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Rich Schuette, Chair


Rich Schuette is a Wealth Manager at Avalan. He focuses on providing wealth management solutions to successful businesses and law firms, as well as their owners, partners and employees. Rich also works closely with his clients families and has developed a special expertise in helping navigate the chaos affecting recently widowed or divorced women. Together with his partners, he helps affluent clients address their five biggest concerns: preserving their wealth, mitigating taxes, taking care of their heirs, ensuring their assets are not unjustly taken, and charitable giving. Rich founded Avalan in 2011 and now serves multiple families and corporations who have entrusted him with their assets. He uses a consultative process to gain a detailed understanding of his clients' deepest values and goals. He then employs customized recommendations designed to address each client's unique needs and goals beyond simply investments.

Previously, Mr. Schuette spent 14 years as a financial advisor at firms he co-founded in Thousand Oaks, and in Santa Barbara where he has resided since 2003. He has served as a consultant for a nationally recognized law firm since 2004 working closely with employees retirement planning needs thus expanding his practice to encompass areas from Orange County to San Francisco.

Rich is a widely recognized leader in the Santa Barbara financial advisor community, as well as a staple in the charitable community serving on many meaningful boards in various capacities including many leadership positions.

J. Paul Gignac, Vice President


J. Paul Gignac is practicing attorney and works primarily as “Of Counsel” to the law firm of Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, LLP.  J. Paul is a 1983 cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government.  J. Paul graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 1986.  Beginning in 2008 and continuing for every year since then, J. Paul has been selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer – a peer review selection that is limited to 5 percent of the lawyers in the State of California.  Prior to joining the Board of Directors of the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, J. Paul served on the Board of Directors for the Dream Foundation.  In addition, he acted as the Treasurer and chaired the Finance Committee. J. Paul is a twenty-plus year resident of Santa Barbara and a member of MENSA.



David Edelman, Treasurer


A Santa Barbara resident for almost 40 years, David Edelman has been active in the nonprofit community since he arrived.  As an employee, volunteer committee member or board member his dedication to this special community is unparalleled.  He has worked for the Isla Vista Youth Project, Social Advocates for Youth, Open Road Citizen’s Policy Center, Klein Bottle Youth Programs, and Fielding Graduate University, consulted with ShelterBox USA, Dream Foundation, Girls Scouts, American Indian Health and Services and Jodi House, an active Board member for Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and the Boys and Girls Cub of Santa Barbara, past member of the Board for Channel Island YMCA, CALM, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, CASA, committee member for the Museum of Contemporary Arts, United Way, Fighting Back, American Heart Association and the Arthritis Foundation. He has helped to bring national programs to our community such as Big Brother Big Sister, CASA and Teen Court and facilitated nonprofit mergers/spinoffs with CASA, Youth to Youth, and CALM/PACT. 


In addition to his work in the nonprofit field he has been involved with the local business community, employed by Cox Communications, consulting with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and a past active board member for the Goleta and Carpinteria Chamber of Commerce.

David has a Masters Degree in Counseling and Guidance, a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist and has an MBA to balance his love for the business side of nonprofit organizations.  David is married, has three amazing children and three of the cutest grandboys ever.

Nathan Rogers, Secretary

Mr. Rogers is an attorney specializing in business litigation and transactions.  Mr. Rogers earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree from U.C. Santa Barbara. Mr. Rogers also has a certificate in mediation from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. 


Mr. Rogers has taught Advanced Legal Writing at the Santa Barbara College of Law and served as a volunteer settlement master at the Santa Barbara Superior Court. Mr. Rogers also serves on the Board of Directors of Santa Barbara Strings and previously served on the board of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and as an Associate Director of Old Spanish Days (Fiesta).  Mr. Rogers lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and two children.


Carolyn Shepard Baham, Director


Carolyn is the Director of Programs for Innovative Learning, an online company providing training in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism. In this position, she helps to provide quality training for paraprofessionals and behavior analysts in the human services field. Prior to this, Carolyn and her husband owned several small businesses in Santa Barbara together. Carolyn has been a resident of Santa Barbara since 1996 and holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Carolyn loves the sense of community in Santa Barbara, and enjoys working with local nonprofits whenever she can. In the past, she has been on the Board of Directors for Hospice of Santa Barbara and volunteered on event committees for Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and CALM.  In addition to currently being on the Board of Directors for Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, she is also an Event Ambassador for Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors for the Vow4Mal Foundation.

Adam Black, Director


Adam Black is the Branch Manager and Senior Loan Officer of New American Funding, Montecito.  He opened the Montecito Branch of New American Funding in March of 2015 with more than 20 years of banking experience.  Prior to his venture at New American, Adam opened a branch for Bank of Manhattan in Santa Barbara in 2012 that he managed until the bank was acquired in early 2015. In 1992 Adam graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara and immediately began his career as Branch Vice President of Great Western Bank, Carpinteria .  Adam has received several awards and recognition for being a nationwide top producer funding over $500,000,000 in loans.  For the past eight years he has been recognized as a Platinum Level producer.


Serving his community, Adam has had the honor of officiating several marriages in the past 10 years.  He founded the City of Carpinteria Masters and Age Group swimming programs including Carpinteria High School Water Polo and Swim Teams.  Adam is the proud father of 9 year-old son, Dylan, and is a volunteer coach at the YMCA for Basketball and Santa Barbara Hockey. 

Tyler Dobson, Director


Tyler has over 13 years of financial services experience in banking, and is currently a Senior Relationship Manager with Wells Fargo Commercial & Technology Banking. In his role, he serves a wide range of companies; traditional middle market and fast growth technology, real estate investors and non-profits. He earned a BA in business economics with an emphasis in accounting from the University of California, Santa Barbara and resides in Santa Barbara with his wife where they are both very active in local non-profits. In addition to Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, he has been involved with the following organizations:


  • Santa Barbara Contractor’s Association – Board Committee

  • Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce – Chairman, Ambassador Counsel, Board of Directors, Executive Board

  • United Way – Board Committee (Fabulous 40)

  • SBIFF – Board Committee (Development)

  • Ensemble Theatre – Board Committee (Development and Corporate)

  • Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara – Board Committee (Development)

  • Santa Barbara Young Professionals (Current) – Board of Directors

  • American Heart Association (Current) – Board of Directors, Immediate Past Chairman of Committee


Tom Fisher, Director

With deep roots in the banking industry and a passion for exceptional service, Tom is a highly distinguished portfolio manager with a focused and knowledgeable approach to providing his clients with objective investment advice and unparalleled results. Tom has over 30 years of investment management experience which includes overseeing assets for individuals, families, private foundations and other charitable organizations.

Sheela Hunt , Director

Sheela has been actively hands-on since she met TBCF’s founder, Nikki Katz, in 2002 when TBCF was first developed. She is an incredible ambassador and continuously dedicates her time fulfilling the organization’s mission by supporting fundraising efforts and raising awareness.


Sheela has been instrumental to TBCF by building media relations that helped raise TBCF’s visibility and she’s been an event chair on numerous occasions, working tirelessly on one of TBCF’s former long-standing events, Saks & The City–that during its seven-year run generated $773,000. Sheela has also given her time, expertise, and energy to Luncheons; a comedy night event; party books, such as Music and Margaritas with Kenny Loggins; programs including Project Holiday, Family Fun Day, Bear Necessities and Moments in Time; as well as many other TBCF projects. She is an advocate, regularly informing friends, family, business owners, and community members about the stress and challenges families that have a child with cancer endure.


Sheela was born in Hong Kong to parents of East Indian heritage. Her childhood was spent traveling and living abroad and, during grade school, her family settled in Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in marketing and went into the banking industry. After marriage and for many years, Sheela and her husband Mark were involved in producing the SHINE AWARDS, a major annual fundraising event for an entertainment charity that gave awards to TV shows, music videos, and feature films. Sheela moved to Santa Barbara in 2002 and joined Mark’s multi-generational family, who are imbedded in Santa Barbara's history. Since then, Sheela has been a successful Real Estate Agent with Village Properties, an Exclusive affiliate of Christies International Real Estate, and in addition has volunteered for many organizations such as Montecito Union School PTA, Storyteller, Santa Barbara High School's MAD Academy, Angels Foster Care, Village Properties Teachers Fund, and, of course, to TBCF. Her daughter, Sareena, who has also been a wonderful volunteer for TBCF, graduated top of her class in 2015 from Santa Barbara High School and is now a student at USC in their Marshall School of Business as well as the Leventhal School of Accounting. 


In addition to being on the Board of TBCF, Sheela currently serves as a co-chair of TBCF’s event ambassador committee. Sheela is someone that our TBCF team knows we can always call on to help! She continues to be there for the organization, from wrapping holiday presents to chairing fundraising events, and we are blessed to consider her amongst our most prized supporters. In 2015, Sheela received the Helping Hands award at the annual Gold Ribbon Luncheon for her work and dedication over the years to TBCF. 

Adriana Mezic, Director


Adriana Mezic, M.A., is Founder and President of AIMdyn, Inc, a health analytics, consulting, research and software development company in Santa Barbara (established 2003).  She and her husband Igor, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics at UCSB, are parents to three daughters and have been living in the Santa Barbara area for over 20 years.


She has multiple archival publications in prestigious scientific journals, such as the American Journal of Physiology. She also completed a Certificate in Alcohol and Other Drug Counseling at UCSB.  She has worked in the medical and social support fields and has lead and participated in hospital volunteer programs in Santa Barbara and the UK, as well as the Project Recovery (alcohol and other drug rehabilitation institution for pre- and post-natal women) in Santa Barbara. 


She is presently the Vice President of the DPHSEngineering Academy PTA, and an active sponsor of the Engineering Academy at DPHS, AAPLE Academy at SMHS, The King’s Page SMHS and Royal Gala at SMHS. 


Bibi Moezzi, Director


Bibi Moezzi is the First Vice President, Sr. Client Relationship officer for Heritage Oaks Bank (formerly known as Business First Bank). Her responsibilities are to establish new relationships as well as manage the existing relationships at the bank. She works closely with her clients to provide solutions that meet their banking needs in a timely and accurate manner. She started with Business First National Bank over 13 years ago as a loan processor and worked her way up to her current position. She credits her mentor Joanne Funari for her success. She was born and raised in Tehran, Iran where she received her Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering. She moved to Santa Barbara 15 years ago to continue her education. However, she found her way into banking by accident and chose to stay in that field.


Ms. Moezzi has received the” Extra Step Award” from Congresswoman Lois Capps and the Santa Barbara Police Department for going above and beyond the call of duty. Actively involved in the Santa Barbara Community, Ms. Moezzi has served on the Board of Directors for Old Spanish Days Fiesta, Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara as well as The Milpas Association Board of Directors. She also serves on the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara Finance Committee.

Maria Wilson, Director

Maria is the owner of The Painted Cabernet .  Born in Bogota, Colombia, Maria returned to her Santa Barbara roots 7 years ago after living in Colorado and the Washington DC area. 


She started her career working at the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara and has continued working and volunteering with various hospitals and non-profits around the country.  An avid supporter and volunteer for The Children’s Hospital of Denver, Maria was instrumental in raising over $1M for Children’s Oncology through events such as The Children’s Hospital Race of Champions which grew into a nationally televised event.  


Maria is currently the co-chair for the United Boys & Girls Club Rally 4 Kids, and  has also served on various committees for Montecito Motor Classic, benefitting the Police Activities League (PAL) and Santa Barbara Police Foundation. In addition, she was a co-chair for the Multimedia Arts and Design Academy (MAD Academy) Gala.


Maria co-founded Santa Barbara Cars & Coffee which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for local charities and is currently an Executive Producer for the ABC TV show, “Car Life on the 101”.  She is married and has a daughter who is attends Cal Lutheran University.

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