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Filoli Announces New Executive Director

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Read the full press release

Filoli is delighted to welcome Kara Newport.

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Filoli announces Kara Newport, one of the most respected public garden leaders in the country, as its new Executive Director.

Filoli's new E.D. Kara NewportKara Newport.

“On behalf of the Filoli Center Governing Board, I am delighted to announce the hire of Kara Newport as our new Executive Director,” said Donna Colson, Filoli’s Governing Board President. “Kara is a visionary leader with over two decades of experience in the non–profit sector including most recently serving ten years as the Executive Director of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to her horticulture experience, Kara brings to us a significant development and member services background having worked at The Franklin Institute, The Philadelphia Zoo, and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.”

“Kara presently serves, and will continue to serve, as Treasurer for the American Public Garden Association. She has chaired many of their important committees including Finance, Benchmarking, and National Conference Program Selection. She is a regular presenter and contributor to the organization focusing on key industry topics such as garden tourism, horticulture trends, event planning, and design," said Colson.

“I am thrilled to have been selected as the new Executive Director of Filoli; it is truly a national treasure.” said Kara Newport. “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the talented team of staff, volunteers and Board members.”

About Filoli

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Why is it called Filoli?

This question and many more answered in our History section.

Designed between 1915 – 1917 and set against the dramatic backdrop of the northern Santa Cruz mountains in Woodside, California, Filoli is an excellent example of the Golden Age of American garden design and country house architecture.

Filoli House across hay fieldFiloli House across hay field.

Opened to the public in 1976 as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Filoli features a 54,000 sq. ft. home and a 16–acre English Renaissance Garden. In addition, Filoli's property includes a 6.8 acre Gentlemen’s Heritage Orchard and a trail system that transverses five different ecosystems for docent–guided nature hikes and visits to the Sally MacBride Nature Center. Filoli is recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century and is a cherished resource for the community valuing education, volunteerism and diversity.


Filoli is a charitable 501 (c) (3) non–profit organization whose operations are managed by the Filoli Governing Board. A paid staff of approximately 60 individuals (many on a part–time basis) and volunteer ranks that exceed 1,200 are responsible for a wide range of day–to–day activities including horticulture, botanical arts, nature education, programming, membership, ticketing, maintenance, preservation, special event planning and execution, food service and retail.

Filoli Mission Statement

Filoli is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and stewardship of the cultural traditions and natural history of this country estate for public education and enjoyment.

Filoli 2017 Governing Board:

Donna Colson, President
Donna Willis Colson joined the Filoli Board in 2003. She earned her Bachelor’s degree and MBA from UC Berkeley, studying Political Economics, Real Estate and Finance. She went on to found Burlingamer, LLC., work as a Director for Tukman Grossman Capital Management and for Baring Asset Management Limited, and work for Callen Associates Inc. In her past service for Filoli, she has been the Chair for the Investment Committee and Development Committee, and has served on the Audit Committee, Collections Committee, and Centennial Committee. She has also served on the Executive Board for the Burlingame Community for Education Foundation, and has also volunteered for the Burlingame High School Parents Group and Athletic Boosters Leadership, the Peninsula Family Services Hillsborough Auxiliary, Burlingame Girls Softball, and the Burlingame Soccer Club. She currently serves on the Board of Peninsula Clean Energy. She is passionate about historic preservation and has overseen the restoration of several heritage homes. She is an advocate for adaptive reuse of historic buildings in the downtown districts and for sustainable practices.
Donna Mollenhauer, Vice President
Donna Mollenhauer joined the Filoli Board in 2015. She earned a B.A. from San Francisco State University and an MBA from Golden Gate University. She is a registered nurse, and served in the US Army Nurse Corps. She was an Administrative Director of Physicians at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, an Area Controller of Development for Genentech, and an Assistant Director of Nursing for the UCSF Children’s Hospital. She was a docent for the San Francisco Zoo for twenty years, and has also supported the Red Cross Golden Gate Chapter and Women Health Care Executives. She has had dogs throughout her life, particularly West Highland White Terriers. Her hobbies include crafts (including artwork), cooking, hiking, and animal education.
Carolyn Daley, Treasurer
Carolyn Daley joined the Filoli Board in 2012. She earned a B.S. in Accounting from Towson University, and went on to work as a Certified Public Accountant for the state of Maryland. She supported the Maryvale High School “In Her Name” Capital Campaign to build a twelve–million–dollar performing arts center, serving on its Leadership Committee. She was the chairperson and co–chairperson for numerous school Dinner Dances and related auctions, and was also the class parent representative for many schools. She is currently an Extraordinary Minister at Our Lady of Angels in Burlingame, and is also an active senior outreach volunteer. Her hobbies include gardening, reading, travel, cycling, and Pilates.

Carol Moran, Secretary
Carol brings public relations experience to the board with a 25 year career as a public relations consultant to both software and hardware companies, news publications, and research labs. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Moran Manor Vineyards, a Sonoma boutique winery. Carol is also a member of the National Trust Council of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Toni Barrack
Toni Barrack joined the Filoli Board in 2014. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration from UC Berkeley, and went on to become a Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Paper Industry. She has held leadership positions in finance, planning administration. She was the Filoli Board President from 2014 to 2015, and served on the Governing Board from 2009 to 2012 as the Friends of Filoli President and an Executive Committee member. Along with her Board service, she was Nature Education Docent from 2000 to 2015. She has also been a Board member and was President of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center (PCRC) from 2009 to 2015. She has been a PCRC Volunteer Mediator and Facilitator since 2000. Her hobbies include hiking and nature, art and music, and active traveling.
Ron Peyton
A resident of Atherton, Ron is the Chairman and CEO of Callan Associates, Inc. (San Francisco). Ron is past president of the Filoli Governing Board. He has been a member of the Board’s HR, Compensation, and Audit Committees and has led the Board’s Development and adoption of a strategic plan in 2003–2004. He currently serves on the board of the United Way Bay Area where he chairs the organization’s Development Committee and co–chairs the Campaign Cabinet.
Heidi Brown
Heidi Brown joined the Filoli Board in 2015. She earned a B.S. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis. She was on the Friends Board from 2011–2012, and has continued her service from 2015 to the present. She supports University of California, wildlife conservation, and Eastside College Preparatory School. She has served on the Board for NatureBridge for 15 years and has been the Board Chair for two years. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, and traveling.
Ana Roth
Ana Roth earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theater/Art History from Sarah Lawrence College, and went on to work at Works on Paper Gallery, LA Works, and Frank Pictures Gallery as a consultant in Los Angeles. Other than Filoli, she has supported African Millennium Foundation and Glide Memorial Church. She has also taught art and theatre to children in San Francisco, New York, Africa, and Los Angeles; taught horseback riding to children; and built Temples with David Best. Her hobbies include horseback riding, building art pieces, renovating old houses, and collecting and selling African art.
David Buergler
Upon graduating from the University of Arkansas he apprenticed under the AIA Gold Medal Recipient, E. Fay Jones, architect of one of the most significant buildings of the 20th century, Thorncrown Chapel. David later joined the firm of Allan Greenberg (Washington D.C. & Greenwich, CT) where he lead the effort to expand their practice to Universities and Colleges, building new architecture in the heart of historically significant campuses. He founded his own practice in 2004.
Larry Schwab
A resident of Portola Valley; practiced law for over 30 years, primarily in the areas of transactional business matters, commercial law, bankruptcy, and business/trade creditor practice encompassing commercial sales and financing. Managing Partner and CEO of the Firm.
Jeff Deaton
Jeff Deaton earned a Bachelor’s degree in Land Resource Planning from Stanford University, where he also played football from 1980 to 1984. In the past, he has been the Head of Filoli’s Facilities and Architecture Committee, and has also been on the board of Sky’s the Limit Fund, coached football, and become a frequent blood donor. His hobbies include fishing, golfing, hunting, skiing, and mountain biking.
Barbara Seipp
Barbara Seipp joined the Filoli Board in January 2016. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Southern California and a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Michigan. She went on to be the Assistant Director for the Stanford Graduate School of Business as well as for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. For Filoli, she has been Governing Board President, Treasurer, and Education Chair. She was also the former President of the Portola Valley School District and the Woodside–Atherton Garden Club. Her hobbies include gardening and hiking.
Robert Fountain
Robert Fountain is the President/CEO of Robert Fountain International, a company that produces events worldwide for a range of important and influential clientele. Robert is new to Filoli, and comes with volunteer experience for various arts and animal organizations, as well as for the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS.
Helen Simms
Helen Simms joined the Filoli Board in 2014, and in the past has been the Chair of the Guided Docent Committee. She earned a B.A. in English from Cal State Sacramento, and is now the Administrative Manager for The Kanavel Group. She has also volunteered for Honor Flights Network and Samaritan House, and has been an ESL tutor for adults. She has been the daughter of a Navy officer and the wife of an Army officer; she has lived worldwide, and these experiences have made her flexible and able to multi–task and show grace under fire.
Lennie Gotcher
Lennie Gotcher joined the Filoli Board in 2013. She earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley, and went on to co–found Wheelie LLC, a startup company in Burlingame. In the past, she has been on Filoli’s Nominating Committee, Property Committee, and Centennial Committee. She also supports the Hillsborough Garden Club, and founded and manages the Harvest Garden, Hillsborough’s only community and teaching garden. She is a UCCE Master Gardener of the San Mateo and San Francisco counties. She was also a past Trustee for the Edgewood Center for Children and Families, and was the past President for the Edgewood Auxiliary. Her hobbies include gardening, tennis, and hot sauce alchemy.
Christian Smith, Esq.
A resident of San Mateo; Employment lawyer; has practiced law since 1995. Member of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the California Bar and the Association of Workplace Investigators (AOWI); member of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce. She earned her law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law; undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies from Mount Holyoke College. She is a fluent spanish speaker; has lived and worked in several countries in Europe and Latin America.
Jackie Hasenstab
Jackie Hasenstab joined the Filoli Board in 2015, serving as the Vice President of Events. She earned a B.A. in International Politics from UCLA, and went on to own Pot Fleuri, a landscape company – for which she was also a floral and landscape designer – and JLH Consulting. She was also the Vice President of HR for Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and worked for Gump’s, Conrad Hotels, and J.D. Power, and was also an HR Consultant for the Bay Area. She also supports the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. She was a national speaker to higher education administrations, giving a talk on instructing ADHD students. Her hobbies include rescuing homeless animals, advocating for youth literacy, and creating unique floral designs and topiaries.
Kathy Trafton
Kathy Trafton joined the Filoli Board in 2015. She earned an A.B. in Political Science and an A.M. in Communication from Stanford University, a J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, and studied Meteorology at San Francisco State University. She went on to become a television broadcaster and a Professor of Meteorology. She is the past President of the Stanford Women’s Club of San Francisco, an Executive Board Member for San Catalina School , and an Office/Board Member for the Hallberg Butterfly Garden. She is a U.C. Master Gardener, and has had leadership roles in the Junior League of San Francisco, the Spinsters of San Francisco, the PARCA Auxiliary, and the San Francisco SPCA’s C.L.A.W. (“Critter Lovers At Work”).
Jacque Jarve
Jacque Jarve earned a Bachelor’s degree in Textiles from Western Kentucky University. She went on to work at Intel for 10 years in semiconductor marketing communications. Along with Filoli, she has also served on the Community Board of Palo Alto Medical Foundation. She was a Board Member for Children’s Health Council and the Junior League of Palo Alto–Mid Peninsula, as well as a committee fundraiser for the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. Her hobbies include gardening, golf, reading, and travel.
Diane Wasson
Diane Wasson earned a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University, going on to become a social work manager, a parent education admin, and having other professional nonprofit experience. Diane was President of a local chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and during her presidency she received a national grant from the AAUW to teach Nutrition Education in local schools. She has also previously been a docent for Ralston Hall Mansion in Belmont in the 1980s, as well as a school volunteer for twenty years, and she continues to be interested in offering more educational programs for young children. She would also love to see Filoli offer more family activities. Her hobbies include watercolor and acrylic art, having raised and showed Old English sheepdogs for thirty years, traveling in Italy, gourmet cooking, and being a grandmother.
Suzanne Legallet
Suzanne Legallet is Friends of Filoli Executive Board Vice President of Support. She served on the Governing Board about fifteen years ago for two six–year terms, and also served as the Chair of the Landscape Committee. She attended UC Berkeley and earned a Bachelor of Arts, later becoming a member of the California Alumni Club of the Peninsula. She was also the President of Vintage Affaire, a fundraiser for the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She is a Certified Ornamental Horticulturist, and Filoli has been lucky enough to have her gardening expertise: she hosted Filoli Garden Interns for twenty years, had her garden on Tour about five times, and has been an active Filoli volunteer since 1978. She has been a member of several Filoli committees: House and Garden Guided and Self–Guided Docents, Flower Show, and Art.
David Wollenberg
David Wollenberg joined the Board on January 1, 2012. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brown and an MBA from Stanford, going on to become President of the Cortana Corporation. He also supports the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, as well as The Wollenberg Foundation, for which he is the Managing Trustee.
Gloria Malouf
Gloria Malouf earned a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Psychology from San Jose State University, and went on to own Sam Malouf Authentic Luxury, a luxury retail store. She was also an Assistant Buyer for Smith & Hawken, as well as an Associate Buyer for the Pottery Barn furniture catalog. Along with serving the Filoli Board, she co–chaired the 51st Gala for the Hillsborough Auxiliary to Peninsula Family Service Agency in 2014; has been the main fashion show lead for the Parca Auxiliary for the past fifteen years; and has been the Hillsborough School Foundation fashion show lead for the past two years. Her hobbies include fashion, travel, cooking, and art.

Filoli Speakers’ Bureau

Would your club or organization enjoy a 30–minute presentation about Filoli? If so, a representative from Filoli will deliver a lovely visual presentation telling the Filoli story. Learn about the history, landscape, programs and volunteer opportunities associated with this beloved Woodside estate nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Please contact Lori Stone, Director of External Communication by email to or by phone at (650) 364–8300, extension 235 to see if a Filoli speaker can present to your organization.

Filoli and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Chartered by U.S. Congress in 1949, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a non–profit, private organization whose mission is to “protect the irreplaceable that tells America’s story.” The Trust offers a wide variety of services and resources to the public and its members. For example, the Trust provides financial assistance to restore historic buildings and homes in local communities around the U.S. On Capital Hill, the Trust advocates for public policies that benefit historic places. On the local level, the organization supports local grass roots efforts to preserve historic resources.

The National Trust’s 29 Historic Sites serve more than 800,000 visitors each year. The most recent addition to the portfolio is Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. Thanks to the generosity of the Roth family, Filoli became an Historic Site in 1979. Filoli, like all sites, is a beneficiary of the National Trust’s many services including support in the areas of funding, leadership and organizational development, governance, educational opportunities and preservation practices.