Susan Sokol Blosser, wine industry pioneer, community leader, environmental advocate, and author, is a contemporary Oregon icon. As vineyard manager, then president, of Sokol Blosser Winery, she was a forerunner in practicing the triple bottom line of people, planet, profit, while pursuing her vision of making fabulous wines.
Her business memoir, At Home in the Vineyard: Cultivating a Winery, an Industry, and a Life came out in 2006. Gracious & Ruthless: Surprising Strategies for Business Success, appeared in 2008. In 2014, she published her third book, Letting Go.
After turning the winery over to two children, Alex and Alison, who serve as co-presidents, Susan stepped back with the title of Founder. In 2011, she founded the Yamhill Enrichment Society (YES), whose mission is “Building Community Through Innovation and Collaboration.” Susan serves as YES’s president.
Richard Elliott was born and raised in McMinnville, Oregon where his mother (Virginia Elliott) taught voice at Linfield College for 44 years and his father (Clifford Elliott) was the band director and also Supervisor of music for the McMinnville school district. A Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in music education, and a Master of Music with a major in trumpet performance from Illinois Wesleyan University led to his teaching career. Mr. Elliott began his teaching career in Seaside, Oregon, then moved to Newberg where he remained. On retiring from public school teaching in 2006 he began his career at George Fox University as Director of Bands and assisting with the music education program. Dick retired from the university in 2020 with numerous honors and awards, following a career of 53 years in music education.
He is the director of the Newberg Community Band which he founded in 2006. He is married to the love of his live, Judy (52 years), has a daughter and son and twin granddaughters.
Sue is an entrepreneur, shark advocate, hazelnut farmer and struggling pianist. As the CEO of NOVA Medical Products, Sue is changing the way people embrace aging and tackle physical challenges with innovative and stylish products. Sue is extremely passionate about ocean conservation and has a very special place in her heart for sharks. Combining her passion for ocean conservation and human ability, Sue is the co-founder of Operation Blue Pride, an organization supporting Veterans through scuba diving and ocean education. As a Community Champion for the Annenberg Foundation, Sue has coached and mentored over 100 non-profit organizations including the CNN Heroes. In 2015, Sue found a new home in Yamhill and became a hazelnut farmer. She now enjoys her life in both Manhattan Beach CA and Yamhill OR.
Cindy Johnson is a Region Bank President for Wells Fargo & Company. A Senior Vice President, she is responsible for leading the customer service, financial advice and community involvement activities of nearly 700 team members at 52 bank branches in Greater Oregon. Cindy joined the company as a teller in 1985, and rose, step by step through the ranks, to become a Senior Vice President in 2017. Cindy also serves on the See Ya later Foundation Board.
Miriam came with her sisters and brother to Newberg from Vera Cruz, Mexico, at age 15, to join her parents who were already here. She and her parents worked at a local restaurant, where she learned about the restaurant business. In 2019, with her sister, she started her own business, Los Kopitos, next to Methven Winery Tasting Room in Dundee. A mini restaurant on wheels, Los Kopitos, does catering at wineries in addition to serving customers from its stationary food cart. Miriam’s daughter has participated in both of YES’s early childhood programs and Miriam is a passionate advocate of both.
Lynne owns Pelos Sandberg Vineyard, the estate vineyard for iOTA Cellars in Amity. Originally from Western New York, Lynne got a B.A. from Northwestern University, did research at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago, and worked as an owner and manager at money management firms, where she coordinated trading, reporting, and investment allocation for approximately one billion dollars of client assets. In Oregon, she enjoys living at the vineyard with her husband Perry, and restoring her surroundings to native habitat. She has two children.
Currently Vice President of Oregon Winery Operations and Business Development for Jackson Family Wines, Eugenia Keegan has seen all sides of the wine industry in her 45 years in the business. She has served as winery president, winery owner, and wine distributor. She has served on and led virtually every wine industry board in Oregon and California. For all her good work and commitment to the industry, Eugenia was given a global honor by being named the 2021 Wine Star Executive of the Year by the prestigious Wine Enthusiast publication.
An ardent music and book lover, and a believer in making the arts available to children at an early age, Eugenia is pleased to join the YES board.
Conductor, researcher and educator Seth F. Wollam has taught music at every level and is currently Linfield College’s first athletic bands director, leading the marching band and basketball. He has a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Youngstown State University, a Master of Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. Wollam is also on the board of directors of the International Society for Research and Promotion of Wind Music (IGEB).
After working as a process engineer and engineering manager at Intel Corporation for 13 years, mostly in Hillsboro, Chrissie and her husband founded Kookoolan Farms, known for its grassfed and pasture-raised meats. She’s a founding board member of The American Mead Makers Association, author of “The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing,” and a seasoned world traveler.
Chrissie and her husband were foster parents in Yamhill County for a year, and have been involved with Friends of Family Farmers for many years. She brings appreciation for the richness of Yamhill County’s food, farming, and wine culture, experience with Yamhill County’s foster care system, and the first-hand knowledge of running a small farm and small business in Yamhill. She has three grown sons and two young grandchildren.
As executive director of Bounty of Yamhill County, Anne works with Yamhill County vintners, chefs, and farmers to create the three-day Bounty of Yamhill County (BOYC) event which raises funds for Yamhill Enrichment Society projects. She has over two decades experience producing wine and food events. In addition to her work with BOYC, she also is the culinary director for the International Pinot Noir Celebration and the event director for the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration. A transplant to Yamhill County from Washington State, she lives in McMinnville with her husband and two dogs.
Sarah has several decades of marketing and communication experience. She moved to Yamhill County in 2013 with her husband and sons and volunteered for the 2nd Annual Bounty of Yamhill County. Seven years later, she works with Anne on Bounty of Yamhill County to support program developments, marketing and ticket sales – ensuring that people all over the country know about this amazing event. In 2015, she took on the role of program director for Yamhill County Imagination Library which currently mails books every month to almost half the children under five in Yamhill County.