Staff and Board

Meet the Connolly Ranch Team

Meet Our Board of Directors

Per Casey - Chairman of the Board
Per has been volunteering at the Ranch since 2016 when both his kids were campers. Having grown up on a 'retired' farm in rural NH, Per understands and loves the Connolly Ranch mission. He is committed to helping the Ranch provide farm-based education and experiences to the Napa Valley community and beyond. When not sitting in a board meeting, you might find him shoveling sand, setting up AV equipment or helping with recycling and trash collection for one of the Ranch's annual events. Per runs a website management company (Tenrec, Inc.) and lives in Napa with his wife Kit and two kids, Ana and Per Oskar.

Sarah Mitchell Hansen - Vice Chair
Sarah Mitchell Hansen has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2010. Sarah fell in love with the ranch when her son first started attending Summer camps at age 5. She, with the help of Eileen Chiarello, created an annual fundraiser for Connolly Ranch which is now called Dinner at the Ranch. Sarah owns The Model Bakery with her mother (who started the bakery in 1984). They have locations in St. Helena, Napa at the Oxbow Public Market, Mini Model in Yountville, and a production wholesale bakery in Napa that delivers to restaurants and hotels around the Bay Area. Sarah grew up on a farm in St. Helena and really believes in teaching kids about farming and growing our own food.

Michele Truchard - Treasurer
Michele Truchard is a fourth-generation Napan, born into the Crane family of Napa Valley. She left Napa to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics with extended study in neonatal and pediatric nutrition. Michele started her career as a nutritionist in San Francisco at UCSF Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital, but wine country called her back.
Michele returned home to Napa after reconnecting with her future husband John Anthony Truchard. Combining her training as a nutritionist with her knowledge and appreciation of wine, Michele developed several successful food-and-wine pairing programs for the Terlato Wine Group’s Rutherford Hill and Chimney Rock wineries. In 2003, she helped John launch John Anthony Vineyards and bottle its first vintage of Napa Valley Syrah.
Michele eventually dedicated herself full-time to John Anthony Vineyards and raising their family of three children. John Anthony Family of Wines has since added two more labels: JaM Cellars in 2009 (JaM is short for John and Michele), and FARM Napa Valley in 2012.  Today, Michele is a spokesperson for the company and instrumental in producing exclusive brand experiences across the portfolio for trade and consumers—food and wine pairings, farm-to-table dinners, and live music events—as well as supporting local and national causes with John Anthony Family of Wines.

Trina H. Falace
Trina is an attorney with Buchalter, a firm consistently ranked among the leading law firms nationally.  At Buchalter, Trina regularly handles matters in the areas of business, real estate and land use, representing various wineries and vineyard managers.  She is a member of The Richard M. Sangster American Inn of Court, an organization that seeks to inspire the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education and mentoring.  Trina is passionate about the Napa community and committed to Connolly Ranch’s mission of encouraging the next generation of environmental stewards.  In her free time, Trina enjoys traveling with her family.

Holly Finkelstein
Holly Finkelstein holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and is a native of Southern California. Before falling in love with wine and her husband, Judd Finkelstein, Holly served as the Program Officer of Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, a philanthropic fund based in Los Angeles. As an involved member of the Napa Valley community, Holly has served on various committees for the Napa Valley Vintners Association, the board of the Napa Community Health Initiative, is a graduate of Leadership Napa Valley, and was named one of the “40 under 40” Business Leaders by the North Bay Business Journal. Holly loves working in the family business and if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of her putting her background of dance to use as a performer in local ballet productions or dancing the hula.

Gene Kelly
Continuing his family’s 40 year Napa Valley legacy,  Gene, coupled with his passion for agricultural and his wife Paula, has been creating wine for his family and friends for years.  He is thrilled to see the actualization of his life-long dream of growing grapes and producing premium quality wines.

Sarah Pursell
Sarah Pursell is the President of Napa Medical Research Foundation. In this capacity, she serves as the primary liaison with the Board of Directors and has operating responsibility for all Foundation activities and employees. Ms. Pursell works together with the Board of Directors in the development of strategic planning, community leadership and donor engagement activities. 

Ms. Pursell received her BS in Business Administration from University of San Francisco and MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. After graduating from USF, Sarah began her career in the technology sector working in international sales for a variety of successful start-ups and eventually Cisco Systems. Moving to Napa in 2005, Sarah transitioned into the non-profit sector as Vice President of Business Development for Fair Trade USA. It was there that Sarah embarked on her passion for serving a mission to enhance community wellness.

A mother of three and outdoor enthusiast, Sarah enjoys the Napa lifestyle and has deep community connections in the valley. Sarah both served on the Board of Directors and acted as Interim Executive Director of Connolly Ranch, a beloved outdoor education facility in Napa. She is an avid golfer, snow skier and likes to travel to remote corners of the world.