Meet the fellows who have been selected to join the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). The biographies of the 2020 BCLI cohort are organized geographically by spokes which are sub-cohorts that meet in their local area.

Sonoma County


Amber Szoboszlai

Amber is a Development Associate at Side by Side. She is a community organizer and scientist who has studied climate change in the ocean. She works to foster dialog and strategic actions that center and support working-class and minority communities in Sonoma County. She is trained in climate change communication and works on local efforts to uplift racial, social, economic, and environmental justice.


Belén Lopez-Grady

Belén is the Housing Policy Analyst for the North Bay Organizing Project. She is passionate about equitable development, planning, and the intersection of disasters and climate adaptation. As a first-generation Chicanx and one of six children raised by a single mother, Belen feels a strong connection to the issue of housing security. She leverages her extensive work experience and academic training in sustainable development to support vulnerable communities in developing public policies that create resilience.  


Gabriela Orantes

Gaby is a Just Recovery Fellow at the Latino Community Foundation. As a Fellow, Gaby serves the North Bay Organizing Project, where she leverages, coordinates, and advances civic engagement and community advocacy in the region, post-2017 wildfires. A just recovery from the 2017 wildfires includes creating affordable housing, family-sustaining jobs, civic engagement, and ensuring a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census. Gaby was born in El Salvador and raised in the North Bay Area.


Jean Ger

Jean is the Paralegal and Legal Operations Manager at the California Civil Rights Law Group. She is a passionate advocate for social justice. Jean is committed to environmental justice and envisions a world where all communities can enjoy safe, clean, and healthy environments where they can flourish and thrive. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz for her undergraduate studies where she received her B.A. in Politics.


Kailea Frederick

Kailea is an Editor at the environmental publication Loam. Her project, Earth Is `Ohana, is her response to the many stories that have shaped her. She serves as a board member with Black Mountain Circle. Kailea is a Spiritual Ecology Fellow and has served as a youth delegate twice to the United Nations Climate Change conferences. Kailea serves as a Commissioner on the City of Petaluma's Climate Action Commission.


Contra Costa County


Eduardo Torres

Eduardo is the Northern California Regional Coordinator for Tenants Together, where he fights for low-income tenants and communities of color. Eduardo has been organizing in his hometown of Bay Point for six years, working to improve the quality of life in the unincorporated East Bay community. Eduardo’s educational background is in Recording Arts and Communications. His professional experience includes working in media, performing arts, and housing justice advocacy.


William Goodwin

William is a member of the Resident Empowerment Program with Contra Costa County Interfaith Housing. He is a community advocate and a strong proponent of civic engagement. William has served the Los Medanos Junior High School Site Council as president for the past three years. He is also a member of the Pittsburg Unified School District Accountability Council. William volunteers with nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay Area, helping to accelerate the social and economic mobility of the underserved.



Alameda County


Cathy Eberhardt

Cathy has worked with East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation’s (EBALDC) Resident Leadership Council and with East Bay Housing Organization’s (EBHO) Resident Community Organizing Program during the past two years. In 2018, she graduated from the EBHO’s Leadership Academy and Urban Habitat’s Civic Leadership Training. In 2019, she attended the Community Leadership Institute in Chicago. Cathy wants to see her community thrive and be well-taken care of.


Emilytricia Lopez Marchena

Emilytricia divides her time between three jobs. She works at My Bike Skills as the Bicycle Education Seasonal Contractor, at Trek Bicycle as a Service Advisor, and at PODER as the Interim Program Consultant. She is dedicated to increasing access to bikes for people of color and advocates for transportation justice. Emilytricia is Nica Xicana and the first in her family to receive a bachelor’s degree. She has a B.A. in International Relations from San Francisco State University.


Nayeli Bernal

Nayeli is a Research Consultant at Community Centered Evaluation and Research. She has experience with program evaluation, strategic planning, and conducting assessments of community needs and assets. Her work centers community wisdom, building capacity to lead and strives to integrate racial equity into all conversations, decisions, and actions. Nayeli earned a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and an MPH from San Francisco State University. She is the mother of three young children and lives in East Oakland.


Olivia Lucas

Olivia is an Oakland native and the Social Impact Partnership Coordinator at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Olivia’s community activism began in high school when she served on the Oakland Youth Commission and as a restorative justice advocate at Centerforce Youth Court. Today, she’s involved in youth development and community outreach at her church. Olivia graduated from Mount Holyoke College and completed internships with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Elizabeth Warren.


Shina Robinson

Shina is the Policy Coordinator at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, where she supports community leaders to pass and implement policies for resistance and resilience in Oakland, Richmond, and statewide. She experienced issues of environmental justice at a young age between visiting family in the Philippines and growing up next to a Los Angeles area oil refinery. Shina studied International Studies and Political Science at CSU Long Beach.


Starla Gay

Starla works at the Social Security Administration, and she provides free tax preparation services as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) Site Coordinator. She is a passionate social justice advocate who has worked determinedly toward the elimination of health inequities. As a mother of two, Starla encourages her children to be conscious of injustices and to act upon them when possible. She is an avid reader, sometimes poet, and a lover of oceans.


San Francisco


Kevin Ortiz

Kevin works at Jamestown Community Center as the Teen Programs Manager. He is a San Francisco Native who was displaced when he was ten years old. He returned to his hometown during the second wave of gentrification that the Mission District is currently experiencing. These first-hand lived experiences moved Kevin to become active in anti-gentrification efforts, housing justice, and organizing and negotiating with developers to secure the highest amount of community benefits.


Mai Le

Mai is a Program Associate with First 5 San Mateo County and a resident of Daly City. Mai has over ten years of health equity experience in the nonprofit and public sectors. She has trained over a thousand health and social services providers on reducing mental health stigma and delivering culturally and linguistically responsive services to diverse communities. Mai is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and the proud mother of a preschooler.


Tiffany Ng

Tiffany is the Lead Civic Engagement Organizer at Chinese Progressive Association. She coordinates civic engagement field programs to mobilize immigrant voters and trains emerging organizers. She was born and raised in San Francisco and has engaged in community organizing and advocacy since high school. Her passion for environmental justice led her to grow and manage Sisterhood Gardens, a community garden in District 11.


Shristi Reddy

Shristi works with Asian American Recovery Services and The LOOP at UCSF. She has over ten years of experience working in the field of substance use, HIV, and sexual health. Shristi has a Master’s in Public Health. In her spare time, she is jet setting to new cities domestic and abroad, venturing out to try new restaurants or cuisines or spending time exploring the outdoors.