The SLF Team
Experts in their Field
Bart Ziegler, PhD
Co-founder and President
Bart Ziegler has a PhD in community and environmental medicine from UC Irvine, and currently directs the Samuel Lawrence Foundation which he co-founded in 2010. Prior to his community work, Bart spent 20 years building an investment company while working in the biotechnology sector as an expert toxicologist researching, advising, and investing in novel technologies. He served as a chemist developing analytical standards for the EPA and spent 5 years doing neuroscientist research at UC San Diego. Bart serves as an advisory board member to Learning Equality, which uses technology to make education available to all.
Jessie Speer, PhD
Co-founder and former Board Member
Jessie Speer is an attorney and human geographer. She received her doctorate degree in geography from Syracuse University, and currently serves as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Her work has examined the U.S. urban development that has entrenched individuals in a cycle of housing displacement. She co-founded the Samuel Lawrence Foundation and was a driving force for the community engagement model that is a hallmark of the Foundation.
Alexis Dixon is a Harvard credentialed mediator providing conflict management facilitation to government, corporate, and non-profit clients. Alexis’ expertise in humanistic (person-centered) psychotherapy, informs his work at Mediation Solutions International, a consulting firm he owns. In addition to his consultant practice, Alexis co-teaches a course on mediation in police work and lectures on conflict and culture at SDSU. He is an active contributor to the field of dispute resolution and serves the community on several boards advancing the arts and dialogue.
Board Member, Treasurer
Christopher Hoover is a technology entrepreneur with interests spanning genomics, digital health and energy innovation. Based in San Diego, he focuses on business ideation, marketing and business development for startups with market-defining technologies. His experiences range from molecular biology system companies (Invitrogen) to global sales and marketing of biocomputing systems for drug discovery. He also served as the US CEO of the MedinCell Corporation, a controlled-release injectable drug delivery company.
Cathy Iwane has a post-graduate degree in Japanese, having attained Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1 Certification (日本語検定能力試験一級). She taught English in the public and private sector in Japan for 25 years, and co-founded Gaia English Academy in Wakayama, Japan. She was interpreter for Former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan for the public education panel entitled, “Fukushima: ongoing lessons.” She’s a certified yoga teacher and remains engaged in the effort to educate the public about the risks of nuclear waste.
Holly Pickerel is Design Director for Corporativo Atelier, a large weaving mill in Mexico. She leads design development and fabric execution through sustainable and best product choice for major clients in the residential and hospitality industry. Holly began her career as the owner of Studio Alegre for more than two decades, her resume includes teaching at The San Diego Art Institute as well as Design and Merchandiser at Produce Apparel and GJeans. She earned a BA in Journalism and Spanish from San Diego State University.
Elliot Rosenberger is an attorney practicing in the fields of consumer protection, employment law, and housing rights. He received his juris doctor form UCLA. During law school, he clerked for the Complex Litigation Section of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the Enforcement Department of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He served as a volunteer attorney with the Employment Rights Project at the Eviction Defense Network, where he provided free legal advice and representation to low-income residents of LA County.
Charles Ziegler has facilitated startup finance and direction for many successful technology companies, including Zeta, Verseon, and Oolu Solar. He has a Bachelors in Chemistry from Reed College, and previously has worked in financial derivatives, hedge fund management, and internet companies. Charles lives in the Bay Area with his wife and has one daughter who is an advertising executive. He spends his time practicing and playing the banjo.
Board Member, Secretary
Farley Ziegler’s film, Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art, the Wall Street Journal cited as “…among the great art documentaries of the past half-century.” Her film, Tim’s Vermeer, produced with Penn & Teller, followed inventor Tim Jenison and his pursuit to paint a Vermeer. The documentary, which also featured David Hockney, was nominated for a BAFTA, and made the Academy’s short list for Best Documentary. She previously worked with Penn Jillette and Teller, producing with Penn the hit comedy documentary, The Aristocrats.
Director of Climate Initiatives
Chelsi Sparti is a master’s student at Cal Berkeley in the Energy & Resources Group and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Point Loma Nazarene University. Previously, she served as a Fulbright Scholar with the U.S. Department of State on Borneo Island, Malaysia. Living in a remote jungle posting accelerated her appreciation of land use, access to energy resources, and a healthy built environment. She spends her spare time with family in Tijuana and exploring nature.
Director of Programs
Amanda Palucki holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis. She values her work with the SLF team to advance science and key environmental issues, promote education, and boost art and cultural development in surrounding communities. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching volleyball and spending time backpacking through national parks, specifically Yosemite.
Tristan Olson holds a bachelor’s degree in English Creative Writing with minors in Business and Film from Western Washington University in Bellingham. Previously, he served as a Fulbright Scholar and Program Coordinator with the U.S. Department of State on the island of Borneo and in the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Living next to one of the oldest and most biodiverse rainforests left on the planet instilled in him the urgency and importance of intersectional environmental justice in the 21st century. He spends his free time reading science fiction and hiking.
Lauren Collin holds a bachelor’s degree in public health from University of California, San Diego and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Columbia University. While receiving her MPH, she interned at the New York City Department of Public Health, working on a racial justice campaign for the Division of Disease Control. She is dedicated to promoting equity in health, education, arts and beyond. She spends her spare time working on DIY projects and hiking in San Diego.
We’d also like to recognize SLF key consultants who ensure SLF programs have the greatest reach: Liz Shear and David Jewell (Governance and Organizational Development); Adam Kaye (Communications); Lucia Palm (Accounting).
Tom English, PhD
Thomas English has a doctorate degree in electrical engineering and is an expert on high-level radioactive waste. Dr. English studied and was a professor at Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. He also worked with the EPA and several defense corporations. He has advised the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy across four Presidential administrations, advised the Government of Sweden, and was the architect of the California Clean Air Act, among other achievements.
Steve Chapple directs the San Diego Unified STEAM Leadership Series, a fiscal sponsee of SLF, and is a visiting scholar at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. He is the author of many
Kathryn Brinton received her Masters of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco and was a former partner and Executive VP of a substantial San Francisco-based financial firm. She brought proprietary investments to market and managed a national sales force. As a believer in the power of documentary films, Kathryn became a founding partner of Moms With Issues Production CO., and was a creator of San Diego’s Young Leaders Film Festival. Her passions include biodiversity, environmentalism, immigrant rights, economic justice, at-risk youth, and the arts.
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