Alumnae

Click here to check out the diverse and inspiring group of Emerge alumnae from around the country.

Edesa Bitabdal is the Intergovernmental Affair representative for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency (SJRA)working to not only prevent further reductions but also to restore funding to the SJRA. In addition, she has been a project manager for the Façade Improvement Program, managing grants for small business owners. She has been a Board member of the Democratic Activist for Women Now (DAWN) organization whose mission is to elect Democratic women into public office.

Edesa Bitabdal is the Intergovernmental Affair representative for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency (SJRA). She has been working with state and local legislatures to not only prevent further reductions but also to restore funding to the SJRA. In addition, she has been a project manager for the Façade Improvement Program, managing grants for small business owners out of a total budget of $6 million. Also, she has been a Board member of the Democratic Activist for Women Now (DAWN) organization whose mission is to elect Democratic women into public office.

Shelly Blair, PhD is an Organizational and Talent Development specialist in Southern California. She spent several years teaching at universities before moving into the corporate world. She is invested in improving Mission Viejo, CA through the the Cultural Arts Committee, Friends of the Arts Board, and local school district committee. She taught her students civic engagement for years, and is excited to roll her sleeves up and learn about running for office herself.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Olga Bolotina earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from St. Petersburg Academy of Veterinary Medicine. Olga’s interest and passion for sustainability led her to the Presidio School of Management, where she graduated with a Master’s degree in Sustainable Business Administration.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Olga Bolotina earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from St. Petersburg Academy of Veterinary Medicine. Olga’s interest and passion for sustainability led her to the Presidio School of Management, where she graduated with a Master’s degree in Sustainable Business Administration.

London Breed was sworn in as the Supervisor for District 5 on January 8, 2013. The neighborhoods she represents include the Fillmore/Western Addition, North of the Panhandle, Lower Haight, Haight-Ashbury, Cole Valley, Inner Sunset, Hayes Valley, JapanTown and Alamo Square.

London Breed was sworn in as the Supervisor for District 5 on January 8, 2013. The neighborhoods she represents include the Fillmore/Western Addition, North of the Panhandle, Lower Haight, Haight-Ashbury, Cole Valley, Inner Sunset, Hayes Valley, JapanTown and Alamo Square.
London was raised by her grandmother in public housing in the Western Addition and now resides in the Lower Haight. 
London attended public school in San Francisco and graduated from Galileo High School. She earned her B.A.

Farah Brelvi was a co-founding Board member of Muslim Advocates, the first national 501(c)3 organization of Muslim lawyers promoting equality, liberty and justice for all.  She is a Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Northern California, where she chairs the Legislative Policy Committee.  She is also on the Board of the Center for Justice and Accountability, a legal non-profit that seeks accountability for torture surivivors through the US justice system.

Farah Brelvi was a co-founding Board member of Muslim Advocates, the first national 501(c)3 organization of Muslim lawyers promoting equality, liberty and justice for all.  She is a Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Northern California, where she chairs the Legislative Policy Committee.  She is also on the Board of the Center for Justice and Accountability, a legal non-profit that seeks accountability for torture surivivors through the US justice system and was previously the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA.  A graduate of Yale Univerisity an

Poet, author, public speaker, and teacher, Genea S. Brice, was raised and reared in Vallejo, CA.  After graduating from Hogan High School (June, 1988), she earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies; concentration: English Literature (from Patten University, May, 1998), graduated from the Patten University Teaching Credential Program (May, 1999), and she earned an M.A. in Theological Studies; concentration: Old Testament Studies (from Sacramento Theological Seminary and Bible College, May, 2005).

Liz Brisson loves cities and public transportation. As a public servant at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Liz leads a team planning major new rail and bus corridor investments. Liz is also a mover and shaker in Oakland where she lives. In 2014, she co-founded Transport Oakland, achieving the political advocacy organization’s founding goal of creating Oakland’s first Department of Transportation (OakDOT) less than two years later.

Christine Bronstein is the founder of A Band of Wives a social network and information website for all women-married, single and everything in-between.  A Band of Wives helps women bring community back to their communities in a variety of ways.

Christine Bronstein is the founder of A Band of Wives a social network and information website for all women-married, single and everything in-between.  A Band of Wives helps women bring community back to their communities in a variety of ways. She was CEO of one of the few women run, venture backed health and fitness companies, Axis Personal Trainers and Spa, in the nation for 8 years and president of a child-welfare foundation for 3 years.

Darleen Brooks, a Civil Rights Officer for the Alameda County Social Services Agency, is responsible for investigating discrimination complaints filed by clients and employees of the agency.  Darleen has been involved in Oakland politics since moving to the west coast. She is an East Oakland activist who works closely with the District 6 City Council member on a variety of issues and activities, including, but not limited to community development, crime prevention, resource fairs and town hall meetings.

Darleen Brooks, a Civil Rights Officer for the Alameda County Social Services Agency, is responsible for investigating discrimination complaints filed by clients and employees of the agency.  Darleen has been involved in Oakland politics sine moving to the west coast. She is an East Oakland activist who works closely with the District 6 City Council member on a variety of issues and activities, including, but not limited to community development, crime prevention, resource fairs and town hall meetings.

Denise Brosseau serves on the Redwood City Housing and Human Concerns Committee. She recently stepped down as CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), and now serves as the Co-Chair of the National Board. FWE is the premier entrepreneurial organization for women building and leading high-growth technology and life science companies. In the last three years, FWE accelerated the development of their over 1,500 member companies and helped raise over $1.1 billion in venture funding for women entrepreneurs.

Denise Brosseau serves on the Redwood City Housing and Human Concerns Committee. She recently stepped down as CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), an organization she co-founded in 1993. She now serves as the Co-Chair of the National Board. FWE is the premier entrepreneurial organization for women building and leading high-growth technology and life science companies.

Lorrie Brown is an elected State Delegate for Assembly District 37 and a community activist who ran for Ventura City Council twice. She owns a consulting business called Final Polish which handles content management, branding and public affairs. She holds a Master in Public Policy, a Bachelor in Communication: Journalism and an Associate in Bilingual-Cross Cultural Studies.
She has worked for the City of Oxnard’s Community Development Department in project management and most recently the County of Ventura‘s Public Works department  as a management assistant.

In addition to being elected to the Vallejo City Council on her first run for political office in 2009, Marti has 10 years of project management experience in redevelopment and urban planning. Currently, Marti is also the Executive Director of the North Franklin District Business Association – a non-profit corporation representing 600 businesses and more than 150 property owners in the “Latino District” of South Sacramento.

In addition to being elected to the Vallejo City Council on her first run for political office in 2009, Marti has 10 years of project management experience in redevelopment and urban planning.
During Marti’s tenure on the Vallejo City Council, she successfully spearheaded bringing the first city-wide Participatory Budgeting (PB) process in the United States to the City of Vallejo (www.pbvallejo.org),  joining the Health Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Campaign, establishing a Community Benefits District Ordinance, removing Binding Interest Arbitration from the City Charter, launching the ‘Reinven

Taisha Brown has been dedicated to public service her entire life. As an activist committed to the civil rights and labor movements, Ms. Brown has worked extensively within her Union SEIU Local 1000 as a member leader advocating on behalf of fellow workers and the community at large. Ms. Brown currently works for the State of California.
She has a wealth of experience engaging diverse groups of people and fighting for equal rights for all. She is the current President of the Martin Luther King Jr.

Melissa Brown Sladden is a Bay Area native, born in Oakland, California with roots in Danville and San Francisco as well.  Ms. Sladden is an attorney who has practiced civil litigation in San Francisco for over twelve years.  Ms. Sladden received herJuris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC where she received the Dean’s Certificate and Office of Public Interest Awards for her contributions to the law school and community at large. 

Melissa Brown Sladden is a Bay Area native, born in Oakland, California with roots in Danville and San Francisco as well.  Ms. Sladden is an attorney who has practiced civil litigation in San Francisco for over twelve years.  Ms. Sladden received herJuris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC where she received the Dean’s Certificate and Office of Public Interest Awards for her contributions to the law school and community at large.  Ms.

With extensive expertise in international affairs, foreign relationship building, and government relations, Angela is an experienced senior policy advisor and executive director. She has a history of building rapport with highly-complex and well-known organizations, including the United Nations, African Union, and Latin American networks.

With extensive expertise in international affairs, foreign relationship building, and government relations, Angela is an experienced senior policy advisor and executive director. She has a history of building rapport with highly-complex and well-known organizations, including the United Nations, African Union, and Latin American networks.

Karen Brunton Bloom is an associate in the firm's Litigation practice focusing on securities litigation, corporate governance, investigations and intellectual property litigation. Karen has represented clients in securities class actions, shareholder derivative lawsuits, SEC and DOJ investigations, and other complex commercial litigation.

Karen Brunton Bloom is an associate in the firm's Litigation practice focusing on securities litigation, corporate governance, investigations and intellectual property litigation. Karen has represented clients in securities class actions, shareholder derivative lawsuits, SEC and DOJ investigations, and other complex commercial litigation.

Kiyomi Burchill is Chair of the City of Sacramento Planning and Design Commission.  She is a past President of the Sacramento County Young Democrats, which she led to become one of the top three most active Democratic clubs in the Sacramento region and top three largest Young Democratic clubs in the state.

Kiyomi Burchill is Chair of the City of Sacramento Planning and Design Commission.  She is a past President of the Sacramento County Young Democrats, which she led to become one of the top three most active Democratic clubs in the Sacramento region and top three largest Young Democratic clubs in the state. 
An experienced public policy professional, Kiyomi was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. as an Assistant Secretary at the California Health and Human Services Agency in December 2011.

A native of Santa Barbara, California; Claudia has lived in the Bay Area for the past 13 years.  In 2001, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a double bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and Social Welfare.  As a Berkeley student, Claudia was actively involved in a number of student organizations focused on increasing the recruitment and retention of Latino students to the UC Berkeley campus. 

A native of Santa Barbara, California; Claudia has lived in the Bay Area for the past 13 years.  In 2001, she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a double bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and Social Welfare.  As a Berkeley student, Claudia was actively involved in a number of student organizations focused on increasing the recruitment and retention of Latino students to the UC Berkeley campus. 
After graduating from Berkeley, she worked at STAND Against Domestic Violence serving domestic violence victims throughout Contra Costa County.  She worked with the Richmond Pol

Tonya has organizing and advocating in her blood. “Tonya has been organizing and advocating for others as early as elementary school,” her parents say often. It is not a surprise that Tonya has had over 17 years working and advocating within various communities and in the fields of social service and education.
 

Tonya has organizing and advocating in her blood. “Tonya has been organizing and advocating for others as early as elementary school,” her parents say often. It is not a surprise that Tonya has had over 17 years working and advocating within various communities and in the fields of social service and education.
Tonya is currently employed as a Senior Vocational Counselor, with the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). She began her tenure with DOR in 2005, working throughout Los Angeles County and later transferred to the Inland Empire area.

Ecaterina Burton currently works at the Alameda County Community Food Bank as the Advocacy and Education Associate. Having grown up in the military watching her Marine Corps parents serve their country selflessly, Ecaterina has dedicated herself to serving her community in the nonprofit sector.

Ecaterina Burton currently works at the Alameda County Community Food Bank as the Advocacy and Education Associate. Having grown up in the military watching her Marine Corps parents serve their country selflessly, Ecaterina has dedicated herself to serving her community in the nonprofit sector. In the past few years, she has been a part of multiple coalitions to advance and advocate for progressive policies to address poverty and hunger at the local to the federal level.

Nahtahna Cabanes has dedicated her personal and professional life to advancing equity through education and advocacy. For ten years, she worked in high school and college classrooms teaching diverse populations (including inmates, low-income youth, single-working mothers, and at-risk adolescents) the themes of historical struggle.

Nahtahna Cabanes has dedicated her personal and professional life to advancing equity through education and advocacy. For ten years, she worked in high school and college classrooms teaching diverse populations (including inmates, low-income youth, single-working mothers, and at-risk adolescents) the themes of historical struggle. As a Bohnett Fellow she served Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa in his Office of Education working to push forward his education reform agenda.

Olivia Calderon was the California Legislative Director of the New America Foundation. In her role, she regularly testified before the California State Legislature, educated government officials, and interest groups about asset accumulation, healthcare, education, and energy policies. 

Olivia Calderon was the California Legislative Director of the New America Foundation. Based in Los Angeles and Sacramento, she helped California lawmakers hammer out laws to improve the welfare of California residents. In her role, she regularly testified before the California State Legislature, educates government officials, and interest groups about asset accumulation, healthcare, education, and energy policies.

Desrie has lived in Fremont since 1996. Desrie maintains a passion for students and for learning which she is eager to put to use on behalf of the Fremont Unified School District. As an active member of the community, Desrie serves as President of the Fremont Education Foundation, Member of the FUSD Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, and Human Relations Commissioner for the City of Fremont.

Desrie has lived in Fremont since 1996. She and her husband, Willie, have 4 young men, all of whom attended and graduated from schools in the Fremont Unified School District. She is a transplant from Washington, DC who moved to the Bay Area in 1993. She is a qualified and effective leader and public servant.

Veronica Canton came from El Salvador to the United States at nine years old and has lived in the Bay Area since. Her mother left her behind to live with other family members due to the civil war.

Veronica Canton came from El Salvador to the United States at nine years old and has lived in the Bay Area since. Her mother left her behind to live with other family members due to the civil war. Her story represents the struggles many immigrants live: fleeing hardships or persecution, learning a new language, and integrating to a new community.  Veronica holds a BA and MA in International Relations from San Francisco State, and National Security & Intelligence Certificate from John Hopkins University. She has over 15 years of experience in the legal field and in community involvement. 

Jennifer Capitolo works Nossaman's Public Policy Practice Group in Sacramento as a senior policy advisor. She assists clients with a wide range of issues including grant funding, housing, economic development, and advocacy for local governments.

Jennifer Capitolo works Nossaman's Public Policy Practice Group in Sacramento as a senior policy advisor. She assists clients with a wide range of issues including grant funding, housing, economic development, and advocacy for local governments.
Prior to joining Nossaman, Ms.

Heather began her service on the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission in January of 2008. Before her appointment, she had played an active role in the labor movement for several years. She currently works as an Education Coordinator with the Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), where she works to empower healthcare workers through education and training. Prior to taking this job, she worked in San Diego for SEIU Local 2028.

Heather began her service on the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission in January of 2008. Before her appointment, she had played an active role in the labor movement for several years. She currently works as an Education Coordinator with the Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), where she works to empower healthcare workers through education and training.

Kristin Casper is a climate campaigner for the Greenpeace Clean Energy Now! campaign. She was instrumental in the campaign's victory passing two solar propositions in the city and county of San Francisco that nearly double the number of grid connected solar systems in the US. In addition, her work with Greenpeace included transforming the Los Angeles Community College District and the University of California into the world leaders in renewable energy and climate protection.

Kristin Casper is a climate campaigner for the Greenpeace Clean Energy Now! campaign. She was instrumental in the campaign's victory passing two solar propositions in the city and county of San Francisco that nearly double the number of grid connected solar systems in the US. In addition, her work with Greenpeace included transforming the Los Angeles Community College District and the University of California into the world leaders in renewable energy and climate protection.

A native of Upstate New York, I have called the Bay Area home since 2008. Today I live in West Oakland with my husband Jamie, an audio engineer and producer at Tiny Telephone Recording Studio. I serve on the City of Oakland's Landmark Preservation Advisory Board and am an active member of Open Oakland, a local group that works to foster civic innovation, participation, and transparency, primarily through the use of technology.

A native of Upstate New York, I have called the Bay Area home since 2008. Today I live in West Oakland with my husband Jamie, an audio engineer and producer at Tiny Telephone Recording Studio. I serve on the City of Oakland's Landmark Preservation Advisory Board and am an active member of Open Oakland, a local group that works to foster civic innovation, participation, and transparency, primarily through the use of technology.
I got my start in Bay Area politics and advocacy by working as a Community Organizer for Greenbelt Alliance in the Silicon Valley.

Denise Miles (formerly Castaneda) is the National Partnerships Manager at Well Fargo.

Denise Miles (formerly Castaneda) is the National Partnerships Manager at Well Fargo. She was formerly the Community Development Officer where she built relationships with community organizations as well as initiated Wells Fargo’s support of economic development and affordable housing efforts. Denise is also involved in decision-making on grants for community-based organizations. Denise is well-suited for her position.

A pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente, Patricia did her residency at Children’s Hospital and Research Center at Oakland. Since her fellowship, she has worked at a variety of community centers that served underserved and underinsured communities of the Bay Area, most of which were Spanish-speaking populations. Concurrently while practicing medicine, she worked in the areas of cultural competence/cultural humility as well as government affairs.

Born in New York and reared by a Mexican Mother and a Jamaican Father, Patricia came to California to attend Stanford University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations. Subsequently, she worked for the San Mateo Health Department for four years in various capacities until she went to medical school. She returned to New York to attend Cornell University Medical College where she received her Medical Degree. Patricia then returned to California and did her residency at Children’s Hospital and Research Center at Oakland.

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