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SLF believes breakthrough happens by working at the intersection of science, education, and the arts. Standing alone, each area fulfills a vital function. Standing together, they provide for the well-being of the earth and its people.


President and Co-founder

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 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.



Board Member

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

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.


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.


Board Member

Dr. Peter Andersen is a Professor Emeritus at San Diego State University and a distinguished scholar in innovation and communication. With over 80 professional journal reviews, Andersen is among the 100 most prolific scholars in the communication field. Beyond academia, he has contributed to environmental and conservation causes through roles with the National Sierra Club's Nuclear Waste Task Force, the Sierra Club Legal Committee, and San Diego Community Power.


Board Member

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.


Board Member

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.



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 award winning books, including Breakpoint: Reckoning with America’s Environmental Crises. He wrote the Intellectual Capital column in US newspapers, as well as opinion pieces for the LA Times and NY Times. When he’s not writing, he enjoys lecturing on climate change and consulting with biotech companies.


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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