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.
Advocacy Manager, Circulate San Diego
Maya Rosas serves as Circulate San Diego’s advocacy manager, where she leads Circulate's efforts on Vision Zero and other campaigns for safe streets. She has five years of experience in active transportation advocacy, land use planning, and development in both the non-profit and private sectors in San Diego. She previously worked at Circulate as the Policy Assistant where she played an instrumental role in advocating for the adoption of Vision Zero in the City of San Diego and also advocated for smart growth projects through the MOVE Alliance. Maya most recently worked as a land use consultant for Atlantis Group, where she helped see development projects through all phases of the entitlement process.
She is an elected board member of the Uptown Planners, her Community Planning Group, a board member of the San Diego Leadership Alliance, and on the Executive Committee for Housing You Matters. She is a graduate of the San Diego State University Master in City Planning program, where she wrote her thesis on pedestrian collision risk factors in the City of San Diego. She was selected as one of San Diego's 40 Under 40 in SD Metro magazine in 2015 and previously received a Fulbright Fellowship to Mexico.
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.
San Ysidro Health Center and Independent Contractor
Malieka Johnson is a humanitarian, artist and healer. As a general and adult special needs dentist, she firmly believes in a patient-centered approach to oral health care. This involves actively listening to the needs and desires her patients and working collectively with them and staff to achieve the best outcomes.
Malieka graduated, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2003. She later earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2011. Dr. Johnson completed a general practice residency at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, California where she received specialized training in treating people with special needs, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
Dr. Johnson also serves as volunteer adjunct faculty for Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and as a volunteer clinical faculty instructor for the UCSD Student-Run Free Dental Clinic. She is a board member for the San Diego Dental Health Foundation as well as a member of the Editorial Board for the San Diego County Dental Society. Dr. Johnson is an alumna of the American Dental Association Institute for Diversity in Leadership.
Malieka has been on multiple dental mission trips abroad, volunteers in her local community with various events, and helps lead a ministry building homes in Mexico. Malieka enjoys learning, music, Spanish, as well as a variety of hobbies and interests that focus on staying mentally, physically and spiritually active.
Community Organizer for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties
Cassandra Purdy works as an organizer for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties where she is dedicated to improving the lives of all working families and creating strong community partnerships for a more just society.
She received her BA in Social Work from Point Loma Nazarene University, where she learned to think critically about the social and economic justice issues facing our community today. As a student, she spent a summer with the Center on Policy Initiatives as a Students for Economic Justice intern. She also worked for most of her college years at her university's Sustainability Department, working to create a more environmentally sustainable campus and environmentally conscious student body.
After graduating, Cassie spent a year developing her community organizing skills with the Gamaliel National Foundation and Pilgrim UCC in North County San Diego. She went on to put those skills to practice during San Diego's special mayoral campaign and the June Primary Midterm elections, working field campaigns for progressive, pro-labor candidates before joining the Labor Council as the Executive Assistant.
Cassie loves being an Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education Facilitator for her faith community. She enjoys sewing, baking, reading liberation theology, and occasionally pretending to be a rock star.
Director, Campaigns and Policy for Mid-City Community Advocacy Network in City Heights
A first-generation college student, Sean Elo earned his bachelor's degree from Chapman University where he studied psychology, sociology, and history. While in school, Sean was an award winning high school swimming and water polo coach. After graduating, Sean served as an English and Special Needs teacher in Peru and worked as environmental preservationist in Ecuador. He then taught English in a rural South Korean community.
Sean subsequently came to San Diego to attend California Western School of Law where he was selected to receive a Creative Problem Solving Scholarship. At Cal Western, he served in multiple leadership roles serving as president of La Raza Student Association and Amnesty International and as a Student Representative. Inspired by his diverse background and belief in the importance of historically disadvantaged communities working together, Sean also worked to strengthen the Student Diversity Coalition. Sean received a Pro Bono and Public Service Honors Society Award for his work with the City Heights Community Law Project.
In 2014, Sean served as a Regional Field Director in the successful effort to reelect Democratic Congressman Scott Peters. Applying his prior experience working with students and passion for encouraging youth participation in politics, Sean led the campaign's student outreach efforts. He now serves as Director, Campaigns and Policy for Mid-City Community Advocacy Network in City Heights.