Gilroy Foundation | Listing of Current Board Of Directors

Gilroy Foundation 2017 Board of Directors

Judy Lazarus, President

Paralegal, Law Offices of Kevin P. Courtney, Morgan Hill.

The first thing Judy did after moving with her husband Jim and young family to Gilroy in 1986 was get involved with the community. She has volunteered every year since with the Gilroy Garlic Festival, serving as President in 2007. Judy is a current member of Gilroy Assistant League and a past member of the City of Gilroy Arts & Culture Commission and in more recent years the Gilroy Foundation as an Ambassador and currently on the Board of Directors.

Edwin Diaz, Vice President

Edwin Diaz recently retired after 35 years as a public school educator in California. The last 12 years of his career he served as Superintendent of Schools in both Gilroy and Pasadena Unified School Districts. Born and raised in Gilroy, Edwin has been involved in numerous community activities and causes. Currently, Edwin and his wife, Delia, serve as Co-Chairs of the Latino Family Fund; a local donor-advised fund in Gilroy and he also serves on the Board of Directors of ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career.

The first in his family to attend college, Edwin received a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Educational Leadership. He also possesses both Teaching and Administrative Services Credentials.

Kurt Michielssen, Treasurer

Kurt Michielssen is a banker serving Gilroy since 1982. He is a Senior Vice President with Pinnacle Bank and previously was with South Valley National Bank, now Union Bank (1983/2013). Kurt is a member of Rotary Club of Gilroy and was its President (2004/2005). He is a past President of the Gavilan College Education Foundation and current Board Chairmen of the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation. He is a past President of the Gilroy Foundation Board of Directors. He was the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce 2010 “Man of the Year” and received an Honorary Degree from Gavilan College in 2014.

Marie Patane Blankley

Marie P. Blankley, CPA

Marie's ties to Gilroy date back to her father's birth at Wheeler Hospital in 1928. She was raised in Gilroy, the oldest of four children, and graduated from Gilroy High School in 1981. She later graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in accounting then went on to receive a Master's degree in Taxation from Golden Gate University. She has been in practice as a certified public accountant since 1988 and started her own public accounting firm in Gilroy in 1996. Together with her husband, Steve, she has two children, both raised in Gilroy and now pursuing college degrees. In addition to being a member of the Gilroy Foundation board, she is a member and past board member of Gilroy Rotary and the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, a former two-term planning commissioner for the City of Gilroy, current treasurer and volunteer for the Gilroy Youth Task Force, and President and member of the Gilroy Assistance League.

Teresa Costa

Christopher Ranch—VP Finance

Teresa grew up in South San Jose. After graduating from Cal Poly with an accounting degree, she settled in Gilroy with her husband Steve, president of Headstart Nursery, Inc. She has worked at Christopher Ranch LLC for over 30 years as Controller/VP of Finance. While in Gilroy, she raised two wonderful children and was active in their school activities. She is a past chairperson of the Foundation’s annual “Day in the Country” event. In addition to being a member of the Gilroy Foundation board for a second term, she is past president and member of the Gilroy Assistance League.

Katherine Filice

Katherine Filice is the founder and CEO of Articulate Solutions, Inc., an award-winning communications firm. The company has helped build unique brands and campaigns for hundreds of regional and national firms as well as local nonprofit organizations, including the City of San José, San Jose State University, Gilroy Welcome Center, and most recently the Gilroy Foundation. Katherine has also been actively involved in the local community for the past 25 years and has served on many boards, including the Saint Louise Regional Hospital Foundation and Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. Katherine holds a B.S. degree in Organizational Behavior & Leadership and has helped garner over 75 national and international awards for marketing and design efforts.

Joel Goldsmith

Retired President/CEO of Goldsmith Seeds, Inc., now Syngenta Flowers. Joel grew up in Gilroy and graduated from Gilroy High School. After a brief career as a cucumber farmer and then co-owner of the local Yamaha motorcycle shop, he attended UC Davis before starting his career in the flower seed business. Joel joined Goldsmith Seeds in 1978, holding a number of positions before becoming President in 1991. He was also very active in the horticultural industry, serving on a number of Boards, including time as President of two major flower seed organizations, All America Selections and FlueroSelect. Joel is also very involved in the community and is currently serving as President of Gilroy Rotary and Leadership Gilroy.

Lori Kent

A Gilroy native, Lori Kent has been actively involved in the Gilroy Foundation since 2002. She is also a member and past president of the Gilroy Assistance League. A graduate of UCSB, she was an elementary teacher in the Gilroy Unified School District for eight years. Lori has two sons, and has served on many parent volunteer committees. She currently works with her husband, Larry Kent, at Kent Construction, a local general contracting firm.

Karen La Corte

Marx Towing, Inc. – V.P.

Karen grew up in Gilroy and has served in various Leadership positions including St. Mary School, the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Leadership Gilroy and the Arts & Culture Commission. A past Woman of the Year for the Chamber of Commerce, Karen was a Hearts of Gilroy award recipient and the Silicon Valley Philanthropy award recipient. She is a former Gilroy Foundation ambassador, chairing the Foundations “Day in the Country” event. Karen has also served the Foundation as a grant reader and was a founding board mentor to the Youth in Philanthropy Board. She has been married to Frank (a former Major League Ballplayer) for 42 years, and has two married children and four grandchildren. Karen also teaches etiquette and manners and writes a column on the subject for the Gilroy/Morgan Hill Today magazine.

Chris Ordaz

Chris is a 3rd generation Gilroyan. Chris has been in the real estate industry since 1984 and is currently Vice President and Managing Officer for Intero Real Estate Services. Chris is also president of CDO Properties Inc a real estate renovation company. Chris has volunteered thoughtout the years for the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Chris also volunteered for 10 years as a Paid Called Firefighter for the City of Gilroy. Chris has been a 20+ year member of the Gilroy Sportsmen Chefs. Chris has two grown daughters Kaylyn and Claire.

Sal Tomasello

Sal is a retired Gilroy Unified School District educator who has served the student community of Gilroy for 44 years. Sal has served as a middle and high school teacher, athletic director and coach, and as a school Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and Principal. Sal opened Ascencion Solorsano Middle School in 2003, serving as the school principal for 8 years. One of the highlights during his tenure was the school being named as a California Distinguished School, as well as earning the Title I Academic Achievement Award, in 2007. Solorsano was one of only 16 middle schools in California to win these awards in the same year. Sal was co-chairman of the Gilroy Foundation Day in the Country in 2013 along with his wife, Annie, a past member of the Gilroy Foundation Board of Directors. Retiring in 2011, Sal continues to mentor current and prospective school administrators in Gilroy.