Chuck started his career in social services in 2009 with Catholic Charities in Santa Rosa, serving as Homeless Services Manager and then Executive Director. In 2014, he became the CEO for Catholic Charities in Oakland, where he helped grow the agency budget from $5.5M to $11M in four years and expand services in Immigration, Refugee Resettlement, Mental Health, and Housing Counseling.

Prior to his social services career, Chuck worked for large organizations and held positions such as Manager, Director of Operations, Chief Financial Officer, and Deputy Director. He started his career as a C.P.A. and has a Masters Degree in Business Administration, Information Systems, and Organization Development.

Chuck is excited to return to social services where he started – serving the homeless in Sonoma County. He has been living in Sonoma County for almost 40 years. He lives in Santa Rosa with his wife Denise and their two dogs.

Cathleen “Cat” Higgins

Director of Human Resources

Cat has been in love with housing since she was a wee lass. She grew up spending hours with graph paper, drawing homes until her fingers went numb. She attempted to be an architect, but her math skills did not meet the mark. Not to be one to let a little thing like that stop her passion for housing, she decided to obtain a degree in graphic design and work in administrative roles in new construction marketing departments, supporting real estate sales teams, and eventually landed in property management.

In her property management job, she took on Human Resources and obtained her PHR, SHRM-CP certifications (like CPA exams), launching an entirely different career as an HR Professional working within housing.

Cat wanted to work for COTS in 2018, when her 10-year stint at the property management company was ending due to closure. COTS posted their HR Manager opening the same month her company closed. Kismet. Cat is serious about her duties to ensure each COTS’ employee has a supportive environment to find professional success and make a HUGE difference in the lives of others through housing.

Jamieson Bunn

Director of Development

Jamieson comes to COTS after learning the ropes of fundraising in east coast museums and San Francisco independent schools. A small-town, North Carolina native, Jamieson never truly felt at ease in the urban fog, however – and in 2018, she moved to Petaluma with her husband and daughter to find a sunnier, more neighborly place to call home. 

One night that December, she stumbled on COTS’ website while researching local nonprofits and hoping to put an end to her city commute. There, she read a blog post about our business supporters which quoted the Christmas Carol (“Mankind is my business. The common welfare was my business.”) and applied for the Director of Development job that night. She loves supporting the work of her colleagues at COTS because every day she gets to witness the tremendous impact that work has on the lives of her neighbors. In her spare time, Jamieson serves on the Board of the Petaluma Museum Association, makes an occasional quilt, and explores the many toddler-friendly activities Sonoma County has to offer.

Kiera Stewart

Director of Grants

Born to a couple of former Peace Corps volunteers, Kiera began in the nonprofit sector early in life. Encouraged by her parents to “earn out” their investment in her braces, she started as a server in a Washington, DC soup kitchen at 13. After honing her typing skills as a high school freshman, she began helping out in the offices of a human rights advocacy group—serving more as a patience-development tool than a true asset. Either way, much was learned. 

While her time in the office was short, the seed of a lifelong passion was formed. She realized that typing enabled her to craft things with words, and that words could have impact. She took those skills on to a career in professional writing, working in several industries, including healthcare, television, print media, and human services. In her work at an emergency shelter for men and a shelter for children, she learned how grants can drive change — and discovered her love of grant writing. 

A certification hoarder, Kiera holds credentials in teaching yoga, ESL, and personal training. She is also the author of three novels for teens and tweens. Her books have been published by Disney-Hyperion and HarperCollins, and include a recent translation by a German publisher. Though she speaks no German, she is always aprendiendo español, and welcomes any opportunity to say hola.

Jules Pelican

Director of Programs

Jules is delighted to return to COTS as Director of Programs after spending two years as Program Specialist for the City of Santa Rosa Housing Authority. As Program Specialist, Jules oversaw the City’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program. The knowledge she gained from this experience has been invaluable in her work supporting COTS clients.

Jules also worked at COTS from 2013 thru 2017. Prior positions include Program Director, Program Manager, Case Manager, and Benefits Advocate. In addition, Jules worked for Homeward Bound of Marin as Resource Counselor at the New Beginnings Center, an 80-bed homeless shelter located in Novato, CA. She received her Masters of Counseling from Cal State East Bay.
In a previous life, Jules was employed as manager of several fabulous independent bookstores in the Bay Area, including Copperfield’s, Mockingbird Books, and Pegasus Books. She misses being part of the independent bookstore community but is heartened by the connections she has maintained over the years with her old coworkers (as well as the Advanced Reading Copies they still provide for her!).

Jules lives in Petaluma with her husband, a woodworker and professional clown, and their two mischievous cats.