We’re thrilled to announce our 8th WIL cohort!
Interim Program Officer
Play Equity Fund
Bella Gonzalez is the Interim Program Officer, Play Equity Fund and Special Projects at the LA84 Foundation. With her role in sports-based youth development, her focus is to develop and manage partnerships, programs, and grants for the Play Equity Fund, LA84’s public charity partner. She experienced the positive impact of playing water polo as a young girl throughout college and is committed to creating more access and opportunities for youth in underrepresented areas to experience the transformational power of sport and play. She holds a Master of Public Administration from USC and a Bachelor of Arts in History from UC Berkeley. As a native Angeleno, Bella is excited to be a part of the Coro Women in Leadership program to learn more about the landscape of Los Angeles community efforts towards equity and to build relationships with diverse women leaders.
The California Wellness Foundation
Gloria Romero-Medina is the Controller for The California Wellness Foundation. She brings over 20 years of nonprofit financial management experience and is passionate about investing in others and providing communities with access to key resources. Before joining Cal Wellness, Gloria served as Controller/Budget Director at Mount Saint Mary’s University, where she developed the annual and multi-year budget models, supervised the accounting department to ensure accurate financial data, and oversaw the completion of the university’s year-end audit, federal, and state audits. She received her MBA and B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. She has served as a mentor to first-generation students, enjoys spending time with her family, and learning the game of golf. Gloria looks forward to participating in the CORO Women in Leadership program. She expects to strengthen her leadership skills and hopes to build connections with other women who are passionate about driving positive change.
Senior Manager, Global Marketing Communications
Dole Sunshine Company
Hannah Judah has over a decade of experience in food, CPG, and agricultural marketing and communication. For the past two years, she led the Dole Sunshine company’s launch of their global Purpose and Sustainability initiatives worldwide. With a focus on projects that created cultural awareness for systemic issues in nutrition access and food waste, her campaigns at Dole garnered international recognition, including a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions 2022 and an honorable mention in Forbes World Changing Ideas 2022. Hannah was named a 2022 Clio Health Innovator for her work, including her involvement with the launch of Dole’s Sunshine for All Cities Program, which partners with the Boys and Girls Club of America to offer fresh produce and culinary and nutrition education to children in high risk areas. Prior to Dole Sunshine Company, Hannah worked at a variety of global communication agencies, including Ketchum, Golin, and Porter Novelli. Hannah has a BA in Communication and a Masters in Communication Management from the University of Southern California, and lives in Studio City with her husband and two young children.
Associate Regional Planner
Southern California Association of Government
Hina Chanchlani is an Associate Regional Planner at Southern California Association of Government, where she developed amendments to the region’s long range transportation plan, Connect SoCal, and worked with stakeholders in the region to input regionally significant projects. In her current role, she manages the corridor planning program and strives to incorporate equitable outcomes for the region through her work. Prior to work at SCAG, Hina has provided consulting services for a nonprofit based in San Diego, where she prepared, surveyed, and maintained biological preserve management plans for the City of Carlsbad. Hina is committed to enhancing her leadership skills through this program and learning innovative approaches for networking and collaborating with people in other organizations and fields. When she’s not at work, she spends time with her 3 big dogs and loves to train them and teach them new tricks.
Tassio Temperature Control, Inc.
Jennie is the General Area Manager for Castleworks Home. She is responsible for the management of over 40 employees including service technicians, installers and office administrators. She is the lead account executive for multiple high end properties, including Caruso Management. Jennie is heavily involved with community programs and sits on the Board of Directors for her local Girls Softball Association. She looks forward to engaging with other professionals and to develop a network among like-minded, bright women.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Mental Health Therapist & Consultant
Providence St. John’s Health Center & Self-Employed
Jenny López (she, her, ella) is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Mental Health Consultant in connection to several community mental health entities spanning across the State of California. Jenny is endorsed as an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, and cares deeply about offering preventative and early intervention mental health supports to families during the perinatal/postpartum phase of life. In deep gratitude for the Nature for All Leadership Academy and its BIPOC environmental justice community, Jenny is now the Founder for Rooted In Nature Therapy, Inc., and Co-creator for the Nurture in Nature Project & Wonder Well Together. As a WIL program and Coro participant, Jenny aims to connect with other community movers and shakers who vary in life experiences and lenses, and who also deeply care about collective care and empowerment, reflective dialogue, authentic leadership, and community sustainability to make life better for us all.
Director of Government and Strategic Affairs
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services
Karriann Farrell Hinds is the Director of Government and Strategic Affairs of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, spearheading the dynamic transformation of the 115-year old agency through expanding capacity and implementation of new services for vulnerable children and families. Karriann works extensively to increase female leadership in decision making positions, including mentoring and training women seeking elected office and government appointments. Karriann is a gubernatorially appointed public member of the California Board of Accountancy, Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission for Women, and President of the National Women’s Political Caucus of California. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Loyola Law School, Karriann views participation in the Women in Leadership program as an opportunity to enhance her network to improve outcomes in her professional and volunteer commitments, as well as broaden her understanding of the most significant civic issues facing the Los Angeles community.
Keithy Arabella Orellana
Keithy (Katie) Arabella is a Program Coordinator for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Phoenix, a non-profit that brings free activities and events for the sober community. In her role, Keithy manages daily relationships with volunteers and local partners. She plays a big role in the marketing department from a local level, and most importantly ensures that all activities are successful. Outside of work, you will find Keithy watching a horror movie, spending time at Disneyland, or eating an extra large burrito from Chipotle. She hopes to gain friendships from inspirational/motivational women, as well as knowledge that will help her grow into her career, wherever that path may lead.
Associate Director, Project Management Office
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Kristen Franco is Associate Director at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), an agency that manages over $800 million in funds for programs that provide shelter, housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness. In her role, Kristen leads the Project Management Office and oversees a portfolio of special initiatives centered on philanthropic partnerships, strategic planning, and operational excellence. Prior to LAHSA, Kristen served in the nonprofit sector and was Senior Project Manager at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. As a dedicated public servant, she is committed to economic, racial, and social justice. Kristen has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Public Administration from The George Washington University. Through Coro’s Women in Leadership program, she is excited to learn from a diverse group of women leaders who are positively impacting their community.
President & CEO
LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics)
Linda Akutagawa is President and CEO of LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics), an organization she has led for the last 10 years. With a belief in the value of inclusive leadership, she is dedicated to developing Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) to take on leadership opportunities. Linda is a Board Member of the AAPI Equity Alliance (a co-founding organization of #StopAAPIHate) and a Board member of Japanese American Community Services (JACS). Civically, Linda is an appointed Commissioner on the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission and an appointed member of the California Department of Insurance’s Diversity Task Force. She received her B.S. in International Business with a minor in Economics from CSULA. She has a Certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting through Boardsource. Linda is looking forward to continuing her leadership development and building relationships with women looking to connect, learn, and support each other.
Executive Assistant to the CEO & COO
Westside Family Health Center
Linda Lopez is the Executive Assistant to the CEO & COO at Westside Family Health Center, where she provides day to day support to the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operations Officer. She recently started this new position early this year to learn more of the operational side of FQHCs by working closely with the CEO and COO. Previously she was the Program Manager of the Health Insurance Department at Venice Family Clinic, where she was responsible for the oversight of the department and also responsible for meeting and implementing federal, county, and local grant initiatives. Linda believes that the Women in Leadership program and Coro will give her the tools to feel confident about her abilities as a female leader in health care. She also believes the program will strengthen her ability to trust her ideas and most importantly, how to bring those ideas to the table and bring change.
Assistant General Counsel
As Assistant General Counsel at Caruso – owner and operator of beloved LA town centers such as The Grove, The Americana at Brand and Palisades Village – Lindsey provides legal support primarily focused on acquisitions and development. She also founded and leads Caruso’s Social Justice Reform Committee, dedicated to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives inside and outside the company. Before joining Caruso, Lindsey received her BA and JD from UCLA and worked as a real estate attorney at Cox Castle. Outside work, she enjoys communal living at LA’s historic Village Green, silent disco dance parties with her three daughters, hosting The Badass Women’s Dinner Club as her small contribution to building a network of incredible thought-leaders and change-makers in Los Angeles, and sewing vibrant art from felt and fun fabric. Lindsey is excited to join the Coro Women in Leadership program to gain inspiration from other powerful women and reinforce her commitment to civic engagement.
Chief Program Officer
Safe Place for Youth
Liz Lee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 16 years of experience working in social services, including 11 years working with unhoused populations. She began her career working the Dallas area’s only youth shelter and has since supported historically underserved populations as a psychotherapist, intensive case manager, supervisor, and administrator. Most recently Elizabeth served as Downtown Women’s Center’s Deputy Innovation Officer, where she led training, developed culturally responsive programming, and oversaw all housing programs. Elizabeth graduated with her Master of Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 and received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2002 from the University of North Texas. Her expertise areas are in acute and chronic trauma, power-based harm, and housing services.
Senior Children and Human Services Deputy
Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn
Maral V. Karaccusian (she/her) is a public servant who is deeply committed to the advancement of progressive policies that defend and increase opportunities to ensure that the County’s social safety net is reaching those who need it most. She serves as the Senior Children and Human Services Deputy for LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, where she focuses on developing and implementing policies for early care and education, child welfare, social services, domestic violence, issues pertaining to older adults, individuals with disabilities, etc. Maral is a native Angeleno who attended UCLA for her undergraduate degree and USC for graduate school. She served on the Board of GALAS LGBTQ+ Armenian Society and currently serves on the Center for Nonprofit Management Board. Maral through Women in Leadership hopes to grow professionally, to strengthen her network, and to better serve the community through collective impact.
Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations
University of Southern California
For nearly two decades, Megan has been committed to advocating for underserved communities and working to reform and dismantle inequitable systems through community organizing, nonprofit work, and volunteerism. In her current role as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the USC Rossier School of Education, she oversees institutional giving for the school and manages relationships with faculty, research centers, foundation officers and corporate philanthropy contacts to maintain a $7 million+ fundraising portfolio annually. These funds support groundbreaking research in educational equity and policy, innovative alternatives to outmoded school systems, and community impact projects serving marginalized students and families throughout southern California. Prior to moving into academia, Megan spent over 15 years working in the nonprofit sector in the US and internationally, helping to advance giving programs across a wide range of services from advocacy and healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community, to sustainable development services in Malawi, to environmental health, to college access and education services. Megan received her Bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master’s in Gender and International Relations from the University of Bristol. As a southern California native, a new mother, and dedicated to fighting for the rights and wellbeing of our most vulnerable populations, Megan is thrilled to learn from and be inspired by this cohort of leaders in order to contribute to a more equitable future for our community.
Office of LA City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
Mirna Ezquivel is the Tarzana Field Deputy and Internship Coordinator with the Office of Councilmember Blumenfield. She represents the Councilmember at neighborhood and community meetings and events; she also focuses on Public Work issues that affect the community. Since becoming Internship Coordinator, Mirna has provided guidance, direction, and support to interns. She has created a program that establishes responsibilities, goals, and educates interns about city resources and agencies. She also recruits and coordinates volunteers through their Youth and Civic Engagement Bob Community Action Team. Prior to joining Councilmember Blumenfield’s team, Mirna was an organizer with the California Democratic Party. She worked with San Fernando Valley democratic clubs and members to recruit, train, and manage volunteers for the 2018 midterm elections. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Cal Poly Humboldt. Mirna lives in North Hollywood with her dog Kiwi.
Team One USA
Nanette Tran is an Account Director at a full service advertising agency, Team One USA, where she oversees strategic partnerships for her client, Lexus USA. Committed to a culture of inclusion and high performance, she’s looking forward to learning from other empowered females to leave a positive and lasting impact on a male dominated industry and in the world.
Black College Success Initiative Academic Advisor
LA Promise Fund
Nina Torres is the Academic Advisor for the Black College Success Initiative for LA Promise Fund. She ensures that students receive information, resources, and support that prepares them for college and career. In addition, Torres has worked and volunteered for various nonprofits and education organizations, providing college access and success resources and support. Torres hopes to gain knowledge and leadership skills to apply to her personal and professional space. In addition, she hopes to create community and foster an environment of growth, empowerment, and unity as she believes in the power of collaborative work.
Paloma E. Bustos
Crime Survivor Service Program Manager
Loyola Law School
Paloma Bustos currently serves as a Crime Survivor Services Program Manager for the Rights in Systems Enforces (“RISE”) Clinic at Loyola Law School. She holds a Master’s in Social Work and has culminated ten years of experience working directly with victims of crime. In her role with RISE, she co-teaches a class with a law professor to help students understand the experience of survivors during the prosecution of their crime. She is also responsible for supporting survivors to help address the emotional and physical needs of the trauma and stress associated with their experience. Prior to RISE, she was the Program Manager for Casa de la Familia responsible for overseeing their partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as part of the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART), a multidisciplinary crisis response team that partners police officers with community-based advocates to provide immediate crisis intervention to domestic violence survivors.
Associate Project Manager
Meta Housing Corporation
Paris Howze is an Associate Project Manager at Meta Housing Corporation. Working in the development group, she aids in overseeing the development process from acquisition and entitlement through financing and construction. Prior to her role with Meta Housing Corporation, she was with the Los Angeles County Development Authority in the Housing Investment & Finance Division, assisting in administering loans for the development and construction of affordable housing. Paris received her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from Los Angeles, Paris enjoys everything outdoors, people-watching, spending time with her younger brothers, and dining at any place that has good food. Paris is passionate about improving the urban environment and cultivating communities where individuals feel empowered to thrive. Excited to be joining Coro’s Women in Leadership cohort, she is most looking forward to the confidence and connection building Coro offers.
heidi duckler dance
Ziemba serves as Managing Director for heidi duckler dance (HDD), a site-specific dance company founded in 1985 based in Los Angeles rooted in democratic dance, arts education and spatial justice. Ziemba leads a dynamic staff, managing and executing year round professional and educational arts programming and overseeing the fiscal health of the company. She holds a Master of Arts in Arts Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in Dance Performance from SUNY Purchase. Prior to entering the Arts Administration field, Ziemba enjoyed her professional dance career as performer and choreographer with The Civic Ballet, Hedwig Dances, Chicago Opera Theater, Sarasota Opera Theater and River North Dance Chicago and served as Associate Artistic Director of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. Ziemba’s participation in Coro’s Women in Leadership program will strengthen her leadership skills by learning from others and affirming her own style of leadership.
Manager, Homelessness Initiatives
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Sarah Rubinstein is the Manager of Homelessness Initiatives at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she leads policy and systems change efforts focused on unsheltered homelessness. Before joining United Way, she worked on political campaigns, with local, national, and international nonprofits, and as a fellow with the LA County Office of Child Protection. Sarah holds a Master of Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and received her B.A. in French Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies from Goucher College. In her free time, Sarah spends time gardening, making pottery, and exploring LA. She is eager to learn from and build community with this extraordinary cohort of LA leaders.
Media Done Responsibly
Shaunelle Curry is the founder and CEO of Media Done Responsibly (MDR), a media and digital literacy organization that amplifies humanity-centered and socially responsible media practices. She is an Adjunct Professor at California State University, Los Angeles and serves as Director of Diversity at the global Digital Wellness Institute. Shaunelle received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and her Master of Arts in Education at Truman State University. Early career, she developed life skills curriculum for gang-associated teens. An advocate of women’s and girls’ rights and protection from violence, she began a multi-city youth led advocacy campaign to counter misogynoir and sexual violence in media. Today, MDR trains over 300 college mentors and has touched the lives of over 15,000 youth in LA County. Shaunelle is excited to increase her capacity as an executive while connecting and being a resource to other leaders through Coro Women in Leadership.
Sheila Rossi is an independent management consultant with over twenty years of experience working with private and non-profit organizations. Prior to working as a consultant, she oversaw the development and operations of outpatient cancer and diabetes centers, working directly with the Board of Directors on strategic objectives at City of Hope. Sheila earned her BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Near Eastern Studies from UC Berkeley. She recently completed her Masters in Healthcare Administration from USC with the goal of bringing transformative change to the healthcare industry. She is particularly interested in the intersection of healthcare technology, policy, process improvement, and change management. Sheila is passionate about the field of healthcare and wants to be a part of a movement to improve access to quality healthcare for all Californians. Sheila is excited to join the Coro Women in Leadership program to develop the skills and connections necessary for transformative impact.
Director, Constituent Engagement
Office of LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell
Sonia Lopez currently serves as Director of Constituent Engagement for the Office of Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, where she leads strategies to meet the needs of two million constituents who call the Second Supervisorial District home. Lopez has over ten years of experience working across multiple levels of government with an emphasis on making access to public services and resources accessible to constituents. In her role, she has been instrumental in connecting the community needs to sustainable policy solutions,creating public facing events that provide vital County services and information in multiple languages to reaching thousands of residents, and leading a dedicated team who also serve as first responders in the event of a Countywide disaster. Lopez is a Trustee and the current Board President of the Compton College District; she is the first Latina to achieve this distinction. As a First-Generation Latina who grew up in the South Bay and Southeast Los Angeles and the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, Lopez leads with a commitment to public service that accounts for everyone. Sonia is excited to join the next cohort of women leaders in LA County to learn, collaborate, and support the leaders who will shape the future.
Associate Dean, Enrollment and New Programs
RAND Corporation/Pardee RAND Graduate School
Stefanie Howard is Associate Dean of Enrollment and New Programs for the Pardee RAND Graduate School, a policy graduate school co-located at RAND (the only think tank within a graduate school and the only graduate school located at a think tank). In her role leading admissions, she has recruited and matriculated hundreds of the next generation of highly trained policy analysts – a change agent supporting change agents! She also leads various programs and initiatives. Prior to Pardee RAND, she was a Senior Project Associate at RAND, working on research in mental and behavioral health, emergency preparedness and community resilience, and higher education. She received her MA in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her BA in Economics and Sociology from the University of California, Davis. She is a girlmom and is excited to participate in the Coro Women in Leadership program.
External Affairs Manager
Ursula Moran is the External Affairs Manager at AT&T for the LA region. In her role, she is the government and community affairs liaison covering portions of LA City, as well as neighboring municipalities. Her role includes evaluating policies and ordinances to determine the impact on the company. She then develops outreach strategies, forms key partnerships, and builds coalitions of third-party groups. She confers with district staff to field constituent concerns, and is responsible for hosting and attending community events to bridge relationships between community and elected officials. Personal civic interests include the environment (passionate about reducing plastic consumption), animal welfare, and thinking about political changes to make life easier for working families with young kids. Her personal interests include spending time with her husband and two boys (nearly 3 years old and 14 mo), reading, yoga/spin, cooking and wine tasting. She hopes to meet other professional women and gain perspective on juggling a vibrant career and a vibrant family.
Assistant Director- Government and Community Relations
California State University, Northridge
Victoria is the Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). In her role, Victoria is responsible for establishing and fostering relationships with the community, local elected officials, the business community, external partners, and other stakeholder entities. Prior to working at CSUN, Victoria spent over four years as a Field Representative for California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of America’s Professional Network, aimed to connect Armenian-Americans through professional development and networking events. Victoria is an immigrant from Beirut, Lebanon, with proud Lebanese-Armenian heritage. She speaks four languages: English, Armenian, Arabic, and French. In 2016, she received her B.A. from UC Irvine in Political Science. Victoria is looking forward to growing her network, and engaging with and learning from the diverse group of women who have joined the Fall 2022 Coro Women in Leadership cohort.
LeSar Development Consultants
Yelba Maria Carrillo is currently a Principal Consultant and Co-lead at LeSar Development Consultants (LDC) where she oversees homelessness policy and programming throughout California and at the national level. In her previous role at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, she lead work geared toward ending homelessness among older adults and improving health outcomes among the Black and Latinx communities in Los Angeles. Her research and study of this population culminated in the publication of a strategic plan to combat older adult homelessness in Los Angeles County, “Older Adult Strategy: A Roadmap To End Older Adult Homelessness in Los Angeles”, in 2021. Yelba holds a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology, a Masters of Social Work from University of Southern California, and additional degrees in Education and Psychology. What she is looking forward to the most as a Coro participant is learning from the many women who have paved the way for those in positions of leadership, especially BIPOC/Latinx leaders.