Meet the board members of the San Diego Leadership Alliance.
Co-Presidents: Ashley Rodriguez & Erin Hogeboom
Secretary: Caryl Montero-Adams
Treasurer: Mark Tran
Alumni & Programming: Javier Gomez, Emily Wier, Krista Stellmacher
Communications: Ajay Estrada, Eric Henson
Finance & Compliance: Matt Strabone
Institute: Caryl Montero-Adams, Katie Penninga, Marco Briones
Mentorship, Selections & Outreach: Gary Rotto, Alberto Velasquez
Policy Advisor, San Diego County Board of Supervisors
Emily is a Policy Advisor for San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, and focuses on environmental and climate policy. She has nearly a decade of environment and energy policy experience. She notably served in the Obama Administration's Office of Energy and Climate Change, where she advised on electric vehicle and renewable energy policy, and was also a 2014 fellow with the San Diego Leadership Alliance. She received her master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale.
Director, Student Life & Leadership, San Diego State University
Caryl Montero-Adams is originally from a small town in northeast Ohio. As a first-generation college student, she moved across the state to pursue higher education. While in school, her co-curricular involvement introduced her to social issues and the progressive community. Caryl’s transformative collegiate experiences sparked a lifelong passion for service and community engagement, which included tutoring refugees, working on political campaigns for LGBTQ+ rights, lobbying on Capitol Hill for comprehensive sexuality education, and participating in an intensive experiential learning program centered on issues of diversity and inclusion.
Having established roots in San Diego in 2011, Caryl serves as the Director of Student Life & Leadership at San Diego State University. In her role, she leads the areas of Student Organizations & Activities, Fraternity & Sorority Life, the Glazer Center for Leadership & Service, and Commuter Life. At SDSU, Caryl serves as a Senator on University Senate and is active on several cross-campus committees, including the Sexual Violence Task Force and the Inclusive Diversity Task Force. Prior to her role as Director, she served as an Assistant Director for Fraternity & Sorority Life and as a Residence Hall Coordinator at SDSU. Caryl has been honored by the Division of Student Affairs with the Excellence in Student Development award in 2018 and Exceptional New Professional award in 2014.
Caryl earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in Health Promotion and Education: Community Health from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University. She was a 2018 Fellow of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute. Caryl is passionate about issues of inclusion, access, gender equality, reproductive justice, community development, and health promotion. Caryl resides in central San Diego, where she and her partner Luis are raising their child Remington.
Director, San Diego for Every Child
Erin Hogeboom is Director of San Diego for Every Child, the Coalition to End Child Poverty. In addition to being the co-president of the San Diego Leadership Alliance, she is the Community Service Director for San Diego County Young Democrats.
Erin holds a master's degree in Global Affairs from New York University and received her bachelor's degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University. Previously she was the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), an education non-profit encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Before NGCP, Erin managed the Feeding Kids program at Feeding San Diego. She is a 2015 alumna of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute, and a former volunteer mediator for the New York Peace Institute.
Erin Hogeboom is committed to a more equitable San Diego. She enjoys adventuring, cooking, gardening, hiking, and climbing, and lives in Azalea Park with her wife, father, and two cats.
Program Associate, The California Endowment
Mark Tran is a Program Associate at The California Endowment. He joined TCE in January of 2016, and provides support in grant making, grant monitoring, assisting grantees with grant proposals, analytical and research support, and providing consultation, technical assistance, information, and other support to strengthen the capacity of community partners to engage in collaborative community-led change strategies.
Before joining TCE, Mark was at Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (CAN), a community collaborative based in the diverse community of City Heights in San Diego, California. He was at Mid-City CAN for 6 years, beginning as the Youth Community Organizer, transitioning over to their Leadership Development Specialist, and eventual promotion to Associate Executive Director.
Mark's background in community development work began years earlier with his post-Hurricane Katrina experience in East Biloxi, Mississippi. It was here where Mark received his grounding in community development and community organizing; working with the historic Black and Vietnamese American communities of East Biloxi.
Mark attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he doubled majored in Asian American Studies and History. He is also a graduate of Gamaliel National Leadership Training, Midwest Academy, International Association for Public Participation, and the Institute of Cultural Affairs.
Krista Leigh Stellmacher
Director of Resource Development, San Diego Mesa College Foundation, Inc.
Krista believes in and strives for a balance between an open, compassionate heart and a strong, analytical mind. She is a fourth-generation Californian originally from Cupertino in the Silicon Valley. Before attending college, Krista took a gap year to work and travel abroad in countries including Poland, Sweden, Spain, and Italy. This formative experience broadened her perspective and served as a foundation for her values and sense of community. She then returned to the United States, where she graduated from the University of California, San Diego Cum Laude with a bachelor's in Literature/Writing.
Krista joined Community HousingWorks in 2010 and serves as Director of Advancement. With a strong track record securing grants, she now oversees all of CHW's fundraising and communications activities, bringing in $2.33 million of contributed revenue to support CHW's mission and serving on the organization's Senior Leadership team to inform and drive strategy. Fueled by a passion for social justice and a dedication to her community, she is grateful to find purpose in her work. She lives in Southeast San Diego and rescued a very sweet pit bull named Savannah.
Ansermio Jake Estrada Communications Manager, Office of Councilmember Chris Ward
Ansermio Jake currently works as the Communications Manager for Councilmember Chris Ward. Previously, he worked for Councilmember David Alvarez. Ansermio has worked on and has managed several campaigns in both the City of San Diego and San Diego County.
Ansermio Jake obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science with a focus on international relations from the University of California, Riverside. He is originally from Bakersfield, California and made San Diego his home in 2013. He enjoys listening to podcasts, getting lost in Twitter and campaigning for progressive candidates.
Owner, Strabone Law
Matthew J. Strabone is the owner of Strabone Law, a practice specializing in the representation of nonprofits, campaigns, and small businesses. He has counseled numerous campaigns for office at the local, state, and federal levels as well as a number of ballot measure campaigns. He has also provided legal guidance to President Obama and has advised a host of public charities and foundations, trade associations, and other nonprofits.
Additionally, Matthew has published policy articles and op-eds on a range of topics in U.S. News & World Report, The Hill, The Diplomat, the Georgetown Public Policy Review, the Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal, Voice of San Diego, and Circulate San Diego's blog. His media appearances have included stints on NBC San Diego's Politically Speaking program, KPBS San Diego's Midday Edition and Evening Edition programs, KCBQ's Military Mondays program, and Voice of San Diego's VOSD podcast.
Matthew was previously an attorney at Perkins Coie. He holds a B.A., cum laude, from the University of Rochester and a J.D. from the University of Southern California Law School, where he was development editor of the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice. He is a partner of the Truman National Security Project, a board member of the San Diego Leadership Alliance, and a member of the Holiday Bowl Committee, and he holds an appointment to the City of San Diego Parking Advisory Board.
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Mayor Mary Salas, City of Chula Vista
In December of 2014, Alberto Velasquez became the Senior Policy Advisor for Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, the first Latina elected Mayor in the history of San Diego County. In that capacity he is the Mayor's primary advisor on issues ranging from Economic Development, Infrastructure, Transportation, the Environment to Binational Affairs. He is also the primary contact in regards to these issues for the Mayor's office.
A near life-long resident of the South Bay of San Diego, Albert has been active in his neighborhood as chair of the Otay Mesa/Nestor Planning Group and as the District Eight representative for the Qualcomm Stadium Advisory Board. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and was named the most outstanding student of political theory of his graduating class.
Prior to joining the Mayor's staff, Albert was a District Field Representative for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez serving the communities of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City. He was lead policy person in the district on Health Care, Education, the State Budget, Transportation, the Environment and Border Issues.
In his spare time Albert enjoys traveling, reading, and a fan of Manchester United and the San Francisco Giants.
Donor Engagement Manager, inewsource
Ashley Rodriguez manages donor engagement for inewsource, a data-driven investigative nonprofit news outlet. In addition to being the co-president of the San Diego Leadership Alliance, she is the Vice President of the Sherman Heights Community Center Board, and a member of the Victory Fund Campaign Board.
Ashley holds a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego and completed her bachelor’s at San Diego State University in International Security and Conflict Resolution. Previously she worked at the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI), a local progressive policy think tank, where she managed grants, individual giving, and special events. Before her time with CPI, Ashley worked at KPBS, where she managed grants and led community engagement initiatives. She is a 2016 alumna of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute and was the board chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of San Diego from 2015-2017. In 2013, she received the San Diego Business Journal honor of "Top 20 in their 20’s".
Ashley Rodriguez is passionate about social justice, equity, and the nonprofit sector. When she's not working or volunteering, you'll likely find her walking around the Normal Heights neighborhood with her two dogs.
Senior Organizer, Center on Policy Initiatives
At San Diego City College, he was one of the first members to join Bringing Education and Activism Together (BEAT). That experience introduced him to social and economic justice issues and motivated him to look for ways to help better his community and the lives of working families. He joined the staff of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, where he served as a Field Organizer.
After the November 2012 elections and subsequent special elections, he took a position in the District Office of California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, as a Field Representative, representing the 80th Assembly District. In the 2016 primary and general elections, Marco served as Campaign Manager for Lorena Gonzalez for Assembly, and also worked as Campaign Manager for Mara Elliott, who became the first female and non-white San Diego City Attorney.
Marco was a 2014 Fellow in the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute and has since served on the institute’s Board of Directors. He also serves on the board of the Border View YMCA in his neighborhood of Otay Mesa in south San Diego. Marco is studying political science at City and Southwestern Colleges.
Gary S. Rotto
Senior Vice President of Government and Community Affairs at Borrego Health
Gary Rotto serves as the Senior Vice President of Government and Community Affairs at Borrego Health. He is the former Director of Health Policy and Strategic Communications for the Council of Community Clinics. In that role, Gary oversaw the legislative, political and strategic communications functions of the organization and its three subsidiaries.
Through the California Primary Care Association (CPCA), Gary serves as a past chair of the Consortia Policy Group, the statewide network of community clinic policy directors. He is also on the CPCA Legislative Committee, Rural Committee and the Government Operations Committee.
Gary has been a fixture in local and state politics for almost 20 years. He has served as a Deputy Director in the Office of the Governor, representing the office in San Diego and advocating for San Diego interests within the Administration. He has also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for County Supervisor Ron Roberts. In this capacity, he provided policy guidance as the Policy Director and as Deputy Communications Director.
As the representative of the Council of Community Clinics, Gary serves on the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee and the Health Committee. With the Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP), Gary sits on the Public Policy Committee. He is also on the Health Committee of the San Diego Taxpayers Association.
Gary has a background in non-profit management and was selected for the Federation Executive Recruitment and Retention Program, a national program of the Council of Jewish Federations. In San Diego, Gary directed the work of the American Jewish Committee, one of the foremost human relations organizations in the world, acting as its Regional Executive Director. In that capacity, Gary led policy discussions with the Embassy of Armenia, Embassy of Indonesia and Embassy of Mexico.
His extensive community endeavors include serving as a Past President of Congregation Dor Hadash, the only Reconstructionist (Jewish) congregation in San Diego County and as a board member of the Latino- Jewish Coalition.
He is known in the University City and Clairemont communities as "Coach Gary" for coaching for over ten seasons with Mesa Soccer and with a University City girls basketball program at Standley Recreation Center.
An avid runner, Gary participates in the Ragnar Series of long distance relays and has completed the Triple Crown, running the Carlsbad Half Marathon, La Jolla Half Marathon and America's Finest City Half Marathon in one calendar year. The paths around Mission Bay formed his training course on his longer training runs. As a compliment to his running, Gary is a novice boxer, working with trainers at the Art of 8 including former Muay Thai world champion, Melchor Manor.
He was named a "Top Influencer" by the San Diego Daily Transcript and is a finalist for the Healthcare Champion Award from the San Diego Business Journal. Gary was also named as a 2015 recipient of the Grassroots Advocacy Elizabeth K. Cooke MVP Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers.
Gary currently writes a political and lifestyle column for the San Diego Jewish World.