Staff and Board

Kay Aaker – Orinda, Board Member

When first choosing a profession, Kay was pulled in two directions. Ultimately, she chose teaching over nursing and ended up working 46 years in education, mostly at Orinda’s Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, but Kay still felt drawn to the medical field and decided to do hospice work. She has served Hospice East Bay for 40 years, managing 140+ volunteers daily and working directly with patients. Kay has also volunteered at Meals on Wheels and American Cancer Society. And now, though retired, she still works every morning as a volunteer in her daughter’s first-grade classroom. Kay’s tireless commitment to others has earned her honors including Orinda Citizen of the Year, Contra Costa Volunteer Award, and a national Hospice award. She is now applying her experience to help Lamorinda Village use volunteers, raise funds, and attract followers. Kay lives with her husband Dave in Orinda, close to their three daughters and seven grandkids.

Gordon Chong – Lafayette, Board Member

An accomplished architect, Gordon founded his own firm and is the first Asian-American to attain the position of National President of the 95,000 member American Institute of Architects (AIA). Long a progressive voice within the profession, Gordon has advocated for architects to assume a strategic role in shaping public policy and challenged them to generously involve their communities. An active community member himself, Gordon has served on seven city, state, and national planning commissions, including as Chair of the Design Review Commission in Lafayette. In 2022, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Healthcare Facility Design by the AIA. In addition to designing healthcare facilities and senior housing and engaging in community planning, he is an advocate for concepts related to aging in place and age-friendly communities. Gordon and his wife Dorian reside in Lafayette and enjoy spending time outdoors, playing golf and fly fishing.

Virginia “Gini” Falconer – Moraga, Board Member

Gini comes to the Lamorinda Village board with years of experience in the legal profession. After graduating with great distinction from Stanford University and election to Phi Beta Kappa, Gini got her law degree across the bay at U.C. Berkeley. She has traveled extensively, including during her time at both universities. Her perspective is informed both by her professional background and her adventures abroad, as well as her time spent on the boards of the Moraga Newcomers and the George and Marcia Good Family Foundation. Gini is an active member of the Village, both as a leader of the Stronger Memory group and as a regular attendee at many events.  She is thus in tune with the needs and wishes of the members she represents. Gini is an avid reader and active listener who brings to the board a deep interest in the arts and a strong commitment to the Village community.

Joyce Hawkins — Orinda, Secretary, Board Member

The former Mayor of Orinda, Joyce has been an active community member for many years. Her professional experience includes teaching and tutoring math and co-owning a small business, International Experiences, Inc. Joyce served on the Orinda School Board from 1978 to 1985. She was elected to the Orinda City Council in 1992 and served on the council until 2004. During that time, she was instrumental in building the Orinda Library as well as the gymnasium at Wagner Ranch Elementary School. She also co-chaired the committee that successfully incorporated Orinda as a city after two previous failed attempts. For her many contributions, Joyce was recognized as Orinda’s Citizen of the Year in 1985. In addition to serving on the Lamorinda Village board since 2014, Joyce is an active member of the Rotary Club of Orinda. She believes strongly in a commitment to the community and local education.

Sharon Iversen – Orinda, President, Board Member

An East Bay native, Sharon has had an impressive career that combined nursing and law. As a registered nurse, Sharon consulted and lectured at healthcare and education facilities including UC Berkeley, UCSF, John Muir Health, and Alta Bates. She served as the Executive Director of the California Nurses Association for eight years. After 20 years in nursing, Sharon took the bold step of going back to school. She earned a Juris Doctor from John F. Kennedy University, School of Law. She worked for Archer Norris for 25 years where she represented healthcare facilities and providers. From 2000 to 2017, Sharon was an adjunct professor at Samuel Merritt University where she taught a course on legal, ethical, and professional issues. She is also an Emeritus Board Member of Hospice East Bay. Sharon has two children, seven grandchildren, and one dog who accompanies her on hospice visits. She loves to read, write, and entertain.

Mike Kern – Lafayette, Board Member

Mike is a retired family physician who believes in listening to each patient and creating a partnership to maintain and improve lifelong health. Mike attended the University of Nebraska, where he received his medical degree. As a member of the Senior Management team at John Muir Health, Mike was a pioneer in the quality movement, a leader in Pay for Performance, and a member of the National Quality Forum’s Care Coordination taskforce. vand developing long-lasting relationships with them. He practiced in Lafayette for almost 20 years and enjoyed being with patients. Today, he continues to be very interested in improving quality and chronic care. Mike lives in Lafayette and hikes daily with his dog Beau. He has two sons and three grandchildren.

Ruth McCahan — Lafayette, Founder, Founding Board Member

Ruth is the Founder and first President of Lamorinda Village. She has been a mover and shaker in Lafayette for 40+ years. A 2017 Diablo Magazine Threads of Hope recipient, we are proud to have Ruth helping us connect Lamorinda elders. After graduating from Duke University with a degree in Business Administration, she married and had three children. During that time, she moved to Lafayette and became active in Lafayette Juniors. She then went to work for Transamerica Title where she designed and delivered organizational development and training programs at two subsidiaries. She eventually became Manager of Corporate Development. In 1994, she retired and began her non-profit work by joining the Lafayette Garden Club and becoming a Commissioner for Lafayette Senior Services. That led to membership in the Area Agency on Ageing for Contra Costa County. It was there that she identified the need for a Village in our Lamorinda community – and the rest is history!

Maria Salerno – Moraga, Board Member

Maria was born in Buenos Aires, speaks five languages, and has lived and traveled throughout the Americas and Europe. She started her professional career in healthcare, working in marketing at a French laboratory. After three years, she joined the highly ranked IESE Business School in Barcelona where she worked for 30+ years as a career counselor for MBA students. With an international student body, Maria had the opportunity to work with talented students from diverse countries, cultures, and backgrounds. She also managed corporate relations with companies all over the world that recruited graduate students and thereby acquired a strong knowledge of multiple industries. In 2014, Maria moved to New York City where she continued to work for IESE. After retiring, Maria volunteered her counseling services to young professionals at Murray Hill Institute – a non-profit organization that empowers women in the workplace. Maria now resides in Moraga with her husband Roberto.

Rick Shriner – Orinda, Board Member

Rick has 30+ years of experience developing technology and new businesses for large corporations and startups. He was President and CEO of Exponential Technologies, General Manager with Intel, and VP of Core Technology at Apple. He has also held executive positions at Motorola and Wang Laboratories. After Apple, Rick went on to build a successful startup called HotRail, where he served as President and CEO. He was then invited to join Woodside Fund as a Venture Partner where he stayed for 18 years. From there, he went on to start another successful new business called Analogix. Rick served in the Navy Reserve and received an engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon and an MBA from College of St. Thomas. As a Lamorinda Village board member, Rick lends his expertise to optimize and improve software systems for the organization. He enjoys painting, racing Autocross cars, and collecting O gauge model trains.

Jack Swartzberg — Lafayette, Board Member

Dr. John Swartzberg brings his expertise in the fields of medicine and infectious disease to the board of Lamorinda Village. An indispensable resource to the Lamorinda Village community during the Covid-19 pandemic, he kept Village members and volunteers informed about the virus, its effects, and emerging news from the world of research. John is a Professor Emeritus of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Chair of the Editorial Board of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. He did his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, his MD at UCLA, and his residency at the University of Colorado before completing post-doctoral work at Stanford. An avid hiker and aficionado of ancient Roman history in his off hours, John has also volunteered as a member of the Board of Regents at Samuel Merritt University and President of the UC Berkeley Emeriti Association. He lives in Lafayette with his wife of more than 50 years.

Jack Sweitzer — Orinda, Treasurer, Board Member

A Baltimore native, Jack attended Seton Hall University and landed a job at Arthur Andersen following his graduation. Soon after, with the Vietnam War in full swing, Jack entered the Navy, where he was fortunate enough to attend Officer Candidates School. After a short stint at the Navy Supply Corps School in Georgia, Ensign Sweitzer headed to Alameda, where he was deployed as a supply officer on the aircraft carrier, the USS Hancock, which soon set off for the waters off Vietnam. Following his return, Jack settled down in Northern California and worked at the Naval Supply Department in Oakland. Following his Navy career, he returned to Arthur Andersen in San Francisco where he was promoted to partner. Jack is an avid reader and golfer (he served as President of the Senior Golf Association of Northern California), enjoys fine wine, and eats cookies for breakfast.

Jane Tiemann — Orinda, Board Member

After graduating from Stanford with a degree in French and from the University of Virginia with a degree in English, Jane spent much of her subsequent career in the non-profit world among scientists and science. Her position as Executive Director of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine provided her with expertise and experience that she was able to bring to the Lamorinda Village Board of Directors, both as a Board member and as President of the Board. Jane believes that the value of Lamorinda Village lies in the opportunities it provides for older adults to join and contribute to a community of seniors who bring a depth of knowledge and experience from a vast variety of fields to enrich each other and themselves. As a Board member, Jane works to make this opportunity available to as many older adults in Lamorinda as possible.

Larry Toy — Orinda, Past President, Board Member

Larry was President of Lamorinda Village from 2019-22. He also serves on the national Village to Village Network Board. He was the founding President/CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the statewide foundation supporting 100+ community colleges and 2,000,000 students. Prior to that, he was a professor of astronomy at Chabot College for 28 years. Larry served on the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges and served as Board President. He served on the California Council of Science and Technology and was a founding member of the Chabot Space and Science Center Board in Oakland, CA. Larry has been honored by two California Assembly Resolutions and received the first Outstanding Faculty Award for the California Community College System. He was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Harvard Club of San Francisco. Larry has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, and a master’s and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, all in astronomy.

Clarita Wooldridge — Lafayette, Board Member

Clarita always knew she wanted to be a nurse. She fulfilled that dream by attending Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing, graduating summa cum laude. She returned to UCSF and earned a BS and MS in Nursing. She also holds a lifetime junior college teaching credential. As an RN, Clarita embarked on a wonderfully fulfilling career. During these busy years, Clarita married, had three children, and kept her nursing license active, which she applied to volunteering at the American Lung Association and other non-profits. She actively participated in her church, becoming a Stephen Minister and developing an assisted living and care center. Answering a calling, Clarita earned a Master of Divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary and is ordained in the PCUSA Church. Clarita melds nursing and ministries by serving those with chronic illness, life-changing diagnoses, and end-of-life decisions. Clarita finds great joy in acknowledging the many blessings this life has given her.

Kathryn Ishizu, Executive Director

Kathryn joined Lamorinda Village in 2018 and leads the organization as Executive Director. During the pandemic, she worked with the community to develop innovative plans that helped older adults such as a free shopping service, Zoom adoption, and the first drive-through COVID clinic in California. The organization has since doubled in size and continues to thrive and lead the way for aging safely at home. Prior to Lamorinda Village, Kathryn traveled the world as a tour leader for a Japanese travel company and settled into a job as an Executive Assistant at Wells Fargo. While raising her children, she discovered the rewards of volunteering and served on the board of the parents’ club at Glorietta and chaired various committees for large events. A Bay Area native and a UC Santa Barbara graduate with an English degree, when not supporting the Lamorinda community you’ll find Kathryn digging in her garden or hiking with her dog. Kathryn is passionate about giving back and believes that service starts

Suzy Pak, Community Outreach Coordinator

Suzy grew up on California’s Central Coast where her parents instilled a strong commitment to community service. At UC Santa Cruz, she was a founding member of Alpha Phi Omega (a service fraternity) and received the JC Penney Golden Rule award for outstanding community service. After earning a B.A., Economics, she worked in fundraising for United Way and as activity director for a senior community. Suzy transitioned into financial services while earning her MBA from San Jose State. She worked with clients for 25+ years before retiring in 2019. Suzy has served on many boards including Lafayette Library & Learning Center Foundation, NCL, Contra Costa Child Abuse Prevention Council, San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, Junior League, Lamorinda Village, and Educate Our State. Suzy has also served on the Lafayette Elementary School District Governing Board since 2014 and is the current President. She was honored with the Junior League’s lifetime achievement award and was named Lamorinda Village Volunteer of 2021. Suzy and her husband live in Lafayette with their two daughters.

Laura-Kate Rurka, Development Coordinator

Over the past twenty years, Laura-Kate has dedicated much of her time to volunteering. In addition to serving on the boards of Lafayette Partners in Education, Acalanes Parents’ Club, and the Acalanes Area chapter of National Charity League, she has organized fundraising events, donated time in local schools both in and out of the classroom, and devoted many hours to area philanthropies and non-profits. Laura-Kate has held many jobs including purser and assistant expedition leader for an eco-tourism company, associate food buyer for Williams-Sonoma, designer’s assistant, reading lab assistant, and freelance writer. Her varied background ensures that she is up for any task the Village requires of her, be it cleaning gutters in the rain, organizing events, helping with technology, serving lunches, or simply fulfilling her administrative duties. As an avid baker, Laura-Kate takes great pleasure in providing a variety of treats to Village members and staff.

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