It is the goal and purpose of Aikido Kenkyukai Santa Barbara to pass down the true message of Aikido and to nurture a better society by creating individuals of responsibility, compassion, judgement, and character.
From the ByLaws…
To create an interest and motivation within the general public to practice the Japanese non-violent art of aikido;
To encourage individuals, or groups of individuals, to practice aikido;
To promote aikido as a positive and effective vehicle for self improvement and spiritual growth;
To promote educational programs that teach aikido techniques, models and processes as a harmonious way through conflict, both in practice and everyday life;
To advance aikido as a means of transforming the stresses of everyday life into opportunities for personal growth and development;
Board of Directors
Lia Suzuki, 6th dan: Founder, President, Executive Director
Lia Suzuki began training aikido in 1982. Through her first teacher, the renowned William Gleason Sensei, 6th dan, she was introduced to the distinctive aikido of the late Yamaguchi Seigo Shihan, 9th dan and one of his most accomplished students, Takeda Yoshinobu Shihan, 8th dan.
Lia Sensei lived in Japan from 1987 to 1996, receiving her 1st through 4th dan gradings at Takeda Shihan’s dojo during that time. Her aikido clearly reflects years of dedicated training with Takeda Shihan and his senior students.
She has conducted seminars in Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada and of course, the USA. Lia Sensei continues to travel regularly to Japan to train with her teacher, Takeda Shihan and to participate in demonstrations and seminars there.
In addition to teaching aikido to adults and children, Lia Sensei is also involved in ongoing projects employing aikido in work addressing substance misuse and emotional/behavioral problems. Suzuki Sensei helped develop A.C.T. – Aiki Conflict Transformation © 2002 offering workshops and seminars to psychologists, counselors, educators, etc.
Annette Shimada: Secretary
Jeff Lombardi: Treasurer
Jeff Lombardi has been in the Santa Barbara area for over 20 years, where he studied Business Communication and Management at Santa Barbara City College. Jeff loves to be active and participate in community events throughout Santa Barbara.
Jeff is currently the Assistant Branch Manager at Montecito Bank & Trust at their Montecito location, where he manages the day to day operations for the branch. Jeff has been in the banking industry for over 6 years, with a focus on consumer loans, small business solutions, and small business lending.
Andrew Cranmer: Director
Larry Crandell, Sr.
For more than 40 years, he’s used laughter to loosen purse strings, getting the rich and powerful to part with their money for charity. He’s helped hundreds of nonprofits as a volunteer leader and as an emcee/ auctioneer. Now 86, he continues to preside over more than 50 community events a year. No wonder people call him Mr. Santa Barbara.
As President/CEO of the Balance Bar Company, Jim led the company’s growth from $1M in sales in 1995 to $100M in sales in 1999. The company went public in 1998 and sold to Kraft Foods for $268M in 2000. Mr. Wolfe has also held executive level positions in Marketing and Sales with Welch’s, Coca-Cola, and Seven-Up Foods. He has consulted Celestial Seasonings, Welch’s, Gatorade and Snapple. Born in Buffalo, NY he was one of nine children, and graduated the University of Buffalo with a B.S. in Business Administration.
“THE BALANCE BAR STORY”
How we turned a failing company into a success
- Importance of experience at the top position
- Identifying your target audience
- Consumer research on the cheap
- Product differentiation
- Product quality
- Attracting, training, motivating and retaining key employees
- Importance of a proactive Board
Chris J. Chirgwin
Chris J. Chirgwin is the owner and CEO of Lanspeed, an IT services firm headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA. With nearly 15 years of technology and management experience, Chris has excelled throughout his career in providing businesses with a winning combination of deep technical expertise and sound strategic planning. Lanspeed has grown rapidly under Chris’s leadership, and now provides award winning IT services throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties.
Chris received an MBA from the University of Portland in 1998, and a BA in International Studies and Business from Westmont College in 1995. Raised in a small town outside of Portland, Oregon, Chris now lives in the Santa Ynez Valley with his wife and three young daughters. Recently recognized by the Pacific Coast Business Times for the “Top 40 under 40 Award”, Chris has earned numerous industry awards and technical certifications. Several times a year, he travels around the country facilitating industry groups and has been a guest speaker at many technology and management events. He is an avid day hiker and backpacker having spent time trekking in Alaska, Costa Rica, and most of the western U.S.
Former Board Members
Das Williams, City Councilmember, Director
Das knows the people of the South Coast and understands their priorities. He grew up locally, moving to the Ojai Valley as an infant and attended local schools in Ventura and Santa Barbara. He left high school early to attend Santa Barbara City College before transferring to U.C. Berkeley, where he earned his degree in Political Science.
Soon afterward, Das was inspired by the first Democratic elections in South Africa and flew to Cape Town in 1994 to work for Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. During this time he experienced the transforming power of grassroots action. It’s this deep belief in the power of community and neighbors reaching out to neighbors that has helped Das become an accomplished and respected Santa Barbara City Councilmember.
Since being elected, Das has worked closely with the community and his colleagues to get results for the residents of Santa Barbara. Recently, he helped balance the city budget without cutting vital city services, like police and firefighters, and protecting middle class jobs. He has earned a reputation for independent leadership, offering new ideas and approaches to conventional problems and getting things done.
In addition to his service on the Santa Barbara City Council, Das has been active in a variety of capacities in the community. Das is a community organizer for CAUSE, a Ventura based non-profit, and is heading the group’s efforts to stop a proposed Wal-Mart development in Ventura. Das currently serves as a Trustee of Peabody Charter School. Das is also a national board member of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Das currently teaches at Antioch University in Santa Barbara.
Das holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Science & Management, with a focus in water pollution, planning processes, and land-use law at UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science.
Bruce Glesby, Esq
Bruce Glesby has served as a member of the AKSB Board of Directors since its inception in December 2008.
Mr. Glesby has been an partner with Griffith & Thornburgh, LLP since 1995 and before that, was an associate from 1990. His civil trial and litigation practice includes Family Law, Real Estate, Construction and Design Defects, and Personal Injury Law.
- State Bar of California
- Santa Barbara County Bar Association, Board of Directors 2003-4
- Co-Editor Santa Barbara Lawyer
- U.S. District Court, Central District
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- University of California at Los Angeles, AB, Psychology 1973
- University of California at Los Angeles, MSW, 1980
- Loyola Law School, JD, 1988
- Phi Delta Phi
- Recipient of American Jurisprudence Awards in: Products Liabilities, Ethics, Negotiations and Counseling
- Santa Barbara Lawyer Referral Service – Member Board of Trustees
- Casa Del Herrero – Member Board of Trustees
Rajju Bajracharya, CPA, MBA, Treasurer
Rajju is a CPA at MacFarlane, Faletti & Co. LLP with more than 4 years experience in taxation, auditing, compilation, review and ERP (Great Plains & SAP) Consulting with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
- Individual, Corporation and Trust Taxation
- Court Accounting: Great Plains, SAP, Oracle, Access, Coldfusion, CCH-Research, Profx Tax Software, Profx Engagement, etc.
Anna Cottle: Board Secretary
Anna was born and raised in Dunedin, New Zealand. She moved to Santa Barbara with her husband in 2009, having spent three years in the United Kingdom prior to moving to California. Anna completed degrees in law and genetics in New Zealand, and is a lawyer there, as well as in the United Kingdom. Anna is also a licensed attorney in California, and is currently working with Buynak & Fauver. Outside of work, Anna loves to do triathlons and go hiking and camping.
Vanessa Garcia, CPA: Board Treasurer
Vanessa Garcia has lived in Santa Barbara for most of her life. Vanessa graduated from UCSB with a degree in Business Economics with an Accounting Emphasis in 2007
Vanessa is a Certified Public Accountant at MacFarlane, Faletti, & Co. LLP with more than 3 years experience in taxation for individuals, non-profits, and businesses as well as experience in auditing non-profits.
Ray Estrada: Director
Ray Estrada is a 36-year veteran of newspapers, wire services and radio news. He has worked in California, Nevada, Central America and Cuba. In 2008, he won an award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for breaking news in covering a Santa Barbara wildfire. He is a business correspondent for the Santa Barbara News-Press and has written for Noozhawk, the Daily Sound and Miller-McCune Online magazine.