Meet Our Team
We don’t just talk about equity and inclusion, we practice it everyday. Meet our unique crew of changemakers who take on the hard work of building a fair and just future where our communities thrive.
Economic Equity Director
Adam BrionesAdam Briones leads Greenlining’s banking, housing and economic development work. Prior to joining Greenlining, Adam was most recently a Vice President of Real Estate Development at the Genesis Companies in New York, one of the city’s most active African American-owned affordable housing developers. While there, Adam led the acquisition, financing, rehabilitation, and management of 52 affordable rental and homeownership buildings. Previously, Adam was a Senior Analyst for HR&A Advisors, a leading national consulting firm specializing in real estate and economic development advisory services. At HR&A, Adam supported the public-private development business line and provided market, financial, and deal structure analyses on behalf of both public agencies and private landowners in Boston, Atlanta, and the New York tri-state area. Before that, Adam was a Housing Fellow with New York City’s primary affordable housing finance agencies, the NYC Housing Development Corporation and the Department of Housing Preservation & Development. As a Housing Fellow, he closed construction and permanent financing on over 1,300 units totaling more than $150 million in debt and tax credit equity. Adam has also interned with the office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the House Financial Services Committee in Washington D.C. as well as with the community development finance group of a major California lender. Adam began his career at The Greenlining Institute, where he worked from 2006 to 2010 on issues including affordable homeownership, transparency in philanthropy, redistricting, and national banking policy. Adam holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California Los Angeles with a concentration in affordable housing development and finance, and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz.
Environmental Equity Director
Alvaro S. Sanchez
Alvaro S. Sanchez is an urban planner with extensive experience crafting, implementing, and evaluating strategies that leverage private and public investments to deliver community benefits to impacted communities. Alvaro leads our work on SB 535 (de León) which directs at least one quarter of California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to disadvantaged communities. He also leads our neighborhood-scale sustainability initiative, a comprehensive and scalable approach to greenhouse gas reduction that leverages private and public investment while improving underserved communities throughout California.
Prior to joining Greenlining, Alvaro led Green For All’s stormwater infrastructure strategy. As a member of the State and Local Initiatives team, he led the organization’s strategies for connecting impacted communities to economic opportunity related to national stormwater infrastructure investments. He wrote several reports detailing the untapped opportunity of using green infrastructure as a cost-effective stormwater management tool that creates job and business opportunities for underserved communities. Several leading water and stormwater utilities throughout the country have used the framework he presented to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits.
Alvaro has over nine years of experience working on economic development and land use issues throughout California and nationally. In 2011 he received a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California, where he focused on affordable housing and economic development. He is the President of the Board of Directors at Dolores Street Community Services, an immigration and community development organization in San Francisco. He also created the Triple Bottom Line Hub, a social media platform that celebrates projects that deliver triple-bottom-line benefits. Alvaro, who believes you can never be too wonky, lives in North Oakland, grew up in Los Angeles, and was born in Mexico City.
Amy joined the Greenlining team as Development Manager in February 2019 and is excited to bring to this role her passion and experience addressing inequities within our society and eliminating barriers to access through collaborative engagement across the philanthropic sector. Amy moved to California from the Washington, D.C. area, where she served as Regional Associate for the No Kid Hungry campaign. In this role she worked to create public-private partnerships with state, federal, nonprofit and private resources to increase awareness of and access to federally-reimbursed nutrition programs across the state of Virginia. Prior to this, Amy was with the Bainum Family Foundation, helping to build a collective policy agenda to ensure the coordination of systems (early learning, health, child welfare, and family support) serving D.C.’s infants and toddlers, and their families. She also managed after school and summer enrichment programming at Title I schools in Maryland, advocating for greater equity and access in education.
Amy holds a Master of Public Policy, with a social policy concentration, from George Mason University and received her undergraduate degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!). Outside of work, she enjoys experimenting with new recipes, listening to the latest true crime podcasts, and teaching her new dog, Yoshi, old tricks.
As Operations Manager at The Greenlining Institute, Ana assists the Operations Director with overseeing the management of the office and building. Previously, she worked at Mayer’s Laboratories, Inc. and Briones International, LLC as an Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper.
Since 2010, Ana has volunteered at SEIU Local 1877, advocating for human rights. Ana supports the union by translating, participating in protests and helping write letters of support for workers. Additionally, Ana has volunteered with various organizations that support foreign students learning English and achieve a higher education.
Ana will be earning her Human Development/Early Childhood Development degree from Cal State East Bay oi Spring 2016. After graduating, her biggest goal is to give back to her community by working/volunteering for non-profit organizations. Ana is excited to continue growing and expanding her professional knowledge at Greenlining.
Ana was born in Michoacán, Mexico but raised in the Bay Area and currently lives in Oakland with her family. In her free time, Ana loves to go shopping, dancing, watch movies and spend quality time with her family.
Digital Strategy Manager
Ashley Myrriah works to build up The Greenlining Institute’s robust digital communications and social media operation. Ashley got her start in advocacy fundraising on behalf of the Democratic National Committee while at Grassroots Campaigns during the 2008 general election and continued grow her campaign skill sets at GMMB. Prior to joining the Greenlining team in December 2018, Ashley worked in public affairs and strategic communications at several major political organizations in Washington state and D.C.
Ashley Myrriah earned a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Government & Politics from The University of Maryland, College Park.
Braelan Murray, a Bay Area native, is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he received his B.F.A. in Film and Video Production. An award-winning filmmaker with over a decade of experience using media as a tool for advancing social change, his portfolio includes work for local unions, progressive nonprofits and cutting-edge media design firms —notably as editor and videographer on Annie Leonard’s world-renowned animated short, The Story of Stuff. As Video Producer at The Greenlining Institute, Braelan has expanded and transformed Greenlining’s use of all forms of media to tell the stories of the issues and communities we advocate for, greatly expanding the organization’s presence in all forms of new media.
Media Relations Director
Bruce Mirken brings two decades of journalism and communications experience as well as a long history of activism to his position as Media Relations Director. An award-winning writer who serves as Greenlining’s resident editor and all-purpose wordsmith, Bruce’s work has appeared in wide range of publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Men’s Health, and The Advocate. From 2001 through 2009, he served as Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. In that capacity, he appeared frequently on radio and television, including ABC World News, Anderson Cooper 360, and The Rachel Maddow Show, and was quoted in newspapers and magazines worldwide. His activist career began in the LGBT community (starting just out of college with the campaign against Proposition 6, which would have fired gay or lesbian schoolteachers in California) and quickly branched out to a wide array of social justice issues.
In his spare time, Bruce enjoys hiking, cooking and gardening – hoping that the San Francisco fog will burn off enough to permit a decent tomato crop each summer. He claims to make the world’s best spaghetti sauce, though our Research department considers this claim unverified.
Energy Equity Legal Counsel
Carmelita Miller was born in the Philippines and grew up in South San Francisco, California. She graduated from Sacramento State University where she became a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and earned a B.A. in History with a minor in Greek studies. After a graduating from UC Hastings College of the Law, she became a Greenlining Legal Fellow in 2013-14, focusing on telecommunications policy.
While at UC Hastings, she served as the President of the Pilipino American Law Society and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. Inspired by her personal experiences living in low-income, immigrant, and working class communities, she dedicated her free time in law school to providing legal assistance to the low-income population by interning and volunteering at various pro bono organizations such as Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, UC Hastings Civil Justice Clinic, Legal Aid of San Francisco’s Workers Rights Clinic, the Veterans Equity Center, and the Filipino Community Center.
When she is not studying or fighting for justice, Carmelita enjoys lounging, hiking, and playing with her two black labrador retrievers named Maximus and Athena.
Casa Joaquin House Manager
Chagan Sanathu has a long history of engagement with the youth leadership programs — first as a 2010 Young People For (YP4) Fellow and later as a Center for Progressive Leadership Fellow. For 3 years, Chagan worked at the Young People For offices in Washington, DC, where she worked with the 12-person alumni board to help support the YP4 program. Chagan graduated in 2012 from Goshen College with a degree in business and public relations. During her time as an undergraduate, Chagan interned at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities where she researched the effects of child tax credit and earned income tax credit of low-income communities, with an emphasis on women who survived domestic violence.
Chagan is a former board member for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum-DC Chapter, focusing on fundraising to support the chapter’s work on immigration reform, reproductive justice, and other issues impacting the API community.
Since her relocation to the Bay area, Chagan likes to explore the nearby region, cook, ride her electric blue bike and organizing with the local Desi (South Asian) community.
Health Equity Fellow
Christian Beauvoir is a public health advocate from Southern California and Greenlining’s 2019-2020 Health Equity Fellow.
The son of two Los Angeles public school teachers, Christian majored in Urban Studies with a focus in Urban Education at Stanford University. While on campus he was also the Stanford NAACP Executive Chair, a member of the Students of Color Coalition, and led programming on gender & masculinity, sexual assault, and relationship abuse as the president of the Lambda Nu Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Over the last five years, Christian has worked to increase access to shame-free health care services for communities of color as a sexual health advocate, through partnership with school-based health centers and through the development of robust youth action boards and career pathways programs.
Christian aims to find ways to institutionalize compassion, to recognize the needs of people, and build space for their humanity in our systems. Right now this looks like advocating for greater transparency in how decisions are made for communities, ensuring historically marginalized communities have the supports they need, and fighting to give community members meaningful decision-making power over what happens to their community at a policy and individual level.
Christian enjoys rock climbing, photography, and anything that allows him to spend time in the ocean.
Environmental Equity Fellow
Courtnie was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Tufts University in 2017 with a B.A. in International Relations with a concentration in Global Health, Nutrition and the Environment. Courtnie’s dedication to racial justice and equity has been informed and shaped by her identity and experience as a first generation Caribbean-American. Throughout her undergraduate career, she sought to make sense of the social inequities that she had witnessed in her community while growing up, as she developed a passion for disparities research, health education and advocacy. She committed to pursuing a career that would focus on advocating for and building the capacity of underserved communities of color, and had the opportunity to learn from internships and volunteer experiences both in the U.S. and abroad in Accra, Ghana.
For the past two years Courtnie has worked in public health research on projects related to disparities in lupus prevalence, outcomes, education and medication adherence among African-American communities in the Boston area. This year, she hopes to bridge her experience and knowledge in public health research with public policy and environmental equity as the Environmental Equity Fellow working to center equity in climate policy.
Ultimately, she plans to earn a J.D. and aims to leverage environmental policy, tech and impact entrepreneurship to support communities in moving towards a more circular economy. Her priority is to always center the voices, concerns and interests of communities of color in her work.
Courtnie loves all things involving sunshine, fresh air and water. In her free time, she also enjoys traveling, photography, painting, dancing and trying out new vegetarian recipes.
Economic Equity Fellow
De’Zhon Grace, 2019 Economic Equity Fellow, comes from Oakland, California. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley as a first-generation college student, with a major in Sociology & minor in African American Studies.
Growing up in a single-parent household, he witnessed the persistent challenges Black mothers face when raising a family in today’s America.This experience developed in him a passion for love in all forms (mentally, physically, spiritually), problem-solving, and a desire to strengthen the Black household. He believes that Black and Brown communities have a shared struggle that encompasses both economics and spirituality. Furthermore, he perceives this struggle to have persistently been the greatest obstacle in mastering self-sufficiency, prosperity, and love of self. De’Zhon has dedicated his life to searching for a solution to this struggle, which would allow for a collective shift of focus away from basic survival towards a household that thrives.
In the future, De’Zhon intends to pursue a dual J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy in his quest to establish large-scale solutions to provide economically sustainable practices, services, and policies that ensure the mental and physical well-being for historically marginalized and oppressed communities. At Greenlining, he will primarily focus on working with financial institutions to provide communities of color with access to capital, avenues to homeownership, and promoting both leadership and supplier diversity. De’Zhon will also conduct research pertaining to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and supplier diversity. Finally, he will identify and engage POC-led organizations to assess community needs and build a stronger base for Economic Equity advocacy.
He loves to meditate, read, have thought provoking conversations, and enjoy life with his loved ones.
President & CEO
Debra Gore-Mann finds gratitude in developing long term relationships, dynamic teams and shared accomplishments. As the middle child of a biracial, military, first generation immigrant family, Debra embraces the beauty and strength that lies in her differentness.
Debra joins the Greenlining team from a background of in-depth strategic and business development expertise. With an engineering degree and an M.B.A. from Stanford (where she was the only African American woman in a class of 400 graduate students), her work has spanned across the private, public and political sectors in uplifting low opportunity communities with funding, team building and financial and people resources. Most recently, she led the San Francisco Conservation Corps, America’s first urban municipal youth corps.
As Greenlining’s President and CEO, Debra guides the organization’s growth and direction and serves as the unifying voice for our multifaceted policy work, bringing her unique, intersectional perspective to bear. She works with our board to oversee the organization’s finances, management and governance and partners with our staff and board to develop programs and policy strategies to advance racial and economic justice and to strengthen ties with The Greenlining Coalition.
Debra is a sports enthusiast, with a particular interest in basketball and football at all levels (AAU club teams, high school, college and professional levels). Debra, her husband, and her daughter all played NCAA Division I basketball. She currently serves as a managing director for the fledgling Oakland Rise professional women’s basketball team. One of Debra’s key mentors was Bill Walsh, the Hall of Fame football coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
What Others Are Saying
“Congratulations to Greenlining on hiring Debi Gore-Mann to lead their organization; she is one of the brightest and most thoughtful people I know. The FHLBank of San Francisco has worked with Greenlining, other community organizations and financial institutions to help consumers of all backgrounds to secure a better financial future. I know that Debi has what it takes to be a fearless leader and tenacious advocate for advancing the mission of economic empowerment for people of color.” –Kevin S. Blackburn, Managing Director of Public Affairs, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco
“I have worked side by side with Debi for many years. Her intelligence and tenacity for the tasks at hand to improve the lives of those involved with the criminal justice system is unwavering. Debi’s commitment to fairness and justice have always been extraordinarily impressive. I have no doubt she will bring dynamic energy to The Greenlining Institute leadership role. From city hall to the state capital, Debi is a tireless advocate to make positive change for those most impacted by bad policies and procedures and those who don’t have a voice.” — Albert B. Waters II, Retired Chief Deputy Sheriff, San Francisco Sheriff’s Department
Environmental Equity Senior Policy Manager
Emi is dedicated to supporting communities of color to access the resources they need to lead their own transformations. Our neighborhoods have been shaped by racist and exclusionary public policies, and Emi is committed to leveraging policy to bring about transformative change, grounded in social and racial justice, for our communities. At Greenlining, Emi leads the Environmental Equity team’s capacity-building and locally-based work, helping to build the capacity of communities of color to access state-level resources to fight the impacts of pollution and climate change. She also co-leads our advocacy in Sacramento around policies to reduce poverty and pollution. Prior to joining Greenlining, Emi supported grassroots community improvement initiatives in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods across New York City.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Emi has mad love for the 718. She is happiest in sunshine, cities, mountains and the ocean. She is equally passionate about all the food. Emi graduated from Vassar College in 2011 with a B.A. in History, focusing on modern American social and political history, and a minor in Japanese.
Manny Garcia Technology Equity Fellow
Gissela Moya fled Honduras with her sisters when she was 11 years old. She reunited with her parents in Ontario, California after being apart for five years, and grew up there as part of a mixed-status family. This pushed her to elevate the voices of undocumented students, connect the community to legal access and work with policymakers to find a solutions to immigration.
Recently, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Before UC Berkeley, she attended Chaffey College in Southern California. There, she learned the importance of community, the power of her story and awareness about how to find resources.
Growing up in a mixed status family exposed her to the many inequities underserved communities face, including lack of access to the internet. For seven out of the nine years she lived with her parents she lacked internet access, and although she has access now, it remains an issue at her family’s home. The reality that her family and nephews still face a digital barrier fuels her passion about finding a solution to the digital divide in California. And as this year’s Manny Garcia Tech Fellow, she will support the team’s report writing and will collect narratives to amplify the stories of the POC communities most impacted by this disparity.
In the future, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public policy or a law degree with an emphasis on the role of technology in immigration, education and society. While she pursues her career goals, she wants to expand the reach of her story by speaking at conferences, writing blogs and developing podcasts. She hopes to make sure people understand that we must act now on the digital divide to ensure an inclusive prosperous economy for California.
In her spare time she watches The Office, dances Cuban Salsa and hangs out with her friends.
Environmental Equity Program Manager
As Environmental Equity Program Manager, Hana contributes to the development and implementation of policies leading to clean transportation and mobility investments in California that result in positive health, environmental, and economic outcomes. Her work is focused on the intersection of transportation, climate change, and economic opportunities for low-income communities of color. Prior to Greenlining, Hana implemented innovative campaigns for Alameda County’s Clean Commute Program, to promote long-term sustainable behavior changes. Hana has also worked as a community organizer, advocating for climate change action and public transit policies in San Diego.
Hana was born and raised in Berkeley, California. She graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University with a degree in Sustainability, with a particular interest in environmental justice and equity. Outside of work, Hana enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, cooking, and traveling. Her greatest fear is being stuck inside on a sunny day.
As the Operations Coordinator at The Greenlining Institute, Irma is responsible for overseeing the organization’s accounts payable and accounts receivable as well as offering support to the Development team on grant and data processing. Previously, Irma worked at Briones International, LLC as a bookkeeper, where she provided bookkeeping services to various nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.
While volunteering at Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Irma became passionate for human rights and social justice as well as the work of the nonprofit sector. This is what drew Irma to The Greenlining Institute.
Irma holds a B.A in Political Science from Cal State East Bay. She grew up in the Bay Area, where she currently lives with her husband. During her free time Irma enjoys dancing, hiking and spending time with her family.
Leadership Academy Manager
Jamina Ovbude is an educator whose strengths sit at the intersection of curriculum-building, multimedia and materials design, logistics management and customer service. She honed her teaching and curriculum-building skills during the four years she spent working as an English instructor with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. There, she built curriculum that focused on teaching English as a second language through a cultural competency and personal empowerment lens, and also began to develop her passion for bridging knowledge gaps by uplifting learners to engage with their fullest selves.
After she finished her time overseas, she returned to the U.S. to work for the University of California, Irvine as an administrative coordinator for the Office of Global Engagement, where she continued to foster intercultural connections between on-campus leaders and visiting faculty from the campus’ international partners. While there, she became a panelist and coordinating member of the Diversity Development Program 2015-2016 cohort, where she was able to infuse her passion for teaching into a more robust and engaging program for the participating UCI staff members.
Jamina grew up in southern California and received two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Southern California in Communications and Spanish. She is a travel-obsessed fashion enthusiast who likes to spend her time adventuring around her new East Bay home, indulging in good eats, and singing all the 90s R&B songs.
Jane Duong is the Development Director at The Greenlining Institute, where she leads a team responsible for engaging foundations, corporations, individuals and other supporters to raise resources for the organization and its mission. Jane brings 15 years of experience working with communities of color to advance economic opportunity. Previously, she worked at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD), a social justice organization improving the lives of low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country through a coalition of grassroots organizations. She played many roles, including Director of Programs and Advocacy, where she developed the first national network of AAPI-serving housing counseling agencies in the country. She also supported the growth of asset-building and financial capability programs in the AAPI community and contributed to groundbreaking research on how AAPI communities access financial services and products. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships, leading efforts to centralize fundraising efforts and grow the organization’s influence.
Jane’s perspective is grounded in her experience working in grassroots , community-based organizations at the frontlines of building community. She worked as the Housing Program Manager for the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), supporting existing and aspiring homeowners in the Latino community. She also spent time working with the East River Development Agency (ERDA) in Long Island City, New York, and at the Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco, CA. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her Master of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Jane is the daughter of immigrant parents from Vietnam and enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her husband and daughter.
Jose Santacruz joined the Greenlining team in October 2019 and is committed to the abolition of all systems of oppression that create barriers to overall success for Black and Brown communities. Born and raised in East Oakland, Jose has witnessed and experienced the ramifications of redlining, gentrification, and racist policies. Prior to his role as Development Coordinator, Jose worked at Centro Legal de la Raza providing direct legal services to Immigrants in the Fruitvale area, serving as a translator for Spanish speakers, organizing and updating the Immigrants’ Rights team databases, and training new staff.
Jose was able to collaboratively put on one of the largest conferences as a part of the University of California Student Association, the Students of Color Conference, that convened hundreds of students together on one campus to discuss the most pertinent issues affecting students of color. He was also involved in addressing food insecurity through his involvement with the FRESH Basic Needs Hub, where he worked as a CalFresh Coordinator, screening students’ eligibility for CalFresh benefits and managing various cases. Jose holds a B.A. in Criminology, Law, and Society from the University of California, Irvine.
Jose looks forward to cultivating a society where Black and Brown communities are able to thrive and succeed in every aspect. During Jose’s free time, he enjoys experimenting with new vegan recipes, working out, and watching reality TV.
Healthy Equity Program Manager
As Health Equity Program Manager, Kelsey Lyles leads the Health Equity team’s workforce equity and inclusion advocacy efforts. Growing up in Chicago, she felt a strong commitment to social justice at a young age.
Kelsey has extensive experience in public policy development, cross-sector collaboration, public health program design, and stakeholder engagement strategies. Prior to Greenlining, Kelsey was an Equity Specialist at the California Strategic Growth Council and managed a racial justice capacity building program for California state employees, with participation from 19 departments and agencies. Kelsey also served as a member of the California Health in All Policies staff team for five years, where she led multi-sector state government work groups, developed equity-focused work plans, provided health equity trainings, and promoted a culture shift towards equity and inclusion in state government. Kelsey received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Community Development from Howard University.
Assistant to the President
La Shonda Moore
As the Assistant to the President of The Greenlining Institute, La Shonda provides direct 1:1 administrative support including primary management of the President’s calendar. She also serves as liaison to the Board of Directors, while overseeing the management of a variety of special projects for the President.
La Shonda has over a decade of experience supporting executives across industries. Among others, she has been executive assistant to four different vice presidents at Charles River Associates, an economic consulting firm and performed similar duties at RREEF, a former subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, and at Current TV, before it was taken over by Al Jazeera America.
She enjoys sprinkling her trails with the sound of her howling laughter and infectious spirit, spending time with friends and family, traveling, and lending her voice to amplifying the voices of people and communities that have been marginalized.
Environmental Equity Program Manager
Leslie Aguayo is an urban planner and advocate with experience in poverty alleviation, asset building, affordable housing, equitable transportation and community outreach strategies using both quantitative, qualitative and ethnographic methodology in an effort to increase upward mobility in urban, suburban and rural spaces. As Environmental Equity Program Manager Leslie works to further equitable electric vehicle policy and investments. She leads Greenlining’s transportation equity work, advocating to increase racial equity in transportation planning and investments, implementing the Charge Ahead California Initiative–a law that works to make electric vehicles accessible to low- and moderate-income Californians — and advocating for equitable EV charging infrastructure investments at the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and within the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement.
Prior to joining Greenlining, Leslie attended graduate school where she studied affordable housing development, researched environmental racism impacts in Bayview Hunters Point, conducted a transit oriented development assessment of the Fruitvale BART station, and reimagined the Oakland Coliseum Neighborhood using urban design solutions for sea level rise. She has also worked for the Center for Responsible Lending, advocating for predatory lending protections in communities of color, and at TransForm assisting on the LyftUp East Oakland project to improve equitable access to new mobility transportation in East Oakland.
Leslie was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Master of City Planning and holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and Urban Studies from the University of California, Irvine.
In her free time Leslie loves to dance, play tennis, practice her Portuguese, enjoy a good cup of tea, and collect handicrafts. She is always on the lookout for anything floral print.
Senior Events Manager
Mariah coordinates Greenlining’s Annual Economic Summit, Academy Graduation and various events throughout the year. Prior to joining the Greenlining team, she helped to start-up Insight Garden Program, a nonprofit that builds gardens and offers job training in prisons across California. After receiving a degree in Food Systems, Ethnic Studies and Political Economy from UC Berkeley, her love of traditional foods and non-profit life led her to La Cocina, a food business incubator in San Francisco. It was there that she fell in love with the adrenaline rollercoaster that is event management — helping pull off the San Francisco Street Food Festival, an event that attracts 60,000 attendees to highlight La Cocina’s women-of-color-owned businesses. Mariah is committed to work that helps provide good jobs, meaningful work and economic opportunity to low-income communities.
Economic Equity Strategist
Mercedes Gibson is an Economic Equity Strategist at the Greenlining Institute, where she partners with the Business Team inside City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department to better support small businesses of color, as outlined in Oakland’s 2018 -2020 Economic Development Strategy.
As an East Oakland native, Mercedes is familiar with barriers to wealth for black and brown families living in parts of Oakland that have been historically underdeveloped, ignored and redlined. Since 14, she has advocated for the needs of communities often not invited to sit at the table: poor folks, people of color, queer people and women. She has also worked at various nonprofits that serve these communities: Hack the Hood, LYRIC and Young Women United For Oakland. As a San Francisco State University alum and a certified life coach in positive psychology her passions are communication, strategy and performing on stage. In her downtime she tries to be in a lake or river as much as possible, stargaze around a fire, and read graphic novels.
Environmental Equity Fellow
Parwana’s passion for environmental justice is motivated by her personal history. Growing up in underserved communities in the Bay Area and abroad, Parwana understands that when it comes to addressing environmental issues equitably and inclusively, we must acknowledge their race and class dimensions. As a policy fellow, Parwana is looking forward to serving her Bay Area communities while learning about the policy landscape.
Originally from Afghanistan, Parwana and her family emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 in search of a better future. Parwana graduated from Colby College with a B.A. in Environmental Policy in 2016. Upon graduation, Parwana was awarded a Watson Fellowship that allowed her to travel the world for a year studying midwifery models of care in historically marginalized communities. Prior to joining The Greenlining Institute, Parwana served as an Americorps fellow at Grid Alternatives, where she worked directly with income-qualified families in targeted communities, helping them apply for no-cost solar programs.
In her free time, Parwana enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, cooking, watching shows about cooking, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Technology Equity Director
Paul Goodman directs Greenlining’s work in technology policy. His work is grounded in the belief that all technology policy has racial equity impacts. Paul advocates for affordable and reliable telephone and high-speed broadband service for communities of color, including critical consumer protections like data privacy and net neutrality. His most recent work involves fighting algorithmic bias, ensuring that computerized decision-making does not have disparate effects on communities of color. While at Greenlining, Paul has successfully opposed the highly anti-consumer AT&T/T-Mobile and Comcast/Time Warner Cable mergers; helped obtain a $33 million settlement from Comcast for privacy violations, and advised the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the use of big data to create alternatives to traditional credit scores.
Paul received his J.D. from John F. Kennedy University School of Law, and his LL.M in Intellectual Property from Santa Clara University School of Law. While at Santa Clara University, Paul worked as a Research Fellow at the Broadband Institute of California, working on issues including net neutrality, deceptive Internet service provider terms and conditions, and the regulation of broadcast television and radio. Paul’s previous experience includes research on pharmaceutical reverse-settlement payments and broadcaster liability for spreading anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories.
In his spare time, Paul enjoys cooking and making his own cheese. He lives in Oakland with his wife, who is a registered nurse and published author of urban fantasy novels.
Senior Advisor to the President
Preeti Vissa Kristipati
Preeti Vissa Kristipati is passionate about advancing an equity agenda for underserved communities and supporting the strategic growth of organizations to meet community needs. She is a social worker at heart with over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.
In her previous role as Chief Operating Officer of The Greenlining Institute, she built organizational systems and processes to support sustainable growth. In this role, she was responsible for strengthening internal teams and driving organizational strategic change. She had a wide-ranging set of responsibilities, including: maintaining financial oversight, organizational development, and ensuring communication, collaboration and support of cross-functional teams. She also created a leadership development plan (incorporating individualized leadership goals and management-wide training sessions), and an onboarding program for both staff and members of the Board of Directors.
Preeti first came to Greenlining as a Summer Associate in 2007 and eventually rose to lead the Economic Equity policy team. In that role she worked closely with grassroots leaders to ensure that powerful stakeholders understood the economic needs of communities of color and pushed them to embrace solutions rooted in equity. She published numerous reports on issues of homeownership, small business entrepreneurship, supplier diversity and regulatory reform, and regularly led delegations of community leaders in meetings with the nation’s leading financial regulators and decision-makers.
Most recently, Preeti was an independent consultant, supporting various nonprofits with organizational development, systems building, fundraising, and project/grant compliance needs. Preeti is also an appointed member of the Fremont Citizens Advisory Committee, which advises City staff on the use of Community Development Block Grant funds.
Preeti holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an M.A. in Social Work from Columbia University. In her spare time, she loves to bake with her two sons.
Senior Economic Equity Program Manager
Rawan Elhalaby is the Senior Economic Equity Program Manager at the Greenlining Institute where she oversees bank accountability efforts using the Community Reinvestment Act. As the daughter of working class refugees, Rawan is all too familiar with the obstacles to achieving self-sufficiency in the United States for low-income and immigrant families. As such, she has spent her career addressing these obstacles at Greenlining and one-on-one with recently arrived refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Afghanistan (among others) to San Diego at the International Rescue Committee. She has also worked as a policy consultant to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the County of San Diego, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and the Dellums Institute for Social Justice. Rawan holds a degree in Political Science from San Diego State University and a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
Enviromental Equity Legal Counsel
As Legal Counsel with the Environmental Equity team, Román works to ensure that lower-income communities of color have a seat at the table in order to drive climate investments to help improve air quality and economic opportunities within their communities. He believes that communities and their members must be prioritized, engaged and heard. Román grew up near San Diego in National City, two blocks away from the freeway and across the street from a car body shop that regularly violated city codes by sanding, chroming and painting vehicles out in the open. His exposure to these toxic chemicals and pollution inspired him to work on addressing environmental concerns in his community.
Román was the Environmental Equity Legal Fellow from 2013-2014 where he worked on SB 535 implementation and the development of the Charge Ahead Initiative, creating pilot programs to increase access to cleaner vehicles. More recently he was Senior Equity Specialist at the Center for Sustainable Energy, where he worked with CSE’s reneweables and transportation teams.
Román received his B.A. from the University of San Diego and J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. In his down time, he loves to spend time with his partner and two kids, coaches their sports teams and tries to live out his long lost dream of making it to the Major leagues by playing on an Adult Baseball League team with his three brothers.
Rosa María Martinez
Rosa María Martinez is The Greenlining Institute’s Operations Director, overseeing the management of our office and building. Previously, she worked with the Health Equity Team managing Greenlining’s Diversity in the Health Workforce initiative, looking at current representation of people of color at all levels within the health field. She also worked on ensuring that information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was reaching limited-English communities throughout California, conducting presentations across the state. Rosa María co-authored an issue brief designed to help ethnic small businesses understand key elements of the ACA affecting them.
Rosa María served on the Advisory Council to the San Francisco Mexican Consulate (2012-2014) and was the secretary for the Council’s Committee on Health and Sports. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Originally from Zacatecas, México, Rosa grew up the Bay Area where she currently lives with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she loves to go horseback riding.
Human Resources Director
Sandra has a deep commitment to serving mission-driven organizations and joined The Greenlining Institute to help foster a workplace culture where values are reflected in how we stretch and support our staff and how we as leaders show up each day. As a recent addition to the Greenlining team, she hopes to bring about systems and tools that will help the organization become even more effective. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, academically trained in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and was indelibly transformed by her experiences working for social justice organizations La Clinica de La Raza, Center for Elders Independence, Juma Ventures, and Proyecto Contra SIDA Por Vida. As a queer Mexican immigrant raised in a working-class community in South Central L.A., she feels a great sense of responsibility to lend her expertise and lived experiences to uplift her community and can think of no better way to do so that by supporting this amazing organization.
Environmental Equity Senior Program Manager/Policy Analyst
Sona comes to us from New Orleans, and recently moved to the Bay Area to work on environmental equity issues. She became interested in environmental equity after witnessing the disproportionate environmental burdens that communities of color face in New Orleans, especially after Hurricane Katrina and the B.P. oil spill. Sona interned at several environmental nonprofits throughout law school and realized that she wanted to pursue a career in public interest environmental law. As Environmental Equity Manager, she looks forward to advocating for environmental equity and learning how to effectively empower communities of color.
Community Development Program Manager
Sonrisa Cooper is a city planner and affordable housing advocate who leads Greenlining’s community development strategy and housing policy. She is passionate about equitable policies and strategies that protect low-income communities of color from displacement. Sonrisa got her start in housing as an intern at the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation in Boston, where she worked on affordable real estate development and organized tenants around energy issues. She also has experience as a program evaluation consultant for utility energy efficiency programs. Sonrisa is a recent graduate of Greenlining’s Leadership Academy, and holds a master’s in City Planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Wellesley College.
Sonrisa is a Jeopardy! champion and trivia enthusiast with a tendency to sprinkle useless facts into every conversation. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with sourdough bread, spending time outdoors, and rooting for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Technology Equity Legal Counsel
Vinhcent Le is a Technology Equity attorney at the Greenlining Institute, where he develops Greenlining’s strategy to protect consumer privacy, prevent algorithmic bias in economic opportunity and to close the digital divide. As an attorney practicing before the California Public Utilities Commission, Vinhcent helped secure multi-million dollar commitments to increase broadband access in California, modernization of the Lifeline program and the development of a program providing laptops to low-income students across the state.
Vinhcent received his J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to Greenlining, Vinhcent advocated for clients as a law clerk at the Public Defenders Office, the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals and the Small Business Administration.