Executive Director Pamela Cohen is an attorney with 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 Michael Sibley works as a store manager at PRIDE Industries in Sacramento, California. He was selected to the board to provide insight as a person with a disability who works in a store setting. In his free time, Michael travels the world as a competitive and exhibition ballroom dancer.
Treasurer Linda Neyer is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) with a Masters in Business Administration. Her 25-year career in finance and accounting includes serving as Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller at Juniper Networks, and as Financial Services Controller and Corporate Controller at Palm, Inc.
Director Nicole van Staden and her husband own a fair trade & organic coffee shop in Vacaville, CA. She also has her MA in Comprehensive Special Education and spent five years teaching adult students independent living and work place skills. Purple Tree Cafe brings together her passions of employing adults with disabilities in a coffee environment!
Director Gloria Partida is the mother of a son with cerebral palsy. She has been active in disability advocacy since he was very young. Along with other parents in Davis, Gloria championed the establishment of full inclusion in the schools as well as the installment of a day program to provide people with disabilities full immersion in their community. The promotion of opportunities for people with disabilities as well as the building of inclusive communities is very important to Gloria. 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 experience serving on the board of Summer House as well as volunteering with many other volunteer organizations in Davis. Gloria is a full-time researcher at the University of California, Davis.