Brad Kava - Owner | Editor
Brad Kava is a lifelong journalist who got his start working for Santa Cruz weeklies and then spent many years commuting over the hill to newspapers in San Jose and Gilroy. When he had a son four years ago with Jennifer Ford, he found a way to stay in the county he loves and writes about what he was learning: raising kids. He has two teenaged stepchildren with Jennifer and together they are plugged into the spectrum of child-rearing from birth to almost college. Their bold adventure together inspires them to put out a resource for local families and all the challenges they face.
Jennifer Ford - Owner
Jennifer Ford grew up in Aptos and has three beautiful children ages 4, 13, and 16. Having been in the medical field for 20 years, her interest in journalism drew her to a writing career that started with classes at Cabrillo. She was a reporter for Santa Cruz Patch and developed a deep interest for family news and information. Thus, Growing Up in Santa Cruz became the logical choice for both Brad and her family to re-develop, nurture, and embrace.
Steve Dinnen- Owner
Steve Dinnen met co-publisher Brad Kava while the two of them were riding bicycles across Iowa. Steve has stayed back in Iowa (plenty of hills to pedal up, no mountains) and works remotely with Brad to publish Growing Up in Santa Cruz.
A widowed father of three adult children who are spread out across three time zones, Steve has spent decades in journalism, in newspapers or magazines. His specialty has been on business news, and he focuses on service stories – those that readers can find useful.
Ann Fitts - Sales Rep
Ann joined the Growing Up family in 2001 after working in the travel business for 20 years. Working for GUiSC gave her the wonderful opportunity to stay at home with her daughter as she was growing up, and also stay connected and involved with the amazing Santa Cruz County community. She enjoys traveling, playing tennis, long walks at the beach, sewing, and spending time with her family and grand-pups.
Linda Kay - Sales Rep
Linda has been working with Growing Up in Santa Cruz since 1998. In her free time she loves gardening, puzzles, reading, games and spending time with her family, in person and virtually. She volunteers with Operation Christmas Child, bringing Good News and Joy to children around the world.
Sophie Veniel - Sales Rep
My name is Sophie Venniel. I am French. This explains the weird accent on my name. I have been enjoying and helping my clients at Growing Up in Santa Cruz for many years.
What I love the most in life is family, the beach, exploring the simple beauty of nature, discovering new places, traveling, gardening, and cooking. All this beauty makes me smile.
Christy Shults - Art Director
Christy has been the art director for Growing Up for a year and is responsible for the rebranding of the paper. She is the owner and designer for Zelzi Belle. After years in the tech industry she decided to go back to school for graphic design to support her family while enjoying being creative. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook @zelzibelle, visit her website at zelzibelle.com or emaili her at
Kevin Painchaud - Photographer
Kevin have been taking photos for various publications for over 30 years. He has a deep passion for telling stories through the visual medium. Before being a photographer for Growing Up In Santa Cruz, Kevin was a successful TV and film producer for over 13 years. You may follow Kevin’s work at instagram.com/painchaudkevin
Suki Wessling - Writer
Suki Wessling writes about parenting, gifted children, and education. She homeschooled and schooled her two children, who are now “all growed up.” She teaches online courses for kids and adults at Athena’s Advanced Academy, has a radio show with Brad Kava on KSQD, and keeps an active blog. She is also a performing musician and is on the board of the Jazz Society of Santa Cruz County. Read her work and get on her email list at sukiwessling.com