Whittier Strengthens Board with Five New Trustees

July 12, 2023

Whittier College today announced that five new members will join the College’s Board of Trustees: Tiffany Dean ’97, Richard Gilchrist ’68, Lila Laviano ’03, Lisabeth Marziello ’87 and Raquel Torres-Retana ’91.

“The arrival of these five new trustees heralds fresh thinking and energy as Whittier builds momentum into the coming academic year and beyond,” said Interim President Kristine Dillon. “Please join me in welcoming these accomplished alumni to their important new service in support of  Whittier College.”

Dillon and the new board members took office on July 1, 2023.

Meet the New Board Members

Tiffany DeanTiffany Dean ’97 is a consultant on board governance in the non-profit and higher education sectors.

Arriving from Portland, Oregon, Dean majored in political science at Whittier and was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha honor society, the tennis team, and the Metaphonian Society. Earlier in her career, at AGB Consulting, Dean was responsible for developing and delivering comprehensive programs and services for the boards of public foundations and their CEOs to support their governance responsibilities and fiduciary duties. At Oregon State University Foundation, she served as corporate secretary, maintaining corporate records and advising on policy and procedural matters, governance and communications about the board.


Richard GilchristRichard Gilchrist ’68 returns to the Whittier Board of Trustees, which he previously chaired from 2003 to 2011. A 1968 graduate of Whittier with a degree in Political Science and Economics, Gilchrist brings unique insight into Whittier’s investment activities because of his extensive experience in the real estate industry, having served as an executive officer of several real estate investment trusts (REITs). He currently serves as a director for Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust and Chairman of the Board of Spirit Realty Capital.

He previously held high-level positions with Ventas, BioMed Realty, Nationwide Health Properties, and TIER REIT. Gilchrist is also a member of the Advisory Board of the University of California, Los Angeles Law School, where he earned a J.D. in 1971.


Lila LavianoLila Laviano ’03 has established a knowledge base for streamlining the affordable housing development process, ensuring regulatory compliance, setting outcome-driven project goals, and maximizing cost efficiencies and expediting timelines. Laviano’s grandmother, Gloria Ancira, was an advocate and community leader whose goal was to demystify homeownership for many Angelenos in marginalized and low-income communities.

Since graduating from Whittier, Laviano has built on her grandmother’s legacy with more than 20 years of work in real estate development and asset management focused on affordable housing in California. Laviano has brought more than 25,000 affordable housing units into compliance within the City of Los Angeles and provided executive oversight for over $500 million in assets. In 2010, she started a consulting and private real estate development company and pivoted to a private capital financial model deployed within Housing for Us All and Erna Enterprises. Laviano also serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Optimist Youth Home and Family Services, a more than 100-year-old organization providing programs for at-risk youth, emancipated foster youth and their families.


Lisabeth and Joe Marziello and childrenLisabeth Marziello ’87 and her husband, Joe Marziello ’86, are President-Chief Executive Officers of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. The Marziellos lead an organization that employs over 220 people at 22 locations.

Before coming to Philadelphia, the Marziellos managed Club operations in Oregon, Wisconsin, and New York. Since coming to Philadelphia, the Marziellos have raised more than $120 million in revenue to support programming, operations, and capital investment. Their leadership has resulted in improved financial stability and security, innovative new programming, growth of membership and services, and substantial improvements to Club facilities.

In addition, they initiated the Call-to-Action Literacy Initiative, which now reaches over 1,400 youth at 15 Clubs throughout Philadelphia, and STEM learning Labs to provide young people with 21st-century skills. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marziellos’ team served over 350,000 meals at 15 locations to low-income families over 14 months. Before joining the Boys & Girls Club movement, Lisabeth Marziello worked in marketing and advertising for several Los Angeles companies including Backer Spielvogel Bates; Foote, Cone & Belding; and Eisaman, Johns & Laws.


Raquel Torres-RetanaDr. Raquel Torres-Retana ’91 is an educator with over 30 years of experience in various collegiate settings. A daughter of Mexican immigrants, Torres-Retana has a passion for educational equity and social justice rooted in her experiences raised in a San Gabriel Valley working-class community. A first-generation college student, Torres-Retana graduated with a bachelor’s in sociology and a minor in history from Whittier College. She earned her Master's in Public Administration from CSU-Dominguez Hills.

Later, while working in Student Affairs at the University of Southern California, she enrolled in the Ed.D. program at the USC Rossier School of Education and earned her degree in 2007. At USC, she was director of El Centro Chicano (1999-2004) and later an Assistant Dean with the office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS). In 2015, Torres-Retana began her current appointment at  Pasadena City College, where she serves as a dean. She remains an adjunct assistant professor at the USC Rossier School of Education, teaching in graduate programs and serving on dissertation committees.

Married with three adult children, she lives in the Los Angeles area.