We’re thrilled to announce our inaugural ELN Cohort!
VP of Operations
The California Wellness Foundation
Arun Baheti is vice president of operations for The California Wellness Foundation. He brings deep executive experience leading teams and partnering with business units to implement and manage complex systems in a variety of sectors, including government, non-profit, technology, financial services, and politics. His department manages grants management, information technology, facilities, vendor management, and risk management. He also oversees human resources, legal, contracting, and compliance. He hopes Coro sharpens his ability to lead through values that encompass the richness and diversity of Los Angeles and help his network navigate a time when there aren’t always clear answers. Prior experience includes the Writers Guild Foundation, The Bluebook International, CoreLogic, the California Democratic Party, the Office of the Governor, and Covered California. Baheti is board chair of the Program for Torture Victims. He graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and UCLA Law. He is a member of the California bar.
Kristen Caloca is Vice President at Cause Communications, where she is responsible for leading teams on communications strategy and implementation for the organization’s consulting clients. Kristen’s expertise spans public affairs, crisis communications, messaging, strategic communications planning, capacity building, and integrated marketing. She has nearly two decades of experience crafting and implementing communications strategies for clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to government, nonprofits, foundations, and startup organizations on a variety of issues. Prior to joining Cause, Kristen led communications initiatives for government agencies and other clients at a global public strategy consulting firm. She is experienced in helping government increase communications capacity and enhance their outreach to build trust with stakeholders. She has held positions at Brookfield Renewable Energy Group and with global public relations agencies including Edelman and MWW. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and a concentration in Public Relations.
Deputy Director / Operations Officer
Miguel Contreras Foundation
Margarita Chavez is Deputy Director of the Miguel Contreras Foundation, a 501(c)(3) partner of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (LA Fed). The LA Fed is the umbrella organization of 300 unions/worker centers representing 800,000 members. Margarita is responsible for overseeing key aspects of operations, and development strategies for program scaling. Margarita brings sixteen years’ experience in managing non-profit operations and large-scale direct services programs. Prior to joining MCF, she spent almost a decade with Labor Community Services (a LA Fed/United Way partnership). Margarita coordinated Labor in emergency relief efforts, such as the collection/distribution of 2 million pounds of food, a national record. Margarita’s professional mission in life is to create opportunities that improve the lives of not just individuals, but entire families and communities, and to expand her reach through CORO programming. Margarita holds a BA in Political Science from USC and an MBA from DeVry University.
Chief Operating Officer
Since 1999, Sarah has been working in and around the education field. Before joining PLN in 2017, Sarah served as the Chief Operating Officer at Camino Nuevo Charter School. Throughout her career, Sarah has held various leadership roles with organizations such as the California Charter Schools Association, National Labor Relations Board, American Federation of Teachers, California State Senate, and LAUSD. She is an accomplished leader with a passion for serving urban communities to ensure they are provided access to high quality services and educational opportunities. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of San Francisco, a Master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations from Rutgers University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University.
Jerry Gonzales II
Vice President, Talent + Culture
Jerry A. Gonzales II, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is currently serves as the Vice President of Talent & Culture with Abode Communities, a non-profit, affordable housing real estate developer. Previously, Jerry served in executive roles with the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Leadership for Educational Equity, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Jerry also serves as the Chair of California Creative Learning Academy, a TK-8 public, arts-integrated charter school. Jerry earned a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA. He hopes that his association with CORO Southern California further develops his leadership and connects him to a deeper network in Los Angeles to solve more of our pressing issues.
Chief Program Officer
Downtown Women’s Center
Myong Kim, LCSW is the Chief Program Officer at the Downtown Women’s Center and oversees DWC’s Housing, Health and Wellness, Workforce Development and Clinical programs. Myong has been working at the Downtown Women’s Center for 6 years in various leadership roles serving unhoused women in Los Angeles’ skid row. She takes a strengths-based approach to leading staff and providing services for the 3,000 women who come in the doors of DWC every year. Myong has been a part of the social service field since 2003, working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, children and families, adults with severe and persistent mental illness, transitional aged youth, and individuals experiencing homelessness. She holds a bachelor’s in Sociology from University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s in Social Work from University of Southern California.
Manager of Homeland Security
Port of Long Beach
Bridgett Lewis, Manager of the Homeland Security section at the Port of Long Beach, has a dual role: She oversees security operations at the nation’s busiest seaport and serves as the directing operations at the Central California Maritime Coordination Center (MCC) housed at the Port’s state-of-the-art Security Command and Control Center. The Maritime Coordination Center is a US Department of Homeland Security Interagency Operations Center and a collaboration of over 80 local, state, and federal maritime law enforcement agencies established to coordinate the response to criminal maritime activity. Bridgett holds bachelor’s and dual master’s degrees from the University of Akron, Ohio, and a graduate certificate in Human Resources from California State University Dominguez Hills. In addition, she completed the Safe Communities Institute Executive Fellowship Program for Command Staff at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. She is a City of Torrance Commissioner serving as Chair of the Civil Service Commission, serves as the elected Vice-Chair of the Employee Relations Committee, and is a certified mediator. Bridgett has served as a moderator for a forum in Coro’s Women in Leadership program and hopes that ELN will build her network, exchange ideas with cohort members, and explore philosophies and methods to make policy decisions more inclusive.
Legal Education Access Pipeline
Cindy M. Lopez is the founder and Executive Director of Legal Education Access Pipeline, Inc. (LEAP). She is responsible for the day to day operations of this diversity pipeline nonprofit. Cindy served as a deputy attorney general for over 30 years in the California Department of Justice. She started her career in the Criminal Writs, Appeals and Trials Section, and later represented the Medical Board of California and a variety of other state regulatory agencies in disciplinary actions. One of her proudest moments was writing legislation that provided for a process to revoke the medical licenses of doctors convicted of being sexual predators. Cindy has been involved with a variety of organizations, including Motivating Our Students Through Experience (MOSTe), and the Children’s Defense Fund. Cindy developed the college access arm of MOSTe and for many years guided first generation girls in Los Angeles to become the first in their families to attend college. Cindy retired from the AG’s office in 2019 and founded LEAP. Cindy is an avid sports fan (Go Dodgers!), loves the Hollywood Bowl and cannot wait to start traveling abroad again.
Director of Government Relations
Southern California Edison
Robert Quintero is the Director Government Relations Local Public Affairs for Southern California Edison. He manages Government Relations at SCE, comprising 3 regional teams that represent SCE before local, county, and tribal governments. Formerly, Robert served for 8 years as SVP of Transtech Engineers, a municipal and land development firm serving the public sector. In his early career, he represented the City of Commerce in several roles, including public works director, assistant city manager, legislative affairs, and city planner. He holds a B.S. degree in urban & regional planning from Cal Poly Pomona, and an MBA from the University of Redlands. He serves on the advisor board of Latinas Lead CA and is on the board of L.A. Jobs PAC. The ELN program will assist Robert to continue to be strategic in developing his leaders and team while in the process uncover the best leadership style that fits him.
Director of Operations
Center for Nonprofit Management
Linnie Riboli is the Director of Operations at the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) and member of the senior leadership team. Linnie provides leadership and oversight for human resources, financial reporting, and operations. She believes the Coro Executive Leadership Network will help her navigate CNM’s adaptive leadership framework recently launched, as well as assist staff members and teams through uncertainty. The Program will develop a leadership mindset, and support Linnie’s commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Her drive to help employees develop their skills and performance defines her passion to help others evolve, adapt, and thrive. But, watch out! Her volunteer involvement also includes teaching Karate, (as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do) and you may see Linnie roaring by on her motorcycle in Los Angeles, where she has lived for more than 35 years.