Alison Laslett / CEO
I started working in nonprofits when I was 19 at a group of Quaker summer camps called the Farm and Wilderness Foundation. Over the next twenty years, I held most positions available, eventually becoming the Co-Director of the residential camp for the oldest teenagers. I lived in the woods with 30 staff and 75 kids and ran a working farm. The program focused on anti-racism training and community building, helping teenagers learn to relate and become their best selves. My leadership required mediation, abuse intervention, inspiration and a deep understanding of the human condition. Strength, insight and compassion were mandatory. Occasionally, it was twilight magic with awed and inspired faces.
For almost ten years, I worked in and out of Vista del Mar Child and Family Services. As the largest Group Home in Los Angeles, it serves over 4,000 children in various capacities from outpatient to a fully locked facility for the community’s severely emotionally-disturbed children. Vista delivers the highest level of mental health care available to children. Working my way through the HR and Accounting Departments, I experienced most of the challenges that confront a large nonprofit. The agency had an annual operating budget of $50M and as the Contracts Compliance Manager, I handled roughly $25M worth of contracts. After leaving full-time employment at Vista, I’ve been back several times as a consultant.
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors drew me away from Vista to become the Chief Operating Officer of an organization called Communities for Teaching Excellence. At this start-up funded by the Gates Foundation, I had the pleasure of working with some exceptional people. The organization closed, so I can speak to the trials and tribulations of high-profile start-ups. From there, Gates recommended I work at Parent Revolution, one of their successful education-policy organizations, again as the Chief Operating Officer.
Over the years, my office had a stream of employees, executives and board members asking for advice on leadership issues. I founded and ran REPRESENT Consulting for three years because I knew what was facing employees and executives today. By combining the breadth of my experience with efficient insight, I helped integrate new perspectives into businesses and individuals.
As the CEO of the Santa Barbara Vintners, my work includes community organizing, political advocacy and promotion of one of the most beautiful areas in California. I couldn’t be happier to have traded my glass office in downtown LA for a pair of ranch boots and a farmhouse in Santa Barbara County. This area is on the cusp of becoming a world-class wine region; the talent here is exceptional and I’m honored to lead this charge.
Philip Carpenter / Director of Operations
In 2006, I discovered wine while on a family trip to Sonoma. After tasting with a winemaker, I instantly fell in love with wine and everything it involves. In 2008, my wife and I decided to venture to Santa Barbara.
As soon as we pulled into the Sta. Rita Hills, I knew I found my new home. The Santa Barbara wine community became my passion. For over ten years, I promoted the area any way I could. I’ve written about the area for numerous websites, organized tastings, moderated wine panels, and connected winemakers with industry folks in numerous markets.
My family and I moved to the United Kingdom in 2013 to pursue my wife’s career opportunity. While living there, I promoted the area any chance I could by attending Santa Barbara events in London. I also flew to Düsseldorf to represent Santa Barbara wine at ProWein in 2015. During this time abroad, I passed WSET levels two and three.
The opportunity to work with the Santa Barbara Vintners became a reality in 2018. This has been a lifetime dream and goal of mine since I first stepped foot in the area. I knew this was my calling and where I always wanted to be. I have always done whatever I could to help the Santa Barbara wine community, and their visitors. I’m honored to be the Director of Membership, and look forward to working with you.