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 is a staff counsel for the State of California. He has both public service and management experience, having previously been a managing partner of a local law firm, and has spent many years helping people with a variety of legal assistance. He is looking forward to helping establish Purple Tree Café as an all-inclusive feel good locale for the entire Davis community.
Vice-Chair Bjørn Francis was introduced to the supported living community in 2006, when he began supporting a developmentally disabled adult in Davis to live independently. He was immediately drawn to the networks that empower people with disabilities to live and work independently. Since then, Bjørn has volunteered as a Special Olympics coach, helped start an iPad program for developmentally disabled students in Norway, and continues to work to find fulfilling and competitive employment opportunities through his work at Progressive Employment Concepts, Inc. Bjørn has a special interest in assistive technology and integrating technology into the workplace.
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 Gloria Partida is a full-time researcher in neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Davis, and the mother of a son with cerebral palsy. Along with other parents in Davis, Gloria championed the establishment of full inclusion in the schools and the installment of a day program for people with disabilities. She is the co-founder of The Davis Phoenix Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to inclusion in all areas for the prevention of hate incidents. She has served on the board of Summer House, a residential facility in Davis for persons with disabilities, and as a volunteer for many other community organizations.
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.