Santa Barbara Beautiful Board of Directors 2022

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.

  • Kerry Methner, President

    President 2023

    Kerry Methner, Current President and Past President 2009 & 2010, serves as 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.

  • Susan Bradley, CFO / Treasurer / Vice President

    Susan Bradley is the Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Originally from the Boston area, Susan and her husband Mark also lived in London before moving to Santa Barbara in 2018. Susan enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering for local organizations and serves on the boards of Santa Barbara Associates and the University Club of Santa Barbara. About her appointment to the board of Santa Barbara Beautiful, Susan says she is, “proud to be part of an organization that literally has its roots in the city it serves.”

  • Marcella Simmons, Vice President

    Marcella Simmons is a Realtor with Village Properties, an interior designer, and artist who grew up in Southern California and attended UCSB, where she earned her Batchelor of Arts degree in Business Economics. She has lived in Santa Barbara for over 45 years.

    Her appreciation for Santa Barbara’s beauty and culture feeds her desire to give back to the community.

    Marcella has been on several non-profit boards, including the Pearl Chase Society and Friendship Center, and volunteers (since 2001) at the Mission Historical Park Rose Garden. Currently she is a director on the Santa Barbara Board of Realtors and chairs their Education Committee.

    She is honored and excited to join the Santa Barbara Beautiful board of directors. A lifelong learner, in her “spare time” Marcella enjoys her family, watercolor painting, and exploring the neighborhoods with her goofy Australian Labradoodle.

  • Stephanie Williams, Vice President

    Stephanie moved to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles in 2018. Now retired from a career in magazine publishing, she enjoys the splendid surroundings and the cultural activities in Santa Barbara. She enjoys art, architecture, gardens, and beauty in general. Stephanie is delighted to join the board of directors of Santa Barbara Beautiful and to be a part of making a difference in our community.

  • Lucrezia R. DeLeon, Secretary

    Lucrezia R. DeLeon is proud to serve on the board of directors for Santa Barbara Beautiful. She has demonstrated her passion for the community with wide ranging engagement from Advocacy for our unhoused population on SB Act’s Housing and Shelter Group; to the Women’s Political Committee; Democratic Women of Santa Barbara; SB Leadership under former Mayor Hal Conklin, and now Santa Barbara Beautiful.

    Lucrezia is a Housing Advocate, an Entrepreneur, and Architectural Designer with a focus on finding solutions to the housing crisis in a sustainable manner that integrates dignity and wellness of the built environment.

    She earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Sustainable Built Environment from the University of Arizona. (Bear down!)

    Lucrezia is also the mother of three beautiful and gifted boys who works to keep Santa Barbara Beautiful for generations to come.

    Lucrezia lives by the motto, “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.”

  • Jacqueline Dyson

    Past President 2018

    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.

  • David Gress

    Past President 1994, 1995 and 1996

    David is a consulting arborist, certified arborist, and horticulturist.

    He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture from Colorado State University.

    He served as City Arborist of the City of Santa Barbara 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 since 1975.
    He writes and photographs the article series called Tree of the Month.

  • Penny Haberman

    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 President of 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.

  • Christine Vanderbilt Holland

    Christine Vanderbilt Holland has been a resident of Santa Barbara since 1996.

    She is a former attorney who worked in civil litigation with several Los Angeles firms.

    Since stopping lawyer work 20 years ago, Christine has enjoyed pursuing a variety of activities in Santa Barbara. Her chief area of interest has been the visual arts and art history, with a focus on the Museum of Art (SBMA.)

    She was a member of the SBMA Women’s Board for 3 years and served on the SBMA Collectors Council steering committee for about 5 years.

    In 2005 Christine joined the SBMA Docent Council where she has volunteered as a touring Docent. She has served continuously on the Docent Council Board, serving in various capacities including as Vice President, and then as President.

    Recently, she joined the SBMA Board of Trustees and serves on the Collections Committee and the Development Committee.
    Christine served on the Board of The Ensemble Theatre for 8 years and served as its President during the time of the funding and construction of the New Vic Theatre.

    She has been a Board Member of Opera Santa Barbara for about 5 years and is also a supporter of the Music Academy of the West, volunteering as a Compeer and as a member of the Academy’s Compeer Committee.

    Christine’s interest in the arts and in beauty in general has increased her interest in and appreciation for the beautiful town of Santa Barbara.

    In addition to enjoying life with her husband Michael and several wonderful dogs over the years, Christine’s interests include participating in several book groups, French conversation groups, painting classes, choir singing, and wine groups.

  • Lori Kari

    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.

  • Kate Kurlas

    Prior to launching The Kurlas Group, Kate Kurlas spent over 12 years in executive management, leading the marketing, sales and operation teams for several non profits, including The Granada Theatre and Santa Barbara Symphony.

    An award-winning director, Kate specializes in all aspects of marketing, sales, and business development. Recognized by Pacific Coast Business Times “40 Under 40 Top Business Professionals”, Kate enjoys working with clients to establish solid brand positioning and long-reaching revenue-generating marketing plans.

    Recently Kate expanded her portfolio to include talent management in the entertainment industry and technology sectors.

    Past President of Santa Barbara Beautiful, Kate continues to dedicate her free time to giving back to the Santa Barbara community through volunteer work and raising her 7-year-old daughter.

  • JoAnn Mermis

    JoAnn moved from the Midwest to Santa Barbara 45 years ago. She has been practicing real estate in Santa Barbara for over 37 years and is currently with Berkshire Hathaway. She has a passion for keeping and making Santa Barbara Beautiful, as she considers all of Santa Barbara her workplace and playground.

    JoAnn has served her community in a variety of ways some of which include President of the PTA of Montecito Union School, a docent at Lotusland, Rotary member, and various boards in the community. She is Past President of Santa Barbara Beautiful (2017).

    She is a graduate of Kansas University with Bachelor of Science of Education a graduate of Santa Monica University with a Master of Psychology and is a certified Yoga instructor. JoAnn has been volunteering in high security prisons for 18 years teaching emotional intelligence to prisoners.

    Her work experience includes, teacher, airline sales at Delta Airlines, manager & vice president of Fred Sands Realty, The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors awarded her the Good Neighbor award for her community service.

    JoAnn has 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren.  Her hobbies are travel, swimming, and Yoga.

  • Ebony Ross

    Bio coming soon

  • Caroline Rutledge

    Caroline has been a resident of Santa Barbara since 1985. Retired now from her interior and garden design business, she also pursued a career in development, PR and marketing for artsrelated nonprofits in Dallas and Santa Barbara. She was a dancer for most of her life and taught ballroom dancing for 25 years.

    Her education (which she hopes to continue forever) includes Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, Southern Methodist University, Santa Barbara City College and Art and Dance courses at several other Dallas colleges.

    She served on executive committees of several arts organizations in both Dallas and Santa Barbara and has served as Music Academy of the West Vice Chair of the Women’s Auxiliary since 2019, She is a former docent at Lotusland, and continues to volunteer in the gardens and serve on special events.

    Caroline’s main interests, other than the amazing treasure trove of cultural activities in Santa Barbara, are the preservation of historic homes, gardens, and cultural landscapes. She also enjoys nature photography, travel, tennis and music.

    Growing up in the South in and around historic homes, gardens, and landscapes hundreds of years old, she now works in her 1914 home & garden in the Mission district and enjoys being actively involved in organizations and activities that benefit and enhance our beautiful and unique community such as Santa Barbara Beautiful.

  • Jeffrey Sipress

    Jeffrey has served on the board of directors since 2016, and previously served as a SBB volunteer. Jeffrey is also part of our Information Technology team for our internet systems, email, public relations and website.

    He is also the official In-House SBB photographer chronicling the organization’s many activities and public events.

    Living in a 135-year old home in a historic district, Jeffrey has a keen sense of the value of preservation of historic architecture, landscapes and cultural icons.

    You might see Jeffrey around town installing all of the Commemorative Tree Plaques.

  • 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.

  • Nathan Slack

    Nathan was born and raised in a small rural town in Ohio, where he spent his youth helping his grandfather on a small cattle farm. He attended The Ohio State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Urban Forestry.

    Nathan is now the City Arborist for the City of Santa Barbara. Before his appointment with the City of Santa Barbara, he worked for the City of Ventura for several years as their Arborist.

    Nathan is a Board Certified Master Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, as well as a Qualified Tree Risk Assessor.

    His deep passion for trees and the benefits they provide to the community falls directly in line with the mission of Santa Barbara Beautiful. He is thrilled for the opportunity to have a seat as a board member and to play a part in the rich history of tree planting that Santa Barbara Beautiful has provided to the community.

  • Mark Whitehurst

    Past President 2001, 2002 and 2003

    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