Meet our Board of Directors 

Deni Saxod Carpenter, Board Chair, was raised and educated in both Tijuana and San Diego, and is still involved in both cultures.  Upon graduating from SDSU, Deni began a teaching career in San Diego. After a few years away in Washington DC, Deni re-settled in San Diego and co-founded Saxod Enterprises, a firm specializing in language instruction, translation services, interpreting services and business and cultural introductions in the Mexican marketplace.  She established strong community ties, including board service on The Old Globe, Copley YMCA, Children’s Home Society, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and Balboa Park Trust Committee at The San Diego Foundation. Deni is married to Ken Carpenter, a San Diego retired biomedical entrepreneur.  Deni is a proud mother of a daughter who is an interior designer in Mexico City and a son who is a VP of Finance at Renovate America.  She enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren, and traveling with her husband.  

George Chamberlin, Board Treasurer, is the business editor for KOGO Radio, and host of “Money in the Morning”, a personal finance program held on Sundays. In addition, he is the Money Advisor for NBC 7/39. George is the publisher and editor of Investing for Rookies. He has been honored three times by the Small Business Administration as the Media Advocate of the Year. George’s financial career started on Wall Street, where he worked his way up to vice president positions with two major Wall Street firms for 15 years, but he gave that up to return to his first love, broadcasting. "When people ask me if I'm a stockbroker I tell them no, I'm in a recovery program.” George fell in love with radio back in the 1960s when he started out as a disc jockey. George has lived in San Diego for over 30 years and has been contributing to the community, including board service, speaking engagements and serving as master of ceremonies.  Besides George’s board service at San Diego Oasis, he has been involved with San Marcos Boys & Girls Club and New Haven. George’s wife Terry and daughter Sara run a hair salon together; son Tom works in the technology industry. George is a proud grandfather to three grandchildren.

Krishna Arora, Governance Chair, is a retired engineer, holding degrees in electrical and systems engineering as well as computer science. He was fortunate to join Irwin Jacobs’s Qualcomm  team early on where he retired as a Director of Engineering in 2002. Post retirement, Krishna and wife, Bonnie, have been traveling the world and making a difference in local and international communities through philanthropy. Locally, Krishna teaches a weekly class at the Braille Institute in  San Diego and is a very active member of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club. A lifelong learner, Krishna spent two years researching and publishing a genealogy book of 700+ pages on his ancestry in India dating back to 1703. Bonnie and Krishna have honored their spiritual and cultural roots by completing a Hindu pilgrimage, which took them to the four corners of India, and a Catholic pilgrimage, which took them on a 1000 mile walk along the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain.

Judy Lewis, Secretary, is a native San Diegan, and an avid Oasis participant. She earned her B.A. at Stanford, her M.A. and PhD. at Columbia, all in Psychology, and spent a post-doctoral research year at The Rockefeller University focusing on the psychobiology of behavior. Upon her return to San Diego, Judy became a professor in the psychology department at San Diego State, where she was engaged in teaching, research, and student mentoring for 36 years.  In addition, she was founder of the Psychology Department’s Weight Control Clinic, and served as its director for 20 years. Judy retired from San Diego State in 2008, and that same year discovered Oasis. She has virtually lived here ever since, holding the record for the most Oasis classes ever attended (almost 500 as of 2014). Judy’s community involvement includes service for San Diego Junior Theatre, the Cystic Fibrosis Guild, Playwrights Project, The Children’s Museum, and the San Diego Young Opera Buffs, among others. Judy’s husband, Marshall Lewis, is an attorney in private practice in San Diego. They have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. 

Janice Branham, Director of Communciations for The Oasis InstituteJanice Branham is Director of Communications for the Oasis Institute, the St. Louis-based headquarters for the national Oasis network. The Institute works with local Oasis centers and  partners to support local programs by providing staff training, standards of excellence for program quality, research and development of new programs and curricula, technology, and financial and fundraising support. The Oasis Institute is recognized by the Social Impact 100 Index, a list of the top U.S. nonprofit organizations that have broad social impact and deliver results. Janice has led development of Oasis management systems, technology training programs, online communications and technology support. She holds an MBA from the University of Kansas and enjoys bicycling, camping and time with her four children and three grandchildren.

David Chong, has worn a few different hats in his career, though the one that seems to fit the best is geriatric care. For the last few years, he has successfully led teams to make the final time of life good for elderly San Diegans in their own homes. Previously, David owned and operated The Park at Mount Helix and founded an Internet-based senior housing referral service, AssistMatch. Early in his career, he practiced corporate law in Taipei at Jones Day and later served as a Business Advisor at the microfinance nonprofit, ACCION San Diego.  As a foundation to his career, David’s most useful degrees are his B.S. in Business Administration from Biola University and his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley. The not-quite-as-practical program was the M.A. in Practical Theology from University of San Diego. At various times he has held licenses in California as an attorney with the State Bar, as a broker with the Department of Real Estate, and as a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly Administrator with the Department of Social Services. He is a Care Manager, Certified through the National Academy of Certified Care Managers and a Certified Geriatric Care Manager with the Aging Life Care Association.  David has served as a board member and member in both nonprofit and for-profit entities including Chair Elect of the San Diego Regional Home Care Council, San Diego Cooperative Charter School, La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary, ProVisors, and the Estate Planning Council of San Diego.  Some particularly favorite activities have included backpacking, hiking & RV'ing. When not enjoying time with his Coast Care Partners partners, he can typically be found seizing the day with his wife, Sarah, and his four children. 

Jonathan E. Doering, has been with Thrivent Financial for 27 years, where he serves as a Managing Partner and Financial Advisor in the San Diego/Del Mar office. He also works as a national speaker for Thrivent on Retirement & Estate Planning. Jonathan has a financial team of Certified Financial Planners and works with both clients and advisors around the country helping people plan for their advanced Retirement Investment, Tax and Estate Planning needs.  A graduate of Luther College with a double major in Business and Political Science, he has also taken the Financial Management class at The Wharton School of Business. His hobbies include playing basketball, golf and time with the family. Mr. Doering and his wife Dawn have three children, Camille, Charlotte and Jake. The Doerings attend church at Horizon Christian in Rancho Santa Fe.  

Sandra Nimitz Lawhon exemplifies the perfect lifelong learner. While her life journey has been full of twists, turns and challenges, Sandra always found comfort in learning something new and conquering a new intellectual challenge. Born in Philadelphia, only daughter of a naval officer and an accomplished pianist and singer, Sandra always excelled in school. After losing her father to cancer and witnessing her talented mother become a controller in a major company in the 1950s, one of very few women in an executive position, Sandra graduated high school at 16 and studied English Tudor History, education and architectural design.​ ​ She continued her studies eventually getting a PhD and teaching​ both elementary school and history at the college level. While encouraged and mentored, Sandra has always been a proud earner of her way through life. Sandra purchased her first 4-unit property in San Diego with her mother and has not stopped since. Never afraid of the next challenge, she ​has obtained contracting, lending and banking licenses. She is excited to join the San Diego Oasis board because she believes she can truly make a difference. Sandra feels that seniors are the most underserved population group and can become the most expensive segment of society, if not treated well and fully engaged. A generous current and legacy donor, Sandra is hoping to find time to carve out more time for fun – brush up on French, learn piano, and enjoy more theatre and travel. Her community service includes YMCA, YWCA, San Diego Opera, and Serving Seniors. 

Steve Oggel was born in a small town in Illinois, but grew up in the Chicago area. He went to Vanderbilt to play golf and basketball; he held Cotton Nash (the country’s best player in 1961 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated) to 56 points in one game! Having concluded pro ball wasn’t in his future, he went to law school at George Washington University in D.C. After four years in the Marine Corps, including a tour in Vietnam, he practiced law in D.C. and New York for a few years before coming to California. He practiced with large firms for sixteen years before opening his own office. He has represented business entities in litigation ever since. He has two sons and two daughters and seven grandchildren. He was a member of the Downtown YMCA Board and Downtown Rotary, has taught legal courses at UCSD and Thomas Jefferson Law School and enjoys acting, having appeared in more than 30 plays in community theatre around town.

Charles Van Vechten is Managing Director of Buchanan Designs, a branding and graphic design firm. A native San Diegan, Charlie earned a B.A. from the University of San Diego and a post-graduate degree in graphic design and advertising. Charlie has served on the boards of AIGA San Diego, Susan G. Komen Foundation, East County Performing Arts Center, Mount Helix Park Foundation, and United Through Reading. He is also an active Rotarian. Charlie was honored with the Performing Arts League’s “Star Award” and the Metropolitan Magazine’s “40 under Forty” award. His wife, Renée, a professor of Political Science at the University of Redlands, gives him extra points for being a gourmet chef, and kids, Ava and Zachary, have bestowed the “Best Bedtime Story Reader” award upon him.

William H. Wise was a Circuit Court Judge of Cook County in Illinois. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. He enjoys golf and the theatre. Judge Wise brings years of experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney, adjunct professor and Judge. He recently completed his judicial third term, presiding over felony, misdemeanor and Domestic Violence cases in the Fourth Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County.  Judge Wise received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois and Bachelor of Law and Juris Doctor degree from the John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from John Marshall with Honors and received The American Jurisprudence Excellency in Evidence Award. Upon graduation from law school Judge Wise served many years as an Assistant State's Attorney of Cook County. After handling thousands of misdemeanor cases he was elevated to the felony trial division. He prosecuted hundreds of major felony and high profile cases. During his tenure in the State's Attorney's office he authored A Treatise on How to Prosecute D.U.I Cases Successfully. This manual was distributed by the National District Attorney's Association and he was called upon to teach seminars throughout the United States on this subject.  After his years of public service Judge Wise entered the private sector, specializing in trial work pertaining to Criminal Defense, Constitution, Civil Rights, Juvenile and Personal Injury matters. Judge Wise enjoys teaching law. He has been an instructor and adjunct professor at the Loyola University School of Law, John Marshall Law School, DePaul University and Triton College. He has taught Appellate Advocacy, Trial Practice, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law, Juvenile and Social Justice.  Additionally, Judge Wise has volunteered his time to preside over mock trial competitions, sponsored by The Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and the American Bar Association National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition, co-sponsored by the John Marshall Law School.

Our Advisory Board

Sister Mary Jo Anderson
Sally Wong Avery
Hank George
Bob Kelly
Maureen King
Ellen Schmeding
Alejandra Sotelo-Solis