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There seemed to be an obvious match of clients with limited resources and design students with unlimited creativity. The clients get an incredibly impassioned response to their design request and the students get a real project to work on. The feedback from both sides of this volunteer experience has been awesome!”


Jolene Enns
Former PBD Liaison to IIDA Student Volunteers

 

Board Members

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Robert Benavidez

 

Board Advisor

As Vice President of Finance, Talent and Operations, Robert is responsible for the oversight and direction of human resources, financial management, operational activities, technology, strategic initiatives, and organizational learning and data for the Center for Youth Wellness. He previously served as Director of Finance and Operations for Raphael House of San Francisco. Robert Benavidez comes to Center for Youth Wellness with more than 20 years’ experience in the areas of finance, executive management, and organizational leadership. Beginning his career in investment banking in New York City, he held various positions with boutique brokerage firms. Robert played a key role with TD Ameritrade’s expansion on the west coast. He remains active in several community service organizations. He previously served as a board member for Project Inform and Bay Area Youth Running Partners. Robert received his undergraduate degree in applied economics from the University of San Francisco. Many non-profit organizations face enormous financial challenges along with human capital constraints. "By joining PBD I am hoping to bring forward those challenges and insight bridging the gap so that non-profit organizations can fully benefit from philanthropy."

 

 

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Gloria Bernard

 

Education and Scholarship Chair
Secretary, Board Member

After graduating with a BA in Art, Gloria moved to Florida and established an Interior Design business that she ran for 20 years. In 2007, she relocated to California and discovered Philanthropy by Design through Julie Drechsel. This began a refocus of her design experience and a realization of how much interior design can contribute to a community and how rewarding it was to her spirit. Continuing with this concept in mind, she also teaches interior design at The Art Institute at Sunnyvale. “Hopefully, I can encourage young designers to follow in community service with their design talent.”

 

 

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Dave Denny

 

Board Member

Dave Denny is the CEO of InsideSource, a firm that helps companies furnish their commercial offices. His clients include FaceBook, Pinterest, Tesla and Amazon. Passionate in his belief that the space people work in impacts business culture, creativity and performance, he founded InsideSource in 1991. His philosophy to hire the best and brightest talent with a shared passion for creating thriving work environments has made InsideSource one of the largest furniture dealers in the country today and one of the fastest growing companies in the Bay Area over the last twenty years.

 

Contact Dave

 

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Bevan Dufty

 

Advisory Board Member

Bevan Dufty’s longtime advocacy and support of Philanthropy By Design includes participation in Have-A-Heart fundraising benefits and outreach to other non-profit organizations. He was appointed to serve as the Director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE) on January 27, 2012 by Mayor Edwin M. Lee. Bevan Dufty has more than 18 years of public service to the City and County of San Francisco, including five years as the City’s Director of Neighborhood Services and eight years on the Board of Supervisors. As Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services for Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., Dufty helped neighborhood residents and merchants connect with City employees from every department to address issues of homelessness, public safety, housing, employment, traffic, pedestrian safety, and youth issues. Dufty holds a degree in Political Science and Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, he served as Senior Legislative Assistant for Education to U.S. Representative Shirley Chisholm of New York and served as Chief Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Julian Dixon of Los Angeles. Dufty has also served as Chief-of-Staff to former Supervisor Susan Leal.

 

 

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Marina Garras

 

Recording Secretary

Marina Garras is a graduate of the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in interior and color design. She has worked as an administrative assistant through most of her career including in an architectural and landscape architectural firm. She has a passion for sewing since she was 12 years old and combines that with designing custom soft home furnishings. During the past year, she has been producing fabric art covers for high-end art which protect the art from sun exposure. For various clients, she has produced four complete residential exterior and two interior color schemes; assisted with the selection of a high-end Oriental rug; and arranged tiles and chose lighting for a bathroom remodeling. "There is nothing more satisfying than seeing what is possible to give to each person who is less fortunate through good design. I am very happy and honored to be serving on the board of Philanthropy By Design."

 

 

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Farid Gazor

 

President

Farid Gazor founded Gazor Group Inc. in 2002 as one of the most client centric workplace services companies in the country. He brings 30 years of experience on all facets of the furniture industry to Gazor Group’s client base. His extensive product knowledge and expansive relationships with category leading manufacturers create a unique value proposition for this successful boutique firm.

As a pioneer of web based technologies, in 1997 Farid started the first web based technology firm targeted to the contract furniture industry by introducing T.E.D. (The Electronic Dealer) and AskTED.com, an online product search engine containing product catalogs from all major contract furniture manufacturers. The success of T.E.D. and askTED.com led to formation of NextOffice, Inc., a national contract furniture dealer with offices in San Francisco and New York, with a major presence on the Web. NextOffice, Inc. was funded by a group of highly accomplished entrepreneurs as well as venture capital firms, including CMGI’s@Ventures, CORT Business Services, and Venture Frogs, led by Tony Hsieh. NextOffice’s focus was to develop a more efficient and enjoyable customer experience, utilizing the latest Web based technologies and innovative processes.

Before forming Nextoffice, Farid was a business development consultant at COG/Kelly focusing on developing major project installations in the Silicon Valley. His earlier accomplishments include numerous other management and consulting roles in the furniture industry.

Farid earned a B.A. degree in International Business at University of San Francisco, and a Diploma from The American School in Switzerland, Lugano, Switzerland.

Farid’s focus at PBD will be to aid in developing and formalizing donation programs to re-distribute quality products from commercial entities to underprivileged PBD clients and projects.

 

 

Susan Kaeuper
Susan Kaeuper

 

Director of Projects

Susan Kaeuper has been a commercial interior designer in San Francisco for over thirty years and for most of that time she has worked at Huntsman Architectural Group as an interior designer and project manager​. She enjoys the diversity of projects there and above all embraces the firm's philosophy "take care of business". This means listening to the client and understanding their needs and translating them into design solutions that create a workplace that is beautiful, functional, and is an enjoyable place to come to work.

PBD offers Susan an opportunity to expand her project management and design expertise into the non profit sector as Director of Projects for PBD. She meets with prospective clients and coordinates with the board and project teams to define the work scope and implement the design and furniture needs for each project. Susan believes everyone benefits from a well designed work space and she is looking forward to realizing these goals for her PBD projects. No project is too large or too small to benefit from a thoughtful design.

Susan is a LEED accredited professional and sustainability is important to her in project design. While every project does not undergo the full LEED documentation she is well versed in all green strategies and strives to incorporate them into all projects. Susan is also well versed in design for accessibility and ergonomics and will incorporate those requirements in PBD's projects.

Susan is looking forward to new PBD opportunities and projects and she especially looks forward to connecting to the project clients and staff who will benefit from the wonderful services PBD offers.

 

 

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Kathy Lassen-Hahne

 

Marketing & PR Chair, Board Member

Kathy has served on the board of Philanthropy by Design since 2005 managing public relations efforts as well as other marketing initiatives and events. Her professional expertise is in marketing communications with experience from Royal Viking Line, Gump’s and McGuire Furniture Company.  Recent PBD projects include the new web site and a photo shoot at the St. Vincent de Paul Multi-Service Center. “This shoot took me from five-star cruise ships and designer furniture to a homeless shelter, perhaps providing the greatest satisfaction of them all in seeing how our organization changes people’s lives.” Kathy also supports other non-profit organizations including Dining by Design, the Rex Foundation, Black Rock Arts Foundation and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She earned a Bachelor of Science Cum Laude from The Ohio State University with a triple major in Spanish, English and Education. Kathy continued her graduate studies in Advertising and Marketing Management at Golden Gate University. She is a member of MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) and the San Francisco Professional Food Society.

 

 

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Diane Nicolson

 

President Emeritus, Treasurer

Diane has worked in the interior design industry for over twenty years, and has been involved with PBD since 1987. As a founding member, she served on the Board for most of those years, and was past President four times over. She also managed numerous PBD projects over that time, as well as chairing fundraising events. Her resume includes stints with F. Schumacher & Co., McGuire Furniture, and Wm. Switzer & Associates, as Showroom Manager. She has worked in outside sales for Dunkirk & Associates and The Rug Company, and is currently representing Joshua's Rugs and building her own coaching business. Diane's other industry affiliations have included FIFDA, HIA, ASID IP, and DTRA. Her interests and studies have focused on The Environmental Forum of Marin, art history, psychology, interior design, coaching and world travel. "I find the most gratifying thing about the work that we do at PBD is the way our creative minds come together and create functional beauty for the greater good. There is nothing more satisfying than to brainstorm with our project staff members and their clients and to see them light up when the project comes to fruition."

 

 

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Michael Skaar

 

Advisory Board Member

Michael Skaar has been involved in supporting charitable organizations for nearly three decades, supporting PBD in a variety of roles since its early days. PBD’s success requires a sound financial base, knowledge of needs in the marketplace, and relationships with individuals and organizations to assist in filling those needs with product. Mike has bridged those areas for PBD, bringing together multiple industry organizations to rally behind PBD’s mission. Mike founded his company, Skaar Furniture Associates Inc. in 1984, with an initial focus on the emerging field of ergonomics. Over the decades, Mike and his team at Skaar Furniture have teamed repeatedly with every major Architecture and Interior Design firm in Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii on projects covering the broadest possible range. Mike continues as PBD’s industry ambassador to the various organizations he is involved with, including the Executive Board of the International Interior Design Associations’ Northern California Chapter as Vice President of City Centers, the Curriculum Advisory Board for the Art Institute of California, and the Board of the Silicon Valley International Facilities Management Association. His prior experience includes sales, marketing, and management positions with European, Asian, and US firms. He earned a Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State University and has completed post-graduate work on International Business at UCLA.

 

 

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Chelsie St James

 

Director of Product Acquisition

Chelsie St James began her career in this wonderful industry as an interior designer in San Diego. She did residential, commercial and healthcare design, loving every minute of it. She "crossed over" to being a sales rep and moved to LA, CA with Prince Street and then Shaw Contract Group for 7 years. London lured her away where she worked with Lees Carpet as a manger for 1 year and then moved to San Francisco, CA to work with Shaw Contract Group again and has been here for 7 years. She is looking forward to dip her toe back into the interior design world and nothing is more satisfying than helping people!

 

 

Neda
Neda Thiele

 

Director of Volunteers

Neda started her career in Interior Design as a Project Designer and then a Design Director which led her to her current career at Knoll. She is the Architecture and Design Manager at Knoll and has the great opportunity to support and work with the many talented firms in the Bay Area and play a part in some of the most vibrant and exciting projects in the world. She strives to add value and be consultative in all aspects of her life. Community service became more of a focus when her daughters were starting Middle School and teaching them to look beyond oneself seemed crucial for a whole and healthy life. She got engaged with National Charity League, a mother/daughter philanthropy organization supporting many agencies in the East Bay. Her daughters now adults are each continuing with their own community service organizations and Neda is thrilled to start with PBD and the board which has been admiring for years.

 

 

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