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HBGF Board of Directors


  • President, Evelyn Giddings (Eureka, CA). Evelyn Giddings was born and raised in Crescent City, California; she holds a BS degree in Business from Humboldt State and an MBA in International Business from San Francisco State. Ms. Giddings is very active in her community and currently serves as the Board President for the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation and is also a member of Humboldt County’s Work Investment Board. She lives in rural Humboldt County with her husband, David Lemm. Together they have 3 children and 9 grandchildren. She is a Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Manager, with Umpqua Bank for the Humboldt-Del-Norte Region and prior to that was with Six Rivers Bank/North Valley Bank for 6 years. Prior to banking Ms. Giddings was in Sales, Marketing and Management.
  • Vice President, Larney Ford (Arcata, CA) is a Commercial Lines and Life Insurance Agent at George Petersen Insurance Agency in Eureka, and has over twenty years of experience in the financial services industry.  Mr. Ford is a Humboldt County native and a graduate of Humboldt State University. A member and supporter of many community organizations over the years, Mr. Ford joined HBGF’s Board of Directors in 2007.
  • Treasurer, James T. Sessa (McKinleyville, CA).  Mr. Sessa is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Coast Central Credit Union, with over $650 million in managed assets, and which provides financial opportunities to over 50,000 members and businesses on the North Coast. He holds a BS in Management from Humboldt State University and is a graduate of the Western CUNA Management School at Pomona College in Claremont.  He is past President of Mad River Rotary and is active in a number of community organizations with an emphasis in community enrichment and youth related projects.  Mr. Sessa is the Chair of the HBGF Fundraising Steering Committee.
  • Secretary, Leslie Lollich (Eureka, CA).  Ms. Lollich spent more than 30 years in positions that relate to the news and media business in the Humboldt County region.  She has also been an active co-owner of Paul’s Auto Repair in Arcata since 1984.  She recently accepted a position (that involves marketing) with the National Will Depository.  Based in Eureka, it stores legal documents for members throughout the U.S.  In addition to her volunteer activities with HBGF and other non-profit organizations, Ms. Lollich volunteers on the board of the Humboldt Library Foundation and has been a member and has held various positions for Soroptimist International of Humboldt Bay since 1989.  She spends as much time as possible at the family property in Orleans that she owns with her husband, Paul Allen.  They have two adult sons.  Ms. Lollich graduated from Humboldt State University in 1981 with a bachelor of arts in Journalism and a minor in business.  She has always loved gardens and was inspired by public gardens as a teenager when she visited France and Canada.  As an adult, she has visited gardens here in the U.S. and throughout the world.  She understands how gardens attract visitors to communities and that is part of the reason she has supported HBGF for more than 20 years.

Board of Directors

  • Debbie Bussman (Bayside, CA).  Ms. Bussman is currently the Commercial and Personal Lines Manager of George Petersen Insurance.  She is also the owner and president of DBA: Financial Premium Finance Company.  A member of many community organizations, Ms. Bussman was also on the Board of Trustees for Vector Rehabilitation from 1999-2000. She was appointed to HBGF’s Board of Directors in November, 2007.
  • Barbara Groom (Loleta, CA).   A thirty year resident of Loleta/Table Bluff, Ms Groom started the Lost Coast Brewery in 1989 following a career in pharmacy.  Under her guidance Lost Coast Brewery moved from being a small brew pub to becoming a national and international award winning regional brewery.   A member of many community organizations and boards of directors, she brings a keen awareness of the community, business sense and her love of botanical gardens to the Humboldt Botanical Garden project.  Ms. Groom serves on the HBGF Fundraising Steering Committee.
  • Dave Kenworthy (Eureka, CA). Mr. Kenworthy now works for Lost Coast Brewery after a nearly 27 year career with MetLife. He is the Garden’s official aerial photographer, documenting the changes to the garden that are sometimes hard to see from the ground. He joined the HBGF board in 2007.
  • Janna Snell (McKinleyville, CA) is a Realtor® at Coldwell Banker Cutten Realty.  Ms. Snell brings her landscape, graphic and web design experience to the HBGF.  She has studied Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Construction at College of the Redwoods, Landscape Architecture at UC Berkeley Extension.  Additionally, she has studied business, engineering and real estate at HSU and UCLA Extension.  She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  Ms. Snell also serves on the Humboldt Arts Council Board.
  • Martha Spencer was born in Southern California but was smart enough to quickly relocate to Humboldt County to attend Humboldt State University in 1976. While there she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Social Work and a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Planning. She started working for the Humboldt County Planning Department in 1986 but then followed her wayward biologist husband around the states of California (including work in Glenn, Trinity and Siskiyou County Planning Departments), Washington and Oregon, finally returning to Humboldt County in 2002. She returned to work for the County Planning Department, where she was the lead planner for the General Plan Update until her retirement in 2013. She has been an active 4H leader for eight years in three states and was on the school board for four years in Oregon. She is a weekend gardener and truly appreciates the bounty of garden opportunities the area has to offer.