To Our Ojai Community:

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »

Board of Directors

Roger Essick, President
Avocado and Citrus Farmer

The Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Roger as board president. An Ojai resident and avocado and citrus farmer for 46 years, Roger has enjoyed raising his family of two grown children and four grandchildren in the Ojai Valley. He lives in the east end of Ojai on a large avocado ranch with his wife Pat, a retired Topa Topa school teacher, who shares his love of the Ojai Valley. Roger has a long history with the OVLC after having served several times on the board since it was founded in 1987, including as a past-president. He looks forward to helping to preserve Ojai’s natural places for generations to come.

Sandy Buechley, Vice President
Retired Business Intelligence Manager

Sandy has recently retired after working for 37 years at Patagonia as a manager in both Finance and Information Technology. Having a strong commitment to environmental, community and social responsibility, she is a long time Ojai resident with a deep appreciation for the mountains and the outdoors. Sandy’s years with Patagonia and her service on the Board of Directors of the OVLC have been expressions of her desire to help preserve our beautiful natural environment and to facilitate recreational opportunities in the outdoors. Before Patagonia, she has previously managed the business office for Monica Ros School and later played a key role in establishing, building and managing the Ojai Valley Racquet Club (now known as the Ojai Valley Athletic Club). She has served several terms on the OVLC Board beginning in 2012 and is a past President. She has also served on a number of other local boards of directors including the Rotary Club of Ojai, the Ojai Music Festival and C.R.E.W.

Martha Groszewski, Treasurer
Management Consulting

Martha has held senior management positions in manufacturing and retail organizations for the last 30 years, most recently as CEO of Griplock Systems. She previously served as CFO of Patagonia, Chief Accounting Officer of Lucky Brand Dungarees, Director of Finance and Administration of Rampage Clothing Co/Rampage Retailing, and Senior Auditor with Price Waterhouse Coopers. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Accounting from Cal State University, Northridge. She has held Board positions with the Outdoor Industry Association and the Women’s Leadership Council and was a former advisor to the Marketing Committee for the City of Ojai. She has lived in Ojai for the last decade, where she is an avid hiker.

Stefanie Coeler, Secretary
Retired Business Executive, Equestrian

Having been interested in the protection of environmental resources all her life, and an active OVLC member and volunteer, it was natural for Stefanie to re-join the board after 2 years away. If you have been at OVLC events, you have likely enjoyed some of Stefanie’s creativity and dedication. Born and raised in Germany, she came to Ojai to be with her sweetheart Willi, an airline pilot, now her husband. Stefanie brings two valuable assets to the OVLC, a degree and career in business and a passion for the outdoors. She especially loves riding her horse and hiking on the Ventura River Preserve which she is lucky enough to call her backyard. She has been instrumental in watching over the VRP on our behalf.

Bill Brothers

Bill Brothers
Retired businessman

A retired business owner and former teacher with over 45 years dedicated to animal welfare advocacy, Bill studied International Development at Cornell University. He maintains a summer home and forest land in the Fingerlakes region of upstate New York. He put conservation and trail easements on land he owned in the Colorado Rockies and is a strong advocate for permanent preservation of land for climate protection and recreation. Bill is an active hiker and volunteer, helping to build and maintain our Ojai trail system.

Fiona Hutton
President, Fiona Hutton & Associates

Fiona runs a widely-respected communications strategy and public affairs firm that focuses on some of California’s most high profile and pressing issues. Well-versed in public policy, legislation and politics, Fiona is consistently recognized as one of the Top 100 Influencers at the State Capitol. A California native, Fiona splits time between her residences in Ojai and Los Angeles. Both properties abut open space owned by conservancies – driving her interest in and support of open space preservation, trails and park access, wildlife corridors and much more. Fiona’s firm is responsible for managing every natural resource bond measure that has been approved by California voters during the past twenty years, providing much needed funding for OVLC and other conservation organizations. When not managing issue advocacy, legislative, regulatory and public awareness campaigns, Fiona is an outdoor enthusiast, hiker and “farmer in training”. And, her real passion is monitoring motion sensor wildlife cameras spread throughout her Ojai property.

Phil Moncharsh

Mr. Moncharsh has been an Ojai resident since 1980, was one of the very first OVLC Board members ( 1987-2000), and served as President of the OVLC from 1987 through 1994, leading it from inception through infancy to take-off. Mr. Moncharsh has been a practicing attorney for some 45 years now, in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. He is a longtime member of the American, California, Southern California, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and Los Angeles County Trial Lawyers Associations and Bar Associations, and has served as a Judge Pro Tem, Arbitrator, Mediator, and Settlement Master for the Superior Courts in Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Phil is a 1970 graduate of Yale University and received his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law in 1973. He is a past President of the Yale Club of Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties, and has in the past served in an advisory capacity with the Sierra Club, Committee for Environmental Education, Ventura County Agricultural Land Trust, Citizens for Responsible Government, Ojai Music Festival and Ojai City Council, among other organizations.

After taking time to raise his two now-adult daughters, and to begin winding down his legal career, it is Phil’s honor and privilege to re-join the OVLC Board of Directors.

Tonya Peralta
Real Estate Broker

As a 4th generation Ojai native, Tonya has been surrounded by and has enjoyed Ojai’s open spaces her entire life. After completing her degree in Business Administration/ Finance, she began working as a corporate district manager for News America Marketing in their advertising division. About 20 years ago, she took a different path as a real estate appraiser, which eventually led to her current position as a real estate broker. Tonya and her husband of 22 years, John, raised both of their boys in the Ojai Valley. In addition to her role on OVLC’s board, she serves on the Board of Realtors in Ojai, and has a passion for animals, travel, and being outdoors. As a huge fan of the OVLC, Tonya is honored to serve on the board.

Larry Rose

Larry Rose
Retired Nursery Manager

Both Larry and his wife Lisa Larramendy are from fourth generation Ojai families. Larry’s affinity for the natural surroundings of Ojai Valley began with exploring Sulfur Mountain where his family lived. Larry has been active in conservation in Ventura County for over 30 years as a leader on a number of County Supervisor committee’s on conservation policy development. Larry is recognized internationally for his expertise in avocado and citrus where he spent his career. Larry, Lisa, and son Peter are all active volunteers supporting the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.

Lu Setnicka
Human Resources Consultant & Business Coach

Lu Setnicka, a 30+ year resident of Ojai, owns her own human resources (HR) and organizational development consulting firm, Setnicka Consulting. Clients utilizing her services span a variety of industries in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. In addition, Lu serves as adjunct faculty in the MBA programs at both CSUCI and Gonzaga University, and is an Executive/Leadership/Career Coach with Burlington, VT-based FromWithin Coaching. Lu is currently on the Board of Directors of Maine-based Johnny’s Selected Seeds and served 6 years on the Board of Directors for the outdoor industry’s Camber Outdoors.

Formerly the Global Director of HR for Patagonia, Inc., she led all of the company’s global HR-related responsibilities, including recruitment/staffing, employee relations, benefits, employee development, compensation, training, payroll and internal corporate communications.  

Before Patagonia, Lu spent fifteen years working for the National Park Service in national parks throughout North America, including Yosemite, Everglades, Grand Teton and Hawaii Volcanoes. She has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from Antioch University, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a certified Career, Executive and Life Coach with the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara.

Lu enjoys anything outdoors. A runner for 35 years before her knees started complaining, she now focuses her time hiking many of OVLC’s trails, enjoying fly fishing trips in the Pacific Northwest, and spending time with her family.

Sarah Sheshunoff
Attorney/Event Planner

Though originally from San Diego, Sarah lived in Alaska for twelve years before moving to Ojai. An attorney by training, Sarah has clerked for both the Superior and Appellate Courts of Alaska and has practiced criminal defense for seven years. She, her husband, and two boys moved to Ojai so they could be in a small mountainous town yet also be closer to family. Sarah has been involved in her children’s school, many local non-profits, and helped start and organize the Telluride Mountainfilm festival in Ojai as a fundraiser for OVLC. In her free time, she loves to hike, run, camp, and be outdoors as much as possible.

Cari Shore 
Senior Vice President and Director of Community Banking, Montecito Bank & Trust

An Ojai native, Cari Shore grew up in Meiners Oaks where she and her sister found refuge on the Ojai Meadows Preserve long before it was preserved. Since then, her daughter and nieces have enjoyed countless walks and adventures in the space she considers so special. Senior Vice President and Director of Community Banking at Montecito Bank & Trust, Cari feels very fortunate to work for a bank that recognizes and encourages community connection. In her current role, she oversees the branch network, call center, mortgage sales, treasury services and MB&T Financial Advisors. Cari began her banking career nearly 25 years ago as a teller. She has enjoyed a number of roles that allow her to do what she loves: building relationships, problem solving, innovating, and continuous learning. Cari is thrilled to return to the OVLC Board after first joining in 2008. Outside of work, you’ll find Cari spending time with family, camping, cycling, hiking, reading, and listening to live music.