Board of Directors

Karen Camacho

Karen Camacho

Housing and Economic Development Manager, City of East Palo Alto

Karen Camacho is the Housing and Economic Development Manager for the City of East Palo Alto, where she is responsible for leading the City's housing and economic development initiatives, increasing the number of affordable housing units citywide, and advancing policies and programs to prevent displacement. Karen has broad experience in state, regional and local policy, with prior roles as Partnership for the Bay’s Future Policy Fellow, focusing on housing preservation in the City of East Palo Alto, and organizer at the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County and ACLU of Northern California. She graduated from Urban Habitat's Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute in 2018 and served on the City of East Palo Alto's Rent Stabilization Board for three and a half years. Karen holds a Bachelor's in Political Science and Master's in Latin American Studies from Stanford University.

Sheila Chung Hagen

Sheila Chung Hagen

Board Secretary
Principal, Chung Hagen Consulting

Sheila Chung Hagen is Principal at Chung Hagen Consulting, where she helps foundations, nonprofits, and government agencies develop high-impact, public policy initiatives in the areas of affordable housing, public transportation, environment, and immigrant rights. Since 1999, Sheila has worked in the nonprofit and government sectors, where she learned the importance of building strong ties between community and government partners. She has played key leadership roles in organizations such as the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the San Francisco City Administrator's Office, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Prior to starting her consultancy, she was Legislative Aide to two San Francisco Supervisors, specializing in land use and public transportation policy. In these capacities, Sheila developed and launched innovative programs like Free Muni for Youth and the City ID Card. In 2016, Sheila was elected to the Executive Committee of Sierra Club San Francisco. Sheila earned a BA in International Politics from UC Berkeley and an MA in Environmental Management and Sustainability from Harvard University. She is bilingual in Spanish and English, and lives in San Francisco with her family.

María D. Domínguez

María D. Domínguez

Compliance and Privacy Manager, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency

María is a multiskilled advocate dedicated to advancing social justice and racial equity. Born and raised in East Oakland on Ohlone Land, she is grounded in her indigenous, immigrant, working-class Salvadorean Mexican roots. She has led numerous people-powered campaigns throughout the Bay Area alongside immigrants, tenants, and systems-impacted youth and families.

María has a wealth of experience working in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Her role as Compliance and Privacy Manager for the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency is at the intersection of data privacy, information technology, and health equity. Her prior roles include Local Policy Coordinator for the Alameda County Public Health Department's Health Equity, Policy and Planning unit and Staff Attorney for the East Bay Family Defenders representing families impacted by the child welfare system.

After graduating from Urban Habitat's Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute in 2017, she served on the Alameda County Commission on the Status of Women for four years, including as chair. María holds a Bachelor's in Ethnic Studies from Mills College and a Juris Doctor from UC Law San Francisco. She currently resides in Contra Costa County on Me-Wuk land.

Maria Noel Fernandez

Maria Noel Fernandez

Executive Director, Working Partnerships USA

As Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA, Maria Noel brings more than a decade of successful community, labor, and electoral organizing to Silicon Valley’s movement for a just economy. She is a fierce advocate for racial and economic justice, and her passion is grassroots organizing to build a multi-racial, feminist democracy for all. Under her guidance, Working Partnerships USA achieved significant victories, improving wages, working conditions, and union job access for over 10,000 subcontracted service workers in Silicon Valley. Maria Noel played a key role in policy campaigns, raising the minimum wage to $15/hr in eight cities, implementing the first-in-the-nation Opportunity to Work policy, expanding tenant protections, and ensuring universal healthcare access. With a background in progressive politics, community organizing, and leadership roles, Maria Noel is a dedicated advocate for positive change. She currently serves on the boards of PowerSwitch Action, the South Bay AFL-CIO, and Movimiento Arte Cultura Latinoamericana Board (MACLA). Residing in Gilroy with her husband Carlos and their sons, Tadeo and Diago, Maria Noel is committed to building a better future for all.

Chris Lepe

Chris Lepe

Principal, Mariposa Planning Solutions

Chris Lepe is the Principal of Mariposa Planning Solutions, where he helps communities and regions grow into more equitable, healthy, sustainable, and connected places. He has two decades of community organizing, coalition building, and public policy experience, mostly focused in realms of transportation and land use planning and policy. He spent fifteen of those years as a community organizer, community planner, and regional policy director at TransForm, a Bay Area nonprofit organization working to advance equity and climate protection. Chris has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from San Jose State University and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz.

Saabir Lockett

Saabir Lockett

Deputy Director of Civic Engagement and Faith-Rooted Organizing, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy

Saabir Lockett is the Deputy Director of Civic Engagement and Faith-Rooted Organizing at East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE). He is a Mayor-appointed Commissioner for the Community Jobs Oversight Commission at the Oakland Army Base, a board member of Urban Equity, Founder & Executive Director of Pathways 2 Peace Inc., and a community advocate and activist.

As the Deputy Director of Civic Engagement and Faith-Rooted Organizing, he is principally responsible for overseeing two key areas of organizing & power building: EBASE's faith-rooted organizing program, Faith Alliance for A Moral Economy (FAME), and EBASE & East Bay Action's (EBA) political and civic engagement strategies, all in service of the campaign and long-term power-building goals.

Saabir is a devoted Father and is formerly incarcerated. His innate passion for community empowerment is connected to an empathetic recognition – from an early age – that some people have access to essential resources and a sense of well-being while others problematically do not. This duality is the foundation for Saabir's work: celebrating and energizing communities through moral framing while changing policy and creating resources for radical social justice, sustainable and equitable systems, and community transformation, healing, liberation, and fulfillment of people's humanity.

Danielle Mahones

Danielle Mahones

Director, Leadership Development Programs, UC Berkeley Labor Center

Danielle Mahones is a skilled facilitator and trainer, and has 20 years of experience in social justice movement work. In her current role at the Labor Center, Danielle leads the team that provides the trainings, workshops, leadership schools, and technical assistance to unions, worker organizations, and community organizations. Previously, Danielle served as the Executive Director of the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), a racial justice organization dedicated to building a social justice movement led by people of color. Prior to this, Danielle spent a decade working in the labor movement. She organized hotel workers with HERE Local 2850 and janitors with SEIU Local 1877, and directed new organizing and contract campaigns for Stanford hospital and university workers with SEIU Local 715 (now 521). She has also worked as an independent consultant to community, labor, and philanthropic organizations, including The California Endowment’s East Oakland Building Healthy Communities initiative, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Latino Outreach Program of the League of Conservation Voters, the Ella Baker Center, and the Bay Area Black Workers Center.

Vu-Bang Nguyen

Vu-Bang Nguyen

Housing Strategist, Nguyen Planning Company

Vu-Bang Nguyen is a housing policy strategist working in the fields of housing, philanthropy, and govtech. He was previously a program officer for Silicon Valley Community Foundation, leading the housing and transportation grantmaking strategy and an associate director of land use and housing at Urban Habitat. Vu-Bang has worked for the City of Berkeley’s Department of Planning, the Town of Los Gatos Planning Division and for a real estate development company working on infill residential development projects in Fremont, San José and Los Gatos. Vu-Bang holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where he created a community engagement handbook for the San José Redevelopment Agency to increase Vietnamese American participation in local government decisions. Vu-Bang is also on the board for Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose and Asian Pacific Environmental Network in Oakland/Richmond.

Ravi Patel

Ravi Patel

Attorney, Law Office of Ravi Patel

Ravi Patel is a solo Attorney and Owner of the Law Office of Ravi Patel. Ravi practices trust and estate law and advises public and private clients on various matters of public agency law, local taxes, and election law. Prior to starting his own practice, Ravi worked as a tax and finance attorney for the City of Oakland. He started his career as a public agency and water law attorney with a firm in California’s Central Valley, where Ravi was involved in the early implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and served as general counsel to various special districts.

Robert Phillips

Robert Phillips

Board Chair
President and Chief Executive Officer, West Oakland Health

Robert Phillips is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of West Oakland Health, a federally qualified health center founded in 1967 to improve the health and socioeconomic status of the Bay Area’s Black and low-income communities; and managing partner of Griffin McKenzie LLC, a strategic consultancy that provides strategy development, executive coaching, and interim CEO services to non-profit organizations, health conversion foundations, and health care agencies who are addressing racial, gender, and economic injustice.

In the years before West Oakland Health and Griffin McKenzie LLC, Robert held a few positions that have provided him with a wealth of relationships, experiences, perspectives, and working knowledge. Robert was President, CEO & Founding Board Member of Alluma, a non-profit technology social enterprise. He was Senior Director, Community Benefits and Corporate Strategy for Kaiser Permanente, where he managed national external affairs and communications, implementing numerous strategies for Kaiser Permanente’s national program office. He was the Managing Director of Health Programs for the Sierra Health Foundation, leading a philanthropic intermediary program providing programmatic and capacity-building support to the safety net health programs throughout Northern and Central California. He was a Managing Director and Senior Fellow, among other positions, for The California Endowment, where he managed its health and human services program, and boys and men of color initiatives. Robert spent the early part of his career in the labor movement as a political director and capital strategies rep for SEIU and a health policy analyst for the AFL-CIO.

In addition to his professional experience, Robert is ABD in Health Policy from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, possesses a Master of Public Health (MPH) in health policy and management from Harvard University, an MPA in Social Policy-Public/Nonprofit Management from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science/economics from Morehouse College. Robert has a Certificate of Business Excellence in Executive Education from UC Berkeley and a Certificate of Investment Stewardship from the Commonfund Endowment Institute at Yale University.

Noni D. Session

Noni D. Session

Noni Session is a 3rd generation West Oaklander and Cultural Anthropologist. Her research and organizing work spans national and global arenas. Under the umbrella of the UNDP in Nairobi, Kenya, Noni carried out her doctoral research in international humanitarian strategies and their on-the-ground consequences. After nearly gaining election to the Oakland City Council in 2016, she decided that her community’s best solution to rapid displacement was to develop an independent cooperative economy. Noni is closely engaged with Mandela Grocery Cooperative, a Black-led worker-owned cooperative in West Oakland bringing organic produce and local economics to the community, as well as contributing her visionary energy to homeless advocacy groups across West and East Oakland who are building a movement of houseless and volunteers organizing for housing dignity through direct action and policy.

Susan Shaw

Susan Shaw

Susan Shaw, LCSW, is a community organizer whose roots as a narrative family therapist were borne out of her early activism for racial, social and economic justice. In 2009 Susan co-founded the North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP) and served as its Executive Director for the next 12 years.  Susan also co-founded the Graton Day Labor Center (Centro Laboral de Graton) in 2002, and served as the Director for five years (until 2008) as well as board member for 14 years (through 2016). Alongside her responsibilities as director of NBOP, Susan also served as state director of Gamaliel of California for six years, until 2018. Raised in Singapore and rural Ohio, Susan lives in western Sonoma County.

Miya Yoshitani

Miya Yoshitani

Co-Executive Director, Movement Innovation Collaborative

Miya currently serves as Co-Executive Director to the Movement Strategy Collaborative, MIC, a new organizer-led effort to amplify and accelerate California’s power building movements. MIC is catalyzing a unified, multi-racial, and intergenerational movement to scale up organizing power for racial, economic, and environmental justice. This unique effort, aims to dramatically increase the number of skilled organizers and community leaders, build the resilience and durability of power building organizations, and grow the movement wide capacity for alignment, innovation, experimentation, and strategy.

Formally the executive director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, APEN, Miya has an extensive background in community organizing, and a long history of working in the environmental justice movement. Miya first joined the APEN staff in the mid-90’s as a youth organizer, and served as a lead organizer, development director, associate director, and executive director for 20 years combined.

Through many years of leadership, Miya has supported the growth and expansion of several local, state and national organizations to have impact through community organizing and base-building, integrated voter engagement, alliance building, and winning transformational policy for equitable climate solutions and transitioning to a clean and renewable energy economy for all. A movement leader in many key local, state, and national alliances, Miya continues to contribute to shifting political power and putting the health and economic well-being of working families, immigrant and communities of color at the center of solutions to the economic and climate crises.

Carl Anthony, Emeritus

Carl Anthony, Emeritus

Founder and Former Executive Director, Urban Habitat

Carl Anthony is currently a co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project, and recently published his memoir The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race. He is also a visiting Professor at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Previously, he was Acting Director of the Community and Resource Unit of the Ford Foundation, supervising 6 Program Officers in the United States, and Program Officers in 13 countries abroad. From 1991 through 1997, Carl served as President of Earth Island Institute, an international environmental organization to protect and conserve the global biosphere. Congressman Ron Dellums appointed Carl Anthony Chair and Principal Administrative Officer of the East Bay Conversion and Reinvestment Commission in 1993. He taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning and the UC Berkeley Colleges of Environmental Design and Natural Resources. Carl has a professional degree in architecture from Columbia University. In 1996, he was appointed Fellow at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Photo Credit: Brooke Anderson

Remembering a great leader, Joe Brooks

Joe Brooks was a revolutionary, a mentor, and a friend to many of us at Urban Habitat, where he served as Board Chair for 15 years. So many of us were personally and professionally touched by Joe’s kindness, support, and dedication to advancing racial equity.