We’re thrilled to announce our second Lead LA cohort!
Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor
California Resources Corporation (CRC)
Sabrina Cisneros is a Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor at California Resources Corporation (CRC) who oversees emergency management throughout the state of California and media response in Long Beach. Sabrina graduated with her B.A. from UCLA and her M.S. from CSULB. She is passionate about disaster preparedness as well as mentoring young professionals, women and youth. Sabrina is a founding member and Membership Chair of the Women’s Interest Network at CRC and actively serves as a board member and volunteer at the Red Cross. Sabrina believes the strongest communities are inclusive and focus on collaboration and engagement across all sectors of the community. Sabrina hopes Coro’s Lead LA program will provide a holistic education about current and future challenges facing the Los Angeles region while empowering her and her cohort members with the skills needed to be part of the solutions to these complex problems.
Director of Operations
Grace is the Director of Operations of an $11M+ social enterprise within Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. Grace oversees the programmatic initiatives and round-the-clock operations of Chrysalis’ street maintenance business, which employs 700+ transitional workers per year within fifteen local Business Improvement Districts. She’s a proud alumna of the Maxwell School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Grace is driven to join Coro Lead LA to gain a better understanding of the multitude of issues facing Los Angeles and how community members can institute positive change in each of them. She’s looking forward to gaining a network of professionals from different industries, as she believes that fostering the human connection across specialties will achieve her vision of a safer, healthier, and cleaner Los Angeles.
Sylviose Kaminor Dossous
Environmental Design ArtCenter College of Design
Sylviose K. Dossous has over 15 years of higher education experience and formerly served as event coordinator for the Office of the Senior Vice Provost at Harvard University. After moving to Los Angeles from Boston in 2007, she took on a stint as a celebrity assistant to two A-list actors. Sylviose is currently the Director for the Environmental Design departments at ArtCenter College of Design. Sylviose is passionate about working with college students and is dedicated to promoting academic success, professional development, and degree completion. Sylviose earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She joined Coro Lead LA to cultivate leadership skills and to collaborate with others in taking a more dynamic role in the dialogue about educational access and equity in Los Angeles.
Founding Director & Consultant, Advisory Services
J.L. Edmonds Project & Taproot Foundation
Arianne Edmonds is a social impact professional, 5th generation Angeleno and Founder of the J.L. Edmonds Project, an initiative dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Liberator Newspaper & Black Angeleno history. Ms. Edmonds has co-curated exhibitions about her family and Black Angeleno life through the lens of The Liberator in partnership with: City Council President & LA Public Library at the City Hall Department of Cultural Affairs gallery & Smithsonian affiliate, California African American Museum. Ms. Edmonds has worked in the social impact field for over a decade creating marketing campaigns, public programming & community focused corporate social responsibility engagements for Fortune 500 companies. She currently sits on the board of Citizens of Culture, LA Public Library Special Collections & Rare Books and the History Council at California African American Museum. Ms. Edmonds is the 2019 recipient of the 40 under 40 Emerging Civic Leaders award presented by LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Senior Government Relations Manager
Joe Eyen is the Senior Government Relations Manager for FlixBus, the largest long-distance mobility company across Europe, and recent startup in the US, that provides sustainable, comfortable, and affordable bus travel from city to city. Based in LA, Joe is responsible for FlixBus’s government, community, and regulatory affairs throughout the Western US. Joe is also on the Board of the Westside Urban Forum, an organization that hosts monthly panels exploring local and regional issues impacting planning, transportation, sustainability, and more. Joe was previously at Cerrell Associates as a member of their land use and local government practice area, responsible for community outreach for several high-profile mixed-use development projects in the LA area. Joe is a graduate of Pitzer College from where he attributes his interest and passion for environmental sustainability. He joins Coro Lead LA to learn from accomplished change-makers and become better equipped to answer LA’s toughest questions.
Manager of Arts Education
The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
As the Partnership’s Manager of Arts Education, Rubi is focused on the development and implementation of an arts education pilot in a network of 18 schools. Her passion stems from early work as a community activist, where she learned the power of the arts and media to forge a space for community identity and action. Over the past 17 years Rubi has worked in formal and informal educational settings facilitating opportunities for youth to find their voice and empowering educators to use art & media to enrich their classrooms. Her goal in all her endeavors is to harness the power of creativity and innovation and use it as a catalyst to empower students of all ages to see themselves as community leaders. Previously, Rubi was the Manager for 21st Century Learning with Woodcraft Rangers, building partnerships with local colleges and universities and managing the curriculum team’s work to integrate the visual and performing arts with STEM. She has also served as Director of Education for the KCET public television digital series Departures Youth Voices, working closely with students, teachers, and community members to tell their stories and address the needs of communities throughout Los Angeles. Rubi started on her path in education as a film teacher with LAUSD at Van Nuys High School Performing Arts Magnet, and received her education at CSU Long Beach and UCLA.
Executive Director of Marketing and Community Relations
Susan Groveman is Executive Director of Marketing and Community Relations at Taft College and serves on the Board of Directors of Community Foundation of the Valleys, a non-profit funding social causes directly in the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita Valley. As Public Information Officer for City of South Pasadena, Susan contributed to local government’s ability to optimize the citizen experience. As Founder and Executive Director of Anderson MarCom, Inc., a marketing, communications, and public relations agency, she employed 40 staff in service to 25 multi-sector clients over 16 years. Susan earned an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a certified Digital Marketing Professional by The Wharton School. Passionate about bettering student outcomes in higher education and population health, Susan joined Coro Lead LA to broaden her network to make a greater societal difference.
Best Best & Krieger LLP
Ryan Guiboa is an Associate in Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Los Angeles office. Ryan’s practice broadly encompasses all aspects and stages of litigation for both private and public clients. He also advises cities and other public entities on transparency and open government requirements. Ryan makes community service a priority — which has led to both philanthropic activities and a legal practice that focuses on public interest law. Born and raised in Southern California, Ryan enjoys working with local cities and public agencies that shape the landscape and serve the best interests of the community. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University. He joined the Coro Lead LA program to build effective partnerships and gain a new perspective on how to address the many challenges facing Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Operations Manager
Lyft Bikes and Scooters
Gustavo Hernandez is the Los Angeles Operations Manager for Lyft Bikes and Scooters, where he uses market and metric analyses to create and execute Lyft’s operational strategy for micromobility. A former nuclear submarine officer, he spent several years serving in the U.S. Navy before managing operations at McMaster-Carr in Los Angeles. Gustavo received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Chinese from the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD). Gustavo is passionate about developing equitable and sustainable social and economic policy that provides opportunities to our community’s underprivileged population. Originally born in Burbank, CA, he is excited to find a community within Coro that is equally as committed to bringing positive change to the greater Los Angeles area.
DTLA Director & Strategic Media
Los Angeles City Council District 14
If there is one word that can describe Joella Hopkins, it is “experiences.” Challenges excite her and drive her to reach for more diverse and strategic solutions. She is currently the DTLA Director & Strategic Media for Los Angeles City Council District 14. She oversees her team as they dive into all DTLA matters from Planning, Policy, Community Affairs, Constituent Services, Transportation, Communications, and Public Engagement. She previously managed her own marketing and public affairs firm, Mumtaz Marketing & Public Relations for 13 years. She and her team created unique brand experiences through strategic solutions and PR campaigns which brought brands to life in exciting and meaningful ways. She has an extensive background in non-profit and association work through her many years working hand in hand with various Business Development, Membership, Marketing, PR, Operations, and Accounting departments.
Mobility Strategist, LA
Justine Johnson is a proud native of Los Angeles, California. For the past eight years, she resided in New York City working on transportation initiatives under the Bloomberg and de Blasio Administrations. While at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), she worked on the “Boro Taxi” initiative, also known as the Green Taxi program, which created a new for-hire vehicle and driver classification. Following her work at the TLC, she moved to the New York City Economic Development Corporation managing government and community relations for Mayor de Blasio’s new commuter ferry system called NYC Ferry. She recently joined Ford Mobility’s City Solutions team and is working with municipalities and communities on mobility solutions that help move people and goods more efficiently and effectively throughout the region. Through Coro, Justine is looking to engage across sectors on the future of mobility in the Los Angeles region. Justine holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Hampton University and two Master’s Degrees from the University of Southern California. During her free time, you can find her running track with the Trojan’s Masters Track Club.
Assistant Dean for Research
The University of Southern California Rossier School of Education
Deb Karpman is Assistant Dean for Research at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. Her role cuts across several areas including developing strategic partnerships, research and faculty affairs, policy development, and institutional compliance. She believes that research can drive real solutions to address social issues. To fulfill Rossier’s research mission, Deb works with faculty to help them maximize their funding programs, develop relationships with foundations and policy organizations, identify funding opportunities, win prestigious awards and fellowships, and serve on key governmental board and committee positions that shape the policy discussions that are happening both within California and nationwide. She also conducts research on issues related to gender equity, such as how family-friendly policies impact the success of women in higher education. Deb is a graduate of Colgate University and holds a doctorate in education from UCLA. She currently sits on advisory boards at UCLA and Mount Saint Mary’s University. In joining Coro Lead LA, Deb is excited to find new ways to collaborate across sectors with leaders working throughout Los Angeles.
Air & Climate Policy at Southern California Edison
As a Senior Advisor on Southern California Edison’s Regulatory Affairs team, Vazken Kassakhian engages policy developers, decision makers, and stakeholders on energy and environmental policy issues, supporting policies that improve air quality and confront our climate crisis. Prior to his current role at SCE, Vazken held policy research, analysis, and advising positions at the Smart Electric Power Alliance, the Sierra Club, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Vazken joined the Coro Lead LA program to learn from the Coro community of leaders and hone the critical skills to advance the bold local, regional, and state policy solutions that connect us to a global path of stabilizing a climate justly fit for the flourishing of all life.
Seth Linden is Principal of Gather Consulting, where he advises philanthropists and nonprofits on board culture, governance, and leadership development. Seth has 20 years of experience as a teacher, entrepreneur, foundation professional, and nonprofit consultant. Most recently, Seth was Program Officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation in San Francisco, where he managed a national portfolio of $44 million in grants to Jewish education organizations in order for more people to lead connected, meaningful, purpose-filled lives and make positive contributions to their communities and the world. Seth looks forward to meeting new people in Los Angeles to support our collective efforts in creating a more equitable and empathic society. His dream is to design a lab school where physical and curricular design are of equal importance and beauty. Seth, his wife and two boys just moved back home to Long Beach after 23 years of living and working in the Bay Area.
Deputy Regional Director
US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Pacific Region
Thomas Liu is the Deputy Regional Director for the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Pacific Region, which manages energy resources offshore the West Coast and Hawaii. Thomas has a variety of experience in the government and private sector. In government, he served as Chief of Concessions for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, as a Presidential Management Fellow at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and as a program examiner at the White House Office of Management & Budget. In the private sector, he was an investment banking analyst with Merrill Lynch; a product manager for Zurich Insurance; and an investment analyst for a Hong Kong based hedge fund. He earned a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Thomas joined Coro to learn more about issues facing Los Angeles and identify areas where he can contribute.
Public Affairs Manager
The California Resources Corporation
Aleen Manchester is Manager of Public Affairs for California Resources Corporation (CRC), the state’s largest independent oil and natural gas producer. In her role, Aleen develops and leads major enterprise-wide employee and community initiatives that promote energy literacy, enhance local advocacy and help shape and elevate energy issues throughout the state. An active community partner, she also manages CRC’s corporate charitable giving and high-profile sponsorships and serves on the Board of Directors for the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, a premiere business advocacy organization based in the San Fernando Valley. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Aleen is passionate about the complex public policy issues that impact all Californians and she joined Lead LA to help strengthen civic engagement on societal issues she champions, such as access to affordable and reliable energy, affordable housing and upward economic mobility for working families in the Golden State.
Somjita Mitra, PhD
Institute for Applied Economics at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation
Somjita Mitra, Ph.D. is the Director of the Institute for Applied Economics at LAEDC. She focuses on regional analysis, economic impact studies and the industrial and occupational structure of local economies. Before joining LAEDC, Somjita was an Economist for a local economic research and litigation consulting firm. Prior to this, Somjita was a Project Director for a consumer research firm. Somjita received her BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and her MA in Politics, Economics and Business as well as her Ph.D. in Economics from Claremont Graduate University. Somjita enjoys volunteering in the community and is actively involved in women’s welfare and animal rescue organizations as well as mentoring first generation college students. Somjita joined Coro Lead LA to grow as a leader, develop her skills and learn from and work with like-minded individuals in addressing the most challenging issues facing society today.
Supervising Transportation Planner, External Affairs
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation
Lilly O’Brien is the lead for strategic communications at LADOT. In her time, O’Brien led the Department’s largest education campaign in its history to promote traffic safety and recently helped the General Manager of LADOT create a city-led open source foundation for digital transportation management. O’Brien also oversaw the creation of LADOT’s Strategic Plan update, which details over 100 key priorities and initiatives that LADOT will take on to achieve its goals in the next three years. Before then, O’Brien served in Mayor Garcetti’s administration from 2014 to 2017 as a program manager for the Great Streets Initiative. She has a Master’s in Urban Planning from UCLA. She grew up in the City of Detroit and carries the spirit of the city with her everywhere. She has a passion for social and economic justice and has dedicated her career to serving the most disadvantaged communities. As part of the 2019 Coro Lead LA cohort, O’Brien hopes to take her passion for Los Angeles public service to the next level.
Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Kate Pynoos is a lawyer and active member of her Hollywood community. Kate practices business immigration law at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy. She is also the Chair of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council and regularly volunteers at the Hollywood Food Coalition. Kate recently published an op-Ed in the San Jose Mercury News, “Women deserve equality in the H-1B lottery.” During law school, she clerked for Senator Schumer on the Senate Judiciary Committee and worked at the Children’s Law Center at the Los Angeles Dependency Court. Prior to law school, she was a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations where she focused on US trade and immigration policy. She attended Barnard College and UCLA School of Law. Kate is excited to join Lead LA to explore innovative solutions to the challenges that face her hometown of Los Angeles, including housing affordability, expansion of public transportation and improving the lives of foster youth.
Chris Rhie is an urban planner and Associate at BuroHappold Engineering, where he works with local governments, universities, and non-profit organizations to develop sustainable infrastructure, land use, and climate policy frameworks. He recently led the consultant team for OurCounty, the first-ever countywide sustainability plan for Los Angeles, collaborating with the LA County Chief Sustainability Office, UCLA, and the Liberty Hill Foundation to engage stakeholders across the region and develop the nation’s boldest regional sustainability strategy. Chris comes from a public sector background, having worked as an energy manager at the Cities of Oakland and New York. Originally from Hartford, CT, he holds master’s degrees in city planning and real estate development from MIT. After moving to Los Angeles in October 2018 to establish BuroHappold’s “Cities” practice on the West Coast, Chris joined the Coro Lead LA program to immerse himself in L.A.’s civic discourse and refine his leadership skills.
Personnel Department of the City of Los Angeles
Helen Rigg is Project Manager in the Personnel Department of the City of Los Angeles – implementing MyVoiceLA.org – an award-winning, user-centered online harassment reporting platform. Prior to this role, she led projects in the Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles focused on gender equity and innovative housing and homelessness programs. These projects included ‘GirlsPlayLA’ – aimed at increasing girls’ participation in sports, ‘Home For Renters’ – a data driven renters’ rights awareness campaign, and a pilot program that incentivized the development of accessory dwelling units to promote resident-led solutions to the housing crisis. She is an alum of the Downtown Women’s Center Leadership Council. Her interests include homelessness, sustainability, and gender equity. She joined Coro Lead LA to expand her network, and learn strategies to become a more powerful advocate for the dignity and rights of others.
Community Relations Manager
Morgan Roth is the Community Relations Manager for Bird, the innovative start-up providing micromobility solutions around the world. At Bird, Morgan is responsible for external relationships with local stakeholder organizations, philanthropic investments in the community, and corporate stewardship. He also contributes to policy decisions and operations within the Los Angeles market. Prior to Bird, Morgan served in Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán’s District Office where he assisted the Member on environmental and port related matters. Dedicated to finding solutions that give every Angeleno a fair shot, Morgan is eager to further develop the skills necessary to build coalition toward solving today’s challenges. Morgan is a life-long resident of Los Angeles County and is a graduate from University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Manager of Operations and Strategy
Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
Icela Santiago serves as the Manager of Operations and Strategy with Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a non-profit organization that manages 18 LAUSD schools across Watts, South LA, and Boyle Heights. She supports school leaders in navigating District bureaucracy and advocates for equitable resources in service of school transformation. Icela is a member of the Partnership’s Cabinet, which is a cross-level, cross-functional advisory and decision-making body created to elevate diverse perspectives to fundamentally influence the direction of the organization’s work. Previously, Icela served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year LA at Edwin Markham Middle School and worked as a residential counselor in an all-girls group home where she had the opportunity to get to know some of LA’s youth which further fueled her passion for educational justice. She joined Lead LA to better understand how she can use her own network’s power to improve the lives of families in LA.
Ethnic Studies Teacher
Animo Pat Brown Charter High School
Cat is an Ethnic Studies Teacher at Animo Pat Brown Charter High School. She has spent the majority of her career piloting and honing her own innovative curriculum for ethnic studies – Cat developed her own curriculum that emphasizes intersectionality and student-centered learning. Her curricula was piloted both in LAUSD and multiple charter networks. With experience working on Capitol Hill, teaching in traditional public schools, and teaching in charter schools, she understands the structure of urban schools and approaches policy discussions with a level of nuance that few can match. She has also worked in non-profit, public, and higher education sectors. Cat is also an active contributor to the Teach for America Los Angeles community, and is on the board of Pacific Asian Counseling Services.
Manager, Strategic Philanthropy
The Walt Disney Company
Amber Stryker is the Manager, Strategic Philanthropy on the Enterprise Social Responsibility team at The Walt Disney Company. She advises the enterprise and business segments (ESPN, ABC, Parks, Studios, etc.) on global giving, while also managing disaster response grants for the company. Prior to making her home in Los Angeles, Amber lived in New York City, working in corporate philanthropy at The Estee Lauder Companies and MAC Cosmetics. She launched The Estee Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation and developed the company’s first three-year strategy in Citizenship and Sustainability. Amber has personally overseen global grantmaking portfolios up to $6 million in the areas of health, environment, and education. Amber excels in building partnerships that bring the best of companies, government, and nonprofits together to create social impact. She holds a Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from the University of Oklahoma.
Director of Development
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
For the past decade, Sara Templeton, has developed strategic funding partnerships for a variety of social impact organizations. This work has resulted in successfully funded domestic and international projects that have connected underinvested communities with access to education, renewable energy, capital, and healthcare. Currently, Sara is the Director of Development for Discovery Cube Los Angeles, an interactive science center based in Sylmar where she fundraises for all students to have access to high quality STEM education. Sara is excited to participate in Coro’s Lead LA program to further develop her leadership skills and engage with diverse peers across sectors. Sara earned her B.A. Political Science degree from UC Irvine and her M.S. in Social Entrepreneurship from USC.
The ECMC Foundation
Saúl Valdez is a Program Officer at ECMC Foundation, a national funder working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds. He oversees grants that increase college persistence, two-year transfer to four-year colleges and universities, and bachelor degree completion rates. Prior to ECMC Foundation, Saúl worked with Seattle Foundation’s philanthropic advising team, where he managed a portfolio of donors committed to investments that advance equity and opportunity. Previously, he worked at the Seattle Region Partnership and the Latin American Association in the state of Georgia. Saúl serves on the steering committee for the Los Angeles Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and is a proud alumnus of the Education Pioneers fellowship and Hispanics in Philanthropy’s leadership program. Saúl looks forward to deepening his local network through Coro Lead LA and collectively exploring new partnerships to advance equity and solutions for social change.
Casey Williams is the Marketing Specialist for Lyft in Southern California, focusing on Social Impact & Government Relations/Policy initiatives, as well as managing local and university partnerships. Her leadership launching impactful initiatives such as Lyft City Works and Grocery Access aims to empower nonprofit organizations doing incredible work to make their communities stronger, healthier, and more equitable. Casey is a graduate of the Scripps School of Communication at Ohio University and former Project Manager for the Walt Disney Company. She joined Coro to gain further knowledge in non-profit/policy sectors & continue her efforts in bettering Los Angeles.
Daphne Nisperos Wong
Daphne manages public and private grants for Community Partners, a nonprofit organization that offers expert guidance and essential services to help foster, launch, and grow creative solutions to community challenges. She previously administered Federal grants at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for more than 15 years. Daphne started at HUD as a Presidential Management Fellow and worked in a variety of roles administering homeless, community and economic development grants in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. She draws on her public sector experience to help nonprofits navigate bureaucracies and increase their capacity for demonstrating compliance. Daphne received a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Southern California and undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a credentialed Associate Certified Coach. Daphne is excited to join Lead LA and learn about the cross-sector opportunities and strategies for tackling Los Angeles’ complex and most-pressing issues.
Silva Zeneian, Managing Principal of Fiducia CP, is a 20 year veteran of the Commercial Real Estate industry. Starting as an associate at IDS Real Estate Group, she quickly climbed the ranks to Vice President of Corporate Services, serving the firm’s user client base and leading the team that opened 300+ Trader Joes locations, and developed multiple distribution centers during her tenure. Later she led the expansion of GSC into the US market, and is currently leading the Kix Soccer Centers’ expansion into the United States. Silva is focused on bringing the most cutting edge analytics to her comprehensive experience in commercial real estate to deliver the unprecedented solutions for her clients. Silva is a proud graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles, Io Triumphe!, and has served as a Trustee, Chair of the College’s Alumni Council and Board of Governors.
Manager of Restorative Communities
The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
Julija (Yulia) Zubac is the Manager of Restorative Communities at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, where she coaches school staff to effectively implement a continuum of restorative practices and systems. Julija integrates her passion for teaching, education policy, and restorative justice to advocate for equity. Prior to joining the Partnership, she was an Education Pioneers Fellow and served as a strategic planner in the LAUSD Office of Government Relations. Ms. Zubac’s career in education began over ten years ago in the classroom, teaching social studies in the San Gabriel Valley and in Watts. Julija is interested in systems change and coalition building to solve Los Angeles’ pressing problems, particularly the homelessness crisis. Ms. Zubac is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Claremont Graduate University. A native of Bosnia-Herzegovina, she is a war survivor who is passionate about contributing to a more peaceful and just world.