The Board of Trustees

Dawn Santamaria
Founder & Chairman

Dawn Santamaria Dawn has nearly 30 years of business experience and has been co-owner of Tallship Unicorn for 12 years. She has an extensive background in youth sail training, operating a tall ship business, marketing, event planning and public relations. A graduate of Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, an all-women's College, and mother of 4 daughters, Dawn's personal passion lies in leadership development of teenage girls and women. Sail training has long been recognized as a character building experience that develops confidence, self-esteem, responsibility and camaraderie. Dawn decided to take the spirit of teamwork one step further by putting together a structured program exclusively for young female sailors to work side by side maneuvering her 100 ton tall ship teaching them a powerful lesson of girls sticking together in support of one another. In 2005, she founded Sisters Under Sail, a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that has put aboard nearly 400 teenage girls. Dawn serves as the Chairwoman of the Sisters Under Sail Board of Trustees, is a member of the Saint Mary's College Alumnae Board of Directors, and serves as the Saint Mary’s New Jersey Alumnae Club President.

Chelsea Iversen

Chelsea IversenChelsea began sailing aboard the Tallship Unicorn as a young teenager, applying firsthand the leadership and confidence developed on board to her life on land. Her shipboard experiences, and the dramatic transformations that resulted, eventually helped shape the Sisters Under Sail educational curriculum. Over the years, Chelsea served aboard as deckhand and as Sisters Under Sail on-board educational coordinator in 2006. Chelsea graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2008 and earned her Master’s Degree in Gender, Development and Globalization at the London School of Economics in 2010. Chelsea is a freelance writer and editor in San Francisco, and works primarily with non-profits that strive to provide opportunities for children and women.

Robin Bauer, CRNA,MS
Chief Nurse Anesthetist
Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, NJ

Robin Bauer A graduate of Columbia University and in anesthesia practice for over 25 years, Robin is also the parent of two daughters, is a life-long sailor, an ASA sailing instructor in New Jersey and a USCG licensed mariner. Robin began to understand the benefits young teens gain from the Sisters Under Sail program immediately after her younger daughter stepped off the ship in 2008; her first trip of what would be many. She saw her daughter more confident and glowing from ear to ear. Although active in sports and theatre, this program was unlike any others her daughter had been in. She felt that her daughter and the other girls truly learned skills - how to work effectively as a team, how to problem solve, manage their time better, and leadership as well as how to sail the Tall Ship under the guidance of a top notch crew. Robin realized that what set the Sisters Under Sail program apart from all others and so powerful is that the students learn how to make the connection from shipboard situations to real life issues back at school or home. They go home better equipped to handle new challenges. For many, it will be life changing. It is Robin's goal to spread the word about Sisters Under Sail throughout the sailing community, other organizations and parents of teens who may also benefit from this program.

Robin Bieber

Robin BieberRobin Bieber is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in adolescent treatment. She first became involved with Sisters Under Sail when she brought her youth group aboard. Robin created a program called The Wildflower Adventure group that utilizes challenging outdoor activities to engage girls in ways that traditional therapy can not. Her experience with that group gives her insight into the goals and mission of Sisters Under Sail. Robin has always been interested in ways to advocate for and empower women and girls. She began her career working at a domestic violence program and continues in her current position with Trumbull Counseling Center to work with women and girls impacted by abuse. Robin's involvement with Sisters Under Sail is part of her ongoing commitment to women's issues. After taking part in many voyages aboard the Unicorn, both as a youth group leader and as part of a women's leadership program she came aboard in 2011 as a program facilitator. She resides in Oxford, Connecticut with her husband and son.

Barb Henry

Barb Henry Barb’s introduction to Sisters Under Sail came during her 16-year tenure as Director of Alumnae Relations at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, where she managed the Alumnae Association's leadership programs. Her passion for the mission has helped to put over 200 Saint Mary’s alumnae aboard the STV Unicorn to participate in various leadership programs. Barb brings a wealth of experience in program administration, fund development, event planning and marketing in the not-for-profit sector. She "believes in the mission of Sisters Under Sail and understand the transformative role that this unique leadership program plays in the personal development of teen-age girls. The 'Sisters' experience encourages girls to really get to know themselves. When a girl really understands who she is and what she can do, she will make critical decisions and take action with confidence. Not just on the ship, but for the rest of her life." Barb lives in Granger, Indiana with her husband and twelve-year-old daughter.

Courtney Iversen

Courtney Iversen Courtney has been sailing aboard Unicorn for 11 years. As an 8th grader, she sailed aboard with Sisters Under Sail maiden voyage out of New York City. Since that time, she has grown with the program; adding value as a crew member, sail trainer and mentor to the girls and women we serve. Courtney offers a wealth of knowledge in terms of truly understanding the Sisters' philosophy, approach and curriculum. She currently attends Saint Mary’s College where she has an intended major in mathematics with a minor in Education.

Rebecca Linhart

Rebecca Linhart Accredited Investment Fiduciary Co-founder and Partner, Sharp & Linhart Financial Strategies
Having grown up summers sailing on Lake Erie and having spent the last 30 years sailing and racing boats in and around Marblehead, MA, Becky was thrilled to participate in the Sisters Under Sail women’s program. Tie this into Becky’s other passion, promoting and developing women’s leadership capabilities and it’s a match made in heaven. Becky founded her own investment management firm in 2004. Prior to that she held positions at Smith Barney and she was CFO of a small nonprofit in Boston, MA. She has served on the Board of Selectmen in the Town of Essex, MA, was chair of the Finance Committee in the Town of Essex and was Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for Glen Urquhart School in Beverly Farms, MA. She is currently the Treasurer for The Boston Club, an organization of women executive and professional leaders whose mission is to advance women leaders. She is also president-elect of the Rotary Club of Marblehead Harbor. Becky holds a B.S. in Psychology from Roanoke College and a C.S.S. in Management from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. Becky is honored to participate in such a uplifting and heartening organization.

Patricia Lock

Patricia Lock Director, TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®, American Sail Training Association, Newport, RI
Patricia is proud to be a board member for Sisters Under Sail. She has worked with tall ships from around the United States and Europe to bring them to local ports for over ten years, promoting their missions of education, history and the environment. The Sisters program affords a life-changing experience for local youth in many of the Ports that host the visiting ships.

Virginia Lopez

Virginia Lopez Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy, NJ
Neither Virginia or her family knew much about sailing or ships other than what you see in movies, read about in books or hear other people regale stories about. But, all that changed in 2005 when, at the time, her 12 year old daughter participated in a sponsored Sisters Under Sail day program. Virginia was quite surprised to see the excitement and enthusiasm of her reserved, quiet child after only one day and she enrolled her year after year in Sisters’ week-long programs as an alumnae participant. Just before her daughter began her search for College, Virginia shared with Dawn Santamaria that she honestly believed that her daughter found her voice, independence and courage during her voyages with Sisters Under Sail. She believed that her daughter learned the value of team spirit, how to get the job done while working with females from different parts the country and backgrounds, and was impressed that her time-management and leadership skills had evolved. Her daughter headed off to College confident that she had the skills she needed to succeed. As a mother, this experience convinced Virginia that she wished to be part of our Sisters Under Sail leadership team, share her personal observations with parents and foster participation of young women of all nationalities and social-economic backgrounds, because, after all, we are all "sisters." Virginia has worked in hospital medical administration for over thirty years, the last four years in credentialing.

Captain Denise Meagher

Captain Denise MeagherDenise was not aware that looking out her window that day would be a life-changing event. Spying the HMS Rose in the East River in 1998, she immediately signed up as a volunteer trainee. From there, she found the historic vessels at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City and joined the volunteer ranks. Eventually, she left her career as a biochemist at The Rockefeller University and ran away to sea. In 2008, Denise became the first female Master of the 1893 Schooner Lettie G Howard and in 2011, the first woman to command the 1932 Schooner Brilliant. Denise joined Sisters Under Sail in 2011, running week long programs in Long Island Sound. Denise has worked on a variety of vessels since her career change: full-rigged ships, sloops, motor yachts, a mega yacht and even a coastal oil tanker. She is a firm believer in the power of sail training and each day aboard continues to be a learning experience. She loves to see students step out of their comfort zone and be challenged in a fun, supportive environment while having a great adventure. Denise holds a 500 GRT Oceans license and a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry from SUNY Purchase.

Leanne Strathdee

Leanne Strathdee Director of Marketing and Communications Waterfront Development Corporation Limited, Halifax, Nova Scotia
WDCL is the Nova Scotia Crown Corporation that oversees the Halifax, Bedford, Dartmouth and Lunenburg waterfronts. Through public/private partnerships, WDCL is committed to creating waterfronts that are distinguished on a world stage, not only for their beauty, but for the economic advantage they provide for the province. Ms. Strathdee currently serves as the Vice Chair and Community Liaison on the Bedford Days Executive Committee, and is Past President of the Atlantic Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). She was the Event Director for the Tall Ships Nova Scotia 2009 event, and has been in her current position for five years. She has a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University, and a Bachelor in Arts from Acadia.

Ms. Roselie Bellanca Posselius

President, Detroit Actors Guild
Ms. Bellanca Posselius, a Saint Mary’s alumna and producer from the Detroit market, has years of experience in promotion, business and fund development, and marketing. The scope of her work ranges from sporting events to concerts to theater to film production. When Sisters Under Sail sails the Great Lakes, Roselie’s national contacts and knowledge of the Michigan market is a strength that she brings to the Board. Her daughter has also participated in the shipboard program; giving Roselie first-hand experience with the program philosophy, growth and success.