By Allison Don
Charlie Gillig and Jessica Nare of the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA) 2013 Class have been appointed to the City of San Diego’s Human Relation’s Commission, which, among other activities, works to ensure that all city residents have equal access to economic, political and educational opportunities and equal access to service protection and accommodation in all businesses and public agencies.Read more
Skadden Fellow/Staff Attorney, Casa Cornelia Law Center
Charlie Gillig is a Skadden Fellow at Casa Cornelia Law Center, a legal non-profit that provides free representation to immigrant victims of abuse. At Casa Cornelia, Charlie founded and serves as director of Casa Cornelia’s satellite office in the low income, high immigrant neighborhood of City Heights. In this capacity Charlie has a caseload of asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence and unaccompanied children. He also provides community education on legal rights and serves as the Asylum Task Force Chair at the San Diego Refugee Forum.
Before moving to San Diego, Charlie lived in Washington, D.C., graduating with a dual degree in law from Georgetown University Law Center and in international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Upon graduation at Georgetown, Charlie received the Jeffrey Crandall Award, given to the graduating student that most exemplifies a commitment to public interest law.
Charlie is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont. After college, Charlie worked as a journalist in Hong Kong and as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa.
Public Policy Assistant,Collaborative Services, Inc.
Rebekah Hook has Midwest roots, grew up in Tucson, Arizona and attended Western Washington University.
While at Western, she majored in Political Science with an emphasis in American politics, environmental studies and environmental policy. Highly active in student and local politics, Rebekah founded and was President of Students For Hillary, a grassroots organization focused on gaining support on Western’s campus for Hillary R. Clinton to secure the presidential nomination. She also held leadership positions at the Queer Resource Center (formerly the LGBTA) and in the Office of Sustainability, supporting and furthering the diversity and sustainability goals of the university. Rebekah had the privilege to work as a District Intern for Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-2). An lifelong athlete, she also competed in varsity NCAA Division II Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field ⎯ Go Vikings!
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, Rebekah obtained her Master’s Degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies, with a focus on public policy, stakeholder engagement and environmental land use. While in graduate school, Rebekah worked as the Deputy Campaign Director on the Jean Melious for County Council campaign and was a member of The National Political Science Honor Society.
Currently, Rebekah Hook is a Public Policy Assistant at Collaborative Services, Inc., a public outreach firm in San Diego. Through her role, she contributes to the firm’s success as it works with, and for, public agencies and local and regional political figures on projects ranging from transportation, to urban planning, to natural resource management. Rebekah works to ensure that the public’s communication, outreach and community involvement needs are consistently met. She continues to cultivate new partnerships with aligning organizations, companies and political leaders to enhance existing and future programs. Whether she is researching policy information or interacting with stakeholders, her support helps ensure that projects run smoothly and finish successfully.
Rebekah is an active member of the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Young Professionals Council (YPC), continues to volunteer on various political campaigns and enjoys a mildly competitive round of golf.
Senior Environmental Specialist, Port of San Diego
Cody Hooven is a Senior Environmental Specialist with the Port of San Diego. She manages the Green Port Program, the Port’s comprehensive environmental sustainability effort. She is also leading the development of a Climate Plan for the entire Port jurisdiction, an exciting project addressing both the carbon footprint of the Port and well as adaptation to future climate impacts, such as sea level rise. She also works with other environmentally progressive leaders on various collaborative sustainability efforts in the San Diego region and statewide.
Prior to moving to San Diego in 2007, Cody worked for NOAA Fisheries in Honolulu, Hawaii. She began as a student employee. Proving herself dedicated to science, and willing to get dirty in the field, she quickly worked her way up coordinating the marine turtle stranding research program for the entire state. While enjoying the Hawaiian lifestyle and marine research, she decided to return to her home state of California and shift her focus to the intersection of science and policy.
In addition to her passion for bringing people together on sustainability issues, Cody finds inspiration and motivation in helping her community progress. While in grad school, she worked for Ocean Discovery Institute, a San Diego region non-profit, teaching underserved City Heights students about marine research and applied science. She continues to volunteer with them, and travels to Baja each year to support their impressive efforts.
Associate, LeSar Development Consultants
Jessica Lawrence joined LeSar Development Consultants as an Associate in February of 2011, having previously worked as an administrator for the New York City Mayor’s Office in the Department of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. Her experience also includes an internship with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HCD).
In her current role, Jessica primarily focuses on supporting LDC’s provision of consulting services related to affordable housing policy and planning, community development and homelessness, with an emphasis on grant writing, research and reports, and analysis of local, State and Federal funding sources. Her work with LDC has also included a variety of business development and communications activities.
Jessica graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a BA in Urban Studies and Public Policy. In addition, she holds a Certificate in Real Estate Finance, Investments and Development as well as a Certificate in Real Estate Entitlement, Development and Design from the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. She is also a member of the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana Chapter Young Leader’s Group.
Community Worksite Organizer, SEIU Local 221
Mark Leo was born in Baguio City, Philippines in 1984. He immigrated to the United States at the age of one, after his father had joined the Navy. After a brief stint in Oregon, his father was stationed in San Diego, California, which Mark would call home. As a “native” San Diegan, Mark grew up in the Paradise Hills and attended Morse High School. After graduating high school, Mark attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and got his undergraduate degrees in both History and Asian American Studies, making sure his concentration would be on social and economic justice issues.
Mark would return to San Diego and work for two years with the San Diego County Office of Education, working in the Juvenile Court and Community Schools. He would then return to academia and attend San Francisco State University getting his MA in Asian American Studies, a program that pushed students toward community work. After graduation Mark returned back to San Diego and worked for the Center on Policy Initiatives, and more recently as political/community organizer for SEIU Local 221.
Policy Advocate, Environmental Health Coalition
Carolina Martínez is a Policy Advocate at Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), a social and environmental justice non-profit based in the San Diego/Tijuana border region. Martínez’ work with EHC’s Toxic Free Neighborhoods Campaign focuses on National City. She is responsible for supporting residents in this low-income majority Latino community advocate for land use policies that respect their priorities, improve health, and are consistent with environmental justice principles.
Currently, she is working on the implementation of a comprehensive community plan that includes phasing polluting industries out of a residential neighborhood and creating an affordable housing project. Carolina has an M.A. in Urban Planning and an M.A. in Latin American Studies. Her work experience includes environmental justice policy advocacy in Oxnard, California, collaborating with community groups in Orange County on cultural and social justice campaigns, and researching international labor rights.
Carolina enjoys working at the intersection of race, culture, gender, civic engagement, environmental issues, health, and city planning in the struggle for environmental justice. She spends her free time playing Son Jarocho and learning to play Bomba.
Web Content Specialist, Port of San Diego
Barbara Moreno is the Web Content Specialist for the Port of San Diego, the fourth largest port in the state of California. In her current role, she is a key member of the Port’s web and social media team. She also is a co-producer for the agency’s in-house video production unit. In her four years at the Port, her videos have earned several awards including a 2010 Webby Award Honor for online video (News & Politics Category), three national Telly Awards and first-, second- and third-place awards from the San Diego Press Club.
Prior to this, Barbara worked as a television news producer in cities including Las Vegas, Sacramento, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Her newscasts were nominated for several Emmy awards and she earned a Radio Television and News Directors Association award for “Best Breaking Newscast.” She also worked as an online news editor at the San Diego NBC web site, NBCSanDiego.com.
Barbara is a member of the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Young Professionals Council (YPC), and was part of the inaugural class of the YPC Academy in 2012. She is an active volunteer with the Center and participated in the “Equality Voters Vote” effort this past election, registering first-time voters and participating in GOTV (get-out-the-vote) phone banks.
Barbara is passionate about volunteering. She is a board member of the San Diego chapter of Gay for Good, the only national all-LGBT volunteer group. Each month, the group volunteers with a different non-profit or community organization within San Diego County.
Barbara grew up in Burbank, California and earned her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from California State University, Los Angeles.
Organizer, United Food and Commercial Workers – Local 135
Sandy Naranjo is currently an Organizer at the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, a union that represents workers in retail, food, meat, drug stores, packinghouses, pharmacies and laboratories in both San Diego and Imperial Counties. Sandy is responsible for improving the lives of working women and men by developing the workers into effective leaders and organizing them into the union.
Prior to her job with UFCW, she previously worked as a field organizer for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO where she worked to enhance the labor movement by connecting organized labor with the broader community through campaigns and activities such as We Deserve Better, A Better San Diego breakfast series, May Day, Occupy Labor Solidarity and Anti-Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement forums. Her experience in union organizing developed through her internship as an organizer with Service Employees International Union Local 99, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1167, and with the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OURWALMART).
Sandy earned three bachelor degrees in Political Science, Economics, and Political Economy with a minor certificate in Women’s Studies at California State University San Bernardino. Sandy was an active student heavily involved with Feminist causes by raising awareness on reproductive rights, equal pay, and domestic violence. She was also an active member on the Coyote Debate team where she competed in British Parliamentary debate tournaments in Bangkok, Thailand, Antalya, Turkey, Melbourne, Australia, Denver, Colorado, Ithaca, New York, and Portland, Oregon. She was also on the Model United Nations team where she and her team competed and won the Outstanding Delegation for two consecutive years.
One of Sandy’s defining activist moments was organizing a mock-same-sex wedding at her high school. Along with her colleagues from the Gay Straight Alliance, they wanted to highlight the need to legalize same-sex marriage. Despite much criticism, and protest from the local elected officials, churches, and the community, Sandy and her allies were able to garner support from LGBT national organizations and they successfully changed history in their town.
Sandy’s passion for social justice was ingrained in her since birth. She was raised by parents who immigrated to the United States and like many other immigrants faced harsh racism and classism. Her father Joseph A. Naranjo was an Ironworker who taught Sandy into believing that the wedge between poverty and a good life for working people are unions. She owes her union activism and passion to her father.