Speaker Bios


DIMPLE ABICHANDANI | Executive Director, General Service Foundation


Dimple Abichandani joined GSF in late August 2015 as the Executive Director, bringing two decades of experience advancing social justice as a funder, advocate and educator. She was previously the ED of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law, and the founding program officer for the Security & Rights Collaborative at the Proteus Fund.  Earlier in her career she was a legal services attorney and represented low-wage workers and low-income immigrants. Dimple earned a JD at Northeastern University School of Law, and a BA in English with Honors at the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of work, she finds joy in time spent with family & friends, gardening, and yoga. 


ZAHRA BILLOO | Executive Director, Council on Islamic Relations Bay Area Chapter


Zahra Billoo is a civil rights attorney and the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). At the onset of 2017, Zahra joined the speaker lineup at the Women’s March on Washington and sued Donald Trump to challenge his “Muslim Ban” Executive Orders.


In the course of her work at CAIR, Zahra is frequently seen at mosques and universities facilitating trainings and workshops as a part of CAIR’s grassroots efforts to empower the American Muslim community and build bridges with allies on civil rights issues. She also provides direct legal services for victims of law enforcement targeting and Islamophobia. Her work has been highlighted in local and national media outlets including the Christian Science Monitor, KTVU, MSNBC, NPR, and the San Jose Mercury News.


Among her awards and recognitions, Zahra has received the 2017 Human Rights Award from the Society of American Law Teachers, the 2014 Unsung Hero Award from the Nationals Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, and the 2013 Trailblazer Award from the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California.


A proud graduate of California’s public universities, Zahra graduated Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with degrees in Human Resources Management and Political Science. While in college, she held various leadership roles both at campus and state-wide advocacy efforts for college affordability and social justice. She also worked with the California Faculty Association. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and is licensed to practice law in California.


Outside of her work with CAIR, Zahra bakes birthday cakes for foster children through Cake4Kids and is a coordinator for Project Feed, a monthly homeless feeding effort in downtown San Francisco.

ATTORNEY GENERAL XAVIER BECCERA | Attorney General of California


On January 24, 2017, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as the 33rd Attorney General of the State of California, and is the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the state.


The State’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Becerra has decades of experience serving the people of California through appointed and elected office, where he has fought for working families, the vitality of the Social Security and Medicare programs and issues to combat poverty among the working poor. He has also championed the state’s economy by promoting and addressing issues impacting job generating industries such as health care, clean energy, technology, and entertainment.


Attorney General Becerra previously served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress, Attorney General Becerra was the first Latino to serve as a member of the powerful Committee on Ways And Means, served as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and was Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.


Prior to serving in Congress, Attorney General Becerra served one term in the California Legislature as the representative of the 59th Assembly District in Los Angeles County. He is a former Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. The Attorney General began his legal career in 1984 working in a legal services office representing the mentally ill.

Born in Sacramento, California, Attorney General Becerra is the son of working-class parents and was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and they are the proud parents of three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia and Natalia.

TESSA ROUVEROL CALLEJO | Senior Program Officer of Nurturing Equity Movements, The San Francisco Foundation


Tessa is the Program Officer of Nurturing Equity Movements at The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF). In her current role Tessa develops grantmaking strategy and provides leadership in TSFF’s civic engagement, community organizing, and immigrant and refugee rights and integration work. Tessa brings decades of expertise in the fields of community organizing, policy advocacy, immigrant rights, and affordable housing to her work with TSFF. For more than twenty years Tessa was a staff lead for the FAITHS Program, TSFF’s civic engagement and capacity building program serving hundreds of faith and community-based organizations in the Bay Area. She also managed TSFF’s Immigrant Integration grantmaking, and provided leadership on community organizing, civic engagement and policy initiatives. In this role, she oversaw TSFF’s grantmaking and convening work for Census 2010.


Prior to beginning her work with TSFF in 1996, Tessa founded and later served on the board of the California Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, was the Director of the Catholic Charities San Francisco’s Central American Refugee Project, the Executive Director of National Sanctuary Defense Fund, and Director of St. Peter’s Housing Committee, an organization serving the San Francisco Latino community which later merged to become Causa Justa::Just Cause. She also was a founding member of the advisory committee of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy’s Civic Engagement Fund for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities. Tessa is a Bay Area native and holds a degree from the University of California at Berkeley in International Development Studies.


CHERYL CHANG | Program Officer, Pacific  Foundation Services


Cheryl brings both a talent and a passion for building an effective and resilient nonprofit sector to PFS. She works with client foundations to help them focus their priorities, create grantmaking strategies, and develop processes for continual learning and capacity building.


Prior to joining PFS in 2016, Cheryl was a program specialist with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where she managed the Philanthropy Fund, coordinated program operations, and worked with grantees to strengthen their leadership and organizations. Before that, she spent five years at the United Nations in Switzerland providing training and capacity building on policy related to economic development and the environment, primarily for countries and regions in Asia and Africa.

Cheryl received her BA in international relations with a minor in Chinese from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s in environmental management from Duke University. A true Bay Area native, Cheryl loves big trees, cooking with local food, and backyard beekeeping.


VALERIA FERNÀNDEZ | Journalist, Producer and Storyteller


Valeria Fernández is a 2018 recipient of the The American Mosaic Journalism Prize. She has been reporting on Arizona’s immigrant community and the many angles and faces of the immigration debate for over 15 years. She is a 2017 Fellow for the Adelante initiative of the International Media Women Foundation, covering issues at the intersection of trauma, deportation, and migration.


Ms. Fernández currently freelances in multiple mediums, including the Phoenix New Times, The Guardian, PRI’s Global Nation and PRI’s The World, CNN Español, Radio Bilingüe, and Al Jazeera English. Born in Uruguay, she began her career as a journalist in the Gannett-owned newspaper La Voz.


Her recent work included a story for the Phoenix New Times in which she detailed the mental health struggles of a new immigrant in Arizona.


Although Ms. Fernández’s work nominated for this prize is from print, she is the co-director and producer of “Two Americans,” a documentary that parallels the stories of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a 9-year-old U.S. citizen whose parents were arrested by the sheriff’s deputies during a workplace immigration raid. She has also co-directed six short award-winning documentaries along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as part of the international web-documentary Connected Walls in 2014-2015.

In 2015, she was a producer and reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting on a digital multimedia project that cast light on the economic and social impacts of a mine spill in Northern Mexico that broadcast in PBS, San Diego. The multimedia project won an Arizona Press Club recognition for environmental reporting.


In 2004, the National Association of Hispanic Publications named Fernández “Latina Journalist of the Year.” She holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University.

TARA HOUSKA | National Campaigns Director, Honor the Earth


Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) is a tribal attorney, the National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and a former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders. She advocates on behalf of tribal nations at the local and federal levels on a wide range of issues impacting indigenous peoples. She spent six months on the frontlines in North Dakota fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and is heavily engaged in the movement to defund fossil fuels and a years-long struggle against Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. She is a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, a non-profit committed to educating the public about the harms of stereotyping and promoting positive representation of Native Americans in the public sphere. 

MINA KIM | Evening Anchor, KQED News


Mina Kim is KQED News’ evening anchor and the Friday host of Forum. She reports on a wide range of issues affecting the Bay Area and interviews newsmakers, local leaders and innovators. Mina started her career in public radio at KQED as an intern with Pacific Time. When the station began expanding its local news coverage in 2010, she became a general assignment reporter, then health reporter for The California Report. Mina’s award-winning stories have included on-the-scene reporting of the 2014 Napa earthquake and a series on gun violence in Oakland. Her work has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association.


Mina grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Oak Park, CA. She lives in Napa.

ELLEN LAPOINTE | President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers


Ellen has held executive and senior management positions in the nonprofit sector for over twenty years.  She has also provided strategic guidance and executive management consultation to philanthropic, nonprofit, and social enterprise clients seeking to develop impact strategies, establish strategic partnerships, elevate their visibility, and secure resources. Ellen has expertise in organizational leadership, strategy development and implementation, partnership cultivation, fund development, communications, financial management, and program oversight.


Prior to joining NCG Ellen was Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at HopeLab, a health and technology-focused private operating foundation founded by Board chair Pam Omidyar. There, she cultivated private and public sector engagements to secure resources, elevate the visibility and amplify the impact of HopeLab’s work.  Ellen also served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at HopeLab.

Ellen served as Executive Director of Project Inform, a national AIDS treatment information/advocacy organization. She also practiced law at a large firm and was Director of Clinical Research at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. 

DANIEL JAE-WON LEE | Executive Director, Levi Strauss Foundation


Daniel Jae-Won Lee is the Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, which supports pioneering social change in the areas of HIV/AIDS, worker rights and well-being and social justice in communities touched by Levi Strauss & Co.’s business.  The Foundation’s signature initiatives include Pioneers in Justice (supporting next-generation civil rights leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area) and Worker Well-being (scaling factory-based worker empowerment initiatives in the apparel industry).


Board service includes La Cocina, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Astraea Foundation, Council on Foundations, Funders Concerned about AIDS and Massachusetts Asian AIDS Prevention Project; and advisory councils of Global Fund for Women, Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, The Giving Side and Horizons Foundation. Previously, he was Senior Program Officer for Asia Pacific at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and a researcher-writer for Let’s Go travel guides.  He received his AB in religion from Princeton University, Master of Divinity from Harvard University and Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the Starr King School for the Ministry.  Daniel grew up in South Dakota, lived abroad in Singapore and Korea and resides in San Francisco.

JAEAH LEE | Writer, Journalist


Jaeah Lee is a 2018 recipient of the The American Mosaic Journalism Prize. She is an independent journalist and a 2017 senior fellow at Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. She is also a 2017 Restorative Narrative Fellow with Images & Voices of Hope.


Ms. Lee’s work has been featured in major national outlets including California Sunday Magazine, VICE News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Wired, Christian Science Monitor, Global Post, MSNBC, and Democracy Now! She was previously a staff reporter at Mother Jones, where she wrote about criminal justice, and income and racial inequality, among other subjects.


Her recent work included a California Sunday Magazine cover story for which Ms. Lee spent 17 months with a mother who lost her son to a police shooting.


As a 2013-2014 Middlebury College Environmental Journalism Fellow, Ms. Lee spent a year investigating China’s emerging fracking industry and its ties to international oil companies.

Ms. Lee’s work has won awards from the Online News Association and Society of Professional Journalists, and has been named a finalist in the National Magazine Awards and Data Journalism Awards. She serves on the board of the Asian American Journalist Association’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter. Ms. Lee earned her bachelor’s degree from New York University. She currently lives in San Francisco, California.

PETER V. LONG, Ph.D. | President and CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation


Peter Long, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. He leads the Foundation in its mission to build lasting solutions to end domestic violence and make California the healthiest state, especially for our most vulnerable neighbors.


Prior to joining Blue Shield of California Foundation, Dr. Long served in leadership roles at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and The California Endowment. He has extensive experience working on health policy issues at the state and national levels and has written numerous papers on the topic.


Dr. Long also served as the director of development and programs for the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley in San Jose, before assuming his position there as executive director. Previously, in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Long was a legislative analyst for the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network during the country’s transition to democracy.


Outside of his role as CEO, Dr. Long is actively involved in multiple healthcare and professional organizations, serving on the Board of Directors for Grantmakers in Health and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and the Governance Board at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. He was chair of the National Academy of Medicine’s Workshop on High-need Patients and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Leadership Consortium for Value & Science-Driven Health Care. In addition, Dr. Long practices as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health.


Dr. Long received a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University; a master’s in health sciences from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health; and his doctorate in health services from the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently lives in Orange County with his wife and three children.

NATE MANDEL | Program Innovation Analyst, Center for Employment Opportunities; Technical Assistant, Fund for Shared Insight

Nate Mandel is the Program Innovation Analyst at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). Nate builds programs and manages projects that help CEO optimize its impact and efficiency. He brings over three years of experience designing and scaling beneficiary feedback systems across CEO's national sites. His approach uses a lens of social justice to incorporate both human-centered design in conjunction with evidenced-based practices. Nate holds a B.A. in Sociology from Vassar College and is interested in the intersection between technology, feedback, and social justice.


WESLEY MORRIS | Critic-at-Large, The New York Times


Wesley Morris is a critic-at-large at The New York Times and a staff writer at the New York Times magazine, where he writes about popular culture and hosts the podcast “Still Processing,” with Jenna Wortham.  For three years, he was a staff writer at Grantland, where he wrote about movies, television, and the role of style in professional sports, and co-hosted the podcast “Do You Like Prince Movies,” with Alex Pappademas.  Before that, he spent 11 years as a film critic at the Boston Globe, where he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for criticism.  He lives in Brooklyn. NY.

SVEN NEWMAN | Partner and Head of Social Impact, Daylight


Sven Newman is a designer and a dad. He is a partner and head of the social impact practice at Daylight, an innovation and design agency. 


Sven is also part of the Systems Team at The Omidyar Group. He focuses on helping to make systems thinking more actionable and human centered


Prior to Daylight, Sven led a multidisciplinary studio at the global design agency IDEO. Sven studied product design at Stanford and, once in a blue moon, gets to go back and teach at the Stanford d.school. When not at Daylight, you can probably find Sven on a trail hiking with family or in the garage building something big and impractical.


CHRIS PUNONGBAYAN | Director, Equity and Social Justice, Northern California Grantmakers


Chris brings twenty years of experience in the social justice movement. Most recently, he was Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, which during his tenure appeared twice before the Supreme Court of the United States. Previously, Chris held positions at Positive Resource Center, Filipino Advocates for Justice, and Asian Americans for Equality. Currently, he is a member of the Community Advisory Panel of KQED and is the treasurer of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote Action Fund. Chris graduated cum laude from Brown University with a degree in Asian American Studies, and from UCLA School of Law where he completed the Critical Race Studies concentration and the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. When he is not championing equity and social justice through NCG, Chris can be found stretching his body and mind by teaching yoga as a certified yoga instructor, RYT-200, and blogging for the Huffington Post.

SIMONE POUTNIK | Executive Director, NewStories.org


Besides being NewStories’s Executive Director, Simone designs and facilitates conferences, retreats and long term collaborative initiatives – sometimes called Labs – with and among organizations. She designs leadership and facilitation trainings based on adaptive leadership and integral frameworks. Simone is also a certified conflict mediator and likes supporting organizations in creating safe spaces for men and women to work together.


Her experience is founded in 15 years of working in diverse contexts around the world. Simone started facilitating leadership development workshops with students during University. While finalizing the thesis for her 1st MA on Multi-stakeholder Engagement, she worked for the European Academy of Business in Society in Brussels. The Hub Brussels was her first entrepreneurial endeavor that phased out starting in 2008, when she co-founded Natural Innovation, before joining NewStories.


Simone has served on several non profit boards, including NewStories’, the FoAM Lab Brussels’ and The Hub World’s (now Impact Hub Global).


She hold an MA in International Communication from the International University of Perugia in Italy and is currently completing an MA in Leadership with focus on Peace Building and Conflict Transformation at Saint Mary’s College of California.

AMY SHIELDS | Program Manager, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations


Amy Shields is a program manager at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. She manages the content and development of GEO’s publications.

Prior to GEO, Amy worked for the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership in Alexandria, VA, where she was the Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives. Amy started her career at Deloitte working as a strategy and operations consultant with the Federal government. She primarily served clients at the Department of Homeland Security.

Amy earned her master’s in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with an additional major in international relations from Carnegie Mellon University.

TESS REYNOLDS | Chief Executive Officer, New Door Ventures


Tess Reynolds has served as CEO of New Door Ventures since 2003. Under her leadership, New Door has provided over 1,000 jobs to disconnected youth ages 16-24 years-old, with over 90% of graduates still connected to next jobs and/or further education six months later. New Door has won numerous awards including the Bank of America Neighborhood Builder’s Award in 2010 and a Google Impact award in 2014. Tess began her career as a brand assistant at Procter & Gamble and spent 20 years in the personal computing industry, where she is best known for having co-created the first presentation software, Harvard Graphics. She has held the positions of business unit general manager, vice president of marketing, and principal of her own management consulting firm. She has also served on several nonprofit boards. Tess is an immigrant from the Philippines, has a B.A. in Economics-Honors from the Ateneo de Manila University, and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California.

JOAN C. WILLIAMS | Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director, Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law


As an expert in the field of social inequality, Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She has been described by The New York Times Magazine as having “something approaching rock star status” in her field. Her work has been covered everywhere from Oprah Magazine to The Atlantic and Slate to Fox News. She has authored 11 books and over ninety academic articles. She is one of the ten most cited scholars in her field.


Her work on social class includes her election-night essay “What So Many People Don’t Get About the US Working Class,” published online in Harvard Business Review, which has been read over 3.7 million times. She has also written White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, the prize-winning Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It (Oxford, 2000) and widely read reports such as The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict (co-authored with Heather Boushey) that have influenced policymakers, the press, and activists.


Her 2014 book (co-written with her daughter Rachel Dempsey) What Works For Women at Work  was praised by The New York Times Book Review: “Deftly combining sociological research with a more casual narrative style, What Works for Women at Work offers unabashedly straightforward advice in a how-to primer for ambitious women.” Following its success, Sheryl Sandberg and LeanIn.org asked Joan to create short videos sharing the strategies discussed in the book. The videos have been downloaded over 975,000 times and are featured by Virgin Airlines as in-flight entertainment, seen literally around the world.

LARRY WILMORE | Former "Senior Black Correspondent", The Daily Show and Former Host, the Nightly Show


Emmy Award winner Larry Wilmore has been a television producer, actor, comedian, and writer for more than 25 years. He is perhaps best known for his role as host of Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, which debuted in January 2015 and ran for nearly two years. Wilmore received praise from critics for carving out a “uniquely powerful space” and providing “complex, destabilizing commentary on racial issues that were otherwise lacking in late-night” (Slate, 8/16).

The Daily Beast added that Wilmore’s show was “exhilarating” and a “necessary voice in late-night” (8/16).


Off-screen, Wilmore serves as executive producer on Insecure, a half-hour comedy series starring Issa Rae that details the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman. The show will premiere on HBO in October. Wilmore also helped to launch ABC’s Black-ish as an executive producer.


Previously, Wilmore made memorable appearances as the “Senior Black Correspondent” on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and hosted his own Showtime “town hall”-style comedy specials, Larry Wilmore’s Race, Religion & Sex. He has written for In Living Color, The PJ’s (which he co-created), The Office (on which he has appeared as Mr. Brown, the diversity consultant), and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He also served as creator, writer, and executive producer of The Bernie Mac Show, which earned him a 2002 Emmy Award for “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” and a 2001 Peabody Award.


In April 2016, Wilmore hosted the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, DC.


Wilmore released his first book, I'd Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts, in January 2009.


He currently lives in New York.   


KIM AMMANN HOWARD | Director of Impact Assessment and Learning, The James Irvine Foundation


Kim Ammann Howard was appointed Director of Impact Assessment and Learning in November 2015. She brings more than 20 years of social impact experience with diverse individuals and groups in a variety of settings including community-based organizations, foundations, and intermediaries as well as government and academic institutions at the local, state, national, and international levels. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kim spent ten years at Informing Change, a Berkeley-based consulting firm, designing, conducting, and overseeing evaluation, strategy, and applied research efforts. This included facilitating collaborative work within and across client organizations and key stakeholder groups to identify their priority needs and ensure efficient and effective processes to collect, synthesize, and share information that stimulates ongoing learning, application, and change.

Kim’s previous positions include directing evaluations and applied research projects at the Stanford University School of Medicine's Prevention Research Center and at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Earlier, at the Contra Costa County’s Health Services Department, she facilitated the implementation of a variety of prevention programs and staffed cross-sector networks focused on policy and systems change. As a volunteer, she enjoys providing pro-bono assessment and evaluation services, both locally and internationally. Kim serves on the board of 1951 Coffee Company, a nonprofit that seeks to promote the well-being of the refugee community through job training and employment. Kim holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.


160 Spear Street

Suite 360 

San Francisco, CA

Tel: 415.777.4111

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Vimeo Icon

© 2018 by Northern California Grantmakers