2020-2021 Board Members
From Hollywood to Blackhawk, I have spent the last decade living in beautiful Blackhawk and working in Hollywood. I work in television & film and have the pleasure of working on many great productions from Academy Awards, Emmy Awards to television programs like The Office, Deal or No Deal and many others.
Recently, I added to my work, working in Milan with Italian Designers. We focus on designer and corporate collaborations with designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Bulgari. My husband, Joe is an expert in the wine industry. He has and thus we have quite a robust life between fine wine, wonderful friends and exotic travels. When we are home, we enjoy
entertaining and tennis. I look forward to bringing my creative talents to our Programs this year.
I was born in Baton Rouge, LA and lived in New Jersey and Michigan before returning to my home state to attend LSU, where I published the first of its kind “The Women of LSU” calendar. My senior year I wrote the book “A Women’s Guide to Single Men in Chicago,” which was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Graduating with a degree in Journalism/Advertising I accepted a job with Procter & Gamble in Chicago, where my Mom and Dad were living at the time. After P&G I worked for Young & Rubicam and Champion Spark Plug Company. In 1986 I had fun as a contestant on The Wheel of Fortune, almost spinning out of turn on national tv until Pat Sayjak saved me! Later, in 1989 I started my own business and decided it was time to get back to my Southern roots and warm weather, moving to Atlanta, GA. While running my core business, I ventured into Commercial Development and Residential Home Building until retiring in 2017 and moving to California. Now, I look forward to playing a little golf, wine tasting in Napa, hosting at home parties with Mary, spending time with my folks, enjoying new friends and taking Coco Marie Cosgrove, shih tzu extraordinaire, to the dog park! I am honored and excited to be a part of Blackhawk Women and look forward to many fun years with an amazing group of smart, talented and giving women.
Sometimes I sit on my terrace at sundown and can’t believe I got here. I am so grateful for how blessed my family and I are. I wish I could tell my 18 year old self not to worry and that everything will work out perfectly. I was born in Zimbabwe during the Civil War, to a Polish World War 2 refugee and a Dutch Military Officer, who escaped a German military prison. I was educated at a convent in Harare by Catholic Nuns, with their guidance and insistence I went to college in South
Africa to study computer science. At the time there was one computer in Zimbabwe and only three people who knew how to use it at the University of Zimbabwe. I took a leap of faith at 17 and I was fortunate to be awarded a bursary to study in South Africa. I have worked in the Technology Industry for over 33 years and I have lived in the UK, Pakistan, Kenya and Cape Town, before settling in Danville 12 years ago. Peter Wisniewski is my wonderful and rather patient husband, who has had to retake medical exams twice because of the transcontinental moves and now has declared retirement much to my distress! My daughter Margaux, 22, is doing her Master’s in Public Relations and Crisis Management at NYU. My son Peter, 20, is in his Junior year at Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. It is impossible to have a conversation with me without talking about my other children – my three blue-eyed cats: Ignatius, Indigo Jimmy Chew and Banksy. Yes – we are crazy cat people. I love cooking, gardening and playing cards. One day when I retire from Chevron I want to learn Mah Jongg and attend every single event that the BWA has to offer.
I grew up in Louisiana, watching the Carnival parades in New Orleans. After graduating from LSU, I returned to New Orleans to get my graduate degree at Loyola University.
I met husband, Bill, almost 50 years ago, at Mardi Gras. Following the corporate lead we lived several years each in New Jersey, Michigan, and Chicago and then were transferred here! Yea!
My girls have recently moved to Blackhawk from Atlanta….Bronwyn, a licensed builder in Atlanta, and Mary, whose career is in Tech. In addition, I have a GrandDog, Coco Marie. My past life included teaching primary grades for 5 years and real estate for 20 years.
While in Blackhawk Women, I was President in 2001 (during 9/11), VP Membership, PartyHawks Chair, Historian, Parliamentarian, Activities Chair and Social Chair, where I worked on decorations for the Mardi Gras Gala, organized the Fire and Ice Gala, organized A Night in Monte Carlo, and worked on decorations for The Cotton Club Gala. I was also involved in the decorations for the Grand Opening Gala and Dedication of the Current Ballroom in 2002.
I truly believe Blackhawk Women offers a fabulous opportunity to meet exciting and wonderful women and to create warm and lasting relationships! There is such a large spectrum of personalities and age ranges within the group, that friendships are there for anyone who seeks them!
The pandemic has made a big impact on my life. As the Bloomer's Treasurer, before the virus, I was busy recording club transactions when everything came to a stop. Now, I have occupied my time with my grandson and accomplishing home projects. The virus shutdowns caused my hair to turn grey. The extreme lack of social functions may keep us physically healthy, but there is a mental component that is missing and important to our well being too. I miss that, so I am looking forward to conceivably good times again. Here is my new picture.
I have been a Bay Area resident since 1976. I moved here from Santa Barbara with my husband, Jesse and the two of them were employed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. While working full time as a procurement officer, I attended Cal State – Hayward, now Cal State – East Bay earning a Bachelor's degree in Business. In the early eighties, I had two children and while raising babies, I attended graduate school at night graduating with an MBA in Finance. After graduation, I was employed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as the Budget Manager for the entire Laboratory. I retired in 2002 and joined the Assistance League of Diablo Valley.
Born and raised in New York, I moved to Danville in 2001 with my husband, Frank, and two daughters. Relocated to my husband’s job, we left behind all our family and friends in New York. We still visit frequently to enjoy the New York culture, restaurants, and beaches and to see friends and family, which now includes one of my daughters. While living in New York, I had a career as an accountant with KPMG that I left in 1998 to move to England as ex-pats for my husband’s job. During my nearly 20 years here in Blackhawk, I have spent my time raising my daughters, working as a para-educator and substitute teacher, volunteering with NCL and various organizations, playing tennis, learning and playing golf, traveling, and enjoying the many social activities here together with my husband. I feel fortunate for all the wonderful people I have met as a member of Blackhawk Women since 2001.
I was born in San Francisco and raised in San Mateo/Hillsborough. I married in 1958 and put my husband, Bob through college. Had two boys along the way and a third a few months after he graduated.
Results: 5 grandchildren +2 by marriage, 3 great-grandchildren +1 by marriage, and expecting a great-great-grandchild any day.
We divorced in 1979 and I married Mike Heller in 1981. In 1985 Mike’s job took us to London where we resided for 2 years. Super wonderful! We lived in Walnut Creek for years and moved to Blackhawk 20 years ago – My work experience includes administrative positions and real estate sales, although I have not worked for 30 years. From l990 to the present we have traveled the world over, visiting every continent and 110+ countries. Mike’s work took him all over Asia and South America and I was very fortunate to often go with him. When he retired in 2004, we continued to travel 3-5 months out of the year. Did a 4-month World Cruise covering 42,000 miles. A lifetime experience.
I have been a member of Assistance League Diablo Valley for 25 years and have volunteered for Meals on Wheels as a “Birthday Lady” for 20 years. (I chair a group of ladies who provide birthday gifts for 1200 Meals on Wheels recipients; we partner with NCL (National Charity Group) who help provide various items. I also belong to a group called “Culture Vultures.” (monthly outings), and a couple of bridge groups. I feel very fortunate to live in this wonderful community and have made many friends over the years through all the various groups and of course, Blackhawk Women where so many of my friends are right here in Blackhawk.
I was born and raised in Auburn, California. My love of California runs deep. My college years were spent at University of Pacific, and career years were spent in various Bay Area locations. After receiving my CPA license, I worked a few years in Public Accounting followed by many years spent as a Controller of our family business, Pacific Rim Recycling.
My energy and interests now focus on spending wonderful times with family, friends, and with my 4-legged sidekick, Jack. Before quarantine, most mornings would find me attending a local Jazzercise class followed by taking Jack on a walk through our beautiful Blackhawk neighborhood. Now I get my “exercise fix” via Jazzercise On-Line. I sure do miss spending time with all my gal-pals!
Some things never change, I was born and raised in Northern California and cannot imagine living anywhere else. Moved to the Blackhawk area in 2000 and have been enjoying membership in Blackhawk Women since 2010. I have served in many positions since joining this great organization: 2012/2013 as VP Programs; 2013/2014 VP Membership; 2014/2015 President; 2015/2016 Past President; and in 2018 & 2019 I was happy to co-chair the Holiday Boutique. I guess you could say I am well acquainted with all aspects of the club. This year I am happy to be your parliamentarian.
Anca Strassman Kustu
I was born in Romania to a Greek mother and an Austrian father and immigrated to U.S. with my family, after a stop in Athens, Greece. I studied at the Beaux Arts School while in Athens. I landed in Chicago, where I went to the University of Illinois and studied architecture and structural engineering. Upon graduation, I was offered a job in San Francisco. I was so happy to live in such a beautiful city! I met the love of my life, my husband Onder, while taking MBA courses at UC Berkeley. We lived and worked in the San Francisco Peninsula for over 30 years. Four years ago, we moved to this paradise called Blackhawk and began the process of finishing our projects and retiring from
Our daughter is an attorney, Boalt Hall graduate, and she lives in Amsterdam with her husband and their 3-year-old son. They are ex-pats from Los Angeles, working for Netflix in Europe.
Photography is my hobby; my husband thinks that I pick our travel destinations based on good photo opportunities they present! I am very happy to be part of these fabulous groups of women. I am enthusiastic to continue as the Communications Chair for the Blackhawk Women and I hope my newsletter will bring smiles on your faces during these unprecedented times.
Hello! This will be my third year as a member of Blackhawk Women. In my first year, I was excited to be a part of the Board as Newsletter Editor/Communications. This year, I will assist as Webmaster. I love Blackhawk Women and I have the greatest memories of events and adventures, and the utmost respect for our members. This group offers all of us the benefit of friendship, learning, and fun. I “officially” moved to Blackhawk, October of 2019, and I am proud to be a member of this community. I give many thanks to Sandy Cosgrove, for introducing me to Blackhawk Women and additional kudos to all of the women of Blackhawk who have made my transition to California the best decision we ever made. Here’s to another great year!
I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, in the same house and with the same friends for 22 years. That is until I married my high school sweetheart, Jim. We were married right after college as he was employed by Northwestern Bell, so we moved extensively, every 2-3 years until we landed in Danville some 30 years ago. Danville quite simply felt like home.
During all these moves, I raised two wonderful sons, Jeffrey and Paul, and now have four ‘fabulous’ grandchildren. One in college, two in high school, and one middle schooler. Many ages and stages of life, but this only helps us stay young, in mind anyway.
I was quite possibly considered a stay at home mom back in the day. In my free time, when not buying, selling, or decorating houses, I managed to work in any manner of temporary, part-time positions in various towns across the Midwest & California.
I love to spend time with family, travel, garden and decorate. I volunteer, belong to several organizations, love trying new things, and welcome little adventures along life’s path. Joining Blackhawk several years ago turned into such a blessing. It was a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and engage in new social events and activities. My life has been made considerably richer because of the lovely women that I now have the honor to call friends!!