At Filoli, we are dedicated to connecting our rich history with a vibrant future through beauty, nature and shared stories.

2020 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.

photograph by Jeff Bartee

Executive Team

Executive Team


David Wollenberg joined the Filoli Board of Directors 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.

Past President

Carolyn, who has been a member of the Board of Directors for 8 years, is a CPA by training and has led an effort to bring the financials, accounting and reporting to a higher standard and, in so doing, has brought a more professional and sustainable outlook to the organization. Carolyn is a visionary leader and was the right person to have at the helm as Filoli launched a strategic planning process in 2018.

Vice President

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.


Mary White, Founder of White Law LLC, is a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.  Mary served on the Filoli Governing Board from 2010-2016 in various roles, including as Secretary and on the Nominating and Development committees. She returned in 2018 as the Development Committee chair, offering her expertise and experience as Filoli implements its fund development strategy and meets fundraising goals. Mary previous worked for thirteen years at the historic firm Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro.


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.


Collections Committee Chair

David is an architectural conservator who oversees the repair and restoration of historic resources. His background in furniture-making and conservation fostered a passion for the craft of building, as well as a deep understanding of materials. David is the Principal of ARG Conservation Services and directs the firm’s conservation projects. David has been actively involved with many professional organizations and foundations, as well as nonprofit organizations.

Board Members

Tabitha Almquist

Tabitha Almquist has served in multiple senior leadership roles at the National Trust for Historic Preservation for two decades.  She has honed her skills, approaching her work strategically, thoughtfully and compassionately.  She understands the immense need for objective and goal setting to meet key organizational metrics.  Her approach of defining and simplifying efforts to meet mission success and financial sustainability describes many of her key accomplishments.

Prior to taking on the role of Chief Administrative Officer, she served as Chief of Staff for two CEOs (Richard Moe and Stephanie Meeks), developing her skills of non-profit management, governance and fundraising.  She supported both CEOs in various ways through the development and implementation of fundraising campaigns, including a $300 million comprehensive campaign and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

Her work in developing organizational values, leading cultural change and managing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts has broaden her knowledge of best practices and contributed to an inclusive, diverse, compassionate and collaborative culture for staff and the board.

Jaleh Daie

Women in Tech Hall of Famer, global speaker & strategic advisor, Dr. Jaleh Daie is a multidimensional executive with wide-ranging experiences in private & public sectors. An investor, board director, advisor and noted academic biologist, she has served administrations of three Presidents, worked in 8 countries and has received numerous awards. Jaleh has served as board chairman, board treasurer, board secretary, committee chair and as Life Director. She currently serves on non-profit boards of Asia Society; UN-World Food Program and Commonwealth Club.

Currently, she is a Partner at Aurora Equity & Founder/Chairman of AgFood Tech at Band of Angels. Previously, she was head of STEM at David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Jaleh began her career at Rutgers Univ. & UW-Madison, where she was a professor (made full professor in 6 yrs); senior science adviser to UW-System President; Dept. Chair and Founder/Chief Executive of a multidisciplinary center. Her honors include LSQ Ambassador, US Congressional Citation, Honorary Naval Aviator, Hon. Life Girl Scouts, Teksia Lifetime Achievement and Honorary doctorate among others


Don DeFever

Don DeFever is CEO of Banksia Landscape. A landscape enterprise professional, Don is a leader in landscaping and resource management, and he co-developed industry certifications as a board member and lifetime member of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA). He is a longtime member of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and industry organizations including CREW and USGBC. He has been recognized for landscaping excellence, including an award for the Hewlett Packard World Headquarters landscape presented by Nancy Reagan at the White House. Don and his wife Nancy have three sons. His spare time is spent outdoors, backpacking, backcountry skiing, fishing, boating, biking, and traveling.  He loves gardening and does his own yard.



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 joined the Board in 2017 and comes with volunteer experience for various arts and animal organizations, as well as for the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS.

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!

Margaret London

Margaret was born in Carmel-by-the-Sea and currently resides in Atherton with her husband Craig. She and Craig own Woodside Farm Vineyard and also work in the farming industry in California’s Central Valley. Margaret is a longtime community volunteer and she has been active in both the Atherton Junior League and the Atherton Garden Guild.

Sapna Marfatia

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

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 board treasurer/past president of the Construction Employers Association and a trustee on the Carpenters Vacation Trust Fund.  Bob and his wife Meg live on the Peninsula and have three children.

Willem Racké

Willem founded Willem Racké Studio in 1989 and focuses on creating beautiful decorative finishes, custom hand-finished plaster, murals, and cabinetry. Willem is a master of period finishes. He also had an artist’s talent for interpreting traditional techniques with a contemporary perspective, suited to today’s sense of style and design.

Ana Roth

Ana Roth is the granddaughter of Lurline Matson Roth, the second owner of the historic Filoli Estate. Ana 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 the 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.

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.

Laura Simonds

Laura Simonds initially joined the Board of Directors as the Friends of Filoli representative and has continued her service.  Laura began volunteering for Filoli in 2013 as a House & Garden Docent Laura had an impressive 30-year career as Director of Marketing and Sales for three different book publishers, specializing in business management and leadership topics. Laura’s other volunteer work includes twelve years in several national leadership positions with the Mercedes-Benz Club of America and seven years as general chairman of an international car show held during Pebble Beach Concours.

Michael A. Smith

Michael Smith is the founder and CEO of E&I Advisors, a boutique management consulting firm focused on delivering operating and go-to-market strategy for small and medium sized technology companies that are struggling to meet their revenue goals. Prior to the founding of E&I Advisors, Michael was a Director of Strategy and Business Planning at American Express based in New York. Michael also lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea as a Global Strategist for the Samsung organization. Michael holds an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He also holds a BA in Political Economy from Yale University. Michael lives in Redwood City where he serves as a Planning Commissioner and the Palm Park Neighborhood Co-chair

David Wessel | Collections Committee Chair

David is an architectural conservator who oversees the repair and restoration of historic resources. His background in furniture-making and conservation fostered a passion for the craft of building, as well as a deep understanding of materials. David is the Principal of ARG Conservation Services and directs the firm’s conservation projects. David has been actively involved with many professional organizations and foundations, as well as nonprofit organizations.

Leslie Witt

Leslie is the VP of Design for Intuit. She leads design for Intuit’s small business global products, platform, and brand-Quickbooks. An architect by training, Leslie was the associate partner of Ideo. She is an avid gardener, loves to cook, and is also the mother of 7-year old twins.

Nancy Young

Nancy is a Partner at Sieler, 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 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

Leadership Staff

Chief Executive Officer

Kara Newport

Kara 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.

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Operations Officer

Alex Fernandez

Alex 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.

Chief Operations Officer

Chief Financial Officer

Ayako Fukudome

Ayako joined Filoli in 2017 as Director of Finance & Accounting. Ayako is a CPA with over 20 years of diverse experience in various finance and accounting leadership roles serving local communities including Caminar, Inc., Girl Scouts of Northern California, and San Francisco Symphony.  She and her team tirelessly work behind the scenes to achieve organizational excellence in finance and business operations for Filoli's sustainable second century.

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Development Officer

Chris Hirano

Chris 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.

Chief Development Officer

Chief Experience Officer

Brittany Jones

Brittany joined Filoli in 2017 and currently serves as the Chief Experience Officer. In this role she oversees our visitor services, events, learning, interpretation and retail programs. Brittany has a passion for building connections with people and places, and engaging her work through a DEAI lens. She and her teams create and build on the visitor experience at Filoli and enjoy learning how visitors engage with the property, the stories, and the staff. She welcomes the opportunity to try something new or think outside of the box.  Prior to Filoli, Brittany spent nearly a decade in public spaces like historic house museums and natural areas in Florida, working in various roles in Visitor Services, Education, Research Coordination, and Events. She is a graduate of University of San Francisco with a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Administration.

Chief Experience Officer

Chief External Relations Officer

Susan O'Sullivan

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

Chief External Relations Officer

Director of Museum Collections

Julie Bly DeVere

Julie Bly DeVere has managed the Museum Object Collection, Libraries and Archives since 2011. Her team believes that collections have the capacity to serve as tangible points of connection between the past and the present when combined with interpretation, exhibitions, community building and research.  

As an adjunct lecturer for the Museum Studies Program at San Francisco State University she is helping train the next generation of museum professionals. She is a board member for the American Alliance of Museums’ Historic Houses & Sites Network, and the Bay Area Art Conservation Guild.

Director of Museum Collections

Director of Events

Helene Dubuc

Director of Events

Director of Learning & Engagement

Erika Frank

Erika 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.

Director of Learning & Engagement 

Director of Facilities

Bryan Garza

Bryan Garza joined Filoli as Director of Facilities in 2020. He and his team strive to preserve and maintain Filoli's historic and modern structures, while also supporting operations and programs. Bryan has a passion to demystify Facilities technology and leverage it to help improve understanding, capture best practices, increase safety & reliability, and contribute towards a sustainable future. Prior to Filoli, he managed numerous Facilities technology projects, developed a comprehensive onboarding training program, and served as the innovation program manager for the governance committee at the University of California, San Francisco. He is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University with a BS in Industrial Technology.

Director of Facilities 

Director of Visitor Services

Jason Hinkle

Jason oversees all activities in the Visitor Services department, including visitor check-in and flow procedures, metrics reporting, maintaining organization calendars and room reservations for rentals, programs, and meetings, and training volunteers in new procedures aligned with providing an excellent visitor experience. He has been with the organization since 2010 and worked in a number of capacities such as lead receiver and garden shop & holiday event operations supervisor.

Director of Visitor Services 

Director of Retail Operations

Michael began his museum retail career in Philadelphia at the
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where he spent almost 15 years learning the business. After a stint with a traveling Titanic exhibition and a very busy 3 years at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, he landed in his happy new California home (Filoli) in 2017, becoming Director of Retail Operations in 2019. 

Director of Retail Operations

Director of Horticulture

Jim Salyards

Jim 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.

Director of Horticulture 

Director of Human Resources

Priya Yadav

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.

Director of Human Resources