Lourdes Castro Ramírez
Council Member Secretary, California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency
Michael Flad was selected as the City Manager of the City of South Gate in October of 2012. He currently provides leadership and direction for a community of over 102,000 residents through the efforts of over 400 employees and a budget of $115 million dollars. Mr. Flad began his career in Public Administration with the City of Burbank in 1988 working in a variety of positions for the Finance, Risk Management, Community Development, City Manager’s Office and Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PR&CS) departments.The majority of Mr. Flad’s professional career has been with the City of Burbank where he served for over 23 years. During that time, he was lured away from his home town briefly, to accept the number two post, as Assistant City Manager with the City of Ukiah, in Northern California. Actively involved in the communities he has served, Mr. Flad has been appointed to nearly two dozen committees and boards, including the Workforce Investment Board, the School District Partnership Advisory Committee, Traffic and Transportation Committee and various YMCA, and Boys and Girls Club advisory committees. Mr. Flad is also a member of the Rotary International Club of South Gate.
Over the years, his efforts have been recognized by various organizations and have earned him several honors including the League of California Cities Helen Putnam Award, the CSUN Award for Outstanding Public Service, the Boys and Girls Club Liz Shapiro Golden Achievement Award, the CPRS Community Service Award, Burbank Temporary Aid Center “Top Award for Citizenship,” Employee of the Year from Elk’s Lodge #1497, the Mary Alice O’Conner Vision Award from the Family Service Agency, and the Providence Pioneer Award.
Michael Flad is a graduate of UCLA, with a degree in Political Science. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University Northridge.
Prior to being appointed OPR Director, Assefa was Director of the City of Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development since 2016. He was Senior Urban Designer for the Department of Community Planning and Sustainability for City of Boulder from 2010 to 2016, Director of Land Use and Planning Policy for the Department of Planning and Development and Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic and Physical Development for the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office from 2004 to 2010 and Senior Urban Designer for the SmithGroup JJR from 2002 to 2004. Assefa was Director of Special Projects for the City and County of San Francisco Department of Planning and Development from 1999 to 2002 and Senior Urban Designer for SMWM Architecture and Planning from 1993 to 1999. Assefa earned a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wade Crowfoot was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 11, 2019.
Crowfoot brings more than 20 years of public policy and environmental experience to the office, with expertise in water, climate and sustainability issues. He most recently served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation and led its transition into an independent organization early in 2017.
Prior to joining the foundation, he served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor, leading the administration’s drought response efforts. He previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Nicole Capretz is the founder and Executive Director of the San Diego-based nonprofit organization Climate Action Campaign. Nicole is an environmental attorney with 20 years of experience as an energy, equity, and climate justice policy advisor. While serving as Director of Environmental Policy for the City of San Diego, Nicole authored the city's binding 100% Renewables Climate Action Plan.
Previously, Nicole served as the Associate Director for Green Energy/Green Jobs at Environmental Health Coalition, an environmental equity and justice organization. She has also worked as an environmental and energy policy advisor for the San Diego City Council. Nicole earned her Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from UC Santa Barbara and her law degree from Vermont Law School. Nicole has won numerous civic awards for her climate advocacy, and was named a Top 10 Californian of the Year by the New York Times in 2016.
Dr. Mark Ghaly was appointed Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019. In this role, Dr. Ghaly will oversee California’s largest Agency which includes many key departments that are integral to supporting the implementation of the Governor’s vision to expand health coverage and access to all Californians. Dr. Ghaly will work across State government, along with County, City, and private sector partners, to ensure the most vulnerable Californians have access to the resources and services they need to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.
Before joining Governor Newsom’s team, Dr. Ghaly worked for 15 years in County health leadership roles in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In San Francisco, he was Medical Director of the Southeast Health Center, a public health clinic located in the Bayview Hunters Point community. In addition to having a large primary care pediatrics practice, Dr. Ghaly led the clinic’s transition to the patient-centered medical home model of care, expanded specialty care and diagnostics services, and addressed issues such as teen health, youth violence, food security, and environmental health issues.
In 2011, Dr. Ghaly became the Deputy Director for Community Health and Integrated Programs for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. In this role, Dr. Ghaly directed clinical operations in the Los Angeles County Juvenile Detention system and led the transition of jail health services from the Los Angeles County Sheriff and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health into one integrated system of care. Dr. Ghaly also led a County team to expand health and behavioral health services on the Martin Luther King, Jr., health campus in South Los Angeles, which included the opening of the public-private Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Hospital. Additionally, Dr. Ghaly was the architect of the Los Angeles County Whole Person Care Pilot program, oversaw the launch of the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System in Los Angeles County, and established the County’s Office of Diversion and Reentry which has diverted over 3,000 individuals out of County jail and into community-based treatment and permanent supportive housing. Among Dr. Ghaly’s most important accomplishments was the creation and continued development of the County’s Housing for Health program. Since 2012, Housing for Health has supported over 6,500 chronically ill individuals facing homelessness, many of whom are stuck in acute care facilities, to gain permanent supportive housing through federal subsidies and LA County’s Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool.
Dr. Ghaly continues to see patients in the Los Angeles safety net system, currently working at Olive View UCLA Medical Center. Mark’s prior clinical work within Los Angeles County also included seeing patients at the Los Angeles County Juvenile Detention System and the Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center Medical Hub that serves children and youth in the Los Angeles Child Welfare System. Dr. Ghaly looks forward to continuing his clinical practice while serving as the State’s Secretary for Health and Human Services.
Dr. Ghaly was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He earned duel B.A. degrees in biology and biomedical ethics from Brown University, his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School, and his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Ghaly completed his residency training in Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ghaly is married to Christina Ghaly and has four young children.
Dr. Ghaly is honored to serve Governor Gavin Newsom and looks forward to forging partnerships and relationships across California to make the Governor’s vision a reality for the benefit of all Californians.
David S. Kim became the third Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) on July 1, 2019 following his appointment by Governor Newsom in April 2019. In this role, David is responsible for oversight of 40,000 employees across eight departments, boards and commissions whose mission is to advance a safe, environmentally sustainable transportation system that maximizes mobility for all Californians
A longtime transportation leader with experience in the private sector as well as all three levels of government, David served as Vice President, Government Affairs for Hyundai Motor Company from 2017-2019. Prior to this assignment, David spent nearly eight years in senior level roles at the U.S. Department of Transportation. He served as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the number two position in the agency. Additionally, he was FHWA’s Associate Administrator for Policy and Governmental Affairs and before that, spent two years as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.
At the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, David led federal, state and local government affairs from 2004-2009 as Deputy Executive Officer for Federal Advocacy and Government Relations. Additionally, he served in the administration of Governor Gray Davis from 1999-2003 where he represented the State of California’s interests before Congress and the executive branch on transportation, water, energy and environmental priorities. From 1998 to 1999, David worked in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs. He also spent three years as a Washington representative for the City of Los Angeles.
For a decade, David served on the staff of numerous elected officials in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington. He spent five years working in various capacities with Xavier Becerra, during his time in both the California State Assembly and Congress. Kim began his public service career as a field representative and administrative assistant to State Senator David Roberti.
A native of Davis, California, David earned a B.A. in Political Science from Occidental College and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Lourdes M. Castro Ramírez
California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Lourdes Castro Ramírez to serve as Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. She brings more than 25 years of public service and executive management experience in affordable housing and community economic development, and having been sworn in on March 2, 2020, she is charged with leading key initiatives integral to realizing the Governor’s vision to expand affordable housing and create inclusive economic growth opportunities that serve all Californians. Secretary Castro Ramírez oversees departments responsible for funding affordable housing, enforcing civil rights protections, monitoring banking and financial transactions, strengthening consumer protections, and licensing 3 million working professionals.
Secretary Castro Ramírez was previously appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Public and Indian Housing. While there, she managed $26 billion in federal program funds and worked closely with federal, state, local and tribal governments to advance affordable housing policies and programs.
Prior to joining HUD, Castro Ramírez was President and CEO of the San Antonio Housing Authority, where she expanded affordable housing opportunities, developed education, health and workforce partnerships that helped residents improve their circumstances, and secured a federal Choice Neighborhood Grant that created community-centered revitalization efforts.
Most recently, she served as President of the University Health System Foundation in San Antonio, where she spent three years building philanthropic support for patient-centered programs, and improving access to innovative and compassionate care for families across South Texas.
Castro Ramírez began her career working as a Community Planner in Ventura County and spent 10 years with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles in various capacities, including the Director of the Housing Choice Voucher program. She is an accomplished executive dedicated to building partnerships and leading public, private and philanthropic efforts to improve community and system-level housing, health, business, economic and educational opportunities.
She earned her master’s degree in Urban Planning and bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Chicano Studies at UCLA.
Castro Ramirez has served on several community and national boards and received the 2019 Community Partner Award from the San Antonio chapter of the American Institute of Architects for chairing the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force. Her work on that commission led to the San Antonio City Council’s historic adoption of a comprehensive and compassionate housing policy that will guide planning, development, incentives, and housing efforts over the next decade. She is a 2020 San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee and a proud wife and mother of three children.
She is excited to return to California and eager to continue working collaboratively on complex community issues that require equal parts experience, leadership, and heart.
Jared Blumenfeld is California Secretary for Environmental Protection. Appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in January, he is one of America’s most innovative environmental leaders, with more than 25 years of environmental policy and management experience at the local, national and international levels. From 2009 to 2016, he served under former President Barack Obama as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Pacific Southwest region. From 2001 to 2009, he was Director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment, where he worked with then Mayor Newsom to make San Francisco “the most sustainable city in the nation.” Prior to government service, Jared led international campaigns for nongovernmental organizations, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Natural Resource Defense Council. A graduate of the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology, he holds law degrees from the University of London and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Prior to joining the Newsom administration, Jared founded a private consulting firm to advise clean-tech companies on strategic planning and market development. He also hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile route that stretches from Mexico to Canada, and started an award-winning podcast on environmental topics, called Podship Earth, which he continues to host.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz
A California native whose parents immigrated from Mexico and whose father worked in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, Dr. Muñoz has deep roots in the UC System and the Central Valley region. He earned his B.A. in psychology from UC Santa Barbara. Prior to earning his M.A. in Mexican American studies from California State University, Los Angeles, he was a secondary school teacher and instructor in the California Community College system. He earned his Ph.D. in education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied curriculum & instruction in the Division of Urban Schooling.
As a faculty member in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University Fullerton, and taught courses in classroom management, instructional methods and curriculum development, multicultural education, bilingual education, and critical social theory.
During his time in LA, Muñoz also served on the board of directors of several nonprofit agencies, was appointed to the Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board-Youth Council, served on both the Parks & Recreation and Substance Abuse Commissions in San Bernardino County, and was chair of the 2001 City of Los Angeles Crossroad Symposium for at-risk youth.
Muñoz presently joins UC Merced from the University of Houston Downtown (UHD), where he served as president and, within his first year, launched the university’s largest capital campaign and led the institution’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey. Prior to UHD, Muñoz served as senior vice president and vice provost at Texas Tech University.
He is the author of book chapters, academic articles, essays, refereed and invited conference presentations. In 2010, Muñoz was among the contributing editors of the seminal compilation Handbook of Latinos and Education. The book earned the coveted American Association of Educational Studies' prestigious Critic's Choice Book Award.
Muñoz has also served on the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence, and is currently on the board of directors of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the American Council on Education. He was appointed to the California Strategic Growth Council in December 2020.
He is a graduate of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership offered jointly by Arizona State and Georgetown Universities, ACE’s Spectrum Executive Leadership Program, Harvard University’s Institute for Management and Leadership, UC Berkeley’s Executive Leadership Academy and the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy’s Governor’s Executive Development Program.
He is married to Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz, Ph.D., an accomplished scholar and professor at the University of California, Merced.
Karen Ross was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 12, 2011 by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Secretary Ross has deep leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California. Prior to joining CDFA, Secretary Ross was chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a position she accepted in 2009. Before her time at the United States Department of Agriculture, Secretary Ross served more than thirteen years as President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), based in Sacramento. During that same period she served as the Executive Director of Winegrape Growers of America, a coalition of state winegrower organizations, and as Executive Director of the California Wine Grape Growers Foundation, which sponsors scholarships for the children of vineyard employees. Among Secretary Ross' many achievements at CAWG was the creation of the nationally-recognized Sustainable Winegrowing Program, which assists wine grape growers in maintaining the long-term viability of agricultural lands and encourages them to provide leadership in protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and enhancing their local communities.