"We wanted to find a way to give back to the community that would empower existing organizations to do more of the great work they were already doing."
- Claude Raffin
The Bright Star Team
Claude Raffin, President
Claude and Jon met on January 7, 1978 at a cocktail party in San Francisco. Claude, a Vietnam veteran, was then a US Army Lieutenant Colonel, Jon worked in the travel industry..
Shortly afterwards and upon Claude’s military retirement, they moved to Santa Barbara. Together they started a career in Real Estate, opening two offices, Spectrum Realty, in Santa Barbara and San Diego. Thru astute investments and a degree of luck they were quite successful, retiring in 2003. They have since traveled extensively, having set foot on all 7 continents.
After a valiant seven month battle with cancer, Jon passed away on March 1, 2019, at the age of 70.
Claude Raffin (left) and Jon Gathercole (right)
Rob Schlegel moved to Las Vegas in 1974 to become production manager for the Valley Times (daily) newspaper, eventually acting as the de facto general manager. During the next 40 years, Rob owned, operated and edited several publications in Southern Nevada, including 18 years as publisher of the Las Vegas Bugle. Schlegel has been active in politics and has chaired the political endorsement committee for two local publications. As a community leader, he participated in or helped found numerous charitable events and organizations. During a brief sabbatical from publishing, Rob set up a medical practice for a local physician and managed the business for one year. Currently, Rob sells real estate through Elite Realty, serves on the board of directors (as treasurer) for Lambda Business and Professional Association and has actively lobbied for reforms in Nevada, especially as laws relate to social justice.
A California native with a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Doug has been buying and selling Real Estate for over 30 years as a private investor. With successful careers in Advertising, Sales and Marketing commencing in the Telecommunications industry where he served as President of a large telecom interconnect. Particularly adept at strategic pricing for buying or selling. Doug is an avid skier, scuba diver, wine connoisseur, with a passion for architecture. He has served on and led several non-profit board of directors, including a large chamber of commerce and a college foundation. In addition to serving on the Bright Star Board, Doug is currently serving as a member of the board of directors of the California Association of REALTORS.
Doug Van Pelt
For over 35 years, Doug has been a senior executive engaged in marketing and sales with various consumer product goods companies in the United States and Canada. He has worked on such brands as Nature Made Vitamins, Minute Maid beverages and several specialty food and pet brands.
Doug currently leads the Global Sales and Marketing for a Dietary Supplement Ingredient Manufacturer based in Southern California. He is active in numerous dietary supplement industry groups as well as global nutrition groups.
Doug is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the Public Relations Society of America.
Doug and his husband John live in Los Angeles and can be found most weekends running short and long-distance races. They are active with the Los Angeles Frontrunners. Doug completed his 14th marathon last October in Dublin, Ireland.
Tyler Renner works as a Community Representative for San Diego City Council's District Three. After earning his B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara he worked as Behavioral Therapist for children on the Autism Spectrum. He worked as an LGBTQ Program Coordinator and Development Associate at LGBT Community Centers. He is passionate about social justice and reducing homelessness.
Mary Rita Stambro
Mary Rita Stambro is a career business woman and entrepreneur in Orange County, California. Her passion as a Brightstar Director originates from her many personal experiences with her close family in the LGBTQ community. Her mission is to help lead Brightstar in its goal of helping homeless youth get off the streets and on the road to a safe and secure future.