Who We Are
Doug Kern, Executive Director
Before coming to GCC, Doug was Director of Conservation for the Mendocino Land Trust, where he successfully completed more than a dozen endangered Coho salmon recovery projects. He helped conserve old-growth redwoods and agricultural lands through conservation easements and managed Land Trust properties to improve public access. Previously, he was Executive Director of the Urban Watershed Project in the Presidio of San Francisco for 16 years and led the Presidio Restoration Advisory Board.
Janet Koed, Outreach Coordinator
Trained as an early childhood educator at UCSB, Janet taught at Goleta Head Start before becoming Director of the Cornelia Moore Foundation, which focused on early childhood dental care and hygiene. She later joined a small local importing company supporting Zapotec weavers. In 2007, after volunteering for the Naples Coalition, she became Administrator for the Coalition and for Gaviota Coast Conservancy.
Nancy Black, Communications Chair
Co-founder of Mercury Press International, Nancy has served as Board President of Pesticide Awareness and Alternatives Coalition, producing the California Organic Festival and supporting local adoption of integrated pest management for parks, schools, and municipal properties.
Mike Brown, Development Chair, Past President
Mike has worked in business and environmental management over the last 35 years in federal, state, and local government agencies. He also established an internal sustainability program at Patagonia. A partner at Brown Wilmanns Environmental, LLC, he has been involved for nearly four decades in community work, including Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, SBCAN, and the Environmental Defense Center.
Steve Forsell, Chair, Outreach Committee, Past President
Steve Forsell has lived in Santa Barbara since 1968 where he attended UCSB. He owned a successful Santa Barbara real estate appraisal company for 30 years in Santa Barbara and is now retired. After being introduced to GCC, he became a board member in 2011. He is currently the President of GCC and Chair of the Outreach Committee. He previously served as Vice President.
Gregory Helms, President
Greg joined the GCC board in 2020, having served on the Naples Coalition for several years. As Fisheries Program Manager at the Ocean Conservancy, he is responsible for ecosystem protection in Southern California. Previously, he was Community Affairs Director for the Environmental Defense Center, where he mobilized the community on coastal protections.
Greg Karpain, Secretary
Greg earned his first “paycheck” at age 10 by diving for coins in the emerald waters of Catalina Island. He moved from Redondo Beach to attend UCSB in 1970 and stayed. GCC provides him the perfect opportunity to give back so others might experience the beautiful environment that he knows daily.
Phil McKenna, Chair, Land Use Committee, Past President
Phil discovered the Gaviota Coast as a student at UCSB and was captivated by it. It is his intention that his grandchildren can experience our coastal lands as he was privileged to do. He joined the board at GCC in 1998 and was president for two years. He recently retired from financial consulting.
Donna Senauer, Vice President
A native Southern Californian, Donna grew up appreciating the importance of public beach and coastal access. A retired Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistant, she is a Montecito Planning Commissioner and volunteers with the Naples Coalition, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and the Sierra Club.
Michelle I. Sevilla
Michelle brings a unique lens as a locally-raised, young immigrant from the Philippines, more than a decade of environmental education experience in the museum setting, and extensive volunteer work as a leader in other environmental organizations. She works on environment-related policy and local issues in the California State Legislature.
Peter is Chairman of the Apollo Group and a co-founder and Chairman of CallWave, Inc. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from UCSB and his MBA from the University of Phoenix.
A 6th generation steward of the Orella Ranch in Gaviota, Guner has been a GCC board member for more than 13 years and served on the Gaviota Planning Advisory Committee. He and his family run Gaviota Givings, an agricultural business.
Kathryn Washburn, Chair, Governance Committee
Kathy grew up in Southern California and was a city planner in Orange County. She then moved to Washington DC and managed programs at the EPA, Office of Coastal Zone Management in NOAA, and Department of the Interior, where she was Director of International Affairs for 20 years. She retired to Santa Barbara in 2012.
Wayne R. Ferren, Jr.
Dr. Lisa Stratton
Dr. Adam K. Green