Sonoma County Medical Association Alliance Foundation

Physician families connecting to create a healthier Sonoma County by improving the lives of those in need

Striving to make membership in the Alliance both rewarding and enjoyable, we welcome you to experience volunteer leadership and help set the direction for our exciting future.

Alliance Leadership (2016-2017)

Each year within the Sonoma County Medical Association Alliance Foundation, volunteers are called upon to accept the honor of being called a leader. We are proud to introduce our current leadership which includes our Board of Directors and Committee Chairpersons. All are Alliance members with vision and passion who have been making a powerful impact in Sonoma County communities.

Executive Board

  • SCMAA Foundation President: Sheela Hodes
  • Immediate Past President: Shawn Devlin
  • Secretary: Position Open
  • Treasurer: Position Open (Janet Lakshmanan acting)
  • V.P. Events: Position Open
  • V.P. Development: Position Open
  • V.P. Governance: Joni Schmidt
  • V.P. Health Promotions: Lisa Sugarman
  • V.P. Information Technology: Margaret Peterson
  • V.P. Marketing and Communications: Patty Lyn Tweten
  • V.P. Membership: Meta Lightfoot

Advisory Board

  • Sally Ebrahim
  • Joni Jacobs
  • Cecile Keefe
  • Virginia Merwin
  • Maria Pappas

Members at Large

  • Pat Anderson

Program Chairs

  • Allie Awards: Position Open
  • Doctors' Day: Position Open
  • Garden Tour: Pat Anderson and Barbara Ramsey
  • Give-a-Gift: Laura Robertson, Carol Lynn Wood
  • Health Careers Scholarship: Virginia Merwin
  • Historian: Mary Schroeder, Tricia Hunstock
  • JourneySafe: Cindy Popovich
  • Safe Schools: Linda Casey

Board of Directors Bios

Sheela Hodes

Sheela Hodes

Arcadia, California

Sheela and her husband Eric are transplants from Los Angeles and discovered Santa Rosa after moving to Sausalito. Sheela enjoyed a 15 year career as a registered nurse. Eleven years ago she changed careers to become a Realtor driven by her love of Sonoma County. She joined the Alliance over 20 years ago and has served on most of the committees over time. In recent years, Sheela has held various board positions, currently serving as the President of the SCMAAF. Sheela is a proud parent of 2 children, and enjoys the everyday adventures of raising children, travel with family and the many friendships she and Eric have made over time.
Shawn Devlin

Immediate Past President
Shawn Devlin

Sacramento, California

Shawn attended USF and graduated with a business degree. Her career has been in banking with Citibank and The Mellon Bank. Presently, she is the Chairman of the Board of River City Bank located in Sacramento and Secretary to the Board of The Kelly Foundation. She has been a member of the Alliance for over 19 years, serving in many different capacities, most notably as co-chair of the Give-a-gift program for ten years. Shawn has served on the Sharing our Hearts committee, Grant Review, served as Secretary to the Board and served as President from 2012-2016 and currently serves as Immediate Past-president. Shawn has been married to Patrick Devlin, a cardiologist, for 19 years and has one son who is 17 years old and a senior in high school. She enjoys gourmet cooking, entertaining, and
traveling with her family.
Joni Schmidt

Vice President, Governance
Joni Schmidt

Montana and Canada

Joni has been President of the SCMAAF, and member of the Health Careers Scholarship Committee. Her education includes Bachelors degree in nursing and Masters degree in health care and public administration. Joni's experience specialties are in neonatal and pediatrics and consulting in AOA hospital accreditation. Joni is currently a business owner with Rodan & Fields Dermatologists, and an honored member of the BLC Health Ministry Committee helping develop and expand the Seniors In Transition Program. Joni received the 2012 Dedicated Sonoma County Alliance Member of the year award in 2012, and the SCMA Award for the Breast Cancer Awareness Gala raising over $20,000 for local breast cancer programs. Joni is married to Brian Schmidt MD. They have three children. She's a lover of family, running, pilates, yoga, biking and Sonoma County food and wine.

Health Promotions
Lisa Sugarman

San Diego, California

Lisa moved to Santa Rosa in 2002 to help her husband open the private practice Redwood Family Dermatology. Lisa's background in print journalism led to a career in marketing communications for the for-profit and the non-profit sectors. Lisa has held a variety of positions within the Alliance including President of the Alliance & Foundation (2010-11), Grapevine publisher and editor, Chairperson for Grant Review and Fall Luncheon, serving on the Sponsorship Committee for Sharing Our Hearts and Garden Tour, and serving on the following committees: Safe Schools, Allie Awards, and Health Careers Scholarship. She and her husband, Jeff, have two children.
Janet Lakshmanan

Janet Lakshmanan

Santa Rosa, California

Over 35 years ago, Janet moved to Santa Rosa with her parents and sisters. Today she lives in Santa Rosa with her own family: husband Hari, daughter, and their cat Magic. Her current post as CEO of the Lakshmanan household keeps her busy, but in her spare time she volunteers on a couple of boards, fosters kittens and rescue animals, studies Italian and ukulele, and runs. Janet has been a member of the SCMAAF for eight years. She decided to serve on the board because she felt the job was a perfect fit based on her background in accounting, and her desire to help our community. She is serving in her fourth year as treasurer. Her professional experience and degree are in business/accounting.

Vice President, Communications
Patty Lyn Tweten

Columbus, Ohio

Patty Lyn grew up in Columbus, Ohio and earned a BS in Speech at Northwestern University in 1984. She married Scott Tweten after his first year in medical school at Tulane in New Orleans. The Air Force brought them to California, and they eventually landed in Sonoma County. Patty Lyn worked in publishing as an Art Director until her daughter was born. She spent 6 years as a volunteer art teacher for Petaluma City Schools and served on several school-related boards. In 2014, she joined the SCMAAF and jumped in with both feet — writing articles for Sonoma Medicine Magazine and designing brochures and invitations. She currently serves on the board as the VP of Marketing & Communications, where she’s excited to work with other Alliance members to affect real change in the community. Patty Lyn is currently a freelance writer and graphic designer. She enjoys running, open water swimming and skiing.

Vice President, Membership
Meta Lightfoot

Windsor, California

Meta is from Windsor and attended Santa Rosa Junior College. She has been an Alliance member since 1983. After 22 years of working in her husband’s medical practice, she stayed home to be involved in her daughters’ schooling. Her experience on school PTA and Site Council Boards came to the attention of fellow SCMAAF member, Karen Erickson, who recruited her for the “fun and exciting” Alliance board. She really did have fun and has enjoyed all the different roles she’s played — and there have been many: Holiday Greeting Card Chair, Membership Chair, Garden Tour Chair, and Past President. Meta currently holds the Membership Chair position for her second time. She really enjoys the great energy, ideas, camaraderie and friendships that come with SCMAA Board membership. Meta’s other community involvement is the BOOST Conductive Education Program, for which she assists with fundraising events. Amidst all this volunteering, Meta and her husband have raised their three girls, now grown. She also enjoys golfing, gardening, biking and sewing.

Roles and Responsibilities for all positions

Mission Statement:

The Alliance and Foundation are dedicated to the promotion of health in Sonoma County through education, community service programs, fund-raising and advocacy. This is accomplished by an all-volunteer membership base that actively fundraises. All positions assume the following responsibilities:

  1. 80% attendance at Board meetings; 50% attendance Advisory Board and Members-at-Large
  2. Attendance at annual board retreat and planning session
  3. Attend most events such as the annual meeting, special events and fundraisers
  4. Actively involved in strategic planning process: goals and objectives
  5. Actively recruiting members to assist with the functions of the Alliance
  6. Submit monthly report to the Secretary for board reporting
  7. Active participation in Marketing efforts as requested
  8. Help establish annual budget of the Board
  9. Maintain adherence to budget
  10. Maintain knowledge of the organization and personal commitment to its goals and objectives
  11. Maintain familiarity with program and event timelines and their chairpersons
  12. Be familiar with duties as outlined in by-laws
  13. Create committees to assist with the work of the board position:
    • a. Oversees the logistics of committee's operations.
    • b. Reports to the Board on the committee's recommendations and decisions
    • c. Assigns work to committee members, sets the agenda and runs the meetings
    • d. Ensures distribution of committee meeting minutes and reports
    • e. Ensure that committee members have the information & support needed to do their jobs
    • f. Actively seeks potential member to succeed your position
  14. Familiar with computer basics of: Email, PowerPoint, Excel, Word
  15. Attend conferences and leadership training courses as needed


SCMAAF President

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Preside over board meetings
  2. Develop and implement strategic plan: goals, activities, resource allocations, fundraising
  3. Partner with board members to ensure board resolutions are carried out
  4. Assist secretary in preparation of the agenda for board meetings
  5. Assist Vice Presidents to achieve their stated goals, objectives, and responsibilities
  6. Call special meetings, ad hoc or executive session, as necessary
  7. Appoint committee chairs, in consultation with other board members & VP of Governance
  8. Act as a spokesperson for the organization in the community
  9. Keep current on issues affecting the non-profit sector & health care community
  10. Utilize outside resources or financial consultants on an as needed basis
  11. Ensures that board members have the information needed to do their jobs
  12. Offer on-going educational and training experiences in the non-profit sector for Board members
  13. Serve as ex-Officio to all committees, except Nominating
  14. Attend SCMA Board meetings four times per year; or as requested and in conjunction with the VP Development

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Two years prior experience in board role of the Alliance recommended
  2. Minimum of two years experience with strategic planning
  3. Minimum of two years experience running budgets
  4. Minimum of two years experience key concepts of fundraising
  5. Proven track record of managing people, fundraising, and financial management
  6. Excellent public speaking skills required

Vice President

SCMAAF Vice President

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Assume responsibilities of the President in the absence of the Board President
  2. Assists the President on the above or other appointed duties
  3. Participates in committee work as assigned by President to a special area of responsibility, such as membership, fundraising, events, finances, etc.
  4. Serve as ex-Officio to all committees, except Nominating

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Two years prior experience in Board role of the Alliance recommended
  2. One year experience with strategic planning
  3. Minimum one year in running budgets
  4. Proven track record of managing people, fundraising, and financial management
  5. Excellent public speaking skills required


SCMAAF Secretary

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Prepare agenda for board in collaboration with the President
  2. Assist President in the running of the meeting, i.e. presentations, speakers, food, etc.
  3. Board Meeting preparation:
    • a. Coordinate board meeting location and time
    • b. Provide notice of meetings of the board and/or of a committee when such notice is required for Minute-keeping:
    • a. Ensure the safety and accuracy of all board records
    • b. Record minutes of board meetings
    • c. Email board minutes within one week of the conclusion of the board meeting for revisions. Email edited minutes to President one week prior to the meeting (or as agreed).
    • d. If unable to attend a board meeting, coordinate with President in advance to find a substitute. Provide substitute with a minute template. e. Store meeting minutes
  4. Prepare written correspondence as requested by Board President


SCMAAF Treasurer

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Be custodian of the funds for the organization: collect, deposit and disburse as authorized in by-laws
  2. Obtain required signatures on all checks
  3. Verify that bills are within budgeted amount
  4. Perform a monthly reconciliation of the Alliance books and Endowment records
  5. Prepare monthly financial reports for review and approval by the Board
  6. Chair Finance Committee, hold annually (beginning of new fiscal year)
  7. Ensure that tax returns are filed annually
  8. Be familiar with the dues structure
  9. Utilize outside resources or financial consultants on an as needed basis
  10. Oversee the development and adherence to the organization's financial policies
  11. Develop the annual budget, present to Board for approval
  12. Oversee an audit from an independent accounting agency on an as-needed basis as requested by the board
  13. Review the audit and answers board members' questions about the audit
  14. Receive previous financial, tax and audited records from former treasurer
  15. Conduct annual assessment of banking relationship, keep abreast of current banking trends or products that would assist the Alliance in being more efficient or costeffective

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum one year of Alliance membership in good-standing
  2. Proficient with financial accounting for non-profit organizations
  3. Prior experience with bookkeeping, checkwriting, bank reconciliations
  4. Proficient with QuickBooks
  5. Solid understanding of good banking practices

VP Development

SCMAAF VP Development

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Determine and present fundraising goals, events and activities to the board on an annual and on-going basis
  2. Recruit a fundraising committee
  3. Create and support a "culture of fundraising"
  4. Evaluate and propose to Board of Directors annual events, special events, etc. that support fund raising goals
  5. Take an active role in Grant-making
    • a. Identify community resources for potential grantmaking opportunities
    • b. Prepare and apply for grant opportunities
    • c. Perform requested follow-up activities of grantmakers
  6. Measure results of fundraising activities and present to the board
  7. Collaborate with VP IT to implement and oversee database of Alliance-wide donors
  8. Develop and oversee donor acknowledgement process
  9. Collaborate with VP Marketing to actively promote fundraising activities and opportunities, including but not limited to Planned Giving and Endowments
  10. Actively assists and oversees committee work that support the fundraising activities

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two years of Alliance membership in good standing
  2. Minimum of two years experience in non-profit fundraising
  3. Experience recommended with grant-writing
  4. Familiar with Planned Giving process recommended
  5. Excellent public speaking skills recommended

VP Events


Role and Responsibilities

  1. Develop relevant and interesting events to attract new and existing members
  2. Collaborate and review with Board members in order to generate support for new or improved events and programming opportunities
  3. Determine and plan community support building programs and special events consistent with the Alliance's mission and monitor their effectiveness, i.e. new member recruitment, retention, lapsed member attendance and/or direct outreach
  4. Establish and coordinate events, dates, times and locations
  5. Develop action plans for events
  6. Perform necessary follow up to ensure maximum attendance at events
  7. Establish a budget for the events and present for approval at Board meetings
  8. Delegate responsibilities for events to committee members acting as Event Coordinators (including securing food & beverage items, set-up and clean-up)
  9. Monitor progress of subcommittees to ensure tasks are completed
  10. Request assistance of VP Marketing & Communications for graphics and promotions
  11. Attend and assist in events

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two year of Alliance membership in good-standing
  2. Experience in event planning and coordination recommended
  3. Excellent communication skills and strong organizational skills required

VP Governance

SCMAAF VP Governance

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Ensure adherence to legal standards and ethical norms on non-profits
  2. Develop, adopt and enforce policies to help assure legal compliance and sound
  3. Conduct periodic reviews of the bylaws and recommend changes; seek board approval for changes to by-laws when needed
  4. Initiate periodic assessment of the board’s performance: proposes, as appropriate, changes in board structure and operations
  5. Provide counsel to the Board President and other board leaders:
    • a. on steps they might take to enhance board effectiveness
    • b. to assist with conflict resolution
  6. Regularly review the board’s practices regarding member participation, conflict of interest, confidentiality, etc., and suggest improvements as needed
  7. Evaluate emerging needs for new committees, the establishment of ad-hoc task forces or workgroups and make recommendations to the board
  8. Manage the recruitment process for new Board leadership positions
    • a. Develop list of potential candidates
    • b. Oversee nomination process
    • c. Obtain background information on candidate qualifications
    • d. Conduct preliminary meetings with candidates to test for their interest, commitment and ability to fulfill the criteria for board service
    • e. Conduct formal interviews of most desirable candidates
    • f. Recommend a slate of candidates for election to the Board
  9. Oversee board and board leadership development
    • a. Develop and maintains the Board Handbook
    • b. Develop mentoring program for Board leadership
  10. Collaborate with President planning for the annual Board retreat, including agenda development, program content, and evaluation
  11. Develop a “good exit” process for board members whose terms are ending.

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two year of Alliance membership in good-standing
  2. Minimum of two years’ experience in non- profit fund-raising
  3. Strong organizational skills required

VP Health Promotions

VP Health Promotions

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Determine Health Promotions budget (i.e. Safe Schools, Health Promotions, Health Careers
  2. Scholarship, Journey Safe, Give-a-Gift, CMOSC)
  3. Research & propose to Board of Directors Health Promotions programs which are consistent with the organization's mission and monitor their effectiveness.
  4. Keep current on issues affecting the non-profit sector & health care community
  5. Encourage requests and review proposals for new health promotion programs
  6. Perform end of fiscal year annual review and evaluation of existing Health Awareness programs that the Alliance is engaged in. Present to Board of Directors.
  7. Requests assistance of VP Marketing & Communications for graphics and promotions
  8. Attend committee meetings and assist on an as-needed basis

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two year of Alliance membership in good-standing
  2. Health Career and/or Educational background and experience preferred
  3. Strong organizational skills required

VP IT and Operations

SCMAAF VP IT and Operations

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Establish and oversee implementation of a non-profit management and fundraising software program
  2. Monitor integration process with existing files, website and database of all Health Promotions and fund-raising programs
  3. Evaluate effectiveness, propose changes, and improvements on a monthly basis; report to the board on a monthly basis
  4. Provide assistance to board and committee chairs for IT needs, as requested
  5. Provide technical support to Board and committee members at events and meetings on an as-needed basis
  6. Provide basic administrative support to the Board
  7. Coordinate with Web Manager

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two years of Alliance membership in good standing
  2. Full range of experience with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other relevant software and hardware required

VP Marketing and Communications

SCMAAF VP Marketing & Communications

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Articulate the organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.
  2. Promote the organization as strong and reliable to the public
  3. Produce press releases for events (to announce in advance or after an event)
  4. Maintain a list of media contacts and proactively reaches out to various media for upcoming events
  5. Photograph and conduct video interviews during projects, special events, staff, etc. creating a library of photos for newsletters, email blasts, marketing materials, etc.
  6. Establish a marketing and communications budget in conjunction with the Treasurer
  7. Write creative copy for marketing pieces and develop attention-getting materials while ensuring a concise, consistent, and informative message.
  8. Measure and communicate the Alliance's impact in the community in collaboration with Board members and Program Chairs intended for internal Alliance members and external audience as appropriate.
  9. Monitor, update and develop the content of the website and the Facebook page; i.e. Calendar items, photos.
  10. a. Institute tracking/measuring of website hits, email and social media statistics
  11. Prepare text for monthly email blasts.
  12. Prepare the quarterly Grapevine member newsletter
  13. Maintain brand and design consistency across printed matter (letterhead, envelopes, and forms) and other collateral pieces.

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two year of Alliance membership in good-standing
  2. Advanced computer skills required
  3. Minimum of two years experience in non-profit fundraising
  4. Strong organizational skills required

VP Membership

SCMAAF VP Membership

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Manage the recruitment and cultivation of new members
    • a. Engage & encourage prospective new members to join the organization
    • b. Keep abreast of potential new member prospects
    • c. Encourage new member prospects to attend events, attend committee meetings, or donate to our existing programs, as needed
    • d. Outreach with medical groups, hospitals and community organizations to recruit new members
  2. Manage annual membership drive
    • a. Produce & maintain an accurate and updated membership roster
    • b. Develop and implement a new member orientation program
    • c. Work with Board to mentor new members and pair new member with experienced SCMAA member
  3. Manage membership retention
    • a. Prepare and distribute quarterly membership activity volunteer opportunities, educational report to the Board at the end of each quarter.
    • b. Reach out to lapsed members or members with waning attendance at events in collaboration with VP Events
  4. Assist in leadership development of members
    • a. Recommend potential committee members to Board and VP Governance
  5. Report on membership activity at each board meeting
  6. Survey the organization's membership on an as-needed or Board requested basis

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two years of Alliance membership in good standing
  2. Minimum of two years experience in non-profit fundraising
  3. Excellent public speaking skills recommended
  4. Strong organizational skills required

SCMAAF Advisory Board

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Participate in Board meetings as requested by Board, conference calls, task teams, fundraising and other activities to the fullest extent possible
  2. Review materials prior to the meeting and be prepared to discuss or act on agenda items
  3. Share experiences, expertise and contacts related to the content/constituency area.
  4. Provide specialized technical expertise and knowledge in key areas affecting Foundation growth, stability, and financial performance.
  5. Provide a sounding board to aid in evaluating business ideas and opportunities.
  6. Provide counsel and support to the Board of Directors
  7. Allow the organization to publicize their name and participation on the Advisory Board, list name on letterhead and other communications
  8. Keep informed about plans, activities and needs of the organization
  9. Represent the interests of the Foundation and act as an advocate for the organization in the community
  10. Act annually in some significant way to support the organization?s mission (e.g. expert advice, door opening, funding or fundraising)

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two years of Alliance membership in good standing
  2. Minimum of two years SCMAAF Board experience required
  3. Minimum of two years experience in non-profit fundraising

SCMAAF Member-At-Large

SCMAAF Member-At-Large

Role and Responsibilities

  1. Serve as liaison between membership and Board of Directors
  2. Provide ideas and feedback from membership and present to the Board
  3. Serve as a representative and informant to the membership regarding activities such as strategic direction, volunteer opportunities, fundraising goals, etc. of the board
  4. Serve on committees at discretion or as appointed by board

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. New or existing membership status required
  2. Interested and involved in the well-being and longevity of the Alliance

CMAA Liaison


Role and Responsibilities

  1. Serve as link between the CMAA and the SCMAA to bring information from the state level to the local level
  2. Represent the SCMAA at conferences or meetings as needed

Skills and Qualifications Preferred

  1. Minimum two years of Alliance membership in good-standing
  2. Member in good standing of the CMAA
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