Controller, Clearly Amazing Outlook
jean-huy is an immigrant who migrated to US in 1990. He graduated from UCLA and was the first in his family to earn a college degree. Although his studies concentrated in Psychology & Sociology, his career path took him to the field of Accounting where he’s been for over two decades. Currently, he serves as Controller for a private company with multi-state branches.
Outside of work, he has been a volunteer community organizer working with many different organizations, including Indivisible SD Persist, Viet Vote, the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Democratic Club, San Diego Progressive Democratic Club, and We The People San Diego. His volunteer work focuses mainly on the issues of Criminal Justice Reform, Racial Justice, Income Inequality, Social Equity, Rent Stabilization, Voter Education, Affordable Housing and other issues affecting the homeless population. He has worked to successfully make change at the local government level as well as in State legislation.
Currently, he is devoting most of his attention to increasing more AAPI voting and civic engagement on issues that are important to their communities. Recognizing the lack of AAPI representation in our government, he also wants to create a stronger AAPI political network to provide support for progressive AAPI candidates running for office.
jean-huy also serves on the steering committee of the TRUST SD Coalition - a coalition of over 30 community groups organizing around the issue of Mass Surveillance Technology. Trust SD works to increase awareness of surveillance technology currently being used here in San Diego, how that technology affects the public, and advocates for more transparency in our government and creation and adoption of a surveillance technology oversight policy.
Grants Coordinator, Port of San Diego
Barbarah is a leader deeply involved in her community, pushing for alternative transportation policies that inch us closer to meeting the climate action plan goals for the City of San Diego as well as State goals. She is the Grants Manager for the Clairemont Town Council Foundation and has secured over $30,000 in grant funds and donations in 2018-2019 to advance community programs and projects aimed at neighborhood improvement, economic development, and public art in Clairemont--all to bolster quality of life for residents. Under the Clairemont Town Council Foundation, she founded a program to push for alternative transportation initiatives called BIKE CLAIREMONT and secured over $10,000 in funding in 2018-2019 to advance alternative transportation infrastructure, conduct projects to empower riders with mechanical skills and bike safety, and bring awareness of current bicycle routes. In addition, she served on the Clairemont Community Planning Group and advocated for affordable housing projects, alternative transportation, Transit Oriented Development, and safe routes to schools.
Promise Zone Coordinator, City of San Diego
Alex Southard currently serves as the Promise Zone Coordinator with the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department. The San Diego Promise Zone is a federal initiative that brings together nonprofits, government agencies, businesses, and community members to reduce poverty in some of the City’s most underserved neighborhoods. She works with a small team to convene working group meetings, bring committed stakeholders together to collaborate on projects, and direct partners to relevant federal financial resources.
Prior to her current role, Alex held fundraising positions at the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego Museum of Man. Her interest in the museum field developed after a volunteer experience at the Florida Holocaust Museum, where she subsequently believed that museums could be a vehicle for social change by cultivating empathy among people to better understand differences. After several years in the museum field, she transitioned to a career that’s directly focused on her passion to advance economic justice and equity. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and History with a minor in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and a M.A. in Museum Studies with an emphasis on nonprofit management and fundraising from San Francisco State University. She also holds a certificate in Business Intelligence from UCSD Extension.
Alex is originally from St. Petersburg, Florida and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012. She has been in San Diego since 2014 and has enjoyed putting down roots in this city with her partner, Kelly. Alex is eager to get more involved with organizations that focus on climate change, immigration, racial equality, and LGBTQ rights.
Executive Assistant to the Chair, Department of Medicine, UC San Diego
Margaret Mimie Rattanachane is passionate about connecting people with shared goals and a vision for an inclusive future. She is a dedicated UC San Diego alumnae and employee, engaged with stakeholders to understand the needs of a diverse group of students, researchers and employees. Margaret is the Executive Assistant to the Chair of the Department of Medicine. In 2018, she received a prestigious honor as the Principal Exemplary Staff Employee. She also organizes fundraising events to advance diversity and equity in education. She founded the UCSD All Staff Mixer, a networking platform for university professionals from different areas of expertise. Previously, she worked in the Department of Education Studies as the Program and Faculty Assistant, focused on community engagement.
Margaret is Laotian American and a first generation college graduate. As a transplant from Sacramento, CA, she moved to San Diego and began planting her roots in 2009. Margaret is grateful for the community that has given her inspiration and opportunities to develop and grow. This motivates her to stay involved with her passion by creating and advocating for space that celebrates diversity and challenges inequity.
Paula Perez Costas
Teaching Artist and Independent Contractor, transcenDANCE Youth Arts Project and self-employed
Born in Galicia, Northwest of Spain, 40 minutes from the border with Portugal, Paula has always lived a life in between cultures. She lived in different countries in Europe before moving to the US 8 years ago, where she first lived in Portland, OR. All the places she lived have helped her explore and better understand the meaning of community, belonging, identity, power, and love.
Paula speaks 5 languages and holds 2 master’s degrees. She is extremely passionate about cultural diversity, dance, education, social entrepreneurship, and social justice.
From an early age, Paula committed to address injustice. She volunteered with various organizations to improve the communities she called home, and worked as a member recruiter for Doctors Without Borders, as well as Greenpeace.
Since Paula moved to San Diego 4 years ago, she has been involved with different local organizations that support and empower vulnerable youth. She created the Spanish program at the Waldorf School of San Diego in City Heights, and taught Spanish and dance there for 3 years.
Currently, Paula is building her new journey full of passion and creativity. She is extremely excited to be a member of the 2020 SDLA cohort, and looks forward to meeting and learning from other young local Movers and Shakers.
Collaboration and Special Initiatives Coordinator, San Diego Grantmakers
Melissa Padilla is the Collaboration and Special Initiatives Coordinator for San Diego Grantmakers, where she supports the organization’s seven funder and cross-sector, issue-based, collaboratives. Prior to her time working in the philanthropic sector, Melissa served as the Deputy Finance Director for the Passons for Supervisor 2018 campaign in San Diego’s fourth supervisor district. Passionate about advancing gender justice and human rights in our community and abroad, in a volunteer capacity, Melissa serves as the Legislative Research & Advocacy Coordinator for the United Nations Association – San Diego chapter where she oversees legislative research and advocacy efforts on various issues such as migration, housing, women’s rights, and climate justice. Melissa also sits on the Steering Committee for the San Diego chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP).
Melissa graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of San Diego in 2017 with a BA in Political Science and double minor in Philosophy and Gender Studies. There she also served as the Campaign Director for USD Votes, Outreach Chair for Pi Sigma Alpha, and member of Phi Beta Kappa. Originally from the Inland Empire, in her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time exploring San Diego’s food scene, hiking trails, and beaches.
Policy Advisor, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
Rebecca Lieberman is a Policy Advisor at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. At the Chamber, she oversees the Chamber’s Transportation & Land Development Committee, Education and Workforce Roundtable, and the Small Business Roundtable, among other policy responsibilities. With a background in economic research, Rebecca rounds out the policy department’s ability to produce formal research reflecting the region’s priorities and pressing questions. Rebecca is a native New Yorker and prior to joining the Chamber, Rebecca lived in New York City and worked for the Times Square Alliance, where she oversaw the Alliance’s research, public policy, and government affairs agendas. Rebecca received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University, where she double majored in urban studies and economics and minored in applied mathematics. Outside the office, Rebecca is an avid marathon runner and the proud mom a sheepadoodle puppy named Woody.
Conference Specialist, UC San Diego
Joe Fejeran (he/him/his) was born and raised on the island of Guam in the South Pacific. In 2004, his family relocated to San Diego County, where he has lived since.
Upon graduating high school, Joe began his higher education journey at Grossmont College, where he was a member of the speech and debate team and won two Gold Medal awards from the Phi Rho Pi National Forensics Tournament. He is a proud transfer student and finished his degree program at UC San Diego (TMC, Class of 2011) with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.
In 2010, Joe began working with a local theater company to produce The Vagina Monologues and the MENding Monologues as a fundraising effort for local, San Diego-based social organizations. He believes in the power of Artivism (art as activism) and storytelling as an effective tool to win over hearts and minds.
Joe began his professional career in the hospitality industry at the iconic Hotel del Coronado, serving briefly on the board of the San Diego Concierge Association. Seeking a change, he left the hotel in 2015 to return to UC San Diego, where he works as a Conference Specialist in the Housing Dining and Hospitality division. Joe also serves on the board of the LGBT Staff & Faculty Association.
Joe remains passionate about issues around gender-based violence, the LGBTQIA+ community, inclusion, and the CHamoru diasporic identity.
Outside of his professional commitments, Joe is an accomplished podcaster and bar trivia host.
Account Manager, Kamiab Solutions
Tori Gould joined Kamiab Solutions in 2019. In her role she fundraises for political campaigns, local and statewide ballot initiatives and nonprofit organizations. Her work includes strategizing fundraising efforts, facilitating donor outreach, developing messaging and marketing strategies, and event planning. Prior to her current position, Tori owned and operated a multi-conceptual restaurant and catering group. Her expertise lies in hospitality, business development, project management, event coordination and team building.
After selling her business, Tori hopes to apply her experience as a small-business owner to be a driver of progressive policies for issues she is passionate about-- women’s rights, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, voting rights, immigration and justice reform.
Tori was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She graduated from Temple University with a BA in Strategic Communications, specializing in Public Relations. She moved to San Diego in 2013 with her husband.
Content Marketing Specialist, San Diego Theaters
With a lifelong passion for the arts, Leah Firebaugh has dedicated her personal and professional time to working with leading arts organizations. An East-Coast native, Leah is excited to call San Diego home and is thrilled to be a part of this vibrant community. In her current role, Leah is the Content Marketing Specialist for San Diego Theatres, the nonprofit organization that manages the San Diego Civic Theatre and historic Balboa Theatre. Leah is a member of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network San Diego, San Diego Leadership Alliance, and serves on the Steering Committee of Rising Arts Leaders San Diego. In her free time, Leah can be found playing the piano and ukulele, practicing Spanish, visiting a museum, cooking, and hiking San Diego's beautiful scenery.