Board of Directors
BI’s Board of Directors brings expertise in law, business, education, and telecommunications to the agency, as well as personal and professional understanding about developmental disabilities.
Current Officers and Directors:
Bonnie Burrell, President
Bonnie is a second-generation San Franciscan who became interested in BI 16 years ago when her son, Todd, became a participant. When the opportunity to serve on the board presented itself six years ago, Bonnie felt the timing was just right to give back to an organization that had been so supportive of her son. Retired Manager and Community Liaison for GHD Engineering Services, Bonnie holds a degree in sociology and an elementary teaching credential from San Francisco State University.
Donna Cates, Vice President
Donna and her husband, Bryan, own and operate Telecommunications Designs, in Santa Rosa, a company that provides advanced network design and cabling systems to large retail customers with multiple locations. Donna has lived in Occidental for 15 years, and their son, Geordi, 18, is on the autism spectrum. Donna was BI’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year, in honor of the strong supportive role she played in the launch of our latest program – Autism Integrated Services.
Eric Gullotta, Past President
Eric is an attorney and CPA, and his practice focuses on estate planning and taxation. Born and raised in Sonoma County, he received his bachelor’s degree in economics and accounting from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in taxation from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Eric received his law degree with honors from Empire College in Santa Rosa.
Matthew Welty, Treasurer/Secretary
Matt is a partner at the Healdsburg law firm of Welty | Welty, PC. He specializes in real property, estate planning and administration, business and wine law. Born and raised in Sonoma County, he received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Davis, and his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
Joerg Olson, Deputy Executive Committee Member
Joerg’s sister Kari is a BI participant, and has been for more than two decades. With a professional life that brought him from Hollywood to Alaska to Sonoma County, Joerg has been in the insurance industry for 18 years, most recently managing Sherzer & Associates’ Petaluma office with his wife Millie. Joerg graduated from California State University at Northridge with a degree in Radio, Television, and Film.
Owen has never allowed his developmental disability to stand in the way of his ambitions. Owen has participated with BI for over 18 years and has been happily employed with Safeway for 15 years, with the assistance of BI’s Supported Employment team. Owen’s ambition and BI’s coaching and support have proven to be a winning combination. In addition to serving on BI’s Board, Owen also provides employment support to two long-time Safeway employees in Sebastopol as well as a Safeway employee at the Santa Rosa store on Calistoga Road.
David is a Lieutenant with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. He served on the Board of our local National Alliance for Mental Illness chapter and has served several years on the Planning Committee for Autism Speaks annual North Bay Walk. He is active in educating and training fellow law enforcement professionals to be sensitive to the unique needs of people with autism and other disabilities. Educating and raising awareness within the community on developmental disabilities is a passion of his. He and his wife Claudia have three children, two of which are on the autism spectrum. Their son Isa, is currently a student in BI’s Passport to Independence program.
Ann is the Senior Vice President of Retail Banking at Exchange Bank. With over 20 years of banking experience, she brings along a wealth of knowledge. Coupled with, of course, a deep passion for making a positive impact on her community. Born and raised in Oregon, Ann has lived with her family in Sonoma County since 2000. Ann studied at both Willamette University and Portland State University.
Sharon and her husband, past board President Ken Maiolini, own Risk Management Services in Cotati and have been incredibly committed supporters of Becoming Independent since the day they chose BI’s programs for their daughter Carla, who is now 32 years old. Sharon was BI’s 2008 Volunteer of the Year, and in 2011 she and Ken received the June Waite Spirit of Philanthropy Award.
Al has both a personal and professional understanding of the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. He and his wife Cherie are the parents of a vibrant young woman, Molly, who has a disability, which has provided them with a rich experience as care providers, service coordinators and advocates. Al currently works as a facilitator for Early Start Foundations Online Training with WestEd’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention. He is a member of the Arc of California and the Infant Development Association.
Abigail is a Real Estate Broker with Vanguard Properties who has more than 24 years of sales, marketing and negotiating expertise in the real estate, financial and technology industries. Born in Newport, RI and raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Abigail earned a full athletic Division I basketball scholarship to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. Abigail lives in Sebastopol with her wife, Ash (a former BI Manager who grew up in Sonoma County) and their 1 year old son, Phoenix. Abigail has a deep passion for music. When she’s not selling real estate, she enjoys playing the drums and experiencing live music.