League Officers and Directors
President Chip Allen
Chip and his wife Jeanne moved to Sonoma from Oakland in 2000. In the ensuing years Chip became involved in many of the civic
organizations in the community, including the Vintage Festival, the Chamber of Commerce, the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory
Committee, Sonoma League for Historic Preservation, and the Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley. In each of those organizations Chip
participated in the board and served as president.
In addition to participating in these local civic organizations Chip maintained his law practice serving the estate and business planning
community. Chip and Jeanne also enjoyed raising puppies for Canine Companions for Independence.
Chip and Jeanne enjoy traveling and exploring new places. They have recently embarked on a new career of investing in multifamily
Vice President Michael Studebaker
Michael is a native Californian who has spent the majority of his working life in the Alameda/Oakland East Bay Area. As a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Michael earned two degrees in Business Administration and Art History.
His passion for researching historical properties began in college and led him to a career in real estate. He has represented historical properties, managed over 100 renovation projects, and navigated city planning and compliance matters throughout the Bay Area. Before moving to Sonoma, he served as a director with the Alameda Historical Museum, led tours as a docent at the Berkeley Art Museum, and renovated two historic homes of his own in the East Bay.
Michael is a Broker Associate with Compass and now resides in Sonoma with his wife, Laurel. He volunteers with Ceres Community preparing meals for the Sebastopol community and is a Steward for the Sonoma Overlook Trail.
Treasurer Mary Szykowny
Mary Szykowny is a licensed Real Estate Agent working at CENTURY 21 Wine Country, focusing on residential real estate since 2009. She earned her A.A. from College of Marin and worked as a Certified Dental Assistant in the Bay Area for 4 years before moving to Sonoma in 1988 with her husband, Mike, to raise their two children. She was drawn to the rural and historic town of Sonoma and joined the League in an effort to do what she can to help others appreciate and preserve these properties. She has been the bookkeeper for her husband's construction business since 1994 and was also a bookkeeper for a local attorney from 2011-15. Szykowny worked as the Health Tech at Flowery School from 1995-96 and from 1990 until 2005, served as a volunteer at Presentation School and in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, serving on various boards and fundraising committees at both.
Secretary Beth Skrondal
Elizabeth Skrondal was employed for 10 years at the City and County of San Francisco Planning Department as the Administrative Assistant on the Historic Resources Survey Team. She assisted in proofreading and editing context statements and surveys. She was also responsible for archiving/indexing survey properties and DPR forms. She served on the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board for 5 years, two of those as Vice President. Her training was in art and interior design. And, for 33 years, she flew around the world as a flight attendant.
Director Gerard Bessat
Gérard Bessat retired in 2007 from a long career in information technology working for financial services companies, Credit Agricole Bank in France and Visa International in the US since 1984. Gerard held a variety of technical and senior managerial jobs covering the full range of IT functions in large IT organizations. Gerard earned an aeronautical engineering degree in Toulouse France (home of the Concorde and Airbus planes), and a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Gerard has been a resident of Sonoma since 2011.
Director Elizabeth Garsonnin
Elizabeth has had a successful career in the nonprofit world as Director of Broadcast Production and Account Executive for Public Media Center in San Francisco. There she was involved with groundbreaking media campaigns for more than two decades, focused on environmental, public health, and social justice issues for national and international clients.
As an artist and expedition leader she has traveled widely, having lived and worked in Canada and South America making natural history films. As a resident of Sonoma for the past seven years she brings her enthusiasm for the natural world and an artistic sensibility to all of her projects.
Director Brittainy Haraszthy
Brittainy Haraszthy is eleventh generation Californian. She was born in South Lake Tahoe and has lived in Sonoma for ten years. Brittainy did her undergraduate and graduate work in Italian Renaissance Art History at California State University Long Beach and worked at the J. Paul Getty Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It was at the latter that she worked for the Decorative Arts and Design Council which focused on preserving the historic estates and architecture of Los Angeles.
In 2010 Brittainy decided to move near her family in Santa Barbara County where she began a new career in the wine business working for Jackson Family Wines. In 2012 the company asked her to move to Sonoma to become the Estate Manager for Arrowood Winery. Without hesitation, Brittainy made the move to Sonoma and instantly fell in love with the community. Since 2018 Brittainy has worked with Three Sticks Wines. An integral part of her job is community outreach and she hopes to use this outreach to increase awareness of the League.
Director Linda Jackson
Upon their retirement, Linda and her husband, Hewitt, moved to Sonoma in 2015. Having been raised in northern Minnesota, Linda knew nothing about the history of Sonoma. Immediately falling in love with her new community, she immersed herself in learning about Sonoma’s colorful past, its early inhabitants, and the charm of the old structures being preserved for all generations to discover and enjoy. In the past six years, Linda has enjoyed absorbing the history, the architecture, and learning about the people that fought for and built this thriving community: the General, the Count and the Adventurer, to name a few.
The cold winters of Minnesota brought Linda to San Francisco in 1982. Her 40-year career remained focused in financial services, including commercial property risk management, project management, and executive recruiting management with one of the three largest international executive search firms. Linda graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Interior Design. Her keen interest in architecture, construction, and interiors, especially historic properties and all things ‘antique’, drive her thirst for discovering more of Sonoma’s important past.
Linda enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering for various non-profits, including F.I.S.H. (Friends In Sonoma Helping) by organizing the volunteers for the annual holiday food basket program, Sonoma International Film Festival in venue management, Vintage House events participation, and Sonoma Valley Hospital assisting the head of community relations.
Director Tracy Reynes
Achieving success in the culinary and event planning fields after earning a degree from the acclaimed California Culinary Academy gave Tracy Reynes organizational, customer relations and project management skills along with an attention to detail and follow-through that have become the hallmarks of her success as a Realtor. Tracy brings those skills to every situation with a sense of calm and grace through what are complex and often emotional transactions.
Having lived in Wine County for over 25 years, Tracy has dedicated herself to serving her communities as well as her clients. She has been on the Board of Impact100 Sonoma and Sonoma Little League, and is an active volunteer with the Sonoma Community Center. She genuinely enjoys being a valuable and contributing member of her community.
Tracy is also enthusiastic about sharing what makes Sonoma Valley such a unique and truly special place to live and work. You can find her videos and posts spotlighting local events and businesses at her community Facebook page ‘Seriously Sonoma Valley’ and on her YouTube Channel “Living in Sonoma, California’.
Director James Titus
James Titus has over 30 years of professional experience in architecture, planning, project management and real estate development advisory services. Since 1992 Mr. Titus has been dividing time between Titus Properties, Inc. established to providing real estate planning and development advisory services and Titus Family Fund I, LLC established to invest in a series of small real estate development projects. Recent Titus Properties, Inc. assignments range from development planning for the Letterman Complex for the Presidio Trust (now Letterman Digital Arts Center); California State University Monterey Bay Surplus Lands Study (In association with Mancini-Mills, Inc.); certification and sale of TDR’s for the Sheraton Palace Hotel; economic assessment for One Columbus Avenue, SF; Hanna Boys Center, Sonoma Valley, Surplus Land Feasibility Phases I & II, Menlo Gateway Phases I & II (7 Building Mixed Use Project for Bohannon Development Corporation). Titus Family Fund I, LLC investments include Sixth Street East, Sonoma, a subdivision; 3168 Corporate Place Light Industrial Buildings, Hayward; The Marina Bay Office Plaza, Richmond.
EDUCATION Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon University of Oregon, Bachelor of Architecture, 1979
CIVIC ACTIVITIES San Francisco Chamber of Commerce: Leadership Class of 1989 The Guardsmen SF St. Francis Yacht Club Los Angeles Yacht Club American Alpine Club Sonoma League For Historic Preservation Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Founding Member NatureBridge Yosemite Board Member (2017-2020)
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS US Green Building Council American Institute of Architects
Executive Director Robert Demler
Robert Demler has served as a Director and President of Sonoma League for Historic Preservation several years ago and prior to becoming Executive Administrator in September 2019. Previously he served as the Sonoma City Historian and is Director Emeritus and Founding Member of the Blue Wing Adobe Trust. Mr. Demler was also the Chairman of the General Vallejo Monument Committee who was responsinle for the Vallejo Statue in the Sonoma Plaza. He is also the Archivist of the Sonoma Sunrise Rotary Club and is a member of the Advisory Board of Global Partners for Development. Demler and his wife, Leslie, spent over 15 years as the owners/caretakers of the historic Demler-Jones-Vallejo Adobe, now called the Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe in Sonoma.
Immediate Past President and Board Advisor Alice Duffee Healy
Trained as an architectural historian and historic preservation planner, Alice specializes in evaluation, recordation and inventory of historic resources, and provides consulting services through her company, APD Preservation, to satisfy cultural resource compliance requirements at the federal, state and local levels. Architects, contractors, and home owners retain her when they have a vision for their property and can't wait months or years of trying to navigate the complex business of city planning and environmental compliance.
After years of work, our Historical Resources database is now online. The Preservation Guidelines are available on this site.
Address & Map
291 First Street East
Sonoma, CA 95476