Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Aditi Vaidya is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which works to advance health and racial equity. With 25 years of experience in organizing, policy advocacy and philanthropy, her work at RWJF focuses on changing the conditions in communities and transforming systems that impact health and wellbeing through a range of strategies including community power building and partnerships. Previously, Aditi was a senior program officer managing economic justice programs at the Solidago Foundation and See Forward Fund, where she co-created Project Phoenix: Connecting Democracy, Economy, and Sustainability, a year-long philanthropic learning program, and also played a leadership role in various programs designed to support the economic and political power of Black, Indigenous and all communities of color including the Solidarity Economy Initiative and Labor Innovations for the Twenty First Century (LIFT) Fund. Aditi holds a Masters in Public Health from Emory University and Bachelor of Science from Bates College.
Policy Analyst, California Budget & Policy Center
Adriana Ramos-Yamamoto, Policy Analyst, conducts research and analysis on issues that impact the health and well-being of Californians with the goal of advancing health equity: ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to be healthy and thrive, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. While her work is primarily focused on health care and behavioral health, Adriana also supports the Budget Center’s work on the social determinants of health, recognizing that a wide range of budget and policy decisions can positively impact the health and well-being of Californians.
Prior to joining the Budget Center, Adriana worked as a health policy associate at The Children’s Partnership and as a graduate student intern and health educator at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Adriana earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of Southern California and her bachelor’s degree in government from Claremont McKenna College.
Adriana hails from Wildomar, California and is a daughter of Mexican immigrants. She usually spends her free time creating Spotify playlists or playing video games.
Ana María Delgado
Ana María first began practicing yoga in 2002, when a dear friend dragged her into a class, and it was love at first breath! Before that class, she had no idea that she could choose to breathe in ways that shifted how she was feeling. In 2009, upon completing her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Cloud Nine Yoga School, Ana began guiding yoga in English & Spanish in her East LA community and surrounding areas. In 2012 she completed her 300 hour advanced YTT also with Cloud Nine and dove deeper into meditation at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health where she was certified to guide Yoga Nidra. Since then, she has taught yoga and meditation in various spaces such as hospitals, community & senior centers, as well as in schools and studios. She loves weaving poetry & playful movement throughout the sessions to assist practitioners to connect to their strength, joy and deepest self.
President, Insight Center for Community Economic Development
Anne E. Price is the first woman President of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. She previously served as Director of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative at Insight. Anne was one of the first national thought leaders to both examine and push for narrative change in addressing race, gender and wealth inequality. She has worked in the public sector on a wide range of issues including child welfare, hunger, welfare reform, workforce development, community development and higher education. Anne’s work has been featured in the New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post, The Mercury News, The Wall Street Journal, Citylab, O Magazine, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review and other publications. Anne holds a BA in Economics from Hampton University and a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the Milano School of Management and Urban Policy in New York City.
President & Chief Executive Officer, The Gathering for Justice
Carmen Perez is an award-winning, internationally-known civil and human rights leader and Chicana feminist. She is the President & CEO of The Gathering for Justice, co-founder of Justice League NYC and Justice League CA, two state-based task forces for advancing a juvenile and criminal justice reform agenda, where she spearheaded campaigns to Free Meek Mill and Take a Knee with Colin Kaepernick, among many others. She was one of the National Co-Chairs of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, which drew over 5 million people across the globe. Carmen is also the co-founder of Poderistas and is on the Advisory Board of Monogram. In addition to being named one of Fortune’s Top 50 World Leaders, one of TIME’s 100 most influential people, Glamour Women of the Year and Forbes’ 100 Mujeres Mas Poderosas, Carmen has also been a featured speaker at Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of California - Santa Cruz and she has been featured in numerous media outlets including Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, MSNBC, Univision, ELLE, Glamour, Bustle, Common Dreams and more.
Executive Director, California Budget & Policy Center
<p>Chris Hoene has been the executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center since 2012. He has 20 years of leadership in state and local policy research and analysis, particularly on fiscal policy issues. Prior to joining the Budget Center, Chris was director of the Center for Research and Innovation at the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C. Chris also previously worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. and the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco. In 2011, in recognition of his service to the state and local community, Chris was elected as a Fellow to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Chris is married to Darrene Hackler and, in their free time they can be found traveling, cooking, seeking out good wine, playing tennis, and hiking.</p>
President and CEO, SoCal Grantmakers
Christine Essel joined SCG as President and CEO on February 1, 2013. As president, she sets the strategic direction and priorities for the organization, overseeing programming, communications, member services and public policy. Prior to joining SCG, Essel held leadership roles in the government, corporate, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, where she has shaped legislation and public and corporate policy. She brings a wealth of experience to SCG including a deep knowledge of the region and a passion for forging creative solutions to complex community challenges, along with extensive relationships and expertise in corporate philanthropy, finance, real estate development, government and community relations. For over three decades, she worked at Paramount Pictures, serving as Senior Vice President, Government and Community Affairs, a department she built from the ground up. In that role, she was responsible for the studio’s philanthropic efforts and for shaping Paramount’s civic presence while managing all political and legislative activity, corporate social responsibility and fundraising activities. During her tenure she was also responsible for overseeing in excess of $500 million in real estate development projects on the studio lot.
Most recently, she served as CEO for the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), with an annual budget exceeding $600 million, a staff of 260 employees and 32 project areas throughout the City of Los Angeles. In response to a statewide call by the legislature, Essel's leadership helped lay a critical foundation for the dissolution of the agency, leading to a successful redistribution of resources for schools and local governments, while ensuring the completion of many crucial affordable housing projects and other developments vitally important to the economic growth of the region.
She has been named to numerous Boards and Commissions over the years, serving as chair of the California Film Commission, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, the Hollywood Community Advisory Council, Alternative Living for the Aging and Central City Association. She also served as Vice‐Chair of the California Workforce Investment Board and FilmLA and was a member of the powerful Los Angeles World Airports Commission, Grand Avenue Project Joint Powers Authority and Los Angeles Development Fund. Essel has been honored by esteemed organizations such as City of Hope, National Women’s Political Committee, Alternative Living for the Aging, Weingart Center Partners, Central City Association and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, she received the Leader of the Year Award from the Southern California Leadership Network. She has been named to the Non‐Profit Times “Power and Influence Top 50” for the past two years (2016 and 2017).
David C. Turner III, Ph.D.
Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, UCLA
David C. Turner III is an activist scholar from Inglewood, California. He earned his Ph.D. in the Social and Cultural Studies in Education program at UC Berkeley, where his research focuses on youth-based social movements, political identity, and resistance to the prison regime. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, including manuscripts in the American Educational Research Journal and the Berkeley Review of Education. As a seasoned community organizer and educator, Dr. Turner brings over a decade of experience to the classroom and community organizing, having worked to negotiate and win demands for racial justice, secure funding, divest resources from punitive and harmful institutions, and coordinate direct actions across the state of California and the nation, all while teaching at both the K-12 and the postsecondary level.
Dr. Turner worked in LA County with Boys and Men of Color at the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, where he co-led campaigns to change school discipline practices, support investments in youth development, and end policies and practices that lead to criminalization in communities of color. David has taught hip hop, research methods, political science, Africana studies, comparative Ethnic studies, and education courses. Dr. Turner has participated in the movement for Black lives as a political education and research specialist, helping organizations with teach-ins, designing curriculum, and community-based participatory action research surveys. Dr. Turner has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, NBC BLK, the Los Angeles Times, Spectrum 1 News, and the New York Times for his activism. David is currently a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. Starting in the fall 2022, Dr. Turner will join the Department of Social Welfare in the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA as an Assistant Professor of Black Life and Racial Justice.
President & CEO, BLU Educational Foundation
Vice President, Public Policy and Civic Engagement, California Community Foundation
Efrain Escobedo is recognized statewide as a leading executive strategist dedicated to increasing the civic engagement of historically underserved and marginalized communities. For nearly two decades, he has worked within the philanthropic, government, and nonprofit sectors. This cross-sectoral experience –combined with Efrain's commitment to empowering local communities – allows him to bring partners together to make a meaningful impact in his work across California.
Presently Efrain serves as Vice President of Public Policy and Civic Engagement at the California Community Foundation (CCF), one of the state’s leading philanthropies with more than $2.6 billion in assets. In this role, Efrain manages senior staff, develops cross-sector partnerships, oversees several multimillion-dollar grantmaking portfolios, and leads the design and implementation of innovative public-private partnerships with Los Angeles County and the State of California.
Efrain is Chair of the Board of Directors for Hispanics in Philanthropy, a member of the Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees Board of Directors, a member of the Board of Directors for Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, and a member of the Policy Advisory Committee for Southern California Grantmakers. He was also a Speaker Appointee of the CA Census Complete Count CommitCommittee in 2020.
Efrain earned his bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California and is a recent graduate of the Los Angeles County Executive Leadership Program. He is currently an advanced candidate for an Executive master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of La Verne.
State Policy Fellow, California Budget & Policy Center
<p>Erik Saucedo is a State Policy Fellow at the California Budget & Policy Center. Erik is a former high school teacher and taught in Sacramento. Recently, he was a program coordinator with the Pipeline Project at the University of Washington focusing on academic support for K-12 students in low-income communities in Seattle. Erik received a master’s degree in education from the University of Washington where he focused on researching alternatives to high school graduation for immigrant youth and access to advanced courses for students of color. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, Davis.</p>
President, Chorus Foundation
Farhad Ebrahimi is the Founder and President of the Chorus Foundation, which works for a just transition to a regenerative economy in the United States. To that end, Chorus supports communities on the front lines of the old, extractive economy to build new bases of political, economic, and cultural power for systemic change.
Through his work with Chorus, Farhad is most interested in the question of how private philanthropy might play a role in putting itself out of business. Which is to say, how can the redistribution of extracted and consolidated wealth support the transition to a world in which such wealth is no longer extracted and consolidated in the first place? It is in this context that Chorus will be spending down its entire endowment by 2023.
Farhad’s family history has been defined by multiple cultures, nationalities, political revolutions, and refugee experiences. To say that his parents talked politics at home when he was growing up would be an understatement, and the experience of being a first-generation Iranian American throughout the 1980s had a profound impact on Farhad in ways that he’s still unpacking. These early experiences – combined with a lifelong love of punk and subversive art in general – have defined a political trajectory that has informed both his personal and professional outlook.
Farhad is also a musician, a lover of film and literature, and an occasional bicycle snob. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics with Computer Science, and he currently lives with thirteen adults and five children on Tongva land in Los Angeles.
Associate Director, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE)
Felicia Jones is the Deputy Director & Chief Strategist with Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) in San Bernardino, CA. In this role, she supports the organizations multi-issue racial and social justice organizing through campaign strategy, coalition building, policy advocacy, and grassroots leadership development. She has spearheaded and facilitated multiple collective impact efforts bringing community and institutions together to advance racial equity through creation of new institutional policies, practices, and investments in racial equity.
She currently serves as a co-chair of the Inland Empire Black Equity Initiative, is a regional coalition of Black-led organizations developing a shared agenda for policy and systems change to uplift black people and communities across the Inland Empire. As a co-chair, she also helped to establish the Black Equity Fund, a pooled fund effort and partnership between the IE-BEI and the Inland Empire Funders Alliance to strengthen and scale Black-led and empowering organizations’ sustainability and capacity to lead systems change work. She is also a founding member of Building Leaders and Cultivating Change (B.L.A.C.C.), a giving circle of grassroots donors who direct their gifts to support black led community organizations working on the frontlines of racial justice. Felicia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, California
Assemblymember, California State Assembly, District 54
Isaac Bryan was elected in May 2021 to represent California's 54th Assembly District, which consists of Baldwin Hills, Cheviot Hills, the Crenshaw district, Century City, Culver City, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Rancho Park, Westwood and parts of South Los Angeles and Inglewood.
Prior to his election to the Assembly, Isaac served as the founding Director of the UCLA Black Policy Project – a think tank dedicated to advancing racial equity through rigorous policy analysis – served as the first Director of Public Policy at the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center, as well as Director of Organizing for the nationally recognized Million Dollar Hoods project, a community-based participatory research project.
Isaac also co-chaired the successful Measure J campaign in Los Angeles County, a ballot measure that allocated hundreds of millions of dollars a year to address racial injustice and strengthen communities. Measure J sets aside money for investment in youth development, small business support, job training, alternatives to incarceration, affordable housing, community mental health and substance abuse treatment, and other systems of care.
Isaac is a community organizer, highly regarded policy expert, and a published academic. He authored the first holistic report for the City of Los Angeles on the needs of the formerly incarcerated Angelenos, and exposed a gap in youth justice policy – research that was ultimately used by then Senator Holly J. Mitchell to advance SB439. For years, his academic and organizing work has been at the intersection of environmental, economic, education and housing justice.
For Isaac, these issues aren’t just academic or policy questions – they are deeply personal. He grew up in a family of fifteen, as one of nine adopted children. Several members of his family have struggled with houselessness, faced incarceration, and have struggled with substance abuse and mental health challenges. Born to a teenage mother who could not keep him, he was put up for adoption as an infant. The Bryan family, who adopted him, served as foster parents for over 26 years and influenced the lives of nearly 200 children. As a child, he had a powerful and intimate view of what happens when our civic institutions fail. After a difficult start to his schooling Isaac took courses at two separate Southern California community colleges before earning dual degrees in Political Science and Sociology. He completed his education at UCLA where he earned a Masters in Public Policy, and remains a proud Bruin.
Isaac, his partner, and his Great Dane Darius live in Jefferson Park.
Research Director, USC Equity Research Institute
Jennifer Ito is the Research Director at the USC Equity Research Institute. Her primary focus has been to advance an understanding of, dialogue about, and funding towards building power among historically excluded communities by developing data-driven frameworks and tools for key learning and strategizing opportunities. She is currently exploring measures of community power-building processes and efforts directed at structural change and linkages to the forms of change that increased community power produces. Before joining USC, she was the Research Director for Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education. Appointed by the California Assembly Speaker, she served on the California Commission on the 21st Century Economy in 2009. In 2015, she served on the California State Controller’s Council of Economic Advisors. She currently serves on the boards of the Economic Roundtable, Asian Pacific Environmental Network Action, and Liberty Hill Foundation. She holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Co-Director, Youth Organize! California
Jeremy Gaspar-Lahoud is a fourth generation, mixed race Arab American and white organizer who has worked for and with grassroots organizations focused on youth organizing for racial and social justice since 1994. In 2004, he joined Californians for Justice as Long Beach Lead Organizer and subsequently served as Organizing Co-Director in 2007-2008 and Executive Director from 2009-2012. Prior to moving to California, he spent a decade organizing for racial and educational justice with African American, Latinx, and Palestinian youth at the Southwest Youth Collaborative in Chicago. Since 2018, Jeremy has served as Co-Director of Youth Organize! California. Jeremy lives in South Los Angeles on Tongva land with his partner, Maria, a high school social studies teacher, and their three children, Adila, Tecún, and Amar.
Josh Green, ESQ
Director of Criminal Justice, Urban Peace Institute
Josh Green focuses on reforming overly punitive criminal and juvenile justice systems and supporting and developing policies that meaningfully address the needs of residents in high violence areas. Josh partners with communities and individuals to reform overbroad gang suppression strategies. He also develops and advocates for system level reforms through UPI’s work on reforming the Los Angeles Probation Department and supporting the creation of the Los Angeles Office of Youth Diversion and Development. Josh currently serves as a member of the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC) and as the co-chair of the JJCC’s Community Advisory Committee. He also serves on several of the County’s justice advisory bodies, including the CCJCC Youth Diversion Subcommittee and the County’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety.
Previously, Josh served as the Equal Justice Works Fellow at Advancement Project, sponsored by Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP and Edison International. As a fellow, Josh developed and implemented a program to minimize the negative consequences of civil gang injunctions in Los Angeles communities and to provide representation to individuals who believed that they had been wrongly added to a gang injunction. Prior to his work as a fellow at Advancement Project, Josh graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice.
Vice President of Programs & Foundation Relations, Liberty Hill Foundation
Julio Marcial is Vice President of Programs & Foundation Relations. In this capacity, Marcial oversees foundation-relations and strategy; partnerships with government and other sectors; and oversees public policy, research and evaluation. In addition, Marcial guides the Foundation’s youth and transformative justice portfolio, including the provision of grant-making, network building, public policy and capacity building supports, which are focused on reducing the size of Los Angeles County’s justice system and establishing a human-focused approach to justice system engagement that truly prioritizes “care first, jails last.”
Julio has significant philanthropy experience, beginning his grant-making career in 1998 at The California Wellness Foundation, a $1 billion health equity-focused foundation in Los Angeles. Most recently, Julio served as a Program Director, where he managed a combined grants portfolio of more than $60 million focused on criminal justice, public safety, and other public health issue areas.
Active in the youth justice field, Julio is an appointed member of the Juvenile Justice Standing Committee of the California Board of State and Community Corrections, and the Executive Standing Committee of the California Youth Reinvestment Fund, which provides cities and counties with $37 million in funding for community-based services to divert youth from formal justice system involvement. He is a 2014 American Express/Independent Sector NGen Fellow and a founding member of the Southern California Latino Giving Circle, which has provided more than $130,000 to immigrant-serving nonprofits. Currently, Julio serves on the board of directors for InsideOut Writers and Represent Justice. Previously, he was on the board for the All For One Youth Mentoring Program, the Los Angeles Music and Art School, Hispanics in Philanthropy, as well as the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families. Julio is also a contributor to the new book, “If We Want to Win,” published by the New Press, which brings together 24 leading figures who propose a collective blueprint for moving forward to a more inclusive and just democracy across the United States.
Marcial earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was awarded an American Sociological Association fellowship to study racial and ethnic disparities in the California juvenile justice system. He has also held a graduate fellowship through the Committee on Institutional Cooperation at the Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where his research work focused on the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to addressing childhood exposure to violence.
Executive Director, Center on Policy Initiatives
Dr. Kyra R. Greene joined the Center on Policy Initiatives’ staff in 2014 and
became the Executive Director in June 2017. Dr. Greene considers CPI to be a people’s think tank, providing the analysis, policy solutions, education and alliances that advance social and economic justice.
Dr. Greene earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford
University. She also holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from Bard College at
Simon’s Rock. Her past research has focused on social movement messaging/framing, legislative processes, and public policies affecting the lives of people of color and people with disabilities.
Before joining CPI, Dr. Greene was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University. She served as an instructor in sociological courses on public policy at both Rider University and Stanford University.
Presently, Dr. Greene serves on numerous boards. She is the Chair of the Engage San Diego Action Fund and Board Chair of PowerSwitch Action.
Lindsay Imai Hong, MPA
California Director, Hand in Hand
Lindsay Imai Hong is the California Director of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network, where she organizes employers of nannies, house cleaners, and home attendants and their families to partner with domestic workers to transform the care economy to ensure that all Californians can live, work and age with dignity. Her organizing work has contributed to the passage of the Ca Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, the first statewide Domestic Workers Rights Education and Outreach Program and the San Francisco-based Support at Home Program. Prior to joining Hand in Hand in 2013, Lindsay worked on issues of racial equity in Bay Area transportation and housing policy at Urban Habitat and community reinvestment policy with The Greenlining Institute.
Director, California Donor Table Fund
Ludovic is the Executive Director of the California Donor Table. He was hired as its first full time staff-person in 2009. Since then CDT's family of entities have moved more than $40 million to people of color power building organizations and candidates. Previously, Ludovic was a leader in building people of color-centered movements around closing the racial wealth gap, environmental justice, media justice, campaign finance and voting rights. Ludovic has also led capacity-building work in Haiti, Canada, Denmark and The Gambia.
Ludovic is a graduate of the City College of NY, as well as leadership programs including the Rockwood Leadership Institute. He serves on several boards, including the Proteus Fund.
Father, Artist & Educator
Malik LovesYall is a Father, Artist, and Educator who uses Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul & Jazz music to provide a platform for Creativity and Community. Inspired by his recent passage into Fatherhood, Malik LovesYall creates with the purpose of encouraging both fellow parents and non-parents alike to pursue our passions while embracing our responsibilities. With music as the vessel, Malik seeks to uplift and affirm us all as we find our rhythm in the dance with creativity and responsibility.
Malik believes that music is a powerful tool for healing, connection and self-discovery, and seeks to provide an uplifting and energetic experience for all to get in tune with one another, and their most authentic, and highest selves.
Margarita Luna, MSW, MPH, CPC
Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment
Margarita Luna joined The California Endowment in June 2007. As Senior Program Manager for the South Region overseeing TCE’s Schools-related investments, Luna manages a grant portfolio focused on improving community health through quality, inclusive and equitable education via community engagement in policy/advocacy and systems change.
Prior to joining The Endowment, Luna served as a Pedro Zamora Fellow with AIDS United (formerly AIDS Action), Keck-Vivian Weinstein Child Advocacy Fellow and later Senior Social Worker for Public Counsel among many other positions advancing the health and well-being of the most disenfranchised.
Luna earned her B.A., M.P.H. and M.S.W. from UCLA. She is also a Certified Professional Coach and lives in San Dimas with her husband and two sons.
Maria Lozano, LCSW
Therapist, Medicinas Lupita
Maria Guadalupe Lozano is the owner of Medicinas Lupita. Maria provides individual counseling/therapy to folks in her private practice. In these roles as a post-partum doula and clinical therapist, Maria helps new parents and mujeres navigate an ocean of emotions while living through transitions and changes in their lives by holding space for words, breath, and sips of tea as they regain empowerment to reconnect to their innate power.
Maria has over 15 years working in Los Angeles County contracted community mental health agencies working with her teams as a case manager, clinician, and supervisor to ensure that the families, mothers, and teens they worked with were supported and linked to community resources, provided with psycho-education and empowered to self-advocate in order to reach their optimum goal and outcome for their healing journey.
Maria is a licensed clinical therapist, with a Masters in Social Work from Cal State Long Beach. She is a Certified Lactation Educator and 200-HR Certified Yoga Teacher. Maria integrates holistic approaches and evidenced based tools to support the individuals and families she works with.
Director of Civic Engagement and Strategic Partnerships, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
Maricela Rodriguez serves as Director of Civic Engagement and Strategic Partnerships for the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom where she spearheads priority community engagement campaigns, including the State’s COVID-19 Your Actions Saves Lives campaign and the 2020 Census campaign. She also provides strategic communication support on issues impacting underserved populations and integrates innovative ways of engaging hard-to-reach Californians. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Rodriguez served as Program Director at The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation. There she led the communications strategies for two major health care education and outreach campaigns including Asegúrate, which supported the enrollment of newly eligible Californians into Medi-Cal, and #Health4All, which advocated for the expansion of health coverage for undocumented Californians. In addition, she led communication and community-based efforts to increase civic engagement among youth. She previously served as the Director of Program Development and Policy Liaison at the Office of the First Lady of California, Maria Shriver. She led the development of her anti-poverty initiatives, which culminated in the groundbreaking WE Connect campaign. She earned a BA in Political Science and BA in Spanish Language from the University of California, Riverside and an MPA from the University of Southern California.
Statewide Organizer, Parent Voices CA
Mary Ignatius is the Statewide Organizer of Parent Voices, a parent-led grassroots organizing effort fighting to make quality child care accessible and affordable for all families. As the Statewide Organizer since August 2005, she coordinates the work of its 12 chapters and implements the leadership development model Parent Voices has crafted for 25 years. Under her tenure, Parent Voices has won the most progressive child care eligibility policies in the nation, restored a child care program that was eliminated, and protected child care subsidies for thousands of families.
Born and raised in the Bay Area by Indian immigrants and as a mother of 2 budding feminist sons, Mary's commitment to social and economic justice is both personal and political. She holds a Master of Social Work in Administration and Social Planning from Temple University and a Bachelor of Social Work from Rutgers University. She was a fellow of the Ms. Foundation for Women's OpEd Project-Public Voices program and received the Foundation’s prestigious Woman of Vision Award in April 2016. In 2018, Mary joined the Assembly's Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Care and Education as a Community Commissioner. In 2019, she was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom for three years to serve as the Co-Chair of the Parent Advisory Committee to the state's Early Childhood Policy Council.
Her previous experience includes work with the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, Instructor- City College of San Francisco, and Project SURVIVE. Mary loves to travel and is inspired by the curiosity and wonder that her sons bring to this world.
Founder, End Poverty In California (EPIC)
Michael Tubbs is the Special Advisor to California Governor Gavin Newsom for Economic Mobility; the Founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income; and the Founder of End Poverty in California (EPIC). In 2016, he was elected Mayor of Stockton at 26-years-old. He was the city’s first African-American Mayor, and the youngest Mayor of any major city in American history. As Mayor, Tubbs was lauded for his leadership and innovation. He raised over $20 million dollars to create the Stockton Scholars, a universal scholarship and mentorship program for Stockton students. Additionally, he piloted the first mayor-led guaranteed income pilot in the country.
Under his leadership, Stockton was named an “All-America City” in 2017 and 2018 by the National Civic League. The city saw a 40% drop in homicides in 2018 and 2019, led the state of California in the decline of officer involved shootings in 2019, and was named the second most fiscally healthy city in California. Additionally, it was recognized as one of the most fiscally healthy cities in the nation and was featured in an HBO documentary film, “Stockton on My Mind.”
Michael Gomez Daly
Executive Director, Inland Empowerment
Michael Gomez Daly is the Executive Director of IE United, a coalition in the Inland Empire whose work focuses around engaging impoverished communities and people of color. Michael has been on the forefront expanding voting rights and increasing civic engagement in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties through tech solutions, data-driven field, and leadership development.
Chief of Advocacy and Campaigns, Caring Across Generations
Nicole Jorwic is the Chief of Advocacy and Campaigns at Caring Across Generations, an organization building a movement of all ages and backgrounds to transform the way we care. Before joining Caring Across Generations, Nicole was the Senior Executive Officer of Policy at The Arc, a national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Prior to joining The Arc Nicole served as Senior Policy Advisor for the state of Illinois. Prior to that appointment, Nicole served as the CEO/President of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities where she continued the Institute’s mission to improve the lives of people with disabilities, paid care workers, and families, and assisted the leadership of the state of Illinois in developing public policy driven best practices in serving individuals with disabilities. Nicole is also an accomplished special education attorney and an advocate for students with disabilities. Nicole co-chairs the Disability and Aging Collaborative, the Consortium with Disabilities LTSS Taskforce, is on the board of Allies for Independence and the National Association of Direct Support Professionals. Nicole is also a family caregiver, her brother Chris is 32 and has autism.
Padmini Parthasarathy, MPH
Principal & Founder, Sāmya Strategies
Padmini Parthasarathy is a social sector leader with a proven record of success in philanthropy, nonprofits, and local government, and expertise in economic, racial, and gender justice, and public health. Padmini is the Principal & Founder of Sāmya Strategies, an independent consulting firm serving the philanthropic and nonprofit sector. Prior to launching her consulting practice, Padmini served for eight years in various roles in philanthropy, including as strategist for justice, equity, and learning and senior program officer for economic security at the Walter & Elise Haas Fund; and program director at The California Wellness Foundation overseeing statewide grantmaking to advance the Affordable Care Act and health care reform, and promote employment and asset-building opportunities. Before that, Padmini was a program manager for Kaiser Permanente, where she managed its nationwide Community Health Needs Assessment, and she worked for Contra Costa Health Services’ Family, Maternal and Child Health Programs, leading an initiative to incorporate asset building and social determinants of health approaches into maternal and child health programs.
Padmini’s leadership and volunteer experience includes currently serving on the board of directors of Cardea Service and having served on the boards of Asset Funders Network, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, and March of Dimes. She was 2020-21 Council on Foundations Career Pathways fellow, a fellow in Grantmakers in Health’s Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy, and an inaugural member of the Justice Funders’ Harmony Initiative leadership program.
Padmini earned her master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior, with a minor in sociology, from UC Irvine.
Managing Director, Power Infrastructure, Program & Partnerships, The California Endowment
Sandra M. Witt joined the Building Healthy Communities initiative of The California Endowment (TCE) in August 2011 as Healthy Communities Program Director for Northern California. Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is a 10 year, $1 billion comprehensive community initiative, launched in 2010 to advance statewide policy, change the narrative, and transform 14 of California’s communities most devastated by poor health and health inequities into places where all people have an opportunity to thrive. Dr. Witt works closely with her counterpart in Southern California, under the direction of the TCE Senior Vice President of Healthy Communities, to advance the vision, strategic direction and to meet goals and outcomes of the place-based BHC efforts in Northern California.
Prior to joining The California Endowment, Dr. Witt served as the Deputy Director of Planning, Policy and Health Equity for the Alameda County Public Health Department where she was responsible for ensuring that programs and policies were effective, accurate and responsive to County residents, and consistent with the goal of eliminating health inequities in the County. With more than 20 years of experience in the field of public health, Dr. Witt has served in a variety of posts including as an epidemiologist community researcher, public health consultant, and as a health and development program officer and consultant for the International Development Research Centre in Canada. Dr. Witt is active in local, regional and national advancing health equity efforts. Dr. Witt earned a Dr.PH. in Maternal and Child Health from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Latin American Studies/Anthropology. She is an Inter-American Foundation and a U.S. Fulbright Scholar.
Program Officer, Heising-Simons Foundation
September Jarrett is a program officer for the Education program of the Heising-Simons Foundation, focusing on policy and systems change in California. Prior to her work at the Foundation, September served as executive director of San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education, as well as program director at the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund. Early in her career, she helped develop the Child Care Facilities Fund of the Low Income Investment Fund, an award-winning public-private partnership designed to expand the supply of high-quality early care and education facilities.
President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty CA
Shimica Gaskins is the President & CEO of GRACE & End Child Poverty CA. She has worked in law and public policy specializing in legislative, regulatory and policy issues associated with criminal justice reform and children’s rights. Prior to joining GRACE, she was executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-California, where she led statewide advocacy, policy, program and organizing efforts to ensure access to quality affordable health coverage and care for children and low-income families, reform the juvenile justice system, promote educational equity, end child poverty, and improve outcomes for children of color. She formerly served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) where she worked to develop and implement innovative policy initiatives of the department and administration in areas such as smart on crime, law enforcement and emerging technologies, prison reform, reentry, and issues affecting children with incarcerated parents. Prior to joining DOJ, she was in private practice at Covington & Burling LLP where she managed complex civil litigation. Shimica began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Victoria Roberts on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Shimica serves on the boards of Impact Justice, California Budget & Policy Center, and the Liberty Hill Foundation and is a commissioner on the LA County Commission for Children and Families.
Shimica earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and graduated cum laude with BA in philosophy from the Catholic University of America.
Her writings have appeared in USA Today, Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Daily News, CalMatters, and legal journals.
Program Director, Inland Empire United
Sky Allen is the Program Director for IE United, a collective impact table of community leaders and agents in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in southern California. Born, raised, and educated in the Inland Empire, Sky strives to uplift communities to advocate for what they need by challenging institutions and chipping away at structural issues at the local level in an effort to change policy. In her current role, Sky fosters relationships with local community based organizations, statewide non-profit organizations, local government officials, and other regional stakeholders in order to bolster civic engagement and strengthen civic infrastructure. She leads IE United's redistricting work and previously coordinated the organization's 2020 Census campaign. Sky first began serving the IE community as a fellow with the Warehouse Worker Resource Center after graduating from UC Riverside with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She is currently a graduate student in the Master of Public Policy program at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Chief Visionary Officer, The Youth Mentoring Action Network
Torie Weiston-Serdan is the Chief Visionary Officer at the Youth Mentoring Action Network an Inland Empire non-profit organization building youth power globally through education, mentoring, and wellness. A leader in the youth mentoring field, she wrote Critical Mentoring: A Practical Guide, which has become the handbook for culturally sustaining youth work. Torie is also the director of the Community Engaged Education and Social Change in the School of Education Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Through her community-based work, she mentors and resources young people with the desire to ensure they have what they need to build the future. Torie commits time to board service and serves on the boards of MENTOR CA, Tru Evolution, Give Build Share, Big Brothers Big Sisters LGBTQ National Advisory Council, the Research Board of the National Mentoring Resource Center, and the California Endowment.