John Kim currently serves as Co-Director of Advancement Project's California office. John works closely with the other Co-Directors on the development of new policy research/advocacy initiatives, partnership building, and strategic organizational development efforts.
Stephen R. English
Before co-founding Advancement Project, a public policy change organization rooted in the civil rights movement, Steve English was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for twelve years, helping manage a 20-lawyer litigation department. Together with Co-Directors Connie Rice and Molly Munger, Steve launched a coalition lawsuit, Godinez v. Davis, which won ...
Molly Munger is a co-founder and director of the Advancement Project, a public policy change organization rooted in the civil rights movement. Founded in 1999, Advancement Project engineers large-scale systems change to remedy inequality, expand opportunity and open paths to upward mobility. Molly brings an extensive background of legal expertise to the Advancement Project, including twenty years as a federal prosecutor and business litigator. Read Molly Munger's full biography
Constance L. Rice
In her legal work, Connie has led multi-racial coalitions of lawyers and clients to win more than $10 billion in damages and policy changes, through traditional class action civil rights cases redressing police misconduct, race and sex discrimination and unfair public policy in transportation, probation and public housing.
Matthew Agustin received his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of California, Irvine and B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Riverside. While receiving his Master's degree, Matt served as president of the Urban Planning Student Association and concentrated on pedestrian planning, social justice and public art. Prior to joining Advancement Project, Matt interned with the Orange County Transportation Authority. Matt was born and raised in Lakewood, California.
Khydeeja Alam Javid
Manager of Governmental Relations
Khydeeja Alam Javid is a Legislative Advocate in our Sacramento office. Khydeeja works on legislative and budget issues related to K-12 Education, foster youth, early childcare and education, public school facilities, juvenile justice, and violence prevention/intervention policy. Khydeeja is involved in local politics and various youth empowerment programs. She has been elected District Delegate for Assembly District 13 for the California Democratic Party; she will serve as a delegate until 2014. Khydeeja is a founding board member of Muslim Americans in Public Service (MAPS), a non-profit organization that promotes involvement in public policy and serves as a professional development and support network for youth. Prior to the Advancement Project, Khydeeja worked for Assembly Member Anna Caballero as her district representative, where she was a liaison between the citizens, state government and community leaders. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her Bachelor’s in Sociology and was recognized on the Dean’s Honor List for her educational achievement. During her time at Cal, Khydeeja was a scholar intern at the University of California Center in Sacramento (UCCS) and worked at Birdsall & Associates as an assistant legislative coordinator, an advocacy firm dedicated to K-12 education policy, representing various school districts and education related clients.
As Grant Writer, Jennifer Arceneaux proactivelyresearches traditional and innovative funding opportunities to support and growAdvancement Project’s $14 million budget. Her expertise in grant writing benefits from the five years prior she spent reviewing proposals as Program Officer in Education & Youth Development at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she managed a portfolio of grants totaling $2 million dollars to organizations working to improve high school graduation rates in Los Angeles County. Motivated by her joint passions for education work as well as performing and visual arts, she has worked in grant writing, grassroots fundraising, program development, executive support, and membership for diverse nonprofit educational justice and arts organizations and museums. Jennifer is a native of Los Angeles and attended local public and private schools. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in Literature and Media Studies and minor in Spanish.
Mike started volunteering as a mentor with At- Risk youth and gang members in the late 1990’s in the East Los Angeles area, and moved on to working as a Gang Intervention Worker. Working across the city and county of Los Angeles for the last fifteen years he has provided substance abuse services, coordinated and directed afterschool and Gang Intervention Programs from the San Fernando Valley to Lennox. Mike’s position prior to coming to AP was the Program Director of a non-profit organization providing substance abuse and violence intervention services to students at Lennox Middle School where he had an office on campus for the four years preceding his employment with AP. In addition to doing Hospital Based Intervention while coordinating a program at Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center he graduated from the first class in the collaboration of Cal State L.A., The School of Criminal Justice and the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute’s Gang Intervention Training and the first Accelerated Intervention Course offered through the Urban Peace Academy. He also obtained a certificate as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor through the C.A.D.C... Currently at The Advancement Project Mike’s title is Urban Peace Program Associate in which a good deal of his role consists of being a member of the Urban Peace Organizational Management Team where he aids in the organizing, oversight and facilitation of the Urban Peace Academy’s 140 hour entry level training. He is also involved in the Urban Peace Expansion Training Team; traveling throughout the state and country supporting other cities in their efforts to bringing awareness and reducing violence by assisting in needs assessments and aiding in the creation and implementation of tailored trainings.
Training and Communications Coordinator
Taisha attended Whittier College where she focused on in Religious Studies, Gender and Literature with a focus in post structuralism within biblical studies. She continued on to graduate school in New Jersey where she received her Master's Degree in Theological Studies with a focus on cultural studies. While in graduate school Taisha worked for United Way, a local and national organization which seeks to support and strengthen communities by focusing on three core issues: Income, Education and Health. As a graduate student, Taisha was a member of TERRA (Transforming Ecological and Religious Resources into Action), Latin@ Caucus, and was the Orientation Coordinator for the Class of 2008. She is a member of academic honor societies, a recipient of community leadership scholarships, has performed in three productions of the Vagina Monologues and continues to be a community volunteer.
Community Research Lab Manager
Janice serves in dual capacities as a Research Analyst and Manager of the Community Research Lab program. In her role as a Research Analyst, she supports the strategies of community-based organizations with GIS mapping and analysis. As Manager of the Community Research Lab, she coordinates the development and implementation of capacity-building, community-based research tools and workshops that involve Healthy City’s free, online mapping technology. She has provided mapping research and technical assistance on projects that have informed the policy, organizing, and advocacy strategies of organizations throughout Southern California and has facilitated participatory mapping activities with organizations such as Community Coalition, the Los Angeles Urban League, Alliance for a Better Community, and First 5 Los Angeles. She applies her teaching skills as a healthycity.org website trainer and Community Research Lab workshop facilitator. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from UCLA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Black Studies from UC Santa Barbara.
Juana Rosa Cavero
Coordinator, Healthy City
With a strong commitment to social justice, Juana Rosa Cavero has dedicated herself to ensuring that communities have access to information and that power structures exist to support positive health and well-being. Most recently, Juana Rosa was Director of the Reproductive Justice Coalition of Los Angeles, leading over 25 organizations in advocacy campaigns. Globally, while at the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health,she engaged community-based organizations in the U.S., Sudan, Uganda, Peru and Guatemala. In 2011, she received the Emerging Leader Award from the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom. From 2003-2008, Juana Rosa served as Board Chair of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, as the organization grew to become a national model of young women-led, health advocacy leadership. Additionally, in the field of tobacco prevention and control, Juana Rosa led the implementation of the statewide smoke-free law in disproportionally affected communities at the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance at the Latino/a Research & Policy Center.
In 2009, Juana Rosa was accepted as a Fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute of California and successfully passed legislation to improve government efficiency in protecting farm workers from overexposure to pesticides. Currently, she is a Fellow for the CoreAlign Generative Innovation Project at the University of California San Francisco to cross cultivate innovative ideas that increase gender parity. Juana Rosa is currently finishing her M.A. in Public Policy.
Erin Coleman joins Advancement Project as Data Coordinator for Healthy City. Erin earned her Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Iowa. As a graduate student, Erin focused her efforts on research projects and interactive mapping tools promoting affordable housing and equitable Transit Oriented Development. She conducted her client project for the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing on the relationship between rail development and gentrification in Los Angeles. In fulfillment of her internship requirements, Erin served as a research associate on a comparative analysis of two housing microfinance programs for the Center for Environmental Planning and Technologyin Ahmedabad, India. Erin also served as a teaching assistant for a web-based GIS course, and a research assistant on analyses of the Mortgage Interest Deduction and Backyard Housing.
Urban Peace Academy Coordinator
Antonio manages Urban Peace Academy (UPA) projects such as training programs for gang intervention, law enforcement and other stakeholders. The UPA trainings serve as a platform for communities and sectors to create and implement violence reduction strategies. The Urban Peace Academy has provided city certified training for gang interventionists servicing communities across Los Angeles. In addition to the trainings in Los Angeles the Urban Peace Academy has, and will continue to, expand to different cities and regions across the state and country. Antonio joined the Advancement Project after working for Occidental College as program manager of violence prevention services at Hathaway-Sycamores Family Resource Center. He received a B.S. in Kinesiology from San Francisco State University and is currently completing a thesis for a masters in Kinesiology at California State University Long Beach.
Jose Cuchilla joins Advancement Project as a Data Analyst for Healthy City. Having grown up in the city of El Monte, he understands the important transformational role research plays in shedding light to the health inequities facing underserved communities. Before joining Healthy City, Jose was a Leadership Alliance Mellon Initiative Fellow at the University of Chicago, where he worked on research related to the Immigrant Health Paradox and the social determinants of health among Latino immigrants. Specifically, his work as a fellow focused on the role citizenship status and acculturation play in the likelihood of native/foreign-born Latinos having type-2 diabetes. Jose earned his B.A. in Sociology from Cal Poly Pomona, with concentrations in Methodology and Health/Nutrition. During his studies, he was involved with various student led organizations, including the Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) Sociology Honor Society. While at Cal Poly, he also volunteered at the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, where he worked with day laborers and was an advocate for workers rights. Currently, Jose is pursuing a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he continues to do research on health disparities and issues of healthcare (in)accessibility facing Latinos.
Born and raised in Los Angeles California, Carmen has an AA degree in Business Administration and Fashion Designing. She has worked as an administrative assistant in a variety of administrative offices in the field of Operations, Production, Telecommunications, and has 17 years with Los Angeles County working in the Departments of Public Social Services, Hall of Records, and Mental Health. Carmen has been an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary for 26 years, she volunteers for hospitals, Martin Luther King Day Parades, visits V.A. Vets, and coordinates the Annual Auxiliary Fashion Show at the Legion. She joins our team with prior experience assisting and working with CEO’s, Presidents, Directors, Clients and Customers and has a background for caring, being compassionate and sensitive to assist and support others.
Manager of Strategic Initiatives
John supports Advancement Project California (APCA) leadership in the development and implementation of initiatives to realize APCA’s new 5-year vision. Before being hired as Manager of Strategic Initiatives, John served as a Policy Analyst Intern at APCA, working on issues ranging from voting rights to budget advocacy to educational equity; and prior to that, he volunteered as a Research Fellow at the California Community Foundation, providing research on, among other topics, community indicators projects across the country. He also has a decade of experience in teaching and educational outreach to students and parents at the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels. John is a proud product of the California Community Colleges system and holds a BA in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MA and a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago.
Senior Policy Analyst
Sandy Escobedo is currently a Senior Policy Analyst for the Advancement Project, a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization that engineers large-scale systems change to remedy inequality, expand opportunity, and open paths to upward mobility. Ms. Escobedo is working to build support for “Our Children, Our Future 2012” that seeks to restore funding for our public schools and early childhood education. Over the past 10 years, Ms. Escobedo’s professional experience spans across school districts in New York City through Teach for America and Philadelphia as a data analyst. Ms. Escobedo also worked for the California Community Foundation, a premier philanthropic institution in Los Angeles. She serves as a Vice Chair for the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce and is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Fordham University, and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively. Ms. Escobedo is the first in her family to graduate from college and graduate school. She is a proud product of LAUSD schools and is fluent in Spanish and French.
Leila Forouzan earned her M.P.A. in Public Policy from Baruch College, City University of New York and B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. As a graduate student, Leila served as a GIS research assistant on demographic and climate change studies. Prior to joining the Advancement Project, Leila was part of the Census 2010 Greater Hollywood area management team which mainly covered Hard-to-Count tracts. While living in Chicago she was the Technology and Administration Coordinator at (what is now) J Street, a pro-peace grassroots organization educating and advocating for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her volunteer work includes serving as a Board Member for the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council and as a Deployment Site Coordinator for the 2011 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. Leila is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and New Orleans, LA.
Director of Development
Angela Glover serves as the Director of Development for the Advancement Project. In that capacity, she is responsible for the fundraising and working with the Communications team on outreach efforts for the organization. Angela has over 16 years for development experience working with hospitals, colleges and universities as well as advocacy organizations. Prior to joining AP Angela served as the Director of Development for the West Coast for Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC. She holds a BA in Political Science from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and a JD from the University of Miami, School of Law. Angela is a native of Long Beach, CA.
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Josh is an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP and Edison International. As a fellow, Josh is developing and implementing a program to minimize the negative consequences of civil gang injunctions in Los Angeles communities and to provide representation to individuals who believe that they have been wrongly added to a gang injunction and/or who have made the choice to leave a gang and wish to remove themselves from injunction enforcement. Prior to joining the Advancement Project as a fellow, Josh graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice.
Director of Human Resources, Finance & Administration
Jorge Jimenez serves as the Director of Human Resources, Finance, and Administration for APCA. In this role as a human resource leader, Jorge is responsible for overseeing employee relations, leadership and employee development, training, compensation, benefits and workers’ compensation. He also works closely with the Advancement Project’s CFO to ensure that the California office has the financial management support it needs and that it complies with financial management standards and requirements.
Jorge has over 16 years of experience working with non-profits, 13 of which have been in a leadership capacity. Prior to taking this role in November of 2012, Jorge served as Director of Finance and Administration for Central American Resource Center, the largest Central American immigration and advocacy organization in the country, where he was responsible for planning, directing and controlling financial and administrative functions for the organization. He also successfully implemented the Human Resource department’s systems and practices to be in alignment with operational goals and objectives. Jorge has held a number of director roles for other non-profit organizations in Los Angeles County in finance, business administration, and program management. He has also served for the US Armed Forces and is a proud Army veteran.
Jorge holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of La Verne.
Coalition Organizer/Policy Analyst
Prior to his work with the Advancement Project, Eric Lam was a Senior Human Relations Specialist with the Orange County Human Relations Council. He has experience working in low-income housing and in diverse communities throughout CA and NY developing and implementing social and educational services and change. Eric has a background in community services, empowerment and engagement with an emphasis in leadership development and youth organizing holding positions with South Park Youth Center in San Diego, Project Access in Westminster, and the NYU Metropolitan Center for Urban Education in New York City. Eric is Vietnamese and has also been involved with the Asian Pacific Islander Youth Collaborative in Orange County. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Urban Studies & Planning from University of California, San Diego as well as a Master of Arts degree in Sociology of Education, Education Policy from New York University.
Erica Lawless graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Before joining the Advancement Project, she worked for the Disability Support Services Office at LMU, assisting students with physical, psychological, learning disabilities, and ADD/ADHD. As a student, Erica served as an active member of Isang Bansa (the Filipino and Filipino-American student organization), helping to promote cultural awareness and diversity through campus involvement, community outreach, and cultural dance performances. Erica has also volunteered for the Pasadena Humane Society, as well as the Teen Outreach Program at Haven House Emergency Woman's Shelter and participated in workshops on teen dating violence and healthy relationships.
National Director of Urban Peace
Susan K. Lee currently serves as the Director of Urban Peace at the Advancement Project California. In that capacity, she oversees the implementation of an Urban Peace agenda that includes working with the government, philanthropy, law enforcement, school districts and a variety of stakeholders in the community to achieve a collaborative and comprehensive solution to violence and gangs. The Urban Peace team is deeply engaged in more than 10 communities throughout the State of California to implement a holistic strategy to achieve community safety and to expand opportunity for children and youth.
Lee has over 19 years of experience in non-profit management, strategic planning, fundraising, facility development, staff training & development and community engagement as well as research and expertise in immigration history and law. Her work in San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, has primarily focused on empowering and serving low income immigrant communities of color. Before joining the Advancement Project, as the Director of Children & Family Services at Koreatown Youth & Community Center, she expanded mental health, youth and family support services and also successfully oversaw the implementation of a $5 million dollar Early Childhood Initiative resulting in two new facilities providing high quality child care for 105 infants, toddlers and preschool aged children. She brings program expertise in early childhood education & development, youth development, school readiness and success for K-12 students, outpatient mental health, and violence prevention.
Susan Lee holds a BS in Economics from University of California Berkeley as well as a JD from Boalt Hall, School of Law, UC Berkeley and is currently on leave from the Ph.D. program in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. In addition to being a member of the California State Bar, she has more than 6 years of experience teaching undergraduate courses in Asian American history and community issues at UC Berkeley, and has published on issues of immigration, citizenship and immigrant rights. Her scholarship has been recognized through numerous fellowships and awards, including the Jurisprudence Award from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1995. She is active in supporting other community based organizations and schools and was the Chair of the Larchmont Charter School Board of Directors, a start-up charter elementary school. Susan lives in Los Angeles with her husband Bobby, daughter Zoe and son Francis.
Urban Peace Manager
Virginia Lee serves as the Urban Peace Manager and manages the Urban Peace team’s technical assistance and training efforts in communities striving for safety. She comes to Advancement Project with more than 14 years of experience as a public health advocate having successfully worked on a variety of public health, equity, and community health issues including the intersection between violence and chronic disease, Healthy Eating and Active Living, HIV prevention, and tobacco control. She was recently accepted into the Next Generation Leaders of Color, a year-long program that integrates transformational leadership with management skills through a multicultural framework.
Prior to Advancement Project, Virginia worked as a program manager at Prevention Institute and was instrumental in facilitating the work of the Convergence Partnership, a national collaborative of funders advancing policy and environmental change through multi-field partnerships. In 2005, she completed a three-year training and service fellowship with the Public Health Prevention Service, where she honed her skills in program management, planning, and implementation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health-Seattle & King County. Virginia also has experience working with immigrant families and youth as a project director for Asian Youth Center, a community-based nonprofit in Los Angeles County. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from the University of California Los Angeles and a Masters in Public Health from San Diego State University.
Cecilia Ley attended CSU, Los Angeles and graduate with a degree in History with a minor in English. Prior to working for the Advancement Project, Cecilia was a Program Coordinator for Public Counsel a non-profit law firm in Los Angeles, working in both the Early Care and Education Law Project and the Center for Veterans Advancement. She was also a History teacher for LAUSD, for several years where she helped to establish a Teen Court Program and the creation of a small learning community that served over 200 students. Cecilia has also volunteered for the USO since 2003, providing hospitality for military personnel and their families.
Adilene López Valenzuela
Adilene López Valenzuela was born and raised in the south east cities of L.A. County. She joined Advancement Project from Berkeley, where she received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies, focusing on women of color feminist thought and discourse. While a student, Adilene was selected as a National Bonner Leader, a program supporting students active in social justice movement-building. In conjunction with her Bonner commitments, Adilene served as Co-Director for Alternative Breaks, an experiential service-learning program within the university's Public Service Center. In this capacity, she managed operations and logistics for ten student-led groups traveling across California, Arizona, Oregon, New Orleans, and Mexico. She is currently a core member of the South East Los Angeles Collective (SELACo), bringing art & civic engagement to communities along the 710 freeway.
Maidel Luevano is a Project Coordinator for Healthy City. She received her masters degree in Urban Planning from UCLA and bachelors degree in Sociology and Ethnic Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Her graduate work focused primarily on the intersections of art & culture with city planning. Prior to joining Advancement Project, Maidel worked as the Cultural Development Manager at LA Commons, where she managed the Neighborhood Docent program, as well as, Project Willowbrook: Cultivating a Healthy Community through Arts and Culture; A Cultural Asset Mapping Report; in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. She received a Fulbright grant to conduct a year-long arts education research project in Cusco, Peru, where she taught animation classes at a local after school program and researched the state of art education in Peru. Before that, Maidel worked in the Los Angeles non-profit sector with various organizations on topics ranging from youth development, arts education and higher education/college access. Maidel is originally from Long Beach and looks forward to continuing to support positive change in communities throughout Los Angeles, as part of the Advancement Project team.
Kathleen Manis Johnson
Senior Policy Analyst
Kathleen Manis received her Master's of Public Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and mass communications from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining The Advancement Project's education team, Kathleen worked as a research analyst for K to College, a Bay Area education nonprofit committed to equal access to educational opportunity for low-income students, and continues to serve on their board of directors. While in graduate school, Kathleen worked for an international child welfare nonprofit in a policy research capacity, focusing on early childhood issues in orphanages in the developing world. Kathleen is committed to effective education and child welfare policy initiatives and reform.
Major Gifts Consultant
Alison Morgan joins Advancement Project after most recently serving as Development Director of the Western Center on Law and Poverty. A long time fundraiser for progressive political candidates in California, Alison has helped numbers of politicians become financially competitive and ultimately win their elections. Based in Los Angeles, Morgan & Associates clients have included Senator Barbara Boxer, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Los Angeles Mayor (and Speaker Emeritus) Antonio Villaraigosa, former and current State Senators Sheila Kuehl and Fran Pavley, Assembly members Karen Bass and Michael Feuer former LA City Council members, Ruth Galanter, and (now former Assembly member) Jackie Goldberg, and former State Superintendent Delaine Eastin. Alison is on the Board of LA social justice foundation Liberty Hill, and still leads fundraising workshops. Married to campaign strategist Parke Skelton, their worlds have been blissfully upended by navigating the lives of now 9 year old Zora, and 13 year old Jasper.
Patricia Neri received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Southern California. She has worked in various public sectors from non-profit organizations to policy think-tanks. Patricia has worked at the Center for Governmental Studies as their community development intern focusing on a community-wide healthy-access initiative. While in graduate school, she worked at Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), a non-profit organization, in their Public Affairs department researching early childhood education (ECE) legislation, and working on various ECE initiatives such as parent involvement, cross-sector collaborations, corporate engagement, and event planning. Prior to joining the Advancement Project, she was a Fellow at the USC Institute for Global Health, providing research and operational support in various education-led projects from the Ugandan Health Initiative to a week-long Global Health Awareness series which culminated with community Health Fair in the San Pedro/Harbor area. Patricia has been involved in various academic organizations such as the Latino Association for Policy, Planning, and Development and continues to be an official UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) member and volunteer. Patricia is a native of Los Angeles, California.
Manager of Collaborative Initiatives
Jonathan Nomachi received his undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and his Master's in Public Policy at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. Jonathan spent the last eight years at Community Health Councils (a health advocacy organization in South Los Angeles) serving most recently as the Research/Data Manager where he coordinated and advanced the research and data needs for the agency. Jonathan has extensive experience in Community Participatory Research approaches as well as data collection and evaluation techniques. Jonathan is a native of Los Angeles and hopes to continue to empower underrepresented communities at HealthyCity.
Kim Pattillo Brownson
Director of Educational Equity
Kim Pattillo Brownson is a civil rights lawyer with litigation and advocacy experience in education and constitutional law. Kim currently oversees the day-to-day management of Advancement Project's Education team, and focuses on early education, school facilities and overcrowding, and school finance. Prior to joining the Advancement Project, Kim was an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, where she focused upon ensuring that the State of California provided school children with the basic necessities of a decent education. She also worked as a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Kim began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Dolores Sloviter on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, and the Honorable Louis H. Pollak in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Kim holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College. Prior to law school, Kim worked at the Boston Consulting Group, where she provided financial and strategic planning services to Fortune 500 companies.
Silvia Paz received a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Medical Sociology from the California State University of Long Beach (CSULB). Before joining Advancement Project’s Healthy City Project, Silvia worked as a Program Coordinator for AccessOC, an Orange County based program focusing on improving the health of vulnerable people who are uninsured by providing access to no-cost outpatient surgeries. Silvia also worked for the NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training, as a Project/Evaluation Coordinator, where she coordinated health-related projects targeting the Latino community and worked closely with the National Council of La Raza’s Institute for Hispanic Health staff as project support around data and evaluation. The projects she worked on ranged from a focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic within the Latino community; to education around maternal and infant health; as well as behavioral health. Silvia also worked with CSULB faculty to assess the environmental pollution concerns of a community near the Port of Long Beach. Silvia has always been interested in improving the health and wellbeing of underrepresented communities and working for Healthy City provides the opportunity to engage these communities.
Karla Pleitéz Howell
Associate Director of Educational Equity
Karla Pleitéz Howell is a public interest lawyer with experience in direct client services, systems change, and advocacy. She is currently the Associate Director of the Advancement Project’s Education team and is responsible for managing operations. In addition, Karla works with key stakeholders to identify education priorities to assure equity in California’s education system. Prior to joining the Advancement Project, Karla was the Supervising Attorney for Public Counsel’s Early Care & Education Law Unit. She offered legal advice to small businesses and nonprofits; advocated for increased child care facilities throughout Los Angeles County; and led policy work in the Southeast cities to increase green space and educational opportunities for young children. Karla also worked as the Directing Attorney for El Rescate Legal Services, a nonprofit focused on assisting families with immigration legal issues. Karla began her legal career as a law clerk for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Karla attended UCLA as an undergraduate and holds a J.D. from U.C. Hastings.
Deputy Director of Urban Peace
Fernando Rejón manages the overall operation of the training Academy for gang intervention workers, through coordination and facilitation of practitioner-led tables including the professional standards committee and regional training team. In addition, he manages the Advanced Law Enforcement Training which provides an overview of the particular role of intervention practitioners in effective violence reduction and community policing strategies. He has over 10 years of experience working in non-profits including 14 years of community organizing and program development experience. He began organizing as a university student fighting for the successful establishment of an Ethnic Studies program and working on preventing impending gentrification efforts in San Diego. While in college, he worked as a counselor for youth on probation re-entering the community from juvenile hall and camps. Later, he worked on issues of environmental justice in Pacoima where he co-developed and managed training institutes for community members, both youth and adults, focused on environmental health including the development of community-based curriculum to empower residents to seek social justice. He has also worked with indigenous communities organizing for alternatives to free trade agreements and to establish dialogues between U.S. people of color and indigenous peoples in México and beyond. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Communication Studies from the University of San Diego and a M.A. in Chican@ Studies from California State University, Northridge.
Chris Ringewald came to Healthy City after working for the National Park Service's Inventory & Monitoring Program in South Florida. Chris graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Masters degree in Regional Planning. While in college, Chris was active in public service initiatives, intramural sports, and social organizations. After graduation, he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Cornell Public Service Center. Originally from San Diego, Chris is excited to return to Southern California.
Melissa Nalani Ross
Senior Policy Analyst
Melissa Nalani Ross serves as Senior Policy Analyst for the Urban Peace program, focusing on criminal and juvenile justice policy reform through research, advocacy and broad-based collaborative partnerships. As part of Urban Peace’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice team, Melissa is working to develop and implement systems change to provide for a more fair and equitable justice system, while improving opportunities and outcomes for system-involved youth and adults.
Melissa Nalani Ross most recently worked as Communications Project Associate at the California Immigrant Policy Center where she provided technical support and developed media strategies for organizations focused on immigrant rights. She also served as the Director of the Campaign for a United America, a national initiative of the Center for New Community to push back against nativism, racism and organized bigotry through organizing, strategic research, investigation and analysis. In addition, Melissa worked on issues of police brutality, housing rights, and violence against women while at the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based social justice company, and also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Melissa holds a BA in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Arizona and a Masters in Public Policy from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Amy Sausser has more than 18 years of experience with nonprofits, with a specialization in communications. She believes that nonprofits make an important contribution to our communities and, all too often, their stories go unheard. Even worse, the needs of their clients and constituents go unnoticed - communications can help change that. Her communication services include production of publications - annual reports, newsletters, websites, brochures, informational reports, fundraising letters - as well as communications planning and grant proposal and report writing. She has taught communications seminars and workshops at the Center for Nonprofit Management, the Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership and the California Association of Nonprofits' annual conference. Previously, Ms. Sausser served as Director of Communications at Southern California Grantmakers and Deputy Director of Development at the Liberty Hill Foundation. Committed to social change in Los Angeles, the Liberty Hill Foundation relied heavily on communications to both raise funds for grantmaking programs and to shape public opinion on issues as diverse as environmental justice and education reform. Ms. Sausser has also served as the Managing Editor of the California Association of Nonprofits' Alert newsletter, providing cutting-edge information and resources for nonprofit managers statewide. In 1994, she started the employment newsletter Opportunity NOCs (now known as Nonprofit Directions) and went on to become the Manager of Communications at the Center for Nonprofit Management. A native of Southern California, Ms. Sausser received her MA from UCLA in Critical Studies in Film & Television in 1991 and her BA from CSU Northridge in Film and Television.
In her role as the Development Coordinator for Advancement Project, Pia Schiavo-Campo researches and writes grant proposals and reports for all program areas. She also helps to plan and implement communication efforts, like creating newsletters and brochures, and creating content for the website. Prior to joining Advancement Project, Pia spent three and a half years as a Grant Writer, Facilitator and Social Media Coordinator for youTHink, a program of the Zimmer Children’s Museum, which uses thepower of art to foster critical thinking, engage diverse learners, promote literacy and serve as a tool for social change for underserved youth in Los Angeles. Pia is passionate about social justice and empowering underrepresented people of color to create lasting change within their communities. She believes in public education and is a product of public and international schools on the east coast and abroad. Pia has lived and traveled overseas extensively in places like Somalia, India and the Philippines. Before shifting careers to the non-profit world, Pia spent 10 years as an interior designer and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Sociology. Pia is originally from Washington, D.C.and speaks Italian fluently.
Timothy L. Shugrue has more than 19 years experience as an accounting and human resources professional. He joined The Advancement Project in September 2010 with significant prior experience working for non-profit and for profit companies and law firms in accounts management and financial reporting, most recently for the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC), a non-profit organization providing oversight and counsel to city and county officials, police leaders, jail administrators and community and civil rights groups with respect to accountability, risk management and recommended practices, where he had served as Accounting Manager and Human Resources Manager for over 7 years. Timothy is originally from Boston, Massachusetts.
Executive Assistant to John Kim
Heather Sutherland joined Advancement Project in 2014 as the Executive Assistant to the Managing Co-Director, John Kim. Heather has over 20 years’ experience in the legal field and has also worked as an Executive Assistant for Associated Students at Cal State Fullerton. She completed several internships while in graduate school, including working with an affordable housing agency, two Orange County labor unions in research and political organizing capacities, and as a research and grant writing intern at Community Action Partnership of Orange County. She lives in Fullerton and is an active volunteer in the Orange County community. Heather holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from University of West Los Angeles and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Brandman/Chapman University.
Manager, Online and Digital Initiatives
As Manager of Online & Digital Initiatives at Advancement Project, Lori manages website design and development, training, and communications efforts for the Healthy City Program. Lori has extensive experience managing complex, multi-dimensional GIS mapping projects and online campaigns with a range of partners including Community-Based Organizations, Governmental Entities, and Philanthropic Institutions. Through these projects, she looks to increase the accessibility of data and information. Her graduate studies in Nonprofit Management focused on Shared Leadership and Organizational Development. Her first exposure to GIS Mapping was at Tufts University where she received her bachelor's degree with a double major in Environmental Studies and Japanese. Upon graduation, Lori worked in Kobe, Japan for two and a half years as a project manager at an English Conversation Academy. Lori joined the Advancement Project in 2006, after working at ERDT/Share!, a global non-profit educational foundation.
Angela brings to her work at Advancement Project a passion for quality education experiences for at-risk youth, from birth to college, especially as they are impacted by social, emotional, and behavioral health & well-being. Initially developed through her senior thesis at Claremont McKenna College on maladaptive coping skills in teens, her passion only grew after real world experience through her graduate work with young women in foster care at a residential treatment facility. Coming from family of math & science educators, she has a special place in her heart for young women of color in STEM & research fields, and, she is excited to be part of Advancement Project’s efforts to research then implement solutions. Angela concentrated her graduate studies in Community Organization, Policy, and Administration at USC’s School of Social Work. Her work as an MSW intern at the Painted Brain gave her an opportunity to work with young adults with mental health diagnoses and cultivate their ability to advocate for themselves in a culture that traditionally has so much stigma toward mental illness. An internship at Los Angeles Universal Preschool highlighted the importance of reaching vulnerable kids early – a commitment that she continues to push forward in her work. Angela received her MSW from the University of Southern California after graduating cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a BA in Psychology.
Juhyun received her Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin. Specializing in Urban and Regional Affairs, she participated in various research projects on urban housing and social policy with her GIS mapping and quantitative analysis skills. Before joining the Healthy City team, she worked as a GIS/data analysis consultant for Southwest Key Programs, a nonprofit organization located in Austin, TX providing educational and rehabilitation service for low-income neighborhoods, to support writing a proposal for Promise Neighborhoods Planning Grant. Previously, she has worked as a research intern for the City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development to create geographic dispersion map of public housing projects and update their annual housing market studies. Juhyun is originally from Seoul, South Korea and received a bachelors degree in Urban Administration from the University of Seoul.