Leadership

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Filoli Center

Filoli Center 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 700 members of the community 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.

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.

Carolyn Daley, President
Carolyn, who has been a member of the Board of Directors for 6 years, has been elected as the new President.  Carolyn, who is a CPA by training, 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 is the right person to have at the helm as Filoli launches a strategic planning process in 2018. When Daley was asked about her vision for Filoli, she shared, “As Filoli moves into its next 100 years, I hope to foster an atmosphere where more people can connect and be enriched by Filoli’s vibrant history, as well as be inspired to protect and preserve this unique local treasure. Historic places connect us to our heritage. It is my pleasure to help ensure that Filoli is here in its full glory for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Donna Colson, Past President
Donna led Filoli through an incredible transformation which will set the stage for the next century. Donna will continue on the Board of Directors as Past President, but has also been invited to serve as Chair of the National Trust Historic Site Advisory Councils and Boards and will also serve as a Trustee for the Trust. “It is a great honor to be selected as a Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, representing all 27 historic sites.  The Trust sites are the gateway for millions of people to experience preservation,” says Colson “this is also recognition of the leadership role Filoli has taken to create a relevant site that is mission-driven and financially sustainable.”

David Wollenberg, Vice President
David earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brown and an MBA from Stanford, going on to become President of the Cortana Corportation. He also supports the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, as well as The Wollenberg Foundation, for which he is a Managing Trustee.

Jeff Yoder, Treasurer
Jeff has been a principal at several successful start-up companies in Silicon Valley and has worked directly with major venture-capital organizations. He is currently a private investor in individual start-ups and diversity funds.  Jeff’s philanthropic work has included working closely with local charities, as well as global non-profits. Jeff is a devoted father to his four children, is passionate about music, and is an avid outdoor enthusiast, gardener, and beekeeper.  

Don DeFever, Secretary
Don is the CEO of Banksia Landscaping.  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 has been recognized for landscaping excellence, including an award for the Hewlett Packard World Headquarters landscape presented by Nancy Reagan at the White House. His spare time is spent outdoors, backpacking, backcountry skiing, fishing, boating, biking, and travelling. He loves gardening and does his own yard.

David Buergler
Jeff Deaton
Robert Fountain
Lennie Gotcher
Sapna Marfatia
Carol Moran
Ron Peyton
Willem Racké
Ana Roth
Larry Schwab
Barb Seipp
Christian Smith
Kathy Trafton
David Wessel
Mary White
Leslie Witt
Nancy Young

David Brown, National Trust for Historic Preservation Representative

Laura Simonds, Friends of Filoli Representative

Laura Simonds joined the Friends of Filoli in 2013 as a House & Garden Docent and continues to serve on the committee, currently as Vice Chair. She enjoyed a 30-year career ad 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.

Kara Newport, Chief Executive Officer of Filoli Center
Kara became the Executive Director of Filoli Center in August 2016. Previously, she served as Executive Director for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a developing public garden, from 2006 to August 2016. In 2008, the Garden opened the Orchid Conservatory and this year plans have been announced for the newest addition, Lost Hollow, a children’s garden. Before serving in this capacity, Kara’s career was focused in fundraising at organizations including Winterthur, Philadelphia Zoo, and Outward Bound. Kara has a BS in botany, and a graduate degree from the Longwood Program.

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 provides financial assistance to restore historic buildings and homes in local communities around the U.S. On Capitol 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. Thanks to the generosity of the Roth family, Filoli became an Historic Site in 1975. 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.