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.
Jesse Vann Gardner, President
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.
Jesse sits on the Executive Committee of the AFSR.
Favorite French word: se réunissent
Lee Alderman, Vice President
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
Michael Sanders, Treasurer
Michael been a student of French since his early days in junior high and high school, plus he currently enjoys a number of courses at the Alliance Française de Santa Rosa.
He is your typical Francophile with a twist: he has a son who studied in France and who has since become a French citizen.
Michael enjoys Renaissance French poetry, and has many close friends in Grenoble. A pharmacist by trade, Michael also volunteers as a docent at Jack London State Park, where he loves conducting tours in French. He has a special interest in providing French tours there to students of the Alliance Française.
Michael sits on the Executive Committee of the AFSR.
Sherry Alderman, Secretary
Sherry has been taking classes at AFSR since September 2017. She has deep appreciation for the French culture and way of life. Sherry enjoys yearly trips to France.
Before her retirement in 2017, she worked for the County of Sonoma for 36 years and was the Director of the Employment and Training Division of the Human Service Department, and the Director of the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board. During her career, Sherry participated on many boards in various capacities at the local and state level. Sherry lives in Santa Rosa with her husband, Lee.
Sherry sits on the Executive Committee of the AFSR.
Favorite French word: coquelicot
Davida Brautman, PhD
Davida has been an accomplished Professor of French for 38 years. She was an AFSR board member and Recording Secretary from 2011-2015, and currently leads AFSR’s monthly Cercle Littéraire (book club) meetings.
She has volunteered for various non-profit organizations, and started le Grand Concours in the state of NJ.
Davida also founded the “Cabotins” – a French acting troupe at Millburn High School; she was secretary of AATF [ACRONYM ???] ; ran immersion language weekends; had four French scholarships in Québec; presented conferences in Montréal, Lyon, and NJ; and she has remained an established book reviewer for “French Review” for 42 years.
Shari has always had an interest in foreign language and holds a BA in Russian Language. She has studied German as well. She has family in Sonoma County and has spent a lot of time here over the years cycling, both road and mountain. She is learning French and works in Data Engineering and Analytics.
Sandrine grew up in France, and at 30, she moved to Seattle, then later to Santa Rosa. She is a real estate agent and race car driver in her spare time!
Glenn was born in Oakland, Ca. and is a first generation citizen of the United States. His parents and two brothers were all born in France. His first language was French until school started at age five when he had to learn English.
France is a second home as he has been traveling there since he was 6 months old. He often does the “Tour de France” visiting relatives spread out over many regions in France. He enjoys the Auvergne region, département Haute Loire.
Glenn owns and runs a Sound Reinforcement company which provides sound systems for concerts and festivals.
Glenn has a B.A. in Music and an A.A. in Viticulture management.
Favorite French word: Citroën
Karen Frazer has been a board member of the Alliance Française of Santa Rosa from 2014 through 2017, and returned in 2019. She previously held the position of Recording Secretary for several years, and is an ongoing member of Causeries.
Karen has a BA French from UC Davis in addition to a BS in Applied Physics. Karen has volunteered for another local non-profit focusing on back office and fundraising.
Karen has over 25 years in management and leadership positions in the high technology sector.
Favorite French word: coquelicot
Bio still to come …
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
Andrew Leonard is a proud Santa Rosa resident and has lived in Sonoma County since 2013. He currently works as the Vice President of Programs for The LIME Foundation and serves as the Area 3 Trustee for the Sonoma County Board of Education.
His varied background includes education, tutoring, and technology. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and French from the University of California, Davis in 2008.
A polyglot and intrepid explorer, Andrew spent two years teaching abroad in Seoul and Paris before settling in Sonoma County. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys flying, photography, traveling, or any combination of the three.
Gigi has been treasurer and board member for a US-Kenyan NGO, for the Friends of Boggs Mountain in Lake County, and a scouting enthusiast and volunteer in the last 15 years. She speaks fluent German, aspires to reach fluency in French, and will soon tackle Spanish.
An “empty nester”, she embarked on an 8-month adventure as “workawayer” in 2018, staying with host families in France with her inseparable fur baby (nosing that bûche de Noël). The two vagabonds absorbed serene inland and coastal landscapes, and also lived the daily grind: the railway “grève” (strike), and sitting in traffic while the “gilets jaunes” converged on streets and highways.
It may have started with “pliés” in ballet classes, but Gigi is simply fascinated with the French language, culture and people. And most of all, she loves the teachers and students here at the Alliance Française!
Favorite French word: quincaillerie
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 email@example.com