Online Environmental Engagement - Building Our Skills Together - June 2–4

Published Date:

Building Our Skills Together | June 2 - 4

Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, California Environmental Protection Agency, and Secretary Wade Crowfoot,
California Natural Resources Agency, invite you to a series of online sessions on community engagement and
equity during the COVID-19 crisis.


Anyone who would like to learn more about:

  • Using digital engagement tools to plan and participate in online meetings
  • How organizations are adapting engagement practices during the COVID-19 crisis
  • What it all means for equity and environmental justice


Register at this link: All sessions are free and online.
For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation,
contact Sarah Rubin at or call her at 916.214.5731.

Spanish and other language interpretation available.

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Download the flyer in English


Descargue el volante en Español

Presentation Materials

Day 1 – Tuesday, June 2: Increase Comfort with Online Engagement Tools

Day 2 – Wednesday, June 3 - Inspire Hope in Continued Engagement

Day 3 - Thursday, June 4 - Lay Groundwork for the Future

June 2-4, 2020 | Detailed Conference Program

Simultaneous Interpretation in Spanish 

Day 1 - Tuesday, June 2: Increase Comfort with Online Engagement Tools

(Online Platform: Various)

Morning Session: Naming the Challenge

Senior leaders describe inherent tensions in creating online forums that seek only to recreate traditional government meeting design versus equitable engagement. Community leaders will highlight information and engagement needs. This session will inspire participants to listen for and speak to the need to work toward deeper engagement, in any forum.

9:00    Welcome, Secretary Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Agency, and Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, California Environmental Protection Agency

9:30    How Do We Ensure Community Voice in the Era of COVID-19

  • Meyo Marrufo, Environmental Director for Guidiville Rancheria, CA Representative USEPA National Tribal Caucus
  • Mindy Romero, Director, California Civic Engagement Project, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
  • Felipe Escobar, Director of Organizing, Pacoima Beautiful
  • David Flores, Air Quality Campaign Director, Environmental Health Coalition

10:30  Engaging Vulnerable Communities during the Time of COVID-19

  • Father Greg Boyle, Founder, Homeboy Industries

11:00  Using Zoom for Facilitators

  • Jessica Bean, Office of Public Participation, State Water Resources Control Board, CalEPA


Afternoon Session: Practice and Demonstrate

Build your skills through practice sessions using online platforms including: Zoom, BlueJeans, and GoToMeeting. Understand the origin story of one of the most successful community-conceived and led problem-solving models:  Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods (IVAN)—an online platform and problem-solving model that continues to thrive today.

12:00  Break

1:30    Using BlueJeans

  • Ana Mascareñas, Environmental Equity Deputy and Tribal Liaison, CA Department of Toxic Substance Control, CalEPA
  • Note: Participant capacity in BlueJeans webinar limited to 500

2:30    Using GoTo Meeting

  • Walker Wieland, Research Scientist, Community Assessment and Research Section, CA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, CalEPA
  • Note: Participant capacity limited to 150 in GoToMeeting

3:30     IVAN (Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods) Project Panel

  • Luis Olmedo, Executive Director, Comite Civico del Valle, Inc.
  • Nayamin Martinez, Director, Central California Environmental Justice Network
  • Gustavo Aguirre Jr., Kern County Director, Central California Environmental Justice Network
  • Dalila Adofo, Community Organizer & Bayview Hunters Point Community Air Monitoring Project Coordinator, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
  • Veronica Aguirre, Executive Assistant, Valley LEAP

4:30     Day 1 Wrap Up

  • Uduak-Joe Ntuk, State Oil and Gas Supervisor, California Geologic Energy Management Division, California Department of Conservation

5:00    Break

6:00    Using Zoom for Participants

  • Jessica Bean, Office of Public Participation, State Water Resources Control Board, CalEPA


Day 2 - Wednesday, June 3 - Inspire Hope in Continued Engagement

(Online Platform: ZOOM)

Morning Session: Equity First

Listen to environmental justice advocate perspectives on the what, why, and how of authentic and equitable engagement, and why a one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work. State and national leaders validate that engagement work is hard but worth it as they share personal examples of bridging divides and community transformation. Learn the latest digital trends with inspiring examples of success and lessons learned.

9:00     Welcome, Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor of California

9:30     From the Frontlines of California: Best Practices for Online Engagement

  • Julia Jordan, Policy Coordinator, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
  • Italia Garcia, Interim Executive Director, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

10:30   Opportunity to Engage All and Bridge Divides

  • Shari Davis, Executive Director, Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Grande Lum, Provost, Menlo University; Steering Committee Chair, Divided Communities Project; Sr. Advisor, Next Door
  • Ashley Labosier, Executive Director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership, Pepperdine University

11:30   How to Optimize Digital Engagement

  • Matt Leighninger, Vice President for Public Engagement, Director, Yankelovich Center, Public Agenda
  • Miguel Alatorre, Community Organizer and Policy Advocate, Greenaction For Health and Environmental Justice
  • Dave Biggs, Chief Engagement Officer, MetroQuest


Afternoon Session: Practical Tips and Practices You Can Replicate

Specific examples of successful virtual government-led meetings planned and ongoing during the COVID-19 crisis, highlighting the critical role of local community partnerships. California is home to 11 million immigrants, with about 27% of residents foreign born, so access to information in languages other than English remains as important as ever. Learn more about the specific considerations for ensuring Spanish language access and interpretation at this virtual conference. In addition, learn how to engage Californians who speak indigenous languages such as Zapotec, Mixteco and Triqui, Q’anjob’al, Illocano, Visayan.

12:30   Lunch and Learn: Free Engagement Resources

3- minute overviews of resources available for free:

1:30     Innovation Underway: Examples of State-led Virtual Engagement

  • Larry Goldzband, Executive Director and Nahal Ghoghaie, Environmental Justice Manager, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • Veronica Eady, Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice, CA Air Resources Board
  • Christal Lazard, Program Manager, Institute for Local Government
  • Anecita Agustinez, Tribal Policy Advisor, CA Department of Water Resources

2:30     Language Access Best Practices

  • Mahvash Hassan, Language Access and Immigrant Engagement Expert
  • Marina Perez, Manager for State Water Resources Board and Conference Planning Team Member

3:30     Indigenous Languages: Best Practices for Engagement

  • Arcenio Lopez, Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)
  • Gaspar Rivera Salgado, UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education
  • Sonya Triplet-Ory, Tagalog Interpreter, Language World Services

4:30     Reflections and Setting the Stage for Day 3

  • E. Joaquin Esquivel, Chair, State Water Resource Control Board

Day 3 - Thursday, June 4 - Lay Groundwork for the Future

(Online Platform: ZOOM)

Morning Session: Equity Now

State leaders make the case for the urgent need posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to commit to making implementation of equitable engagement practices a wide spread reality. Engagement requires constant evaluation to understand the quality of our work. Sharing the results from public engagement needs to be both easily digestible and transparent

9:00     Welcome, Serena McIlwain, Undersecretary for Environmental Protection, Angela Barranco, Undersecretary of the California Natural Resources Agency

9:30     Future of Authentic Equitable Engagement

  • George Zavala, Western Regional Manager, Welcoming America
  • John Dobard, Director, Political Voice, Advancement Project
  • Micah Weinberg, Chief Executive Officer, California Forward

10:30   Break

11:00   Evaluation of Digital Engagement, Sharing Engagement Outcomes

  • Sarah Rubin, Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, Department of Conservation
  • Joseph Hoereth, Director, Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Chris Adams, President, Balancing Act


Afternoon Session: Practical Tips for Embedding Best Practices

High quality training is a key building block to delivering equitable engagement. Making language access a widespread reality is becoming easier, learn how. Experience innovative design options to build your engagement toolkit and watch a graphic facilitator illustrate real-time.

12:00   Break

1:30     Training for Equitable Engagement, What's Next?

  • Malka Kopell, Co-Founder, Civity
  • Holly Nickel, Racial Equity Strategist, California Strategic Growth Council
  • David Campt, Author, Principal of Dialogue, Wisdom and Collaboration Group

2:30     What's Next for California with Language Access and Equity

  • Jesus Martinez, Executive Director, Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative
  • Sarbjeet Kaur, Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of San Jose
  • Ana Mascareñas, Environmental Equity Director and Tribal Liaison, Department of Toxic Substances Control

3:30     Innovation with Meeting Design

  • Kim Hyshka, Principal, Dialogue Partners
  • Gina Bartlett, Director and Senior Mediator, Consensus Building Institute
  • Emily Shepard, Graphic Facilitator, Graphic Distillery

4:30     Wrap Up, Real time Evaluation of Virtual Conference

  • Yana Garcia, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations

5:00     End


Individual sessions are generally expected to be 45 to 50 minutes.

Languages in addition to Spanish to be determined per interest and request.

For more information visit:

A person posing for the camera Description automatically generatedChris Adams | President of the Balancing Act. Chris has worked in public policy and facilitation for over 25 years. His work has focused primarily on health and health care, but he has also supported policy development in education and natural resources. Prior to founding Engaged Public, Adams was Director and Associate Director of The Center for Ethics and Social Policy in Berkeley, California. He has published more than 40 essays in publications including The Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle and many others. He is a past speaker at the distinguished Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado, delivering five presentations on the theme “Values and Ethics in a Fragile World.” Adams is the former president of the board of Denver Urban Gardens, a network of more than 100 community gardens. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Colorado.


A person wearing a hat Description automatically generatedDalila Adofo | Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice Community Organizer & Bayview Hunters Point Community Air Monitoring Project Coordinator . Dalila is a resident of East Palo Alto, California and started organizing at the age of 12 when she joined Youth United for Community Action. Dalila was active in the campaigns that closed the Romic hazardous waste plant and in developing the community plan for future use of that site. She has worked with the California Fund for Youth Organizing (CFYO) and helped coordinate and strategize a way for the California Student and Youth Bill of Rights to be passed. She attended and graduated from San Francisco State University with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Geography (Environmental Studies). She is a lover of music, poetry, spoken word, lifting weights, being submerged in nature and being with family. She was a member of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice’s Board of Directors for several years and is now the lead coordinator for the Bayview Hunters Point Community Air Monitoring Project.


A person posing for the camera Description automatically generatedGustavo Aguirre Jr. | Kern County Director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network. Gustavo is a California native whose parents were farmworkers and traveled from the coast to the desert following the seasonal crops. Gustavo engaged in grassroots community organizing and social justice in 2006 as a senior at Foothill High School in East Bakersfield. Gustavo helped organize a walk out in solidarity with high school students across the nation protesting aggressive immigration laws. Prior to joining CCEJN, Gustavo worked as an organizer in Arvin, CA with Global Community Monitoring. Since 2014 and with CCEJN, Gus has coordinated the IVAN Reporting Network in Kern County and has conducted environmental literacy workshops, as well as community science data gathering projects. Gustavo has participated in various state panels including California Air Resources Board- Office of Community Air Protection’s AB 617 Consultation group and Department of Conservation’s SB 83- Underground Injection Control review panel representing environmental justice communities in the Central Valley.


A person in glasses looking at the camera Description automatically generatedVeronica Aguirre | Executive Assistant. Veronica was born in Coalinga and raised in Avenal. She worked in various companies in the Central Valley and in 2018 she joined the LEAP Institute, where she is the coordinator for the IVAN program and the Green Raiteros program. Veronica likes being an advocate and voice for residents in the rural communities where she grew up. Veronica earned an Associate Arts degree in Business Administration at West Hills.


Anecita Agustinez | Tribal Policy Advisor. Anecita is an enrolled citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation. She is born to the Tó dích’íinii (Bitter Water Clan) and born for the Ilocano Clan. An alumnus of Stanford University, her area of expertise is in water policy and legislative advocacy on behalf of Tribal governments in California. She was appointed Tribal Policy Advisor for the Department of Water Resources in 2013. Her primary responsibilities are to provide policy support and recommendations in the areas of policy implementation concerning the environment, regional water planning, flood management, climate change, energy issues, drought, ecosystem restoration, sustainable groundwater management, water bond grant funding, and disadvantaged community engagement. She coordinates communication outreach with other state agencies and facilitates and conducts Tribal Consultation and Tribal engagement on behalf of DWR. She previously served as the Native American Liaison in the Office of Legislative and External Affairs at the Department of Health Care Services and was the Assistant Director at the Office of Native American Affairs at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. She is former Chair of the State Tribal Liaisons, an association of Native American Liaisons from California's State agencies. Anecita is co-executive producer, publicist and media strategist for, an award winning media, film and public relations company and tribal non-profit corporation. As a strong community advocate, she is actively involved in mentorship programs for youth and women.


A group of people posing for the camera Description automatically generatedMiguel Alatorre | Community Organizer and Policy Advocate. Miguel is a Community Organizer and Policy advocate for Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. Miguel is a third generation environmental justice activist who has been involved since he was a child in numerous battles against pollution and injustice in the San Joaquin Valley farmworker town of Kettleman City, California where he has lived his whole life. Miguel helped found and mentor two Kettleman City youth groups KPOP, (Kids Protecting our Planet) and YPOP (Youth-Protecting our Planet) and he is co-coordinator of Greenaction’s Kettleman City Youth Environmental Justice Leadership Academy program. Miguel is also co-coordinator of Greenaction’s many other campaigns in Kettleman City, including to reduce diesel truck emissions, stop pesticide drift from agricultural fields near homes, and oppose new permits for the infamous Chemical Waste Management Kettleman Hills hazardous waste and PCB landfill. Miguel is leading Greenaction’s effort to bring together Kettleman City youth and adults to start an organic community garden in his town where the closest grocery store is over 30 miles away. He is co-coordinator of Greenaction’s new Kettleman City Community Air Monitoring Project that is educating and empowering local residents on air quality issues and to conduct a pilot air monitoring project. Miguel is a local and state leader in engaging state agencies to comply with civil rights laws and to change their policies to stop polluters from ruining the health of residents in the Central Valley and across the state. Miguel helps represent Greenaction in the Central California Environmental Justice Network, the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, and the California Environmental Justice Coalition. He is an active member of El Pueblo Para el Aire y Agua Limpia/People for Clean Air and Water of Kettleman City. Miguel was instrumental in the long campaign waged by Greenaction and El Pueblo that has finally replaced Kettleman City’s contaminated drinking water with a new water source and new treatment system.


A person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera Description automatically generatedAngela Barranco | Undersecretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. Angela Barranco was appointed Undersecretary of the California Natural Resources Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in May 2019. As Undersecretary, Barranco oversees an agency of 19,000 employees charged with protecting and managing California’s diverse resources. This includes stewarding the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. An experienced leader at the state, Federal, and local levels, Barranco has served as a non-profit executive, political strategist, and Federal Presidential appointee. Prior to her appointment as Undersecretary, Barranco was Chief Executive Officer at River LA, a non-profit focused with bringing together the Los Angeles region through the reimagining of the LA River as multi-benefit urban infrastructure. As a Presidential Appointee, Barranco led public engagement for the Obama White House on environment, conservation, climate, and energy issues. She also served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development working on Detroit revitalization, Promise Zones, and climate-smart post-disaster rebuilding. As a political strategist, Barranco managed and advised political campaigns across the country, including as National Western Regional Director for the Obama 2012 re-election campaign. Additionally, she has experience in communications and environmental policy work at the U.S. Congress, state, and municipal levels. Barranco received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from Columbia College, Columbia University with a focus on conservation. She is bilingual and fluent in Spanish.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedGina Bartlett | Director and Senior Mediator at the Consensus Building Institute. Gina Bartlett is a Senior Mediator at the Consensus Building Institute and leads CBI’s practice in the American West. Gina has more than 20 years of experience in consensus building and collaborative planning on complex public policy and organizational issues. She has extensive experience facilitating organizational governance as well as mediating high-stakes, multi-party negotiations, striving for equity in representation among decision-makers and advisors. Gina regularly integrates engagement into policy develop and multi-party negotiations, identifying creative approaches to share information and solicit input to strengthen outcomes. Gina previously served as Associate Director at the Center for Collaborative Policy at California State University.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedJessica Bean | Senior Environmental Scientist for California State Water Resources Board. Jessica Bean is a Senior Environmental Scientist with the California State Water Resources Control Board. She is a licensed California Professional Geologist with a background in science, communications, and education. During her time at the State Water Board, Jessica has focused on safe and affordable drinking water, sustainable groundwater management, water conservation, and Bay-Delta water quality control planning. Prior to joining the State Water Board, Jessica was the Public Relations Director for Northern California InAlliance, a nonprofit organization that supports people with developmental disabilities.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedDave Biggs | Chief Engagement Officer at MetroQuest. Dave is an internationally-recognized keynote and panel speaker, author and public engagement strategist focusing on tools to enhance community participation for planning projects. As Chief Engagement Officer of MetroQuest, Dave has over 20 years of experience on a wide range award-winning projects with government clients and consulting firms, he has built a reputation for leading edge community outreach. Dave is also honored to serve as an advisor on best practices for public involvement to many planning agencies such as APA, FHWA and TRB and public participation organizations such as IAP2 and NCDD.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedJared Blumenfeld | Secretary for Environmental Protection. Jared was appointed California Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019. As Secretary, Jared oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on environmental policy. From 2009 to 2016, he served under former President Barack Obama as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Pacific Southwest, a region that includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations. Previously, Jared was Director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment from 2001 to 2009, first under former Mayor Willie Brown and then under Gavin Newsom. He and Mayor Newsom worked effectively to make San Francisco “the most sustainable city in the nation” by developing a municipal Environment Code that includes mandatory recycling and composting, bans on Styrofoam and plastic bags, and a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. During his tenure in San Francisco, Jared also was general manager of the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks and served on the governing board of the Treasure Island Redevelopment Authority. He also served as Chairman of the U.N.’s World Environment Day in 2005, led the habitat protection program for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and was Executive Director for the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Earth Summit Watch from 1993 to 1995. Jared is also a former chair of the Federal Regional Council, and a founder of Green Cities California and the Business Council on Climate Change (BC3). Jared graduated from Cambridge College of Arts and Technology, and earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London and a Master of Laws from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedDavid Campt | Principal at the Dialogue Company. With more than 25 years of professional experience, Dr. David Campt (@thedialogueguy) is considered a national expert in the areas of inclusion and equity, cultural competence, and intergroup dialogue. His insights about the keys to more inclusive and effective institutions and communities have been sought by small executive boards of fewer than a dozen to large-scale summits involving thousands of people. His clients have varied widely, and have included the US military, The White House, large corporations, international organizations, foundations, governments, universities, national associations, and non-profit groups. David is the author of a number of books including The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subject (2007) and Read the Room for Real: How A Simple Technology Creates Better Meeting (2015). In early 2016, he created a project called the Ally Conversation Toolkit (ACT), which has engaged thousands of people in person and on line. Under this initiative, David has written three books - White Ally Toolkit Workbook, a supplement for the workbook called the Discussion Group Leaders Guide, and the Compassionate Warrior Boot Camp for White Allies. David’s work on dismantling racism has been featured by a number of prominent media outlets, such as Think Progress and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. David has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Princeton University, and a Masters degree in public policy from UC Berkeley. He doctoral studies were also completed at UC Berkeley’s urban planning department, where his dissertation focused on ways that social service administrators can modify their organizations to make them more responsive to the cultural realities of African-American populations.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedWade Crowfoot | Secretary for Natural Resources. Wade Crowfoot was appointed California Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019. As Secretary, Crowfoot oversees an agency of 19,000 employees charged with protecting and managing California’s diverse resources. This includes stewarding the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on natural resources and environmental issues. Crowfoot brings over two decades of public policy and environmental leadership to the office, with expertise in water, fisheries, climate and sustainability issues. He recently served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy that builds shared water solutions for communities, economy, and the environment across the American West. He developed innovative partnerships among a broad range of partners including agricultural leaders and environmental conservation groups. Prior to joining the foundation, Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. He led the administration’s drought response efforts and spearheaded several of the Governor’s priority initiatives to build California’s resilience to climate change. He previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Crowfoot received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and earned a master’s degree in public policy from the London School of Economics in 2004, where he graduated with honors.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedShari Davis | Executive Director for Participatory Budget Project. Shari heads PBP's leadership team, communications efforts, and development strategy. She joined PBP staff after nearly 15 years of service and leadership in local government. As Director of Youth Engagement and Employment for the City of Boston she launched Youth Lead the Change, the first youth participatory budgeting process in the US, which won the US Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Award. Shari first got involved in city government in high school, serving as the Citywide Neighborhood Safety Coordinator on the Boston Mayor’s Youth Council and working at the Mayor’s Youthline. Shari is a graduate of Boston University’s Sargent College for Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and holds a master’s degree in anatomy and physiology.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedJohn Dobard | Director of Political Voice at Advancement Project California. John Dobard is the Director of Political Voice at Advancement Project California. He leads efforts to eliminate racial and economic disparities in political participation and government responsiveness through policy advocacy, actionable research, and facilitating data-based collaborative action among community organizers, government officials, and researchers. Previously, John served as Advancement Project California’s Manager of Strategic Initiatives. In that capacity, he co-created the Political Voice program and worked with coalitions across the state to use the California Voting Rights Act to secure equitable electoral systems. He also oversaw several key organization-wide initiatives, including an initiative to urge the Los Angeles Unified School District to adopt a student need index to guide allocation of Local Control Funding Formula dollars. Originally from the San Bernardino area, John attended Riverside City College and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also earned a master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago.


A person holding a sign posing for the camera Description automatically generatedDanielle V. Dolan | Water Program Director for Local Government Commission. Danielle Dolan has been working in environmental education, engagement, and advocacy for the last 14 years, with the latter half in California water issues. Ms. Dolan was hired by the Local Government Commission in 2014 to lead LGC’s water programs — engaging on statewide policy initiatives and implementing projects at the local level. LGC's water work emphasizes the connection between land use planning and sustainable water management, and includes cross-jurisdictional efforts to addressing watershed health and water security across the state. Ms. Dolan's current projects include: leading a Water Strong Communities job-training program, assisting with code update assistance on both stormwater and water/energy efficiency; facilitating community engagement associated with legacy mining contamination in waterways; a $2.5 million water-efficient landscaping program providing turf replacement incentives, landscaper job training, and community outreach in the San Joaquin Valley; and LGC's new Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program, WaterCorps, to build local capacity for meeting critical water needs while also addressing statewide priorities. Ms. Dolan is a 2015 Water Leader, a member of the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply, and serves on the California Water Policy Conference Planning Committee. Prior to joining the LGC team, Ms. Dolan served as a workshop coordinator for the Sacramento River Watershed Program, and a project coordinator for the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. In her early career, Ms. Dolan was a certified schoolteacher, environmental education expert, and water conservation advocate in Florida. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Hawai'i Pacific University and an M.S. in Community Development from UC Davis.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedVeronica Eady | Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice. Veronica Eady is Assistant Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board. In this capacity, Ms. Eady is responsible for overseeing Environmental Justice activities of the Board. Her role is to serve as the primary internal and external contact for CARB on environmental justice issues Ms. Eady was formerly the Vice President and Director of Conservation Law Foundation Massachusetts and was the Associate General Counsel and Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Eady has also served as Director of the Environmental Justice and Brownfields Programs for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where she was the principal author of Massachusetts Environmental Justice Policy. Eady was also Executive Director of Alternatives for Community and Environment, an environmental justice advocacy organization. She is the former chair of EPA's federal advisory committee for environmental justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Eady has held appointments on several faculties, including Europe-Viadriana University in Germany, Tufts University, in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Fordham Law School, and at the Stanford Law School. Eady received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California, and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedFelipe Escobar | Director of Organizing at Pacoima Beautiful. Felipe Escobar is the Director of Organizing at Pacoima Beautiful. In this capacity, he supports the community organizing team to work with and engage community members around environmental justice issues that impact the Northeast San Fernando Valley. Felipe is an immigrant from Guatemala and moved to the United States at a young age. His experience cleaning houses with his mom as a teenager gave him a perspective about the environmental injustices that communities of color face in the United States compared to what white communities face. Felipe received a bachelor's degree in political science from California State University, Northridge. Felipe's main goal is to ensure that communities that are often left out of our democratic process can have a voice.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedE. Joaquin Esquivel | Water Boards Chair. E. Joaquin Esquivel was appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board by Governor Jerry Brown in March 2017 and designated by Governor Gavin Newsom as Chair in February 2019. Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency in the Governor’s Washington, D.C. office, where he facilitated the development of policy priorities between the agency, the Governor’s Office, the California Congressional delegation, and federal stakeholder agencies. For more than eight years prior to that he worked for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, most recently as her legislative assistant covering the agriculture, Native American, water, oceans, and nutrition portfolios, in addition to being the director of information and technology. He was born and raised in California’s Coachella Valley. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara in English.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedDavid Flores | Air Quality Campaign Director. David is the Air Quality Campaign Director for the Environmental Health Coalition. David has worked for 20 years with border community development issues, advocacy for equitable infrastructure, and environmental justice. Through the reconstruction of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, Flores has been key in identifying and documenting air quality data, air pollution, and border traffic concerns along the San Diego-Tijuana border. He established the San Ysidro Community Air Monitoring Network, integrating a community-led effort utilizing low-cost sensors. This work provided data for the State of California’s CalEnviroScreen 3.0 tool and resulted in updating community impacts & and securing a CARB AB617 Community Air Grant for the community of San Ysidro. Flores is on the CARB AB619 Consultation Group and has a recent appointment to the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Advisory Committee.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generated

Italia Garcia | Interim Executive Director with Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. Italia Garcia is the interim Executive Director at the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ). A native of Mexico City, Italia immigrated to Riverside, CA at the age of ten. Italia's motivation and tenacity for social justice derives from her personal experiences growing up as an undocumented immigrant in highly polluted and disadvantaged communities throughout the Inland Empire. Italia earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Riverside. For more than 10 years, Italia has been a vocal and passionate advocate leading numerous organizing efforts throughout California and across the country. She holds extensive knowledge and experience as a political strategists and organizer on immigration, education, worker's rights and environmental justice issues.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedYana Garcia | Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs, and Border Relations. Yana Garcia was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in August 2019 to serve as Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). Prior to her most recent appointment, she served two years at CalEPA as Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs. Before joining CalEPA, Yana was an associate attorney at Earthjustice, in the California regional office, in San Francisco. Yana was also a staff attorney at Communities for a Better Environment, serving in Huntington Park and Oakland. Her legal practice areas have focused on environmental justice issues, civil rights, land use, toxics and chemical disclosure, oil and gas extraction, and crude transport. Between 2011 and 2012, Yana served as a legal research attorney at the San Francisco Superior Court’s Civil Division, Office of the Presiding Judge. Yana holds a degree in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedNahal Ghoghaie | Environmental Justice Manager for San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Nahal Ghoghaie holds a Master of Environmental Studies in Tribal Watershed Adaption from The Evergreen State College and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. In late 2019, Nahal joined BCDC as the agency’s very first Environmental Justice Manager. Prior to this appointment, Nahal served in various capacities at her own consulting business, social and environmental justice non-profits, and Washington State natural resources agencies. Nahal is a researcher, educator, and advocate dedicated to making environmental justice and social equity central to climate and environmental planning and policy processes.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedLarry Goldzband | Executive Director at San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Larry Goldzband joined BCDC as Executive Director in August 2012 after serving as a BCDC Commissioner twice for a total of almost ten years. Prior his appointment, Larry was a Coro Foundation Fellow, worked for members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., was Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary for former California Governor Pete Wilson, and was Director of the California Department of Conservation. In the private sector, he managed Pacific Gas and Electric Company's charitable contributions program for over ten years and was Executive Director of the PG&E Corporation Foundation. In the nonprofit sector, Larry was Policy Director for Efficiency First California prior to starting at BCDC. Larry received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College and his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He is married to an incredibly strong and patient wife and they have a son in high school.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedMahvash Hassan | Immigrant Inclusion and Civic Engagement Consultant. Mahvash facilitates multi-sector collaboration in support of inclusive communities. Her clients include: local governments, philanthropy, nonprofits, and UN agencies . At the Institute for Local Government she developed a statewide immigrant engagement portfolio, provided technical assistance and facilitated multisector coordination to support equity, language access and immigrant civic engagement in California’s communities. Mahvash has partnered with community organizations and philanthropy to develop and manage funder collaboratives on Muslim civic engagement, immigrant inclusion and nonprofit capacity building. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Welcoming America – a national movement building inclusive communities in the United States and internationally. Mahvash holds a M.P.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. in Political Science from Bates College.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedNatalia Hentschel | Land Use and Environmental Planner for County of San Diego. Natalia Hentschel is an IAP2 trained public participation specialist and facilitator with expertise in urban and environmental planning. As a Land Use and Environmental Use Planner for the County of San Diego, she is committed to meaningful public engagement in pursuit of project outcomes that positively impact communities. With more than ten years of community engagement experience, Natalia is well-versed in outreach and engagement strategies used to ensure the participation of a true cross section of stakeholders for public works, transportation, community and environmental planning projects. Natalia focuses on formulating outreach programs for populations who typically are underrepresented in public dialogue. Due to her Spanish language ability and cultural affinity, Natalia has been a key contributor to the success of engagement programs with bilingual and Spanish monolingual populations. Before joining the County of San Diego, Natalia was Senior Public Participation Strategist and Facilitator for Katz & Associates, a San Diego-based communications and public outreach consulting firm. Dedicated to engaging youth in the community planning process, Natalia has volunteered as an in-classroom instructor for the Built Environment Educational Program [BEEP] San Diego and supported the organization as Director of Volunteer Relations. She has also served as the Young Planners Group Chair for the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association. Natalia holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from the University of San Diego.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedJoseph Hoereth | Director for Policy and Civic Engagement. Joseph Hoereth is director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago. IPCE creates opportunities for scholars, concerned citizens, students and government to participate in public discourse and educational programs on current policy issues and social trends. Hoereth joined UIC in 2004 as the Associate Director of the Great Cities Institute (GCI), bringing a wide range of experience in community development research and evaluation from positions at university research centers, nonprofit organizations and private consulting firms. He has held served on staff at the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University Chicago and the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University. He has authored multiple reports and papers on housing, community economic development and urban planning. Hoereth holds a B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters and a Ph.D. in urban planning from Rutgers University. He has taught courses as adjunct faculty in the Department of Urban Planning and the Department of Public Administration.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedKeiva Hummel | Program Director for National Civic League. Keiva Hummel is the Civic Engagement Program Director for the National Civic League and works in the following areas: the SolSmart solar designation program through the U.S. Department of Energy, the Pforzheimer-NCL Fellowship award, the NCL-Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Equity award, and NCL’s civic assistance programs. She also serves the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) as their Communications Coordinator and for the last six years has worked to manage communications, conduct monthly webinars, and coordinated the last two National Conferences on Dialogue & Deliberation. In addition to this, she worked with the Public Dialogue Consortium in the California Bay Area over the last six years to work with local governments to engage their communities in the development of various city plans (Strategic, Vision, and General) in three Bay Area cities. She graduated from San Francisco State University with honors and a B.A. in Communication Studies, Minor in Global Peace, Human Rights, and Justice studies, and with a Certificate in Conflict Resolution with an international emphasis. She was born and raised in the California Bay Area and has been living in the Mile High City for over two years.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedKim Hyshka | Principal at Dialogue Partners. Kim Hyshka, CP3 is a believer that just about anything is possible with a little dialogue. She’s on a mission, to chart a different course for public conversations, better conversations that open possibility, cultivate collaboration and spark change through dialogue. With over 10 years working in the field of engagement, she has developed a passion for designing and facilitating conversations that matter and creating engagement experiences where participants feel valued, relationships are built and initiatives and projects move forward. You’ll find her in the midst of both large and small-scale projects, bringing experience facilitating community forums in large urban centers or walking pipelines with Elders in the remote wilderness.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedJulia Jordan | Policy Coordinator with Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Julia (she/hers or they/theirs) is a Policy Coordinator with Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and collaborates with state-level partners to ensure participatory and equitable policies and programs related to climate, land use, transportation, agriculture, and more. Julia holds a bachelor's from Haverford College and a master's from UC Davis, with a focus on gender and social equity in participatory water management. Julia has worked in various regions of the U.S. and internationally on environmental and food justice through community engagement, advocacy, and research.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedSabby Kaur | Language Access Coordinator with City of San Jose. Sabby Kaur is the Language Access Coordinator with the Office of Immigrant Affairs with the City of San Jose. She speaks four languages and has been involved in the nonprofit and government sectors serving marginalized communities in Santa Clara County. As the Senior Program Director for Women in Community Service, a nonprofit, she was responsible for the startup and implementation of three training and employment programs for low-income women in San Jose. She also was the Project Manager for Project HOPE with work2future/OED, a program that provided workshops and employment resources for the homeless and at-risk populations. Till recently, as a Project Manager/Regional Training Coordinator with work2future/Office of Economic Development, she coordinated trainings for workforce development boards in the Bay Area. Sabby graduated from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi (India) with a Masters degree. She has served on the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women, United Way Impact Council for Santa Clara County and is a former Chair of the Refugee & Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County. Sabby is an avid globetrotter, hiker, skier, reader of books and writer of thought-provoking blogs


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedMalka Kopell | Co-Founder of Civity. Malka is an independent consultant specializing in civic engagement, government reform, and cross-sector collaboration. She has more than 30 years’ experience helping government and nonprofits with civic engagement: including process design, meeting facilitation, capacity building and strategic planning. As a senior mediator/facilitator with the Consensus and Collaboration Program at California State University, Sacramento, Malka has most recently been focusing on facilitating engagement by underserved and historically marginalized communities in the areas of water and climate change program and policy. She is also the co-founder of Civity, a national initiative concerned about divides of race, immigration status and financial opportunity. Malka has developed and managed civic engagement processes in the areas of water quality and sustainability, air quality, land use planning, transportation, recycling, public budgeting, neighborhood revitalization, downtown redevelopment, youth development, and public health. She authored, with Jill Blair, a paper for the Aspen Institute’s Forum on Community Solutions to define and describe a model of civic infrastructure for the 21st century. Malka founded the nonprofit Community Focus in 1990 to facilitate more effective implementation of public policies by increasing community participation. She also served as a program officer for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, developing and managing grants in the areas of conflict resolution, civic engagement and California governance reform, and was the founding managing director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. Malka has a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedEleni Kounalakis | Lieutenant Governor of California. Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis was sworn in as the 50th Lieutenant Governor of California by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 7th, 2019. She is the first woman elected Lt. Governor of California. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. Kounalakis was the first Greek-American woman – and at age 43 one of America’s youngest – to serve as U.S. Ambassador. Her highly acclaimed memoir, “Madam Ambassador, Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest” (The New Press, 2015), chronicles the onset of Hungary’s democratic backsliding. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Kounalakis to chair the California Advisory Council for International Trade and Investment in 2014. Kounalakis was a Virtual Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) between 2014 and 2017, specializing in international trade and immigration. She is currently a director of the Association of American Ambassadors and a National Democratic Institute (NDI) “Ambassadors Circle” advisor. Prior to her public service, Kounalakis was president of one of California’s most respected housing development firms, AKT Development, where she worked for 18 years. She built master-planned communities and delivered quality housing to the Sacramento region’s working families – recognizing her as one of the capital region’s most prominent businesswomen. Passionate about early childhood development, Kounalakis served as a member of California’s First 5 Commission and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. Eleni Kounalakis graduated from Dartmouth College in 1989 and earned her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 1992. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the American College of Greece. She is married to Dr. Markos Kounalakis and the couple has two teenage sons, Neo and Eon.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedAshley Labosier | Executive Director of the Davenport Institute. Ashley Labosier is the executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. She is a national writer and speaker on public engagement and transparency issues, and co-designed the institute's "Professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government." Ashley also coordinates the Institute's half-day training and technical support offerings as well as various collaborative partnerships. She is an adjunct professor at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy and a frequent guest at universities across the country. Ashley has a BA in Government from Patrick Henry College and an MPP from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedMatt Leighninger | Vice President for Public Engagement and Director of the Yankelovich Center, Public Agenda. Matt leads Public Agenda’s work in public engagement and democratic governance and directs the Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment. Previously, Matt was the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC), an alliance of major organizations (including Public Agenda) and leading scholars working in the field of deliberation and public participation. Over the last twenty years, Matt has worked with public participation efforts in over 100 communities, in 40 states and four Canadian provinces. Matt serves on the boards of, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2USA), The Democracy Imperative, and the Participatory Budgeting Project, and is a Senior Associate for Everyday Democracy. Matt has written for publications such as The Huffington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Christian Science Monitor, The National Civic Review, Public Management, Zocalo Public Square, and Public Administration Review. In May 2015, Wiley-Blackwell released Public Participation in 21st Century Democracy, which Matt co-authored with Tina Nabatchi; this book is a comprehensive look at participation theory, history, and practice, and explains how we can transition from temporary engagement projects to stronger democratic infrastructure. In the last two years, Matt led a working group that produced a model ordinance on public participation; and developed a new tool, Text, Talk, and Act, that combined online and face-to-face participation as part of President Obama’s National Dialogue on Mental Health. He has also assisted in the development of Participedia, the world’s largest online repository of information on public engagement. Matt holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University.


A person wearing glasses and looking at the camera Description automatically generatedDoug Linkhart | President of the National Civic League. As President of the National Civic League, Doug brings over 40 years of experience in the public policy arena, including eight years as a Denver City Councilman and ten years as a Colorado State Representative and Senator. Doug started his career by managing local campaigns, then worked in the federal government as a Presidential Management Intern. He later ran his own consulting business, spending his free time as a newspaper columnist and neighborhood and political activist, later founding a nonprofit organization to serve neighborhood associations and their residents. At the National Civic League, Doug’s life-long values of inclusiveness and equity are evident in his work to create new programs on racial equity, community health disparities and sustainability. He initiated a revision of the 30-year-old Civic Index to make sure that it encourages communities to incorporate equity and inclusiveness in their civic engagement work. Doug has also created new collaborations with many other national organizations and taken steps to broaden the impact of the League by reaching a bigger audience with our publications and tools.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedArcenio Lopez | Executive Director with Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project. Arcenio J. López is a Mixteco native from Oaxaca, Mexico. In 2006, Arcenio was hired as MICOP’s first Community Organizer and promoted as the first indigenous Executive Director in 2014. Arcenio received his Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Accounting from Cal Lutheran University in 2019.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedChristal Love-Lazard | Environmental Policy Specialist. Christal Love-Lazard is an environmental policy specialist with expertise in collaborative problem-solving and conflict resolution. She creates facilitation approaches using a blend of techniques that ensure high quality feedback is gathered and that a wide variety of voices and viewpoints are heard. Christal is often utilizing her consensus-building skills with local governments, state governments, and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the Institute for Local Government (ILG) in May 2011, Christal worked at the Center for Collaborative Policy at California State University, Sacramento and Environmental Science Associates. She earned her M.P.A. with a Natural Resource Management emphasis from San Francisco State University and her B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from UC Davis.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedGrande Lum | Provost of Menlo College. Provost Lum enjoys writing, teaching and working on issues that helps people and communities work together in more constructive ways. Prior to joining Menlo, he was Director of the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Previously, Grande Lum was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2012 as the Director of the Community Relations Service (CRS), an agency within the Department of Justice. Before joining CRS, Grande Lum was a clinical professor at the University of California Hastings School of the Law, where he directed the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. He is the author of The Negotiation Fieldbook (McGraw-Hill 2nd Edition, 2010); Tear Down the Wall: Be Your Own Mediator in Conflict (Optimality, 2013); and the forthcoming Resolving Civil Rights Conflicts in the Community: The US Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (University of Missouri, 2019. Co-authored with Bertram Levine). He received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedErica Manuel | Executive Director and CEO of the Institute for Local Government. Erica has over 15 years of experience as a leader in the public and non-profit sectors, including as manager of community, economic development and education at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the 6th largest utility in the nation. In that role, she directed all community development, education, and customer engagement activities for the electric utility serving Sacramento County, designed and implemented programs to address environmental policies, and employed proactive and diverse stakeholder engagement to reinforce an inclusive approach to decision-making and governance. She has also been awarded numerous certificates of recognition by the California State Assembly and California State Senate for her public engagement efforts. Erica studied at Stanford University and Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management. She is also certified in both Corporate Social Responsibility and GRI Sustainability Reporting.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedMeyo Marrufo | California Representative for USEPA National Tribal Caucus. Meyo Marrufo began working with her tribe in 1999 as a cultural resource assistant in the environmental department. Since then, she has held grant positions of NAGPRA Assistant, NAGPRA Coordinator, Environmental Coordinator, and then Environmental Director for Hopland Band of Pomo Indians and currently the Environmental Director for Guidiville Rancheria. As a Director, Meyo has managed/developed environmental programs including oversight and expansion of a Tribal Recycling Center, Inter-Tribal Recycling Pilot Project, Waste Water and Drinking Water Plant, working with Federal and state agencies to implement staff programs in Clean Water, Tribal Roads, Solid Waste Management, Inter-Tribal Agricultural Project, Alternative Energy and Education/Outreach. As a Tribal Environmental Programs Director, Meyo has received the USEPA Conner Byestewa Jr. award in 2009 and 2013. Currently, Meyo is seated as a Central California representative for USEPA on the regional Tribal Operations Committee and as the California Representative for the USEPA National Tribal Caucus.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedNayamin Martinez | Director of Central California Environmental Justice Network. Ms. Martinez is the director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN). Prior to joining CCEJN, Ms. Martinez worked for the Madera County Public Health Department as a Health Education Coordinator and for ten years was the Health Projects Coordinator for the Binational Center for the Development of the Oaxacan Indigenous Communities. Ms. Martinez has vast experience working with immigrants and residents of disadvantaged communities across the San Joaquin Valley managing public health programs; conducting participatory research and launching leadership and civic engagement programs. Ms. Martinez serves in various advisory groups including the “Environmental Justice Advisory Group of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District”; the “Community Stakeholders Advisory Committee” of the UCD Environmental Health Science Core Center. Recently she was invited to join the working group for the cancellation of Chlorpyrifos. Ms. Martinez holds a Master’s Degree in both Public Health and Sociology.


A person wearing a suit and tie Description automatically generatedJesus Martinez | Executive Director of CVIIC. Jesus Martinez is Executive Director of the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC), a Fresno-County based nonprofit organization created in 2014 to empower immigrant families and immigrant serving organizations in the region. As a coordinator of regional efforts, CVIIC and its partner organizations serve immigrants in the region extending from Kern County in the south and San Joaquin County in the north. Before heading CVIIC, he was Coordinator of the Central Valley DACA Project for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (2012-2015) and, previously, worked as a consultant (2008-2013) in a variety of projects commissioned by nonprofit and federal government agencies. Martinez served in the Michoacán (Mexico) State Congress from 2005-2007 before being appointed Director General at the Institute for Michoacanos Abroad, the state immigration affairs agency. In the academic world he taught Political Science at Santa Clara University (1991-1998), completed a postdoctoral stay at the Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora in Mexico City (1999-2000) and taught Latin American and Chicano Studies at CSU Fresno (2000-2004). He obtained a B.S. in Political Science at Santa Clara University, as well as an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkley. His areas of expertise include international migration, U.S.-Mexican relations and public policy.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedAna Mascareñas | Environmental Equity Deputy Director and Tribal Liaison. Ana Mascareñas was appointed DTSC’s first Assistant Director for Environmental Justice in May 2015. In May 2019 she was named Environmental Equity Deputy Director to lead the department’s Environmental Justice, Public Participation, and Tribal Affairs programs. Ana serves as DTSC’s Tribal Liaison. Before coming to the Department, Ana was a membership coordinator and then the policy and communications director at Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, where she promoted environmental health protections and fought for social and environmental justice in local, state, and national policy efforts. From 2006 to 2008, Ana served in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., offices of then-Congressman Xavier Becerra, directly assisting constituents in their claims and applications with federal agencies. She was a member of the East Los Angeles Residents Association board of directors from 2007 to 2015, where she organized alongside community, youth, and business leaders to improve social, educational, economic and structural resources through advocacy and civic engagement. Ana graduated from Brown University with bachelor’s degrees in human biology and sociology, and received a Master of Public Health in environmental health sciences from the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ana was born in Northern California and raised in New Mexico.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedSerena McIlwain | Undersecretary for Environmental Protection. Serena McIlwain was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in March 2019 to serve as Undersecretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. As Undersecretary, McIlwain oversees the day to day operations of the agency and serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary. She has oversight responsibility of the Office of the Secretary budget, totaling $22 million. McIlwain also provides leadership and support to all of the boards, departments and offices under CalEPA and CalEPA’s total budget of $4.6 billion. Prior to joining CalEPA, McIlwain was director of the Office of Continuous Improvement at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency where she deployed an agency-wide Lean Management System to improve agency performance, increase productivity, eliminate waste, solve problems, and continuously improve. From 2014-2017, she was assistant regional administrator at the U.S. EPA’s Region 9 in San Francisco. She served as the senior resource officer, chief information officer and senior grants official, supporting the region’s 800 federal staff. While at the U.S. Department of Energy, from 2011-2014, she was the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, serving as principal advisor to the assistant secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy. In her first year there, she implemented a new Office for Continuous Improvement. She directed business operations, and created a lean culture among the 3,100 federal employees. McIlwain was director of the office of business partner at the U.S. Department of Energy from 2009 -2011 and director for workforce planning and management at the Architect of the Capitol from 2003 – 2009. She earned a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University and a Master of Science in administration from Central Michigan University.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedHolly Nickel | Racial Equity Strategist for Health in All Policies. Holly Nickel, MPH, is a Racial Equity Strategist with the Public Health Institute (PHI) Health in All Policies team and is a program partner of the Strategic Growth Council. In this role she leads the implementation of the Capitol Collaborative on Race & Equity – a community of California State government entities learning about, planning for, and implementing activities that embed racial equity approaches into institutional culture, policies, and practices. Prior to joining PHI, Holly worked at a national non-profit, Safe Routes Partnership, assisting communities and organizations across the United States to embed equity into active transportation policy. Additionally, at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, she developed and implemented state-level racial equity strategies and worked to increase physical activity and healthy eating opportunities for all Michigan residents


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedUduak-Joe Ntuk | State Oil & Gas Supervisor. Uduak-Joe Ntuk was appointed State Oil and Gas Supervisor for the California Geological Energy Management (CalGEM) Division by Governor Gavin Newsom in October 2019. As State Supervisor, Ntuk directs a statewide regulatory, technical, and field operations organization designed to emphasize the safe development of oil and natural gas conservation, which includes: protecting public health and safety, environmental quality, and the reduction and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the development of hydrocarbon and geothermal resources in a manner that meets the energy needs of the state. Prior to joining the State of California, the Supervisor served as the Director of Petroleum Administration for the City of Los Angeles. As Director, he provided technical advice to the Mayor, City Council, and various city departments on energy and environmental policy. He previously worked as a petroleum engineer for the City of Long Beach and Chevron. Ntuk earned his Master of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering with from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedLuis Olmedo | Executive Director of Comite Civico del Valle, Inc. Luis is a community advocate who advises on local, regional, and sate environmental health programs and is a member of various state and national networks that focus on environmental policy, civic leadership, and environmental justice. Luis has served as Executive Director of Comite Civico for nearly two decades where he has led a team of local visionaries in development of evidence-based health interventions, sensor measurement engineering, programming and crowdsourcing, designing new government frameworks and service programs, and crafting new multi-media collaborative models all with a goal of leveling the playing field for disadvantaged communities. Luis values the power that comes from collaboration and it is evident in his partnership with diverse expertise, including academia, government, community-based organizations, business, youth, healthcare, and community.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedMarina Pérez | Manager for State Water Resources Board and Conference Planning Team Member. Marina Pérez is a Public Participation Specialist for the Office of Public Participation at the State Water Resources Control Board. As a public engagement professional, she has developed and implemented strategic outreach and engagement efforts in diverse communities focusing on water quality issues, consolidation of small public water systems, and site clean-up sites throughout the state. Previously with DTSC, Marina worked on site mitigation and cleanup, and hazardous waste management in Southern California. In addition, Marina was part of a multidisciplinary team with the Los Angeles Unified School District that helped construct more than 155 new schools to relieve overcrowding and busing. Marina is currently a member of CalEPA’s Beyond Green team for the Government Alliance on Race and Equity Capitol Cohort. Marina holds a BA from UC Santa Barbara in Psychology and a Master’s in Public Administration from Cal State Northridge.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedGaspar Rivera-Salgado | Professor and Project Director at UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education. Gaspar received his doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is currently Project Director at UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education where he teaches classes on Work, Labor and Social Justice in the US and immigration issues. He also directs the Crossborder Solidarity Project. He has previously held positions at several universities in the United States and was named the 2004-2005 Prince Claus Chair in Development and Human Rights at the University of Utrecht, in the Netherlands. He currently serves as an advisor to several migrant organizations in California and Mexico, including the Fresno-based Binational Center for Oaxacan Indigenous Development, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations and the Oaxaca-based Desarrollo Binacional Integral Indígena A.C. He has extensive experience as an independent consultant on transnational migration, race and ethnic relations and diversity trainings for large organizations. He was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014-2017 as Vice-President of the Human Relations Commission for the City of Los Angeles. Among his publications include (with J. Fox) Indigenous Mexican Migration in the United States (University of California, San Diego, 2005); and the volume (with E. Telles and M. Sawyer) Just Neighbors?: Research on African American and Latino Relations in the United States (Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2011).


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedMindy Romero | Director of California Civic Engagement Project. Romero is the founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, in Sacramento. Romero is a political sociologist and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on political behavior and race/ethnicity, and seeks to explain patterns of voting and political underrepresentation, particularly among youth and communities of color in California and the U.S. Romero has been invited to speak about civic engagement and political rights in numerous venues, testifying before the National Commission on Voting Rights and the California Legislature, among others. Her research has been cited in major news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Politico and the Huffington Post. She has also been a frequent guest on National Public Radio, Capital Public Radio, and several other NPR-affiliated stations in California. She is a regular op-ed contributor to the Sacramento Bee. Romero works with a wide array of policymakers, elected officials, voter education groups and community advocates to strengthen political participation and representation. She is currently an adjunct fellow of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and former member of their Statewide Survey Advisory Committee. Romero is a member of the California Secretary of State's Taskforce on the Voter's Choice Act. She is the former Chair of Mutual Housing California and former Vice-Chair of the Social Services Commission for the City of Davis


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedSarah Rubin | Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at the California Department of Conservation. Sarah is the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at the California Department of Conservation. Prior to joining the Department in June 2018, she was the Public Engagement Program Director at the Institute for Local Government. Specializing in public engagement, she has extensive expertise working with local governments and stakeholder groups throughout California. She is experienced in wide range of policy and regulatory issues as well as rural, urban, and suburban communities. National involvement includes the Council of Advisors, National Civic League, the Steering Committee of the Divided Communities Project at The Ohio State Law School, and the Steering Committee of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium. Within her home state of California, she helped to co-found an IAP2 USA Sacramento Region chapter and sits on the Institute for Local Government’s Public Engagement Panel of Advisors. Ms. Rubin has her M.S . in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Sarah is also an accomplished community mediator and has led conflict resolution centers in Sacramento, California and Crown Heights, Brooklyn.


A person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera Description automatically generatedPatrick Scully | Managing Director of Participedia and President of Clearview Consulting LLC. Patrick L. Scully serves as Managing Director of Participedia and President of Clearview Consulting LLC, a firm that conducts public policy research and analysis, designs and leads public participation and engagement initiatives, develops and evaluates programs, and provides leadership and management support. Before forming Clearview Consulting, Pat was Executive Vice President of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation where he served as deputy director of its flagship program, Everyday Democracy. Earlier in his career Pat served as a program officer and director of research at the Kettering Foundation, and as project manager at The Harwood Group, a nonpartisan public-issues research firm.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedEmily Shepard | Founder of the Graphic Distillery. Emily Shepard is a graphic facilitator, illustrator, and founder of The Graphic Distillery. She is passionate about using the power of visuals to help people clarify and align their thinking, collaborate effectively and create change. Her real-time visual capture has helped groups think better at board retreats and conferences, and at sessions involving strategic visioning, innovation, and stakeholder alignment. Her clients have included large multinational corporations, startup businesses, nonprofits, foundations and government. She believes in strong partnerships that are grounded in empathy, clear outcomes, and fun. Emily also loves to get people to pick up the pen! Her online class, Draw it Out will be launching in June. She has also taught in person visual thinking workshops at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Stanford University’s School of Business and at California College of the Art’s dMBA program, as well as at various consulting firms, public agencies, and local public school districts.


A person wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera Description automatically generatedCarl Smallwood | Co-Director of the Divided Community Project. Co-Director of the Divided Community Project (DCP), Carl Smallwood is a retired partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus.  During his successful career resolving disputes by litigation and negotiation, he focused his community service on diversity/inclusion, particularly on broadening law-related secondary school academic enrichment and post-collegiate educational opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities. A past president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, he was the first African American president of the Columbus Bar Association, where he also led the Managing Partners’ Diversity Initiative, a five-year commitment by 22 local law firms to make a concerted effort to recruit, hire, retain, and promote minority lawyers. Now approaching its 20th anniversary, the Columbus legal community has witnessed significant increases in attorneys of color at many levels compared to 2000 (the first year statistics were collected), although the work on diversity and inclusion continues. Carl, a 1980 Ohio State University Moritz College of Law graduate, has taught Trial Practice at Moritz as an adjunct professor, led the Moritz alumni association, was founding president of the Law and Leadership Institute, LLC (a non-profit Moritz Law helped to create to provide a statewide diversity pipeline program in Ohio for promising high school students from underserved communities), and has rendered remarkable contributions to the University, culminating in its awarding him The Ohio State’s University’s Distinguished Service Award


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedSonya Triplet-Ory | Interpreter with Language World Services. Sonya Triple-Ory is an interpreter with Language World Services. She is a Native Tagalog speaker, with years of professional interpreting experience. Sonia has exceptional communication skills including conveying all necessary vital information accurately. Sonia has worked professionally with various diverse backgrounds and cultures. Sonia’s qualifications include Medical Interpreter, LLC/Owner of Cherubin In-Home Caregivers and Customer Services Representative. Sonia holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Philippines and Bachelors of Science in Nursing from St. Rita Hospital School of Nursing & Midwifery, Manila Philippines.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedMicah Weinberg | Chief Executive Officer for CA Fwd. Dr. Weinberg is Chief Executive Officer for CA Fwd. This cross-sector civic leadership group is committed to producing prosperity for all Californians in all of the state's regions and to improving government performance and accountability. Prior to joining CA Fwd, Dr. Weinberg was President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the leading think tank focused on the most critical economic and policy issues facing the Silicon Valley/San Francisco region, and was a Senior Research Fellow at New America. Dr. Weinberg’s writing has appeared in diverse outlets from the New York Times to Policy Studies Journal, and he has appeared on Fox News and NPR. Dr. Weinberg’s work focuses on increasing the dynamism, resilience and inclusiveness of communities in California and throughout the nation and world. This requires all people to have access to the building blocks of the California Dream including economic opportunity, health and wellbeing, affordable transportation, housing and lifelong education, and a healthy environment. He holds a doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with honors from Princeton University with a degree in Politics. He serves on the Board of the American Cancer Society for the Greater Bay Redwood Region and the Advisory Boards of the Insure the Uninsured Project, Hamilton Families, Rise Together Bay Area and Covered California for Small Business. He lives in lovely Oakland California with his wife and son.


A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generatedWalker Wieland | Research Scientist with OEHHA. Walker Wieland is a Research Scientist with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). He is also OEHHA’s Environmental Justice Liaison. His work is focused on CalEnviroScreen, which he has been working on for nine years. Walker researches pollution and population-based information to characterize burdens to communities across California. He conducts virtual and in-person trainings on CalEnviroScreen, and also creates and maintains web mapping tools for several projects at OEHHA. He is a representative of Cal EPA’s Open Data Steering Committee, and is a Toastmaster.


Photo of personGeorge Zavala | Western Regional Manager with Welcoming America. George supports and grows Welcoming America’s local government and nonprofit membership in the Western United States. His work assists network members in making local policy, program, and systems change that advances inclusion. Before coming to Welcoming America, George was the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development for the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles. He oversaw the direction and scope of the LA Y’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts, including the Immigrant Services program offered through their New American Welcome Centers.  As a Department of Justice Accredited Representative, George has extensive experience providing direct legal services to low-income newcomer community members. A second generation Mexican American, he received his BA in English Literature from California State University, Northridge. George was born & raised in Southern California, and credits his large Mexican family as his inspiration for wanting to create inclusive communities where newcomers can thrive. He is passionate about developing programs, policies, and services that promote equitable access to social, economic, and civic participation for newcomers and receiving communities.