Who We Are

Staff | Board of Directors | Advisory Council


Darlene Weide, M.P.H., M.S.W., Executive Director

Darlene has worked in the nonprofit sector- primarily in HIV prevention, women’s health and youth community-based programs– for nearly twenty years. Her current work focuses on enhancing the effectiveness and impact of organizations. At Community Boards, she collaborates with the Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers to build on Community Boards’ tremendous track record. Darlene is the author of Safe Schools for Everyone: Responding to Anti-LGBTQ Bias in the Classroom & on the Playground, as well as Conflict Resolution Skills for the Jossey-Bass textbook Foundations for Community Health Workers. She is an experienced mediator, trainer and teacher. She is also a faculty member at City College of San Francisco in the Health Education and Community Health Studies Department where she teaches public health courses and Conflict Resolution in the Workplace.

Margery Fairchild, Community Engagement Coordinator

Margery comes to Community Boards with 15+ years experience as an independent theater maker and fundraiser. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana before establishing Dark Porch Theatre in 2003. As a San Francisco-based Theatre Director, playwright, actor, and educator, Margery looks forward to serving San Francisco’s many communities as a representative of Community Boards and as a keen advocate of restorative justice.

Jim Garrison, Communications Director

Jim has been associated with Community Boards in various capacities since 1988. His primary responsibilities are managing the website, general oversight of social media and e-communications, and the design and production of outreach, public education, and marketing collateral pieces. As in-house technical writer, he drafts, edits, and finalizes our training materials and grants. He is proud and pleased to see Community Boards continue serving the many diverse communities in San Francisco for over four decades.

Karen H. Lipney, Neighborhood Courts Coordinator & Consultant

Karen is a trainer, mediator, facilitator, conflict coach, and a co-trainer of The Basics of Mediation and Beyond the Basics. She draws on years of experience working for a national labor union and before that, as an attorney. In a career transition, Karen focused on mediation to expand her skills and experience. In 2014, Karen began to volunteer her time for Community Boards as a Community Mediator, Conflict Coach, and Facilitator. In 2016 she joined the staff as the Outreach Coordinator. Karen then worked as our ADR Programs Director from 2016-21. She is currently the Neighborhood Courts Program Coordinator & Consultant with Community Boards, as well as a mediator, conflict coach and facilitator for The Brigham and Women’s Hospital located in Boston.

Arnold “Mac” McGilbray, Case Development Manager

Mac, our Case Development Manager, joined our staff in 2005.  He comes to us with a background in law, marketing, contracting, negotiation and EEO compliance.  As Case Development Manager, Mac is responsible for all contact and coordination with the disputing parties following the initial intake. Mac also manages key components of our low-cost Professional Mediation services, working with a wide range of workplace and property disputes.

Sarah Moss, Mediation & Training Coordinator

In her current position, Sarah is responsible for overall day-to-day office administration. Born in San Francisco, she is a decades-long member of the performing arts community. Sarah has volunteered at Larkin Street Youth Center and currently works with Shanti Project; providing alternative care to grantees with breast cancer. She earned a BA in Communication Studies and a professional certificate in Conflict Resolution from San Francisco State. She was introduced to Community Boards in 2017 as an intern, and then trained as volunteer mediator and role-play coach. She also worked as Community Outreach Coordinator. Sarah is honored to be in her new role and hopes to further her expertise in ADR while extending her mission as an effective social advocate

Mark K. Thomas, Restorative Justice Coordinator

Mark’s early interest in solving humanity’s problems began his journey to becoming a certified Restorative Justice (RJ) practitioner. Surprisingly, this honor student dropped out of college, and was shot and nearly killed after robbing banks. He turned thirteen years in prison into a great opportunity to develop personally and spiritually, and to become an adult ed instructor and an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitator. Completing his BA inside, after release, he earned a M.A. in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Today, Mark brings all his experience and continual learning to his work.

Chioma Uruakpa, Housing Stabilization Coordinator

Chioma is a Nigerian-Jamaican New Yorker, and an alum of the City College of New York, where they earned a BA in International Studies and Sociology. They come to Community Boards with a passion for healing justice work, community cultivation, and the outdoors. As Housing Stabilization Coordinator, they act as the point person for the adult and transitional age youth housing program to ensure that the participants and case managers are being linked with Community Boards service providers. In this role, Chioma looks forward to growing as a spaceholder, and supporting the youth of the Rising Up program they work with.

Rachel Vyda-Venning, Interim Program Director

Rachel comes to Community Boards with 20 years of experience as a business leader, consultant and advisor to Non-Profits. Rachel is a versatile executive; planning and leading the day-to-day operations and infrastructure of an organization, collaborating on strategic planning processes, honing and delivering messaging both internally and externally, and connecting the dots to make things work better. They have expertise in communications and marketing strategy, operations and business development, and cross-functional team leadership. They earned her MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business. Rachel looks forward to supporting the team at Community Boards.


Debra Varner, President
Debra, a native San Franciscan, has served as volunteer mediator with Community Boards and the Department of Police Accountability since 2002. She believes in Community Boards’ mission and knows that the process can be transformational for the participants. She earned a B.S. in Organizational Development and M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation. In 2012, she retired as Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SF State University. Having served on a number of boards and in volunteer positions, Debra was most recently the President of the Bethany Center Senior Housing Foundation Board. Currently, she facilitates workshops on Healthier Living and Diabetes Education and Empowerment through On Lok Senior Services. After years of studying with several spiritual healers throughout the world, Debra created Purple Medicine Woman, a spiritual healing and counseling practice.

Sultan Al-Shaman
Sultan is an experienced psychologist with a demonstrated history working in the mental health care industry. He was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up living between the United States and Saudi Arabia. He is a healthcare services professional with a Master’s degree focused in psychology from Lesley University with a focus on nonprofit organizations, mindfulness, crisis intervention, family therapy, and case management. Over the course of his professional career, Sultan has worked in a variety of settings across the globe ranging from a non-profit community health center in Los Angeles to private practice in Dubai. His provides services with a multicultural lens that is rooted in raising mental health awareness.

Virgil Bellini
Virgil was born in Benin, West Africa and grew up in a suburb of Boston. As an active community member in Watertown, Massachusetts, Virgil involved himself in a multitude of educational fundraising drives, neighborhood cleanups, and for 7 years volunteered at the local parish in a variety of roles. Following the devastating 2010 earthquake, Virgil supported Jewish Vocational Services in assisting Haitian refugees with job placement throughout Massachusetts. While living in San Diego, he volunteered at the San Diego Food Bank to help pack meal kits with local community members for shipment to impoverished families in Southern California. Virgil is a certified compliance and ethics professional who works to ensure a strong tone in the middle and at the top in his organization. Acting as corporate mediator for his company as issues arise, Virgil is committed to ensuring his employees maintain the highest legal, ethical, and professional standards of conduct in the workplace. In addition to Community Boards, Virgil serves on the board of Kidstock, a San Francisco based nonprofit that provides after school performing arts programs for children.

Karen Hagewood, Treasurer
Karen comes to Community Boards from the private sector with a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law, New Jersey. She is the retired General Counsel for SquareTrade, the first online dispute resolution provider. Karen is a senior executive with a unique combination of skills and expertise in education, development, and management with a personal commitment for creating positive social change. She has worked in the computer, software, and medical device industries, plus architectural, retail, and real estate management. Directly out of the UC at Santa Barbara, Karen spent 2 years in Turkey with the Peace Corps. Travel Ishiguro on her list of favorite things along with her two cats and jazz.Her earliest recollection of being interested in the non profit world was sending all of her allowance to the Jerry Lewis telethon.Karen has also served on the boards of OpNet Ventures, Young Audiences of Northern California, and One World Children’s Fund.

Christian Morales, Secretary
Christian is an active advocate who believes in challenging and deconstructing systems that cause social and economic disparities in communities. He was born in Los Angeles, CA, and has been in the San Francisco Bay Area for five years. Christian has held a dynamic range of positions in various non-profits dealing with Health Care, Housing, and Education systems. He believes in actively reforming and creating new infrastructures where communities of color can heal, stabilize, and thrive.

Beth H. Parker, Vice President
Beth is Founder and Principal of Parker Law & Mediation. She serves as the General Counsel of three Planned Parenthood affiliates and their Action Funds. Prior to this, she served as Chief Legal Counsel of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC). Before joining PPAC, Beth was a partner at Arnold & Porter and, before that, Bingham McCutchen in San Francisco, trying nine cases through verdict and handling numerous appeals. She’s served as a mediator for the US District Court, Northern District of California, handling more than 65 mediations. She received numerous awards for her impact, pro bono litigation. Throughout her career, Beth has continued to volunteer and support many legal and civic organizations, sharing her expertise, energy, and vision.


Terry Amsler | Bob Bailey | Brittny Bottorff | Kathleen Coogan | Jon Eldan | Adam Green | Fred Lambright | Tracy Lemmon | Joseph Ragazzo | Gail Sadalla | Julia Salinas | Elizabeth Shwiff | Teri Sklar | Charles Spiegel | Kyungah “Kay” Suk | Marion Standish | Victoria Borrego Swepson | Michael Tobriner