Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors are leaders in our community who serve as ambassadors for our agency, provide financial oversight, and help guide our vision.
Jacqueline Kurta, LMFT, PsyD
- Alberto Arroyo
- Jim Baxter
- Marc Borowitz
- Patty Bryant
- Brynn Crowe
- Patricia Duffy
- Allan Ghitterman (In Memoriam)
- Mary Howe-Grant, PhD
- Kathry LePage M.A.
- Karen Lehrer, MFT
- Seymour Lehrer
- Mike McCarthy
- Bruce W. McRoy, JD
- Fred Morguelan, PhD
- Hon. Susan Rose – Chairperson
- Marilyn Rickard Schafer
- Das Williams
- Michael Young
- Maria Zate
Jacqueline Kurta, LMFT, PsyD
Jacqueline Kurta is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in work with adolescents, college-age young adults and families, particularly focused on challenges involving alcohol, drug and other addictive behaviors. She is the Director of the UC Santa Barbara Alcohol and Drug Program and maintains a private practice in Santa Barbara. She provides clinical supervision services for Casa Serena, a Santa Barbara residential treatment program for women, and also serves as adjunct faculty for Antioch University’s Santa Barbara campus.
Kurta has B.A in English from Tufts University in Boston; an MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Santa Barbara; and a Psy.D in Marriage and Family Therapy from Ryokan College in Los Angeles. She was awarded Outstanding Chapter Leader for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) in 2009 while serving as Co-President of CAMFT Santa Barbara Chapter. She has also been a guest lecturer for Pacifica Graduate Institute, offering presentations on crisis management and response for the clinical and counseling programs.
Dan Engel has been a B2B and B2C software entrepreneur since 1997. He was formerly CEO & Co-Founder at FastSpring, a leading e-payment platform and 4-time winner of The Silver Stevie Award for “Customer Service Department Of The Year”. Prior to FastSpring, Engel led online customer acquisition/advertising for Google during its IPO phase. He has appeared in various publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes & The Wall Street Journal. He graduated Tulane University in 1998 with a degree in Finance.
Engel has been an active angel investor, advisor, and/or board member at Apeel Sciences (food waste), SafeGraph (geospatial data), Blue Triangle Technologies (performance optimization), Rincon Venture Partners, TechStars, TrackStreet, Mobile1st, Directional Cue, Allergease (natural medicine) and others. Locally, Engel also works with Home For Good to help place homeless people from Santa Barbara into permanent housing. He spends much of his free time with his beautiful wife and two children.
Ziad Elkurjie has been a technology executive and entrepreneur in Santa Barbara and Silicon Valley for 20 years. He attended the University of Toronto for his training in Computer Science and Economics.
Elkurjie has been involved in numerous startup companies from inception through mergers and acquisition phases. He brings a pragmatic and structured approach to business development and market opportunities.
Elkurjie has lived in Santa Barbara for 14 years with his wife and 3 kids. He is a Math Enrichment coach at Mountain View Elementary School and serves on the Advanced and Gifted Learning Committee with the Goleta District Board of Education.
Mark Cardona, JD
Mark Cardona is a commercial transactions attorney with a private practice based in Santa Barbara. He enjoys volunteering in the Central Coast community to support causes that offer services for mental health, education, and under-served populations. Cardona received his undergraduate degree from UCSB and law degree from the University of La Verne College of Law. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and dogs.
Suzanne Grimmesey, MFT
Suzanne Grimmesey is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has worked locally in the Behavioral Health field for 32 years and with the County of Santa Barbara, Department of Behavioral Wellness for 25 years. She is a member of the department’s Executive Team and holds over 20 years of Executive Leadership experience. After many years serving in clinical operations, she currently serves as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the department the Chief of Strategy and Community Engagement. She also serves on the Public Information Team for the County of Santa Barbara, provides critical incident debriefings for first responders, schools and others within the community.
Suzanne supports the County Emergency Operations Center during disaster activations and serves as the Behavioral Health lead for the community. She has been actively involved in multiple community disaster/tragedy responses including the Isla Vista Mass Murder, Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow, Borderline Shooting, Family mass murders, the Conception Dive Boat fire, multiple wildfire events, mass casualty events and most recently with the COVID-19 response. Suzanne is the lead for the Community Wellness Team, a collaboration of multiple local agencies, formed in response to the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow to provide behavioral health response, and remains active to aid in community high stress events. Suzanne has served on the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Disaster Behavioral Health workgroup and is a speaker, locally and for statewide organizations on disaster behavioral health and the psychological impact of community disaster.
She has been honored with receiving the County of Santa Barbara Employee of the Month, December of 2022, 2022 Women of Achievement award from the local American Woman Communicators chapter, received the 2020 Ackerman Award of Appreciation from Healing Opportunities, the 2019 Community Partnership Hero for Hospice of Santa Barbara and the 2018 Woman of the Year by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Monique Limón for the role she played in the Behavioral Health response for the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow.
Suzanne has lived in the Santa Barbara community since childhood. She is married and is the proud mother of three amazing children, now all young adults, and is a dog mom of three incredible Great Danes.
Scott Sanford is a Commercial Banker for JP Morgan Chase focused on businesses in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. He has worked in banking for over 12 years in various capacities. Prior to joining JP Morgan Chase, Scott was a Commercial Banker with City National Bank from 2019 to 2023 and an Underwriter with Wells Fargo Capital Finance from 2011 to 2019.
Scott received his B.A. in Economics and Accounting from Claremont McKenna College in 2010 where he played water polo and swam during all four years. Scott lives in Ventura with his wife Melissa and their 14-year-old Australian Cattle Dog named Sky. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, spearfishing, playing music and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Diane Pannkuk, M.B.A.
Board Member (Former Board President)
Diane Pannkuk is a recognized community leader in Montecito, and has had an extensive vocation in volunteerism. She served as our Board President for 10 years. Diane has been on our board for more than thirteen years and was previously our Board President for 10 years. She received her B.A in Communication at UCLA and an M.B.A. from George Washington University. During her professional career, Pannkuk served as a contract negotiator the United States Department of Defense and as President of the Silver Creek Corporation. In 2010, Pannkuk was honored by the Montecito Association with the award of “Montecito Association Citizen of the Year.” She lives in Montecito with her family.
Ronnie Shahbazian has been a long time Veterans advocate. With his experience working with an established community organization, Ronnie is a great fit, and excited to be a new member of the New Beginnings BOD.
Ronnie serves as Chaplain and Historian for AmVets Post 3 Santa Barbara.
Ronnie serves on the Board of Directors for the Spiritualist Church of the Comforter in Santa Barbara.
Born and raised in the Fresno area, Ronnie attended Del Rey Elementary school, Sanger High School and Reedley College. In 1967, Ronnie was drafted into the US Army and was trained as a Combat Medical Corpman and served with the 145th Combat Avaition Battalion Headquarters Company in Bein Hoa, South Vietnam.
After his military service, Ronnie attended Fresno College while working in the family businesses, which included farming and an Automotive repair Business.
Ronnie moved to Santa Barbara in 1983 working in various businesses. In 2001, he began work with MTD as a commercial bus driver until 2017 when he retired.
Ronnie is passionate about being an advocate for Veterans issues, supporting his Church, and taking great care of himself.
Stasia Huiner, MBA
Stasia Huiner has held various executive roles in the healthcare and healthcare technology industries for more than 20 years. She graduated magna cum laude from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and later completed her MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Stasia’s professional career has taken her from Chicago to Santa Barbara and from consulting to leading teams in both small and large companies as an executive. Her efforts at those companies have included building and selling a strategic venture investment portfolio, being Chief of Staff for a Fortune 200 CEO, leading Client Success functions in a healthcare technology company and eventually becoming Chief Operating Officer. Stasia also enjoys being active in her local community and in organizations that have a deep impact at the individual level.
Stasia and her husband have lived in Santa Barbara for over 20 years and have teenaged triplet boys. Stasia is a former Board member of the Peabody Charter School Foundation and is currently serving as Treasurer of the Santa Barbara league of btc (boys team charity).
Kathryn Keene is senior vice president and Human Resources talent, technology, inclusion and people analytics manager of City National Bank. Ms. Keene oversees talent acquisition and human resources operations of the organization and also spearheads data and insights-driven technology for the bank’s Human Resources division. Since joining the bank in 2016, Ms. Keene’s team has hired more than 2,000 colleagues and engages a highly motivated, diverse workforce of more than 5,000 colleagues. Ms. Keene is a member of the bank’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group, working directly with City National CEO Kelly Coffey and President Rich Raffetto. She reports to Executive Vice President and Chief Colleague Officer Martha Tuma. Ms. Keene has more than 25 years of human resources experience. Prior to joining City National, she was vice president human resources and executive director of recruitment at Paramount Pictures. Before that, she led NBC Universal Pictures Group’s talent acquisition division. Ms. Keene also worked at Radio City Productions and began her career at The Walt Disney Company, launching The Disney Store, Inc. division.
Active in the community, Ms. Keene serves on the board and governance committee of MURALism.org, an organization that connects people with special needs to the community through art. She also serves on the board of the Santa Barbara nonprofit New Beginnings, which provides mental health counseling to low-income community members and helps end homelessness for individuals, families, and veterans throughout Santa Barbara County. Ms. Keene is a member of Chief, a private network built to drive more women into positions of power and keep them there. Ms. Keene earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations/Business from Pepperdine University. She also received a Coaching Certification from Fielding Graduate Institute.
Warren B. Ritter II
Warren B. Ritter II is originally from Orangeburg, South Carolina. Warren graduated from Wofford College, a private college in Spartanburg, SC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.
Warren’s career path began with the Business Chamber of Commerce in Columbia, SC where he developed relationships within the seat of state government, the South Carolina State house. In the State house which is home to the Governor’s office, as well as the House and Senate chambers, Warren worked on policy and legislature reform as it impacted the working-class families in areas of agriculture, machinery, and small business. From there he made the transition into the financial services field and became a manager for a national bank. Warren’s success in the banking industry prompted his move to Santa Barbara, California.
Warren transitioned from corporate banking to Wealth Management Strategies Insurance and Financial Solutions in 2018. He became a Registered Representative, completing his Series 6 and 63, and continues to produce and assist individuals with overall problem solving, estate planning, and financial literacy. These areas of deficiency are often opportunities for education that many people in marginalized groups would not normally have access to. Warren hopes to be a beacon for financial and economic change because when exploring unfamiliar topics, representation matters.
In addition to financial literacy, Warren is also passionate about Law and Policy. Warren is involved in politics and is connected to representatives at the city, county, state and federal levels. He believes that real lasting and permanent change happens when policy and legislature are changed to reflect the same values that a community and society claim to uphold. Warren is an avid reader and enjoys both playing basketball and practicing on both the piano and guitar in his free time. Warren is active in several non-profits and has served, advised, or is currently serving on the following boards/commissions: Creative Wealth International, Endowment for Youth Committee, Healing Justice SB, Human Services Committee of Santa Barbara County, Martin Luther King Foundation, Santa Barbara Education Foundation, the Santa Barbara Young Black Professionals, and Women In STEM Santa Barbara.