We’re thrilled to announce our 9th WIL cohort!
First 5 LA, Communities Team
Alyssa Gutierrez currently serves as the Communities Program Officer for First 5 LA, a public Grantmaker and early childhood advocacy organization, where she supports community power-building and systems change efforts, with the goal of ensuring children 0-5 and their families have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. Ms.Gutierrez also Chairs the Long Beach Equity and Human Relations Commission, where she advises the Mayor and City Council on policies that advance social justice and equity in the city. Ms. Gutierrez has a passion for social and racial justice and believes strongly that marginalized communities’ voices must be centered in policy and program solutions. Ms. Gutierrez has a decade of experience in social and economic policy development, community advocacy, and leadership in the public and nonprofit sector. By participating in Coro WIL, Ms. Gutierrez hopes to strengthen her leadership skills and build cross-sector relationships with women across Southern California.
Managing Director of Operations
Para Los Niños
Blanca is the Managing Director of Operations at Para Los Niños (PLN). In her role as the Managing Director of Operations she creates functional strategies and objectives for the agency and develops budgets, policies, and procedures to support the functional infrastructure at PLN. Blanca is responsible for ensuring efficient and effective facilities operations and oversight of the Facilities Department and all property management. Blanca is responsible for participating with all levels of management and staff in building a culture of shared vision and goals while supporting a climate where all staff will be challenged, motivated and supported.
Blanca is an active participant in her church and enjoys spending time with her family watching her sons and husband play baseball in college and/or Sunday leagues. Blanca loves to spend time gardening with her father and cooking with her mother and daughter.
Blanca is looking forward to learning more about being an effective leader and building relationships with a group of individuals that she can depend on and look to for guidance and support.
Sr. Director of Fundraising & Community Engagement
LA LGBT Center, AIDS/LifeCycle
Cailin is the Sr. Director of Fundraising & Community Engagement at AIDS/LifeCycle. She oversees the annual fundraising campaign revenue of over $16 million including donor and fundraiser acquisition, stewardship and retention as well as hiring, management and training of staff across offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Cailin enjoys the outdoors and can often be found hiking, biking or kayaking in her free time. She is passionate about environmental issues and fundraising for various causes. Cailin is excited to meet other women in leadership and learn with them and from them during the Women in Leadership program.
Senior Library, Arts & Culture Supervisor
City of Glendale, Brand Library & Art Center
Caley Cannon is the Senior Library, Arts & Culture Supervisor at Brand Library & Art Center, a unique public library in Glendale focused on visual arts and music. She also oversees ReflectSpace Gallery at Glendale’s Central Library; an exhibition space designed to explore and reflect on social justice topics. Prior to joining the City of Glendale she held positions as research librarian for the arts at Florida State University and Savannah College of Art and Design. Caley received Master’s degrees in Art History and Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute in New York. She is active in community engagement, working to promote the vital role of libraries and the visual and performing arts in sustaining thriving communities. She is excited to further develop her leadership skills through the CORO Women in Leadership program.
Senior Director, Local Advocacy, Greater Los Angeles
California Charter School Association
Carmen is the Senior Director of Local Advocacy in the Greater Los Angeles area at the California Charter School Association. She oversees policy and advocacy efforts to support member charter schools across Los Angeles County in the areas of charter school authorization, renewals, growth, funding equity, facilities, and community advocacy. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking or watching movies. She hopes to refine and gain new leadership skills she can implement in her work and career as well as increase her network with women professionals in LA.
Caroline Orija is a sustainability enthusiast with experience in the nonprofit and profit world. Caroline has an extensive background in sustainability practices, environmental justice, climate change resilience, and water management. Caroline has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies and Planning from California State University, Northridge, and a Master of Arts in Urban Sustainability from Antioch University Los Angeles. Caroline’s graduate and professional work is at the intersection of environmental health and justice, urban planning, water conservation, and quality, and advancing policy to address historically served communities. Caroline began her second career in environmental justice, working on water equity in Watts, Compton, and Sacramento. Caroline has served on the Environmental Coalition for Water Board, OurWater LA planning committee has supported many campaigns that address environmental and sustainability measures (Measure A, Proposition 68, AB 617 Air Quality Steering Committee, Slauson Connect Community Hub, and Jordan Downs Environmental Justice Coalition). Caroline hopes to continue working and supporting environmental justice causes in her neighborhood of Inglewood and South Central Los Angeles. Caroline aims to advance solutions rooted in open space access, health equity, and improving environmental health conditions across Los Angeles. And loves to garden and dance!
Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
Charlotte Friedman is a Program Officer at the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. Charlotte manages The Foundation’s flagship institutional grant program, Cutting Edge Grants, and provides in depth philanthropic advising to The Foundation’s family of donors. She has guided donors in a diverse range of philanthropic topics and has particular expertise in engaging multi-generational families, as well as advising on the issues of early childhood development, maternal and infant health, homelessness, the Jewish nonprofit landscape in Los Angeles, and basic needs. As a new mom, Charlotte is excited about the opportunity to learn from and connect with other women who have experience balancing family with career growth. She also looks forward to connecting with other women in different stages in their careers and learning tangible skills that will enhance her career and personal life.
Program Officer, Opportunity Youth
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Christie Cardenas brings more than a decade of experience in the nonprofit, public and private sector, managing programs and supporting systems change efforts in the areas of health, youth leadership, and early care and education. Currently, she serves as a Program Officer for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to support the Foundation’s goal of achieving economic well-being for Opportunity Youth. She is enthusiastic about bringing diverse stakeholders together and building capacity for public organizations to bring social justice, inclusion, and equity into the communities they serve. She is a proud first-generation immigrant from the Philippines. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Community Development from the University of the Philippines and holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from California State University Northridge. In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring young women and spending time outdoors with her 3 young children.
Administrative Manager/Board Liaison
LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program
Christine is the Administrative Manager and Board Liaison at the LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program. In her capacity as the Administrative Manager and Board Liaison, she works closely with the President & CEO and Vice President of Development to effectively support all boards and develop the process of strong board development and engagement. Additionally, she is the Project Director for the AmeriCorps VISTA program at LA’s BEST providing program management, recruitment, professional development opportunities and grant reporting. She enjoys spending time with family, basketball and learning new recipes. In participating in CORO, she hopes to network and build lasting connections with other professional women and learn innovative leadership skills that will help her become a more impactful leader, effect lasting change and develop and cultivate strategic partnerships.
SSG HOPICS, Interim Housing – A Bridge Home
Darneicea is the Program Manager for A Bridge Home – JD’s Place at Special Services for Groups- HOPICS. As a Program Manager, she manages the operations of the location, ensuring that it provides safe and supportive housing; advocating for the needs of the participants and working to build support for policies and programs that address homelessness. The Coro participation will provide me the tools necessary to increase my skills on leading individuals that make an impact on the lives of individuals and communities.
Manager, Public Policy & Government Relations
Emily Michels is the Manager of Public Policy & Government Relations at SoCal Grantmakers. She provides leadership and strategic direction on SCG’s policy priorities, plans annual advocacy trips, and serves as the liaison for the Public Policy Advisory Committee. She is responsible for developing and maintaining external relationships with partners, members, and elected officials, as well as cross-team collaboration and policy communications. Emily graduated from Emory University with an M.A. in Bioethics and Colorado College with a B.A. in Bioethics & Public Policy, and has published research on policy solutions for ethical community-driven public health interventions, fair research practices, narrative ethics, and equitable resource distribution. Emily enjoys trying out new recipes and restaurants, bouncing between ski mountains and the beach, and trying to keep all her houseplants alive. She is looking forward to learning from a diverse group of women through CORO and expanding her understanding of her leadership style.
Sr. Administrative Assistant, Advisory & Transaction Services
Jackie Hastings is the Sr. Administrative Assistant of Advisory and Transaction services at CBRE in West Los Angeles. Jakie’s main responsibilities in this role are property, project and office management, managing a team of nine direct reports, budgeting and expense accounting and West LA business strategy planning. She is interested in city planning: Transportation, housing, support structures for homeless women and/or orphaned children and mental health and drug abuse recovery.
Director of Funding and Allocations
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Janine Trejo is the Director of Funding and Allocations at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, with 8 years working in homeless services.
Scheduler & District Operations
U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Ruiz (CA-25)
Janine Gregory is a policy analyst and political strategist with a background in healthcare policy and program management. She is currently employed by the U.S. House of Representatives as a Scheduler and District Operations Manager, where she oversees a portfolio encompassing arts, education, and labor concerns, and works to connect communities to government to address regional needs through federal funding and assistance. Janine is also retained as a political consultant by candidates seeking local and state office, is an elected ADEM delegate for Assembly District 47, and is Chair of the Young Democrats of the Desert committee for Democrats of the Desert. She is deeply passionate about mitigating the impact of socioeconomic barriers on health outcomes, access to higher education, and overall quality of life indicators, and plans to utilize her experiences with Coro to build coalitions to address these barriers and improve opportunities within the Coachella Valley region.
Program Director, Education Recovery Fund
Jasmine Ako is the Program Director, Education Recovery Fund at GPSN, where she manages programs, grantmaking, and partnerships for investments in students’ academic recovery, access to enrichment, and emotional well-being. Prior to GPSN, she worked in strategy consulting at EY-Parthenon, charter school operations at Green Dot Public Schools, and finance in Wells Fargo’s Education and Nonprofit Banking Group. Jasmine is passionate about empowering organizations and individuals to achieve their full potential. Outside of work, Jasmine serves as Vice President of the board of LAMusArt and enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two cats. She received her MBA from the Yale School of Management and B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Through the Coro Women in Leadership program, Jasmine is excited to strengthen her leadership capacity and learn from other mission-driven women to effect positive change in the workplace and across sectors.
Jiah is an Architect at Stantec in Los Angeles, California. She works within the transit & civic sectors on projects ranging from bus operations & maintenance facilities to transit terminals and stations. Jiah has taken on the role of a Project Architect leading design teams as well as collaborating with clients to take design concepts through bidding, permitting, and construction. Outside of her work, she dedicates her time to Asian American Architects & Engineers (AAa/e) as a fundraising committee member and to ACE Mentor Program of America mentoring high school students interested in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries. She is looking forward to participating in Coro’s Women in Leadership program to gain knowledge in the variety of leadership styles across different industries, establishing a strong foundation to become an effective and confident leader.
Economic Development Deputy
City of Los Angeles, Office of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (CD-3)
Jill is the Economic Development Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. She is the business liaison for the Third Council District and responsible for building and maintaining relationships with local businesses, assisting businesses with City-related concerns, and advocating for policy solutions that create equitable economic advancement opportunities for residents of Los Angeles, especially those living in the West Valley. Jill is an avid reader, although audiobooks are generally better suited for her current lifestyle. She also enjoys cooking and eating, crocheting and knitting, and going on walks with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. She’s passionate about reproductive justice and reducing barriers to civic engagement. As a relatively new Angeleno, Jill is hoping that the Coro Women in Leadership Fellowship will help her create a network of local, like minded, professional women.
Deputy Executive Officer, Program Management
Los Angeles Metro
Kavita Mehta is a Deputy Executive Officer in the Program Management Department at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). She has over 25 years of progressive experience in project management, program management, environmental and urban planning. Ms. Mehta manages delivery of mega transit projects using innovative delivery approaches.Ms. Mehta has an undergraduate degree in Construction Technology from CEPT University and graduate degrees in Planning from CEPT University and University of Southern California. The Coro Programs attract candidates from diverse disciplines, and its unique focus on learning from peers can provide a new perspective on leadership and can help develop a cohort that you can continue to learn from.
The California Wellness Foundation
Kay Mizushima is a program coordinator at Cal Wellness, where she provides strategic and administrative support to the Economic Security & Dignity portfolios and the Program-Related Investments. Previously, she served as an executive assistant to the vice president of public affairs and as a program assistant. Before joining Cal Wellness, she served as an executive assistant in the tech and fashion industries. She also served as an account executive and marketing coordinator in the skincare industry. Kay received her bachelor of communications degree from California State University, Fullerton, and an associate’s degree in marketing from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She previously volunteered for New York Cares on various projects and The Salvation Army, tutoring the youth at after-school programs. In addition, she is involved in PTA activities as it enables her to stay engaged with her son’s educational environment while building partnerships with the school and teachers. She expects to develop her leadership and gain valuable insights by listening to emerging leaders’ journeys and experiences.
Philanthropy Program Manager
ACLU Foundation of Southern California
Marilyn Perez-Mendoza serves as the Philanthropy Program Manager of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal). In her role at the ACLU SoCal, Marilyn is critical to ensuring success within the executive portfolio, leading a strong prospect research program, producing supporter materials and annual reports, and supporting donor events. Personally and professionally, she is deeply committed to improving representation within the field of philanthropy. She has served various nonprofits including: St. Luke’s University Health Network, the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley, and the International Hyperhidrosis Society. Marilyn holds degrees from UCLA, where she earned her bachelor’s, and is a former fellow of Lehigh University, where she earned her master’s. She hopes to expand her circle of support alongside emerging Southern California leaders through participating in Coro. She and her family reside in Los Angeles, California, and enjoy gathering with loved ones, camping, cooking homemade meals, and shooting film photography.
Activism Director, Move LA
Marisa has over twenty years of advocacy & management experience. She began her career managing a small business and as a student activist advocating for drug policy reform, efforts which resulted in policy change on a national level. In 2011 she joined the Move LA team in working towards making LA County a better place to live, work, and play. She has worked on several successful campaigns, including Measure M, Measure H, and No on Prop 6. Most recently, Marisa worked on the Measure ULA campaign managing the signature validation process and coordinating operations and logistics for voter outreach and volunteer engagement activities. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit which educates the public about their rights during encounters with law enforcement. Marisa is excited to join the Coro Women in Leadership Program and build relationships with women who are making a difference.
Human Resources Manager
Para Los Niños
Mayra Flore is the HR Manager at Para Los Ninos and has been with the organization for 7 years. Mayra loves to go on hikes with her twins and husband and loves to spin. Two of her civic interests include becoming an advocate for better education and resources for low-income Latino students. In addition, she also wishes to bring more mental health awareness to her school and to homeless communities. From her Coro participation, Mayra hopes to gain leadership skills to help her problem-solve as a leader, be a great leader for her team/organization, and continue to grow within her profession. Myra looks forward to learning how to better collaborate with other leaders and learn different leadership styles.
Vice President of Programs
PUENTE Learning Center
Michele Wolfe leads the youth and adult program teams and manages PUENTE’s relationships with external partners to bring the very best classes, instructors, and services to our student community. Her leadership in these areas has contributed to the development of the organization’s strength and sustainability. She has served on PUENTE’s staff since 1992, first as an ESL classroom instructor, then ESL Coordinator, Director of Education, and appointed as Vice President of Programs in 2021. She is committed to PUENTE’s mission because it connects with her own personal and professional vision of serving as a bridge of opportunities that enables students to reach their goals and improve their lives. Michele obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Education from Regis University in Colorado. She holds a California teaching credential and is a graduate of the CALPRO Leadership Institute. Michele is a writer as well as educator. Her publishing credits include a novel, a memoir essay and three pieces of short fiction. Further, she has served on various boards for different organizations over the years, is happily married and has two sons. Michele looks forward to listening, learning from others and growing both personally and professionally through the Women in Leadership Program.
National Association of Social Workers California
Raquel is the Engagement Manager with the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. In this role, Raquel develops and facilitates professional development workshops and she advocates for policy and legislation that affects social workers and the communities they serve. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping and working out. Raquel hopes Coro will help her move closer to her goals of running for local office and working with elected officials to inform social policy.
Converge Strategies LLC
Shoshana R. Cohen is a Senior Associate at Converge Strategies with experience managing public-private and multi-jurisdictional infrastructure projects in California. At Converge, she currently supports the delivery of North America’s largest solar plus storage facility by facilitating conversations and ensuring compliance with mitigation and Air Force requirements. She is interested in bringing non-traditional stakeholders together to make cities more resilient. Through the Coro Women in Leadership program, she hopes to increase her capacity to lead conversations and drive change.
Staff Assistant and Contact for Commission Appointments
Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell
Tanyesha Jackson is a Staff Assistant and Contact for Commission Appointments for the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. As part of the Board Operations team, she reviews and edits motions, distributes staff assignments/projects and secure information on the status of pending matters and reasons for delay in the completion of assignments/projects to ensure all materials are prepared and received in advance of Board meetings. She also answers phones, logs constituent requests, and interfaces with County departments like Public Social Services as needed to resolve cases. In addition, she oversees the Supervisor’s commission appointment process, including vetting candidates, requesting application materials, and conducting interviews. She also manages requests for the Supervisor to adjourn in memory and honor of constituents who have passed away as well as reviews and process certificate/scroll requests for organizations, businesses, and constituents in the Second District.
Senior Human Performance Advisor
Adventist Health White Memorial
Teena Thornton is the Sr. Human Performance Advisor at Adventist Health White Memorial Medical Center. Teena takes a people first approach to human resources focusing on employee engagement, performance management and retention through an inclusive and equitable lens. With over 15 years’ experience in the human resources and nonprofit sectors she is committed to creating transformative and inclusive work environments for all people and growing new leaders. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from University of Phoenix. Teena also works in the community educating families on the fundamentals of personal finance and creating generational wealth. As a native Angeleno, Teena is excited to be a part of the Coro Women in Leadership Program to connect with diverse women leaders and learn how to continue creating equity and driving change within the Los Angeles community.