annual temporary city that is Black Rock City, and then make it disappear. It is Harley's job to make certain there is proper training, appreciation and consistency of experience across the organization as a whole. After 15 years of developing the volunteer process, Harley is now focusing on creating a training program to ensure volunteers are successful in their Burning Man experience, and beyond.
Harley has long been an arts aficionado: as a teenager, she attended the High School for the Performing Arts in Montclair, New Jersey, where she studied acting, dance and opera. She holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts and feels most influenced by her first two years of study at Queens University in Ontario, Canada. Like Marianne Singleton in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, she came to San Francisco 20 years ago to visit a friend and never left.
She first learned of Burning Man in 1991, while living in a household populated by Cacophony Society members. She decided to make the trek to Black Rock City on a spur-of-the-moment decision, and has been working with the organization ever since. She has also worked as a San Francisco firefighter, teacher, personal trainer and aerobics teacher. Harley hopes to someday return to her first love, oil painting, but for now, Burning Man is her canvas. Her favorite thing about Burning Man is the theme camps, which are both artistic and accessible, and the quickest way for people to get involved.