After nearly a decade on the job, Marina Bobadilla Washburn is stepping down as the executive director of the nonprofit Dana Adobe in Nipomo, a property of historic significance that’s recognized nationally.
Washburn, a Nipomo native and Arroyo Grande High School graduate, is parting amicably with the nonprofit to “expand her career options,” said Al Daurio, a member of the Board of Directors and a past president.
Daurio said that Washburn has been the longest-serving executive director that the center has ever had, and her contributions have been many.
“She has done so much for the organization, and we’ve shed a few tears about her leaving,” said Helen Daurio, another board member. “The new person coming in will have huge shoes to fill.”
Washburn’s role included attracting 9,000 annual visitors, coordinating the development of a new 4,500-square-foot cultural center, planning art exhibits and musical events, and securing multiple grants while maintaining a fiscally healthy organization.
Board members said that Washburn was instrumental in attracting Spanish-speaking patrons to the adobe, as a Spanish speaker herself, including schoolchildren and their parents.
The property’s history includes Mexican, Chumash and Caucasian influences and serves as an educational and cultural attraction.
The Dana Adobe at 671 S. Oak Glen Road was the home of Boston sea captain William Dana, who in 1837 was granted the 37,888-acre property in Nipomo.
The property served as an important hub on California’s first official mail route between Monterey and Los Angeles, and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a California Historical Landmark.
The Daurios and another board member, Donna Peterson, told The Tribune on Monday that the organization is considering restructuring Dana Adobe’s administrative duties and may divide Washburn’s position into two separate jobs.
The board could split the role into an operational administrative position and a programming one, Al Daurio said.
One of the goals of the nonprofit moving forward is to expand its events and activities, including its hosting of weddings.
“Marina was able to split herself into two or three different people to do the work she was doing,” Helen Daurio said. “She did so much for us and we’ll really miss her. ...She’s planning to stay local, and we hope she’ll join us and serve on our board.”