Board of Directors

{2018 Members of the Board}

Lisa Griffiths

Lisa Griffiths, President

Lisa lives in Ojai with her wife, two young children and an always growing animal-family.  In her day job, Lisa serves as a management consultant focused on healthcare strategy, operational excellence and leadership development for integrated healthcare organizations.  She is also on the board of Planned Parenthood California Central Coast (Santa Barbara/Ventura/San Luis Obispo counties).  A native of Southern California, Lisa’s professional experience includes executive coaching, non-profit leadership, fundraising and public affairs. She co-founded a 501c3 dedicated to helping low-income youth access international volunteer programs in developing countries. She also served as Director of Change Initiatives and Great Place to Work programs for a large Los Angeles-based non-profit community healthcare organization.  
Lisa has an MBA from MIT, a BS in Conservation & Resource Studies from UC Berkeley, and has completed Coach U’s executive and life coaching training program.  She loves non-profit strategic planning, relationship-based leadership development, project management, being a part of the Ojai community and raising goats and chickens (and happy healthy loving kiddos).

CarolCastanonCarol Castanon, Member

Carol Castanon was the Executive Director of the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center since 2008- 2017. She is the current Director of Family Services. In addition to being a Parent Infant Coach, she is a mediator and holds a degree in Human Development. Carol has multiple certificates specific to child development and attachment. She has worked with schools and families for 40 years having begun her work with special needs and inner city youth. Carol currently has a private business consulting with both local schools and families on issues related to building successful relationships at home and in classrooms.




DSC_8886Jessica Mendiola, Member
Jessica’s professional background includes developing and managing grant programs for government and non-profit organizations. She has led a wide range of educational and social service initiatives, including Fulbright international exchange programs, leadership development projects in Hispanic communities, support services for homeless families, and after-school programs for at-risk youth.

 Jessica has a Master’s in International Education Policy from Stanford University, and a dual B.A. degree in Psychology and Spanish Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar and is bilingual (Spanish/English) and bicultural. Jessica recently moved from Mexico City to Ojai with her husband and young daughter. Besides the thrill and delight of being a new parent, Jessica’s other favorite activities include family hikes, pottery, and reflective writing. 


Ellen NightengaleEllen Nightingale, Member

Ellen Nightingale has been working as a speech-language pathologist with the 0 -3 population since 2003. She started her career at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey where she worked with Early Intervention families and the hospital’s preschool-primary school program for children with significant medical needs. She became certified in a variety of Hanen programs offering trainings to parents and professionals looking to embrace a family service delivery model.

During her time at Children’s Specialized Hospital, she served as the Staff Supervisor for the Evaluation Team and Clinical Coordinator supervising a staff of speech language pathologists, clinical fellows, graduate students and interdisciplinary teams. Her passion for teaching and mentoring others followed her to Ojai, CA where she discovered the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center as a parent to 2 young children under 3. Her lessons from the NTNC began to revolutionize and influence her work as she started her own private practice. She currently evaluates and treats children in the Early Start program and continues to enjoy teaching Hanen programs with her wonderful colleagues at The Language Builders. She serves on the board at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center and is committed to bringing new programs to more families, and offers monthly writing circles for moms. (More information on her website:


Sarah Sheshunoff, Member

Sarah Sheshunoff is a practicing attorney and professional mediator.  For the last seven years, she has focused on early childhood development, through education and volunteering extensively with Imagination Library.  Sarah lives in Ojai with her husband and two boys.







JohnAlderson-240x300@2xJohn Alderson, Member

John is a creative director with deep expertise in shaping brands, communications and services. He’s in his element helping envision, launch and advance enterprises with transformative ambitions.

John came across the work of the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center after moving to Ojai from London with his wife and daughter. Inspired by the profound work the center does to help families bond, he joined the board in 2017.

Lizzy Chouinard, Member

serena for open house sectSerena Handley, Member  Serena is a partner and lead realtor on the Tonya Peralta Real Estate Team. An Ojai native, Serena spent a decade on the east coast prior to moving back to CA in 2015. She received her BA from Emerson College in Boston, and upon graduation began work in New York at a small nonprofit called Futures and Options, a career development and internship program for underserved youth. She spent the next eight years working in marketing and development for nonprofits in New York, including ENACT, a drama therapy program in public schools and North Brooklyn Boat Club, a boating and environmental education nonprofit. Serena is passionate about early childhood development and brings her love of organizational management, big picture thinking and event planning to the work she does on the Nan Tolbert board. 

Lynne Goldfarb, Member

Susan Hardenbergh, Member

{2018 Advisory Board}

Dr. Diana Lynn Barnes                 Gail Topping
Dr. Brock Bernstein                      Sandra Shapero
Dr. Holly Goldberg
Adrienne Hoskins
Dr. Kevin White
Dr. Marsha McKeon
Angela Ocone
Kathy Speer
Renee Mandala