The San Mateo County Parks Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors and has a small staff. Through grants and contributions from individuals, foundations and businesses, the Parks Foundation provides additional financial support for Park recreational, environmental and educational programs and projects.
Amy Jensen, Chair
Ms. Jensen works on the development team for the Peninsula Open Space Trust. As a somewhat new resident of the Bay Area, she loves taking advantage of the many local hiking and camping opportunities and loves connecting people with the outdoors. Amy has spent the last ten years working in nonprofit fundraising and holds a BA from the University of Central Florida and an MA from the George Washington University.
Katy Coonan Rhoades, Vice Chair
Ms. Rhoades has devoted herself to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities. Her work on behalf of disabled people includes serving on the San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities, the Health Plan of San Mateo, the Meals on Wheels Coalition, New Beginning Coalition and the Second Harvest Food Bank. Katy has also worked with the California Children Services and the Far-West Wheelchair Sports Association.
Beverley Talbott, Secretary
Ms. Talbott hikes frequently and enthusiastically throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Her artwork has appeared in juried shows throughout the Bay Area. Before retiring from full-time work, Ms. Talbott held principal technical editor positions at Apple, Microsoft, and VMware and has subsequently worked as a consulting editor for Apple. She is a board member of the United Democratic Club of San Francisco and Vice President of the Alumnae Board of St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Va. She also transports dogs for Pound Puppy Rescue and participates in local political campaigns.
Larry Stites, Treasurer
Over his career, Mr. Stites served as an officer in the US Army for some 35 years, was a public accountant, a financial executive with a major transportation company, associated with a private equity firm, and, for the last 15 years of his career, a financial consultant to entrepreneurial, privately held, and start-up companies in a wide range of industries. Since retiring, Mr. Stites has been an active volunteer with the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, including as Treasurer, with the Trail Center as a trail construction and maintenance volunteer and Treasurer, and as a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the Ross McKee Foundation. He especially enjoys hiking, biking, gardening, and travel.
Mary DeLong, Director
Ms. DeLong became active with San Mateo County Parks when she became a docent at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in 1995. She served on the board of Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve for ten years including six as president. She came to the Foundation in 2012 after many years of volunteer service. She has been an advocate for ocean protection since 1988 working to stop any offshore drilling on the San Mateo coast and helping to ensure the Marine Life Protection Act was implemented. She has also been a Beach Watch volunteer for the Greater Farallones Marine Sanctuary since 2012. She and her husband live in Montara and enjoy hiking, gardening and photography.
Susan Eliot, Director
Ms. Eliot is a Bay Area native and an avid hiker. Her professional experience has included product management positions at Netscape, Yahoo, Realtor.com and VolunteerMatch and she currently works in business development for Benetech.org. Susan enjoys being involved in her community and has held several board positions on local education foundations.
Justin Knowles, Director
Mr. Knowles lives in Hillsborough and is a business executive at the Oracle Corporation. He enjoys mountaineering, hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking. He also serves as a board member of the Trail Center, a frequent San Mateo County Parks partner, where he regularly leads volunteer crews to build hiking trails.
Jessica Meng, Director
Jessica Meng has a 20+ year career in entrepreneurial and commercial leadership roles at biopharma and diagnostic innovators Genentech, Myovant Sciences and Veracyte. She and her adventurous family are frequent visitors of San Mateo County Parks. They love the breathtaking array of outdoor adventures the Parks offer: from bay hikes, ocean tidepools to camping under the redwood groves. Jessica also volunteers and fund-raises for the Hillsborough Schools Foundation, Life Science Cares and is a Girls Den Leader for her local scout troop.
Joe Pfeister, Director
Mr. Pfeister is an Executive at Denodo and lives in San Mateo County. As a devoted outdoorsman and Eagle Scout he enjoys making our parks and open spaces accessible to others, with a particular focus on camping, hiking and skiing. He is also a leader within Cub Scouts and frequent visitor of the San Mateo County Parks.
Korrine Skinner, Director
Ms. Skinner is a Bay Area marketing executive, writer and keen outdoor explorer. She is Wilderness First Aid-certified and serves the parks as both a Devil’s Slide Trail Ambassador and as a volunteer naturalist for the Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. She lives in Moss Beach, along the San Mateo County coast. In her day job, Kori serves as public affairs manager for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
Michele Beasley, Executive Director
Ms. Beasley was born and raised in San Mateo County and has spent her career working to foster sustainable and equitable communities. Her love for the Bay Area’s natural beauty took shape as a fifth grader visiting Jones Gulch and was solidified during early morning rowing sessions out of the Redwood City port. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of the San Mateo County Parks Foundation in 2015, Michele was Greenbelt Alliance’s Regional Director in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Michele has also worked as an advocate for the homeless in Contra Costa County and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa supporting ecotourism efforts in the late nineties. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Saint Mary’s College of California.
Adriana Fernandez Arriaga, Program Coordinator
Mrs. Arriaga was raised in San Mateo and has spent her college days and career advocating for environmental justice through authentic community engagement, unlocking the leadership potential of communities of color and organizing hikes for youth and their families. Her passion for environmental justice and love for the outdoors stemmed from her frequent visits to Coyote Point and living in a mixed immigration status household. Prior to becoming the Program Coordinator for the San Mateo County Parks Foundation, Adriana served on the Board for the Foundation and was the Environmental Justice Specialist for Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto. In her spare time, Adriana volunteers with Dreamers Roadmap Supplies for Farmworkers Campaign. She is a proud alumni of the Chicana Latina Foundation, Green Foothill’s Community Advocates Leadership Academy and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley Latino Board Leadership Academy. Adriana graduated with an A.S. from Cañada College and a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management from University of California, Davis.
Leslie Holzman, Membership and Communications Coordinator
Ms. Holzman is an Arizona native who has been fortunate to live in various parts of beautiful California before happily settling in San Mateo County, where she loves to hike and enjoy our abundant open spaces. She has a professional background in public art administration and real estate lending, and has been an active volunteer with Peninsula Food Runners, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Peninsula Humane Society, and in the Burlingame schools. Since 2018, she has also served on the Burlingame Parks & Recreation Commission.