Our Board of Directors

Lara Kilpatrick, Presidentlarakilpatrick

Director of Fund Development, California Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association

Lara grew up in the Santa Cruz area and is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz. Lara’s background includes teaching, marketing, events management and nonprofit development. She currently serves as Director of Advancement for a local pre/k – 12th grade independent school, where she oversees marketing and communications, student admissions, alumni relations and fund development. She is also a founding advancement officer for Teen Kitchen Project. When Angela’s son and another dear friend’s son were both diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Lara’s views about the real challenges women and mothers can face were deeply affected as she watched her friends caring for their four-year-olds during cancer treatment. When Angela invited her to join the Teen Kitchen Project, she was able to turn her desire to help into concrete action.

Before returning to Santa Cruz 8 years ago, Lara lived in Hawai`i where she was deeply involved in the Big Island community, working with nonprofit organizations such as the Bill Healy Foundation, as well as public and private schools. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, as Senior Program Manager for Opus Events Agency in Portland, Oregon, Lara produced marketing events for high-tech and financial corporations across the U.S. and Canada.

Parent of a daughter now in college, Lara enjoys standup paddleboarding, yoga, hiking, reading and spending time with friends and family. An enthusiastic nonprofit and business development professional with a talent for building meaningful relationships, Lara has a passion for lifelong learning and a dedication to making a difference in the lives of others.

Lynn Brisson, Treasurer14502755_10210871054880212_1270829610844199092_n

Certified Public Accountant, Santa Cruz County

Lynn Brisson is a CPA who works primarily with non-profit organizations in the Santa Cruz area. She feels lucky to have some very fun clients including the Santa Cruz SPCA where, on any given day, she may find a dog on curled up on her lap or “helping” on her keyboard. Another of her clients is the Santa Cruz County Symphony where she occasionally works to the beautiful sounds of the orchestra rehearsing.

Lynn, her husband and two children are very active. She loves watching her kids play soccer, baseball and basketball. She herself plays a lot of soccer and also enjoys jogging. She serves on the Santa Cruz County Youth Soccer Club board of directors as well.

She loves the pace of her busy life but greatly appreciates a (rare) quiet moment with a really good book.

Reyna Ruiz, Secretaryreyna

School Community Coordinator, Costanoa High School

Reyna Ruiz is the program director for Watsonville and Santa Cruz Youth City Council.  She is the former program director for the Beach Flats Community Center in Santa Cruz and is credited with taking the center from nearly closing its doors, to becoming a thriving, sustainable organization.  Reyna’s community service began early – In high school she organized dance-a-thons and AIDS Walks to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Her volunteering and activism continued through her years at UC Santa Cruz in the early ’90s, and after when she moved home to LA to work with homeless, then after graduating from college, Reyna became a juvenile probation counselor.  Reyna recently received the prestigious Nextie Award for community leaders who “seek to enhance the quality of life” of its members and “the community at large.” Reyna serves on the Marketing, Program and Development Committees.

Deb Tracy-Proulxdebtracy

Assistant Director, Alumni Engagement Outreach Programs, UC Santa Cruz; Trustee, Santa Cruz City Schools

Prior to working in Alumni Engagement for UC Santa Cruz, Deb was a librarian at the university and a content editor for Yahoo!. She lives in the Seabright neighborhood with her husband and two teenaged sons, both students in Santa Cruz City Schools.
Deb is a two-term trustee on the Santa Cruz City Schools Board of Education where she has served as board president and chair of the district's wellness committee. She is a long time community volunteer who has worked for equity and nutrition for school children in Santa Cruz.
Deb serves on the board of Teen Kitchen Project in memory of her brother Matt who died of cancer when he was only 27.

Debra Miller-Dobler, Director

Attorney, Santa Cruz

 Debra Miller-Dobler is a retired attorney who lives in Aptos with her fabulous husband and two amazingly talented daughters.  She practiced law in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years, having represented several business and individual clients in Santa Cruz County even before she moved here in 2000.  Debra loves that TKP creates so many connections between people who otherwise might never have crossed paths, and she especially appreciates that TKP equips our teens with fundamental life skills in food choices and meal preparation.  Debra feels the people connections and food-related education that TKP provides are invaluable community assets, and she is honored to serve on TKP’s board.

Lisa Fernald Barker, Directorlisa-barker

Artist and Marketing Specialist, Santa Cruz

Lisa is relatively new to Santa Cruz County County.  She was raised on the coast of New England, and after graduation from U.N.H moved to Atlanta, then L.A., San Francisco, and Sacramento.  She is happy to be settled in beautiful Aptos with her family,  where her Uncle and Aunt, originally from Maine, raised their children too.

Lisa’s professional background includes all fields of marketing from strategic to tactical.  She worked as Marketing Manager of WSB Radio in Atlanta organizing  special events, contests, sales promotions, and third party marketing programs. She also worked for several online companies soliciting third party promotional partners and designing marketing programs to increase customer numbers.   Currently, she is Business Development Manager for a local staffing agency,  building relationships with businesses throughout Santa Cruz County.

Lisa is also a professional fine artist and her abstract expressionist paintings are represented by SFMOMA Artists’ Gallery in San Francisco, SLATE contemporary in Oakland and nationally by interior design company, Serena & Lily.  Until now, her volunteer involvement has been related to the arts, leading docent programs at the elementary school level, organizing public educational outreach programs, and serving as Chair for the Capital Artists’ Studio Tour, a city wide event similar to the Santa Cruz Open Studios.

When Lisa moved to Santa Cruz County and was looking at volunteer opportunities, she was impressed by the number of sectors that Teen Kitchen Project serves. From families supporting their loved ones with health issues, to the opportunity given to teens to learn and serve.  Lisa serves with Teen Kitchen Project in honor of her friends Donna and Marlena, both strong, graceful women each one losing one of their children to Cancer.   Lisa is intent on helping Teen Kitchen Project  grow by contributing to the Teen Kitchen Project marketing and development efforts.



Board Emeritus

Sandy Skees, Advisory Board Member

Sandy Skees is west coast managing director for Fenton, responsible for San Francisco and Los Angeles teams who are accelerating progress through social change communications.  She currently works in the LGBT and human rights, recycling and product stewardship, and national climate change policy sectors.  She brings over 25 years in communications strategy with expertise in the sustainability, cleantech and social sectors, creating programs that give organizations a way to focus, share, and motivate change in the world. Skees previously ran her own firm Communications4Good, where she served early stage and Fortune 500 companies.  Previously a partner at Porter Novelli, she managed the global HP account team in 20 cities/10 countries around the world and created programs, processes and predictive integration points as a framework for ensuring global implementation of cutting edge communications techniques.  She sits on numerous boards including 100 Women Who Care, Breaking the Glass Ballot, Sustainable Brands, EORM, Mini Mermaid Running Club, and the Boomerang Foundation, advises the Bellevue University Communications Department and is a seasoned speaker on brand, messaging and communications strategy.

She spends as much time as she can hiking in forests, sitting on beaches, cooking with others and learning something new every day.

Lori Butterworth, Advisory Board Member

Lori Butterworth  is currently the Executive Director of Jacob’s Heart Childhood Cancer Support Services.  Previously, she designed the Youth City Council programs for Santa Cruz and Watsonville.  Youth City Council is an education initiative designed to ignite the power of young people to improve community conditions by participating in hands-on civic engagement while building skills in leadership and public service. Through program participation, youth are empowered to identify emerging issues and implement strategies to address them.

Before launching the Youth City Council program, Lori founded two award-winning, nationally recognized non-profit organizations, which dramatically improved care for thousands of children with life-threatening conditions and their families: Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition of California and Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services.

In 2001, in response to a crisis in public health services for children with serious illnesses, Lori co-founded the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, and served as Executive Director for eight years along with co-founder Devon Dabbs. There, she spearheaded healthcare policy initiatives including the enactment of the Nick Snow Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Act of 2006. This landmark legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger, creates an entirely new hospice and palliative care benefit for children in California.

Lori’s awards at CHPCC include the California Association of Non profits “Achievement in Innovation” for development of creative, successful program strategies (2007), the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium Palliative Care Award for “outstanding leadership, commitment, and advocacy in improving end-of-life and palliative care for children and their families” (2007), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Award of Excellence” for the Western United States for an organization that has best “identified community needs for better care near the end of life, advocated for health system changes to bring about better care and developed and effectively implemented specific projects to do so” (2004). In 2008, Lori was named Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year.

As the founder of Jacob’s Heart, Lori designed, implemented and secured sustainable funding for innovative programs for families of children with cancer, more than doubling projected revenue for the organization for three consecutive years. She led the campaign in 1999 that officially established September as Children’s Cancer Awareness Month in the State of California by executive order.  Over the past fifteen years, Jacob’s Heart has provided emotional, financial and practical support to hundreds of families of children with cancer.

Lori’s many awards for leadership at Jacob’s Heart include the Soroptimist “Woman of Distinction Award for Health” the “Spirit of Excellence Award” and Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network “Use Your Life Award” (2001) which included a $100,000 grant to the organization and three featured appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Earlier in her career as a bilingual educator, Lori was instrumental in establishing a public high school for girls in rural Guatemala and developed multicultural curriculum in inner-city schools for more than a decade. Her linguistic skills and appreciation of cultural diversity have enabled her to bring about dramatic change and unity in diversely populated communities throughout the world.

Lori received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles with a double major in Spanish Linguistics and Communications, as well as a post graduate teaching credential in Secondary Spanish from the University of Maryland. In addition, she studied Education at the Universidad Compultense in Madrid, Spain.

Lori enjoys life in Santa Cruz County with her husband, Joe, son, Matt (23), and daughter, Johanna (17).