State funds alone cannot provide for all the costs associated with providing the finest education possible to our students. The CSU Channel Islands Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3), was established for the purpose of encouraging and accepting private gifts to the University. The Foundation is the catalyst and conduit through which gifts and endowment income flow to provide immediate and long-term support of the University.

Make a Gift

Board of Directors

  • George Leis

    George Leis, Chair

    President, Montecito Bank & Trust

    Mr. Leis oversees lending, retail and business banking and is a member of the bank’s executive team. Montecito Bank & Trust is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Leis recently joined MB&T from Union Bank, where he served as managing director of the Central Coast’s Private Banking division. A veteran of the banking industry, Leis started his career with Security Pacific National Bank in retail and commercial banking, before serving in leadership positions as a senior vice president at Bank of America Private Bank, senior vice president and director at Wells Fargo Private Client Services, managing director at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management and president and CEO of Pacific Capital Bancorp, the holding company for Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.

    Mr. Leis’ community involvement is exemplified through his service to universities and charities throughout Southern California. He is a board member of the United Way of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project and past chair for the Channel Islands YMCA. He serves as chair of the CSU Channel Islands Foundation board of directors and as a member and committee chair for the Cal State Northridge Foundation board of directors. As a distinguished CSUM alumnus, he has participated on numerous other CSUN boards, including the College of Business and Economics advisory board and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Ambassadors.

    His successful career and passionate involvement in community-focused organizations have earned Leis several awards including the CSU Channel Islands Business & Technology Partnership’s 2011 Business & Community Leader of the Year and more recently, the Cal State Northridge Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.

  • Lois Rice

    Lois Rice, Vice Chair

    Retired, Bank Executive

    Lois Rice is retired after 32 years with Wells Fargo Bank. She served as Executive Vice President (EVP) and Division Manager for the Retail Group where she was responsible for 233 branches covering ten states. Ms. Rice was one of two women to hold the position of EVP and was the first to be made a Division Manager. She has served on many boards in Southern California. After retirement, Ms. Rice became a real estate developer, successfully completing three major projects, in Ojai Valley where she has resided for over 50 years. She raised three sons and has 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

  • Chris Meissner

    Chris Meissner, Secretary

    President, Meissner Filtration Products, Inc.

    Mr. Meissner was born and raised in Southern California. He attended Santa Clara University in Northern California, and graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. In 1989 he established Meissner Filtration Products, Inc., which develops, manufactures, supplies and services advanced microfiltration products and single-use systems worldwide. Mr. Meissner has been a part of numerous local organization's boards and committees.

  • Betsy Blanchard Chess

    Betsy Blanchard Chess

    Born into a pioneer Santa Paula ranching family, Betsy Blanchard Chess grew up with a desire to understand and preserve Ventura County agriculture. She has written extensively on Ventura County agricultural and business history, specifically for The Broadcaster Magazine, which later expanded and was renamed Central Coast Farm & Ranch.

    Chess has worked for New West Symphony, Rubicon Theatre, and the Museum of Ventura County. In 2017 Betsy joined the board of the Limoneira Company.

  • Charles Cohen

    Charles Cohen, Esq.

    Cohen, Begun and Deck, LLP

    Mr. Cohen is an attorney with specialty in land use and real estate since 1972. Arbitration of real estate matters through the American Arbitration Association. Land development and land use law representing public and private entities in the development of commercial, residential, industrial and institutional projects in numerous southern California cities and counties. Served as city Planning Commissioner, Councilman, and Mayor Thousand Oaks CA. Served on the Water Bond Committee, which brought Metropolitan Water to the Conejo Valley leading to incorporation of the City of Thousand Oaks. Highly involved citizen on several boards and non-profits in Ventura County and is known for counsel and facilitation.

  • Henry Dubroff

    Henry Dubroff

    Editor, Pacific Coast Business Times

    Mr. Dubroff is founder and majority owner of Pacific Coast Business Times, the award-winning, weekly business journal for Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties in coastal California. He is a past president of the Society for the Advancement of Business Editing & Writing, the leading professional society for business journalists based at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. He received his M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University and previously worked at The Denver Post, the Denver Business Journal and The Springfield Newspapers in Massachusetts.

  • Linda Dullam

    Linda Dullam

    Former Owner of Mandalay Berry Farms

    Ms. Dullam is a longtime member of the Ventura County agriculture community. She is an active volunteer in the community. She serves on the Camarillo Hospice board and is a former board member of the California Strawberry Festival and FOODShare of Ventura County.

  • Hakan Edstrom

    Hakan Edstrom

    Retired Healthcare Industry Veteran

    Mr. Edstrom is the former President and CEO of MannKind. He was elected to Vaccinogen’s Board of Directors, a leading cancer immunotherapy company and chairs their Compensation Committee, while also serving on the Audit Committee. Mr. Edstrom was educated in Sweden and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Stockholm School of Economics.

  • Christine Garvey

    Christine Garvey

    Retired Banker and Lawyer

    Ms. Garvey is currently serving as a director on four public company boards: Healthcare Properties, Prologis, Toll Bros., and Union Bank. Additionally, she is a director on the not-for-profit boards on iCivics, Habitat for Humanity Southern Santa Barbara County, La Casa de Maria, and Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. While in banking, Christine has managed over 200 million square feet of space at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank in London, as well as managing real estate lending at Bank of America.

  • Betsy Grether

    Betsy Grether

    Joint Owner, Grether Farming Company

    Betsy Grether is a business woman in agriculture and a trained landscape architect. She holds bachelor’s degrees from USC in Art History and Cal Poly in Landscape Architecture. She has served in various capacities with non-profit organizations such as St. Johns Healthcare Foundation and The Thacher School in Ojai, among others. Betsy is the daughter of John Spoor Broome, the benefactor for the University’s Library.

  • Mark Hartley

    Mark Hartley

    Co-owner, Fitzgerald Hartley Company

    Mr. Hartley has invested in real estate and has managed a full roster of musical talent including LeAnn Rimes, Brad Paisley, and Olivia Newton John. He also serves as Chairman of the Board at The Academy of Country Music, and maintains offices in Ventura and Nashville, TN.

  • Sam Hishmeh

    Sam Hishmeh

    President, Hishmeh Enterprises

    In 1984, a Jordanian student took a job as a delivery driver for Domino's Pizza so he could pay for his education at ITT Technical Institute. Today, Sam Hishmeh is President of a family business that owns 81 Domino's stores, making it one of the largest franchise in the U.S. for Michigan-based Domino's.

  • William Kearney

    William Kearney

    Sr. Vice President, Merrill Lynch

    Mr. Kearney joined Merrill Lynch in 1975. During his career with Merrill Lynch, Bill has coordinated private placements for the West Coast, served as the Sales Director for offices from Encino to San Luis Obispo and served on the National Advisory to Merrill Lynch Management. In 2004, Bill was honored with the Merrill Lynch Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • Thomas Krause

    Thomas Krause

    Founder & Partner
    Krause Bell Group

    Dr. Krause is the Founder and Partner of Krause Bell Group, an Ojai based company specializing in preventing workplace injuries and fatalities. Dr. Krause has authored five books on safety performance improvement, culture change and leadership. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for California Internet Solutions.

  • Lynda Nahra

    Lynda Nahra

    Retired Bank Executive

    Lynda Nahra is former President of Pacific Western Bank’s Central Coast Region which also includes the Central Valley area.

    Before joining Pacific Western Bank in 2011, Lynda was President, Chief Executive Officer and director of Community West Bancshares and held these same roles at its subsidiary, Community West Bank (formerly Goleta national Bank) from 2000 to 2011.

    Lynda is extremely active on industry and community boards including Partners in Education, Habitat for Humanity of South Santa Barbara County, Westmont Foundation, Rotary Club of Montecito and Women’s Economic Ventures.

    *photo courtesy of Noozhawk

  • John Notter

    John Notter

    Proprietor, Westlake Village Inn

    Mr. Notter is a member of the Board of Directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and is Chairman of the Board of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Mr. Notter was instrumental in the development of the city of Westlake Village and is the owner of Westlake Village Inn, Bogies, and Mediterraneo Restaurant.

  • Lynn Pike

    Lynn Pike

    Former President of Capital One Bank

    Lynn Pike is the former President of Capital One Bank, a division of Capital One Financial Corporation. She is a graduate of the Executive School of Marketing at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She has been active in business, community and nonprofit organizations. Pike currently serves on the boards of Hiscox Ltd and is Chairman of the Risk Committee; American Express National Bank; Phoenix House; and BankWork$.

    In 2012, American Banker awarded Pike the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her achievements and 38 years of commitment to banking. Lynn Pike splits her time between California and Connecticut.

  • Emilio Pozzi

    Emilio Pozzi

    President, American Tooth Industries

    Mr. Pozzi’s professional career covers prestigious positions with the Organizing Committees of the 1990, 1994, and 1999 FIFA World Cups, the Olympic Games of Atlanta, Salt Lake, Athens and Torino. Most recently, he has served as the Local Liaison for the International Paralympic Committee at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, and as Bid Consultant for the successful bid by the City of Sochi, Russia, to host the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

  • Blaise Simqu

    Blaise Simqu

    President & CEO, SAGE Publishing

    Blaise R. Simqu is the President and Chief Executive Officer of SAGE Publishing, one of the leading academic and educational publishers in the world. The SAGE group of companies includes SAGE Publishing, Corwin Press, and CQ Press based in Washington, DC., in the U.S.; SAGE Publishing London in the U.K.; SAGE Publishing, Ltd. Pvt., in New Delhi, and SAGE Asia-Pacific in Singapore. Blaise has been part of the SAGE organization for more than 20 years. He has held a variety of positions from Editor to Vice President to Executive Vice President. He was appointed C.E.O. in 2004. Blaise has also worked with the Hampton-Brown Company, Jossey-Bass Publishers and the Kinko’s Corporation.

  • Esther Wachtell

    Esther Wachtell

    Founder and Retired President
    The Wachtell Group

    Ms. Wachtell is active in charitable activities locally and regionally. She serves as president of the Ojai Music Festival, as a director of the Museum of Ventura County, and has been a volunteer consultant for the Campaign to Rebuild Libbey Bowl in Ojai. Farther from home, she chairs the Development Committee for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and served as founding chair of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California.

    Ms. Wachtell holds a master’s degree from Cornell University. She has studied and lectured on nonprofit management at the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA. She and her husband, Tom Wachtell, manage an apple orchard at their Oak Knoll ranch. Tom is chairman and CEO of an independent oil and gas exploration and production company. They have three grown children and 10 grandchildren.

  • Zohar Ziv

    Zohar Ziv

    Retired Corporate Financial Officer

    Mr. Ziv has over 25 years of executive management experience and an excellent track record across a diverse set of business environments, including large to small size and public and private companies. Prior to Deckers, he held the CFO position for eight years at various diversified companies and industries. Mr. Ziv received his B.S. in Accounting from CSU Northridge and his M.B.A. in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). He was born and raised in Israel for 22 years and thereafter worked and lived in Asia for two years. Subsequently he moved to the United States.

  • Ekin Pehlivan

    Ekin Pehlivan

    Faculty Representative

    Associate Professor, Marketing

  • Placeholder

    Jennifer Herrera

    Student Representative

    Sociology student

Back to Top ↑