Slate for Board Election and Nominating Committee – Meet the Candidates

Respectfully submitted by Helene Seifer and Patricia Lombard, Nominating Committee Co-Chairs

May 1, 2023

Per our organization’s bylaws and election procedures, The Ebell Nominating Committee is tasked with vetting suggested candidates for open board positions and then putting forward a recommended slate for approval by The Ebell Board of Directors who presents the slate to the membership for election.

Elected board members serve for two year terms. They may run for a second two-year term in their same position,  except for the President who is limited to a single two-year term. Terms are staggered so every election cycle roughly half the board either run again or cycle off.

For the upcoming 2023-2024 fiscal year, the Board members who are staying to complete their first or second two-year terms are:

President   Laurie Schechter
Vice President   Randi Jones
Treasurer   Donna Russell
Director of Programs   Phyllis Hansen
Director of Membership   LaToya Hearns
Director of Governance   Janis Barquist
Director of Development   Fran Varga


Julie Barkan
Candidate for Director of Rest Cottage Association

I joined the Rest Cottage Association (RCA) the same day I joined The Ebell. It was important to me to be part of a group that had hands-on opportunities to help others in Los Angeles. After my novice year on the RCA, I spent two years as Director-at-Large, two years as Treasurer, two years as Vice Chair, and I currently serve as the Director of Rest Cottage Association. I am so honored to have this position and look forward to continuing this wonderful opportunity to work with an absolutely wonderful group of women, all dedicated to helping women in Los Angeles.


Lee Braly
Candidate for Director of Finance

As the Principal of i2i Consulting, I advise and coach clients through transformational change, program management challenges, and operational issues enabling them to move from ideas to implementation. Previously, I was the “queen of
gnarly projects” for Warner Bros. leading company-wide transformation efforts for 11 years. Prior to joining WB, I worked in consulting for 22 years, 19 of them with Accenture.

In addition to my professional career, I have pursued my passion to improve life in Los Angeles through involvement with local organizations. I am a volunteer consultant with the Executive Service Corps of Southern California doing strategic planning, organizational assessments, and leadership coaching with a wide variety of non-profits.

I am currently the Secretary of the Board of The Ebell and Treasurer and Chair of
the Finance Committee of TreePeople and the TreePeople Land Trust. I am a past
board member of the Organization of Women Executives and past Chair of Women
United of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

I received an MBA in Finance from the USC Marshall School of Business, and a BA
in Public Relations from the USC School of Journalism and was elected to Phi Beta


Catherine Collins
Candidate for Secretary

I have been a member of The Ebell Club since early 2019 and serve on the House Committee. I made member outreach calls during the early weeks of the pandemic and was one of many
docents for the recent Ebell Open House.

I spent 41 years in management consulting with Accenture, where I focused on operational performance, process improvement, system capability implementation and organizational change, until I retired in 2018. I also oversaw local practice programs in inclusion and diversity, corporate citizenship, and employee

For the past six years, I have been a Board member for the Downtown Women’s Center, a nonprofit that serves women experiencing homelessness. I currently serve as Board Secretary and chair the Governance Committee. I previously launched and chaired the Social Enterprise Committee.

I have a degree in mathematics and statistics from Miami University (Ohio). I have lived in Los Angeles since 1982. I enjoy the outdoors as well as travel, movies/theatre and sewing. I am widowed and have two adult children and two young grandsons.


Laura Louden
Candidate for Director of Publications

I am honored to be nominated as Director of Publications. I’ve enjoyed my six years as an “Ebella.” I have worked in editing, marketing, advertising, and public relations most of my adult life. I’ve always loved language and finding out about other people. I was in the Creative Writing program at UCLA with Brian Moore, still one of my favorite writers.

Having been the Director of Advertising for Landmark Theatres for 20 years I’m comfortable with creating concepts, schedules, and deadlines, as well as herding graphic artists, freelancers, and researching questions for Q&As. I was also one of the editors for FLM Magazine, a collection of art and writings on Independent Film.

Recently, I’ve found more time for my own writing, thanks to the Ebell Write Club. Over the years I’ve published in Los Angeles Magazine, The Daisy Chain, The Disappointed Housewife, Tyro, The Kinsey Report (the literary magazine) and a few others.


Anne Lynch
Director of Scholarship

I have been honored to serve as the Director of Scholarship for the past two years, helping carry on The Ebell’s long tradition of selecting and supporting undergraduate students in the fulfillment of their potential. I helped implement services to enhance students’ ability to develop into knowledgeable leaders in their chosen fields.

Having absorbed the restrictions and changes imposed by Covid, this year it has been the Committee’s pleasure to once again begin interacting in person with our scholars. Based upon forty years as a librarian, I recognize the need to adjust to changes in methods and the importance of connecting with the scholars we support.

Since joining The Ebell in 2018, I’ve served on the Scholarship Committee, RCA, was a Social Services Ambassador, and continue to participate in the Ebell Chorale.


Christy McAvoy
Candidate for Director of House, Theatre & Grounds

I am an educator, LA historian, and retired historic preservation consultant.  In 1989, I founded Historic Resources Group, where we guided the reuse and rehabilitation of over 250 landmarks from hotels to affordable housing throughout Southern California for almost four decades.  I am a past president of the Los Angeles Conservancy and the California Preservation Foundation, an Advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a member of the Ebell Chorale, an avid reader, and I love to travel.

I have been a member since 2016, and Director of House, Theatre & Grounds for the last two years, supervising the Master Plan, which will guide The Ebell’s mandated seismic retrofit and other projects as we enter the building’s second hundred years. It has been my pleasure to work with talented members of the committee and staff to address needed deferred maintenance projects and create a transparent budget. I also serve on the Finance Committee and Ebell Friends.


Denise Parga
Candidate for Director of Historic Collections

I am honored to be nominated for a second term as Director of Historic Collections.

I have been a member of The Ebell since 2014 when Loyce Braun recruited me as a dancer for the Ebell decades dance. For the past two years I served as Director of Historic Collections. I am also a member of the Programming Committee, the Governance Committee, the Art Committee and the Membership Committee.

I am a retired business and real estate litigator who enjoys cooking, cocktails, sewing and vintage fashion. While in private practice, I was editor of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers newsletter. Prior to becoming an attorney, I was a fabric designer, specializing in knits.


Clare Sebenius
Candidate for Director of Public Relations

I joined The Ebell in 2018 and have been a Public Relations committee member since 2020.  I am a longtime resident of Los Angeles and was raised in San Marino. I have spent over twenty years working in marketing communications as the founder of my consultancy Larchmont Creative Works. My professional work has included client engagements with Caruso, Sony, PlayStation, Lexus, Lilly, and others.  I have also provided communication guidance and creative direction for non-profits including Aviva Family and Children’s Services, Imagine LA, Pacific Clinics, Fashion District, Westwood Village Improvement Association, UCLA School of Engineering, Center for Health Care Rights, Hollywood Entertainment District, and Pilgrim School. I served on the school board for Blessed Sacrament School in Hollywood and was an active member of the Advancement Committees at St. James Episcopal School, Turning Point School, and Marymount High School. I look forward to bringing my passion for building vibrant brands, places, institutions, and communities to The Ebell of Los Angeles.

I am a graduate of the University of San Diego.


The Nominating Committee is also tasked with forming a slate for the next Nominating Committee. Nominating Committee members are each elected for a two-year term, after which they must cycle off. They can run again after being off the committee for at least one year. Every year roughly half the members stay and half cycle off.

Ebell bylaws set forth rules for serving on the Nominating Committee. In addition to each candidate being an Ebell member in good standing for a minimum of two years, there are two other stipulations: stipulation number 1, at least one person on the committee needs to have served on the Ebell Board of Directors for two years in the last three years prior to serving on the Committee; and stipulation number 2, at least two other committee members must have served on the Board for one year in the last eight years.

Nominating Committee Members who are remaining on the Committee for the 2023-2024 fiscal year are:

Patricia Lombard  (this member satisfies stipulation number 1)
Jane Gilman   (this member satisfies one of two members for stipulation number 2, so one more member is needed)
Vivian Arterbery
Amy Green

The Nominating Committee proposed a slate of five new members to be elected. At the recent town hall meeting, three members were proposed from the floor.

Members may now chose among the following candidates to  vote for five  members must be elected to the Nominating Committee, at least one of whom must satisfy stipulation #2, and must have served on the Board for one year in the last eight years. Two candidates, marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy that stipulation.

Please vote for five (5) of the Nominating Committee candidates below, but at least one must have an asterisk (*) after her name.

Kay Balue headshotKay Balue
I like to say I’m a “professional volunteer.” Besides all the Mom volunteering I did for my four children, I also did something for myself by joining The Ebell in 1979 as an Ebell Junior. The following year, I served on its Board and continued until many years later it was folded into the Main Club. As I gained more experience, I was also elected to  serve on The Ebell Board. I spent 20+ years as a Board member, culminating with my presidency in 2002-2004. Currently, I am actively involved with: the Rest Cottage; Scholarship; Governance; Ebell Friends; and help whenever I am asked.

I have watched, learned and participated as The Ebell has grown, changed, and evolved over the 44 years of my membership.  I would bring experience and an open mind to the Nominating Committee.

Kay Balue was nominated from the floor at the April 17 Town Hall.


Marnie Bodek
I am passionate about not-for-profit organizations in the fields of education, the built and natural environment, and women’s issues. In addition to my early career in historic preservation at the National Register of Historic Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I have worked as a major gift, planned giving and special projects fundraiser at the Coro Foundation and UCLA.

My marketing expertise was developed at Neutrogena and BBDO Advertising.

Since retirement, I have mentored low income students applying to college, cofounded a women’s group at Wilshire Boulevard Temple and currently lead an initiative to plant parkway trees in my neighborhood.

As a member of the Ebell Scholarship Committee since 2013 I have played a major role in developing the program’s scholarship application review process and moving it and the application itself online. I recently joined the Ebell’s House and Gardens Committee.


Eileen Brown
I am a Los Angeles native. I graduated from Occidental College in Eagle Rock in 1973.  I graduated from UCLA Law School in 1977 and received a Master of Business Administration from UCLA in 1985.

My first legal job was as a Corporate Counsel for Capital Records. Then I took a hiatus from law to get my MBA, have my youngest daughter and create and run a toy store in Beverly Hills called “Ages and Stages Toys with Class.” In 1995 I went back to law and worked as General Counsel for Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

In 2000 I left Shoah to start my own Real Estate Development Company. I have built one apartment building and 24 homes. I am currently finishing 6 homes.

My primary philanthropic work has been with Occidental College and Jewish Family Services.

At Occidental I have been a Trustee since 1995. I chaired the Academic Affairs and Honorary Degree Committees. I have been active on the Budget and Finance and Building and Grounds Committees and I am on a sub-committee for Capital Asset Renewal Program. I have also chaired multiple task forces.

I have also been 12 years on the Board of Jewish Family Service Los Angeles. For JFS I chair the Facilities Committee and oversaw the construction of JFS’s new headquarters on Fairfax.

I am a member of the Ebell Scholarship and Social Service committees. I have really enjoyed meeting with Ebell members to help others.

I have a wonderful husband, Harold. We met in high school. I have three children and four grandchildren.

Eileen Brown was nominated from the floor at the April 17 Town Hall.


Judith Day headshot 2Judith Day *
I have been on the Scholarship Committee since joining The Ebell in 2012 and served as Director of Scholarship on the Ebell Board from 2017 through 2020.

I hold a Bachelor of Behavioral Sciences from CSU Domingues Hills, a Masters of Urban Education from CSU Los Angeles and a Masters of School Administration from CSU Northridge.

I worked for LAUSD teaching math in both middle school and high school. I have held various administrative positions and was assistant principal at Garfield High School when I retired.  Also, I was Executive Director for a National Science Foundation math and science outreach program. We were one of 12 funded in the country to do math and science outreach to middle and high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to increase the number of under-represented students to choose STEM related degrees at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

I have four children, three daughters and a son. I have 15 natural and four step-grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. They are scattered all over the country so I do a lot of traveling visiting family. My spouse and I have happily been together for 29 years and we both love traveling.


Courtney Sabra Marie Harris (nee Gladney)
I joined The Ebell in 2019 and am an active member of the Ebell Write Club.

I am a creative and innovative writer and photographer with over 15 years of professional experience in marketing, events, corporate communications, public relations, and sales. A heart for community, I have a profound love and appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism. I am globally minded, having lived and traveled all over the world.

I am active in my church and serve on two boards as Board Secretary for Forgiving for Living, Inc. and SoCal NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials).  I graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, Magna Cum Laude, with a BA in Psychology. My hobbies include travel, writing, photography, cinema/film, fine arts, and good food! I reside in Southern California with my husband Jimmy and our dog Kamari.


Madelyn MurrayMadelyn Murray *
I have been a member of The Ebell since 2000 and currently serve as Director of Finance and on The Ebell Executive Committee. I will complete my second and final term in the role of Finance Chair on June 30.

I currently serve on the The Ebell Program Committee, the Governance Committee, the Art Salon Committee, and am active in Book Chamber. I recently served on The Ebell Strategic Planning Committee and the Executive Director Search Committee.

During my professional career, I held executive level positions in wealth management, public finance, investment banking, business development, and strategic planning. I retired from the Bank of New York Mellon at the end of 2014. I was appointed a City of Los Angeles Commissioner and served as the elected President of the Los Angeles Convention Center Authority Board during the Convention Center’s building expansion phase.

I hold a certificate in Board Leadership from the African American Board Leadership Institute, a program under the sponsorship of The California Community Foundation. I served two terms (eight years) on the Province Advisory Board for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, overseeing the Sisters’ real estate and investment assets and the financing of their educational and social service institutions in Southern California and Hawaii.

I hold a BA and an MBA from UCLA. I reside in Brookside with my husband, John.

Madelyn Murray was nominated from the floor at the April 17 Town Hall.


Tiffany Patierno
I love spending time traveling, cooking, and volunteering. In the past I’ve enjoyed serving on the Ebell Holiday luncheon committee that culminated with a joyous and celebratory event that attracted numerous Ebell members and their cherished guests.  I am drawn to the diverse activities offered at The Ebell that stimulate one’s lust for creativity, the arts, service, and community.

My current volunteer activities include membership in Jack and Jill of America Associates, the National Charity League Swans and USC Town and Gown.

I would be honored to serve on the nominating committee to continue to learn more about the wonderful members that lend their time and talents to The Ebell.

I am a graduate of U.C. Berkeley. I’ve been married for 26 years and have two daughters aged 21 and 23.


Christine Tran
I am passionate about people, places, food, and stories that connect us all.

I’m an executive leader, community organizer, scholar, and multimedia storyteller whose career spans philanthropy, nonprofit, government, policy, K-12 education, and academia. Currently, I’m the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC).  My work centers on lived experiences in order to achieve a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive society.

A daughter of Boat People Refugees, I am of Vietnamese and Teochew descent from Monterey Park and South El Monte, in Los Angeles County (unceded Tongva land). I have lived in Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, and Seattle. I’ve been featured in Womanly Magazine plus my interviews can be heard on KCRW Good Food and KPCC AirTalk! I am a first-generation high school graduate with degrees from UCLA, Columbia University, and am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington.

I joined The Ebell early on in the pandemic. I look forward to getting more involved to support its mission and vision. I believe that we are stronger together and I’m excited to be on this journey of building community.