2019 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, who has been a member of the Board of Directors for 6 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 is the right person to have at the helm as Filoli launched a strategic planning process in 2018.
Donna led Filoli through an incredible transformation that will set the stage for the next century. Donna also serves as Chair of the National Trust Historic Sites Councils & 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 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.
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 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 travelling. He loves gardening and does his own yard.
Members At Large
Upon graduating from the University of Arkansas he apprenticed under 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 where he led 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sapna is the Director of Architecture at Stanford University. She oversees the creation of new buildings on Stanford Campus and the preservation and conservation of the historic ones. She holds a degree in Historic Preservation from Pratt and a Master’s in Urban Planning from Stanford.
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 itsTocqueville Society.
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 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.
A resident of Portola Valley; Larry 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 Bialson, Bergen, & Schwab.
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.
A resident of San Mateo, Christian Smith has practiced employment 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.
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”).
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.
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.
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 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. She is also on the Board of Board Member, Haas Alumni Network, Silicon Valley Chapter
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.
Brian Turner is Senior Field Officer and Public Lands Attorney for the National Trust for Historic Preservation based in its San Francisco office. As an eleven year veteran of the National Trust he has built strong relationships with preservation advocates and allies in the Bay Area and throughout the West. A licensed California attorney, Turner is a subject matter expert on federal, state and local preservation laws. He is an avid birdwatcher and resident of San Francisco’s Sunset District with his wife, Merritt, and one-year old daughter, Faith.
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. Before serving in this capacity, Kara’s career was focused on fundraising at organizations including Winterthur, Philadelphia Zoo, and Outward Bound. Kara has a BS in Botany and a graduate degree from the Longwood Program.
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.
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.