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Filoli Announces New Executive Director

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Read the full press release

Filoli is delighted to welcome Kara Newport.

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Filoli announces Kara Newport, one of the most respected public garden leaders in the country, as its new Executive Director.

Filoli's new E.D. Kara NewportKara Newport.

“On behalf of the Filoli Center Governing Board, I am delighted to announce the hire of Kara Newport as our new Executive Director,” said Donna Colson, Filoli’s Governing Board President. “Kara is a visionary leader with over two decades of experience in the non–profit sector including most recently serving ten years as the Executive Director of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to her horticulture experience, Kara brings to us a significant development and member services background having worked at The Franklin Institute, The Philadelphia Zoo, and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.”

“Kara presently serves, and will continue to serve, as Treasurer for the American Public Garden Association. She has chaired many of their important committees including Finance, Benchmarking, and National Conference Program Selection. She is a regular presenter and contributor to the organization focusing on key industry topics such as garden tourism, horticulture trends, event planning, and design," said Colson.

“I am thrilled to have been selected as the new Executive Director of Filoli; it is truly a national treasure.” said Kara Newport. “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the talented team of staff, volunteers and Board members.”

About Filoli

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Why is it called Filoli?

This question and many more answered in our History section.

Designed between 1915 – 1917 and set against the dramatic backdrop of the northern Santa Cruz mountains in Woodside, California, Filoli is an excellent example of the Golden Age of American garden design and country house architecture.

Filoli House across hay fieldFiloli House across hay field.

Opened to the public in 1976 as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Filoli features a 54,000 sq. ft. home and a 16–acre English Renaissance Garden. In addition, Filoli's property includes a 6.8 acre Gentlemen’s Heritage Orchard and a trail system that transverses five different ecosystems for docent–guided nature hikes and visits to the Sally MacBride Nature Center. Filoli is recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century and is a cherished resource for the community valuing education, volunteerism and diversity.


Filoli is a charitable 501 (c) (3) non–profit organization whose operations are managed by the Filoli Governing Board. A paid staff of approximately 60 individuals (many on a part–time basis) and volunteer ranks that exceed 1,200 are responsible for a wide range of day–to–day activities including horticulture, botanical arts, nature education, programming, membership, ticketing, maintenance, preservation, special event planning and execution, food service and retail.

Filoli Mission Statement

Filoli is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and stewardship of the cultural traditions and natural history of this country estate for public education and enjoyment.

Filoli 2016 Governing Board:

Donna Colson, President
Residing in Burlingame, Donna was elected to the city council in 2015 and serves on various committees and advisory groups. She was previously employed in the investment management industry and presently owns an indoor Futsal sports center. She enjoys volunteer coaching and youth sports and currently commits time to leadership roles at the local public high school. She loves art, history and gardening.
Heidi Brown, Vice President
Heidi became involved with Filoli in 2008 as a Nature Education docent and then House and Garden docent. She was honored to become President of the Friends in 2015. She’s been volunteering for 35 years, serving on her local school board, focusing her time on her children’s schools in various capacities, most often fundraising. She’s also served on several non-profit boards and lives in Woodside with her husband. They have 3 grown children who, much to their delight, live nearby. When not at Filoli or traveling, you’ll find her babysitting her grandsons, working in her vegetable garden, or walking her faithful, old black Labrador.
Carolyn Daley, Treasurer
A resident of Hillsborough with her husband and three children and retired from T. Rowe Price (Baltimore, MD) after serving in senior financial management positions for 15 years. Carolyn is a Certified Public Accountant (Maryland). She has significant volunteer service in education and social areas; has chaired various fundraising events for Maryvale Prep School; chaired the Leadership Division of this school’s $12MM capital campaign. In her leisure time, Carolyn enjoys volunteer work, Pilates, gardening, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

Terry Negendank, Secretary
A resident of Los Gatos, is a managing director of Union Bank (San Francisco) and oversees the Bank’s West Coast administrative operations. He is a South Bay native and has served on several non–profits focusing on social services and medical research.
Toni Barrack
A resident of Emerald Hills and graduate with a BS in Business Administration, UC Berkeley. Worked as a security analyst with American Express Investment Management Company during early career (Chartered Financial Analyst). Spent 25 years in the paper manufacturing industry (Crown Zellerbach, James River, Crown Vantage) in financial, marketing, and strategic planning positions. Retired as Senior Vice President, chief Administrative Officer of Crown Vantage in 1999. Active volunteer mediator and facilitator at Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center.
Carol Moran
Carol brings public relations experience to the board with a 25 year career as a public relations consultant to both software and hardware companies, news publications, and research labs. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Moran Manor Vineyards, a Sonoma boutique winery. Carol is also a member of the National Trust Council of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Denise Bates
A resident of Piedmont and daughter of Lurline Roth Coonan, Deni is a self–employed landscape architect. Deni has been involved in the Filoli Florilegium since its inception.
Ron Peyton
A resident of Atherton, Ron is the Chairman and CEO of Callan Associates, Inc. (San Francisco). Ron is past president of the Filoli Governing Board. He has been a member of the Board’s HR, Compensation, and Audit Committees and has led the Board’s Development and adoption of a strategic plan in 2003–2004. He currently serves on the board of the United Way Bay Area where he chairs the organization’s Development Committee and co–chairs the Campaign Cabinet.
David Buergler
Upon graduating from the University of Arkansas he apprenticed under the AIA Gold Medal Recipient, E. Fay Jones, architect of one of the most significant buildings of the 20th century, Thorncrown Chapel. David later joined the firm of Allan Greenberg (Washington D.C. & Greenwich, CT) where he lead the effort to expand their practice to Universities and Colleges, building new architecture in the heart of historically significant campuses. He founded his own practice in 2004.
Larry Schwab
A resident of Portola Valley; practiced law for over 30 years, primarily in the areas of transactional business matters, commercial law, bankruptcy, and business/trade creditor practice encompassing commercial sales and financing. Managing Partner and CEO of the Firm.
Carol Croce
A resident of San Mateo and has volunteered at Filoli for 13 years. Prior to coming to Filoli Carol worked as a registered dietitian and health educator. She is past chair of the Friends of Filoli Garden Volunteers, and member of the Floral Design Committee. Carol served as Vice President of Volunteer Resources and President of Friends of Filoli in 2013–14. As Past President of Friends she serves on the FoF Board and chairs the Nominating Committee. Carol’s volunteer experiences have included tutoring in a local elementary school, leading scout troops, and serving on the Rotocare Board of Mountain View.
Barbara Seipp
Many of you are quite familiar with Barb, who served as a past President and Treasurer for the Filoli Board of Governors. In addition, Barb is past President of the Portola Valley School Board and the Woodside–Atherton Garden Club. She worked at Northwestern and Stanford Business Schools and has a Master of Education degree. Barb is currently managing the Community Seed Library and chairing a National Garden Club of America Dinner.
Jeff Deaton
Jeff is a 22–year resident of Los Altos and a partner in Alhouse Deaton Management & Leasing, Inc. in Palo Alto. He started working in commercial real estate with Huettig & Schromm, Inc. and was a partner in Pelio & Associates for 8 years. Jeff coached football at Menlo School for 6 years, as well as Sacred Heart Prep for 6 years. He is a 1984 Stanford University graduate.
Nancy Shannon
A resident of Belmont for the past 38 years. Currently Vice President of Volunteer Resources for the Friends of Filoli 2015–16 and is responsible for recruiting new volunteers and orienting into the Filoli culture. Serves on the Friends of Filoli Board of Directors. Retired after a 30 year career in the Industrial Automation Industry, focused on operations management. In 2010 she joined Friends of Filoli Member Services Committee, served as the Chair in 2012–14.
Patrick Gilligan
A resident of Hillsborough who loves horticulture. He is currently on the Hillsborough Beautification Foundation and has completed the Master Gardening Class here at Filoli. He is currently Vice President of the Lincoln Property Group and is past president of the Burlingame Country Club. Patrick owns property in Montana and has expressed interest in joining the Friends of Filoli Bandana Brigade.
Christian Smith, Esq.
A resident of San Mateo; Employment lawyer; has practiced law since 1995. Member of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the California Bar and the Association of Workplace Investigators (AOWI); member of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce. She earned her law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law; undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies from Mount Holyoke College. She is a fluent spanish speaker; has lived and worked in several countries in Europe and Latin America.
Lennie Gotcher
A resident of Hillsborough with a horticultural background; started the community garden for Hillsborough; past president of Hillsborough Beautification Foundation. Lenny is a master gardener and her husband is head of Dolby Sounds.
Kathy Trafton
A resident of Hillsborough, Kathy comes from a farming family with roots from Pt. Reyes to Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. After practicing law as a civil litigator, she transitioned into broadcasting and spent two decades in television and radio as a meteorologist, reporter, and host of a couple of shows. She was also a Professor of Meteorology, and was a pioneer in online learning. Kathy serves on the boards of The Stanford Women’s Club of San Francisco, Santa Catalina School in Monterey, and The Hallberg Butterfly Garden in Sebastopol. Kathy is a Master Gardener. She has had leadership roles in The Junior League of San Francisco, The Spinsters of San Francisco, The PARCA Auxiliary, and the S.F. SPCA’s C.L.A.W. (“Critter Lovers At Work”).
Jackie Hasenstab
A Peninsula Coastside resident & UCLA graduate in International Politics. Retired in 2003 after a 30 year career in executive Human Resources and Operations management as Vice President for Gump’s, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and the International division of Hilton Hotels with emphasis in organization restructuring and executive recruitment. She currently provides Human Resources and floral design/ landscaping consultation in the Bay Area. A Filoli volunteer since 2009, she served on the Friends Board as Floral Design and Holiday Traditions Chairs and currently serves as Vice President, Events and member of the Governing Board Centennial and Human Resources Committees.
Diane Wasson
Diane Wasson, originally from the East Coast, is a 40 year resident of Belmont who has volunteered at Filoli for 5 years since her retirement from a long career in social services. She is an artist who chaired the Filoli Art Committee for 2 years including the organization of juried art exhibits and the annual Sculpture in the Gardens. In addition she served on FoF Board where she is currently on the Executive Committee as Secretary. She also has years of experience organizing events as a volunteer in community organizations and local schools.
Jacque Jarve
A resident of Atherton and serves as a trustee of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Chair of the Peninsula Ball Foundation (Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula); is a fundraiser for Cantor Arts Center; volunteers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. She has also served as a board member of Children’s Health Council and the Junior League of Palo Alto–mid Peninsula. She is a provisional member of the Woodside–Atherton Garden Club.
Mary White
A resident of Atherton, is probate and estate attorney and owner of White Law Menlo Park. She is a volunteer at the Menlo School and focuses her charitable work in the area of development and stewardship.

Gloria Malouf
A resident of San Mateo, she and her husband Sam own Sam Malouf apparel for men and women on Burlingame Avenue. She is a supporter of PARCA Auxiliary, 2–year co–chair of the PARCA fashion show and active member and co–chair of Peninsula Family Service Agency (Hillsborough auxiliary) Gala 2015. Gloria is a former buyer for Pottery Barn and Smith & Hawken and a San Jose State University graduate in Advertising and Psychology.
David Wollenberg
A resident of Atherton and is President of the Cortana Corporation (Menlo Park), a real estate investment firm. He has served on the boards of the Peninsula Center for the Blind; Christmas in April/Rebuilding Together Peninsula (he is Director Emeritus); and Dreams Happen.
Donna Mollenhauer
A resident of Redwood City who retired as Administrator of the physicians at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. She has served on various not–for–profit boards, including the San Francisco Zoo and still volunteers as a docent there. Her volunteer commitment at Filoli started 5 years ago and her duties are as a House and Garden docent, Garden Information docent, member of the Speaker’s Bureau, chair of the Autumn at Filoli Festival for two years and is currently the VP, Support Operations for the Friends of Filoli Board.

Filoli Speakers’ Bureau

Would your club or organization enjoy a 30–minute presentation about Filoli? If so, a representative from Filoli will deliver a lovely visual presentation telling the Filoli story. Learn about the history, landscape, programs and volunteer opportunities associated with this beloved Woodside estate nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Please contact the administration office by email at or by phone at (650) 364–8300, extension 216 to see if a Filoli speaker can present to your organization.

Filoli and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Chartered by U.S. Congress in 1949, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a non–profit, private organization whose mission is to “protect the irreplaceable that tells America’s story.” The Trust offers a wide variety of services and resources to the public and its members. For example, the Trust provides financial assistance to restore historic buildings and homes in local communities around the U.S. On Capital Hill, the Trust advocates for public policies that benefit historic places. On the local level, the organization supports local grass roots efforts to preserve historic resources.

The National Trust’s 29 Historic Sites serve more than 800,000 visitors each year. The most recent addition to the portfolio is Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. Thanks to the generosity of the Roth family, Filoli became an Historic Site in 1979. Filoli, like all sites, is a beneficiary of the National Trust’s many services including support in the areas of funding, leadership and organizational development, governance, educational opportunities and preservation practices.