AGUA HEDIONDA LAGOON FOUNDATION / FOUNDATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Rachel Ivanovich, Chairman
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.
Jani Jackson, Vice-Chair
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.
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.
Lynnell Talone-Honda, Secretary
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.
Christopher Crespo recently became of member of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation at the end of 2017. He is a practicing independent Surgical Physician Assistant and president of Coastal Surgical Physician Assistants Inc. here in north county San Diego. He received his B.S. in Nursing from SDSU in 2003, M.M.S. from St. Frances University and graduate of Stanford’s Primary Care Physician Associate Program in 2010.
He became a resident of Carlsbad in 2013 and is passionate in bettering his community and utilizing the resources within to encourage the Development of an incorporated trail system around the Lagoon. A husband and also a father of two small girls with whom he plans to educate and share his passion with nature and the lagoon.
Max was born and raised in Carlsbad, California. Growing up, Max developed a passion for surfing, the ocean, and the lagoon. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he was able to surf everyday while also obtaining a duel degree in Economics and Accounting. Max began his career with PwC in Los Angeles and was quickly reminded there is no place like Carlsbad. Before moving back home, he travelled around the world stopping in Europe, South East Asia, and Central/South America. Max currently works as a Project Accountant for Poseidon Water, which operates the Carlsbad Desalination Plant. Max has a long history of volunteer work and organizing fundraisers. He is truly honored to join another fantastic organization.
Gary is a California native living in North San Diego since the 50s. He attended Cathedral Catholic and San Dieguito Academy and graduated college from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1978 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Marketing. Gary's career as a financial advisor in North County started over 30 years ago. Gary's interest in Aqua Hedionda Lagoon started years ago boating with his family on the lagoon "before freeway days, when you could actually drive your boat under the bridge to the middle lagoon." "I found I want to do something more to help other's learn about and enjoy what I have for decades... our own Carlsbad lagoon." Gary's community involvement over the years includes directorships and past president of multiple youth sports programs and clubs and a private member owned tennis club. Gary also has volunteered his time to the YMCA, home building "Missions" projects in Mexico, and other organizations.
Board of Director member elected 10-2017, Fred is a Carlsbad LOCAL since 1973! He is the founder of Hale & Associates, a local family law practice. He also serves as a Judge pro tempore twice a month as a means to give back to the community. Fred is an avid mountain biker, road cyclist, surfer, hiker, Fred knows the special gift of Nature here in North County, and is proud to be able to work to ensure the continued health, access, and preservation of “The People’s Lagoon.
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.
George Piantka is the Sr. Director of Environmental Services for NRG Energy’s California operations in Carlsbad. Since joining NRG in 2007, George has overseen permitting, compliance, regulatory policy, and company ecoNRG initiatives for NRG’s power generation assets in the West Region. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from UC Berkeley and a Master of Science in Civil/Environmental Engineering from USC. George and his family reside in San Clemente. He feels fortunate to live and work in both coastal communities with a commute to Encina Power Station where he has a daily view of the lagoon and the Carlsbad coast. George and his colleagues appreciate the partnership with Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation and the fine stewardship and education programs provided through the Foundation.
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.
Sam Ross is a resident of Carlsbad and previously served as the executive director of Visit Carlsbad, a non-profit organization created to market Carlsbad as a premier travel destination in Southern California and to increase the city's share of tourism-related revenues. Sam was responsible for implementing Visit Carlsbad's business and marketing plans and served as lead spokesperson for Carlsbad's tourism industry.
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.
Thomas E. Stewart
Tom Stewart was invited to join the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Board at the end of 2018 after volunteering for the annual Lagoon clean up event. He is very passionate about the environment and doing what he can to keep Carlsbad one of the most sought after places to live in Southern California. Tom is a Real Estate Advisor with Engel and Völkers at their Carlsbad office in the village. He has been a North County resident for over 20 years and is an avid surfer who values the environment and fell in love with the mission to be a steward of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. He is currently co-chair of the trail committee working to make the lagoon more accessible so visitors to the lagoon and residents of Carlsbad will be able to fully enjoy all that the Agua Hedionda Lagoon has to offer.
Jennifer joined the AHLF board in 2019; a resident of North County who has called San Diego home for the past twenty years, she is passionate about protecting the region for future generations. Jennifer graduated from UC San Diego in 2002 and received her J.D. from California Western School of Law in 2005. After a decade practicing law, she embarked on a second career at SDG&E, where she has focused on the regulatory process and clean energy development and policy. Jennifer is SDG&E’s Tribal Liaison, supporting Native American governments and communities within the region. Jennifer has been actively involved on her neighborhood board for years and spends her weekends watching her two young children play sports and explore the region, including the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.
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 has been a part of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation team for 10 years with decades of business development experience, raising funds, building relationships, and developing markets in various settings. She holds a B.A. in Communication from California State University, San Marcos. A Carlsbad resident since 1983, Lisa is passionate about building awareness of Carlsbad's most unique lagoon, "The People's Lagoon". Lisa is the Fund Development Chair of Hospice of the North Coast Board of Directors, a member of North County Philanthropic Council Programs Committee, a member of Oceanside-Carlsbad Soroptimist, a Past President of Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary and current member, President of the Quarter 2020-2021, 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. She has been married for 39 years and both sons graduated from UC Berkeley.
Samantha Richter, Chief Operations Officer
Samantha has been with the AHLF team for 7 years, graduating from the University of Alabama 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.
Cierra Russo, Director of Virtual Programming
Cierra graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a B.A. in Human Development with a concentration in Health Services. She also studied at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa where she gained knowledge and experience working hands on with children of diverse cultural backgrounds. Developing a love of the great outdoors from her travels, she was drawn the AHLF Discovery Center for their commitment to their lagoon and local watershed. Furthering her interest in working with people and communities, Cierra began interning at the DC in August 2015 and started as the Administrative Manager in November of the same year. Cierra is currently the Secretary for the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee and participates in the Environment Water & Sustainability Advisory Council for the 76th District.
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!
Emily Watts, Programs Lead
Emily Watts attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a focus in ecology, evolution and conservation. She graduated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and was looking for a conservation-related volunteer opportunity when she came across the Foundation's Limonium project. This project allowed her to take on a full-time summer internship, leading a group of volunteers dedicated to removing the invasive Algerian Sea Lavender from the Agua Hedionda lagoon. As the summer and Emily's internship came to an end, she joined the Agua team as a full-time member.
Montana Bailey, Office Manager
Montana was born by the beaches of Southern California and raised in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Growing up in a small mountain town helped her develop a great love for nature and outdoor activities – from white water rafting in the San Juan River, to skiing the slopes of Wolf Creek Mountain. The ocean called Montana back in 2019, and shortly after her arrival, she was connected with the AHLF Discovery Center. What started as a minor part-time position, has grown into a role behind the scenes of the Foundation’s operations and database. Montana is thrilled to be a member of the AHLF team, and to be involved with a cause that inspires and educates people on the importance of preserving the nature that surrounds us.