Sara Bennett


Insurance Professional

Sara has been an active member since 2009 and has been a Commercial Insurance Broker with Barney & Barney for nearly 10 years. She is proudly serving her second term as Chairwoman of Barney & Barney’s Growth in Relationships and Opportunities for Women (GROW) Initiative. Sara graduated from USD and has Certified Insurance Counselor and Accredited Advisor of Insurance designations.

Susan Howe


Community Leader

Susan served as the Director of Major Gifts at the San Diego Public Library Foundation for over seven years. She has also served as a member of the Nominating Committee and Board of Directors at Junior League, President of the Scripps Ranch Friends of the Public Library, and as a Founding Member of Hidden Valley House Auxiliary. Susan is an alumna of Scripps College where she graduated with a BA in Political Science.

Valerie Jacobs

Immediate Past President

Philanthropic Consultant and Speaker

Valerie is licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in the effects of wealth on relationships and wellness. Recognized as an expert on wealth and philanthropy, Valerie has been interviewed for numerous publications. She has served on her family’s foundation board since 1988 and is a nationally known speaker who has presented at conferences and events around the country.

Arlyne Brown

Membership Chair

Financial Services Professional

Arlyne has worked with numerous community organizations including the Nativity School and the Rancho Santa Fe Auxiliary of Rady Children’s Hospital. She is a founding member of Kids Korps USA and the Fairbanks Republican Women Federated, and a board member of Brophy Preparatory School Mother’s Guild. Arlyne earned a BA in Economics from UCLA and an MBA from USC.

Michelle Candland

Discovery, Inquiries, Guidelines (DIG) Chair

Author and Community Leader

Michelle served as San Diego Rotary Club President from 2014-2015, and President of the Monarch School Project. She received San Diego Magazine’s 2004 Art of Giving Award and the Corporate Directors Forum as a Director of the Year for her work with Monarch. After retiring as Managing Director of CBRE in 2004, she wrote her first book “Common Threads: Women Who Weave Tribulation into Triumph.”

Susan Hennenfent

Governance Chair

Community Leader

Susan utilized her leadership, product and program management skills over the course of her sixteen years of employment at Qualcomm. She has been involved with Rotary Club in numerous capacities, including currently serving on the fundraising committee, and as Past President of the Del Mar Solana Beach Rotary. Susan graduated from the University of Akron with a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from San Diego State.

Cindi Hill

Finance Chair

Compliance Consultant

Cindi has worked in the finance industry since 1985. She received her BS in Finance from San Jose State University and obtained her Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional (IACCPSM) designation  in 2011 and her Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) designation in 1993. Cindi served on the NAPFA National Board from 2008-2011 and as Treasurer, Vice Chair, and Chair at ElderHelp of San Diego.

Jean Kaiser

Governance Chair

Real Estate Professional

Jean has built a thriving real estate business over the past 2 decades after previously serving patients of Sharp Health Care as a physical therapist. She has been with SDWF since 2011 and has served in numerous leadership positions. She has chaired the governing board of her church, and is currently involved with organization that cares for destitute children and has taken several trips to Africa to lead teams to care for orphans.

Janice Kurth

Grants Executive Committee (GEC) Vice-Chair

M.D., Ph.D.

Janice has been a member since 2012. She has a Ph.D. in human genetics and has worked as a doctor, in academic and industrial biomedical research, and in product and software development. Janice served as Rotary International District Governor 2015-2016, and has volunteered with numerous local organizations. She has led and participated in numerous humanitarian projects locally and internationally for the past 15 years.

Shari Miller

Member At-Large

Financial Advisor

Shari brings over 34 years of experience in the financial services industry to her role as a founding partner of Symbio Financial Partners. Before joining LPL in 1992, Shari worked for five years at Kidder, Peabody in New York City. She is an LPL Registered Principal, LPL Financial Advisor, and has completed the Certified Financial Planner Professional Education Program. Shari earned a Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University.

Mary-Rose Mueller

Programs Chair

Retired Nursing Professional

Mary-Rose has been a member since 2005 and has served in numerous leadership roles. Mary-Rose worked as a clinical nurse and nurse practitioner, and upon completing a PhD in sociology from UCSD, pursued a career in social science research and education. Recently retired, she now volunteers and serves as co-VP for Communications on the Friends of the Mission Hills/Hillcrest Library Foundation Board of Directors.

Dale Spector

Grants Executive Committee (GEC) Chair

Community Leader

Dale holds a Masters in Guidance and Counseling and has a background in human resources. Dale taught at SDSU for 8 years, and since retiring, has continued to teach through the College of Extended Studies. Dale has volunteered with a variety of organizations including: Docent San Diego Central Library, San Diego Library Foundation Library, and Teen Book Leader for Juvenile Justice Book Group at Salvation Army Door of Hope.

Bridget Strickland

Development Chair

Nonprofit Professional

Bridget joined SDWF 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. Bridget is a past chair of the steering committee for Emerging Practitioners In Philanthropy (EPIP) San Diego Chapter, and holds a BA in Theatre from University of California, San Diego.

Tina Williams

Fellows Chair

Nonprofit Professional

Tina joined SDWF in 2014 as part of the first Philanthropy Fellows cohort. After completing the Fellowship, Tina stayed on as a n active member. Tina has served in the San Diego nonprofit sector for 16 years and currently works as the Grants Administrator for the YMCA of San Diego County. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and her Master’s degree from the University of San Diego.

Joan Jones

Member At-Large

Nonprofit Executive

Joan has over 25 years of strategic planning, finance, and senior-level leadership experience in the energy, utility, and consumer electronics industries.She currently uses her corporate business expertise as Executive Director of the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation. Joan is also a CPA and graduated cum laude with a BS in Business Administration from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She received her MBA from Cal State, Bakersfield.

Jill Smith

Member At-Large

Retired Journalist

Jill earned seven Emmy Awards over the course of her 30 years as a a journalist, producer and reporter for NBC, The Today Show, TIME and People Magazines, 48 Hours on CBS, and a variety of programs on HGTV and The Food Network. Since retiring, Jill has worked with Rady Children’s Hospital’s Charity Ball, the San Diego Food Bank, and San Diego Youth Services Emergency Shelter and on the Board of Mission Hills United Methodist Church.

Kathy Jones

Member At-Large

Community Leader

Kathy has been a member of SDWF and served in numerous leadership positions since 2011. She is a former professor of Exercise and Wellness at Arizona State University and SDSU. Kathy has served on numerous boards, is a graphic artist and teaches cooking classes for children. 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.

Carolyn Konecki

Member At-Large

Professional Insurance Advisor

Carolyn is the Personal Lines Manager for Cavignac & Associates, sits on the board of the Professional Women’s Fellowship and serves as treasurer. She is a member of several professional organizations including the Professional Women’s Fellowship and La Jolla Real Estate Brokers Association. Carolyn is a magna cum laude graduate of USC with a degree in business management.

Alexis Lasheras

Member At-Large

Community Leader

Alexis has been a member since 2011. 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 received a BA in English and an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from UCLA.