Meet the Spring 2020 WIL Cohort,
Los Angeles

We’re thrilled to announce our third WIL cohort!

Diana Amaya
Deputy Director, Youth Programs
HOPE
Diana Amaya is a passionate community advocate and non-profit professional with a background in policy and youth development. Currently, Diana is the Deputy Director of Youth Programs for HOPE. Before leading the organization’s youth engagement efforts, Diana served as the Programs and Policy Associate where she worked closely with the Executive Team and Board of Directors to set and implement the organization’s policy agenda as well as manage the HOPE Leadership Institute (HLI). Diana also serves as a Public Member on the Advisory Board for California’s Bureau Private Postsecondary Education, which is charged with regulating private postsecondary educational institutions operating in the state of California. Diana earned a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied Political Science and Chicano/Latino Studies. Diana is a graduate of the UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business’ BASE Program. From WIL she hopes to gain valuable communication skills, improve her executive presence, and contribute to a network of change agents.

Elizabeth Andalon
Senior Field Deputy
Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis
Elizabeth has dedicated her career to community affairs at all levels of government, working with some of the most prominent elected leaders in Los Angeles County. She currently serves as a Senior Field Deputy for Supervisor Hilda L Solis representing communities in East Los Angeles. Prior to this position, Elizabeth served as a Field Representative for Congressmember Judy Chu (CA-27th District) working alongside communities in the West San Gabriel Valley. Prior to joining Rep. Chu’s staff, Elizabeth served as the Northeast Los Angeles Caseworker for City of Los Angeles Councilmember Ed P. Reyes. A life-long Angelena, Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and Spanish from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Through the Coro Women in Leadership Fellowship, Elizabeth looks forward to developing new leadership skills and creating cross-sector relationships in order to build a more equitable Los Angeles.

Jeannette Brown
Director of Public Affairs & Programs
Southern CA Association of Nonprofit Housing
Jeannette Brown is an advocate for building pathways out of poverty through the power of safe, stable housing. As Director of Public Affairs & Programs for the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH), she helps to advance policy, partnerships, communications, and programming that ensure more low-income and homeless people can have a safe place to call home. She received her B.A. in English Literature from UC Irvine and holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from California State University, Northridge. Her experience over 12 years includes political consulting, campaign deliverables, research and policy whitepapers, thought leadership development, and external relations. She is a long-term mentor with WriteGirl, where she helps contribute to the organization’s 100% success rate in getting girls into college, which combines her passions for education, writing, and empowerment of underrepresented voices.

Kathryn Burke
Account Executive
Cerrell Associates
Kathryn works on issues management and campaigns as an Account Executive at Cerrell Associates, a boutique public affairs firm in Los Angeles. She develops and implements advocacy, outreach and media relations strategies for the firm’s private, public sector and nonprofit clients. Kathryn began her career as a Teach for America corps member, teaching 5th grade in rural Louisiana. While in Louisiana, she served as a fellow at the Louisiana Department of Education, where she focused on education policy and communication, and first became interested in using storytelling to influence public policy. Kathryn looks forward to learning from women leaders in LA and strengthening her leadership skills and network. Kathryn received her Master of Public Policy from the University of Southern California and her Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.

Crystal Cedillo
STD Prevention Specialist
Essential Access Health
Crystal has dedicated over ten years of her career to social justice in the areas of youth development, community organizing, and health equity. As an STD Prevention Specialist, Crystal supports clinic care teams in providing quality sexual and reproductive health care. Previously, she provided case management to youth and young adults testing positive for STDs and collaborated with community organizations in discussing sexual and reproductive health topics with young people in the foster care system. Prior to joining Essential Access Health, Crystal was a Community Organizer with the Koreatown Youth + Community Center and a Program Coordinator with Youth Mentoring Connection. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Whittier College. Crystal looks forward to engaging with a community of powerful women who are making an impact and strengthening her voice as a leader.

Sherita Coffelt
Director of Communications
Metrolink
Sherita Coffelt currently serves as the Director of Communications for Metrolink, the commuter rail provider for Southern California. She has over 15 years of experience in all aspects of external affairs and marketing, having held leadership positions in government agencies and marketing communications firms. A native Texan, she moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to join Metrolink as the media relations manager and spokesperson. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing softball, playing with her dogs and watching documentaries. Through the CORO Women in Leadership program, Sherita hopes to enhance her leadership aptitude and learn to be mindful and effective in intense situations.

Gabriela Collins
Senior Policy Advisor
Southern California Edison
Gabriela Collins is a Senior Policy Advisor for Local Public Affairs at Southern California Edison (SCE), where she manages external engagement for high profile policy objectives and projects. She provides strategic counsel on matters at the intersection of energy and transportation and plays a key role in developing local, regional and state-level policy campaigns to support investment in public infrastructure and clean energy. Before joining SCE, Gabriela designed, implemented and managed a public outreach program to support the planning, design, and construction of the Expo Light Rail Line. Prior to that, she directed stakeholder engagement in the development and execution of new facilities for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Gabriela is excited to join CORO WIL and looks forward to learning from others’ experiences to help shape her own professional narrative and gaining the tools and insight to approach her professional goals head-on.

Katie Doherty
Civil Engineer/Project Manager I
City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering
Katie Doherty is a civil engineer for the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering and the Project Manager for the Taylor Yard G2 Parcel, a site that is crucial to restoring ecosystem values and revitalizing the Los Angeles River. A registered Professional Engineer and Envision Sustainability Professional, her experience is primarily in stormwater quality improvement and habitat restoration projects. Having managed major Los Angeles restorations such as the 2013 rehabilitation of iconic Echo Park Lake and the 2017 ecosystem restoration of the beloved Machado Lake, Ms. Doherty has turned her attention to the importance and vast potential of the LA River. The management and jurisdictions along the LA River are complex, requiring extensive coordination and persuasion to accomplish projects. Ms. Doherty hopes to learn techniques from other organizations and sectors that will help navigate challenging projects and bring new and innovative leadership concepts back to her organization.

Angelina Gonzalez
Sr. Contracts & Grants Associate
Community Partners
Angelina is an experienced grants manager with a decade of experience in nonprofits and philanthropy. She currently functions as a Grants Manager at Community Partners, where she is focused on compliance and systems building to ensure adherence with industry best-practices and funder requirements. Angelina attended UCLA where she earned a BA in Economics and Sociology and a Master’s in Library and Information Science. She also received an MA in History from Mount St. Mary’s University. Angelina was a Hispanics in Philanthropy NGEN Emerging Leaders Fellow in 2016 and previously served on steering committees for the local chapters of Peak Grantmaking and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. As an LA native, Angelina is passionate about community health and health equity in the region. Angelina is excited to join the Coro Women in Leadership program to develop her leadership while learning from a diverse group of women from across sectors and backgrounds.

Aubrey Farkas Harris
Director of Advocacy and Public Policy
Arts for LA
Aubrey Farkas Harris has spent 15 years in Los Angeles’ political and civic arenas. She currently serves as Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for Arts for LA, where she advocates for affordable spaces and creative career pathways. Aubrey’s accomplishments include creating California’s Homeland Security Grant Program for vulnerable nonprofits, and passing landmark anti-discrimination legislation. Her early career was spent in US Congress and the California State Assembly, where she worked on financial services and foreign policy. A political campaign veteran, Aubrey has a talent for distilling complex policy for wide audiences. Aubrey earned a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Southern California and graduated from UC Davis with degrees in Political Science and Middle Eastern/South Asian Studies. In her free time, Aubrey co-chairs the Glass Leadership Institute, and is on a journey to find the world’s best croissant. She is looking forward to learning how to be a more effective purpose-driven leader.

Erika Hartman
Chief Program Officer
Downtown Women’s Center
Erika Hartman, M.A. LMFT, is the Chief Program Officer of the Downtown Women’s Center where she oversees all housing and supportive services for women experiencing homelessness. Prior to working at the Downtown Women’s Center, Erika served as the Chief Program Officer of Westside Children’s Center. Erika has also worked as an Administrator in the Gang Reduction Youth Development Department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Additionally, she has served as a researcher in the Department of Clinical Psychology, at USC, and in the Department of Education and the Department of Psychological and Brain Science at UCSB. She holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from USC, and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from USC. What Erika looks forward to most, as part of the Coro Women in Leadership Program, is connecting to and learning from cross-sector leaders.

Andi Israel
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
RxLA, LLC
Andi Israel is the Founder and CEO of RxLA, a real estate development company that focuses on ‘filling the prescription’ for affordable housing for lower-income Angelenos, including those experiencing homelessness. Andi created RxLA to design and implement an innovative, sustainable and scalable financing model that leverages private impact-oriented investments to produce lower-cost units. Prior to starting RxLA, she worked on the housing development team at Skid Row Housing Trust, one of LA’s leading developers of housing for the homeless. Andi has a BA in Human Services and Sociology from The George Washington University, an MA in Urban Planning from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and an MS in Social Entrepreneurship from the USC Marshall School of Business. She looks forward to learning alongside the driven, collaborative women of the WIL program, and cultivating leadership skills that will help her thoughtfully and dynamically grow RxLA.

Winnie Lam
Civil Engineer Project Manager
City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering
Winnie Lam is the Civil Engineer Project Manager for the Street Improvement and Stormwater Division at the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering. Lam has over 18 years of civil engineering experience. Currently, Lam oversees 19 street improvement projects totaling more than $65 million. Lam graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Science degree in Structural Engineering and completed her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Los Angeles. Lam is a registered Professional Civil Engineer in California. With the opportunity to learn from Coro, Lam hopes to gain a skill set to be an effective leader. It is an exciting time to be able to build the City of Los Angeles and at the same time mentor and further the female engineer representation in the field of engineering.

Sajji Lazarus
Media Artist, Digital Designer
TrialGraphix, The Green Tara Project
Sajji Lazarus is a digital designer and anti-trafficking activist. She attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and then began working in the legal graphics industry, translating legal concepts to graphics and imagery. She also owns her own consulting company, Good as Gold, which designs social strategies, campaigns, websites, branding, and content for clients (primarily nonprofits). Additionally, she works on behalf of the Green Tara Project, and teaches self-defense to sex-trafficking victims and high-risk youth both throughout the US and in India. Sajji is looking forward to both gaining a skill set that allows her to lead with respect and confidence, and in turn lend a unique perspective to the cohort and community as a whole. She looks forward to learning specifically from women, as she has not often had that opportunity in previous workplaces. She is excited about the networking elements of the program as well.

Anthea Lee, Ph.D.
Technical Writing Manager
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Anthea Lee is a microbiologist and technical writing manager who is interested in protecting public health. She is fascinated by how microbes adapt to survive both in humans and in the environment. She had 13 fulfilling years doing applied research in the drinking water industry using molecular methods to detect microbial pathogens in water. Recently, she shifted her focus to technical communication and management. She is a firm believer that by using the right words, technical information can be conveyed accurately and clearly to the general public. Anthea has a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Stanford University and a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Michigan. By participating in the Coro Women in Leadership program, Anthea is looking forward to developing her leadership skills and expanding her knowledge of community issues.

Yasmine-Imani McMorrin
Associate Director of Student Support
USC Gould School of Law
Yasmine-Imani McMorrin is an attorney and equity advocate serving as the Associate Director of Student Support at USC Gould School of Law. There she develops the programming for the student body toward the furtherance of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and overall student wellness. Yasmine serves as the Vice Chair of the Culver City General Plan Advisory Committee and is a member of the Culver City Unified School District’s Equity Advisory Committee. She is a graduate of the Los Angeles African American Public Policy Institute C’2017 and New Leaders Council- Los Angeles Chapter Institute C‘2018. Yasmine looks forward to participating in the Coro Women In Leadership Program and using the skills gained to have a greater impact at USC and in the Culver City community. When she’s not at work or her daughter’s soccer games, Yasmine is practicing yoga, reading books from the library, and watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.

Roxanne Mendez
Executive Director
The Riordan Programs at UCLA Anderson School of Management
Roxanne Mendez is the fifth executive director of the Riordan Programs. She has been with the Riordan Programs since 2007, first serving as associate director. In addition, she is a certified career management coach. Roxanne was the 2017 recipient of the Women of Philanthropy Award for her role in changing the community for the better, by Comerica Bank and the Los Angeles Lakers. Mendez was selected in 2016 as a Next Generation Latino Philanthropy Leaders Fellow by Hispanics in Philanthropy. Her previous experience includes working in college outreach at the University of Southern California and as a grant consultant. In addition, she sits on the board of Teens Exploring Technology, Los Angeles Catholic Big Brothers and Sisters and YMCA Southeast – Rio Vista. Roxanne is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a B.S. in business administration. She received her graduate degree from the University of Southern California.

Tamara Muzac-Bravo, PhD
Director of Administration
Los Angeles Conservation Corps.
Tamara Muzac-Bravo serves as the Director of Administration for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Her primary areas of responsibility include, human resources, payroll, information technology and administration. Tamara has been working in the nonprofit sector for 18 years in service to youth. She has a wide range of administrative, personnel, finance, and operations skills. Her primary responsibilities as Director of Administration is to provide a strategic approach to human resources, assess and improve the technological infrastructure of the organization, develop and implement systems for workflow efficiency and to enhance administrative operations, fleet acquisition and facility maintenance across all Corps locations. Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Loyola Marymount University, a Masters and Doctorate degree in Business Administration from Jones International University. Through her participation in the Coro Women In Leadership Program she hopes to learn more successful leadership approaches to maneuver challenging situations.

Lorena Palacios
Climate Resilient Specialist
Lorena Palacios is a consultant in the sustainability and climate resilience fields. She has experience in facilitating climate resilience planning in the transportation and higher education sectors in Los Angeles. Previously, she advised school districts, small-medium sized companies and non-profit organizations in the development of their sustainability action plans. Lorena gained international experience as the program manager for the Italian Trade Commission in charge of designing and executing the agency’s climate change strategy in Mexico under Kyoto Protocol. Prior to these experiences, as an Environmental Attorney, Lorena provided legal advice to private, government, international organizations and nonprofits sectors in her native Mexico City. Lorena lived in Italy where she earned a Masters in European Studies from the Institute of European Studies in Rome. In the US Lorena has completed various certificates programs in sustainability, climate resilience and project management. She is a native Spanish speaker and is fluent in English, Italian and French. Lorena envisions Coro’s WIL as another step in her leadership journey and a place to connect with like-minded women.

Paloma Perez-McEvoy
Associate
Holland & Knight LLP
Paloma Perez-McEvoy is an environmental and land use attorney at Holland & Knight LLP and represents real estate developers in the entitlement and environmental review process. Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Perez-McEvoy spent fifteen years working government relations and public policy as an advisor and counsel to a number of elected officials, including members of the California State Legislature and Los Angeles City Council, like Councilmember Curren Price who represents parts of downtown Los Angeles and South Los Angeles. There she assisted with the approvals of more than $4 billion in private investment, which created thousands of jobs in the local community. In addition, Ms. Perez-McEvoy is active in the local community and serves on the Weingart YMCA Wellness and Aquatic Center board of directors. She is also a mentor to aspiring law students in the Legal Education Access Program (“LEAP”). Ms. Perez-McEvoy has been a proud downtown Los Angeles for ten years where she lives with her husband and their two year-old daughter.

Meisha Rainman
Director of Development
CicLAvia
Meisha is Director of Development for CicLAvia overseeing Strategic Partnerships across the organization in addition to Institutional & Individual Giving and Communications for the non-profit. Meisha is a proud Angeleno, deeply committed to strengthening local communities in her professional and volunteer work. She has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector, including as Development Director for The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company and as a key leader in the evolution of the Silverlake Independent JCC to a thriving community center for arts, education and culture on LA’s east side. Born and raised in NY, Meisha is a graduate of the Olin School of Business at Washington University and currently lives in Silver Lake with her husband and two children. She is excited to join the Coro community to learn from and with a diverse group of women leaders working across sectors to make Los Angeles better every day.

Jacqueline Rangel
Evaluation & Impact Manager
AltaMed Health Services Corp
Jacqueline Rangel currently serves as the Evaluation and Impact Manager for the Health Education and Wellness Department at AltaMed Health Services. With almost two decades of public health experience, Jackie has developed an expertise around evaluation, strategic planning and program development. In her current role, Jackie drives efforts to optimize evaluation capacity and to build a culture of quality improvement and learning within the organization’s health education and wellness programs. As a natural information designer, she incorporates data visualization and storytelling to convey the effectiveness and impact of public health programs and to better inform decision-making and strategy development. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton. Through the Coro Women in Leadership program, she hopes to sharpen her leadership skills, contribute to women’s growth and development, and build foundational relationships with trailblazing women.

Rebecca Rubin
President
Wide Sky Consulting Inc.
Rebecca Rubin is President of Wide Sky Consulting Inc., a woman-owned firm focusing on grant development, research and strategy; public policy analysis; and program evaluation. She works with a wide range of clients in the areas of education, environment, youth development, homelessness, community development, arts and culture, disability, and health and human services. Prior to founding Wide Sky Consulting in 2010, she evaluated public service programs for the County of LA, and oversaw a multi-faceted legal aid program at what is now the Saban Free Clinic. She serves on the Board of Directors and on the Legislative Advocacy Committee of VeDA (Vestibular Disorders Association). Rebecca holds a Master of Public Policy from University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from UC Santa Cruz. As a third generation Angeleno, Rebecca is looking forward to building cross-sector relationships and gaining new approaches to affecting positive change in Los Angeles.

Shervin Saedinia
Senior Financial Advisor
Merrill Lynch
Shervin Saedinia has been a Senior Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch (ML) for over eight years. She works predominantly with women business owners and families in helping grow their assets while avoiding potential pitfalls along the way. She grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Syracuse University, and returned to Southern California to receive an MBA in Management. She currently serves as President of the ML Pasadena Women’s Exchange helping create a forum for women in Global Wealth Management & Investment Management to share ideas and experiences, offer support to one another, and promote personal, career, and leadership development. Through Coro, she hopes to learn additional skills to become a much more effective communicator and leader. She loves hiking, ice cream, and travel. She has a passion for teaching and playing tennis, having competed at the national level as a scholarship athlete at Syracuse.

Angelica Solis-Montero
Executive Director
L.A. Coalition for Excellent Public Schools
Angelica Solis-Montero is the Executive Director for the L.A. Coalition for Excellent Public Schools. As a nonprofit executive, Angelica has more than 13 years of experience in policy development, advocacy, strategic planning and partnerships, program development, and coalition building. She has dedicated her career to improving equity for underserved communities in education, health, economic development and civic engagement throughout Los Angeles. Angelica is also currently the Vice President of the City of Los Angeles’ Human Relations Commission, where she has served since being appointed by Mayor Garcetti in 2016. As a self-proclaimed life-long learner Angelica is eager to learn from the other women in the program and to continue to deepen relationships with leaders from across Los Angeles in order to advance women’s issues.

Kimberly Stotzer
Program Manager
New Economics for Women
Currently a Program Manager with Los Angeles-based non-profit, New Economics for Women, and Co-Founder/Senior Pastor of Firehouse Church in Sherman Oaks, California, Kimberly Stotzer is a South Los Angeles native with more than 15 years of non-profit management experience. A seer of invisible solutions, she has a gift for envisioning realities previously unimagined and identifying actionable strategies to obtain them. An insightful leader and provocative public speaker, Kim is skilled at establishing and scaling wholistically healthy organizational culture, and in addition to stoking the growth of large and well-established community pillars, she has also collaboratively launched multiple successful start-up organizations, which are still serving the Los Angeles area today. Through Coro, Kimberly hopes to gain valuable skills and tools that enhance her leadership ability and an increased network of colleagues who will be allies in the pursuit of a better LA.

Jacqui Swartz
Associate Planner
City of Santa Monica
Jacqui Swartz is an Associate Planner with the City of Santa Monica’s Planning and Community Development Department. Jacqui is responsible for managing capital projects, programs, and studies that support the City’s Strategic Goal to create a new model of mobility and accessibility.Previously she worked for the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) as an urban designer and transportation planner on Vision Zero and Great Streets. Jacqui has worked on various projects creating conceptual design development to improve safety for people walking and bicycling, geo-spatial models for analytical use and data visualization tools to communicate complex information. Her projects range from corridor planning, bicycle and pedestrian master plans, traffic calming studies, land use analysis, suitability analysis, and geospatial data analysis. She uses GIS and visualization software to strategically balance possibilities with reality. She has presented on topics for effective use of data in urban planning, transportation, traffic calming, and travel analysis. She has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Washington. Jaqui looks forward to gaining new leadership skills to advance my career. She is also looking forward to the intensive leadership development seminars that are being offered as part of the program and hopes to deepen her professional networks and build long term professional relationships.

Roshanak Varjavand, PhD
Civil Engineer
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering
Dr. Roshanak Varjavand is a Civil Engineer at the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering where she currently serves the public by overseeing the preparation of designs and specifications for underground structures and other City-owned facilities. She is experienced in the analysis and design practice of bridges, buildings and other structures, construction management of infrastructure projects and conducting research and teaching. Roshanak holds a Ph.D. in Earthquake and Structural Engineering from the University of Southern California, she also has an MSc in Environmental Engineering and a second MSc in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Southern California. She believes science, technology and engineering can provide innovative solutions to the world’s challenging problems.

Millie Yamaki
SVP, Community Relations Manager
Bank of America, Los Angeles Market
Millie manages the Bank’s Community Development and Basic Needs grants, the Student Leaders and Neighborhood Builders programs, special initiatives on Women’s Empowerment, and Nonprofit Board placements for the Bank’s leaders. Millie hopes to cultivate a meaningful network from the Coro Women In Leadership program, where she can contribute to the growth of other women while developing herself personally and professionally. In addition, she would love to learn about different approaches and frameworks others use to manage complex situations. Through the program, Millie hopes to be exposed to diversity in industries, thought and leadership styles. As a result of the program, she hopes to apply her lessons to her work and personal life. Essentially, Millie looks to acquire the right skills to improve herself, while engaging in work that improves the lives of others.