35 Mitchell Bl #5b, San Rafael, CA 94903
M/W/Th/F 9:30a-2p; T 2-6p

Our Leadership

Lena Strickling,
Program and Development Associate

Lena graduated from Brigham Young University, where she studied business with an emphasis in nonprofit management. For over 6 years, Lena has worked with nonprofits including The Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and even lived in Africa for six months where she worked for a nonprofit in Kenya. She loves working for a greater purpose in causes she believes in. Lena grew up in the military and has moved 11 times, but currently resides in Novato. You can find Lena and her dog, Birdie, volunteering as a therapy dog team, going on hikes, and playing at the beach in her free time.

Ashley Hurd,
Board President

Ashley runs her own event planning business, Eventful Events, Inc., where she creates and produces fundraisers for worthy causes around California. Over the last 10 years, she and her team have raised millions of dollars for many incredible organizations. Originally from San Diego, she now resides in San Rafael with her husband, their energetic and caring son, as well as a foster baby or toddler when they have a placement. Ashley became a foster parent over 4 years ago and believes she is truly called to support and invest in the foster care system. She is all-in and passionate about changing the trajectory of the lives of foster youth. In addition to serving as Board President, Ashley produces Blues & Brews, a large fundraiser for MFCA in the Fall.

Allison Jayakaran,
Board Secretary

Allison and her husband Amit live in Novato. They have 3 foster and 2 biological children. Allison grew up with foster and adopted cousins on both sides of her family. She knew from a young age that she wanted to foster, adopt and work with children who have special needs. This became a reality for her husband and her in 2016 when they became licensed as foster/resource parents. Allison has a background in child development, credentials in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in trauma and attachment. She is a stay-at-home mom to her children, special needs advocate, serves as MFCA’s Secretary and supports the foster care community in various capacities.

Kelsey Harstad,
Board Treasurer

Kelsey is a SVP with Belay Investment Group, a real estate investment manager, where she invests in commercial and residential real estate with emerging managers. Kelsey has a passion for helping children in need and giving back, something she learned from her dad who was a public school teacher and coach for 40 years. Kelsey has previously volunteered in an orphanage in Malawi, and helped launch a non-profit to provide funds to underserved neighborhood organizations in the Northeast and Midatlantic. Kelsey lives in Novato with her husband, daughter (age 11) and son (age 8). In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys being her kids’ #1 fan in all of their sports, participating in her daughter’s Girl Scouts troop meetings/events, attending church with her family at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and making memories on family vacations.

Tiffany Fetterman

Tiffany resides in San Rafael, loves volunteering and working with children. She was introduced to Marin Foster Care Association by a member of her church and since that time, she and her family have supported MFCA drives and fundraisers multiple times a year. Their interest in supporting MFCA further has grown to doing respite care and becoming a foster family. She joined the MFCA board November 2020 and looks forward to her new role: Business Relationships and Development! Tiffany currently works from home, where she and her partner raise their two amazing daughters. In her free time, you will find her traveling all over the Bay Area watching her daughters compete in soccer, swimming or water polo matches. 

Michelle Finelli

Michelle is an advertising professional helping to build brands for over 13 years. She has worked on such brands as Airbnb, ESPN and Mitsubishi Motors to name a few. Originally from Colorado, she now resides in Mill Valley with her husband and wildly handsome preschool son. After spending 3 years with the Southern Marin Mothers Club, she joined MFCA in 2021 in hopes of making an impact on foster children in and around Marin County. In her free time she loves to visit museums, cycle, bake and watch Pixar movies.

Carolyn Rebuffel Flannery

Carolyn resides in San Rafael and joined the board after doing respite care and other volunteer work in the foster community for many years. Carolyn creates MFCA’s social media posts and manages our outreach in that arena. She founded Make It Home, a furniture bank in San Rafael, connecting new and gently used furnishing with foster kids, individuals and families that need furniture, easing furniture poverty in the Bay Area. As an interior designer, Carolyn wants to continue delivering inspiring environments to those who need them the most, believing that beautiful spaces support healing, growth and inspiration. In her spare time, Carolyn is a wife, mother of four, avid hiker and loves to cook.

Carin Gruwell

Carin Gruwell has a passion for pediatrics. Whether it’s as a nurse, resource parent, or caring for her own children she strives to support healthy and happy childhoods for all. This goal is what prompted her to join Marin Foster Care Association’s board. She and her family have cared for two foster children and look forward to caring for more in the future. Raised in Boston, she now resides in Novato with her husband and kids. Although she is currently not working outside the home, she uses her pediatric knowledge to support other resource families. At present, she volunteers as the Community Resource Center Coordinator and helps manage in-kind donations.

Lenny Gucciardi

Lenny Gucciardi has a background in finance and technology, having worked for companies such as Tandem Computers and Wells Fargo Bank. He earned an MBA from UC Berkeley. Lenny has worked with Bay Area youth as a teacher, a sports coach and a backcountry trip leader. He currently teaches math and social science at Star Academy in San Rafael, and is active in the Friends and Family program of the Marin Foster Care Association.

Caren Wachtenheim

Caren joined MFCA’s board to be a voice for those who don’t have one, to ensure that MFCA has the means to provide safety and security for all and to support those families who open their homes to grow love. Caren and her husband Joe are both originally from New York City. Their family loves adventure, traveling, the New York Giants and days at the beach to ensure they are reminded of how blessed they are to live in California. During the day, Caren is an Account Executive at Salesforce supporting some of the largest organizations in Southern California. When the 5pm bell rings, she is the luckiest mom of two fun, energetic and smart kiddos! Caren is the Dance-a-thon Chairperson.

Advisory Board

Darcy Barrow
Patty Cala, AFS
Joe Devine, CFS
Leslie Fields, CFS
Linda Gregory
Liz Jimenez, TLC
Jill Parker
Annette Venables
Shawn Yarnell