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.

 

David Abercia

President

Chief of Staff
University of California, Santa Cruz
Elected June 2015

David Abercia is a Texas native that moved to Santa Cruz in January 2015. He is currently the Chief of Staff for Undergraduate Education at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to that, David served in various capacities at Texas Tech University (TTU), including a Chief of Staff role for the Senior Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education & Student Affairs, and a Deputy Chief of Staff role in the Office of the President.

He was also an active member of the community in Lubbock, where he served in various capacities with the Lubbock Area United Way (Annual Campaign Vice Chair, Division Chair, and Loaned Executive), Board President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lubbock-Plainview and was a member of the Keep Lubbock Beautiful Advisory Committee. David also spearheaded the Greater West Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC), an annual employee charitable giving campaign raising over $1 million for non-profits across the region.

David attended Texas Tech University (TTU) where he completed his bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Political Science, masters in education, and Ph.D. in Higher Education.

He joined the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters because of his passion for volunteering and desire to give back to the Santa Cruz community. He is a firm believer in the power of mentoring children and the positive outcomes that it achieves.


Angela Cline

Member

Director, Business and Financial Analysis
UC Santa Cruz
Elected November 2019

 


Shannon Graaskamp

Secretary

Benefits Specialist
Granite Construction
Elected February 2018

Shannon Graaskamp is a native of Santa Cruz County. She attended Soquel High and graduated from San Jose State with a B.A. in Communication Studies. Shannon is currently a Benefits Specialist with Granite Construction Inc. where she has been employed since 2012.  Additionally, she has her Human Resources Professional Certification (SHRM-CP).

Shannon truly values getting outside through a variety of activities like camping, sailing, and traveling.  Her biggest joy comes from spending time with friends and family.

Shannon joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters Board because she recognizes the long-lasting power of youth mentoring. She knows that volunteering and giving back is critical to the health of a community.

 

Katie Mekis

Treasurer

Accounting Manager
Hospice of Santa Cruz County
Elected October 2018

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus congue auctor tellus eleifend dictum. Mauris.


Morgan Lukina

Member

Real Estate
David Lyng Real Estate
Elected June 2018

Morgan Lyng Lukina is a native of Santa Cruz County. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business and began working at Prudential Mortgage Capital Company where she worked as an Investment Analyst.

Morgan was honored to join her family’s Real Estate company after working in commercial real estate in San Francisco. She joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters board in 2018. She is also serving as the president of The Santa Cruz County Board of Realtors.


Art Crumpler

Member

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.


Maricela Salgado, O.D.

Member

Director of Optometry
Salud Para La Gente
Elected October 2018

Maricela Salgado is the Director of Optometry at Salud Para La Gente in Watsonville. She received her Doctorate of Optometry from Indiana University and her Bachelor of Science from San Jose State.

Maricela strongly believes in the life-changing power of mentorship. She knows first had the power of kind and supporting mentors and is passionate about creating mentoring opportunities for future generations. Maricela is a strong advocate for promoting children’s physical and emotional well-being because that will resonate through their adulthood and shape relationships with the rest of their communities.

Maricela enjoys attending cultural and community engaging events, spending time with friends and family, and staying active through hiking and running.


Maria Barranco

Member

Program Manager, Monarch Services
Elected September 2019

 

 

 

Geoff Boraston

Member 

VP Organizational Development, Granite Construction 
Elected October 2019

 

Terri Festa

Member 

Self-Employed
Elected November 2019

Terri Festa has a long history with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization which started with serving as a Big Sister to 3 consecutive Little Sisters for BB/BS of Southwest Louisiana. This was followed by a move to Lafayette, Louisiana to establish BB/BS of Acadiana. All of this coincided with her teaching career followed by her work as a presenter/trainer for Harcourt School Publishers. Upon moving to California, Terri was chosen as Executive Director for BB/BS in Salinas, CA (renamed as BB/BS of Monterey County).  

More recently, Terri's community service has revolved around dogs and their care. She established an organization known as Society Dog LLC, through which she hosted large-scale events that supported many charitable canine efforts. Terri has owned and operated The Den in the Redwoods, (a Canine Mountain Retreat) for the last 11 years. Terri joyfully returns to BB/BS as a Board Member in Santa Cruz, building upon her past experiences that she feels will enhance her involvement. Terri currently lives in Scotts Valley with her husband and her two dogs. 

Keisha Frost

Member 

CEO, United Way
Elected October 2018

 

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. 

 

Jessica Lenth

Member 

Director of Administrative Services, YMCA of Silicon Valley  
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. 

 

 

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.