Leadership

Our Team

Connecting our rich history with a vibrant future through beauty, nature,

and shared stories.

2024 Board of Directors

The Board of Directors for Filoli Historic House and Garden is comprised of individuals of our region that are truly committed to the mission. The Board of Directors is responsible for governance and support of Filoli Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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Executive Team

David Wessel

Board Chair

David Wessel is an architectural conservator with over 30 years of experience in the conservation and preservation of historic landmarks and cultural resources throughout the United States. David brings a deep understanding of architectural materials and a practical, but ethically rigorous perspective for the conservation of cultural heritage. Much of his career has focused on bridging technical architectural conservation methodology and theory with practical, hands-on field practice. As a Principal of Architectural Resources Group, a full-serve architectural firm, and CEO of ARG Conservation Services, a design-build conservation construction company, David recognizes the importance of close integration between design and conservation construction for achieving optimal results. He has also been actively involved with many professional organizations and foundations, as well as nonprofit organizations.

Headshot Sydney Leung

Board Vice Chair

Sydney Si Ning Leung was born and raised in Hong Kong. His career spans the fields of law, real estate, and entertainment, and he holds degrees in Architectural Engineering, Philosophy, and Law.  Sydney’s community service is focused on the education and welfare of underserved children, and he is passionate about nature and the environment.  Sydney resides in Woodside, California, with his partner and their parents along with a Jack Russell Terrier and three barn cats.

Sapna Marfatia

Board Secretary

Sapna Marfatia is the Director of Architecture at the Stanford University’s Architecture and Campus Design Office. She has been with the University for 18 years and has provided design direction on several prestigious projects. Alongside new buildings, she also collaborates with the university’s facilities group to create long-term maintenance vision and protocol for the preservation of iconic Stanford buildings, such as the Main Quad, Memorial Church, Hoover Tower, and Hanna House. She has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Academy of Architecture in Mumbai, India; a Masters in Urban Design from Pratt Institute, New York; and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Stanford University. Sapna has served on the AIA Board of Directors, Santa Clara Valley Chapter for two years and was a Historical Commissioner for The City of Los Altos for eight years.

Bob Nibbi

Board Treasurer

Bob Nibbi is president of Nibbi Brothers General Contractors, a San Francisco-based commercial construction firm. The company was founded by Bob’s grandfather, Marino, in 1950 and Bob and his brother Michael represent the third generation of company management.  Notable projects include the Exploratorium at Pier 15, the Cliff House restaurant and numerous mixed-use projects in Mission Bay. Bob received a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering and a Masters of Science in Construction Engineering and Management from Stanford University in 1984. Bob is former board president of Rebuilding Together Peninsula and former board president of Family House. He is currently a trustee on the Carpenters Vacation Trust Fund.  Bob and his wife Meg live on the Peninsula and have three children.

Carol Moran Cropped

Past Board Chair

Carol Moran 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.

Board Members

Brian Byrd

Brian Byrd

Brian Byrd is an archaeologist and a proud Tribal Citizen of the federally recognized Shawnee Tribe in Oklahoma. With a career that has combined academic research and cultural resources management, he is a strong advocate for heritage preservation through inclusive collaboration with descendant communities, particularly Indigenous Native Americans.

Maryles Casto

Maryles Casto

Maryles Casto is an entrepreneur and a traveler at heart. Her passion for travel and exceptional service led her to build one of the most respected privately owned travel management companies in Silicon Valley. She remains active in civic, philanthropic, and industry organizations and recently founded MVC Solutions and Casto Foundations. She has served as board chair of the Commonwealth Club of California, Silicon Valley Creates, El Camino Foundation board, and a member of The Committee of 200 a global organization of women business leaders making an impact for the advancement of women in business. She is also a member of The International Women's Forum of California.
WOODSIDE, CA - September 7 -  Donna Colson attends Filoli's Pacific Paradise Gala 2018 on September 7th 2018 at Filoli in Woodside, CA (Photo - Drew Altizer Photography)

Donna Colson

Donna Wills Colson has served on the Filoli Board for over 17 years including roles on the executive leadership team and as past president. Her career spanned 25 years in the investment management industry as a senior client service executive and partner at Callan Associates, Baring Asset Management and Tukman Capital Management. She currently serves on the Burlingame City Council and was Mayor in 2019. She is also on the Board of Directors at OneShoreline and Peninsula Clean Energy where she is focused on climate change impacts. 

Carolyn Daley Crop

Carolyn Daley

We are ecstatic to welcome Carolyn Daley back after a mandatory year off between terms! Carolyn has led Filoli in her roles as Board President, Chair of the Development Committee, and fundraising events sponsor. A CPA by training, Carolyn led an effort at Filoli to bring the financials accounting and reporting toa higher standard.

Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster has extensive education and experience in the Healthcare industry and is currently the Head of Clinical Product and Research at Bold, a digital eGenXcise platform for older adults. She is currently active in the Engagement Committee and was married at Filoli this summer.

Di Gao

Di Gao

Di Gao serves as the Senior Director of Research & Development at the National Trust, leading a team that provides technical and analytical support to strategic initiatives across the organization. Di’s team specializes in geospatial analysis, and is charged with identifying and executing initiatives that focus on the intersection of preservation and equity, inclusion, and social justice. Di is responsible for developing new preservation initiatives including the America’s Chinatowns program, supporting project execution on major projects including Preserve Route 66 and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund initiatives, helping to grow the organization’s geospatial analytics practice, and identifying future growth areas for the National Trust. Di has an M.S. in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus in planning policy and real estate.

Joyce Hammel

Joyce Hammel

Joyce Hammel is a longtime member of Filoli and recently retired as the Director of Diversity, Inclusion & Strategic Organization Development from University of California, San Francisco. Joyce is a member of Filoli’s DEAI Task Force. She brings decades of experience in all aspects of human resources management and strategic organization development. Joyce has practiced and honed her approach of identifying risks and problem areas early, and either preventing issues from arising or facilitating mutually beneficial solutions. Joyce is a life coach, has served as a community mediator, professional facilitator, a certified investigator and a skilled trainer.She has a BA in Clinical/Medical Social Work from Kent State University  Joyce loves to travel and is learning how to play the cello!

Deborah M Hussey Freeland

Deborah M. Hussey Freeland

Deborah M. Hussey Freeland is a San Francisco native for whom gorgeous days at Filoli are a family tradition spanning four generations. Deborah is an attorney, a scientist, and an academic with a varied career that includes teaching, research, and practice in fields ranging from environmental science and policy, to intellectual property, to immunology, to women’s studies, to legal ethics.  Deborah’s community service has focused primarily on supporting students from underserved communities as they explore careers in the scientific and legal professions, and on environmental restoration. Deborah began her career as a freelancer with the San Francisco Ballet.  She then earned her BA in Cognitive Science and Biochemistry from Vassar College, her PhD in Biophysics from Stanford University, and her JD from Stanford Law School.

Melissa Lopez

Melissa Lopez

Melissa Lopez is an accomplished investment strategist and equity market analyst. Her 20‐year career spans investment banking, equity research, and investment management. Today, she leads the investment strategy for global equities at the James Irvine Foundation in San Francisco. Melissa’s investment selection and portfolio oversight enable the Foundation’s $200 million annual grantmaking capacity.   

Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a Senior Research Analyst with Wetherby Asset Management. Previously, Melissa served as an Investment Professional at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Equity Research Associate at Citigroup Smith Barney, and Financial Analyst at Robertson Stephens. She received a master’s in business administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. 

Melissa lives in San Francisco and enjoys experiencing the natural beauty and cultural amenities of the greater Bay Area.  

Karyl Matsumoto

Karyl Matsumoto

Karyl Matsumoto was elected to the South San Francisco City Council in 1997 and served for 23 years and Mayor five times. When elected, she was only the second woman and the second Asian in the City’s 105-year history to serve on the City Council. She has been in public service for 30 years having served or been a member on over 30 civic nonprofit boards, commissions and committees. Her career covers multiple work experiences in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She has held various positions which include Interim National Director of the Japanese American Citizens League, District Director, State Senator Quentin Kopp, Legislative Aide, San Mateo County Anna Eshoo, Project Manager Hayden J. Lee Consultants and Product Coordinator, PPG Industries. Karyl is native Californian and has lived in South San Francisco for 41-years. In additions to living in California, she has lived in Virginia, Indonesia, Massachusetts, District of Columbia and Pennsylvania. She loves to travel and has visited 31 countries.

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Ron Peyton

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 is also “Counselor” for the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Dean’s Council and an advocate for the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. From 2008-2018, Ron served on the board of the United Way Bay Area and currently has a leadership position in its Tocqueville Society.

Arivu (Mani) Ramasamy

Arivu (Mani) Ramasamy

Arivu (Mani) Ramasamy is a technologist by profession. Mani is currently a VP and Fellow at Palo Alto Networks, a leading cybersecurity company, driving broad ranging technology initiatives. He obtained the Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from IIT Varanasi in India and Master’s from University of Arizona in Computer Engineering. Prior to joining Palo Alto Networks, he had worked at Cisco systems for more than 12 years, and at CloudGenix which he co-founded for 7 years before it was acquired by Palo Alto Networks. He loves nature trips, hiking and mountaineering, and can often be found on the mountains around the bay area.

Pulin Sanghvi

Pulin Sanghvi

Pulin Sanghvi is a speaker on purpose! He has led re-imaginings of career development at Princeton University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business and created and taught a model of hypothesis-driven exploration that has engaged thousands of members of the Princeton, Stanford, and Yale communities. Pulin was formerly a management consultant with McKinsey in Palo Alto and an investment banker with Morgan Stanley. He serves Yale in numerous capacities and also serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.

Michelle Taite

Michelle Taite

Michelle Taite is the Chief Marketing Officer of Intuit Mailchimp, helping businesses globally solve their biggest marketing challenges. Previously, Michelle was the VP of Global Marketing for QuickBooks where she was responsible for global communications, market research, and product marketing. Before joining Intuit, Michelle served in a variety of roles at Unilever, most notably, leading the iconic core Dove Global Body Wash business. Prior, Michelle worked at New Balance and also spent the early years of her career in the Israeli Intelligence Force. Michelle studied product design at Kingston University London and earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Management.

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Kristen Van Dam

Kristen Van Dam is passionate about Ecology and is currently an ecologist at the East Bay Regional Park District. She has 18 years experience in ecology, restoration and stewardship of California natural lands and ecosystems. Kristen has been learning more about Filoli through her attendance at the 2022 Filoli Gala, Summer Nights, and board member Sydney’s Leung's birthday party at Filoli.

Guillermo Viveros

Guillermo Viveros

Guillermo Viveros is a senior finance leader with experience in leading global finance and treasury teams. Guillermo has a track record of strengthening financial and operational processes and infrastructures to maximize business performance and profitability. Guillermo most recently led the Treasury and Financial Operations team at Infoblox for four years. Prior to Infoblox, Guillermo spent three years at TiVo as the finance business partner to the Business Unit General Managers and the Chief Revenue Officer and their leadership teams. Guillermo holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

Barry Wellins

Barry Wellins

Guiding people toward a brighter financial tomorrow is a lifelong goal for Barry Wellins, Market Leader for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management in Northern California. With a desire to do right by every client, Barry manages a team of financial professionals responsible for providing clients with personalized service and tailored financial solutions. Barry earned his bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. A big proponent of the arts, Barry has served on the board of directors for arts-focused boards in his community; for the past eight years, he has also served as a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

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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. He is also Director Emeritus of Rebuilding Together Peninsula and serves on the Stanford Live Art Advisory Council. 

Matthew Worby

Matthew Worby

Matthew Worby is a seasoned and accomplished HR leader, currently serving as Chief Human Resources Officer at Wish. With a wealth of experience in shaping and optimizing people strategies, Matthew also advises many global startups on Human Resources. Previously holding the role as the Vice President of People at Lyft, he also spent over a decade working as a leader in Human Resources at Google and Alphabet Inc. Matthew brings expertise in HR transformation and strategy, organizational design and development, and talent management to drive success and innovation in the ever-evolving world of human resources.

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Martin Yan

Chef Martin Yan is a well-known celebrity chef who starred in the cooking show, Yan Can Cook, which featured recipes for stir fried foods and an assortment of various other traditional Chinese meals and cooking techniques. He is involved in the bay area community and recently created 27 video segments of him exploring San Francisco Chinatown’s food and culture scene. Martin attended the Filoli Vegetable Garden Preview Brunch and is especially excited about Filoli’s interest in interpreting food culture. He will be filming an upcoming YouTube show at Filoli.

Nancy Young

Nancy Young

Nancy Young is a Partner at Seiler, LLP. Nancy is the firm’s China Desk representative, meaning she helps coordinate US-China engagements and services for international clients. Nancy also has considerable experience with providing assurance services and oversees audit engagements for her tax clients. Nancy is fluent in speaking, reading and writing Cantonese and Mandarin.  

Alan Zafran

Alan Zafran

Alan Zafran is a Founding Partner and Co-CEO of IEQ Capital and has served as a financial adviser to wealthy families and institutional investors for nearly three decades. Mr. Zafran also sits on the Investment Committee at IEQ Capital.  Alan was listed as one of Barron’s Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors in 2014 and 2016 and one of Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors in 2018 and 2019. Active in the community, Mr. Zafran is a Board Member for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Taube Philanthropies, Shuchman Lesser Foundation, and also serves on the Investment Committee for the Board of Trustees of the Portola Valley School Foundation Endowment.  Among many nonprofit organizations, Mr. Zafran actively supports the Riekes Center for Human Enhancement, the Friendship Circle, the Youth Angels Foundation, and Mercado Global.

Leadership Staff

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Kara

President & CEO

Kara Newport came to Filoli as the CEO in 2016 and since that time she has worked with exceptionally talented staff to ensure that Filoli is a place of beauty and refuge for the broadest community. With a shared passion for plants and history, she seeks to create resonant programming that connects people to this incredible place. Kara was first a professional fundraiser at diverse organizations including science museum, zoo and historic properties and is committed to elevating the experience for all visitors through contributions from the community. She is most connected to the public gardens community as a director of a garden for over a decade and serving on the national public gardens board.

knewport@filoli.org

Alex

Chief Operations Officer

Alex Fernandez has been with Filoli for over 25 years, beginning his career at the estate in 1994 as the assistant garden superintendent and eventually co-leading the Horticulture department before becoming director of property operations in 2014. As COO, he oversees all of site operations with the directors of facilities, horticulture, and museum collections as direct reports.

afernandez@filoli.org

Davey Barrett

Chief Experience Officer

Davey Barrett joined Filoli in June 2023 and leads the Visitors Services, Events, Retail, Curatorial, and Learning and Engagement teams. He brings with him over 15 years of experience from both the UK and the US, with brands such as LEGOLAND, Harry Potter, Barbie, and The London Eye, just to name a few. He enjoys working at the intersection of operations and creative excellence. He graduated from The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he studied Theatre Arts. Davey is thrilled to bring new and exciting experiences to Filoli visitors, including a winter concert series, Filoli’s Forbidden Forest, the Hair of the Dog Hike, and he is looking forward to adding many more!

dbarrett@filoli.org

Filoli 2022 leadership team

Chief Development Officer

Chris Hirano joined Filoli in 2021 and serves as our Chief Development Officer. In this role Chris leads Filoli's fund development and engagement efforts with new diverse audiences.  He is personally inspired by efforts to view the context of the land Filoli is on through the wider lens of the past, present, and future and aspires for visitors to find their own unique connections to Filoli's house, garden, and nature preserve. Chris has spent his entire career in the nonprofit sector, most notably at the Exploratorium, Ronald McDonald House at Stanford, and Stanford University.

chirano@filoli.org

Tony Headshot

Chief Financial Officer

Tony Huey joined Filoli as the CFO in 2023 with extensive multi-disciplinary experience in real estate, financial services and medical technology.  Before joining Filoli, he was a management consultant providing advisory services to companies in the private and public sectors with the aim of improving the effectiveness of business strategy, organizational performance, and operational processes.  He also has board-level experience having served on the board of directors for community banks.  Tony received his BS from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business.  He is a certified public accountant, previously with PwC.
Nova Maldonaldo Resize

Chief of Staff

Nova Maldonado came to Filoli in 2023 and is a member of the senior management team and a partner to the President & CEO, supporting the Leadership Team and the Board of Directors to ensure strategic alignment and organizational growth.  From her previous roles at The San Francisco Peninsula and The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, she brings with her years of tourism, non-profit, and hospitality experience. She is thrilled to be working for a premier attraction on the Peninsula!

nmaldonado@filoli.org 

Susan OSullivan 1

Chief External Relations Officer

Susan O'Sullivan has been with Filoli since 2011, serving in a variety of roles including visitor services manager and membership & volunteer services manager. She began her current role at Filoli in 2018 and oversees all public relations and communications, membership, and marketing functions at the organization.

sosullivan@filoli.org

Filoli 2022 leadership team

Director of Events

Helene Dubuc joined Filoli as Director of Events in August 2021. She brings over 10 years of experience in hospitality in various sales leadership roles. As Director of Events, her role is to promote Filoli as an exceptional venue and oversee the planning and logistics of events and weddings to ensure their successful execution. Helene and her team work to create lasting memories for our clients! Helene is particularly inspired by the incredible dedication of Filoli’s Board and Staff in keeping Filoli enduring and beautiful, with passion and authenticity. Helene is originally from Bordeaux, France, and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015

hdubuc@filoli.org

Erika Frank Headshot March 2024

Director of Learning & Engagement

Erika Frank has been with Filoli since 2017 and manages learning and interpretation programs. Erika and the Learning team tell the story of Filoli through the plant and object collections, special exhibitions, public programs, adult workshops, and youth programs. She works to infuse the visitor experience with perspectives representative of the past and present Bay Area community. Prior to Filoli, Erika was the director of volunteers and education at the Conservatory of Flowers.

efrank@filoli.org

Dani Hielscher Jeff Bartee (1) Copy

Director of Marketing

Dani Hielscher has been with Filoli since 2018 and oversees advertising, public relations, digital media, branding, and group sales functions for the organization. Dani works with her team to create cohesive, creative, and excellent external and internal communications across Filoli’s many owned, shared, paid, and earned channels. As a leader in Filoli’s efforts to reach new audiences, Dani works to make Filoli a key experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, welcoming everyone to find inspiration in every season.

dhielscher@filoli.org

Jim

Director of Horticulture

Jim Salyards has worked at Filoli for 25 years, serving in his current role since 2014. He is responsible for planning Filoli’s seasonal displays, overseeing propagation, purchasing, planting and other key projects in the formal garden. Jim also serves as the internship program coordinator for the Horticulture department, developing and implementing a world-class educational program for emerging professionals in the field. During his tenure at Filoli he has served as a lead horticulturist, greenhouse manager, and manager of horticultural collections and education.

jsalyards@filoli.org

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Director of Retail Operations

Mandy Torres joined Filoli as Director of Retail in 2022. In this role Mandy will direct, strategize, and budget our retail operations including overseeing our award-winning Clock Tower Shop, retail event experiences, and enhance Filoli’s reputation in curating memorable experiences. Mandy and the retail team work to highlight the story telling, exhibitions, and history of our site into unique retail experiences, drawing inspiration from local artisans, cultures, communities, and our museum’s collections. She comes to Filoli with over 15 years of experience in luxury and non-profit retail management and previously served as a Board Member for the Red Oak Victory Ship, an asset of the Richmond History Museum.

mtorres@filoli.org

Paul Thomas Jeff Bartee

Director of Facilities

Paul Thomas

Kevin Wisney Jeff Bartee

Director of Museum Collections

Kevin Wisney joined Filoli in 2018 and serves as the Director of Museum Collections. During his tenure, Kevin has worked in a variety of roles including as a member of the founding DEAI Taskforce and cofounder of Filoli Pride. As Director of Museum Collections Kevin curates the design of exhibits while assisting the Learning & Engagement department in the interpretation of museum objects. Kevin has also been featured in Filoli's social media channels and hopes to make history and museum work fun and accessible for all.

kwisney@filoli.org

Filoli 2022 leadership team

Director of Human Resources

Priya Yadav joined Filoli as director of human resources in April 2019. Priya has many years of experience in a broad spectrum of human resources management, most recently in healthcare agencies. Her skills range from developing employee recruitment programs and benefits management to implementing HRIS programs and human resources analysis. She brings a new perspective to Filoli as we continue to grow and develop our human resources function.

pyadav@filoli.org