Bobbie Kinnear, Board Chair
Bobbie graduated from Texas Christian University with a BS degree in Nursing Science. Early in her career she became a Nurse Burn Specialist and later continued work for many years as an Operating Room, Recovery Room Supervisor and as a Director of Nursing. As a change of focus, Bobbie founded and operated a small importing/wholesale business with artists in China. Bobbie has lived in Santa Barbara since 1973 and has served on many local boards including Santa Barbara Visiting Nurses Association, Junior League of Santa Barbara, The Garden Club of Santa Barbara, Crane Country Day School, National Charity League, Casa Del Herrero, and the Westmont Foundation Board of Directors. Bobbie serves as Board Chair of the Museum.
Elisabeth Fowler, Immediate Past Chair
Elisabeth has a degree in English and political science from the University of Washington, and a career background in public policy. She worked in Washington, D.C. in the private-sector representing companies and governments, and for the state of Washington as a policy analyst for the Senate, working with government representatives and various interest groups. Prior to moving to Santa Barbara in 2005, Elisabeth lived in San Francisco and volunteered as a tutor for an inner-city literacy program and served on the board of directors at the Presidio YMCA, a three branch YMCA devoted to bringing a varied and often divergent community together. She currently serves as a trustee on the board at Laguna Blanca School, as well as a trustee for a Honduran based HIV/AIDS program. Elisabeth has spent much of her life in the outdoors in Washington, Alaska, Hawaii and California. In her free time she loves spending time with her husband and four children hiking and traveling.
Matt serves as the Chief Investment Officer of Mission Wealth Management, LLC, a local investment advisory firm. He is responsible for all portfolio management, trading, analysis, and research for the firm. Matt received his BA in Economics from UC Santa Barbara and an MBA in Finance from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. Matt is an active volunteer and coach in his children’s sporting activities. Matt currently serves as Chair of the Museum’s Finance Committee.
Larry Barels is a long-time resident of Santa Barbara and is a well-known and highly successful entrepreneur. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University. Following 10 years as broker and principal of Sun Pacific Properties, Mr. Barels co-founded Wavefront Technologies in 1984. Wavefront became a key player in the burgeoning field of computer animation, eventually winning two Academy Awards for various contributions to the industry. In 1994 Wavefront became Santa Barbara's first startup to public market company. Following Wavefront, Mr. Barels became Chairman of the Board and lead investor at another Santa Barbara startup, Software.com that produced and marketed the first carrier grade electronic mail system. It became a public company in 1999 in a highly successful IPO. Mr. Barels is a co-founder and currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Aqueos Corporation with offices in Ventura and Louisiana. Mr. Barels is the founder and principal of Pacific Capital Resources and has been an investor, board member, and advisor to numerous companies both public and private.
After a 20-year career in publishing, Chris moved to Santa Barbara with his family in 2010. He started his career in the book business at The Harvard Common Press, then delivering real-time news and information to the financial services industry at Dow Jones & Company. Most recently, Chris was CEO of River Road Holdings, LLC in Hanover NH, owning and operating a small group of monthly niche magazines and community quarterlies. He is a former member of the Community Advisory Committee at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich VT, a former member of the Board of Trustees of Crossroads Academy in Lyme NH, and he served on the board of the Montecito Education Foundation from 2012-2014. He is a graduate of Trinity-Pawling School and New York University. In his spare time he enjoys surfing, painting, hiking in the mountains around Santa Barbara, and spending time with his family.
Caballero is a regional manager for Union Bank's Consumer and Business Banking division in Santa Barbara County, overseeing the operations of retail branches in that region. He has over 30 years of financial services industry experience. He joined Union Bank in 2010 as a regional manager of the San Fernando Valley region. Prior to Union Bank, Caballero was a senior vice president and premier market manager for Bank of America. He started his career as a vice president and district manager for Wells Fargo Bank. Active in the community, Caballero is a board member of the Autry Museum of the American West and Casa Pacifica. He is also a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, and is currently the Chair for the American Heart Association's 2016 Santa Barbara Heart and Stroke Walk. Caballero studied business at San Jose State University.
Carolyn has focused much of her career and volunteer activities on preserving and restoring open space lands and supporting environmental education. After moving to Santa Barbara in the early 1990s, Carolyn began her work as a consultant, then became Executive Director of the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. Carolyn’s volunteer activities include: co-founding The California Environmental Project and the Gaviota Conservancy. She has previously served as Chair of the Museum’s Development and Finance Committee.
Frank W. Davis
Frank Davis is Professor of Landscape Ecology and Conservation Planning at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara, as well as Executive Director of the National Communications Office of the National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research Network. He founded and for 24 years has led the UCSB Biogeography Lab, where research focuses on the ecology and conservation of California species and ecosystems. Frank serves as a Trustee of The Nature Conservancy of California, on the Board of Directors of The Tejon Ranch Conservancy, and as Vice President for Public Affairs for the Ecological Society of America. An Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, Frank received his Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University and his BA in Biology from Williams College.
Hilary attended Cate School and received her BA at Scripps College. Shas worked in publishing as a writer, art director, editor, and producer. She currently works at ABC-CLIO, an education publishing company and is a regular contributor to ParentClick.com, a national online magazine for parents. She has been published in numerous periodicals and worked for Time Warner, Conde Nast, and Santa Barbara City College. Hilary has been involved in many non-profit organizations including National Charity League, Heal the Ocean, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s SmART Families program. Hilary also served as President of the Board of Trustees at Marymount of Santa Barbara.
Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Venesa has called Santa Barbara home since 2000. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, she has for the past several years volunteered and worked with numerous area local nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Club and Food from the Heart and was a founding member of Mission City Roller Derby, a 501(c)3. She has also been involved with the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation for over 12 years, being the significant other of Brett Burkey, Vice President of the foundation (Brett’s mother Noelle Clayessens Burkey is president of the foundation). In her spare time, you can find Venesa traveling, hiking, camping, roller skating, or enjoying concerts at the numerous performing arts centers in Santa Barbara. She lives in Mission Canyon and has a great love for the Museum, especially the astronomy program.
Larry Friesen, Ph.D.
Larry received his undergraduate and graduate education at UC Santa Barbara and received his Ph.D. in biology with a specialization in animal communication. In 1974, he joined Santa Barbara City College and thereafter became Chairman of the Sciences Division and of the Biological Sciences Department. Larry is also an avid nature photographer. In addition to teaching academic courses, he delivers stunning wildlife photography and inspiring natural history vignettes through his daily Nature Journal: Biodiversity Notes sent to subscribers. Proceeds from the subscriptions to Biodiversity Notes are disbursed as scholarships to undergraduate students who are pursuing natural history research.
Elaine Gibson embodies a passion for reconnecting children to nature and sharing the wonder of the natural world. Gibson has been a Santa Barbara resident since 2002 when she moved from Dallas, TX. With degrees in Elementary Education and Educational Psychology, Gibson has worked toward a better life for children and families for over four decades. She has been a loyal docent to both the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and the Museum of Natural History since the early 2000s. At the Museum she serves as the chair of the Docent Council and is also on the board at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. As a Nature Education Specialist at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History she helped pioneer the Museum Backyard and Nature Club House and developed outdoor experiences for 6,000 elementary school children each year. She served as Community Board Member at Peabody Charter School from 2007 to 2013 and Chair of the Board from 2012 to 2013. Gibson has trained docents and early childhood educators at SB City College, as well as education majors at UCSB in sharing nature with students. Last year she completed the Santa Barbara Foundation Board Leadership Institute. Elaine resides in Santa Barbara with her husband Dr. Jerry Gibson, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSB.
Emily received her BS from UC Berkeley and her MBA with an emphasis in marketing from University of Southern California. Emily worked at various advertising agencies before moving to Santa Barbara with her family. She is involved in many local non-profit organizations including Storyteller’s Children Center, SmART Families, Breast Cancer Resource Center, and The Dream Foundation. In addition to the museum board, Emily also serves as Treasurer to the Kirby-Jones Foundation whose mission is to support K-12 arts and education in Santa Barbara County.
Tracy received her undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara and her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law. Following law school, Tracy worked as a Deputy District Attorney for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for 14 years. She specializes in prosecuting crimes committed against elders and the education and prevention of elder abuse. Tracy is involved in many local organizations and non-profits in addition to the Museum, including Storyteller Children’s Center and Domestic Violence Solutions. Tracy serves as Governance Chair of the Museum.
Chris is a writer and retired investment manager. He served for many years as President of Knowlton Brothers, Inc., a money management firm based in New York City and focused on investing in emerging technology and medical companies. Chris also worked as a reporter, staff writer, and London Bureau Chief for Fortune Magazine. He has served as a trustee of a number of non-profits including those committed to education and conservation such as Teton Raptor Center in Wilson, Wyoming. Chris received his BA from Harvard University. His book, Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) tells the story of the open range cattle era and how it gave birth to the conservation movement. Chris serves as Chair of the Museum’s Finance Committee.
Dennis Power, Ph.D.
Dennis received his bachelors and masters degrees in biology from Occidental College and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Kansas. After a curatorial position at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, he moved back to California in 1972 to serve as Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, a position he held for 22 years. He then served as Executive Director of the Oakland Museum of California and following that was President of The Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach. Dennis currently serves as Vice President for Governance. In the community, he is on the boards of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, the Santa Barbara Zoo, and the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.
Paul Relis is an author, environmentalist and business executive. He was the founding executive director of the Community Environmental Council of Santa Barbara from 1970-1990. From 1991-1998 he was a member of the California Integrated Waste Management Board, a state regulatory board with oversight of California's solid waste system and recycling programs. From 1998 to the present he has served as Senior Vice President of CR&R, Incorporated, an environmental services company that is on the leading edge of bioenergy development in the U.S. From 1996-2012 Paul was a Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara's Environmental Studies Department.
His book, Out of the Wasteland: Stories From the Environmental Frontier (2015) chronicles the modern environmental movement through the vantage of his long career in the field.
Paul J. Russell
Now retired, Russell was the senior corporate communications and investor relations officer for two Fortune 500 companies after working in investment research and management earlier in his career. A Chartered Financial Analyst, he served on a SEC accounting and advisory committee and a Financial Accounting Standards Board Task Force. Russell is a graduate of Yale University with a degree in economics. He returns to the board after four previous terms, having chaired the Finance Committee, Master Planning Oversight Committee, and a Financial Planning Task Force. He has served on the Development, Governance, Master Planning, Executive, and Investment Committees. A fifteen-year resident of Santa Barbara, Paul and his wife Sandy are avid entomologists who have significantly expanded the number of moth species known from Santa Barbara County.
Robert L. Skinner
Rob Skinner is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel for Montecito Bank & Trust and serves on their Board of Directors. He is the Executive Vice President of The Towbes Group, Inc., a property management and development company. Previously, Rob spent nearly seven years with the international law firm of White & Case in its Los Angeles and New York offices. Rob is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Marketing and a Juris Doctorate. Robert is now Vice-Chairman of the University Of Southern California Board Of Councilors. Throughout his endeavors, Rob has remained involved in many nonprofit organizations, especially Santa Barbara charities. Rob is on the Board of Directors of the Towbes Foundation and the Board of Trustees of The Santa Barbara Foundation.
Terrence (Terry) Valeski
Terry and his wife Pam are recent residents of Montecito, but have long been familiar with the Santa Barbara area. He is currently vice chair of the board of directors for T-Mobile in the Czech Republic, and has worked in the U.S., Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Italy. He continues to serve in a number of leadership roles with boards of various companies. In the past, Terry held positions as Senior Vice President of J. Walter Thompson and Divisional President for Pacific Bell. Terry earned his liberal arts degree from the University of Arizona and, after graduating, entered the US Army as a Lieutenant. Terry is currently Chairman of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management’s National Board, which advises the college dean.
Brad Willis joined Deckers Brands as Senior Vice President, Information Technology in March 2014. He oversees Deckers' global IT operations, playing an important role in supporting the Company's Direct-to-Consumer expansion and continued transformation into an Omni-Channel organization. Among other initiatives, he focuses on strengthening Deckers' ability to integrate and streamline product sourcing and distribution across all channels and geographies, as well as further improve on the Company's various CRM and data analysis programs to fully connect with and serve consumers online, in retail stores and across the wholesale distribution platform.
Brad was previously Chief Information Officer & Vice President of Information Technology at West Marine. Prior to joining West Marine, he had over 15 years of experience working in the LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton Group. He held various positions within the Group in New York, Tokyo, and San Francisco. He is currently a member of the National Retail Federation’s CIO Council.
Now a filmmaker living in Santa Barbara and San Francisco, Penelope Wong has 25+ years in advertising/marketing. During that time she was a senior executive at The Franklin Mint, Ogilvy & Mather and Havas Advertising. Penelope’s clients have included Nike, Intuit, Cisco Systems, Major League Baseball, Charles Schwab, Disney, Stanford Business School, and other major companies and start-ups. She is an award-winning screenwriter and author who has written about everything from food to fitness. In 2016 she helped to produce two acclaimed documentaries: “Last Day of Freedom” (nominated for an Academy Award) and “Forever, Chinatown” (currently on the film festival circuit and scheduled for PBS broadcast in 2017). Other boards on which she serves includes San Francisco Film Society, Oakland Museum of California, and SF/Marin YMCA Association.
Steven M. Woodward
Steve Woodward is the Executive Vice President for Riviera Insurance Services and anchors his division in assisting companies with healthcare programs and other employee benefit offering. Steve earned his BS in Agribusiness Management at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. With a combined industry experience of over 25 + years, having acquired a certification related to the Healthcare Reform, Steve and his team employ strategic solutions that allow his clients to remain competitive, while retaining quality employees. Steve has stayed active or served on several boards or other professional affiliations including SABER (Santa Barbara Executive Roundtable), StartupSB, ProVisors Group Leader, Santa Barbara Health Underwriters (President for two different years), and continues to stay active on several committees. He also participates in many organizations outside of work including being past President for Goleta Valley South Little League, former Associate Director of Old Spanish Days and is currently active with the Cardinal Club, Bishop Garcia Diego High School. When not busy with his work and family commitments, Steve is an avid golfer, enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors.