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.

  • Deborah L. Schwartz, President

    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.

  • Santos Escobar, 1st Vice President & Treasurer (CFO)

    Santos Escobar is a native of Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also minored in Landscape Contracting-Design and Crop Science.

    Santos is a retired Parks Manager for the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department with over 35 years of landscape experience. He is a horticulturist, landscape contractor, landscape designer, and teacher.

  • Jeffrey Sipress, VP IT

    Jeffrey is a retired engineer and business owner and an active professional photographer, musician, and board member of three 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 45 years, he is very involved in neighborhood preservation, blues music concert promotion and education, 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 15 years.

    For Santa Barbara Beautiful, Jeffrey provides photographic services, serves on the publicity committee as the Information Technology officer and is responsible for the installation and photo-imaging of the plaques for the Commemorative Tree Program.

  • Susan Bradley, Secretary

    Susan is the Assistant Director of External Affairs at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, with fundraising and stewardship responsibility for the capital campaign, exhibitions and major gifts.

    She has an extensive background in fundraising and communication including marketing, external affairs, social media, grant writing, event management, donor cultivation and stewardship, community outreach and volunteer recruitment.

    Susan is originally from the Boston area, where she and her family lived until 2011, when they relocated to London for an expat assignment with her husband’s employer. After returning to Boston, Susan and her husband Mark visited Santa Barbara and fell in love with the area. They moved to Santa Barbara in the Spring of 2018.

    Susan enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering for local organizations. She has served on nonprofit Boards in Boston and has supported nonprofit organizations in Boston, London and her new home of Santa Barbara.

    About her appointment to the board of Santa Barbara Beautiful, Susan says she is, “proud to be a new citizen of Santa Barbara and thrilled to be part of an organization that literally has its roots in the city it serves.”

  • Penny Haberman, Immediate Past 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 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.

  • Jacqueline Dyson, Assistant Secretary

    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.

  • Suzanne Fairly

    Suzannne Phipps Fairly has organizational and project management skills with extended experience in the Interior Design field. Communication skills in radio, interviews, public speaking and teaching. Personal interest in the arts, literature, writing and travel.

    Experience includes: Program development for UCSB Department of Environmental and Interior Design Developed curriculum; created audio library; taught in program; student advisor for the program; liaison to the public through public speaking.

    Education: UCLA Interior Design and Architecture – BA; Antioch University West: Communications Studies – BA; Denver University, Psychology and Art; Santa Barbara City College: Fine Arts; Teacher for American Corps literacy program.

    Business: Owner / Designer, Inside-Out Design Associates; Interiors of Santa Barbara, CA; 30 years of designing interiors of yachts, aircraft, churches, various businesses, homes, and small children’s hospital nationally and internationally.

    National: Board member for Interior Design Education Council (IDEC); Chair of Olympics of Cooperation, Santa Barbara, CA; Regional Speaker for International Interior Design Association (IIDA)

  • 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. He writes and photographs the article series called Tree of the Month.

  • 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

    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, website, and graphic design. An expert in strategic planning, Kate prides herself on working with clients as a project manager and facilitator, working to establish solid brand positioning and long-reaching revenue-generating marketing plans.

    Recognized by Pacific Coast Business Times “40 Under 40 Top Business Professionals”, Kate has worked with local businesses guiding them through rebranding, business development, and implementing successful marketing campaigns.

    Recently Kate expanded her portfolio to include talent management for the entertainment industry. Former President of Santa Barbara Beautiful, Kate continues to dedicate her free time giving back to the Santa Barbara community through volunteer work and raising her 5-year-old daughter.

  • 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.

  • Robert Ooley, FAIA

    Robert is the County Architect of the County of Santa Barbara and is an award-winning public-sector architect. He was elevated into the AIA College of Fellows in 2015 for his distinctive accomplishments as County Architect of Santa Barbara. He is the only County Architect in California to be elevated to AIA Fellow.

    As a three-diamond fellow, he is a Charter Member of the COF Heritage Society. He has served on the AIA of Santa Barbara since 2015 and was elected president in 2019. He also is currently serving on the AIACA Board as VP of Government Relations. Robert’s areas of interest include rare book collecting, writing, and public speaking.

  • Ellen Robinson

    Ellen Robinson has a lifelong interest in community development, with an emphasis on preserving the special qualities that make a city unique. Calling Florida home for decades, she served as president of Tampa Preservation, Inc., a nationally recognized nonprofit preservation organization.  Membership on the Tampa Streetcar Board during the streetcar’s rebirth, as well as holding leadership positions with the local history museums and other nonprofits provided Ellen with the experience necessary to launch her community involvement when she moved to the Santa Barbara area in 2013.  In Carpinteria, Ellen participated in the Carpinteria Host Program, Carpinteria Beautiful, and their Home and Garden Tour Committee, and remains an Honorary Board Member of the Carpinteria Arts Center.  She served as president of the Santa Barbara Newcomers Club in 2016 and continues her involvement with the SB Junior League Sustainers.  A former Master Gardener, she is interested in learning more about landscaping using water-wise practices and drought-tolerant plants and is particularly interested in the SB Beautiful tree programs.  Currently she is a member of the SB Club’s Board of Directors and the Music Academy of the West’s Women’s Auxiliary Board.

  • Caroline Rutledge

    Growing up, Caroline spent time in both Texas and South Carolina before moving to Santa Barbara in 1985. Her college education focused on the liberal arts including modern languages, design, computers, photography, fine arts, political science, and economics.

    Caroline’s background in dance includes performing ballet from ages 8 to 35 as well as dancing and teaching ballroom dancing for 25 years. She also plays the piano and loves tennis. She is an established gardener and floral and interior designer. Caroline is also an avid reader and prolific nature photographer who loves going to school, gardening, and traveling.

    Locally, in addition to being an officer of Santa Barbara Beautiful, Caroline has been active in Ganna Walska’s Lotusland, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Music Academy of the West.

    In summary, Caroline loves creating and making the world more beautiful whether it is with art, music, dance, gardens, or houses.

  • 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

    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