Board Members at AFSR
The board of directors is comprised of AFSR member volunteers and meets a minimum of eight times per calendar year. Their general duties include:
- Formulating policies for AFSR
- Approving the annual program of activities and the organizational charts proposed by the Director and/or the School Director
- Recruiting and evaluating AFSR’s Director and/or School Director
- Recruiting, nominating and electing new mid-term board members, as needed
- Setting the categories and fees for membership
- Other volunteer duties (e.g. membership, events, PR, etc.) as offered by the individual board member
AFSR gladly welcomes current member interest in board membership.
Emmanuel Jougounoux, Président
Born in Aix-en-Provence, Emmanuel came to California in 2016 by way of China for half a year, followed by Brasov, Romania for six years, and finally settling in Sonoma County where he now works for French company PELLENC, maker of machinery, equipment and tools for vineyards and wineries.
With a masters in mechanical engineering, Emmanuel manages the winery division. He often encounters fellow French nationals and Francophones in his industry, and sees many opportunities to extend AFSR’s reach into the wine industry/community. He also wants to help Americans develop a greater appreciation for the “real France, the French culture and world view”.
Emmanuel lives in Santa Rosa with his young family, and is raising his children tri-lingually in English, Romanian and French. What he loves most about America is encountering very diverse landscapes and interacting with locals throughout his travels. Lastly, he has great admiration for the American mindset of not being afraid of trying new things, and not letting failures daunt their can-do spirit!
Favorite French word: écureuil
Laura Whiting, Vice Président
Laura was surprised to discover she had a latent and strong desire to learn French when traveling to meet up with her daughter in Europe. Since then she has been a member of the Alliance Francaise de Santa Rosa for 3 years and joined the Board in 2019.
Laura owned and managed a commercial property investment, management and manufacturing business for 15 years. Prior to that she worked in the tourism and hospitality sector for 15 years as the Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Convention a Visitors Bureau, Director of Sales and Marketing for Fountaingrove Inn and owner of Results Marketing, a firm specializing in hospitality consulting.
Laura is currently a Board Member of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center and the SRJC Culinary Advisory Committee. She earned a teaching credential from Dominican University of California.
Favorite French word: saladier
Lee Alderman, Trésorier
Lee started classes at AFSR in 2003. He enjoys French wines, food, and cycling through the French countryside. He particularly enjoys climbing Le Mont Ventoux in Provence. In August of 2017, Lee joined the Club des Cinglés du Mont Ventoux, riding his bicycle up this mythical mountain three times in one day.
Lee is retired from Redwood Credit Union and currently serves on the Career Technical Education Foundation Board. Lee currently lives in Santa Rosa with his wife, Sherry.
Lee sits on the Executive Committee of the AFSR.
Favorite French word: vélo
AFSR member for more than five years, Carol attends classes and causeries. She also administers Membership and AFSR’s Culturethèque program.
Carol is a nutritionist and retired WIC Program Manager for County of Sonoma Department of Public Health. WIC is a federal supplementary food and nutrition educational program for families, for which she now does state-wide training. She has also served on boards of Sonoma County Sol Soccer Club, SR United Youth Soccer Club, Oak Park Otters Swim Team, and Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Favorite French word: sac à dos
Jesse Vann Gardner, Ancien Président
As a marketing, communications, and public relations professional, Jesse became an AFSR member starting in 2003, has worked in marketing, and tourism development for 28 years, both in the United States and in France. She served as Executive Director for the City of Petaluma, Destination Marketing Program for twenty of those years.
A graduate of N.Y.U., and exchange student at L’Université D’Aix Marseille, Jesse has served four terms as the elected representative for the nine counties of the North Coast to the California Travel & Tourism Commission. She has been chairperson on the Marketing/Public Relations Committee of the Sonoma County Tourism Board, served five years as the chair of the thirteen visitor centers in Sonoma County for the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, and has been a member and Tourism-Hospitality Chair of the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board for more than nine years.
Favorite French word: se réunissent
I first attended Alliance Française classes between 2001 and 2003 in the converted house downtown. The classes were instrumental in preparing me for a five month sabbatical in Paris starting September 2003. I had taken french through college but hadn't thought of it since. My husband and I rented an apartment in the Premiere Arrondissement and I took AF classes 5 days a week during most of the stay.
They tested me in advance for class placement and put me in a too simple classroom (nursery stories) because I didn't have the subjunctive down. (I didn't even know about it really.) Upon request and a promise to learn the subjunctive I was moved to a higher class and enjoyed it immensely. Most of the students were from Poland and Morocco, there to earn language certificates so they could get jobs in France. Our class discussions about our different cultures still resonate with me. AF scooped me into the Paris life.
On return I went back to work and did not return to AF until several years ago, in preparation for a short vacation to France. I took group and private with Joelle and several other teachers. I enjoyed it so much I kept it up for the following months and then paused again. When COVID started my Francophile friend Susan Paulus and I took from Joelle on zoom weekly. These classes were a lifesaver for us. The absolute highlight of our weeks. We went through Tresors du Temps and got very interested in the history of France. We wrote essays on topics of interest and then shared and corrected together during the class. I then took another break starting in March of this year and am returning refreshed with private classes with Joelle. Alliance Française has afforded me easy and fun access to learning french for which I know of no equal. You can jump in and out and get as demanding or as relaxed a workout as you want. The teachers have always been superb.
When Laura Whiting recently asked if I would be interested in volunteering on the Board and explained how difficult this past year and a half has been for AF, I wanted to help. I am a retired trial lawyer and have served on other boards, including Canine Companions for Independence (national and local) and the Climate Center. I can commit to attending the monthly meetings for AF and will volunteer to work on projects and events. I am not on any other boards at this time.
Favorite French word:
As an elementary school student in New York City, Peter was subjected to 12 years of hard labor in French class, and though he may not have relished it at the time, he is very happy that at least some of that knowledge has actually been retained over the ensuing 50 years. He has always loved French literature, film, food, wine, architecture and yes, language study.
Peter was trained as an architect at UCLA and practiced architecture in Southern and Northern California. After settling in Marin County with his wife and two sons, Peter pursued a second career in computer technology, He held the position of Chief Technology Officer for a consumer software company in Novato, and ended up as the Technology Director for the Kentfield School District until his retirement in 2018. For several years, Peter served on the board of Pacific Primary School in San Francisco.
During the pandemic, Peter discovered the Alliance Française of Santa Rosa, and its wonderful instructors. After a few years of taking classes at AFSR, his French fluency is steadily coming back, and he happily joined the Alliance’s board of directors in the summer of 2022. He is excited to work the Alliance’s dedicated and inspirational team to extend the Alliance's services as we work through the pandemic and beyond.
Favorite French word: guinguette
Board Membership Application
AFSR seeks individuals who would enjoy making a positive contribution to the most established non-profit organization promoting the learning of the French language and culture north of San Francisco, and devote time toward serving our organization's mission.
Interested applicants should fill out the form below and send their CV to firstname.lastname@example.org