Every July, the Friends of Robinson Gardens elects a new board of directors. As our wonderful President Betty Goldstein observed, these very capable and dynamic ladies have remarkable backgrounds and talents that they bring to VRG. At this time, we want to let you know more about the careers and philanthropic accomplishments of our officers: Betty Goldstein, President, Keeley Smith, Vice President, Elaine Stein, Corporate Secretary, Lynn Whitaker Corresponding secretary/HR, and Evelyn Carson, Treasurer.
Betty has a B.S. in Business and a Master’s degree in Counseling. Before having children, she worked at a university with their student programing. After the birth of her first child, Betty stayed home and raised her and her two sisters. After 20 years of school volunteerism, she returned to the workforce.
Betty’s first job when she returned was as a grant writer and event planner, organizing fundraising events for a small children’s nature program. She then moved on to become the head of a program for Latino cancer patients. In that position, Betty created and developed cancer support programs for the patients, wrote a training manual for volunteers, and recruited and trained the volunteers at the Wellness Community in Westlake, now known as the Cancer Support Community. After that position, she became the Executive Director for the Los Angeles Chapter of a nationwide breast cancer organization.
After 16 years of working with cancer patients, Betty left to pursue a love of hers. She enrolled in the UCLA Horticulture Program, obtained her certificate in horticulture, and started a landscape design business.
Keeley graduated from The University of Miami with her Bachelor of Science in Communications and moved to pharmaceutical marketing and brand development, coining the name Juvaderm. Keeley then worked for Cartier for almost 15 years, managing a team of over 120 diverse luxury retail employees and handled ultra-high net worth clients for Cartier in the company’s largest market, New York City. Keeley is now enjoying working in real estate at Hilton & Hyland. She supports many different charities and women’s initiatives, including the JDRF and Planned Parenthood.
After graduating with BA Degrees from Woodbury University and Completion of Program from UCLA, Elaine Stein started working as a commercial artist at the advertising agency Ayer Jorgenson McDonald. She was then handpicked to work at Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations with clients that included Kimberly Clark, Evans Products, and the California Wine Institute. When she gave birth to her first son, she left the workforce to spend time at home with her family. In her downtime, she enjoyed needlepoint and embroidery and taught private classes in those crafts. Word of mouth spread, and she was asked to teach needlepoint at Santa Monica College, being one of the first classes in their Emeritus Program, which has left an enduring legacy at the school.
When Elaine’s children went off to college, she started a business with her husband called MagnaSonic, manufacturing environmentally safe motion picture film equipment. Elaine enjoyed a fifteen-year run as Vice President, pioneering a wave of environmental awareness in the motion picture post production industry. Elaine has enjoyed serving on several boards of directors, including the Embroidery Guild of America, Hollywood Arts Council, Crest Digital, and Beverly Hills Garden Club.
With a lifelong fondness for cooking and baking, Elaine has tested recipes for Hugh Carpenter and is known for her delicious dinners and fondness for entertaining. Elaine counts her eclectic career and her role as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend as her most gratifying accomplishments.
Lynn has had two professional passions in her life – women’s apparel and homes. She considers herself fortunate to have had long, successful careers in both.
Lynn’s love of fashion started very early in life – for a 5th grade history project, she fashioned a “live” portrait of Elizabeth I by making a velvet dress complete with laced collar for her Revlon doll. Lynn went on to sewing almost all her clothes throughout high school and college. This passion was transformed into a 30-year career. She graduated with a Business/Retail degree and became a buyer for major department stores before moving to the wholesale side of the industry. Lynn lived and worked in New York for 16 years, moving to more difficult and strategic positions. The last two positions she was recruited to were Executive Vice President at Liz Claiborne responsible for its Dana Buchman and the Liz Collection division and lastly, President of Nautica Women’s. Her life in women’s apparel was exhilarating with travels to Asia, Europe, and throughout the USA for business. Lynn said, “It was SO MUCH FUN working with new seasonal clothing lines and assisting stores in deciding what would work best for their customers! 9/11 was a critical event for me. As I watched the Twin Towers fall, I asked myself what was I doing, traveling so much and not being home? I decided to leave the industry and move to my second love, homes.”
Lynn has been in real estate assisting people in buying and selling residential and income property since 2002. “I would have never guessed I could fall in love with a second career, but here I am,” she said. So much of her business background in apparel is applicable in real estate, and each purchase or sale teaches her something new.
Lynn has had the good fortune of meeting and working with so many remarkable people from a wide range of places. She added, “I get such satisfaction from people putting their trust in me when dealing with major investments — there is never a dull moment when I am working with clients. I am lucky to count many of them as friends after we have worked together.” Along with her work at VRG, Lynn is also a past Elder at Brentwood Presbyterian Church and volunteers as a member of the Governance Council at Kenter Canyon Elementary School.
Evie has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Illinois and a MBA in Finance from UCLA. She taught Freshman Rhetoric at the U of I and worked in the Tax Department of Arthur Andersen and the Real Estate Division of Continental Bank. She was an assistant to a macro economist for five years. Then, she had a 30+ year career in magazine publishing which she loved. Evie had positions on both the operational and financial management sides of the business. She worked her way up to being the Senior Vice President/General Manager of Architectural Digest and the Chief Financial Officer of AD’s parent company, Knapp Communications Corp. She was also the Chief Financial Officer of Freedom Magazines and a consultant for many other magazines.
Evie has been a member of the Friends of Robinson Gardens since 2002 and a member of the Board of Directors for most of the past 12 years. Evie is one of the authors, along with Tim Lindsay and Marcella Ruble, of Beverly Hills’ First Estate: The House and Gardens of Virginia & Harry Robinson.
As Betty noted in her President’s Message, we “are in good hands” with our wonderful board of directors. With their passion, experience, talents, and wisdom, our beloved Robinson Gardens will stay strong and luminous, its beauty giving solace and inspiration to all.
To know more about these very accomplished board members, please click on their Spotlight Articles below:
Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member and Editor of the Happenings, the VRG eNewsletter