Janet holds a Masters in Dance Ethnology from UCLA and a PhD in Anthropology from UC Berkeley. She has worked in humanitarian aid and fundraising for 20 years, leading rural development projects for Oxfam and International Rescue Committee in Kosovo, and directing fund development for Direct Relief International and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. She founded World Dance in 2010, offering women a chance to experience other cultures while helping communities in need. In 2013, World Dance became World Dance for Humanity, a nonprofit helping 25 Rwandan communities through donations of livestock, education, training, and business development.
A native San Franciscan, Genevieve attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory, a Bay Area high school founded in the Jesuit tradition of social justice and community service. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Global and International Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Transitioning from the classroom to the nonprofit world, Genevieve began working as an intern with World Dance for Humanity in March of 2015. A talented writer, skilled researcher, quick learner, and experienced dancer, she now serves as Assistant to the Executive Director and is involved in Rwanda programs, grants, social media, and World Dance classes.
Board of Directors
Peter Haslund was born in Copenhagen and educated in Los Angeles. He holds a PhD in Political Science from UCSB and has taught International Relations and Global Studies at Santa Barbara City College and UCSB. He has directed SBCC’s Study Abroad programs in China, Vietnam and the Soviet Union. He has served as a Director on many prominent non-profit boards, including the Center for Global Dialogue, UN Association, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Santa Barbara-Weihai Sister City Association, and the Western Collegiate Model United Nations. He attempted to retire after 40 years on the faculty but was elected to the Board of Trustees at SBCC in 2010, serving as their President until December of 2012.
Born in Pasadena, CA, Debra has been a resident of Santa Barbara for thirty years. She received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Colorado and a Juris Doctor degree from Santa Barbara College of Law. While raising her two daughters, Debra practiced law and volunteered at Legal Aid. Debra is a past Board member of an urban real estate development company and partner in a successful venture capital fund. She is also Vice President of a private charitable foundation that supports local and national non-profit agencies. As a dancer in a small dance company years ago, Debra was delighted in 2013 to find herself ‘Dancing for Humanity.’
Pamela was born in Pennsylvania and has lived in three foreign countries. Her degree is in Urban & Regional Planning and she currently works for BMW Designworks as a marketing consultant for their Strategic Partnering group. It was the Thriller event brought her to World Dance in 2016 – now she’s an avid class member. She is passionate about volunteerism and her work with WD4H will include marketing and community outreach.
Leah Combs has been a passionate social activist from an early age, volunteering with many non-profit organizations in her native Oakland, CA. She holds a BA in English Literature and Psychology from California State University, San Luis Obispo. She worked at the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at UCSB, and has a deep interest in raising awareness about mental health services and issues in the Santa Barbara community. Since October 2014, Leah has been the Office Manager at New Beginnings Counseling Center. Leah has worked with WD4H since April 2011 and currently serves as the Secretary on the Board.
Michelle Gasperini Pasini
Michelle earned a BS in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford and has spent her career as an Environmental Consultant in the energy sector. She is currently the President and Principal Consultant at InterAct, an engineering and environmental consulting firm based in Ventura whose project work spans the globe. Michelle joined World Dance through Thriller in 2016 and was quickly taken by the positive spirit of the group and humanitarian work being done a half a world away. Her focus for WD4H will include broadening its network, participating on the Finance Committee, and helping to guide the business initiatives of the Rwandan Co-ops.
Danna holds a Bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from UC Santa Barbara. She has over 20 years experience in the non-profit field and is currently the Program Director at New Directions Travel serving people with developmental disabilities. She has volunteered with other nonprofit organizations and most recently served on the board of the Los Angeles Council for Hostelling International. She has traveled extensively and teaches workshops for Women Traveling Alone. She joined World Dance in 2013.
Jayne holds a nursing degree from Cal State Northridge and an MBA from California Lutheran University. She has over 20 years of experience in health care research and is currently a Program Manager for IBM Watson Health where she works on programs that inform policymakers about cost, utilization, disparities in access to health care, and patient-centric models of health care delivery. Jayne has a passion for dancing, and joined World Dance in 2014.
Jackie Pruitt holds a BA in Sociology from California State University Long Beach and a MA in Educational Policy from UC Santa Barbara. She taught school for 40 years and supervised district Child Development Programs in Santa Barbara, retiring in 2014. Jackie joined World Dance in 2012. She is in charge of World Dance logistics and is the liaison with our local beneficiaries.
Betsy received her BS in Engineering from UC Irvine and is a UCI 2015 School of Engineering Hall of Fame recipient. After 23 years with Procter & Gamble, Betsy retired as VP of Global Health Care-Product Supply. She has served on numerous boards including VP Southwest Ohio Transit Authority, Staten Island Urban League, and Community Child Care. She consults in Strategic Planning, Leadership and Supply Chain Operations – and Chairs the WD4H Business Committee, providing guidance on the business projects initiated by our Rwandan communities. Betsy moved to Santa Barbara in 2003 with her husband Gary Simpson and son Sean and joined World Dance in 2013. She minored in dance at UCI, and is an accomplished dancer.
Karen received her CPA license in 2005. Her experience spans 30 years and includes accounting positions in various industries including oil and gas, retail, restaurants, distribution, wholesale, construction, small businesses and non-profits. She is currently employed as the Controller for a local private Golf Club. She joined World Dance in November of 2012 and has since been an avid participant.
Diana holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Davis, a Master’s Degree in Special Education and a Lifetime Teaching Credential from Cal State Fresno. She was a Special Education teacher at Fresno and Clovis Unified School Districts and taught at the Diagnostic Center for Neurologically Impaired Children in Fresno. Diana raised her family and worked as a volunteer in Fresno for forty years, moving to Santa Barbara in July 2012. She joined World Dance in 2012.
Professor Emerita of Dance Ethnology from UCLA and former co-chair of the Dance Department, Elsie is a scholar and leader in the field of Dance Ethnology. Research focuses on continuities and changes of dance events within communities in southeastern Europe into their diaspora contexts in California, Chile, and Australia. She currently serves as a research associate with the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb, Croatia and is involved with the international symposia of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) Study Group on Ethnochoreology.
Karen received her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from UCSB. She is a LEED Accredited Professional, Past President and current Board member of The Sustainability Project, and Partners in Education volunteer. She was the Community Programs Director for 20 years at the Santa Barbara Community Environmental Council, and currently serves as the Marketing Manager for Allen Associates, the premier green building company in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. She joined World Dance in May 2013.
Jane worked for 20 years with global clients at American Express in Operations and Technologies. For the last 12 years she has worked as a Certified Life Coach, Trainer, Advisor & Facilitator. She is passionate about assisting and guiding people in understanding and utilizing their gifts, talents and natural strengths. She currently uses her social media skills for the Foundation for Conscious Evolution (FCE). She joined World Dance in October of 2011.
Originally from Chicago, Juanita has lived in Goleta, California for over 35 years, and has been a World Dancers since its inception in 2010. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Northern Illinois University, a Learning Disabilities Specialist Credential from California Lutheran University, and a degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from UCSB. A Special Education educator for over 30 years, she has served on Grant Making Committees for The Fund for Santa Barbara and Karuna Foundation. She is currently on the faculty of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education-USA.
David is a Certified Public Accountant and graduate of the University of Colorado. He has served on the Board of Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Carpinteria Rotary Charitable Foundation, Carpinteria Noontime Rotary, Summer Solstice Celebration, Carpinteria Talent Showcase, and Friends of the Carpinteria Library. He currently serves as co-chairperson for the Carpinteria Arts Center. As a 2004 stroke survivor, his greatest passion is being a peer counselor for stroke survivors at Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital.
Adam has been the principal designer and project leader for the international consultancy firm IDEO for 8 years, with clients ranging from Nike to the Department of Energy. In 2012 Adam joined IDEO.org, a non-profit design consultancy helping developing nations face critical design challenges. He designed innovative sanitation services in Ghana, low-income financial services in Mexico, and ultra-low cost medical devices in Uganda and India. He now runs New Factory, a design studio based in San Francisco, and in consulting on an income generation project in Colombia.
Judy is a licensed architect and Fellow at the American Institute of Architects. She recently retired from Kaiser Permanente where she served for 20 years as an Owner’s Representative Team Manager and Manager of Standards/Process Improvement. An expert in project management and team process, her prior experience with architecture and design firms in Santa Barbara and the Bay Area included Design Environmental Impact Reports, Post-Occupancy Evaluation, and Construction Administration.
A pioneer in the field of Dance Ethnology, Allegra began her career as a performer and choreographer in the late 1940s. She is former Chair of the UCLA Dance Department, Professor Emerita of Dance Ethnology, and co-founder of the UCLA World Arts and Cultures Program. Allegra has served on the faculty of Cal Arts, New York University, and the University of Surrey, England. She has conducted dance research around the world, was the recipient of several Fulbright Scholarships, and has made several prize winning documentary films on dance. Allegra is the daughter of Buckminster Fuller, world renowned designer and inventor of the geodesic dome. She founded the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and currently serves on their Board.
Mr. Stein is a principal at CFO Consulting, LLC and has held executive positions at Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, Miramar Systems, and Alert Cellular. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards including the Montecito Trails Foundation, Hospice of Santa Barbara Foundation, and Sansum Clinic.