Marla McNally Phillips, President
Marla McNally Phillips is Co-CEO of Emerald Forest Entertainment, a worldwide music publishing company. Marla is also a theatrical producer whose most recent production, UNDER MY SKIN, had a successful run on Broadway and in Pasadena. She was Vice President of the Granada Theater’s Board of Directors for many years, sat on the board of Education First, has been a member of the Dream Foundation’s Dream Circle, as well as an active supporter of the Neil Bogart/TJ Martell Foundation, Girls Rock and the Women’s Fund. Marla is passionate about the arts, kids, education, the ocean, and having fun.
Ron Pulice, Vice President
Ron Pulice was CEO and Chairman of Pulice Construction, Inc. from 1986 – 2006. Ron was a member of the Board of Associated General Contractors of America from 1980 – 1990, and served as its President in 1986 and 1989. While living in Arizona, he was a Board Member of the Phoenix Economic Growth Council from 1988 – 1992, and helped establish trade missions in both Japan and China. After settling in Santa Barbara, Ron became involved in OPUS Archives and Research Center and served as Chairman of the Board from 2006 – 2009, and the Board of Multimedia Arts and Design Academy (MAD Academy) at Santa Barbara High School, serving as Chairman from 2011-2013. Ron has also served on the board of Heal the Ocean, 2011-2013. Ron Pulice attended the University of Arizona; he graduated in 1971 with a B.A. in Economics, and received his M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 1993.
Neal Rabin, Treasurer
Neal Rabin worked in Hollywood for several years before moving to Santa Barbara in 1982 with his wife Nancy. He founded and served as the CEO of a global software company for over fifteen years. He has served on the boards of the American Red Cross and several technology companies in the Santa Barbara area. He currently divides his time between the Marine Mammal Rescue Center, AHA!, mentorships, gentleman farming, and writing. Neal and Nancy have been married for 31 years with two perfect daughters, two wild dogs, a flock of chickens, and several trained coi fish.
Jennifer Freed, Co-founder/Co-director
Jennifer Freed is a psychotherapist, mediator, and author with over 30 years’ experience working with youth and deep roots in the Santa Barbara area. She began at age 19, running a peer counselor training program at Dos Pueblos High School; shortly thereafter, she began working for YouthWorks. She became Statewide Director of that program, which conducted research into reasons why young people were dropping out of school. Dr. Freed then worked in the field of job rehabilitation, where she helped people find job placements following illness or injury. She underwent training at the Rape Crisis Center, Domestic Violence Solutions, Pacific Pride Foundation, and the Community Counseling Center, and earned her Master’s in psychology from Antioch University by age 23.
Rendy Freedman, MFT, Co-Founder, Education and Clinical Director
started her career as a high school English teacher, but soon took a detour to work in advertising and film production when teaching jobs proved hard to find. This work took her to Los Angeles, where she worked in the film industry for a while. An interest in studying acupressure led her to become licensed in that healing art, and this led her to an interest in therapy as she witnessed how much came up for people emotionally while undergoing acupressure. She began to study for her Master’s in psychology, with breaks for the births of her children; while her children were small, she developed an interest in education and founded the Santa Barbara Waldorf School – an educational philosophy that she saw would help children to maintain intuition and creativity.
MaryAnne Contreras is the owner of the event planning company Swank Santa Barbara. She has been involved with AHA! as a Development Committee member and has been instrumental in the success of AHA!’s two yearly fundraisers, Hike for AHA! and AHA!’s Sing It Out. MaryAnne brings passion, style, humor, and integrity to all her endeavors. She was formerly the president of the Montecito Educational Foundation and has volunteered with many local non-profits including Storyteller and The Breast Cancer Resource Center.
Michele has been an attorney specializing in employment litigation since 1993. She has lived in Santa Barbara with her family for 20 years. Throughout this time, she has actively volunteered and fundraised for various education-related organizations and non-profits. She sat on the Board and actively fundraised for the Lou Grant Parent-Child
Workshop, the Montecito Union PTA, the Montecito Union Education Foundation, and the Storyteller Children’s Center. She is past President and former board member of the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School, and now brings her considerable experience and skill to her position as a board member and Development Committee member of AHA!.
Nancy Grinstein has lived with her husband Neal in Santa Barbara since 1982. They have two daughters, one who is working in Washington, D.C. and the other in high school. Nancy’s far–ranging career began as an award-winning regional theater director and cable TV director & editor. She founded and operated an industry-leading international import company for 20 years which worked closely with the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and other international artist. She has worked with at-risk youth, raised considerable funds for the public school system and was a board member for The Neighbor Clinics, the Arts Mentorship Program (AMP) and The Buckminster Fuller Institute in Santa Barbara.
Angel Martinez is the Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors Deckers Outdoor Corporation. He is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the Reebok portfolio of brands. As one of the Reebok Corporation’s founding employees, Angel’s vision was instrumental in the creation of the Reebok Brand worldwide. He positioned Reebok at the forefront of the women’s fitness movement by leading design and marketing teams in creating fitness shoes for women. As Vice President of new business development, Angel identified and developed innovative fitness programs like Step Reebok and Reebok University. In 1992, he was appointed president of the Fitness Division for the Reebok Brand, the company’s largest division; in 1994, he became President and CEO of The Rockport Company, Reebok International’s largest subsidiary. Rockport achieved significant sales and profit increases under his leadership, and in 1997, Angel was honored as the 1997 “Man of the Year” by Footwear News, the leading trade publication in the footwear industry. Angel retired from Reebok in 2001 after 21 years with the company.
Jack is a native son who attended local public schools, graduated from UCSB and completed UCSB’s Graduate School of Education and attended PACIFICA studying Counseling Psychology. After teaching st SBHS, Jack went to work as a counselor and instructor at UCSB where he has been since 1979. He serves or served on the boards of many non-profit organizations, including ADELANTE Dual Language Immersion School, Just Communities Central Coast and PALABRA. He is dedicated to issues of social justice.
Patricia Selbert is an author and lecturer specializing in the psychological affects of immigration. Raised in Curaçao, and a four-time immigrant, she has reflected upon her own cross-cultural experiences in both her fiction and non-fiction. Selbert’s novel, The House of Six Doors, was the winner of the 2011 Eric Hoffer Award in Multi Cultural Fiction and received the Best Book Award in Multicultural Fiction from USA Book News. She is a PhD candidate in depth psychology. Her research explores the sensory and emotional aspect of immigration. She is an accomplished equestrian who competed in the Pan American Games and the World Equestrian Games. Selbert lives with her family in Santa Barbara, CA.
Bobby Shand Founder of TSG (The Shand Group) in 1980, Bobby has helped guide successful marketing initiatives for such well-recognized brands as Platinum Guild International, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) , IWC, Tag Heuer, Absolut Vodka, and Rio Tinto among others. Bobby travels frequently to his team who work from satellite offices in NY, San Francisco, Westlake, Seattle, Miami, and overseas in Shanghai and Mumbai. His unflagging dedication to his staff and clients ensure that all projects are successful, innovative, and rewarding for all participants. Bobby has been married to wife Susan for 24 of the most outstanding years of his life and has two beautiful children Ryan, 23 and Justin, 21.
Jim has extensive global leadership experience spans across multiple industries in the areas of: the integration and alignment of leaders and teams, team based strategy development, culture integration in mergers and acquisitions, architecting and managing organizational change, transforming dysfunctional teams into productive teams, resolving conflict, executive coaching, developing and leading executive impact and presentation skills programs. In addition to being a TEDx speaker and published author, Jim is the founder of the Leadership Development Group and the Creator of the Check Your Tude Table and website www.checkyourtude.com. His degree at Baylor Medical School, his doctoral degree and certification as a NLP Master Trainer demonstrates his ongoing commitment to education, creativity and excellence. Jim served on the faculty of Pacifica Graduate School and was the Chair of the Diversity Committee as well as serving as an Officer on the Santa Barbara County Affirmative Action Commission.
David Almeida has been a Private Wealth Advisor with Lincoln Financial Advisors since 2000.
Dave has built his practice using a one-on-one approach. He takes the time to learn what is important to his clients and how best to help them accumulate, protect, and ultimately distribute their assets. He has the ability to bring options from some of the strongest financial companies to the table. This allows him to provide competitive, diversified and personalized investment and insurance solutions, which help meet his client’s needs. He also helps local employers design and implement company sponsored retirement plans and educates their employees about the value of investing to obtain their financial goals.
He obtained his BA in IT from Humboldt State University. He worked for many years as a manufacturing engineer but made the transition to the financial industry to better apply his skills and passion to help people solidify their financial futures.
Dave is an active part of the Santa Barbara community where he lives with his wife, Kristiana and their two dogs. He is a longtime volunteer with the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter, and sat as a board member for 8 years. In his free time Dave enjoys Cross Fit, running marathons, soccer, family time, and running his dogs at the beach.
Rebeca Mireles-Rios is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education specializing in child and adolescent development. She received her K-8 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and MA from UC Berkeley. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Mireles-Rios was a middle school teacher in Berkeley Unified School District for numerous years. Dr. Mireles-Rios’ research examines the educational expectations of Latina/o students and the connection to parent and teacher support. She studies Latina/o adolescents perceptions of teacher support; the role of maternal expectations on education communication; and student trajectories into higher education. She looks at the inequalities in educational outcomes to understand the processes that can potentially increase Latina/o high school student college enrollment and retention rates.