Our Board


Board / Chairs
 Valerie Jacobs Valerie Jacobs, President
Philanthropic Consultant and Speaker
Valerie Jacobs is dedicated to providing consulting services to individual philanthropists and foundations. She has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 30 years, specializing in the effects of wealth on relationships and personal well-being. Recognized as an expert on wealth and philanthropy issues, Valerie has been interviewed for numerous books, magazines and newspapers. She has served on her own family’s foundation board since 1988 and is a nationally known speaker who has presented at conferences and events around the country.
 Mary-Rose Mueller website Mary-Rose Mueller, Vice President
Retired Nursing Professional
Mary-Rose has been a SDWF member since 2005.  She has served on four ‘discovery teams’, an ad hoc committee on multi-year grants, the founding Impact committee, and a Community Partner Liaison. Mary-Rose views herself as a mini-ambassador for the SDWF, informing friends and acquaintances of the organization’s impact on the region. She believes membership in SDWF has rewarded her with a better understanding of the issues/settings/people that shape our city and county. Mary-Rose worked as a clinical nurse and nurse practitioner in hospitals and clinics, and upon completing a PhD in sociology from UCSD, pursued a career in social science research and education.  Recently retired, she has turned her attention to family and community.  Currently, she is a co-VP for Communications on the Friends of the Mission Hills/Hillcrest Library Foundation Board of Directors and volunteers with the San Diego County Board of Education’s literacy program, Everyone A Reader.
 Alexis_Lasheras_sm Alexis Lasheras, President-Elect
Community Leader
Alexis has been a member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation since 2011. Upon joining, she became an active member of the Programs Committee and the Grants Committee (Proposal Review, Site Visits, and Impact). Alexis moved to San Diego in 1991 where she founded the International Center for American English (ICAE), a language school dedicated to teaching English to foreign students and professionals. While Director of ICAE, she was a member of English USA, serving as Vice President for Outreach from 2006 – 2008. Alexis continues to volunteer as an academic representative for ACCET, a national accrediting agency for continuing education and training programs. Alexis received a BA in English and an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from UCLA.
 Jacqueline Bell Jacqueline Bell, Treasurer & Finance Chair
Financial Advisor
Jacqueline brings more than 20 years of experience in investment management, including 10 years managing a global equity mutual fund for a Wall Street firm. She joined independent investment advisory firm Dowling & Yahnke in 2007 and continues to advise both private and institutional clients. Jacqueline attended Harvard University where she graduated magna cum laude. She holds the designations Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®). Jacqueline serves as President of the board of the Bird Rock Community Council. Since joining the Women’s Foundation, she has been active with the Grants and Governance Committees.
 Mary Dawe web Mary Dawe, Secretary
Mary Dawe has a long-standing career as a staff attorney at the California State Court of Appeal. Although active at work with the Court of Appeal, she has managed to dedicate time and expertise to the community. Mary brings to SDWF a variety of experience on community boards. She has been active on the boards of the San Diego Museum of Natural History, San Diego Museum of Man (Chair, 2006-2008), Malashock Dance Company, MADCAPS (President, 1999-2000), and the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club (Program Chair 2010-2012 and Student Chair 2008-2010). Mary graduated with a BA in Anthropology from UC Riverside and Juris Doctorate from USD Law School.
 Sara Bennett Sara Bennett, Engagement Co-Chair
Insurance Professional
Sara has been a member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation since 2009 and has actively participated on the Grants and Membership Committees. She has been a Commercial Insurance Broker with Barney & Barney for nearly 10 years, and supports a number of industry associations and non-profit organizations. She is proudly serving her second term as Chairwoman of Barney & Barney’s GROW Initiative, which stands for Growth in Relationships and Opportunities for Women. This leadership role has enabled Sara to support Barney & Barney in an effort to attract, retain, educate, and advocate for the women of B&B and the business community, as well as provide a vehicle to advance women into the leadership ranks of the organization. Sara earned her degree from the University of San Diego and has her Certified Insurance Counselor and Accredited Advisor of Insurance designations.
Arlyne Brown, Engagement Co-Chair
Financial Services Professional
Arlyne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as board member and Connections Co-Chair. Arlyne has been involved in numerous community service organizations including the Nativity School and the Rancho Santa Fe Auxiliary of Rady Children’s Hospital. She was a founding member of Kids Korps USA and the Fairbanks Republican Women Federated. When Arlyne lived in Scottsdale, she was a board member of Brophy Preparatory School Mother’s Guild and also graduated from Scottsdale Leadership. Arlyne earned a BA in Economics from UCLA and an MBA from USC.
 Kate Fries website Kate Fries, Grants Co-Chair
Certified Financial Planner
Kate joined the San Diego Women’s Foundation in 2013 after falling in love with the grants process at a “Get To Know Us” event. Since then, she has been very active in Grants as a member of DIG, a Community Partner Liaison, a co-chair for Training, and currently as Grants co-chair.  A graduate of the University of Texas and the University of Alabama, Kate has degrees in Communication and Financial Planning; she is currently working on a program of study in Behavioral Finance.  Kate is a Certified Financial Planner(™) with a passion for helping people discover their true goals and desires and helping them achieve them. This has also served her well as a manager and a mother of a young child! She has served as chair for the local National Association of Personal Financial Advisors study group as well as a volunteer for the Professional Alliance for Children and the Loma Portal Ecological Schoolyard project.
 Susan Hennenfent web Susan Hennenfent, Discovery, Inquiry and Guidelines Co-Chair
Community Leader
Susan’s professional life includes sixteen years at Qualcomm in San Diego. While at Qualcomm she brought her leadership skills in Product and Program Management to the company. As a community leader, Susan has been involved with Rotary Club and is a Past President of the Del Mar Solana Beach Rotary. She extends her work for Rotary further, as she is currently on the Fundraising Committee for the District. Susan graduated from the University of Akron with a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from San Diego State.
 Susan Howe web Susan Howe, Development Advisory Team Chair
Community Leader
Susan served as the Director of Major Gifts at the San Diego Public Library Foundation for over seven years. The scope of her work includes writing grants, procurement, and developing corporate partnerships. Susan’s past Board experience includes being a member of the Nominating Committee and Board of Directors at Junior League. She is also a Past President and Board member of the Scripps Ranch Friends of the Public Library. She is a Founding Member of Hidden Valley House Auxiliary, a volunteer group dedicated to support of battered women and children. Susan is an alumna of Scripps College where she graduated with a BA in Political Science.
 Jean_Kaiser_sm Jean Kaiser, Grants Co-Chair
Real Estate Professional
For the last 12 years Jean has dedicated herself to building a successful real estate business. Previously she served the Sharp Health Care system for 20 years as a physical therapist. Jean’s passion is serving people in need. She has been a member of SDWF since 2011 and has served as co‐chair of the DIG committee and led trainings for the Grants Committee. She has served as the chair of the governing board of her church, as well as on various committees both in her church and in local schools. She also initiated and coordinated events for the YWCA San Diego. Jean is currently involved with an international organization that cares for destitute children and has taken several trips to Africa to lead teams to care for orphans.
 DSC_1330c_crop Joan Jones, Strategic Planning Chair
Nonprofit Executive
Joan Jones Non-Profit Executive Joan has over 25 years of strategic planning, finance, and accounting experience in the energy, utility, and consumer electronics industries. Her corporate experience includes holding senior level finance positions at Sony Electronics, Sempra Energy, and Getty Oil. She presently uses her corporate business expertise to assist the non-profit sector. As Executive Director of the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, she is focused on fundraising, strategic planning, and increasing public awareness of fire and emergency services. Joan, a CPA, graduated cum laude with a BS in Business Administration from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She received her MBA from Cal State, Bakersfield.
 Bethel Nathan Bethel Nathan
Small Business Owner
After nine years working on Wall Street around the globe, and six years of running her family’s small business, Bethel recently launched her own business, Ceremonies by Bethel, officiating weddings, commitment ceremonies, and other life-cycle moments. Bethel has been an active member of the Women’s Foundation for eight years, working on many of the committees. She re-joins the board where she previously served proudly for five years including as the initial Grants Impact Chair. Bethel is also a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, where she has been a very active fundraiser. Bethel received her BA in Political Science and Japanese Studies from UC Berkeley, and her MBA in International Business from Thunderbird.
 Marjorie O'Malley Marjorie O’Malley, Membership Executive Committee Chair
Retired Healthcare Executive
Marjorie retired after a broad career in the healthcare industry, including Senior Vice President at CIGNA HealthCare, President of two pharmacy benefit management companies and President of a healthcare software and service company. She established a consulting practice which provided guidance to executive management at healthcare and pharmaceutical companies in strategy development. In addition, she led industry initiatives to improve and simplify healthcare administrative processes and promote and develop infrastructure and standards for real time electronic transactions and information exchange. Marjorie joined SDWF shortly after moving to San Diego in 2008 and has been active in the Grants committee, Planning Task Force, and the Membership Committee. She holds a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
  Bridget Strickland, Discovery, Inquiry and Guidelines Co-Chair
Nonprofit Professional
Bridget joined San Diego Women’s Foundation in 2014. She has over 16 years’ experience in fundraising, business development, and strategic nonprofit management and is currently the Corporate Development Manager at San Diego Habitat for Humanity. Since joining SDWF, Bridget has been an active participant in SDWF’s grants review process each year, served as chair for two Annual Grant Celebration committees, and co-chaired the 2016-17 Discovery, Inquiry, and Guidelines (DIG) team. Bridget is also a past chair of the steering committee for Emerging Practitioners In Philanthropy (EPIP) San Diego Chapter. Bridget holds a BA in Theatre from University of California, San Diego.
Members At-Large
 Kathy_Jones_sm Kathy Jones
Community Leader
Kathy has been a member since 2011. She served as co-chair of the Programs committee and the Discovery, Inquiry and Guidelines Committee. She is a former professor of Exercise and Wellness, and has taught at Arizona State University and San Diego State University. Since moving to San Diego in 2002, Kathy has been an active volunteer; serving as a Master Gardener for 10 years, Mission Hills Town Council member and chair, and Mission Hills Garden Club President. She currently serves on the board of the YMCA’s Youth and Family Services branch as Chair, on the San Diego Youth Tennis Board as Secretary, as well as on the San Diego County YMCA board. Kathy has a BA in Sociology from UC Berkeley, an MS in Exercise Science and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. She also teaches nutritional cooking classes for children and is a graphic artist.
Carolyn_Konecki_sm Carolyn Konecki
Professional Insurance Advisor
Carolyn is the Personal Lines Manager for Cavignac & Associates. She is a successful entrepreneur and is committed to building relationships, educating her valued customers and providing exceptional service for high‐net worth individuals. Carolyn is extremely involved in the San Diego community and has been a member of San Diego Women’s Foundation since 2011. She is currently involved in the Grants Review and Membership committees. Carolyn is also a member of several professional organizations including the Professional Women’s Fellowship, La Jolla Real Estate Brokers Association, Integrated Wealth Solutions, and Corporate Alliance. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Professional Women’s Fellowship and serves as the treasurer. A magna cum laude graduate of USC with a degree in business management, Carolyn is married and has two adult sons. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, wine collecting, horseback riding, and swimming.
 Suzanne_LaTour_sm Suzanne LaTour, Past President
Financial Advisor
With over 21 years experience, Suzanne is part of a professional wealth management team at Merrill Lynch. In the community, she has worked with San Diego’s Adult Literacy Program, served on the board of the Downtown YMCA and has been a member of LEAD San Diego and the San Diego Leadership Trust. Suzanne received her degree from State University of New York, has a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation and earned her Certified Investment Manage Analyst (CIMA) designation through The Wharton School’s executive program.
Lenore Ringler Lenore Ringler
Retired Educator
Lenore has been a member of the SDWF for six years and has been very active on the Grants Committee and the Discovery Teams. She retired from New York University after a 30-year career where she served as Chair of the Department of Applied Psychology and taught graduate courses in Child Development and Literacy Education. As part of her professional work Lenore was President of the Literacy Research Association and served on the National Academy of Education Commission on Reading. In San Diego she has done volunteer work at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Humane Society and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Lenore received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CUNY University and her Ph.D. from New York University.
dale-spector Dale Spector, Training Coordinator
Community Leader
Dale brings a range of skills and expertise to her role as board member. Dale holds a Masters in Guidance and Counseling. Her background and experience is in both teaching and guidance counseling. She also has experience in human resources and personnel management. From 1985-2006, in venture with another SDWF Member, Susie Zlotnik, Dale and Susie opened The Yellow Book Road, a children’s bookstore in La Mesa. After selling the store in 2006, Dale taught at San Diego State University’s College of Education for the next 8 years. Since retiring from SDSU, she has continued to teach through the College of Extended Studies on a part-time basis. Dale is also a community leader and has volunteered with a variety of organizations including: Docent San Diego Central Library, San Diego Library Foundation Library Shop Over-site Committee Member, Volunteer for the San Diego Children’s Book Festival, Teen Book Leader for Juvenile Justice Book Group at Salvation Army Door of Hope, Trainer for Rolling Readers, and Volunteer for the Family Literacy Foundation.