Keepers Board of Directors

During the first half of 2014 Betsy Damon invited many new professionals with diversified and dynamic backgrounds to join the Keepers Board of Directors. The Board is tasked with helping to take Keepers to the next level. The board held a planning retreat in Rhinebeck NY in August 2014. (For more information about Betsy Damon click on Betsy Damon above.) Introducing the current board:


Brett Barndt (www.envirosell.com)

Brett Barndt has been involved in organizational change and communication for 20 years. As a fellow at NYC Accelerator for Cleantech and Renewable Energy, Brett conducted original research into the challenges and opportunities for communities to self-organize, design, and build local solutions for green and sustainable infrastructure and economies. The pilot multi-stakeholder engagement process generated local community projects in Jersey City for healthy food, community gardens, and permaculture. The process was funded by a local foundation for replication in other New Jersey communities.

His background in new product development in financial services gives him a unique perspective about systems at the heart of our economy and society. For firms including Citicorp, Bankers Trust, GE Capital, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, US Trust, KPMG, Deloitte, and Interpublic group, Brett worked on new product innovation and launches, sales and marketing, and change management projects.

Brett speaks French and Spanish, and has a MS in Public Policy and Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and a BFA in Fine Art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Lucy Blake-Elahi (www.lucyblakestudio.com)

An artist engaged in both public art commissions and painting, Lucy Blake-Elahi has taught art at UCLA's Graduate Art Education Department and currently teaches art history at West Los Angeles College in Culver City, CA. She was the Artist-in-Residence in Yellowstone National Park for three summers and has long been involved with local community art and environmental concerns. She is a founding member of Ballona Creek Renaissance (BCR), a non-profit organized to bring positive attention to this ‘flood control channel’ whose watershed runs  through Culver City on its way to the ocean. Educational events such as public art, bike path projects and Creek Cleanups are helping focus local business to face this natural local waterway.

When exhibiting her 2006 painting series titled The Rape of the Sumerians: Looting the Iraq Museum, she sent copies of the images to Professor Donny George Youkhanna, who had been Director of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad for 30 years (until 2004). He wrote of Blake-Elahi's work: "After seeing your works of art about the looting of the museum, I feel we are very close, as if you have personalized my feelings. Thank you very much for this noble [work]." Her paintings have been exhibited internationally and are in the collections of Aaron Spelling Productions, Los Angeles; Universal Studios, Orlando, FL; Gibraltar Savings and Loan Corporation, Los Angeles; and Dr. Samella Lewis, Los Angeles.

Carol Franklin   (www.andropogon.com)

Carol is a founding principal of Andropogon Associates and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. She is a nationally recognized expert in sustainable design and has been a leader in exploring sustainable landscape initiatives since 1975. As an ecological landscape architect, she has worked for more than three decades to develop sustainable communities and institutions, bringing to each project the ability to see the broader picture and to generate solutions that integrate historical, cultural, economic, and environmental concerns.

Carol’s work exemplifies a lifelong interest in restoring natural and cultural landscapes and re-establishing the essential connection between the two. She thrives on recapturing and reengaging the landscape to open new opportunities for focusing community identity and creating exciting venues for public life. By establishing strong, appropriate themes, her work creates captivating and memorable experiences for the visitor out of the special qualities of the site.

Carol was an adjunct professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania from 1972-2002, and in cultural landscapes in the Department of Historic Preservation. She has written and lectured on American traditions in art, landscape and architecture. She is currently co-authoring a book on the social, political, and ecological history of the Wissahickon Valley, a 1,800-acre wooded stream valley that is part of the 9,100 acre Fairmount Park system in Philadelphia.
Amara Geffen (www.amarageffenstudios.com)

Amara Geffen is a professor of Art at Allegheny College and director of the Art & Environment Initiative in Meadville, PA. Her community-based public art projects serve as tools for placemaking and community/economic development, while emphasizing creative reuse, repurposing and community collaboration. Amara has exhibited widely and has received grants and awards for her collaborations that engage students and artist colleagues with local community and state government agencies in the greater Meadville area. Amara served as the director of Allegheny College’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED) and chair of the College’s Civic Engagement Council (CEC) from 2006 – 2011 fostering collaborations with the Redevelopment Authority, the city of Meadville, and the NW Planning Commission to help leverage programs such as the Keystone Innovation Zone for NWPA.

Amara worked closely with the city of Meadville on preparation and planning for the Main Street and Elm Street Community Development Programs. She recently received the Raymond P. Shafer Award for excellence in Community Service and an NEA Our Town grant for work in Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania.

Sylvia Paull   (www.sylviapaull.com)

Sylvia Paull specializes in publicity, branding, and business development services for high-tech start-ups and nonprofits. She also founded and is host of several events: the INFUSION technology lunch, held monthly at the Berkeley Repertory Theater; the Berkeley Cybersalon, a periodic event focusing on technology and culture; and the Last Friday Ladies Lunch, featuring women who are changing the world, held at the Hillside Club in Berkeley. In the 90s, she founded Gracenet, a networking and advocacy organization for women in high-tech, which led a successful campaign to help eliminate sexist advertising in high-tech media. She was formerly marketing director for telecommunications software company Software Ventures; board member of BMUG, the Berkeley Macintosh Users Group; co-producer of "Science Editor," distributed by CBS radio; and creator of the slogan for the first all-woman’s ascent of Annapurna: “A Woman’s Place Is on Top.”
Larry Rogers   (www.LarryRogers.com)

Larry Rogers, ACHT is a counselor and consultant with more than 14 years experience working with individuals, couples, families and organizations open up, grow and transform. In addition to his private practice in Portland, OR, Larry has been developing and facilitating a wide range of trainings and seminars since 1988.  He enjoys producing group, couples and one on one learning, empowering, self discovery, and growth opportunities.

Before becoming a counselor in 1997 he did computer engineering (working internationally for 10 years). Later Larry worked in sales and marketing positions and was the original President and Co-Founder of Axian, Inc. a successful engineering software company.

Larry has been fed by having lived in and traveled to many different countries.  Understanding different cultures has helped him to understand what it is to be a human being in all of its many diversities. He loves international travel and is an avid and creative photographer. He is fluent in Spanish.

Margot Young (www.edm.ca)

Margot Young, founder and Managing Partner of EDM, is the firm’s senior environmental planner and one of the leading planners in Atlantic Canada. Margot’s area of expertise is the integration of environmental criteria into planning and design problems, specifically using GIS and ecological design principles. Due to her training, she has a unique ability to integrate science and engineering methods within a planning and design framework. Margot holds a Masters in Landscape Architecture (Landscape Ecology) from Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts and has lectured on the use of GIS in planning at Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS), Daltech and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). Margot’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally for its excellence. Her ability to synthesize large amounts of data, and develop frameworks and study methods that can be used to organize other teams in her projects allows her to converse with a wide range of specialists, understanding each one's language, and understanding when and how each discipline should play a role on the team.