Coral serves as Program Manager for SGC's Community Resilience Centers program, which funds neighborhood-scale resilience centers that will support community resilience during climate and other emergencies, while also acting as a hub for community services during non-emergency times.
In her time at SGC, Coral's work has centered around supporting under-resourced communities to access the funding and other resources needed to address climate change through building capacity and forming key intraregional partnerships. These efforts include the development of the Regional Climate Collaboratives program and the Partners Advancing Climate Equity pilot program on the CACE team, and leading outreach and technical assistance efforts for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program. Prior to her time at SGC, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project where she conducted archival research on Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.
Coral received a Bachelor of Science in Earth Systems with a minor in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University.
Emely Anico serves as the Strategic Engagement Specialist for SGC’s Climate Change Research Program, where she leverages the CCR engagement model in leading the engagement activities for Fifth Climate Change Assessment initiative. Formerly, Emely was with Climate Group, where she managed and supported projects related to peer learning and capacity building with state governments.
Agustin Arreola serves as the External Affairs Manager of the Strategic Growth Council. In his role Agustin works with teams to ensure diverse communities in California are informed of, and have access to OPR’s programs, initiatives, and resources. He works closely with policy leads, other state departments, and the Deputy Director of Communications and External Affairs to ensure correct information and messaging, including talking points, is communicated to key stakeholders.
Prior to joining the Strategic Growth Council Agustin served as Senior Implementation Manger at Lift To Rise, a cross-sector collective impact organization mobilizing 50+ local, regional, and national partners to build a more inclusive and equitable future for all Coachella Valley residents. In his role, Agustin led and supported critical community interventions, including the Mission Asset’s innovative Lending Circles, housing stability and economic mobility collaborative action networks, and most recently, the United Lift Rental Assistance program which helped thousands of Riverside County residents impacted financially during the COVID-19 pandemic stay housed. Agustin holds a Bachelor's of Political Science and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Agustin is passionate about expanding access and opportunity in the areas of housing and economic mobility
Rebecca serves as a Program Analyst with the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program that supports community-led climate projects in California's frontline communities.
Prior to SGC, Rebecca managed the development of California energy building codes and appliance standards, advancing stakeholder engagement. She began her career in the nonprofit sector designing, implementing, and evaluating energy efficiency, workforce, and sustainability programs with cities, universities, and schools throughout California. Rebecca believes climate policy, at all levels, has the potential to advance racial, environmental, and economic justice.
Rebecca received her Master's in Public Policy from Brandeis University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University.
Emily Breslin is the Deputy Director of Communications and External Affairs of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and the California Strategic Growth Council. She brings 10 years of communications, transportation planning and policy, and nonprofit management experience to the role.
Prior to joining OPR, Emily was the Climate Program Manager for the City of San Jose. In this role she oversaw the implementation of Vehicle Miles Traveled under SB 743; developed and codified progressive parking and demand management policies; oversaw a suite of transportation electrification projects, and equitable engagement and implementation for San Jose's "Climate Smart" Plan. Prior to her work in San Jose, Emily oversaw communications, branding, and marketing for the venture capital and consulting firm SVG Ventures and managed communications and community platforms for the global software company SAP. In her spare time, Emily is an active community-based climate advocate through her work for San Leandro 2050, a 501C3 she co-founded in 2018.
Emily has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Technical University of Berlin and a Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis.
Marc serves as the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program Manager SGC where he focuses on program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Prior to joining SGC, Marc was an Associate at Alta Planning + Design, managing dozens of transportation planning efforts, grant-writing, and community engagement campaigns across the United States. At Alta, Marc also led the development of transportation components of more than 20 AHSC applications for clients across Southern California. Earlier in his career, Marc worked for the City of Long Beach Public Works Department, as well as numerous advocacy organizations including Climate Resolve, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Urban Habitat. Marc received a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Jessica Cervantes serves as Program Associate for the Strategic Growth Council’s Community Resilience Centers (CRC) program. The CRC program funds new construction and upgrades of neighborhood-level resilience centers to provide shelter and resources during climate and other emergencies while also funding year-round services and ongoing programming that build overall community resilience.
Prior to joining SGC, Jessica served as project coordinator at From Lot to Spot, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating community designed greenspaces and advancing greenspace equity and environmental justice in Los Angeles County. There she worked collaboratively in the planning and execution of community-designed greenspace projects through the development, construction, programming, and maintenance phases. Prior to that role, Jessica served as a CivicSpark AmeriCorps Climate Fellow at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where she co-led a department-wide communications initiative to incorporate climate change and health messaging across the department’s communications.
Jessica is a first-generation college graduate and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Latin American & Latinx Studies from Vassar College.
Nancy serves as Program Analyst for SGC's Community Assistance for Climate Equity Program, which provides technical assistance and capacity building support to help California's most under-resourced communities advance cross-sector climate action. In this role, she is focused on designing and launching SGC's newest capacity building program, the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (Tribal TAP), which will provide tailored technical assistance to California Native American Tribes to assist them in advancing their climate objectives. Nancy also supports implementation of the BOOST Program, Partners Advancing Climate Equity Program, and the Regional Climate Collaboratives Program.
Prior to her appointment at SGC, Nancy worked at Heal the Bay as the Public Programs Manager leading community engagement programs centered on science, policy, and marine animal conservation. She also brings an extensive background of community-based climate change research, having worked with local and native communities in California, the Pacific Islands, the Pamir Mountains, and Tanzania. Nancy received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Natural Resources from Cornell University.
Bo is the Senior Projects Analyst on SGC’s High Speed Rail (HSR) and Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) team. Bo’s unique position focuses on project implementation efforts in HSR station communities in areas of existing state investments and builds cross-agency and programmatic partnerships. Bo served previously on SGC’s Health and Equity Program team and brings a strong health and racial equity lens to this position. He believes that the High-Speed Rail is more than transportation infrastructure – it’s also a way to transform communities and people's lives by creating greater access to goods, services, and ideas.
Prior to joining SGC, Bo worked as an evaluation consultant on projects ranging from a transitional housing program for formerly incarcerated people to the implementation of the Home Visiting Program for families on Medi-Cal. Bo has significant experience working with social justice and equity issues in the San Francisco Bay Area. During his time with the Dellums Institute for Social Justice, he collaborated with homeless advocates to co-author a report on implementing innovative solutions and policy measures to house 2,000 of Oakland’s unhoused people within the six months. Bo also has extensive experience in community engagement. As a steering committee member for the implementation of AB 617 in West Oakland, he applied his academic background and local community knowledge to co-create environmental interventions to alleviate the disproportionate impact of pollution on people of color in the community. Bo is an immigrant and first-generation college graduate with master's degrees in public health, city planning, and china development studies.
Amar Azucena Cid
Amar joins SGC as the Deputy Director of Community Investments and Planning. Amar values and utilizes her lived and learned experiences, rooted in racial justice, the environment, and the community’s ability to thrive, to inform her professional work. She has over 15 years of transportation and community planning and policy experience across public and nonprofit sectors, including positions in affordable housing, federal surveying, youth and health advocacy, legislative analysis, and transportation planning.
Prior to joining SGC, Amar led the country’s first State DOT office on Race and Equity at Caltrans. Under her leadership and through meaningful collaboration, she advanced internal and external DEI efforts with a people’s centered model. The Caltrans Office on Race and Equity (CORE) launched the development of the Equity Index, the Interagency Transportation Equity Listening Sessions, and the inaugural external Interagency Transportation Equity Advisory Committee. Before managing CORE, she was an integral statewide strategist in public transportation, including implementing and cultivating the $100M+ annual CA Climate Investment Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. Amar successfully advanced local transit entities in their transition to Zero Emission service, coordinated new routes for the direct benefit of priority populations, and negotiated service-wide free fare programs for students. Amar earned a MA in Community Development and Planning from Clark University and a BS in Community and Regional Development at UC Davis.
Justin DeWaele is a Program Associate on the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program, where he focuses on the development, implementation, and coordination of the Regional Early Action Planning Grant Program (REAP 2.0).
Prior to joining SGC, Justin was responsible for data analysis and reporting for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, widely recognized as one of the most successful COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs in the country. Justin has also served as a Field Representative in the California State Assembly, where he carried out community engagement efforts, covered housing and homelessness policy, and connected constituents to public services. Justin has also served as a Randall Lewis Data Science Fellow with the LA County Department of Public Works, a Housing Program Specialist at the National League of Cities, and a Research Associate at the USC Center for Economic Development. Justin earned his MPA at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, and a BA in Urban Studies and Planning and History at UC San Diego.
Lianne Dillon, MPH, is a Co-Lead of the Capitol Collaborative on Race & Equity (CCORE), the largest state-level racial equity capacity building initiative in the nation. In this role, she supports agencies, departments, offices, and boards to build a people powered movement inside of California State government to advance racial equity and undo institutional racism.
Prior to co-leading CCORE, Lianne was Deputy Program Director with the Public Health Institute (PHI) for California’s Health in All Policies Task Force. In her role, Lianne also facilitates Health in All Policies workshops and trainings for local governments and local health departments, provides health and equity consultation to non-health sectors, and has co-authored several publications on this work including, Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments.
Blanca Escobedo is an Analyst for the Community Assistance for Climate Equity Program (CACE), which provides technical assistance and capacity building support to underinvested communities. In this role, Blanca focuses on the Regional Climate Collaboratives (RCC) and Partners Advancing Climate Equity (PACE) Programs. Prior to joining the SGC team, Blanca worked with community-based organizations in the Central Valley and Sonoma County. She draws from her experiences working with communities in these regions and advocating for climate resilient investments.
Blanca holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relation from UC Davis.
Liz serves as a Climate Change Research Program Manager for the Strategic Growth Council. She currently works on engaging local government and regional agency grantees who have been awarded Proposition 84 Sustainable Communities Planning Grants and Incentives Program funding, coordinating the Council's planning and monitoring program, and convening SGC member organizations on sustainable infrastructure issues. Prior to working for the Council, Liz spent 25 years at the University of California, Davis where she managed the Institute of Transportation Studies & Urban Land Use and Transportation Center, served as an analyst at the Road Ecology Center and the Information Center for the Environment, and directed University Extension's Land Use and Natural Resources program. She has created and coordinated education, outreach, and professional development programs for over 20 years, in the areas of land use, transportation, public finance, fire ecology, road ecology, environmental policy, and Integrated Modeling and Forecasting.
Colin Gutierrez, MPH, is a Program Associate with the Public Health Institute supporting the California Health in All Policies (HiAP) Task Force at the Strategic Growth Council. He works to promote safe and healthy communities, providing research and project management support to the Task Force’s Action Plan to Promote Violence-Free and Resilient Communities. Colin assists with other facets of the HiAP team by providing administrative support and event coordination. Prior to joining the council, Colin completed an internship on international development in Cameroon and worked as a Compensation Analyst for Jackson National Life. Colin earned both his MPH and BS degree from Michigan State University.
Jessica “Jess” Ison is a Program Associate for the Transformative Climate Communities Program. Prior to SGC, she served as the Business Development Coordinator for the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, where she assisted in bringing businesses to the region and stimulating regional economic development. She handled various logistical tasks and communicated with city officials, academic institutions, and C-Suite executives to build partnerships. During her time at UC Davis, she conducted community-based participatory research on AB 617 implementation in the San Joaquin Valley, and also served as a Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellow where she led environmental justice workshops across the UC system.
Beyond economic development and environmental justice, Jess also has a background in housing development, educational equity, and racial justice. Her work ethic is rooted in innovation and moving with purpose; she prides herself in being curious and is always looking for ways to improve existing systems.
Jess holds a B.S. in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis.
Risa is passionate about health equity and environmental justice. Risa previously worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where she focused on paid advertising, social-media strategy, and Spanish-English translations for a wide variety of communications campaigns to promote health equity and prevent chronic disease. One campaign sought to decrease disparities in children's dental health and another promoted resources to reduce renters' exposure to secondhand smoke at home.
Risa has also worked for a social-impact advertising agency and several health and environmental nonprofits. She holds B.A.s in Communication & Sociology and a Minor in Spanish from the University of California, Santa Barbara and has co-authored research on climate-policy communication.
As Health and Equity Program Associate, Michael Jimenez provides communication and administrative support to the HEP program and staffs activities of the multi-agency California Health in All Policies Task Force. In addition, he works to integrate health and equity research and evaluation across SGC and HiAP Task Force priorities.
Prior to joining SGC, Michael served as a CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where he coordinated stakeholder engagement on policy initiatives to reduce the health impacts of climate change. Michael received a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Environmental Policy and Spanish Studies from Occidental College.
Kirin Kumar joins SGC as the Deputy Director of Equity and Government Transformation with over five years of experience in the nonprofit and local government sectors working to advance climate justice and grow resident capacity to engage in the decision-making processes that shape communities. As the Executive Director of WALKSacramento, Kirin worked to build collaboration between public health and community development professionals in the Sacramento region to inform strategies that improve quality of life and access to opportunity in historically disadvantaged communities. Kirin has implemented technical assistance programs that support local agencies enacting community participatory planning practices, developing environmental justice policy, and addressing chronic disease prevention through the built environment. Kirin specializes in building productive relationships between community residents and local government. Kirin has a Bachelor in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from University of California, Davis.
Jessica Lopez serves as Senior Program Analyst for the Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC). Jessica was previously an AHSC Program Associate and before that served as an Executive Fellow at the Government Operations (GovOps) Agency through the California Capital Fellows Program. There, she worked on managing several interdepartmental efforts for their Government Excellence and Transformation (G.E.T.) Center. Prior to that role, Jessica worked at the Community Development Resource Group (CD-RG) where she worked with developers and cities to apply to public agency funding sources for affordable housing and transit services and amenities. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Ena Lupine serves as Program Manager for SGC's Community Assistance for Climate Equity Program, which provides technical assistance and capacity building support to help California’s most under-resourced communities advance cross-sector climate action. In this role, she oversees a broad range of programs and initiatives to build community-driven leadership, collaborative partnerships, knowledge, and skills to help communities access public funding for climate mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency projects. Employed at SGC since 2017, Ena most recently served as SGC's Community Assistance Program Manager and previously led SGC's communications and public affairs activities as the organization's Communications and Policy Advisor.
Prior to her appointment at SGC, Ena completed her Master’s degree in Community Development at UC Davis, where she focused her research on equitable and inclusive policies for investment in under-resourced communities. Ena also brings more than 5 years of experience working in education and communications for organizations in France, India and the US.
Sauntharya is an Executive Fellow with the Strategic Growth Council. In this role she supports the functions of the Community Assistance for Climate Equity Program (CACE), the Executive Leadership team, cross agency work, and the OPR/SGC Summer Internship Program.
Sauntharya comes to SGC with experience in legal services and education, student and youth advocacy, diversity, equity, & inclusion work, operations management, and social science research. Prior to SGC, she most recently served as a Legal Operations Analyst for TIBCO Software where she helped manage mergers and acquisitions, legal software, and GDPR data policy changes to better support the organization’s in-house counsel legal team. She is currently serving her second year on the CAFWD Young Leaders Advisory Council, composed of Californians ages 16-24 who are committed to intergenerational collaboration in engaging underrepresented communities with the policy-making process through personal narratives and data-based recommendations.
Sauntharya Manikandan completed her undergrad at University of California, Irvine with double majors in Psychological Science and Criminology, Law, and Society and a minor in Digital information Systems. During her time at UC Irvine, Sauntharya served in various roles for research, student government, outreach initiatives, legal clinics, and legislative internships to help build her understanding of bringing equity and access to all levels of her work, a value she hopes to build upon at SGC.
Jessica McCool joins SGC as a Program Associate for the Community Resilience Centers program. Prior to SGC, Jess worked in coordination with her Samala Chumash community as a Grants Associate at the Santa Ynez Tribal Health Clinic designing, implementing, and evaluating grant programs designed to bring awareness to and increase access to services related to mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention. She also served as a Research Assistant with the California Rural Indian Health Board assisting in multiple data collection and evaluation efforts for various public health projects. Prior to working in the public health sector, Jess spent most of her professional career working with environmental organizations on numerous climate-based projects while expanding her own relationship with the land. In addition to the extensive research, collaboration, and community engagement she had acquired during these experiences, she continued to work on tribal youth advocacy and leadership development as an advisor to an intertribal youth advisory committee, designed to direct grant programming to align with the community’s needs. She is excited and honored to contribute to a lasting positive social impact to both present and future generations of Californian communities with her combined expertise and drive to advance racial, environmental, and economic justice through the Strategic Growth Council’s newly developed Community Resilience Centers Program.
Jess is a first-generation college graduate and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with minors in Environmental Studies and Italian Studies from Chapman University.
Dora serves as Program Analyst for the Strategic Growth Council’s Community Resilience Centers (CRC) program. The CRC program funds neighborhood-level resilience centers to provide shelter and resources during climate and other emergencies, while also acting as a hub for community services and programming year-round.
Prior to SGC, Dora worked with the American Red Cross as the Direct Services Manager for the CA Gold Country Region, serving 26 counties in Northern California. She was responsible for overseeing client-facing services and workforce within disaster response and recovery. She worked on development and implementation of programs including sheltering, feeding, distribution of emergency supplies, casework, disaster health, mental health services among others.
Dora has a B.S. in Biochemistry with a minor in Psychology from UC San Diego. Throughout her professional and volunteer experiences her career has included service with various organizations on projects within the public health, public safety, and education sectors. Her background responding to some of the most devastating wildfires in California and witnessing climate change impact communities as disasters increase in frequency and magnitude has motivated her to serve with SGC. Dora is passionate about implementing innovative tactics to best address diverse community needs and has a commitment to public service.
Julia Caplan is a Program Director at the Public Health Institute (PHI) for the California Health in All Policies Task Force, which is a collaborative project between the California Strategic Growth Council and the California Department of Public Health. In this capacity, Ms. Caplan facilitates a multi-agency process that brings together over twenty state agencies, departments, and offices to build collaborative partnerships and incorporate health, equity, and environmental sustainability considerations into decision-making and government operations across policy areas as diverse as transportation, land use, education, agriculture, and social services. Ms. Caplan also provides Health in All Policies workshops for local governments and local health departments and co-authored Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments in 2013. Ms. Caplan has twenty years’ experience in community building, social change, and public policy leadership, and holds masters’ degrees in public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley.
Anna Jane Jones
As a Program Analyst on the Transformative Climate Communities team, Anna Jane supports communities as they plan equitably for resilience in the face of a changing climate. Prior to joining SGC, Anna Jane was a NOAA Digital Coast Fellow for the Nature Conservancy (TNC), where she worked alongside hurricane-affected communities in Florida and the Carolinas to leverage nature-based solutions to build coastal resilience. While at TNC, she served as Project Manager for the Scaling Up Nature-based Solutions (SUNS) project in the Florida Panhandle. In this role, she developed and implemented a collaborative planning process in coordination with local and regional stakeholders to generate projects that mitigate risk and improve fish and wildlife habitat across Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties. In parallel, she worked on a multi-organizational team in South Carolina to better understand the Winyah Bay watershed’s resources and resilience planning needs. Anna Jane’s approach has been informed by her research on planning, disaster recovery, and emergency management and in particular, her experience as a Fulbright Student in Ecuador studying community participation post-earthquake recovery.
She holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s in Art History and the Visual Arts from Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Sean Kennedy has over ten years of climate change planning and policy experience across public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including positions at the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in Canberra, Australia, the World Agroforestry Centre in Bogor, Indonesia, and the Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA. Before joining the SGC, Sean was an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research and teaching spanned the areas of international environmental planning, energy governance, and climate change planning, with an emphasis on equity impacts of energy and climate change policy in California and Southeast Asia. As a postdoctoral scholar, Sean contributed technical expertise and supported stakeholder engagement as part of the Los Angeles County Sustainability Plan. His research has appeared in numerous academic journals and mainstream outlets, including Energy Research and Social Science, Popular Science, The Conversation, and the conservation site Mongabay.
Sean has Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Graduate Diploma in Environmental and Resource Economics from the Australian National University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Southern Cross University.
As Program Analyst for Transformative Climate Communities, Jennifer bolsters community-led resilience projects in California’s most underserved places. She brings an environmental justice, urban planning, and community development background to SGC. Prior to joining the team, Jennifer worked alongside frontline communities facing disproportionate air pollution and its associated health impacts in Los Angeles. She planned and organized advocacy efforts promoting policies that reduce pollution near homes and schools at local, regional, and state levels of government. Jennifer also coordinated a community-based coalition and policy campaign, managed and secured grants, and conducted community engagement for LA County’s first Sustainability Plan. Additionally, she has experience in research and data analysis, having focused on special districts as a mechanism for local resilience planning, neighborhood stabilization and wealth building through community investment trusts, as well as educator workforce housing on school lands to address the state’s tandem issues of teacher retention and housing affordability.
Jennifer holds a Master of City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University.
Lois Kim serves as Project Analyst at the Strategic Growth Council (SGC). She previously served as Special Assistant at SGC. Prior to joining the SGC, she was a staff scientist at a consulting firm specializing in environmental remediation.
Lois received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning with a minor in Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis. In Davis, Lois supported the Three Revolutions Future Mobility Program at the Institute of Transportation Studies. She also was Chair of the Associated Students’ Environmental Policy and Planning Commission and Vice Chair of the Green Initiative Fund.
Brianne Logasa serves as a Program Associate for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program, supporting program development and implementation. Prior to joining the SGC team, she was a Management Analyst at the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, where she managed regional stormwater projects, Regional Early Action Planning grant projects, a bikeshare program, and various policy committees. Earlier in her career, Brianne worked for the Water Education for Latino Leaders, an education-based nonprofit, and causeIMPACTS, a social impact consulting firm. Brianne received a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies and Planning from UC San Diego.
Holly Nickel, MPH, is a Co-Lead of the Capitol Collaborative on Race & Equity (CCORE), the largest state-level racial equity capacity building initiative in the nation. In this role, she supports agencies, departments, offices, and boards to build a people powered movement inside of California State government to advance racial equity and undo institutional racism.
Prior to joining PHI, Holly worked at the Safe Routes National Partnership assisting communities and organizations across the United States in understanding the connection between active transportation and equity. Additionally, at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, she developed and implemented state-level racial equity strategies and worked to increase physical activity and healthy eating opportunities for all Michigan residents.
Lauren Perrin is a Graphic Designer for SGC, with a focus on human centered design, user interface, and illustration. Prior to joining OPR, Lauren was working for a public health non-profit, focusing on improving the access to health equity and creating meaningful and useful digital products. Lauren has been working in public sector design for over four years and freelancing for over five years.
Lauren has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from Sacramento State University and is an active member in the Sacramento design community.
Markie Price is a Program Associate for the Community Assistance for Climate Equity Program, which provides technical assistance and capacity building support to help California's under-resourced communities achieve their climate equity goals. In this role, she supports program development and implementation, communications, outreach, and data analysis.
Prior to working at SGC, Markie served as the volunteer coordinator at Ready to Succeed, a non-profit that supports transition-age foster youth and first-generation college students. There she focused on communications, outreach, and connecting program participants with professionals. Markie holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Urban and Regional Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also received a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from the University of California, San Diego.
Melissa will be supporting SGC’s legal compliance, procedural excellence, legislative, and advisory activities. Prior to joining SGC, Melissa was a fellow at the UC Davis School of Law Aoki Water Justice Clinic. She has previously worked on water rights, water quality, land use, and environmental justice matters across various State agencies and nonprofits. Originally from California’s Central Valley, Melissa is particularly interested in supporting climate resilience and adaptation strategies in California’s rural, underserved communities.
Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a J.D. from UC Davis School of Law. She enjoys distance running and traveling with her husband and toddler during her free time.
Matthew (Matt) Read has a decade of experience in legal, government, and nonprofit sectors working on issues as varied as food security, land use, tobacco control, and bike lanes. As SGC’s Staff Counsel, Matt provides legal support to advance SGC’s work to help California achieve its climate change goals through place-based, community-driven programming.
Matt came to SGC from Sacramento City Hall, where he served as Policy Director and Chief of Staff to Sacramento Councilmember Steve Hansen. He managed a broad policy portfolio of housing, sustainability, homelessness, public works, transit, and active transportation issues, along with a team of dedicated staffers.
Before the City, Matt worked at Breathe California and in his own private practice, providing government relations, policy, and land use expertise to nonprofit and foundation partners advancing public health initiatives.
Matt received his Juris Doctorate from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law with a certificate in Mediation. He attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he received a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Rhetoric & Media Studies as well as Politics. Matt lives in Sacramento with his partner, Merril, and their daughter, Margaret.
Sarah Risher serves as an Analyst for the Community Assistance for Climate Equity (CACE) Program, which houses various initiatives that invest in community-led capacity building and advance cross-sectoral climate action. In this role, Sarah is focused on Regional Climate Collaboratives Program, CACE’s flagship grant program. Sarah also supports implementation of the BOOST and Partners Advancing Climate Equity programs and is an active thought partner to State agencies seeking to expand their technical assistance offerings.
Prior to SGC, Sarah served as a CivicSpark Climate Fellow at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services where she supported development of the California Adaptation Planning Guide, a resource that helps communities bolter resilience through adaptation planning. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning with a minor in Professional Writing from the University of California, Davis.
As a Senior Program Analyst on the Transformative Climate Communities team, Jerry, brings more than 10 years of experience advocating to address inequities faced by frontline communities. Prior to joining the Strategic Growth Council, Jerry worked alongside Environmental Justice communities within Southern California. He was instrumental in advancing policies that promoted community voice, integrating the diverse perspectives of residents and stakeholders. These efforts resulted in policy changes that helped redirect pollution sources away from sensitive land uses in the in the City of San Diego. Jerry also worked for the County of San Diego as a Planner promoting environmental sustainability.
He received his Master’s Degree in Planning from the University of Southern California and has dedicated his career to working alongside frontline communities throughout Los Angeles, Orange County, and the San Diego Region. Working with SGC, he is thrilled to continue to work towards the transformation of communities across the State of California.
Shepperson Wilbun serves as Program Analyst for the California Strategic Growth Council’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC). Shepperson was previously Program Associate, and as such helped develop program guidelines, conduct outreach, and provide technical assistance in support of AHSC.
Prior to the SGC team, Shep served as Senior Program Associate with the first Los Angeles Promise Zone, a collaborative Housing and Urban Development initiative which brought together the City of Los Angeles and over 60 local partners, to work toward a holistic approach to community development. He led a team of Americorps VISTA members and interns, while gaining experience with strategic planning, program development, and metrics. Prior to that role, he served as an Americorps VISTA member in Memphis with the community development intermediary Community LIFT. There he helped to develop a community plan through the federally funded Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP).
Additionally, with the City of Memphis, Shep developed alternative transportation-related ordinances, worked on mapping, and researched economic development and housing related issues. He also has experience with the emerging micromobility industry at Lime. Shep holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University.
Michael Wilson is the Senior Graphic and User Interface Designer for the Strategic Growth Council (SGC), where he manages SGC’s website as well as designs visual communication pieces such as fact sheets and information graphics. He also serves as the webmaster and designer for the Office of Planning and Research, where he has worked on projects such as the 2021 website redesign as well as the layout and design for the Planning and Investing for a Resilient California guidebook.
Prior to his appointment with SGC, he was the graphic designer and art director for the California Energy Commission. His work at the Commission includes their 2015 logo redesign as well as the collateral for the SaveOurWaterRebates.com and California Cash for Appliances campaigns.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), and has mentored students CSUS’s graphic design program through internship programs at both SGC and the Energy Commission.
Sophie oversees the Transformative Climate Communities Program, which invests in community-led resilience projects in California's most disadvantaged communities.
She has worked on sustainable and equitable development initiatives in underserved communities for over ten years. Before joining SGC, she worked at the California Department of Conservation and Department of Transportation as an environmental planner. Prior, she consulted on various land use and development projects in the U.S. and abroad—conducting environmental and social due diligence, participatory research, feasibility studies, and strategic planning.
Sophie received a master's degree from the Yale School of the Environment and a bachelor's degree in Development Studies and Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught English and history to young adults in California and China.
Diana Zamora Reyes
Diana is a CCST Science Fellow placed with the Climate Change Research Program (CCR). She was born and raised in the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez border region where she received her Bachelor's degree from University of Texas at El Paso in Environmental Geosciences. She has a Master's and PhD in Hydrology from the University of Arizona where she studied changes to the hydrologic cycle over California, both in the past and present, to understand where the state is headed due to climate change. As a graduate student, Diana was involved in policy-adjacent research and noticed the disconnect between academia and the public. As a CCST Fellow, she would like to help inform policy and provide a different perspective to the process to better serve the people of California, especially with respect to water and climate change issues. Moreover, she thinks that being in a place with higher visibility will inspire others Latinos to continue school and become scientists as well.
Kim Davila joins SGC as a Health and Equity Program Associate. Most recently, Kim served as an Executive Fellow at SGC through the California Capital Fellows Program. Prior to that role, she served as a Case Manager at the US Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit providing support to over 50 staff at the Office of Staff Attorneys. She has supported various organizations and teams including the Brown University Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, Office of the Rhode Island Governor, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Through these opportunities, Kim has acquired extensive policy, research, and community engagement experience.
Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Brown University.
Trai Spikes is very interested in collaborating with community stakeholders and policy leaders to develop meaningful change for Californians. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri Trai received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the @University of Oklahoma, where he also worked to revise departmental policies to promote an inclusive academic environment.
Natalie is a Research Analyst with the Climate Change Research Program (CCR), where she supports the Strategic Growth Council’s stakeholder engagement strategy for California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment. Prior to her current position, Natalie worked at California Volunteers, Office of the Governor, as a Regional Volunteer Coordinator assisting with Operation Feed California efforts statewide. Natalie started State service as a Legislative and Communications Aide in the California State Assembly. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Natalie is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in Cameroon. In her free time, she loves hanging out with her dog, cooking vegetarian recipes, traveling with family and friends, and volunteering in Sacramento.
Sarah supports technical assistance, outreach, and program development and implementation for the Transformative Climate Communities program. Prior to this role, Sarah served as a Special Projects Associate and Executive Fellow at SGC, supporting multiple programs and initiatives, including the California Transportation Assessment and Regional Climate Collaboratives Program. Sarah has a background in ecology and environmental education, and has held positions with the Student Conservation Association, the USDA Forest Service, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Carleton College.
Alexandra (Alex) Gallo is the Analyst for the Health and Equity Program (HEP), where she helps advance public health, racial equity, and sustainability across state government. Alex brings three years of experience developing and implementing programs at SGC to the HEP role. On the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) team, Alex led capacity building, technical assistance, and stakeholder engagement efforts, oversaw implementation of investments in several communities, and helped lead policy developments, including an investment framework for Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities.
Prior to her role on TCC, Alex was SGC’s Executive Fellow, supporting organizational and Council initiatives. Alex came to SGC from the California Legislature, where she served California’s 10th Senate District.
Alex is a first-generation college graduate and earned Bachelor Degrees in Political Science and Communication from California State University, Fresno. At CSU Fresno, she was a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Scholar, earned the President’s Undergraduate Medal of Distinction, and was elected to student government, where she successfully established an elected position for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Jazmine Garcia Delgadillo
Jazmine Garcia Delgadillo serves as the Health and Equity Program Manager at SGC. Jazmine has extensive experience translating research into health equity-centered policy, evaluating and designing community informed programs, and collaborating with diverse stakeholders and sectors, including community-based organizations, nonprofits, local government, associations, and policymakers. Previously, she served as a Health Policy Fellow for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal where she had the opportunity to work on legislative health issues at the intersection of immigration and health. While a Doctoral Candidate, Jazmine also collaborated with California’s Primary Care Association, the National Collaborative for Health Equity, the District of Columbia’s Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity, and Trust for America’s Health, among other organizations.
Jazmine has a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Master’s in Public Health and Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dalila Madison Almquist
Dalila Madison Almquist is a Deputy Program Director at the Public Health Institute (PHI) for the California Health in All Policies Task Force, which is a collaborative project between the California Strategic Growth Council and the California Department of Public Health. In this capacity, Dalila contributes to the overall strategy and planning for the Health in All Policies program, leads the violence prevention portfolio, and supports the Capitol Collaborative on Race and Equity (CCORE). Dalila brings more than a decade of experience advancing racial equity and health equity, gained while working at PolicyLink and Prevention Institute. She received a degree in Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and a Master’s in Public Health from San Diego State University.