Meet the Candidates for the Ebell Board 2022-23

April 8, 2022

Soon you will receive an email with a ballot for selecting women to join the leadership on Ebell’s Board of Directors. As we slowly return to normal operations, it is especially important to vote for those who can guide us through the next steps in creating a vibrant, active community.

Below are candidate biographies to help you get to know our candidates.

Laurie Schechter: President
It has been an honor and pleasure to work with so many extraordinary Ebell women over the past 10 years.  It would be a privilege to continue this collaboration as Board President.

I joined The Ebell in 2012 and have been on the Board for six years, as Vice President (2020-2022) and Director of Programs (2016-2020).  My other Ebell leadership roles have included: Social Services Chair, RCA Treasurer and RCA Assistant Chair. I am currently a member of the RCA, Programming, Governance, Development, Finance and Audit Committees.  Such broad participation has afforded me an in-depth understanding of our beloved club.

I was born in New York City and lived on the east coast until 2010 when I moved to LA with my husband, a fourth generation Angeleno. My professional experience includes 20+ years in senior management positions with global medical and service companies in the areas of international business development, marketing, PR, special events, sales, and finance.  I hold an MBA in International Business and a BA in Marketing.  I speak Spanish and French, play tennis, and enjoy classical music as well as travel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Randi Jones: Vice Presdient
I joined The Ebell in 2013 and served as Director of the Rest Cottage Association for four years ending June 30, 2021. I continue to be an active member of RCA as well as the Governance Committee and the Strategic Planning Working Group. Over the years I’ve served on other committees as well, including Social Services, Wine & Dine, and our Executive Director hiring committee.

I earned a law degree from Columbia University and a Master’s in clinical psychology from USC, and have worked in both fields. Now retired, I serve on the Boards of Alzheimer’s LA, St. Barnabas Senior Services, and the Maestro Foundation, as well as the Board of Advisors of the UCLA Division of Geriatrics.

I have been married for 41 years to Richard Jones, who runs a large wealth management team at Merrill Lynch and loves The Ebell almost as much as I do. We have two adult children and two grandchildren, all of whom live in the Los Angeles area.

Fran Varga: Director of Development
I have been an Ebell member for three years, and I feel honored to be nominated for Director of Development.  I have been a volunteer on the Development committee for the last two years, and currently serve on the board of Ebell Friends 501 (c) (3).  My volunteer activities include working on grant applications, development of Ebell Friends’ web pages, GuideStar non-profit registration, and enrolling Ebell Friends in the Amazon Smile program.  In the last year I have also served on Ebell RCA, Social Services, and Audit committees, with the goal of understanding the broader mission of The Ebell.

I am committed to the growth, stability and sustainability of The Ebell of Los Angeles.  I wish to contribute the best of my abilities to our Club, address the challenges and opportunities of the next 100 years of our organization, work with all of the Ebell Board towards our mutual goals, and support our historic campus, theatre, and grounds.  I am passionate about The Ebell, and hope to share my enthusiasm and dedication with other members, with the goal of a stronger and more dynamic organization.

Donna Russell: Treasurer
Born and raised in Los Angeles I have a B.A. in English Literature from Chapman University. After college, I started my career in retail in the original Antique Guild and continued in retail management until 2000, when I “retired” and began caring full time for my mother.

I look forward to continuing my association with The Ebell, which began in the 1960s at Cotillion. Since completing my four-year term as Scholarship Chair, I’ve continued to serve on the Scholarship Committee, as well as on the RCA Committee (formerly Vice-Chairman), Historic Collections Committee, Docent Program and Art Exhibit Program.

I am also a member of Soroptimist International Los Angeles and volunteer at California Hospital and on Marlborough School’s Alumnae Council.

It would be an honor to continue my service as Treasurer on the Ebell Board as we continue working to strengthen our bond as Ebellians.

Phyllis Hansen: Director of Programs
I have served on the Ebell Board as Director of Programs for the past term, and would enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to continue in this capacity. It has been a privilege to see the club through the pandemic months with inspirational, educational and entertaining programs and events, and healing and coping ones, too. These have allowed me to get to know so many of you better, and work alongside so many creative women. Now as we are able to share time in person, I would like nothing better than presenting more programming that promotes fellowship and camaraderie.

I am a writer by profession, interested in art and design, and conduct speaker programs myself. I serve on the Boards of several California historical organizations, and I enjoy research. I love exploring Ebell’s history…and making history as we, as a Board, move the club forward into a bright future.

Janis Levart Barquist: Director of Governance
I am honored that the Nominations Committee has asked me to run for a second term as the Director of Governance.

The past two years as Governance Director during the Pandemic have been interesting, challenging and also fun. Under my leadership, the Governance Committee redrafted and promulgated a new Conflict of Interest Policy, initiated the first of annual Orientation sessions for Board Members, and has begun the difficult process of redrafting Bylaws to reflect our modernization and changing structure. Continuing forward, the Governance Committee will be planning an Orientation session for the new Board and will continue to work on reorganization issues.

I have been a member of the Ebell since about 2012. I served on the Nominations Committee, as its chairperson, from 2017 – 2019. I have been married for over 40 years to Charles Barquist, and have two sons, now grown, and 3 grandchildren.

For most of my career, I worked as a labor and employment lawyer, in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, retiring in 2020.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve the Ebell Community presented by the last two years. I hope that I can continue to serve effectively and with distinction.

LaToya Hearns, MHA: Director of Membership
I joined The Ebell in 2017 and have been an active and engaged member of the following committees: Ebell Hospitality, Social Services, Ebell Juniors, Nomination and Membership with the annual Champagne Open House. I have great ideas about enhancing the synergy between the Hospitality, Program and Membership committees to strengthen bonds between members to lead to lifelong friendships and improve retention in Ebell membership.

I received my Bachelor of Science degree at University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. I completed my Master’s in Health Administration from USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. I am a Research & Development Manager at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

I serve as California Alliance of Caregivers Ambassador for Los Angeles County, which advocates for children’s rights with local legislators and California Department of Social Services (CDSS). I have served as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Tara Hill Homeowners Association,  committee member of American College of Healthcare Executives and Healthcare Executives of Southern California and board member of Alpha Delta Phi.