Domestic Violence Solutions Welcomes New Board Members

Domestic Violence Solutions Welcomes New Board Members
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Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS), Santa Barbara County’s only full-service provider of 24-hour emergency shelter and services for domestic violence survivors, is pleased to announce the appointment of six new board members: Lynda Dees, Layla Farinpour, Meagan Harmon, Patricia Ritchie, Morgan Steffen, and Jessica Tade. In addition, Michelle Piotrowski will now lead the board as its new president.

“We are extremely grateful to welcome our new board members,” said Jan Campbell, executive director of Domestic Violence Solutions. “Each one of them provides our board with a unique background and perspective and we look forward to their expertise and guidance. Additionally, we are thrilled to work alongside Piotrowski in her new role as board president.”

Lynda Dees is a mighty “mompreneur” with over 20 years of business operations and volunteer experience. As a wife, mother of two, and the owner of Streamline Group SB, Dees is a detail-oriented problem solver who loves to spend time with her husband and kids. She strives to emulate Mother Teresa’s empathy, compassion, and acceptance of others in her personal life and business. She prides herself on her ability to help and empower other women to succeed. When she’s not running her business or household, Dees spends time helping at-risk women and children, furthering human rights causes, and promoting education. Her other volunteer activities include Little Angels Preschool (incoming President), Junior League of Santa Barbara, Unity Shoppe, Storyteller Children’s Center, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, and much more. As a University of California, Santa Barbara graduate and life-long Gaucho, she believes in work-life balance and can often be found hanging out at home, reading, cooking, making lists, and meditating – in what little free time she has. Dees loves snuggling with her kids, entertaining, traveling, and meeting new people. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, two kids, and their cat and dog.

Layla Farinpour is a marriage and family therapist currently serving as the director of clinical care for the Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine Department at Cottage Health. Farinpour dedicated her career to Cottage Health because she carries the belief of treating the health of people in her community with excellence, integrity, and compassion. Farinpour’s professional interests focus on disaster relief and related trauma, addiction, and most recently, supporting hospital and community-based efforts to increase access to and awareness of medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders. In addition to her multiple roles with the Cottage Health System, Farinpour serves as a founding member of the Community Wellness Team, a collaborative group of agencies that support the mental health needs that arise from community trauma and natural disasters. Farinpour’s Addiction Consult team, who works with patients in the hospital, was recently recognized for their leadership in fighting the opioid epidemic by providing exemplary care of patients and connecting them to outpatient resources. Farinpour received her Master’s in Clinical Psychology and Master’s in Bio-Social Anthropology from Antioch University and University of California respectively. She recently completed her Master’s in Business Administration with a focus in Hospital Administration. Baking, cooking and being with loved ones is how Farinpour spends her time away from work. She has been known to adopt small grumpy senior dogs that need a few more years of tender loving care.

Meagan Harmon is a member of the Santa Barbara City Council, serving since 2019. She loves being part of city government and is passionate about making life in Santa Barbara County easier and more sustainable for local families. She is delighted to join the Domestic Violence Solutions board in support of the agency’s vital work. In addition to being a councilwoman, Harmon is a practicing real estate finance lawyer. Harmon’s most important job is a mother to her amazing three-year old daughter, Maura, and a wife, to her equally amazing husband, Nick. Harmon earned her Bachelor of Art in History from Wellesley College, her Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard, and her law degree from New York University. Before beginning her real estate finance practice, Harmon spent a number of years as an aid worker across the Middle East and North Africa, including a year in Afghanistan, where she worked to implement a large-scale infrastructure development and humanitarian services project in rural Afghan villages across the country.

A native of Canada, Patricia Ritchie moved to the United States in 2000, residing in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for 15 years. Working as a conflict resolution specialist in private mediation practice, she also donated her time and worked with the Howard Community College Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center, Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, law enforcement agencies, district courts, and others. Her family moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2015, and Ritchie served for four years on the local YWCA Board, where she was chair of the Social Justice Committee as well as a member of various other committees. She is passionate about work in diversity, equity and inclusion, and holds a degree in Business from Western Governors University. Having moved to Southern California in 2020, she enjoys exploring the beauty of the golden state, especially hiking with her husband and best friend, Chad.

Born and raised in Northern Minnesota but now akin to the Santa Barbara weather, Morgan Steffen considers herself a local Santa Barbarian. Living in Santa Barbara for the last eight years, she has held a successful career at Impulse Advanced Communication serving as their Major Accounts Manager. Her passion for volunteer work started when she was just 12 years old and co-founded a Figure Skating Club, which taught over 200 students figure skating lessons and is still in operation today. Steffen has been a dedicated volunteer to Domestic Violence Solutions over the last four years and is thrilled to serve on the board for the next three. She holds a passion for educating others on domestic violence to reduce stigma, shame, and provide a space for people to talk about their own relationship experiences. Her passion for domestic violence prevention and education stems from her experience as a survivor and managing the aftermath of abuse. She credits Domestic Violence Solutions with playing an integral role in her survival and it is her mission to give back to the organization and community that helped her during those difficult times.

Jessica Tade, PhD is the executive director of Casa del Herrero, a historic house museum and gardens located in Montecito, California. In this role, she oversees all aspects of operations including stewardship of the house and gardens; preservation of the fifteenth and sixteenth-century fine and decorative arts collection; and implementation of the organization’s strategic plan. Her previous roles include director of marketing and communications for the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, the director of communications and marketing for the Santa Barbara Foundation, and an associate editor for the McGraw-Hill Companies. Passionate about supporting her community, Tade is always looking for ways to give back. Currently, she is a third district commissioner for the Historic Landmarks Advisory Commission of Santa Barbara County. She served previously on the Board of Directors for the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation and Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, and was a third district commissioner on the Santa Barbara County Human Services Commission. She received the Pacific Coast Business Times 40 under 40 award in 2017. Tade is a three-time graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received a doctorate in Art History specializing in Romanesque architecture and sculpture.

Michelle Piotrowski has served on the Domestic Violence Solutions Board of Directors since 2017. She is an active member in the communities of Santa Barbara and Ventura County, and professionally a leader in the information technology and insurance industries. Piotrowski has over 20 years of experience in project leadership, operations, technology, and business process improvements across multiple industries. Piotrowski's community leadership roles include president of the Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB) 2014-15, JLSB Past President's Council 2018-2021, JLSB Sustainer Council member 2016-18, and various hands-on JLSB leadership roles over the past 15 years giving back to the Santa Barbara community. She brings thought leadership, operational design and execution to enable growth, realization of business value and client satisfaction through both her professional and volunteer experience. Piotrowski received her Bachelor of Science in Math from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

These individuals will join the current Board of Directors for Domestic Violence Solutions, a 44-year-old agency that provides safety, shelter and support for individuals and families affected by domestic violence and collaborates with community partners to raise awareness regarding the cause, prevalence and impact.

For more information, to make a donation or to learn about upcoming events, please visit dvsolutions.org.

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