AGUA HEDIONDA LAGOON FOUNDATION / FOUNDATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jani Jackson, M.Ed., Co-Chairwoman
Jani Jackson is a Carlsbad resident and the founder of Develop Your Team, where she is thrilled to work with individuals and teams to help them grow and excel. Jani has a master's degree in Adult Education and Training and an extensive background in corporate training and development. Her customized programs combine fun with purpose to develop highly-engaged and effective top-performing teams.
Lynnell Talone-Honda, Co-Chairwoman
As a second generation native of North San Diego County, I have seen the area transition from farm land and rural communities to modern cities and one of the most coveted areas to live in the entire United States. My philosophy has always been focused on integrity and customer service. It has served me well for my entire career. After receiving an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration, I have focused my career on Real Estate, Management and sales. Personally, I have raised three wonderful sons and put them through college. I’m proud to say they are beginning their own careers and have become responsible members of their communities. When they were growing up, I served as PTG President in their school, I managed some of their sports teams and I lead fund raising campaigns. In addition to my real estate career, I’m an active participant on the board of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, my Church’s Migrant Worker Food Program, BHHS Charitable Foundation, Resource Center for Women, and The Assistance League of NC.
Rachel Ivanovich, Past Chairwoman
Rachel grew up in the Pacific Northwest and moved to Carlsbad in August of 2000. She has spent the past twenty plus years raising her two children and honing her skills as an income tax expert. Her company, ELM Tax, was founded in 2006 and is committed to helping local business owners. In 2010,she graduated from SDSU with her MBA, with an emphasis in Finance and Taxation. Rachel loves kids and the environment and is passionate about health, fitness and helping others. She joined the AHLF Board in 2017.
Julie Gibbs, Vice Chairwoman
My greatest accomplishment is raising twins who are now in their 3rd year of college, one at USD and the other back east at Lehigh. I am a sales/marketing exec and have worked for consumer products companies both Fortune 500 and start-ups throughout my career all over the country and I had a 2-year stint in Toronto as well. My partner and I designed and brought to market a children’s bathtub table, so I have personal experience as an entrepreneur. My journey to Carlsbad was through my parents who moved here from the midwest when I was in college. When my children went off to college and with my parents both passed away, I moved from our house north of LA into my Mom’s condo about 2 years ago and will (hopefully) continue to work full-time until I have some grandchildren! Besides raising children, my other passion is tennis, which I play regularly in the area. And my favorite walk - which was my mother’s daily walk - is along the sidewalk above the beach from Tamarack to the Harbor Fish House
Stacy Hall, Treasurer
Stacy Hall is a resident of Oceanside and native to North San Diego County. She is a financial analyst at Medtronic which is a global leader in medical technology, services, and solutions. Her love for the lagoon started with growing up in Carlsbad and enjoying the water activities the lagoon has to offer. She joined the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Board of Directors in 2019 as a way to support her community and to be part of the preservation and education of the unique ecosystem.
Diana LaCroix, Secretary
Owner of Empower Print Source – with 35 years’ experience in print production and marketing. I love the outdoors, running, working out, going to baseball games and concerts. I am a mother of 5 with 3 teens still living at home. I enjoy time with all of my kids. I also have 3 grandkids and love being a grandma and doing grandma things!
A San Diego County resident since 1997, Lauren Brimmer, with her husband and college student daughter, sold their Fallbrook avocado grove and moved to Carlsbad in May 2022. After a career in product development and software program management with both Fortune 100 Companies (Apple, Honeywell, HP) and start-ups, Lauren ‘retired’ to Carlsbad, learning about the many ways the lagoon and community interact. Her appreciation for the environment and sustainability began as she grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania and was further defined by a field geology class studying glaciers at the University of Colorado. Earning her MBA in Operations from Arizona State University, Lauren had the opportunity to work on several sustainability projects at HP removing harmful chemicals from supply chains and making accessories more energy efficient. Lauren firmly believes that corporations and environmental interests can successfully co-exist and is excited to play a part in preserving the lagoon.
Starting as a sales engineer at big companies like Texas Instruments and Motorola, Rocco found that he could have an even bigger impact working at start-up companies. His first start up crashed and burned, but from then on he was able to help companies grow and be acquired. His travels allowed him to meet people from around the world and hear about the universal concerns of a changing climate. Active in the “Keep Tahoe Blue” organization, he realized that change was possible with an organized effort. After a friend developed early onset Parkinson’s disease, Rocco formed an organization to raise funds for non-profits by planning challenges. He has organized and run fund raisers such as mountain climbing, white water rafting, and a Stand-Up Paddleboard marathon which brought him to the Lagoon in 2014. He moved from Rocklin to Carlsbad in 2016 to follow his three children who had already decided Carlsbad was where they wanted to live. Rocco is active in a number of local non-profits.
Mario Cuneo is a retired successful businessman with over 40 years of experience in the construction industry, including over 25 years of managing a business consultancy with an emphasis on best practices. Mario's superpower is improving efficiency, profitability, and streaming operations. He created several construction software products currently in the Apple Apps Store. Mario began his career as a Civil Engineer working for a large National Construction company and over the years, owned several construction companies. On the softer side, Mario is an avid runner, skier, and sailor and he LOVES the outdoors. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends and being an active member of the community.
Linda Hammond, Ph.D.
Linda Hammond has worked in Carlsbad at Thermo Fisher Scientific since 2014. She has a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, and a B.S in Chemistry from San Diego State University (SDSU). At Thermo Fisher, Linda works as a Technical Writer. In addition, she leads community outreach/STEM education programming at the Thermo Fisher Carlsbad site. Linda is passionate about STEM education and the environment. She has over 30 years of experience working with non-profit community service organizations.
John grew up in Oregon and has been a resident of Carlsbad for the past 12 years, having lived in North County San Diego for nearly 20 years. John is the President of Catalytic Risk Managers, the largest independent underwriter of commercial and residential property catastrophe insurance products in the United States. He received his B. S. degree in Business Administration from University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business. A husband and father of two children, who both grew up enjoying Carlsbad’s beaches, lagoons and hiking trails, John joined the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Board of Directors in 2020, to support the community and help preserve the beauty, integrity and access to the lagoon for future generations.
Frank retired after 25 years in financial services with American Express. The majority of those years were spent leading sales teams. He thrives in a strong team environment. Frank values giving back to the community. In the past, Frank has been a volunteer soccer coach for AYSO and was a volunteer member in San Diego Mountain Rescue. He thought it was fantastic to experience all the great work this organization does with kids and our local lagoon community. Frank has enjoyed working at the DC and supporting volunteer initiatives throughout the past year. As a long-time Carlsbad resident, ensuring our coastline and the lagoon are maintained and available is important to me.
Diane has lived and worked in Carlsbad for over 20 years. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Cal State University, San Bernardino. Diane is passionate about the Carlsbad Community and has served on the Parks and Recreation Commission and Envision Carlsbad Committee. She has participated in the San Diego Water Authority, Carlsbad Chamber Candidate and Carlsbad Citizens Academies. She has served on the Carlsbad High School Site Council, and Carlsbad High Touchdown Club and Pop Warner boards, as well as coached basketball, baseball and football. Diane loves what the Lagoon Foundation brings to our community through educating residents and visitors about our local environment and history.
Raised in Orange County, Taylor has spent much of his life exploring the natural wonders within Southern California. One of those special places is the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve where he has been volunteering since 2012 and where he previously served as a Board Member. He holds a B.A. Environmental Science from UC Irvine and M.S. in Environmental Science from Cal State Fullerton. He is currently employed by San Diego Gas & Electric and advises on infrastructure projects throughout South Orange County and San Diego County.
Maureen Simons grew up in Burbank, California. She graduated from
Immaculate Heart College. She worked as a Trust Officer for Security Pacific Bank. She married John Simons. They moved to Torrance and had seven children and fifteen grandchildren. They moved to Carlsbad twenty years ago and lived at the Lagoon. Three of her children live in Carlsbad. John passed away ten years ago. Maureen is very active at St. Patrick Church. She is past president of ALNC. She joined the Board of AHLF in 2011 and later went on to become Chairman of the Board. She is past President of Hi Noon Rotary. She is on the Ambassador Committee of Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and has donated time with the Mitchell Thorp Foundation. She has spent many hours at the Discovery Center
Amanda Smith is a North County San Diego native who grew up hiking along the watershed trails and developed a passion for environmental communication as a university student. As a Recycling Coordinator with Republic Services, she works in the City of Carlsbad to provide educational outreach to residents and business owners regarding recycling, organic waste, and regulatory compliance. Amanda holds a degree in Communication Studies, with minors in Sustainable Environments and Science & Risk Communication from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
I was born and raised in Arcadia California and graduated from high school in 1977. I went to Point Loma Nazarene University and completed my BA at SDSU in Psychology. I earned two Masters before completing my PhD in Clinical Psychology. In 2019, I completed an Executive Masters in Health Administration from USC. I’ve been married 30 years to my beautiful wife Gale and have a 22-year-old daughter. I’m a Vice President and Partner in Senior Medical Associates with 100 physicians providing medical services in Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities in San Diego. My clinical work is in Skilled Nursing Facilities which has been my life’s work and has been fulfilling. I also provide staff trainings and consultation for healthcare facilities.
I’ve been on many boards including being elected to the Tri-City Hospital Board of Directors and have been the chair of the Tri City Medical Center Foundation Board for two years. I’m the current President of Rotary Club of Carlsbad and have also been in the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary where I served on their board.
My interests are in learning about history, I enjoy reading, the gym, gardening and long rides on my motorcycle. I’ve run 3 marathons and numerous half marathons and am passionate about nature.
Members of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation are welcome to nominate individuals to the Board of Directors. Nominees should submit a resume and contact details to the Discovery Center.
In accordance with the October 2008 bylaws, these nominees will be vetted by the Board Development Committee before going to the Board for election. New Board members shall be ratified during the Annual Meeting of the Members in October of each year.
Lisa Cannon-Rodman, Chief Executive Officer
Lisa is the Chair of Hospice of the North Coast Board of Directors, a member of Oceanside-Carlsbad Soroptimist as a delegate and Chair of District 2 in Public Awareness, a Past President of Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary, President of the Quarter 2020-2021, and a current member of Carlsbad Rotary holding the position of social chair, Past Co-Chair for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Green Business Committee, Past Carlsbad Planning Commissioner, and served 12 years as Carlsbad Unified School District School Board Trustee. She was named Woman of the Year 2019 in Senate district 36. In 2021 Lisa was awarded Citizen of the Year by Carlsbad City Council. She has been married to her amazing husband Terrell Rodman for 42 years and both sons Spencer and Preston graduated from UC Berkeley(2010; 2015). Her youngest met his new bride at UCB and they married on 7-11-21 in Corfu Greece. Go Bears!
Samantha Richter, Chief Operations Officer
Samantha has been with the AHLF team since September of 2013, graduating from the University of Alabama earlier in 2013 with a B.S. degree in Biology and Marine Science. Samantha has previous experience in research, operations, and tutoring, and currently oversees operational functions at the Lagoon Foundation. Growing up in Vista, she developed a passion for the ocean and the natural environment and continues to advocate and educate people about this natural resource near her home town. Samantha completed her certificate degree in non-profit management through the University of San Diego, is a previous secretary of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee, and currently sits on the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's Green Business Committee. She is also a member of the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club, awarded Rookie of the Year in the 2019-2020 year, and the current programs chair. Samantha is a member of the 2022 class of Leadership North County through California State University at San Marcos.
Emily Bonds, Director of Education
Emily grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and her love for the great outdoors developed at a young age. The warm weather and ocean drew Emily to Southern California, where she attended Chapman University. She received her B.A. in Integrated Education Studies with an emphasis in Leadership Studies and a Minor in Environmental Science. She also studied abroad in Turks and Caicos Island, where she studied marine science and tourism. Her passion for outdoor education and marine science drew her to the AHLF Discovery Center for their Academy of Environmental Stewardship. Emily is excited to be teaching and learning at the AHLF Discovery Center!
Al Cerda Jr., Facilities & Trails Manager
While renovating a native plant garden in his hometown of Vista, Al heard about a new beautiful native plant garden at the Discovery Center. That was in 2006 and Al has been a supporter and volunteer since then, helping in the garden or sharing information with the many visitors at the Discovery Center. Al was elected to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Board of Directors from 2006 – 2011 and served as Vice Chairman and Master Plan Committee Chair.
Al is a Luiseno Native American, a member of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, along with his mother Nellie Foussat Romero. Al currently serves on the Tribal Council and Powwow committee. Al also served on the Old Mission San Luis Rey Historical Enhancement Committee from 1997 to 2002 and Board of Board of Directors from 2002 to 2008.
Al has 40 years of Automotive Service background which has given him the hands on experience to serve as Facility and Maintenance manager at the Discovery Center.
Al was a member of Boy Scouts of America from 1993 to 2003 serving as Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leader. Al has enjoyed many BSA summer camps and traveling vacation with his family. Albert is a graduate of Vista High School and thankful for the support of his wife Kathy, son Nathaniel (Army Military Police) and son Andrew (Cal Berkeley 2008 graduate).
Lissa Schroeder, Educational Coordinator
Lissa has lived in Southern California her whole life and grew up in a small town called Elfin Forest. Her love for the outdoors began when she was at a very young age, as she was always outside caring for her family’s horses, goats, chickens and more. Growing up near hundreds of acres of open space, Lissa quickly realized the importance of conserving and protecting our natural lands. She graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection and a Minor in Indigenous Studies in Natural Resources and the Environment. Lissa has worked with several nonprofit organizations where she focused on land conservation management and created science based educational programs. Her passion for education led her to the Discovery Center, where she is excited to educate children about the importance of protecting our natural resources and inspire them to love being outdoors and in nature!
Erin Hardin, Director of Community Relations
Erin was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada until her family decided to move to Southern California in 2011 for its beauty and endless opportunities. Erin has always loved the outdoors and takes any chance she could to go to the beach, camping, or on a hike. She also has a passion for nonprofits and held internships with various organizations during her time in college. Erin graduated from California State University San Marcos with a B.A. in Business Administration. Combining her love for nature and nonprofits she found her place at Agua Hedionda. Erin is looking forward to connecting with local businesses and families to show them the magic AHLF offers everyday!
Samantha Passovoy, Director of the Discovery Center
Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Samantha developed a passion for nature at a young age. She grew up visiting zoos, aquariums, and nature centers and eventually decided to pursue a career in animal care. Samantha moved to California to attend the Exotic Animal Training & Management (EATM) Program at Moorpark College in 2008 and there developed an interest in both animal behavior and conservation education. After graduating from the EATM Program and subsequently completing a BA at California State University, Northridge, she worked professionally in the animal care field for 14 years. During this time, she trained animals for movies and television, visited schools, libraries and television studios with live animals to do educational presentations, worked as a wildlife care specialist and behaviorist at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and even returned to the EATM Program as an adjunct professor. She is also a current board member for the San Diego Herpetological Society. Samantha is excited to continue to pursue her passion for conservation education by working closely with both staff and guests to inspire the next generation to care for the natural world. As conservationist Baba Dioum said, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”
Harini Natarajan, Data Entry Specialist
Harini was born and raised in Chennai, India. She moved to the US in 2012 and has been a San Diego local ever since. She has a degree in biotechnology and worked with ERP Systems. She loves nature and has a love for data analysis and process automation and improvements. Harini's favorite hobby and other profession is photography, and she enjoys sharing it with the team at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation. Harini looks forward to optimizing the CRM operations that could actively help in identifying and exploring the avenues to make the AHLF's goals easy to attain.
Grant Thompson, Educational Coordinator
Bio coming soon...
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement
At the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation we have created a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive (DEI) strategy which is embedded in every stage of a Discovery Center experience, both virtually and in-person. Our environmental lessons and activities accommodate individuals with all learning styles, as we inspire guests, students and staff to make our community a better place. We are committed to facilitating an inclusive infrastructure that allows everyone to experience - A Safe Space in Nature… for All.