California CASA Association Announcements and Press Releases 

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California CASA Association Elects New Board Members, Chair, and Executive Committee for Fiscal Year 2019-2020

August 1, 2019


The California CASA Board of Directors has elected two new members (Michelle Griffin and Allyson Pfeifer) for three-year terms beginning in the Fiscal Year starting July 1, 2019. In addition, four current members were re-elected for second three-year terms (Shelley Brown, Katy Carlsen, Kim Moore, and Robert Smith).

The new slate of officers was elected for FY2019-2020, with Kevin Gardner named as the new Chair, Katy Carlsen as Vice Chair, James Hatter as Treasurer, and Sarah Delaney Rosendahl as Secretary.

California CASA’s CEO, Sharon Lawrence, said, “Our organization is so fortunate to have outstanding leaders from throughout the state serving on our governing Board. We are delighted to welcome Michelle Griffin and Allyson Pfeifer; and look forward to the wisdom and leadership they will bring in the years ahead. I am also delighted that long-time CA CASA Board member and CASA advocate Kevin Gardner will serve as our new Board Chair. Kevin brings extraordinary experience and talent to our organization. I am also grateful to Jim Hatter, who served as the CA CASA Board Chair from 2015 to 2019. He led during a period of transition and change; and did so with skill and grace. He will now continue his service, stepping into the role of Board Treasurer.”

Incoming Board Chair Kevin Gardner is passionate about helping foster children. “When I became a CASA volunteer in 1996, I quickly came to believe every foster child should have an adult on their side, someone who can stand by them every day and represent their best interests in court,” he said. A marketing consultant in Silicon Valley, Kevin noted that his most important work has been done on behalf of children, not the high tech industry. “When we advocate for foster children in court, in schools, and in the community, and when they are given the right mentoring, guidance, and support, it’s amazing what incredible citizens they can become.” He has worked to recruit more men to become CASA volunteers and serve as role models for teenage boys. In addition to serving as a CASA volunteer, Kevin served for many years as a Board member for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley; during that tenure, he received a National CASA Award in 2005 for Excellence as a Board Member. He also chairs the advisory committee of the Outlet Program in Mountain View, which provides support for LGBTQ youth. Kevin has been on the Board of Directors of California CASA since 2005, including a past service as Board Chair, Treasurer, and Board Development Chair. Kevin resides in Palo Alto with his partner, Paul Morrell.

Michelle Griffin is a strategy consultant with over 25 years of experience. She served as Senior Vice President – Competitive Strategy with the global advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding, and was responsible for marketing and strategic planning for a Fortune 500 company. She has advised numerous early stage ventures and nonprofit organizations. Michelle is a member of the California CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates Association) Board and a Director Emeritus of the International Board of Directors of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). She also serves as a CASA for a Bay Area youth. Michelle received a BS in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business. She resides in Mill Valley, California.

Allyson Pfeifer joined DoubleLine in 2009. She is responsible for managing the Investor Services team and the client on-boarding process. She specializes in institutional separate account and sub-advisory client service. Prior to DoubleLine, Ms. Pfeifer was a Vice President in the Mortgage Group at TCW. In addition, she chaired a Sustainability Team to reduce the carbon footprint of the firm and coordinated regular volunteer opportunities for community engagement. Since 2013, Ms. Pfeifer has served as a member of the Board of Directors of CASA of Los Angeles, sitting on both the Gala and Marketing Committees. She has been the Chair of the Evening to Foster Dreams Gala supporting CASA of Los Angeles for 2018 and 2019. She holds a BA in Mathematics-Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is originally from Concord, California.

About California CASA

Founded in 1987, the California Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (California CASA) impacts the scope, quality, and reach of the state’s CASA network of 44 programs in 51 counties. The mission of California CASA is to ensure that children in California’s foster care system have a voice and the services they need to secure a stable future. California CASA advances this mission by strengthening the state’s network of local CASA programs and advocating for child-welfare policy and practices that will improve the lives of children living in foster care. The ambitious long-term vision is that every foster child in California will have a CASA to help him or her through the chaos and challenges of the Superior Court’s foster care system. The operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is $2,300,000. The CEO of California CASA is Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq., who supervises a 10-person staff. The organization is governed by its Board of Directors who hold fiduciary and policy-setting responsibility. They represent diverse areas of California and meet quarterly in either Northern or Southern California. The Board Chair for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is Kevin Gardner.

Read more about our Board of Directors here.