The AHA! Team
Jennifer Freed, PhDRead Bio
Jennifer Freed, PhD Co-founder
Chief Content Officer
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. Dr. Freed then became Clinical Coordinator for the Human Relations Institute, now known as Pacifica Graduate Institute. There, she created the award-winning Media Project, a statewide program where teens created videos about crime prevention. Dr. Freed went into private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist and was hired as clinical director of Pacifica Graduate Institute. She taught many classes at Pacifica and created the Overseas Program, where students there could go overseas to study indigenous ways of knowing. She then chose to resign her positions at Pacifica to earn her PhD in Depth Psychology there, while sustaining her private practice and leading workshops on women’s issues and couples’ issues. In 1999, just after the Columbine massacre, Dr. Freed started AHA! with Rendy Freedman, MFT, who became co-Executive Director. First, AHA! was a summer program largely staffed by artists and social-emotional learning experts who volunteered to work with the youth; it was so well-received that it was featured on the front page of the Santa Barbara News-Press. AHA! was soon invited to work with students at La Cuesta Continuation High School, then to Carpinteria and Santa Barbara High Schools. The after-school program was then added to AHA!’s offerings. AHA!’s Peace Builders, AHA!’s newest program, was introduced in 2013. Dr. Freed’s books include The Ultimate Personality Guide, Lessons from Stanley the Cat, and a series of Be Your Best Self workbooks, which are used in AHA! programs. She also authored the three-volume AHA! Method Book. In the works are PeaceQ, a book about peace-building; a book on women’s sexual wisdom; and another book about celebrating and transforming negative thoughts (Bad Thought Gremlins). She has been writing poetry her whole adult life, and created two radio programs: Freed Up!, an Air America talk show that had thousands of listeners; and Signs of Change, created with psychologist and education expert Stacy Pulice and aired on an AM station based in Arizona. She has made many television appearances and written guest columns in her areas of expertise. Passionate about continued learning, Dr. Freed has undergone ongoing professional development and training: she has been trained and certified in hypnosis, EMDR, light therapy, mediation, and EQ with national organization Six Seconds.
Rendy Freedman, MFTRead Bio
Rendy Freedman, MFT Co-Founder
Rendy Freedman has been a psychotherapist and mediator for over 20 years, and an educator for over 35 years. She specializes in working with adolescents, couples, families, groups, and trauma issues through EMDR. She has worked extensively with women’s issues and leads groups for parents of teens. She is a licensed mediator and certified EMDR practitioner and has had significant training and experience in body related healing modalities, as well as in relational therapy systems including self psychology, family systems, the mutuality philosophy of the Stone Center at Wellesley College, and council practice from The Ojai Foundation. In between teaching high school English and entering her masters program in clinical psychology she spent five years in advertising and film production in Denver and Los Angeles. She received her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University in Santa Barbara and a bachelor of arts degree in secondary education from the University of Iowa. She has taught in both public and private schools and was one of the founders of The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara. She taught undergraduate and graduate classes at Antioch University for 10 years and has lectured frequently in schools, local agencies, and groups on the topic of social and emotional intelligence. She leads experiential workshops for parents of teens–especially mothers and daughters. She has led and participated in dozens of trainings on diversity celebration and creative arts applications of social and emotional intelligence. She is the proud mother of three adult children, has an adorable grandchild, and enjoys adventuring in the beautiful Santa Barbara mountains and ocean.
Board of Directors
Marla McNally Phillips
Board PresidentRead Bio
Marla McNally Phillips Board 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.
Board Vice PresidentRead Bio
Nancy Grinstein Board Vice President
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.
David Almeida Treasurer
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.
Lisa Boisset Babcock
Lisa Boisset Babcock Secretary
Lisa Boisset Babcock joined her husband Bryan part time in 2010 in an effort to rebrand and shift Babcock Winery & Vineyards to a more retail-centric business. She specializes in thinking out of the box, business strategy, ambience creation, and encouraging both her work teams and customers to feel positivity and love of life. Her skills and perspective stem from a life of growing up overseas, and a 30 plus year career in the fashion industry, where she went from many years of buying for Bullock’s Department Stores, to VP of Merchandising at multiple companies, most recently at Forever 21. Lisa is very passionate about people, maximizing one’s experience, and empowering others to be their best selves. She is a grateful parent of Sean, 20, and Chloe 16, and is happy to have been married to Bryan for over 25 years. Lisa is happy to be a member the AHA! Board and enjoys opportunities to give back.
Kerrilee GoreRead Bio
Kerilee Gore is a dancer, producer, and dance teacher. She directed Los Angeles cirque troupe Zen Arts; served as entertainment director of Savoy; and created and executive produced an immersive theatrical show, When The Lights Go Out. This theater experience, which included elements of acrobatics and cabaret, enjoyed two successful runs at the Lobero Theater. Kerilee currently teaches Disentangle ⎯ an eclectic cabaret class based in her own boutique black box creative space.
Nancy HamiltonRead Bio
Nancy Hamilton grew up in the Mississippi Delta, attended college in Virginia, and moved to California to attend law school in 1986. She has been a successful real estate agent in Santa Barbara since 1996 and the founding partner of Calcagno & Hamilton. In addition to assisting clients, she has also enjoyed purchasing and renovating 28 homes in the SB area which has helped her gain valuable knowledge in the community. She especially enjoys welcoming new people to SB and helping them feel at home. She and her husband Michael have raised 3 daughters in SB and have served on various local school committees and coached many sports teams. She has been a supporter of AHA for many years and is passionate about the benefits that AHA brings to the local schools and community. Nancy is honored to serve as a member of their board.
Jess McHarrieRead Bio
Jess McHarrie is a British, bow-tie adorning, gender-queer deputy public defender. Jess knows the struggle of being viewed as “different” in a world that’s constantly trying to change you to fit into the cookie cutter norms of societal expectations. Working on the front-lines of the criminal legal system, representing the voice-less and disenfranchised, Jess sees the damage that results when we stop viewing one another as humans worthy of love, compassion and understanding. Changing the narrative and guarding against systemic indifference is what drives Jess day-in-day-out when standing up for clients in court. Jess is eager to bring the same passion, advocacy, and compassion brought to every client while serving on the Aha! Executive Board.
Bibi MoezziRead Bio
Bibi Moezzi is Senior Vice President, Director of Commercial Banking for Pacific Premier in Santa Barbara. As a Director of Commercial Banking, she leads her team in Santa Barbara with their efforts in developing new opportunities while strengthening existing relationships. Throughout her 20-year banking career in Santa Barbara, Bibi has garnered the trust and respect of her team, as well as her clients, with her hard work and genuine care. Bibi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. She moved to Santa Barbara in 1999 to continue her education, but instead found her way into banking. She is actively involved in the Santa Barbara Community, and has served on many boards. Bibi received the “Extra Step Award” from Congresswoman Lois Capps and the Santa Barbara Police Department for going above and beyond the call of duty. Additionally, She received the Pacific Coast Business Times, 40 Under 40 Award.
Jim PealRead Bio
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.
Jack RivasRead Bio
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.
Pablo RomeroRead Bio
Pablo Romero was born and raised in the Mexican northern border town of Juarez. He graduated from architecture school in 1992, continued his studies in the landscape architecture field in 1994, and opened his own firm in 1996. As he developed a practice focused on public spaces and buildings for the community, he began his involvement with multiple non-profit organizations, which later evolved into volunteering and eventually joining and creating new educational and cultural organizations with an emphasis on childhood and youth. As a result, he became a member of the board of the Colegio Casa Montessori Elementary, and still sits on the board of La Rodadora, a children’s museum in Juarez which he cofounded with a group of young local entrepreneurs and visionaries. In 2009, and while Juarez was going through an extremely violent and dangerous period, he migrated to beautiful Santa Barbara with his wife Larissa and three children: Cecilia, Paulina and Emiliano. Paulina is an AHA! alumna and facilitator attending SBCC, while Emiliano is an AHA alumnus about to move to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon. Pablo now works for RJC, Inc., an architecture firm based in Santa Barbara. As he watches his kids bloom and fly away, he is particularly excited to be joining AHA!’s Board of Directors.
Rand RosenbergRead Bio
Rand most recently held the position of Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development at PG&E Corporation. PG&E, which oversees one of the country’s largest and greenest generation portfolios, is recognized as an industry leader on the issue of climate change and the importance of reducing man made greenhouse gases. Prior to his work at PG&E, Rand spent several years in the field of investment banking. In addition to being a partner of Montgomery Securities he held senior positions at Goldman Sachs and Salomon Brothers where he was a Managing Director and Head of Global Telecommunications Investment Banking. Rand also served as executive vice president and CFO of InfoSpace, an Internet search engine enterprise. Rand currently serves on the boards of an emotional intelligence enterprise developed within Google, Search Inside Yourself Learning Institute and a slavery and trafficking organization, Human Thread Foundation. Rand received his B.A. from Whitman College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Bobby ShandRead Bio
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.
Ambassador Of EducationRead Bio
Stacy Pulice Ambassador Of Education
Serves on the USC Civic Engagement Board of Councilors, which provides education and services to schools surrounding its campus, and she is the Chair of its Education Committee. She is the educational consultant on the board of AHA! (Achievement, Harmony, Attitude), a non-profit providing social and emotional learning programs for at-risk teens. She also serves on the board of Multimedia Art and Design (MAD) Academy at Santa Barbara High School, offering integrated, project-based learning using media arts and technology. Dr. Pulice recently launched a non-profit focused on helping teachers nurture the “genius” in every child. After receiving a B.A. in Economics from UC Irvine, she worked in the television industry for 10 years. Earning an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute led to a private psychotherapy practice for two decades, specializing in empowering young women, as well as Jungian psychology. She returned to Pacifica to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology, and specialized in transformational education. Stacy contributes time and resources to bringing programs such as Restorative Approaches and emotional intelligence training for underprivileged and at-risk youth in Santa Barbara.