Meet the Members

from Jane Gilman and Lizzie Blatt

September 24, 2020

Meet some new Ebell members!


Jill Lawrence
“I was born in London and came to Los Angeles the day after I was married. I have two boys and two step-sons.  I was trained as a teacher of domestic science, but rather than re-qualifying in the US, I ended up in the securities industry.  My last job was running my husband’s cardiac surgery office.

“We spend our time between Los Angeles and Sun Valley, Idaho. I love to ski, hike and bike in Idaho.  I enjoy opera, reading and entertaining friends, but my favorite things to do are traveling and spending time with my grandsons.

“I am a member of the Order of the Knights of St John and attend All Saints Church in Beverly Hills. Friends at church invited me to join the Ebell Club.”


Vanessa Colosio Diaz
Vanessa was born in Sacramento to a retired field worker and “an equally amazing and hardworking mother,” and grew up on the Mexico/California border. She has a BA in Media Studies from San Diego State University, and is the owner/consultant of Pipeline Pepper, working in event planning, PR, marketing and digital branding.

Vanessa loves photography and cycling, hanging with her rescue dog, Raisin Bran, exploring LA and all it has to offer, and “meeting women doing good and changing the world.” She has held many volunteer positions, including PR Chair of Fashion Group International, the Junior League and as a trainer for Vote Run Lead.

She was set to be married this year, but has had to postpone the nuptials because of COVID.


Barbara Lee Christiansen
Barbara Lee Christiansen joined The Ebell a year ago, the day her friend Soo Lee took her to lunch at the Club. She was interested in the programs, such as the Rest Cottage Association. A former fashion model for John Robert Powers, for department stores and companies such as Nike, she continues her interest in fashion. She is a member of Fashion Group International, which raises funds for scholarships. Barbara calls herself semi-retired but continues her work as a model, commercial actress and as an interior designer.

Barbara immigrated to Portland, Oregon, with her family from Hong Kong when she was 12. It was there she met her husband, who convinced her to move to Los Angeles. He died of lung cancer 11 years ago, age 48, and the memorial golf tournament in his name brings in funds for the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation. Barbara serves on the Foundation’s board of directors. The tournament has raised $1,000,000 since its inception.

Mother of Felicia, David and Jessica, she finds time to devote to her four grandchildren. To take a pause in her busy schedule, Barbara enjoys playing golf. She is looking forward to getting back to the game post-pandemic and after being laid up with a broken ankle for six months.


Jane Hawley
Jane Hawley cannot wait until the pandemic is over so she can get involved in Ebell committees. A native of Arcadia, Jane has always admired the Ebell building (“it’s a Los Angeles treasure”), and spent many hours here while her three children were learning to dance at Cotillion. She also donated at many of the Red Cross blood drives held at the Club .

Jane received a degree in communication from Santa Clara University and, after graduation, worked in post-production. She then became an executive in global account management for Technicolor Corp. and left that post to care for her children.

She and her husband, George, were married in 1993, and are residents of Windsor Square. They have two sons, Henry and Noland, and a daughter, Caroline. Jane is past president of  Loyola High School Mothers’ Guild, a job she held for three years, where she instituted fund-saving systems. She recently joined the national board of trustees of the Lupus Foundation. She also is on the board of trustees of  Mayfield Senior School, her alma mater. An avid tennis player, Jane has just started a new hobby: painting.


Ashley Gardner
Although she is an actress with hundreds of stage, movie and television credits, Ashley Gardner is also an active volunteer who isn’t afraid to knock on doors to get candidates elected.

One of the Ebell’s newest members, Ashley joined after her friend Sharon Lawrence invited her to lunch. “I was impressed with the program and with the building,” says Ashley.

Born and raised in Rocky Mount, NC, she graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts and went to New York to pursue an acting career. She settled in Los Angeles in 1994 where she met and married fellow actor Brian Finney. Her twin children are son, Jesse, and daughter, Virginia. The family lives in Windsor Square.

Ashley’s hundreds of acting credits run the gamut from the Broadway stage to He Said, She Said and a long-time stint on the animated series King of the Hill.

Her volunteer time is spent with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), where she currently works  as a court advocate and mentor for a nine-year-old boy in foster care. She also volunteers with the Grassroots office in Westwood. Among the many roles she has carried out for this office are knocking on doors to spread the message of voting for Democratic candidates.