Welcome Class of 2024!

The Emerging Leaders and Leadership CORPS Class of 2024 at their combined Opening Retreat, September 14-15, 2023.

Opening Retreat Launched the 2023-2024 Year

In September 2023, an accomplished group of 81 leaders began their 10-month journey as part of the Leadership CORPS Program or the Emerging Leaders Program at a two-day, combined Opening Retreat. Over these two days, participants had time to work with members of their cohort. They also participated in activities that fostered relationships across the combined community.

What amazing leaders! They are a diverse community from across San Mateo County. Participants include 69% people of color, and they represent businesses, nonprofits, and government entities. They are:

  • Executives, elected officials, educators, coaches, and county leaders;
  • Scientists, social entrepreneurs, and business entrepreneurs;
  • Leaders at some of the largest companies in San Mateo County as well as self-employed business owners;
  • Faith leaders, education advocates, and law enforcement. 

The Retreat began with an inspiring presentation about San Mateo County priorities by Mike Callagy, San Mateo County Executive. This led into the leadership skills component of the program, led by expert coaches. Participants also met in small groups with County leaders to kick off their Community Acceleration Projects. 

The first day ended in a welcome reception. It was great to see over 120 Leadership Council SMC alumni, board members, sponsors, and partners show up to meet and celebrate the Class of 2024.

During Day 2, participants attended sessions led by diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging consultants, and dove deeply into the ways that personal identity influences behaviors, decisions, and interactions. Quita Highsmith, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech, was the closing keynote speaker whose impassioned presentation wrapped up the Retreat. She inspired the members of the Class of 2024 to “Be Bold.”

Relationship building is an essential part of the year, and we witnessed how eager and excited participants were to engage and connect with one another. Many who reflected on the two-day experience said this was a highlight. They came full of energy, willing to be vulnerable and to share their personal stories and their dedication to impacting the issues, organizations, and people that matter to them. 

“I am beyond appreciative for the thoughtful execution of these entire two days. Thank you for knitting our community and bringing together all these excellent leaders.” ~ Opening Retreat attendee.

The team at Leadership Council SMC is honored and humbled by these talented individuals who chose to commit the next 10 months to our Immersion Programs. We are committed to connecting, inspiring, and educating the Class of 2024 through our impactful speakers, experiences, and new relationships. We can’t wait to see what they create!

THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this year’s Opening Retreat a great success: The Team at Burlingame Community Center, Moonstar Kitchen, San Mateo County Executive Mike Callagy, Genentech’s VP and Chief Diversity Officer Quita Highsmith, our Coaching Team (Laura Costain, Adrienne Donley, Rahul Khatod, and Sharvari Shetti), Inclusion Counts (Amber Checky and Heather Checky), Marcus L. Jackson Photography, and the many Leadership Council SMC board members, alumni, sponsors, and partners who joined us.

Meet the Leaders

Emerging Leaders Class of 2024

Bryan Albini, Sustainability Specialist III, County of San Mateo

Jordan Anderson, Graduate Student/Volunteer, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Gabe Aponte, HR Manager II, County of San Mateo

Edith Arias, Founder/Executive Director, Familias Tomando Acción

Valerie Barnes, Legal Office Specialist/Assistant to Chief, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office

Priscilla Bermudez, Administrative Assistant II, San Mateo County Libraries

Lilliana Cifuentes, Management Analyst, City of Burlingame

Nancy Cubias, Project Analyst, San Mateo County Office of Community Affairs

Rachel Curtis-Robles, Public Health Education and Outreach Officer, San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District

Kaila DeFries, Safety and Training Compliance Officer, City of Daly City

Katie Donner, Management Analyst I, City of South San Francisco

Araceli Efigenio, Community Program Specialist II, San Mateo County Libraries

Denise Garcia, Management Analyst II, City of San Mateo 

Eva Gaye, Transportation Program Specialist, City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County

Leticia Gonzalez, Project Manager Movement & Power Building, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Aracele Govea, Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation Director, Cypress Lawn

Lauren Heminez, Grants Manager, StarVista

Nicholas Jasso, Program Services Coordinator, College of San Mateo

Dominic Javellana, Sergeant, Hillsborough Police Department

Kirsten Jensen, Associate Director of Community Relations, AbilityPath

Kevin Joyner, Legislative Aide, County of San Mateo

Tonaka Kendrick, Director of Volunteer Engagement, CuriOdyssey

Manika Lall, Associate Director Public Affairs, Corporate Giving, Gilead Sciences

Thao Le, Elementary Teacher, San Mateo-Foster City School District

Scott Leung, Real Estate Agent, OWN Real Estate

Maybelle Manio, Economic Development Specialist, City of Daly City

Sarah Meier-Heredia, Development Officer, San Mateo Public Library Foundation

Saul Miranda, District Representative, The Office of Senator Becker

Sagana Mariambi Mohammed Anifa, Scientist, Genentech

Alejandra Ortega, Fund Development Director, Puente

Yajaira Ortega, Policy and Equity Manager, Thrive Alliance

Teresa Perez, Program Manager, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

Bobbie Reyes, Strategic Development Director, Lighthouse Silicon Valley

Kate Rozzi, Director of Talent Acquisition, AbilityPath

Sandra Sarabia, Site Manager, Boys and Girls of the Coastside

Audrey Shiramizu, Transportation Program Specialist, City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County

Kenneth Stiles, Finance Manager, City of Half Moon Bay

Carlos Tapia, Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff Association President, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office

Diego Terreros Arroyo, Project Developer, Eden Housing

Anthony Tofiga, Senior Management Analyst, City of Daly City

Makena Wong, Project Manager, San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Resiliency District (OneShoreline)

Leadership CORPS Class of 2024

Delayzio Amerson, Senior Executive Director, YMCA of Silicon Valley

Tim Anderson, Assistant Director of Building and Planning, Town of Hillsborough

Ana Avendaño, Executive Director, El Concilio of San Mateo County

Rafael Avendaño, Executive Director, Redwood City Together

Cujo Bediako, Vice President, Global Program Leadership, Sutro BioPharma

Christine Boles, City Council Member/Architect, City of Pacifica

Stefanie Bruggeman, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Life Moves

Noah Christman, Partner, Lighthouse Public Affairs

Rob Chua, Principal Consultant, Founder, Avenues Consulting

James Coleman, City Councilmember, City of South San Francisco

James Colin, City Clerk/Public Information Officer, City of East Palo Alto

Halley Crumb, Executive Director, Retraining the Village

Nicole Davis, Founder, Fortitude Careers

Ann Duncan, Pastor, Burlingame United Methodist Church

Jennifer Fenoglio, Senior Director, Public Affairs, Genentech

La Saundra Gutter, Commissioner, Commission on the Status of Women

Ka'Ryn Holder-Jackson, Executive Director, ACCEL San Mateo County Consortium

Sue Holland, Pastor, Coastside Lutheran Church

Tanisha Hughes, Director of Programs, Child Care Coordinating Council (4Cs) of San Mateo County

Alicia Isero, Executive Director, Hillsborough Schools Foundation

Ravi Jagtiani, Real Estate Agent, Foster City Planning Commission

Joanna Jeffs, Events Manager, Stanford University

Jennifer Johnson, Owner and Principal, 454Marketing

Arcadi Kolchak, Regional West Director, State Government Affairs, Abbvie

Juslyn Manalo, Vice Mayor, City of Daly City

Ivan Martinez, Executive Director, Pal Center

Amy McHugh, Finance and Operations Director, Leadership Council SMC

Greg Mediati, Director of Parks and Recreation, City of South San Francisco

Teddy Newmyer, Associate Director of Real Estate Development, Eden Housing

Karen Pace, Education Advocate and Strategic Projects Manager, Education Contractor

Seema Patel, Program Manager, Google

Quency Phillips, Founder and Executive Director, Lighthouse Silicon Valley

Leslie Ragsdale, City Council Member, Hillsborough Town Council

Jacki Rigoni, Senior Legislative Aide, Supervisor Noelia Corzo, District 2, County of San Mateo

Irma Rodriguez Mitton, Founder/Executive Director, South Coast Sustainable

Maria Saguisag-Sid, Human Resources Director, City of Burlingame

Nell Selander, Economic and Community Development Director, City of South San Francisco

Annya Shapiro, Executive Director, Daly City Youth Health Center

Monique Wright Gory, Director of Programs, PCRC

Alberto Zacarias, Head of Bay Area Strategic Management, AbbVie