About Our Board
Golden Gate Audubon’s Board of Directors meets the fourth Tuesday of January, March, May, June, September and November. Meetings are held at Golden Gate Audubon’s main office or a location in San Francisco.
Laura Gobbi (President) is the Senior Director of Alumnae Relations at Mills College, where she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of volunteer outreach and engagement. After spending ten years as an art history instructor and museum scientist at U.C. Berkeley, she transitioned to advancement in 2003, when she was appointed Executive Director of the Alumni Association at Oberlin College. A huge fan of life-long learning, Laura is currently enrolled in GGAS’ San Francisco Bay Area Master Birder Program, and has taken numerous classes through GGAS, including Cornell’s Home Study Course in Bird Biology. She enjoys volunteering with GGAS as a field trip leader and docent for the Birding the Bay Trail and Lake Merritt Programs. Laura received a B.A. in art history and flute performance from Oberlin College and Master’s in medieval art from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.
Alan Harper (Vice president and Treasurer) is a biologist and photographer with a passion for plants and animals of “the Californias.” He is a founder of Terra Peninsular, AC, a Mexican land conservation organization based in Ensenada, which is working to protect the peninsula of Baja California. Currently working on a book about the natural history of Baja, Alan has published scientific papers on that region and featured it in a portfolio of large-format landscape images. He is a founding board member of the California Institute for Biodiversity. Alan received a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a PhD in zoology from the University of Washington, studying mathematical models of evolution
Directors and Committee Chairs
Karim Al-Khafaji is a manager for the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor for mission-driven leaders and organizations. His clients have primarily been focused on the environment, including California Water Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, Energy Foundation, Natural Capital Project, Yellowstone Park Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Previously, Karim worked as an environmental engineer and scientist with the Parsons Corporation, a global engineering and construction firm, and in a research lab of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Karim holds a B.S. in biology and a B.S.E. in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, and a PhD in ecology from Stanford University, where he focused on population dynamics and demography.
Sarah Peterman Bell is a partner at Farella Braun + Martel, where she specializes in environmental and natural resources litigation and counseling, including representation of manufacturers, distributors and property owners in environmental enforcement actions, cost recovery litigation, citizen suits, complex toxic tort litigation and administrative proceedings. Sarah was a judicial extern for the Honorable Maxine Chesney of the Northern District of California and a legal intern for Waterkeepers, where she assisted with Clean Water Act litigation. She received a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law.
Linda Carloni is retired from the practice of law, most recently as General Counsel of an Oakland educational software company. Previously, she was a founder of a health care startup, worked in technology transfer for the University of California and provided legal representation for technology and medical device companies on business and securities law matters. She volunteers in GGAS’ Eco-Ed program, and is a graduate of GGAS’s first Master Birder class. Linda is an Alameda County Master Gardener and serves on the board of Alameda Backyard Growers, a network of gardeners who provide education on urban agriculture and donate extra fruit and vegetables to the Alameda Food Bank. She received a B.A. in political science from Case Western Reserve University and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law.
Whitney Dotson is a Director of the East Bay Regional Parks District representing communities that include Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, El Cerrito, El Sobrante and part of Oakland. A longtime Richmond community activist, Whitney is former Associate Director of the Neighborhood House of North Richmond, a nonprofit service agency. He serves as vice chair of the Community Advisory Group monitoring the cleanup of Campus Bay and the U.C. Berkeley Richmond Field Station. Whitney holds a Master’s degree in Public Health Planning, Administration, and Education from UC Berkeley.
John Philip “Jack” Dumbacher Jr. (chair of San Francisco Conservation Committee) is Assistant Curator and Chair of the Ornithology and Mammalogy Department at the California Academy of Sciences, and a professor of biology at San Francisco State University. A frequent presenter at the American Ornithologists’ Union and other conferences, Jack is an author of more than two dozen scholarly articles on birds. He has organized and co-led ornithological collecting trips to Papua New Guinea, the Gaoligonshan Mountains of China, Baviaanskloof region of South Africa, Namibia, and various locations in North America. Jack has also served as a leader and guide for family travel programs to destinations including the Galapagos, Western China and Tibet, and Greenland.
William Hudson has worked in private finance, as a long term lender to established companies for an insurance company and as an investment banker for a small firm in San Francisco. He was an early volunteer and later board member for Save Open Space-Gateway Valley, which worked closely with Golden Gate Audubon to minimize the environmental impact of the Gateway Valley development in Orinda. He is currently treasurer of the Gateway Settlement Fund Alliance, a related organization with representatives from SOS-GV, Golden Gate Audubon, and the Sierra Club. Bill also serves on the board of Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area and does pro bono nonprofit consulting through the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team. He received an M.B.A. from Stanford University, as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in engineering.
Robert Lewis (chair of Adult Education Committee) spent 33 years at Chevron Corp. as a scientist and manager, overseeing a 60-person staff and $15 million budget. He is one of the Bay Area’s leading birding instructors, teaching classes on Bay Area Birds, Bird Migration, and Birds of the Sierra. Bob serves on the board of the Farallon Foundation and is a coordinator of the Oakland Christmas Bird Count, in which he has been a participant for over 25 years. A GGAS field trip leader, he has taken part in several county breeding bird surveys and is an expert bird and wildlife photographer. Bob received a B.S. in chemistry from Carnegie Institute of Technology and a Master’s and PhD in organic chemistry from Princeton University.
Jay Pierrepont (Chair of Development Committee) is a former senior member of the management team of Pantheon Ventures, where he was responsible for coordination of the firm’s global secondary activities including marketing, generating investment opportunities, determining bidding strategies, evaluating deals, and the Pantheon Global Secondary Fund 4. Jay was part of the buy-out team that purchased the business from GT Management in 1988. Prior to that, he was a commercial banker at the Northern Trust Company in Chicago. Jay received a B.S. in agricultural economics from Cornell University and a Master’s from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Judith Pynn is a Legal Executive Assistant in the U.S. and Global General Counsel’s Offices at PwC, where she has worked for 12 years. As Co-Leader of PwC’s Green Team, she works to encourage staff engagement in sustainability issues in the office and the community. She has organized several PwC volunteer events with GGAS, and in 2014 won a corporate grant to expand PwC’s collaboration with GGAS and other local NPOs to provide outdoor education for disadvantaged youth. Judith is editor of a quarterly newsletter for PwC’s national legal staff. She also serves as a freelance writer for corporate and nonprofit clients in the Bay Area. She earned a B.A. in Music from the University of Wisconsin, a four-year Certificate in Publishing from U.C. Berkeley, and studied law for one year at the University of Santa Clara.
Diane Ross-Leech is Director of Environmental Policy for PG&E. She created PG&E’s Environmental Stewardship Program, which is responsible for developing multi-species habitat conservation plans, migratory bird protection plans and land conservation projects. Diane chairs the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture management board and serves on the San Francisco Bay Trail board. She holds a B.A. in landscape architecture from U.C. Berkeley and a Certificate in Land Use and Environmental Planning from U.C. Davis.
April Rose Sommer (Chair of the East Bay Conservation Committee) practices public interest environmental law with the Center for Biological Diversity. She works in the Center’s Urban Wildlands Program challenging destructive industrial utility projects and fighting for the protection of endangered species. April previously ran her own law practice specializing in energy law, litigation, and appeals. She volunteers at the Lindsey Museum Wildlife Hospital where she especially enjoys caring for raptors and raising orphaned birds. April earned her J.D. from Emory University and a B.S. in natural resources from Cornell University.