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Board of Directors


Doug Barr

Board Chair

Doug moved to St. Helena from Los Angeles in 1997. He is a vintner, actor, screenwriter, director and producer. Doug believes that the Saint Helena Forum will be a first step in making Saint Helena a cultural destination for the North Bay and an invaluable resource for the people of our community.

Tom Ferrell

Vice Chair

Tom has been a resident of Saint Helena and involved in the Napa Valley wine industry since graduating with a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis in 1970. While recognized for its contribution to the art of wine, as well as a mecca to the culinary arts, Tom believes the Napa Valley can also lead in the exploration of other forms of expression, innovation and creativity.

Bob Leighton


Bob has an accounting services firm in Saint Helena catering primarily to the wine industry. In his prior career, Bob served in the Navy, FBI, a family nursery business and as controller for a construction firm.  Active in our community, Bob is a member of the St. Helena Presbyterian Church, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Trout Unlimited and the board of the St. Helena Community Garden.

Peggy Loar

Board Member

Peggy is a museum professional with global experience in museum planning and program development, museum architecture and design, and museum leadership. She currently serves as President of International Museum Planning Consultants, a boutique advisory services firm. Previously Peggy served as Interim Vice President, Global Arts & Culture and Director for the Asia Society Museum in New York, she was Interim Director and President of the Corcoran Gallery and College of Art + Design, and was the Director of the  National Museum of Qatar.

Michael Merriman

Board Member

On the California food and beverage scene since the early 1970’s, Michael Merriman ran the California Cafe Restaurant Group’s 32 wine, spirits, micro-brewing, and beverage programs. Since 2000, he has assisted many wineries in their marketing quest toward understanding the key defining features of their winery’s personality, brand image, and strategy.

Michele Mitchell

Board Member

Michele is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist and author known for the wide range of her political and war crimes investigative work. Her first book, A New Kind of Party Animal: How the Young Are Changing Politics As Usual, led to a job at CNN Headline News as a political analyst. She is known as the critically acclaimed co-director, writer and producer of the feature documentary The Uncondemned  (2016). Her first documentary “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?” (2012) aired over 1,100 times on PBS and won the national Edward R Murrow Award for Best Television Documentary and numerous other honors.


Tim de la Torre

Board Member

Tim de la Torre is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Pacific Union College where he has been teaching film for 11 years. He is a film and television producer with over 200 completed shows and short films spanning multiple genres. 

Tim enjoys the intersection of science, technology, and creativity and enjoys shooting and editing each episode for the Saint Helena Forum as well as managing its social media pages.  


Advisory Board

Bill Persky

Bill Persky is an award winning writer, director, and producer for such shows as the Dick Van Dyke Show, Sid Caesar, and Kate & Allie. He also created the Marlo Thomas classic, That Girl. From 1975 to 1982 he directed 22 television pilots of which 16 became network series including, “Who’s The Boss?”

Bill is a contributing writer to USA Today and the LA Times, a guest lecturer at NYU Film School, Yale University and Columbia University.  Bill has won 5 primetime Emmys and was nominated 4 additional times. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievment Award from the Writer’s Guild of America; Giant of Television Award from The Radion and Televsion Executive society, a Humanitas Prize, and Doctor of Humane Letters from New Haven University where he taught and was the commencement speaker in June 2015.  His memoir, My Life Is A Situation Comedy can be found in bookstores everywhere.

Lucinda Lavelli


Lucinda Lavelli formerly was dean of the University of Florida College of the Arts.  Based on the work of the university and the college, Lavelli launched a creative campus initiative joining other major universities recognizing that arts are a catalyst for creativity and innovation and she has been invited to speak nationally and internationally on the topic.

Lavelli has been an active member of numerous boards and arts organizations. In 2013 she was awarded the Professional Achievement Award from the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University and in 2005 was awarded the OhioDance award for service to the artform. Currently she serves on the boards of Dance Alive! National Ballet; New World School of the Arts, a public conservatory for high school and college students in Miami; and, the Laban Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies .  She serves on the advisory boards of the publication Dean and Provost and Groundworks Dance Theatre. She was the founding institutional member of the Arts Alliance for Research Universities and is the past president of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans ) and the Florida Higher Education Arts Network .

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