Interim Housing and Economic Development Manager, City of East Palo Alto
Karen Camacho is the Interim Housing and Economic Development Manager for the City of East Palo Alto, where she is responsible for leading the City's housing and economic development initiatives, increasing the number of affordable housing units citywide, and advancing policies and programs to prevent displacement. Karen has broad experience in state, regional and local policy, with prior roles as Partnership for the Bay’s Future Policy Fellow, focusing on housing preservation in the City of East Palo Alto, and organizer at the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County and ACLU of Northern California. She graduated from Urban Habitat's Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute in 2018 and served on the City of East Palo Alto's Rent Stabilization Board for three and a half years. Karen holds a Bachelor's in Political Science and Master's in Latin American Studies from Stanford University.
Sheila Chung Hagen
Board Secretary, Urban Habitat
Principal, Chung Hagen Consulting
Sheila Chung Hagen is Principal at Chung Hagen Consulting, where she helps foundations, nonprofits, and government agencies develop high-impact, public policy initiatives in the areas of affordable housing, public transportation, environment, and immigrant rights. Since 1999, Sheila has worked in the nonprofit and government sectors, where she learned the importance of building strong ties between community and government partners. She has played key leadership roles in organizations such as the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the San Francisco City Administrator's Office, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Prior to starting her consultancy, she was Legislative Aide to two San Francisco Supervisors, specializing in land use and public transportation policy. In these capacities, Sheila developed and launched innovative programs like Free Muni for Youth and the City ID Card. In 2016, Sheila was elected to the Executive Committee of Sierra Club San Francisco. Sheila earned a BA in International Politics from UC Berkeley and an MA in Environmental Management and Sustainability from Harvard University. She is bilingual in Spanish and English, and lives in San Francisco with her family.
Principal, Mariposa Planning Solutions
Chris Lepe is the Principal of Mariposa Planning Solutions, where he helps communities and regions grow into more equitable, healthy, sustainable, and connected places. He has two decades of community organizing, coalition building, and public policy experience, mostly focused in realms of transportation and land use planning and policy. He spent fifteen of those years as a community organizer, community planner, and regional policy director at TransForm, a Bay Area nonprofit organization working to advance equity and climate protection. Chris has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from San Jose State University and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz.
Director, Leadership Development Programs, UC Berkeley Labor Center
Danielle Mahones is a skilled facilitator and trainer, and has 20 years of experience in social justice movement work. In her current role at the Labor Center, Danielle leads the team that provides the trainings, workshops, leadership schools, and technical assistance to unions, worker organizations, and community organizations. Previously, Danielle served as the Executive Director of the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), a racial justice organization dedicated to building a social justice movement led by people of color. Prior to this, Danielle spent a decade working in the labor movement. She organized hotel workers with HERE Local 2850 and janitors with SEIU Local 1877, and directed new organizing and contract campaigns for Stanford hospital and university workers with SEIU Local 715 (now 521). She has also worked as an independent consultant to community, labor, and philanthropic organizations, including The California Endowment’s East Oakland Building Healthy Communities initiative, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Latino Outreach Program of the League of Conservation Voters, the Ella Baker Center, and the Bay Area Black Workers Center.
Dwayne S. Marsh
President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
Dwayne S. Marsh is the President and CEO at Northern California Grantmakers. Most recently, Dwayne was co-Director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) and Vice President of Institutional and Sectoral Change at Race Forward. Prior to GARE/CSI, Dwayne was a senior advisor in the Office of Economic Resilience (OER) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for six years. He was OER’s principal coordinator for a $250 million grant program and led the development of capacity building resources that reinforced the work of pioneering grantees in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Under his leadership, OER prioritized equity as a foundational principle for its planning and investment initiatives. Before HUD, Marsh spent a decade at PolicyLink. Prior to PolickLink, he directed the FAITHS Initiative for eight years at The San Francisco Foundation.
Board Treasurer, Urban Habitat
Executive Director, Working Partnerships USA
Derecka Mehrens was named Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA in August 2013. She brings almost fifteen years of community organizing, civic engagement, and public policy experience working in communities of color and with low and moderate-income families. As Working Partnerships USA’s organizing director beginning in 2008, she was instrumental in developing organizing and campaign strategies to win policies improving the lives of workers and their families, including the 2012 minimum wage increase in the City of San Jose. She led the organization’s non-partisan civic engagement programs building an organized base of more than 40,000 low-income communities of color in Silicon Valley, registering more than 14,000 voters and working to increase civic participation rates of voters of color and low-income voters in Santa Clara County. Recently, the organization has launched initiatives to support organizing and policy campaigns in support of workers in the food processing and tech industries, low-wage workers and transit riders, and immigrant communities organizing for equitable investment in our public schools, parks, and community infrastructure. Mehrens is the daughter of a union construction worker and a union community college teacher and is married with two young children. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology, History and International Studieol of Public Health and is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in molecular and cellular biology.
Housing Strategist, Nguyen Planning Company
Vu-Bang Nguyen is a housing policy strategist working in the fields of housing, philanthropy, and govtech. He was previously a program officer for Silicon Valley Community Foundation, leading the housing and transportation grantmaking strategy and an associate director of land use and housing at Urban Habitat. Vu-Bang has worked for the City of Berkeley’s Department of Planning, the Town of Los Gatos Planning Division and for a real estate development company working on infill residential development projects in Fremont, San José and Los Gatos. Vu-Bang holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where he created a community engagement handbook for the San José Redevelopment Agency to increase Vietnamese American participation in local government decisions. Vu-Bang is also on the board for Sacred Heart Community Services in San Jose and Asian Pacific Environmental Network in Oakland/Richmond.
Attorney, Law Office of Ravi Patel
Ravi Patel is a solo Attorney and Owner of the Law Office of Ravi Patel. Ravi practices trust and estate law and advises public and private clients on various matters of public agency law, local taxes, and election law. Prior to starting his own practice, Ravi worked as a tax and finance attorney for the City of Oakland. He started his career as a public agency and water law attorney with a firm in California’s Central Valley, where Ravi was involved in the early implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and served as general counsel to various special districts.
Board Chair, Urban Habitat
President and CEO, Alluma
Noni D. Session
Noni Session is a 3rd generation West Oaklander and Cultural Anthropologist. Her research and organizing work spans national and global arenas. Under the umbrella of the UNDP in Nairobi, Kenya, Noni carried out her doctoral research in international humanitarian strategies and their on-the-ground consequences. After nearly gaining election to the Oakland City Council in 2016, she decided that her community’s best solution to rapid displacement was to develop an independent cooperative economy. Noni is closely engaged with Mandela Grocery Cooperative, a Black-led worker-owned cooperative in West Oakland bringing organic produce and local economics to the community, as well as contributing her visionary energy to homeless advocacy groups across West and East Oakland who are building a movement of houseless and volunteers organizing for housing dignity through direct action and policy.
Susan Shaw, LCSW, is a community organizer whose roots as a narrative family therapist were borne out of her early activism for racial, social and economic justice. In 2009 Susan co-founded the North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP) and served as its Executive Director for the next 12 years. Susan also co-founded the Graton Day Labor Center (Centro Laboral de Graton) in 2002, and served as the Director for five years (until 2008) as well as board member for 14 years (through 2016). Alongside her responsibilities as director of NBOP, Susan also served as state director of Gamaliel of California for six years, until 2018. Raised in Singapore and rural Ohio, Susan lives in western Sonoma County.
Executive Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Miya Yoshitani is the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN). She has an extensive background in community organizing and a long history of working in the environmental justice movement. APEN has been fighting—and winning—environmental justice struggles for the past 25 years and remains one of the most unique organizations in the country, explicitly developing the leadership and power of low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrant and refugee communities. Through many years of leadership, Miya has supported APEN’s growth and expansion from a powerful local organization in the Bay Area, to having a statewide impact through an integrated API voter engagement strategy, a statewide Asian Pacific American Climate Coalition, and winning transformational state policy for equitable climate solutions and transitioning the state to a clean energy economy for all Californians. A movement leader in many key local, state, and national alliances, APEN is helping to shift the center of gravity of what is possible when the health and economic well-being of working families, immigrants, and communities of color are put at the center of solutions to the economic and climate crises. Miya has been Executive Director since November 2013 and proudly supports APEN to be a leading force for climate justice for all communities.
Carl Anthony, Emeritus
Founder and Former Executive Director, Urban Habitat
Co-founder, Breakthrough Communities Project
Carl Anthony is currently a co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project, and recently published his memoir The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race. He is also a visiting Professor at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Previously, he was Acting Director of the Community and Resource Unit of the Ford Foundation, supervising 6 Program Officers in the United States, and Program Officers in 13 countries abroad. From 1991 through 1997, Carl served as President of Earth Island Institute, an international environmental organization to protect and conserve the global biosphere. Congressman Ron Dellums appointed Carl Anthony Chair and Principal Administrative Officer of the East Bay Conversion and Reinvestment Commission in 1993. He taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning and the UC Berkeley Colleges of Environmental Design and Natural Resources. Carl has a professional degree in architecture from Columbia University. In 1996, he was appointed Fellow at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.