2022 Board Election

Our Annual  Board of Directors election will be conducted online. All current members will receive an email with a link to the ballot, and voting will be open from January 21 through January 28 and the results announced by February 1. Candidates will get a chance to speak at our virtual Annual Meeting on January 21; we will record that program and make it available online for those of you who can’t attend at that time.

Our bylaws call for a minimum of seven and a maximum of eleven Directors on the Board. There are three Directors currently serving, so this election may seat between four and eight candidates.

To win a seat on the Board, a candidate must receive a majority (half + 1) of all votes cast. (e.g. if 200 members vote, a winning candidate must receive a minimum of 101 votes)

All candidates (including any write-ins) must have been members of SCBC for at least one year.

Candidate Statements

Barbara Phillips

Why do you want to serve on the SCBC Board? What makes our mission meaningful to you?  It all started in the summer of 2019. As an avid outdoors person, I was looking for an enjoyable form of regular exercise. I bought a used 3-speed beach cruiser with the thought that I wouldn’t have spent much money if I hated it. I loved it and soon bought a hybrid bike that allowed me to explore beyond my neighborhood.

At the urging of a coworker, I completed my 1st Biker Chicks ride in November of that same year, and I was hooked. I started with the 15-mile rides and enjoyed it, and this fabulous community of women, so much that it was time to upgrade to a road bike so I could complete the 25-mile rides, and to learn to clip in, which I did with only 1 fall! I currently lead and sweep for the monthly rides and could not have come this far in my biking journey in such a short period of time without the help and support of so many.

In spring 2021 I was invited to ride with the Taco Tuesday group, which allowed me to meet more neighbors and new friends and gave me the perfect opportunity to get back on that 3-speed beach cruiser. In fact, I have so much fun on these rides that I’ve bought and rehabbed an embarrassing number of beach cruisers which I loan out to anyone who wants to ride with us.

Have you ever served on a nonprofit board? What is your relevant background experience? What skills, resources and connections will you bring to the Board?

If elected to the board, I’ll strive to bring my own passion for biking to more members of the community. I don’t care what their age, what they wear or what they ride – I’ll encourage them to get out and move, enjoy the beauty of where we live, and to do it safely, whether as part of an organized group, a small group of family and/or friends, or by themselves.

My affiliation with nonprofits includes working for United Way of the Wine Country for a campaign season. I was the one who came to your office to talk about the UWWC mission and to ask for a commitment of funds. I also raised money for the American Heart Association for many years as a participant in their annual Heart Walks.

My goals as a SCBC board member are to get more people on bikes, including connecting them to community resources if they cannot afford a new bike, as well as connecting them to classes so they can learn to bike safely. I also want us to leverage our connections to local corporations, specifically through matching funds programs that employees who are SCBC members may not be aware of, to increase annual donations.


Chris Holmes

Why do you want to serve on the SCBC Board? What makes our mission meaningful to you?

I am a dedicated cyclist who uses bicycles daily for transit as well as recreation, both on as well as off-road. I have been pleased to call Sonoma County home for the past seven years, and am striving to help make this region an even better place for all to live and to ride in. While we are fortunate to live in an area that is naturally welcoming to cycling, with a mild climate and beautiful topography, there are critical bicycle infrastructure needs, especially out in the rough and rugged West County roads that I am familiar with, along numerous with “pinch points” on key routes that make safe riding challenging to many. I appreciate what SCBC has done over the past 20 years, and want to help the organization continue to push for the wants and needs of cyclists of all levels and abilities.

Have you ever served on a nonprofit board? What is your relevant background experience?

While I have not been on a formal nonprofit board before, I was a founding member of a mountain bike advocacy organization in the Chicago area nearly 30 years ago. The organization was working to help protect mountain biking on the limited number of trails that we could then ride, and working with the regional forest persevere districts to discover the benefits of off-road cycling and preserve trail access in the nascent days of Midwestern mountain biking. We attended were successful in fundraising by recruiting local bike shops, as well as SRAM, to support our endeavors.

What skills, resources and connections will you bring to the Board?

Having spent the last 26 years working in the cycling industry, currently as Brand Director at Marin Bikes, I know how to work my broad network for support. Over those years I’ve had roles in sales, PR, and marketing, so I am well-versed in messaging and can assist the Coalition in such areas if the needs arise.


Denver Booker

Why do you want to serve on the SCBC Board? What makes our mission meaningful to you?

I admire the work that SCBC has done and want to see that continue. SCBC is an excellent advocate for cyclists and the energy that they have put into their mission has benefited many. Looking ahead, if the goal is to see bicycles used as commonly and casually as one would see somewhere like Copenhagen, then we have a long way to go. Too much of bike infrastructure I see today is (clearly) designed by non-cyclists and is in reality just more car-centric design masquerading as bike-infrastructure. There are certainly a lot of good things being done but I think that one of the problems with bike-infrastructure here is that it is tailored for the cyclists one sees on the roads now. Unfortunately that is only seeing the tip of the iceberg. The rest of those unseen cyclists are the same as those common, and casual, cyclists in Copenhagen, but they drive a car instead of cycling because they are afraid of the traffic. Just as roads have been designed to make it “safe” for a beginner level driver to get from point A to point B, so too should bike-infrastructure. Without that we will never see the rest of that iceberg.

Bicycling here is largely done as recreation but I would like to see more people simply using a bike instead of a car and I primarily say that out of a concern for our environment. This is something that everyone is becoming more conscious of and infrastructure that encourages cycling is what we need for cyclists now and to build a future that could rival any bike-utopia.

Have you ever served on a nonprofit board? What is your relevant background experience? What skills, resources and connections will you bring to the Board?

I have never served on a board but I am no stranger to the ways that organizations run. In my “prior life” I worked in upper management in large commercial construction companies. It was during the fallout from the “Great Recession” that I decided to change careers and do something I loved.

I am the owner of Sebastopol Bike Center and I hear a lot from cyclists, of all levels. I hear about the things they like and the things they don’t like. I do damage inspections for customers’ bikes that have been in a collision and learn from their stories. I frequently talk to people that come into the shop saying they want to get into cycling, but leave saying they are too afraid of the roads. Bikes have not always been my profession but they have always been important to me. I love the sense of freedom I get on a bike and I want everyone, especially those that are afraid of the roads, to be able to feel that too. I often say, “Everyone rides their bike their own way.”

I currently take part in the SCBC Bike-Club/Bicycle Rodeo events and in the past I’ve volunteered at Bike Valets. These are both great programs and I would like to see more,especially with education. A bicycle-shop class for middle school or high school would be a plus, and my high-school age employees agree. Education for adults is another thing SCBC does that I applaud but based on the number of adults that are challenged by a bicycle pump more is clearly needed. The Bike Valet is something that there really should be more of. If a municipality wanted to encourage cycling over driving they would invest in better bicycle parking, instead of car-parks. Maybe someday grocery stores will compete for customers with indoor bike parking. As much as I like SCBC’s Bike Valet, I really hope it sees a lot of competition in the future.


Lisa Watson

Why do you want to serve on the SCBC Board? What makes our mission meaningful to you?

I first became an avid supporter of cycling and bike safety after observing first hand the many perils surrounding bikes versus cars and poorly maintained roads. Not having a car as a young adult, my bike was my only means (besides the city bus) of transportation to college and my various jobs. I have been struck by a car as well as experienced many near misses over the years. My bike was a 10-speed I used savings from a job to purchase.

Years later, after being diagnosed with leukemia, I became involved with cycling again through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training campaign. I basically started over again with cycling and had to learn quickly bike skills and safety as we trained to complete a century ride around Lake Tahoe. And I made it! I cycled around Tahoe for a total of 6 years. Once again, with too many close calls to count of danger on the bike, my passion around bike safety has piqued.

Have you ever served on a nonprofit board? What is your relevant background experience? (
I served on the City of Cotati’s Environment and Planning Commission for two years. A huge part of the job was to plan and promote city events. I gained new skills with event planning during my two year tenure. I was part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Light the Night planning team and also served as the Mission Chair for Relay for Life as well as the Mission Chair for Team in Training.

What skills, resources and connections will you bring to the Board?
I would say that some of my strengths are event planning, fundraising, promotion and connecting people/resources. I raised over $50,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and $17,000 for employees of Kaiser Permanente who lost their homes in the Sonoma County fires.

At Kaiser Permanente I was in charge of the bike locker and bike cage program. I requested bike pumps, safety vests and bike lights to keep in our security office for employees in need. I created an employee/physician email group for bike users and sent out safety tips as well as promotion for bike events (including the Sonoma County Bike Coalition).

I am a big believer in collaboration and will seek ways to collaborate with other teams. Cross promotion is always a win-win!


Mike Lipelt

Why do you want to serve on the SCBC Board? What makes our mission meaningful to you?

 My background is family medicine/acupuncture, organic farming and climate activism. I am a veteran.

I’m a life long cyclist who is passionate about making cycling safe and secure with separated bike paths for all ages and levels. My bike is my primary mode of transportation and I see firsthand on a daily basis marked bike paths that are not continuous with uneven, unmaintained surfaces and physical impediments left on paths. In addition I feel city speed limits are excessive. A study in Seattle found that 70% of bike/pedestrian deaths was attributed to speed limits over 30 mph.

I feel that SCBC is a strong advocate for an integrated bicycle network that has continuity and is safe. SCBC can use its leverage to grow a “bike culture” that reduces GHGs, VMTs (vehicle miles traveled) and enhances health benefits by getting more folks out of their cars.

Have you ever served on a nonprofit board? What is your relevant background experience?

I have not served on a Board before but I’ve been involved with the Redwood Empire Food Bank the Sonoma County Medical Reserve Corps and the working group for Climate Action Now. I know the meaning and purpose of service.

What skills, resources and connections will you bring to the Board?

I’ve been a medical presenter at national conferences. I am well connected with many organizations of service.

I am most proud of volunteering at distribution sites for the REFB for those in need and advocating along with our Santa Rosa Climate Action group for the city council of Santa Rosa to form a Climate Action Subcommittee.


Thea Hensel

Why do you want to serve on the SCBC Board? What makes our mission meaningful to you?

One of the greatest joys of my childhood was learning to ride a bike and the freedom it allowed. My wish is for every child to have that opportunity and carry it forward into adulthood. To me this means safe, Class 1 bike lanes and traffic calming at every opportunity. I am anxious to spread the word of the vital work being done by the Bicycle Coalition as I navigate interaction with stakeholders and supporters, attend meetings such as City Council and Los Cien and the non-profits with which I interact.

As an old school teacher my heart is in delivering the message, which I will do if elected to the Board: “Sonoma County is a great place to ride a bike.”

Have you ever served on a nonprofit board? What is your relevant background experience? What skills, resources and connections will you bring to the Board?

I have been Co-chair of the Southeast Greenway for 13 years performing functions such as fundraising, networking, outreach, education, annual appeals & pledge drives, volunteer coordination and myriad tasks required of an all-volunteer organization. This project requires policy knowledge, advocacy, lobbying and patience! Using consensus and collaborative effort, the Greenway is viable and continues to have successful milestones. Through the years we have learned that ‘No’ is never the answer; it just means finding workarounds toward the goal.

If elected, I look forward to bringing strategic analysis, organization and assistance to all the amazing work being done by everyone currently involved in the Coalition and supporting that work.


Zeno Swijtink

Why do you want to serve on the SCBC Board? What makes our mission meaningful to you?

As a member of the Board I wish to contribute to the SCBC efforts to increase bicycle ridership and safety because of my passion for Active, Low Carbon Transportation, Complete Streets, and Vision Zero in Sonoma County.

Have you ever served on a nonprofit board? What is your relevant background experience? What skills, resources and connections will you bring to the Board?

  • Founder of the Atascadero/Green Valley Watershed Council for which we acquired grants to improve watershed functions.
  • Served on the Board of Slow Food Russian River for which I organized events to raise funds for the chapter.
  • Education in mathematics, economics, and philosophy of science (PhD, Stanford 1982),
  • Fellow of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy.
  • Serve as a representative of the City of Sebastopol on the Advisory Committee of the Regional
  • Climate Protection Authority and sit on the subcommittee for Transportation of the City’s Climate Protection Committee.
  • Taken classes from the Urban Mobility group of the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
  • Learned biking in the Netherlands as a child. Sons living in Amsterdam and Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Completed certificate programs for Social Media and Web Design to strengthen my volunteer contributions.