Meet The Board

From our Staff to our Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a compassionate and dedicated group of individuals
who are willing to do whatever it takes to help change children’s lives for the better.


Jessica Lenth

President

Assistant Director of Finance, Planning and General Operations at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology
Elected November 2019

Jessica Lenth is a Santa Cruz native happy to return to her town to join the Board of Big Brothers Big Sister Santa Cruz. She is currently working for the YMCA of Silicon Valley as the Director of Administrative Services at the Camp Campbell location in Boulder Creek. 

Jessica's background includes working with organizations throughout the Bay Area focused on youth development. She spent three years working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, developing new curriculums and programs and overseeing program quality and worked for Playworks in the East Bay and Silicon Valley overseeing AmeriCorps finding and program operations. 

Jessica earned her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts with an Art History Concentration from the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University and her Master's Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the University of Southern California. 

She joined the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters because she is passionate about ensuring all children and youth have positive and caring role models in their lives. 


Art Crumpler

Vice President

Retired
Elected October 2018

Art Crumpler is enjoying retirement after four decades of working in Silicon Valley. He has a broad range of experience including Assistant Controller at Motorola-Computer Product Division, Director of Contracts at BT Tymnet, and Senior Contracts Manager at Quantum and Brocade Communications. Art attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Art has been a long-term volunteer with the Day on the Monterey Bay Regatta which benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters. He looks forward to giving back to the community though volunteering and deepening his support of youth mentoring programs. Art also stays active through swimming, playing basketball, and traveling.


Stacy Austin

Treasurer

Stacy Austin moved to Santa Cruz in 2001 with her husband, two boys, and two dogs. As a mom to two active boys and wanting to be fully involved in their lives, she started dedicating her time volunteering at Soquel PENS, Happy Valley Elementary, Cap-Soquel Little League, and Santa Cruz Mountains Cycling to name a few.

With the boys starting school, she accepted a position as the Fiscal Manager at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, a $2M non-profit organization, where she oversaw the Center’s finances including the preparation of the annual budget, creation of monthly financial statements and cash flow analysis.

For the past nine years, Stacy has successfully been building her own business, Distinct Property Management, where she, her business partner, and exceptional staff provide long-term rental management services to Santa Cruz County homeowners.

Stacy joined the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters so she can be part of a caring community of people that are committed to improving the lives of the youth within our community once more. 


MICHAEL DESJARDIN

Executive Vice President, Horizon Therapeutics 

Secretary

Elected February 2021

Michael after living most of his life in the Bay area moved to Aptos in 2014 with his wife.  Their family includes their young daughter and two dogs, and they enjoy the country lifestyle of the area and numerous outdoor activities like swimming, biking, and hiking. Currently Michael works for Horizon Therapeutics, a global biopharmaceutical company that believes strongly in giving back to the communities where employees live. Michael is an Executive Vice President for Technical operations. He has a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley and is a professional engineer in the State of California. 

Michael has always enjoyed participating in youth mentorship programs. His experiences include leading an Explorer Scouts troop for future chemistry students, being a Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts troop in Sunnyvale, and coaching youth sports like basketball and ASA competitive softball with his older children, He has a real passion for youth leadership development and truly sees the value in efforts like Big Brothers and Big Sisters to create a better world for future generations.

Michael joined the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization because of his passion for youth mentoring activities and also to be more engaged in the local community he now lives.

Les Forster

Member

Elected March 2021 

Les attended local schools, including Cabrillo College after serving in the Navy. He retired as a full-time educator in 2016, having spent the last 13 years of his career as the founding Principal at Cypress High School in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz. He has supported a variety of youth-focused initiatives over the years, including CASA (as a former board member and current advocate), the Teen Kitchen Project, Friday Night Live, and Your Future is Our Business. Additionally, he is a regular Red Cross blood donor.

He currently serves as the Coordinator of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education's "Inside Education" program.

Les is the parent of two adult children. He and his wife, Mary Gaukel, are fortunate to have all four of their grandchildren living locally.

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Maria Barranco

Member

Program Manager, Monarch Services
Elected September 2019

Maria Barranco is a first-generation immigrant born from Oaxaca, Mexico's indigenous roots and deep immigrant community in Santa Cruz County( Davenport). She has dedicated her professional career and life to issues of social justice and equity.

 Maria has over 25 years of experience working in the field of social service and social justice. She has a clear understanding and experience working with violence survivors through domestic violence, sexual assault,  and human trafficking. Maria has worked with Monarch Services for over 19 years in different capacities. She currently oversees the agency's 24-hour crisis response program, the confidential shelter, sexual assault program, and prevention program. In her role, Maria oversees over 25 Advocates. Maria enjoys mentoring and supporting volunteers and staff. Additionally, in her position, Maria provides state-certified training to new staff and volunteers to ensure they are well equipped and ready to provide services to survivors.

Maria has served on the Santa Cruz Women's Commission and currently serves on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Maria graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a Bachelors's degree in sociology and psychology as an undocumented student; she completed her school and was the fourth in her family to graduate with a college degree. She was raised, lives, and works in Santa Cruz County.

Maria joined the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization in 2019 because of her passion and love for her community and wanting to make a difference. 

 

Geoff Boraston

Member 

VP Organizational Development, Granite Construction 
Elected October 2019

Geoff is the VP Organizational Development for Granite in Watsonville where he leads a team of professionals focused on building talent and leadership capabilities in the business. Geoff has been with Granite since 1995 and has over 30 years of experience working in industry. He has served in various leadership roles on industry associations and was previously on the board for the Santa Cruz Red Cross Chapter. He is a registered chemical engineer with an MBA.

Geoff is an avid sailor and skier and is a member of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club. He believes that outdoor activities and social connections are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.  He joined the Board of Big Brother Big Sister because he sees the opportunity for the organization and its volunteers to help kids in the community live better lives.

Karen Jackson

Member 

Non Profit Event Specialist, Envision this Productions!
Elected June 2019

For the past decade, Karen has devoted her career path to the non-profit industry as a highly motivated, resourceful, and energetic Development Professional. Early on in her non-profit life, she realized how darn good she is at coordinating, planning and launching successful fundraising events. Unlike most from this industry, Karen love to plan these events and takes pride in a job well done. 

Karen brings over 35 years of sales, marketing, management and nonprofit development experience, including expertise in wholesale and retail markets working for major companies to independent organizations. Together with her team, Karen prides herself on her outstanding communication skills, unfailing dependability, a flawless reputation for high ethical standards and honesty, and the ability to connect with a diverse population across a variety of market segments. 

 

Mary Gaukel

Elected March 2021 

Mary spent 40 years as a kindergarten through high school teacher and administrator, founding and leading several alternative education programs and schools.    She was the Executive Director of Your Future Is Our Business, which connects students with career exploration, and currently serves the education partners of the organization.  Through the years, and now into retirement, Mary continues to support the youth of Santa Cruz County as a CASA Advocate, a NAMI Ending the Silence presenter,  and as a mentor to new school administrators.

Mary is grateful that her children live locally and she and husband, Les Forster, can be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. 

Mary joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters Board to support student mentorships which she witnessed, first hand, as having a powerful positive  impact on the future of the youth in our county. 

KAREN ZAPATA

Elected August 2021

 

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS

CHUCK HEWITT

Member Emeritus

Retired
Elected August 2004

Chuck and his wife retired to Hilton Head, SC, and he continues to work part-time as an independent insurance claims consultant and expert witness.

Chuck was born in the Bronx, New York City, where he enjoyed body surfing at the New Jersey Shore every summer. Moving to California, he graduated with a BA in Economics from San Jose State.

Richard Branson

Member Emeritus

Retired
Elected January 2006

Richard Branson was the President of Pacific Ingredient Exchange, which he co-founded in 1985. He retired in 2016. Prior to this he was Marketing Manager for Sun Maid, Sunsweet and Diamond Walnut.  He has an MBA in marketing. A native of Northern California, Richard was born in Ukiah, and lived in Sacramento, Davis, and Stockton before moving to Aptos in 1996. When he was younger, Richard liked to play seasonal sports with his two brothers and neighborhood kids. Rather than marketing, Richard thought about becoming an astronaut when he was growing up.Richard understands the importance of Big Brothers Big Sisters, thanks to his brothers, who were his mentors and the people he looked up to in his youth. Richard was motivated to become a Board Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County because of the life-changing outcomes that occur through the matching of children in need of a positive role model with caring volunteer mentors. Says Richard, “Seeing youth grow into mature members of our community is inspiring.”


Omid Aminifard

Member Emeritus

Vice President of Operations
Santa Cruz Seaside Company
Elected August 2005

Omid Aminfard is the Vice President of Operations for the Santa Cruz Seaside Company. He has spent most of his professional career working in the amusement industry. He previously worked for Sea World in San Diego and Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. He joined the Santa Cruz Seaside Company in 2000. Omid knows first hand the power of youth mentoring, as he was a Big Brother.