Christina Pizarro, President

Served in many DWSBC roles- VP, Secretary, Communications, and now, President

Joined the Board: 2014

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Background: Grew up in Los Angeles

Education: UC Berkeley, Bachelor’s degree; University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, Master’s in Public Administration and Public Policy

Profession(s): Director of Operations for a private real estate development firm

Personal Statement: I enjoy volunteering, taking lengthy trips abroad, interacting with people from all walks of life, and expanding my cultural competency. My true passion is social justice – women’s equity, racial justice and equity, immigrant rights, marriage equality + LGBTQ Rights, gun safety, education parity for all students, Health Care for All, environmental justice, and further strengthening the community safety net. I have served on several community boards to expand equity, which is my true passion.


“Don’t mistake politeness for lack of strength.”

     - Sonia Sotomajor, US Supreme Court Justice

          Suzanne Cohen, First Vice President 

Joined the Board: 2020

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Background: Born in Fresno and grew up in Los Banos. CA.

Education: UCSB, BA

Profession(s): Real estate

Personal Statement: I’ve worked in and around real estate for most of my career, which is how I got interested in housing as a political issue. Helping friends and community members stay in the area has always been a challenge, but lately there is new urgency. My favorite dinner is curry noodle soup at Empty Bowls in the Public Market. My favorite weekends are spent with my kids boogie boarding at Leadbetter Beach. When I have free time; I love crafting, being with good friends and cooking. My hope is to help elect leaders that believe in climate change, support women’s rights and say Black Lives Matter.


"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

     - Maya Angelou, American Poet

              Esther (EJ) Borah, Second Vice President

Joined the Board: 2003

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Background: Born in and grew up in Riverside, CA.

Education: UCSB, BA; University of New Hampshire, MA

Profession: Teacher 1958-2002 in Ventura County, Seattle, WA, and Orange County

Personal Statement: I have been a political activist since I graduated from UCSB in 1958. I am a retired teacher of 40+years. I have traveled to every continent on the planet and taken a dip in both the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and have the tattoos (penguin & polar bear) to prove it. I moved back to Santa Barbara in 2003 to help my daughter, Farfalla, raise Roz (17 years old now). Besides serving on the DW Board, I am on the Women's Political Committee Board and an elected official of the Democratic Central Committee.


"It's 2020 and I still don't have equal rights under the Constitution. Neither do any of you, the nearly 162 million women across the U.S."

     - Alyssa Milano, Actress/Producer/Author/Political Activist, in a Cosmopolitan article about the E.R.A.

Jill Dexter, Finance Director

Joined the Board: 2002

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Background: Born in Riga, Latvia; grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, and United States

Education: UCLA, BA

Profession(s): TV Producer- started as a PA at Wakeford/Orloff. She met husband, and they started their own company, The DXTR'S, representing a lot of directors.  Jill ran the business representing many Music Video Directors until 1998 after Ron retired in 1994 and was living in Montecito.

Personal Statement: We have one son, Michael, and three beautiful grandchildren.  I seem to stay very busy with my three non-profits. I am also on the Board of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and State Street Ballet.

“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me.”

     - Kamala Harris, US Vice President-elect

Teri Jory, Secretary


Joined the Board: 2016

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Background: Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada

Education: UCSB PhD in Political Psychology, Statistics, and Public Policy

Profession: Owner of a production company creating award winning educational videos. 

Personal Statement: As a community organizer (President, Our Mesa Neighborhood Inc.), I empower residents, business owners, and community leaders to discuss issues, reach consensus and move forward to solve problems. In addition to empowering my neighbors, I work to empower survivors of human trafficking by serving on the District Attorney Human Trafficking Task Force, chairing Policy and Legislation as well as serving on the Board of Standing Together To End Sexual Assault (formerly Rape Crisis Center). As a 4th degree black belt, I continue the work of the empowerment model. I created and teach a DFWM Personal Safety workshop DFWM (don’t F*** with me) empowering women and all genders around the world. I look forward to continuing my mission of making this a better and more peaceful world. 


“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

     - Audre Lorde, Writer and Activist

Anna Everett, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2018

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Background: Born in, SC; Grew up in Washington, DC & Buffalo, NY

College(s) and degree(s): San Jose State University, BA in Radio-TV-Film; UCLA, MA, Critical Studies in the School of Theater, Film and TV; University of Southern California, PhD, Critical Studies in the School of Cinema-TV

Profession: Production Assistant, WHUR-TV Washington, DC; Flight Attendant, Eastern Airlines; Professor,  University of Colorado, At Boulder, CO and University of California, Santa Barbara

Personal Statement: I am the middle child of five siblings, three brothers and one sister. My parents migrated from the Carolinas to Washington, D.C. Growing up in several working-class neighborhoods in D.C., I became fascinated by politics as it was presented on television, an ever-present window on the world for me as I contemplated my uncertain and distant future. Since I came of age during the height of the Civil Rights Movement’s growing influence on social change from Jim Crow segregation to the slow integration of society and institutions, it is my sincere hope that the present-day reckoning with systemic racism and sexism, among other ‘isms, brought about by the powerful Black Lives Matter  (BLM) Movement will not be yet another short-lived cycle in our nation’s persistent racist and sexist organizational structures; I am thinking here of other promises of social change unfulfilled such as Reconstruction after the Civil War and the revolutionary Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ‘60s. Instead, I look forward to helping bring about some necessary societal transformations that we must adopt in America if our society is to survive our own worst impulses and destructive behaviors. What I appreciated about my time as professor of media, was that it trained me to be a critical thinker, an effective historian and a different type of world traveler that built on my flight attendant globe-trotting background. Besides my important work with the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara, and other women’s organizations in town, I was recently elected to the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees. I am excited about this newest life adventure for me. I am equally thrilled to be able to indulge my newest hobby, gardening.


“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

     - Fannie Lou Hamer, Activist and Civil Rights Leader

“She always said she was going to be somebody.”
     - Lucinda Coker, Anna’s Aunt

Kate Ford, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2020

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Background: Born in Portland but traveled the world as a Marine brat; Home is Santa Barbara (Go, Dons!), but I have lived in twenty-five different cities in my life.

Education: UC Santa Cruz, BA in Sociology and Education; Santa Clara University, MA in Educational Leadership; CA credentials in teaching and administrative services

Personal Statement: I never attended the same school or lived in the same house two years in a row until Santa Barbara High School. I am the eldest of five kids; my dad was a Marine Corps officer, and my mom was a Navy nurse. Unlike many military brats, I loved the military life… and to this day, I consider myself a vagabond. Professionally, this has meant fifteen years as a teacher and twenty years as a school principal and superintendent… across public, private, and charter schools in California and Arizona. Plus, three years working as a Senior Program Officer for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation K-12 Education Team in Seattle was a gift beyond measure. Now semi-retired and back in Santa Barbara, I was elected to the Santa Barbara Unified School District School Board in 2018; and in 2019, Covid 19 changed EVERYTHING about school and life. I still remain curious, optimistic, and energized by what the future may hold.


“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

     - Malala Yousafzai, Activist

Vicki Johnson, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2019

Board Term: 2019-2021

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Background: Born in Seattle, WA and grew up in Walnut Creek, CA

Education: UCLA, BA and teaching credential; Santa Barbara College of Law, law degree

Profession(s): Elementary school teacher for 14 years, lawyer in private practice doing primarily divorce law, and prosecutor with the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office since 1989.

Personal Statement:  I have been married to my husband Ralph Minc for 40 years.  We have a son, Jeff, daughter-in-law, Sarah, and one year old grandson, Cameron, who live here in town.   I enjoy playing tennis, biking, walking with friends, traveling, and going to the beach with my grandson.  I hope I have many more fun times with my grandson at the beach and live long enough to see him graduate from high school. 


“There are places in the heart you don’t ever know exist until you love a child.” 

-Anne Lamott, Novelist, from Operating Instructions

    Marsha Marcoe, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2020

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Background: Born and raised in Southern California

Education: Antioch University, MA in Clinical Psychology

Profession(s): Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in Anxiety Disorder and EMDR Therapy for trauma victims; also involved in executive management and major fundraising for various non-profits and foundations for the past 25 years.  Serves on the Sanctuary Center of Santa Barbara Board of Directors.

Personal Statement: My past experiences include Major Gift Development for Child Abuse Listening & Mediation, University California Santa Barbara, Domestic Violence Solutions and Braille Institute of America. Before moving to Santa Barbara, I administrated an HIV Antibody Testing Program at Valley Community Clinic; worked for Cable New Network (CNN), and Co-owned the Jon Peters Beauty Salons in Beverly Hills, Encino, Tarzana and Woodland Hills.


“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

     - Maya Angelou, American Poet

       Claudette Roehrig, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2005

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Background: Is a native New Yorker and was transplanted to Los Angeles with her husband and children in 1987.

Education: BA in Education and Sociology; MA in Marriage and Family Therapy; graduated as a distinguished member of the National Honor Society.

Profession(s): Legal Librarian in a very prestigious New York law firm; Marriage and Family Therapist.

Personal Statement: I was the Board President of Domestic Violence Solutions for 4 years and although I agreed to take on that position with much trepidation, I thrived on it and realized I had an ability to connect with people, collaborate and lead in a very inclusive way. I was challenged in many ways and learned so much in the process. I do value that humbling experience along with my time doing therapy with clients, learning along the way that “not knowing” can be a very positive experience. I am also serving on the board Girls Inc. and am deeply committed to helping young girls become future leaders in our community and beyond. My husband and I met in college and have been together for 51 years, 45 years married and together have proudly raised our 2 sons and daughter while moving from NY to LA to SB. Laughter and mutual respect are key to a long and happy marriage. We moved to SB after my husband sold his business. I had come up to SB for a Child Therapy two week workshop and knew this is where I wanted to live, and I believe this community is where I was meant to be. Our home with a view of the ocean, along with this philanthropic, artistic and culturally rich community, gives me great joy.

“You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

     - Maya Angelou, American Poet, in the poem “Still I Rise”

    Marian Shapiro, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2004

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Background: Born and grew up in Berkeley, CA

Education: UCSB; UC Berkeley, BA in Music; University of Kansas, MA in Social Work  

Profession(s): Helped start a Planned Parenthood clinic in Hays, Kansas, in 1976 and worked there for 20 years, eventually becoming Director of Education for PP of Kansas. In grad school, she did her practicum at the Menninger Clinic Mental Health Center in Topeka. She taught Human Sexuality courses at Fort Hays State University and Wichita State University.  After 31 years in Kansas, the family returned to California where she taught The Psychology of Human Sexuality at Santa Barbara City College for eleven years. 

Personal Statement: I married Marty Shapiro (54 years) and had two children Joel and Lanya, a beloved son-in-law Vito, and two grandsons, Joshua and Ari. Throughout my life, I learned from my refugee parents to be an active Democrat walking precincts to elect candidates committed to work for civil rights, reproductive rights, gay rights, women’s rights, health care for all, environmental protection and economic justice. In retirement I found a new career in photography and creating photo books honoring seniors for amazing lives of great accomplishments.  With our new reality in the world of COVID-19, I have made hundreds of face masks to help make our community safer and make me feel less helpless.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

     - Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

   Christy Stillwell, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2020

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Background: Born in Hills, CA, and grew up in Northern California in the tiny town of Chicago Park, CA.

Education: M.A. Counseling Psychology, Antioch University, Santa Barbara, California; B.A. Communications, Antioch University, Santa Barbara, California

Personal Statement: I believe teaching the next generation to love in a healthy abuse-free way is how we create a kinder future.


“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

     - Arundhati Roy, Author

 Karen Villegas, Board Member

Joined the Board: January 2017

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Background: Lifelong Santa Barbara resident

Education: Harvard College, Class of 2013, AB in Environmental Science and Public Policy

Profession: Referral Specialist and Medical Assistant at the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC)

Personal Statement: An aspiring primary care provider, I am passionate about health equity and working with underserved populations. In a professional capacity, I work to ensure that Santa Barbara residents have access to high quality, affordable medical care regardless of their ability to pay. A proud intersectional feminist, I believe that democratic principles and a commitment to social justice are critical to the liberation of all people. I joined Democratic Women in order to practice these values, understanding that political change necessarily begins at home. Introverted by nature, I enjoy spending my free time reading, baking, cycling, and hiking.


“It is essential to resist the depiction of history as the work of heroic individuals in order for people today to recognize their potential agency as a part of an ever-expanding community of struggle.”
     - Angela Y. Davis, Political Activist and Writer, in Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

      Mary Ellen Wylie, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2002; two terms as President 2008-2012

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Background: Born in Ventura, CA and raised there. Lived in Santa Barbara and Goleta since 1966.

Education: Attended Ventura Community College and Santa Barbara City College.

Profession(s): Staff to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors 1981-2010, first as Administrative Assistant/SB Office Manager to all supervisors, followed by serving on the personal staffs of Supervisors William Wallace, Naomi Schwartz and Salud Carbajal.

Personal Statement: When I joined the Board of Democratic Women, I really didn’t see myself as prepared for or having the skills to step into a leadership role. I saw myself as a volunteer and a worker. Serving in many capacities over the years taught me that true leadership is listening carefully, empowering others to use and build their skills creatively, fostering teamwork and collaboration, and strengthening enthusiasm and commitment. I have learned that to lead is to serve, to give and to achieve together. I am grateful to stand steadfastly with my sister DW Board members in advocacy and activism.


“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

     - Alice Walker, American novelist

             JoAnne Meade Young, Board Member

Joined the Board: 2013

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Background: Born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio, with her three siblings by her widowed mother.   Resident of Santa Barbara for over thirty years.

Education: Ohio State University, BS in Elementary Education; University of Iowa, MA in Developmental Reading; Southern Connecticut State University, MA in Supervision and Administration; UC Santa Barbara, Tier II MA in Supervision and Administration.

Profession(s): Taught kindergarten through 3rd grade, was a Primary Language Development Specialist, Library Media Specialist, and Instructional Consultant in various school districts in Ohio and Connecticut.  Additionally, JoAnne served for three years as an elementary school principal in Hamden, Connecticut and served the last seventeen years of her career as an elementary school principal in the Goleta Union School District.   She retired from GUSD in 2007.

Personal Statement: I am married to Michael Young, have two children and one grandson.  I am an avid collector of ethnic art and Shona sculptures and dabble in hand building African inspired sculptures.  I also enjoy making silver and turquoise earrings and gardening.  


“And Still I Rise.”

     - Maya Angelou, American Poet