Meet the fellows who have been selected to join the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). The biographies of the 2022 BCLI cohort are organized geographically by spokes, which are sub-cohorts that meet in their local area.
Benita Tsao works in nonprofit human resources to systematically uproot supremacy culture from the workplace. She champions inclusive practices, equitable policies, and healthy community norms for people and groups solving complex social problems together. Benita has expertise in public health policy and violence prevention. She lives in Oakland and works at 826 Valencia in San Francisco.
Divya Sundar is a researcher and policy advocate who fights for economic justice. She is currently the Lead Economic Research Analyst at the law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, where she investigates companies for anticompetitive conduct. Previously, Divya worked at East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), where she helped pass Oakland’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance and advocated for stronger local labor standards enforcement. Divya is also an organizer for the grassroots community group, Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA).
Jasmine Cisneros lives in Bay Point. She is a food educator, advocate, and a local community leader. She has led the Ambrose Recreation and Park District Community Garden for the last five years. She piloted the first garden academy program for the Ambrose Head Start. Being a first-time mother in a new city helped shape her view of her local community around parks, recreation, and fresh food access.
Michai Freeman is a disability and education rights advocate who lives in Berkeley with her son and partner.
Prem Pariyar is an Associate Mental Health Clinician at the Hume Center, where he first joined in 2018 as a Community Outreach Worker for Hume’s South Asian Program. He completed his Master of Social Work at California State University East Bay in 2021 and is passionate about serving immigrant, refugee, and low-income people. Following the onset of the pandemic, Prem organized the distribution of more than 3,000 no-cost grocery boxes and hot meals to low-income and refugee communities.
Ana Horta is an immigrant from Argentina who is creative and an inquisitive problem solver. She has more than ten years of experience managing projects, and working alongside and advocating for disadvantaged populations. Throughout Ana’s career, she has been honored to collaborate with people from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. She enjoys building bridges among diverse groups by fostering trust and respect. Ana works daily toward a more equitable, diverse, thriving, and peaceful world that belongs to us all.
Alanna Sullivan was raised on Mississaugas Lands (Ontario, Canada). She is currently raising her family on Coast Miwok Land in Petaluma. Alanna's passion and work are at the intersection of climate justice and racial justice; with hopes that her children’s futures will be rooted in community care, peace, and justice for all. As the co-chair of North Bay Organizing Project’s Petaluma chapter and a member of their Climate Justice Task Force, Alanna is committed to fostering resilience within her community.
Elias Hinit was born and raised in Santa Rosa by two audacious and hardworking Bilen parents from Eritrea. Nurtured, taught, and supported by his two sisters, toddler nieces, and the Eritrean, Black, and wider Santa Rosa community; Elias wants to continue passing on the strength and love he has received, notably from his elders and ancestors. At the Santa Rosa Junior College and Black Student Union, his eyes and soul were opened to the inequalities and powers that are responsible for the suffering of not only his family and communities but worldwide. This led Elias to work with the Santa Rosa NAACP and community organizations to improve the city’s schooling and police practices.
Keri Rose Akemi-Hernandez
Keri Rose Akemi-Hernandez is an Indigenous Womxn Entrepreneur. For over 21 years, she has operated small businesses, including real estate, design, and consulting within the greater San Francisco Bay Area. She is thankful for the support from her partner and their three children. As an artist and an active community leader, Keri belongs to several boards and is involved with grassroots efforts to help advocate for those who are marginalized and underserved.
Penninsula & San Francisco
María Antonieta Jandres
María Antonieta Jandres is a Latina lawyer from Nicaragua and proprietor of Antonieta Professional Legal Services. She is a community advocate who lives in San Francisco. María Antonieta is a passionate leader committed to creating change in her community and leaving a legacy for children and youth. She has worked with community organizations to empower the Latinx community by uplifting their strengths and changing the narrative about low-income families.
Sonia Aldape has experience with being in foster care, poverty, and is the child of former migrant farmworkers from Mexico. Sonia is a mental health therapist for a federally qualified health clinic serving low-income individuals with diverse backgrounds. She offers consulting and workshops through her private practice, Sol Mental Health. Sonia’s practice is rooted in liberation psychology, transformative justice, mind-body-spirit, somatic trauma, and sex therapy. She fights for justice as a member of the Housing Leadership Council and Solutions for Supportive Homes.
Quenton Smith is a Planning Commissioner for the City of East Palo Alto. She is passionate about housing and issues impacting disenfranchised residents. She is a lifelong resident of East Palo Alto, a retired employee of the U. S. Geological Survey, where she served on its Ethnic Minority Advisory Committee for over a decade. She is involved with a variety of nonprofit organizations, including the Ecumenical Hunger Program, Herban Health, and the East Palo Alto Center.