Danielle Katz, Co-founder and President: At four months of age, Danielle took one of the last runs down the Stanislaus River before it was dammed. At 14 she became a river guide, regularly working trips on the Klamath, Rogue, and Tatshenshini-Alsek in Alaska for James Henry River Journeys. In 2009 she paddled 2,271 miles down the length of the Mississippi for the non-profit What About Blue, raising funds to build wells and sanitation projects in Rwanda. She has completed several StS journeys since and is excited about sharing her passion for rivers and Source to Sea literacy.
John Dye, Co-founder and Vice-President: John brings 40 years of on-water experience to the campaign. His background in project management includes co-founding a youth aquatic fitness non-profit. John has run fundraising events for the Sonoma Land Trust, the Tuolumne River Trust, and currently acts as the Tuolumne River Trust’s principle guide and instructor. He teaches kayaking at California Canoe and Kayak and has had paddling articles appear in Surfski and Waterdog Ezines.
Matt Palmariello, Board Member: While pursuing a Recreation Management degree at the University of New Hampshire, Matt was introduced to paddling and it heavily impacted his life. For the next few years he guided sea kayaking trips in the summer, and worked on skiing events in the winter, eventually transitioning to Utah to work with the non-profit US Ski & Snowboard Team. Each summer he migrated to California where his paddling interests evolved from sea kayaking to open canoeing to standup paddling. Today he lives in Rome, Maine.
Judy Jensen, Treasurer: Judy started paddling in 2000 when she realized there were too many creatures that could eat in you the ocean if you weren’t in a boat. She began in an outrigger canoe and then transitioned to surfski. If it means being on the water she’s interested in trying it. Drawn to the community of the competitive racing scene she enjoys the ability to go out and paddle in amazing places. She wants to encourage more people to experience the joy of being out on the water and help preserve the places she loves to paddles in.
Janet Whittick, Board Member: Janet fell head-over- heels for a paddleboard in 2012, and never looked back. Racing the Cal100 as part of a relay was a turning point, and now Janet races with O’Kalani Outrigger and volunteers as a SUP instructor to help get others on the water. Janet works as an environmental policy analyst, but her favorite days are spent downwinding or surfing with friends. She’s excited to tackle her own StS one day soon.
Kelsey Jessup, Board Member: Kelsey Jessup is a project manager at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation where she leads the Urban Greening Initiative. Her work has focused on a range of issues including Los Angeles’ turf replacement program, LA River revitalization, and creating SMART parks. As a project manager on the Luskin Center’s LA River work, Kelsey built relationships with community members, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies; produced an all-day LA River Greenway Workshop for over 100 LA River stakeholders; and provided technical assistance to LA River communities interested in implementing LA River greenway projects.
Prior to joining the Luskin Center, Kelsey earned her Master’s in Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Kelsey received the Bohnett Fellowship and worked as a policy analyst in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation.