Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Monsignor John Brenkle
“Father John” retired in 2013 after serving as pastor of St. Helena Catholic Church for 30 years. He has worked tirelessly for the well being of farmworkers and low-income families. In 1985, he was instrumental in forming the first community-based, nonprofit housing organization in the county, the Napa Valley Ecumenical Housing (NVEH) that led to the building of the only two affordable housing complexes in St. Helena – Hunt’s Grove and Stonebridge. He also spearheaded the creation of the three local farmworker housing centers and helped start the Work Connection, which helped day laborers find work. He is one of the most well-respected and successful advocates for affordable housing in Napa County and OTSH is proud to have him on our board.
Sara Chrisman Bjerkan
As a Vice President with Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division located in St. Helena, Sara focuses on new business development as well as managing existing winery and vineyard client relationships in Napa County and the surrounding areas. She is also an active supporter and volunteer for the Napa Valley Grape Growers, Napa Valley Vintners, Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch, Mexican American Vintners Association, Napa Valley Vine Trail, and the Napa County Farmworker Housing Centers. Sara holds a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of San Diego in San Diego, CA.
After a successful career as an attorney specializing in Land Use, Redevelopment and Affordable Housing, Steve moved to St. Helena and started another successful career as a vintner as the proprietor of Anomaly Vineyards. Steve’s legal work includes serving as General Council to the Oakland Redevelopment Agency and also teaching Negotiation and Land Use as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Boalt Hall, University of California. In addition to his service as an OTSH board member, he is a founding member Appellation St. Helena.
John spent four decades in management with Dillingham Construction before he retired and reapplied his skills and experience to local service and nonprofit organizations. He served as Co-chair of the City of St. Helena General Plan Update Steering Committee and has also served on the City’s Infrastructure, Water and Sewer Committee and the Housing committees. He was an officer in the St. Helena Rotary Foundation and has participated in four Rotary Rotaplast Missions to Guatemala. As owner’s project manager of Grace Episcopal Church’s seismic retrofit and expansion project, he served as the supervisor of a $10MM construction budget. Besides his board position on Our Town St. Helena, John also serves on the boards of the St. Helena Historical Society and the St. Helena Cemetery Association.
Mary was a marketing consultant with her own business for over thirty years. She has worked with a diverse group of companies like Wells Fargo Bank, Starbucks, AAA and Kaiser Permanente helping them develop communication strategies and analyzing internal and external marketing resources. She is also a skilled meeting facilitator and has helped many local nonprofits gain consensus on focus and direction. She is a founding board member of the St. Helena Family Center and of Our Town St Helena.
As the founder of RSBA & Associates, Rick provides advisory services to major hotel management and operating companies for asset management, hotel operations, asset strategy development and acquisition due diligence. The owner of a hotel in St. Helena, Rick is acutely aware of the housing challenges for local employees in the hospitality industry. Among his many civic contributions, he served as a Commissioner and President of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commission. Rick splits his time between St. Helena and San Francisco.
Marisol has more than two decades of property management experience, managing tenant service, compliance and marketing for both senior and family rental units. She is currently Bridge Housing’s Property Manager for Hunt’s Grove, a 50-unit, income-qualified rental complex in St. Helena. Marisol has managed properties with 500+ units and was the first Multiple Site Property Manager for the Reno Housing Authority, working with a $2 million dollar HUD grant for its Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Her experience in both real estate management and in helping tenants live their best lives is invaluable to OTSH.