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.

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Debra Gore-Mann

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 300 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 on several nonprofit boards and 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.

Alvaro S. Sanchez

Vice President of Policy

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.

Tel.:510.926.4018

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Jane Duong

Vice President of Development & Communications

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.

Tel.:510.809.1819

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Sandra Ruiz

Vice President of Talent

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.

Tel.:510.926.4029

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Carmelita Miller

Senior Director, Climate Equity

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.

Tel.:510.926.4017

Molly Tafoya

Director of Communications

Molly Tafoya is the Director of Communications at The Greenlining Institute, where she leads the communications team responsible for the organization’s strategic communications as well as earned and digital media strategies. Molly brings 13 years of experience executing comprehensive public education campaigns, including policymaker and legislator engagement strategies to advance equity and justice for all. Her most recent roles have included Director of Nonprofit Partnerships with Open to All, where she directed a coalition of more than 200 intersection national and state advocacy organizations in advance of the vision that when a business opens its doors to the public, it should be open to all. She also served as the Director of Community Engagement with the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) maximizing the organization’s work advancing equality for LGBTQ people focusing on state-level engagement, coalition building, and advocacy. She has also served as Senior Field Representative with Asm. Rob Bonta, Director of Public Affairs with Early Edge California, and Director of Communications with One Iowa.

From her work advancing LGBTQ equality, to lobbying for increased investments in early childhood education, Molly’s lifelong work for social justice and equity is grounded in her deep commitment to intersectional community engagement and a strong love of strategic communications. She is the Board Chair for the City of Oakland Head Start program, a Head Coach with the Oakland Girls Softball League, and a volunteer with Brown Girl Surf. Raised in Hawai’`i, she misses it every day as she now lives in Oakland with her 2-year-old and spouse. She holds a BA from Georgetown University.

Bruce Mirken

Associate Director, Media Relations

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.

Tel.:510.926.4022

Emi Wang

Associate Director, Capacity Building

Emi holds a deep commitment to supporting communities of color to access the resources and skills needed to achieve self-determination. Our neighborhoods have been shaped by racist and exclusionary public policies, and we must double down on community ownership over the solutions. At Greenlining, Emi leads our capacity-building and locally-based work, helping to build the capacity of under-resourced communities to gain equitable opportunity to achieve our own transformations. 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. 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.

Tel.:510.926.4025

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Mariah Gonzalez

Associate Director, Events & Donor Engagement

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.

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Rosa María Martinez

Operations Director

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.

Tel.:510.926.4015

Sona Mohnot

Associate Director, Climate Resilience

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.

Tel.: 510.926.4004

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Rawan Elhalaby

Senior Program Manager, Economic Equity

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.

Tel.: 510.926.4012

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Mercedes Gibson

Senior Program Manager, Small Business Strategy

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.

Tel.:510.238.7090

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Ashley Myrriah

Senior 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.

Tel.:510.926.4026

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Chagan Sanathu

Senior Program Manager, Casa Joaquin

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.

Tel.:510.540.1984

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Hana Creger

Senior Program Manager, Climate Equity

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.

Tel.:510.809.1810

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Irma Hurtado

Senior Coordinator, Finance

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.

Tel.:510.926.4014

Isa Gillard

Transformative Communities Program Manager

Isa Gaillard is an urban planner and environmental justice advocate who is passionate about creating a future in which all communities have access to clean, healthy, and affordable transportation options. As a Program Manager at the Greenlining Institute, he helps facilitate and lead the Towards Equitable Electric Mobility (TEEM) Community of Practice. He also works to grow Greenlining’s capacity-building efforts so that the organization can scale its racial and environmental equity approaches. Isa holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelors in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.

In his off time, Isa enjoys playing basketball, soccer, and learning Spanish

Katherine Cabrera

Program Manager, Capacity Building

As Capacity Building Program Manager, Katherine Cabrera supports local stakeholders in Los Angeles to advance community-driven, equitable climate solutions. Katherine’s passion for social change stems from her lived experience growing up in the city of Ontario in the Inland Empire. As a youth activist, she actively organized against the policing of her immigrant community and witnessed how the logistics economy impacted her hometown as it expanded in the region. This led her to combine her passion for immigrant rights with environmental justice and advocate for increased resources to grassroots-based organizations. Katherine holds a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis from Pitzer College and is also a Fulbright recipient.  During her free time, she enjoys trail running and summiting Southern California’s peaks.

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Leslie Aguayo

Program Manager, Transportation Equity

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.

Tel.:510.926.4006

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De’Zhon Grace

Coordinator, Economic Equity

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.

Tel.:510.809.1808

Aminah Luqman

Program Manager, Capacity Building

As Capacity Building Program Manager, Aminah Luqman leads the capacity building work in Oakland and supports local stakeholders to advance community-driven, equitable climate solutions. Prior to joining The Greenlining Institute, Aminah worked at Shared Value Media as the Community Partnership Manager for the California COVID-19 Workplace Outreach Project. As the Community Partnership Manager, she worked with community-based organizations in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles regions to reach workers who were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic about their rights in the workplace. She was also the Census 2020 Program Manager at United Way Bay Area, where she worked in coalition with 100+ community-based organizations to make the 2020 census more accessible and culturally relevant for “hard-to-count” communities in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Marin counties. Prior to moving back to Oakland to work at United Way Bay Area, Aminah lived and worked in Colombia for two years as a Fulbright grantee. Aminah was born and raised in Oakland and in her free time she loves to play sports, dance hip-hop and salsa, read, and spend time by bodies of water.

 

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Vinhcent Le

Legal Counsel, Technology Equity

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.

Tel.:510.809.1813

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Román Partida-López

Legal Counsel, Transportation Equity

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.

Tel.:619.279.4766

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Sonrisa Cooper

Program Manager, Transformative Communities

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.

Tel.:510.926.4005