Santa Barbara Beautiful Board of Directors

Santa Barbara Beautiful is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit managed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. Our Board brings vital expertise and leadership with a special dedication to the beauty of our city and the health of our entire community.

  • Penny Haberman, President

    Penny is an experienced executive in marketing and sales management with strong ties to the art community.

    She has earned a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston University and is currently using her organizational and communication skills as a committee chair for SBB.

    Her work experience encompasses teaching, counseling, retail management at Saks Fifth Avenue and Sr Management level positions in the executive search industry.

    On the Board of Governors for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Penny is on the Auction and Steering Committees for their annual fundraiser for the Diabetes & Wellness & Research Center. She serves on the LACMA Modern and Contemporary Art Council and their Costume Council and also serves on the SBMA Museum Collectors Council.

    Currently, Penny divides her time between Santa Monica and Santa Barbara.

  • Duke McPherson, First Vice President

    Duke grew up in Palo Alto CA, attended UCSB from 1958 until 1962, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology.

    He started a landscape gardening business in 1963 that developed into a tree service in 1965 working with Bruce Van Dyke. He received certification as a Certified Arborist circa 1985. The business evolved into McPherson Tree Care which he sold to two primary employees in 2000. He continues as a consulting arborist up to the present time.

    In 2005 Duke co-founded a non-profit organization called Channel Islands Restoration. The organization performs habitat restoration along the south coast and the Channel Islands.

    He has served many years for a variety of community agencies and organizations: the City of SB Street Tree Advisory Committee, Casa del Herrero in Montecito the chair of currently as chair the Garden Committee. He has volunteered at Lotusland for about 3 years and currently serves on the Landscape Committee.

  • Jeffrey Sipress, Second Vice President

    Jeffrey is a retired engineer and businessman, and an active professional photographer, musician, and board member of two local non-profits.

    As a project manager, Jeffrey has been a team leader in the design and manufacturing of medical and aerospace systems for over thirty years.

    As a resident of Santa Barbara for 42 years, he is very involved in neighborhood preservation, community organization, and the historical restoration of structures and homes, including his own two.

    As an artist, his work has been shown in numerous galleries and exhibits in the area for over 14 years.

    For Santa Barbara Beautiful, Jeffrey serves on the Arts & Culture committee and is responsible for the installation and photo-imaging of the plaques for the Commemorative Tree Program.

  • Nina Dunbar, Treasurer/CFO

    Nina Dunbar is the founder of Change | Practice | Play, a Santa Barbara-based consulting firm supporting nonprofits in strategic planning, development, grants writing and communications.  Nina served as the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Deputy Director of Development for five years overseeing its institutional fundraising, membership and annual giving. She is a former Executive Director of The Arts Fund and served on the City of Santa Barbara’s Arts Advisory Committee.

    Prior to moving to Santa Barbara, Nina spent more than 20 years as an arts advocate, consultant, and administrator in the public and private sectors. Specializing in percent-for-art programs, she oversaw the planning and commissioning of award-winning art and infrastructure projects for the Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs and San Francisco Arts Commission.  Nina was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She and her two children have been proud residents of Santa Barbara since 2007.

  • Jacqueline Dyson, Immediate Past President

    Jacqueline Dyson was born and raised in Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor of Arts in English from UC Santa Barbara.

    Jacqueline has a background in social work; photography; business management; marketing and public relations.

    She is a second-generation board member for Santa Barbara Beautiful, and enjoys volunteering with SBB to give back to her local community.

    She is interested in archaeology; art; film; history; music; photography; science and travel.

  • Lori Kari, Secretary

    Lori Kari has been an active board member of Santa Barbara Beautiful since 2012. She enjoyed serving as the Chair-Property Awards Judging Committee in 2016, and enjoys participating on other interesting community and arts based committees.

    Lori studied Geography at UCSB, graduating with a Bachelors of Arts.

    Lori is a practicing Architect in Santa Barbara, specializing in residential new construction, remodels and additions in a myriad of styles. The pursuit of Architecture developed while working in architectural firms in Santa Barbara for several years in the 1980’s.

    Lori’s interest in Architecture with an education component – as an important basis for teaching the importance of the built environment in people’s lives – drew her to join the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara [AFSB]. She has been a supporting volunteer plus past and current board member since 1991.

    Other community involvements include: Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation board member, facilities committee [since 2001]; Community Arts Workshop (CAW), new facilities management member; and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary supporter.

    Other interests include yacht racing in the one design Harbor 20 fleet, cruising the Channel Islands, hiking and beach walking.

  • Susan Bradley

    Susan Bradley’s skills include Fundraising, Donor Cultivation, Event Planning, Community Outreach, Grant Writing (Federal and Private), Volunteer Recruitment, Donor Database Management, Website Management, Content Creation for Social Media, Photography and Video Production, Marketing and Public Relations, and Public Speaking.

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA – Assistant Director of External Affairs

    MARCH 2019 – PRESENT

    Responsible for the management of a major gifts portfolio. Duties include securing contributions, qualifying potential donors, building the donor base, creating and implementing cultivation and stewardship strategies, and personally soliciting major gifts. Additional responsibilities include coordinating a $50 million capital campaign for essential building renovations and upgrades in order to expand the scope of the museum’s exhibitions, programs, and place as a public forum for the arts.

    Gavin Foundation, Boston, MA – Development Director

    MAY 2013 – APRIL 2018

    Established and managed the development department for this multi-service nonprofit which supported addiction related programs and collaborations with city, state and federal agencies, private companies, unions, and area nonprofits. The company grew from $5 million to $12.5 million through expansion and takeovers during my tenure. Reporting to the President/CEO, responsibilities included all aspects of development and communication including donor cultivation and stewardship, grant writing, social media management, marketing, website, event management, volunteer recruitment, and community outreach.

    Hope House, Boston, MA – Development Director

    JANUARY 2007 – MAY 2011

    Established and managed the development department of this nonprofit social service agency. Accomplishments included the completion of a $2.5 million capital campaign for the construction of a $13 million consolidated headquarters and addiction treatment center.

  • Suzanne Fairly

  • David Gress

    David is a consulting arborist, certified arborist, and horticulturist. He has a B.S. degree in Horticulture from Colorado State University. He served as City Arborist for the City of Santa Barbara City for 8 years. He was a co-founder of San Marcos Growers, a wholesale nursery, which he managed for 12 years. David currently works as a consulting arborist for residential, commercial, and institutional clients. He has served on the Santa Barbara Beautiful board of directors beginning in 1975, and was President in 1994-96.

  • David Jacoby

    After graduation from high school in Israel, David worked for an architect helping design Bauhaus style homes, utilizing his skills in in drawing, drafting and cartography. However, he decided to come to the United States to pursue a higher education and a profession in Food Technology.

    While attending Los Angeles City College he was hired by the ‘Metropolitan Recreation and Youth Services Council’ to prepare maps and tables of recreation facilities to help the council decide how to prevent rioting in LA County. His work was greatly appreciated. Thereafter, he continued with his studies obtaining an AA degree from LA City College, BS in Food Technology from University of Illinois and Masters in Food Science from UC Berkeley – all with high honors.

    Employments usually involved research, product development and quality control of food products. He worked for Campbell Soup Co. Napoleon Ohio as food bacteriologist; for Gerber Baby Foods in Oakland CA in new product development; at Richmond-Chase Canning Co. San Jose CA, in charge of quality control and Adolph Food Products Burbank, CA as food director.

    After his career in the food industry, chemical products manufacturing became his full time undertaking. David and his two brothers opened a new chemical company, Specialty Coatings and Chemicals Inc., in North Hollywood, CA. David served as the company’s Vice President. Years later he started two companies, J.B. Chemical Co. Inc. to manufacture synthetic oil lubricants for automotive and marine applications and J.B. Chemical Co. International, Inc., to export them.

    David is retired and now devotes his time to family, traveling, art and culture, non-profit organizations and philanthropy.

    David is delighted to live in Santa Barbara and give back to the community some of his knowledge gained in his lifetime. He is glad to be Board Member and past treasurer/CFO of SB Beautiful.

    With the help of greatest friend Penny Haberman he is able to enjoy all these opportunities.

  • Kate Kurlas

    Originally from Palo Alto, CA Kate Kurlas joined the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts (SBCPA) in 2008, and currently serves as the organization’s Director of Sales and Marketing. In this role she oversees marketing initiatives for SBCPA, The Granada Theatre and Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District.

    In 2013 she was honored by The Pacific Coast Business Times as one of the Central Coast’s “Top 40 Under 40 Business Professionals”.

    In her personal time Kurlas remains committed to her community service work, and in 2014 she served as President of Santa Barbara Beautiful.

    Kate holds a BA in Communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara and continues to pursue educational goals, recently receiving a certificate in Business Communication from AMA.

    A 16-year resident of Santa Barbara, Kate spends her free time with her husband and daughter.

  • Jo Ann Mermis

    Ranking in the top 1% of National Realtors, Jo Ann has served the Santa Barbara County real estate market for 35 years. As Broker Associate and Associate Manager, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties, the largest Berkshire Hathaway Realty Company in the country, Jo Ann and longtime associate Wes St. Clair specialize in residential estate homes across Santa Barbara County with a focus on Montecito real estate. JoAnn is also a member of the National Association of Realtors.

    Jo Ann’s past business service included leadership and entrepreneurial roles such as Vice President and Manger, Fred Sands Realty; airline sales, and teacher.

    She received her Bachelor of Science in Education from University of Kansas and Masters Degree in Psychology from University of Santa Monica.

    Jo Ann’s extensive community service includes the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, past board service with Crane School and Music Academy of the West Women’s Auxiliary.

    She is also fascinated with travel, painting, reading and psychology.

  • Kerry Methner

    Editor & Publisher, VOICE Magazine / CASA Magazine

    A community editor and publisher for the last 16 years, Kerry is committed to inclusivity, individual sovereignty, and diversity. She is a lifelong student and holds a BA in Philosophy/Religion, a Masters of Divinity, and a PhD in Depth Psychology. She loves the arts and creating sculpture from stone.

  • Deborah L. Schwartz

    Deborah L. Schwartz is a planning and government relations consultant who moved to Santa Barbara from Boston with her family in 1967.

    Educated in local schools, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Linguistics, and English from UC Santa Barbara before moving to San Francisco to begin her career in regulatory and government relations.

    She also holds a Certificate of Executive Development in Marketing Management from Columbia University.

    Having returned to Santa Barbara in 2005, public service became an important part of Deborah’s life as her way of “giving back” to the city she deeply loves.

    For the City of Santa Barbara she is a two-term city planning commissioner with focus areas that include sustainability, housing, and transportation.

    She also serves on the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara Board of Directors as HR Committee Chair and the Santa Barbara Beautiful Board of Directors as immediate past treasurer.

  • Leslee Sipress

    Leslee is a Calligrapher, Graphic Designer, and also a working musician (Flute, Guitar and Vocals) and songwriter.

    Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she grew up in the San Fernando Valley and has lived in Santa Barbara since 1971.

    She is the Program Administrator for the Santa Barbara Beautiful Commemorative Tree Program; volunteer bookkeeper for the Santa Barbara Blues Society; member (and former Chair) of Santa Barbara Bungalow Haven Neighborhood Association; member of ASCAP, Society for Calligraphy (L.A. Chapter,) and Santa Barbara Event Professionals.

    Her many honors include: her work on the Bicentennial Gazette by the Mayor of Santa Barbara; twice honored by the United States Postal Service; Washington Calligrapher’s Guild “Graceful Envelope” Contest award; and voted “Best Calligrapher 2016” by her peers at “Borrowed and Blue.”

    She has been married 35 years and enjoys long runs, flower arranging and time with her friends.

  • Mark Whitehurst

    Publisher & Editor, VOICE Magazine / CASA Magazine

    A community publisher for the past 31 years and a lifelong social justice advocate, Mark is committed to the value of education and academia.

    He holds a B.A. in Education, MA and PhD in Mythology, and a certification in mediation.

    He is also a lover of music, art, and the world as family.

Santa Barbara Sunset 2015 - Santa Barbara Beautiful