Board of Directors

Robert W. Carpenter, President and Chairman of the Board
Bob retired in 2008 as President and CEO of Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) after 25 years with this nation-wide non-profit social science research foundation based in Washington, D.C. PIRE has 9 U.S. and 2 international research centers. Since retiring, Bob served for over 10 years as Director of the New Sanctuary project of Sufism Reoriented in Walnut Creek and President of its Building Fund. His previous experience with non-profit fund development includes The Automotive Safety Foundation of the Highway Users Federation in Washington, D.C., and Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Bob has degrees in Psychology and in Education. He has been a food rescue volunteer for White Pony Express since 2014 and serves as a member of WPE's Governance Task Force.

Isa Campbell, Ph.D.

Isa has over 35 years of experience in the social services field, building leadership development in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. She holds a Ph.D. in organizational behavior and a Master’s in rehabilitation counseling. Isa recently retired from the FAA after 13 years as an organizational psychologist and served on the board of directors for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), which provides drug and alcohol research. She is a certified executive coach and a recognized national speaker.

Gary Conner

Gary served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery and afterward graduated from Hastings School of the Law in 1979. He practiced law as a tax attorney and transactional attorney and co-authored a book on small business success, as well as a series of articles for the San Francisco Examiner on the 1986 Tax Act. Gary was the first president of the Hospice of Contra Costa (now Hospice of the East Bay) and has initiated several charitable enterprises.

Cindy Gershen

Cindy is the owner of the Sunrise Bistro and Catering of Walnut Creek, a leader in innovation, farm-to-table, and nutrition. She is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher, and Teacher on Special Assignment integrating nutrition into education, and has received multiple state and local awards for her health and wellness advocacy, including the California Assembly District 14 “Woman of the Year”. Within MDUSD, Cindy is leading the collaboration with the Workforce Investment Act, Diabetes Coalition of California, Youth Empowerment Support, and LGBTQ programs.

Lorraine Granit, Ph.D., Board Secretary

Lorraine completed her doctoral studies in social science research and clinical psychology at UC Berkeley. In addition to her clinical practice and teaching, she has trained and managed employees and volunteers throughout her over 40-year career. Lorraine managed two psychiatric clinics, one a multi-racial clinic in Oakland, and the other, a private psychiatric clinic in Walnut Creek, which she established. She has spent more than 10 years training and managing volunteers for a wide variety of programs for Sufism Reoriented.


James N. May, Board Treasurer

Jim is a certified public accountant with over 30 years of experience as the CFO for non-profit as well as for-profit organizations. Jim has extensive experience in budgeting, cash flow management, audit, and internal control, as well as board development, and managing joint ventures and key banking relationships. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from the Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in accounting from Georgetown University. ​

Brad Smith

Brad has been in commercial real estate investments since 1979 and has been involved in a number of businesses and non-profits within Contra Costa County. In addition to the collaborative formation of the Vocari HUB in Pleasant Hill, he was involved in the formation and operation of two technology companies housed at the HUB. Brad currently serves on the boards of WPE, the two technology companies, and that of Kaiperm Diablo Federal Credit Union.  

Brant Watson

Brant is a commercial insurance broker with Heffernan Group, based in Walnut Creek since 1993. In addition to providing strategic insurance placement services to non-profit and privately held organizations, he is a board member of the California Assisted Living Association. He is also a former board member of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates based in Berkeley, which operates eight affordable housing communities in Contra Costa County.

Gwendolyn Hamilton, M.D.

Gwen is a board-certified pediatrician who has practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1979. She brings a wealth of pediatric experience to the board of the Francis in the Schools program, including knowledge of the impact of such programs on the psychological well-being of children from disadvantaged communities. In addition to her clinical practice, Gwen has served as medical director for California Children’s Services, a state program for children with special healthcare needs, and as medical director for a regional program for children with autism and ADHD. She has provided pediatric education and consultation to several community programs and schools in the Bay Area. She has also served as chair of the board of the Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation in Washington, DC, and as a board member of the Foundation for Autism Support and Training and many other community organizations. Gwen is a longtime volunteer at White Pony Express.