Phyllis Epstein is a California native. After graduating from UCLA, she became a teacher. Later, after raising her two children, she was involved as a community volunteer. She served on the board of the Museum of Photographic Arts, has been President of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture, and was a member the California Arts Council. She is a co-founder of the California Music Project, which seeks to bring music education back into California schools. Phyllis is on the Board of Councilors of the Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education at USC, the USC School of Fine Arts, and a board member at the UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS), serving as the community cultural liaison.
Phyllis is the mother of 2 adult children, and grandmother of three. Her husband, Dan, previously served on the Symphony Board.