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Board of Directors

Sue Shirley, Chief Operating Officer.

Betty Saidel

President of the Board, Insurance Consultant and Business 

Betty has been affiliated with Old Town Artisan Studios since 2010. First as a student, then board member, board Secretary, board Secretary/Treasurer and today as board President. She retired as owner of Integral Insurance and Financial Services, a business insurance agency and more recently as co/owner of Logic Packaging, Inc. Free Arts for Abused Children, AIDS Project LA and City of Hope are examples of her past philanthropic personal and business involvement.

Ivanna Hansen, Director of Marketing & Volunteers.

Jeff Geldermann

Chairman of the Board, Technology Entrepreneur, Now Retired

1973 Developed all trade processing software for CBOE Options Exchange. 1983 Co-founded GMI Software in Chicago to develop the premier global system for financial instrument accounting. 1997 Co-founded Credentials Solutions providing web-based services for colleges and universities. 2021 Inducted into the Futures Industry Association Hall of Fame. Part-year La Quinta resident since 1998.

Katie Thornton, Director of Development.

Sean Webb

Vice Chairman of the Board; Director I, Literacy Outreach at Riverside County Office of Education; Executive Director of Read With Me Volunteers

 Sean Webb is a dedicated education professional with a rich history of service in the academic and community realms. With over two decades of experience in the field, Sean’s journey began as a Teacher at various schools in the Coachella Valley, where he demonstrated a passion for both classroom instruction and extracurricular engagement.

Transitioning into administrative roles, Sean served as Assistant Principal at Palm Desert High School, La Quinta High School, and Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School, overseeing diverse educational programs and fostering community partnerships. Notably, his tenure as Director of Community Engagement and Educational Foundation at Desert Sands Unified School District showcased his adeptness in securing funding and organizing impactful events.

Currently serving as Director I, Literacy Outreach at Riverside County Office of Education, Sean continues to champion literacy initiatives through his role as Executive Director for Read With Me Volunteer Programs. His commitment extends beyond education, as evidenced by his active involvement in various volunteer organizations, including Leadership Coachella Valley and Old Town Artisan Studios.

Sean resides in the city of La Quinta with his wife Tara, daughter Brooklyn, and two dogs, Piper and Penny. His multifaceted expertise and unwavering dedication make him a driving force in enhancing educational opportunities and community engagement.

Colby Cramer, Chief Studio Artisan.

Deborah Tryon

Secretary of the Board

Deborah Tryon currently serves as the Secretary of the Board at OTAS.

Sue Shirley, Chief Operating Officer.

Fran Davidson

Family Enterprise Owner and Philanthropist

Fran joined the OTAS Board in late Spring of 2015. She and her husband, Bob, call Seattle their primary home and spend five months of the season here at their home in La Quinta.

Ivanna Hansen, Director of Marketing & Volunteers.

Matt Johnson

Commercial Real Estate, Property Management and Business Owner

Matt is the President of Johnson Commercial Real Estate, Inc. in Rancho Mirage. Mr. Johnson specializes in the sale, leasing and development of new and existing facilities for growing companies here in the Coachella Valley.

Katie Thornton, Director of Development.

David Turner

Land Surveyor

David is President of Coachella Valley Engineers (CVE), a local Civil Engineering and Land Surveying Company, specializing in commercial, residential, and land development projects.

Colby Cramer, Chief Studio Artisan.

Millie Pearson

Development Techniques and Business Owner

Growing up in a family of artists, Millie has been drawing and painting since childhood, selling her first painting at age 13 and commissioned at age 14 to do her first public piece: a hand painted 14’x 48’ billboard in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.

Sue Shirley, Chief Operating Officer.

Leslie Locken

Real Estate Manager

Leslie Locken is the Sr. Real Estate Lease Manager for Lamar Outdoor Advertising and is responsible for negotiating new real estate leases for billboard structures as a revenue stream for landowners. In addition, Leslie is a Licensed Real Estate Agent practicing in the Coachella Valley and also serves as a Committee Member for the Bermuda Dunes Community Council.

Ivanna Hansen, Director of Marketing & Volunteers.

Sarah Schmolke

Membership & Marketing Director, Tamarisk Country Club

Sarah Schmolke is a Sales and Marketing Professional with over ten years of experience in the luxury golf industry. Currently working as the Membership & Marketing Director at Tamarisk Country Club. Sarah has lived in the desert for the past 18 years and has cultivated a deep understanding of the unique market and lifestyle associated with the Coachella Valley.

Passions of Sarah’s are connecting with people and consistently finding ways to creatively engage, creating a sense of community.

Sarah is a graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Portland and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

An adventuress at heart, Sarah loves to travel and immerse herself in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and camping with the family. Her love for adventure and new experiences continually fuels her professional and personal growth.

Katie Thornton, Director of Development.

Erin Eslinger

Program Advisor, St. Jude Dream Home® Showplace

Erin has provided customized strategic planning and efficient marketing solutions for small businesses, national brands, and nonprofit organizations for over 20+ years.

As a multi-passionate creative, Erin was excited to discover a new love for ceramics at Old Town Artisan Studios.

Katie Thornton, Director of Development.

Cynthia Beesemyer

Board Member

Cynthia was an Art Educator for nearly 15 years, while pursuing several degrees in the Arts and Humanities at Penn State University. After working on her graduate degrees, she moved to Paris to be a photographer for 2 years exhibiting at two galleries in the 8th arrondissement. Upon returning to the US, Cynthia shifted to the corporate world, becoming a senior marketing executive in the HBA industry for over 30 years. After working as Director & Vice President of Global Marketing at such companies as Neutrogena/J&J, Jafra/Gillette and Dermalogica, Cynthia started her own consulting firm with clients that spanned Fortune 100’s to start-ups, in all channels of distribution both domestically and worldwide. Cynthia moved to La Quinta in December 2019, eventually retired and started volunteering for several not-for-profits including the Ophelia Project, FIND Food Bank and Old Town Artisan’s Studio. In addition to helping teach art weekly for OTAS at the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club, Cynthia has also taken numerous classes at OTAS. Thus, becoming a Board member has been both a natural transition as well as a true honor.

Sue Shirley, Chief Operating Officer.

Kenneth Harth

Board Member

Ken Harth brings a wealth of experience garnered from a distinguished 30-year tenure at AT&T, where he held various senior leadership positions. A dedicated leader driven by results, Ken has a proven track record in sales management, business development, and strategic planning. His commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond his professional career into his charitable work. Ken has been actively involved with numerous organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Houston Fine Arts Museum, the San Diego Future Foundation, and National 9-1-1 for Kids Foundation. His exceptional dedication to volunteerism was recognized in 2012 when he received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from Barack Obama. Ken and his wife, Jacqueline, reside in the Coachella Valley full-time and enjoy spending time with family, boating, traveling, and engaging in all sports. Currently, Ken serves as Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Network Data Systems, where he continues to excel in fostering strategic partnerships and driving business growth.

Emeritus Board

Richard Grund

OTAS Founder

Victory Grund

OTAS Founder

Advisory Board

Andrea Carter

John Conley

Kim Hetherington

Mary Lou Green

Nicole Trigg

Robert Ault

Bill MacMillan

Esther Bertram

Kate Spates

Leslie Flores

Melita Martin Radtke

Patrick Evans

Brooke Beare

Gayl Biondi

Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Lisa Banks

Michele McDonough

Paulina Larson

Diane Gall

Jean Kirby

Kenn Ulrich

Marge Dodge

Nan Tomasko

Renee Woodward

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