Executive Director Pamela Cohen is an attorney with more than 25 years of experience representing people with disabilities. She is currently a part-time staff attorney at Disability Rights California. The vision of Purple Tree Café is a real-world application of her legal advocacy to help people with disabilities live independently and make meaningful contributions to their communities.
Board Chair Steve Cohen has both public service and management experience, and is looking forward to helping establish Purple Tree Café as an all-inclusive feel good locale for the entire Davis community.
Secretary Stuart Ross is a retired university grants manager and the father of an adult son with a disability. Stuart worked at USC, Cal State Fullerton, and UC Irvine, including service as a board member of a university foundation and as manager for university compliance with federal regulations on research. He holds a PhD in political science. As a parent he gained experience with special education programs and also was a long-time volunteer for two community groups that assisted persons with disabilities. As Secretary he works with the Board Chair and the Executive Director to manage PTC records; he also works with the Executive Director on fundraising.
Treasurer Teresa Clarke has worked as an accounting assistant, financial staff person, and computer systems coordinator since 1988, for three firms in Northern California. She is also the volunteer treasurer for a local nonprofit bookstore. She has worked closely with municipal government accounts, payroll, individual tax returns, and financial planning. She is familiar with QuickBooks, Excel, and related financial software. As the mother of a son with disabilities, she has also been an active volunteer for Team Davis and with the county chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Board Member Deborah Rains recently retired from a 40-year career as a Women’s Health Registered Nurse. She is the mother of three adopted children, now teens, with a variety of special needs. Through these experiences she has learned about special education processes and advocacy. She served on the Parks and Recreation Commission for the City of Mountain View, on the board of New Horizons School for homeless children, and currently volunteers for Team Davis and the local Little League Challenger Team. As PTC’s newest board member, she volunteers for anything from fundraising to baking, to managing the operations of the coffee cart.
Board Member Allison Higgins received her Master’s degree in Library Science from San Jose State University. During her final semester, she lived on the campus and served on the student programming board, where she collaborated with fellow students in planning on-campus events. Allison has Autism Spectrum Disorder and hopes that her experiences
will have a positive impact on the board. She is looking forward to helping represent
Purple Tree Cafe and make strong connections within the board and the community.
Board Member Lisa Lilienthal is the mother of two children with special needs, and has used a wheelchair since age 8. She helps mission-based organizations connect with audiences through integrated communications, and supports organizations in her community including service to the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County, the Saddleback Valley Unified School District SELPA, Impact100 Sonoma, and other organizations that lift the human spirit and provide advocacy and opportunity for people with disabilities.