Sweet Farm is thankful for the hard-work and dedication of its amazing Board of Directors.
Connie is currently the Head of University Talent Acquisition and Strategy function for Genentech, a Fortune 500 biotechnology leader based in the Bay Area. This is Connie's second board position, having recently served a full term on the Rocket Dog Board of Directors. Connie enjoys spending her free time with her family, and being active in shelter dog rescue - especially for various pit bull breeds.
Nate Salpeter spends his days on-site managing the farm's day to day operations as well as introducing visitors on the farm to the Sweet Farm Animal Ambassadors. In addition to ensuring interesting educational experiences are had by guests, Nate works closely with the board of directors to ensure the mission of Sweet Farm Foundation is being achieved across platforms and programs. Part time, Nate works as a consultant in the nuclear industry - helping design the next generation of safe and clean nuclear reactors for a green future.
A commercial winemaker by trade and long time animal lover, Catrina has significant experience running day to day operations among teams on farms of various sizes. She especially loves black cats, responsible farming and consumption, and sunshine. Catrina hopes Sweet Farm can help to educate folks on the small changes they can make in their diet to make significant impact.
Penny Cistaro worked in the animal welfare field for over 42 years before retiring to a quiet spot along the coast. Penny’s long career includes working directly in animal shelters and as a consultant with the Humane Society of the United States. As a nationally recognized expert in shelter operations her training workshops helped shelters of all sizes across the country better meet the physical and emotional needs of the animals and the shelter staff who cared for them. Volunteering with Sweet Farm is a natural fit for her administrative skills and her passion for animals. Penny and her dog Morgan are avid runners along the coast and her two cats are avid couch potatoes.
Jon Azoff is Director of Engineering for Omni, an on-demand storage start-up in San Francisco, CA. Jon's passion for technology has combined with his passion for animals and the outdoors, with his role on the Sweet Farm board. Jon spends too many hours tinkering with new technology to help further the cause of helping farm animals.
Miranda is a vegetable, flower and herb grower, who is also learning to be a beekeeper. She is a graduate of the ecological horticulture apprenticeship at the Center for Agroecology at UC Santa Cruz. Following this program, she founded and operated Fat Cabbage Farm, a certified-ogranic mixed vegetable, strawberry and flower farm in Pescadero, CA. She closed this farm in 2012 to focus on motherhood, and now returns to horticulture as an advisor to Sweet Farm.
Jeff Lasker is a Northern California native, having grown up in Napa Valley where he lived and worked on vineyards with his family. It was through this experience that Jeff developed an early passion for sustainable farming and a love for animals. He went on to obtain a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California. He holds a J.D. from Emory University, where he was active in several pro bono programs, including the Turner Environmental Clinic. Jeff is now senior counsel at a major technology company, where he focuses on intellectual property and helps lead the pro bono program. Jeff lives in San Carlos with his husband, son, and puppy Cleo.
Ken Birdwell has worked in telecommunications, computer simulation, and CAD prosthetics, before combining his passion for both technology and art to help start Valve, a popular video game company in 1996. Retiring after 20 years, Ken is an avid traveler and has been active in the non-profit world since 1992, both as volunteer, board member, and active donor. Founder of Magic Cabinet Foundation in 2011, an experimental 509(a)(3) organization, Ken is dedicated to finding new ways of transforming lives, and transforming the world of philanthropy.
Sandra Lawrence, born and raised in the Bay Area, has played an active role in the non-profit world. She was a Volunteer Coordinator for an LGBTQ Community Center in San Jose and a Fundraising Coordinator for an Outrigger Canoe Club in Northern California. She currently works as a Project Manager for a privately held Staffing Firm in the Silicon Valley. Sandra hopes that her vast background can help Sweet Farm with educating the world about animal welfare and how making small changes in your life can make big impacts in the lives of animals!