David Byrd, MNA, is a Senior Advisor at Capacity Blueprint. He has a Masters of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) from the University of San Francisco and is a graduate of Connecticut College with a degree in Economics. He has Certificates of Financial Success for Nonprofits from Cornell University and Board Governance from Boardsource. David has worked & consulted for numerous organizations as a grantwriter to secure nearly $60 million for vital programs/services through county, city, and federal grants as well as private foundations. David co-leads the Capacity Building Action Team.
Chris Chau, DrPH, MPH, MS, RDN, CPT is a Public Health Nutritionist for SF Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention (NEOP) in SFDPH. He implements policy, systems, and environmental change programs that promote nutrition, physical activity, and food security among marginalized communities. Chris holds master’s degrees in Adolescent Education and Public Health. He recently earned his Doctor of Public Health at UC Berkeley, investigating racial and socioeconomic disparities in obesity development among youth of color. Chris co-leads the Policy System & Environment Action Team
Saeeda Hafiz is the Wellness Policy Project Manager at SFUSD. For the past 14 years, she has been teaching holistic wellness classes to staff, teachers and kids. Since 1990, Saeeda has been experiencing the power of her yoga practice and the benefits of eating a whole food diet. Saeeda is the author of an award-winning book, The Healing: One Woman’s Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches. Saeeda graduated from Temple University with a degree in Business and Management Information Systems. She studied at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers and Ashrams, and Natural Gourmet in NYC.
Jennifer Navarro-Marroquin, Co-Chair, is a Co-founder of Community Well, established in 2015, a Holistic Wellness Center located in the heart of the Excelsior District of San Francisco. Jennifer has over 15 years of experience as a business owner and is an advocate for business ownership. She currently has a Prosperity Coaching and Financial Services business and also proudly sits on the board of Entrepinays, which uplifts FilAm Women Business Owners, and on the Loan Committee for NorCAL FDC, which focuses on assisting businesses with financing in underserved communities.
Sarah Nelson is the Executive Director of 18 Reasons and has worked on food-related projects in the Bay Area since 2008. She launched the Bay Area’s first Market Match, which gives farmers’ market customers who use food stamps extra funds to spend at the market, and a Veggie Rx program that helped diabetes patients increase their produce consumption while measuring positive health outcomes. In 2011, she founded the nonprofit Three Squares, which merged with 18 Reasons in 2013. Sarah co-leads the Capacity Building Action Team (CBAT).
Alisha Somji is a community health manager at Kaiser Permanente (KP) serving KP’s Greater San Francisco and Redwood City service area. She develops and implements community health strategies through grantmaking, deployment of organizational assets, and collaboration with internal and external partners to meet identified community health needs. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto.
Emily Turpin is the Sr. Director of Community Health & Strategic Initiatives for the YMCA of SF. With an undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology, Emily is interested in obesity prevention and intervention and manages the Y’s evidence-based health interventions, including the Diabetes Prevention Program. She works with community and health care partners to ensure SF residents receive a continuum of care between the doctor’s office and where they live, work and play. In 2019, she received a Master’s in Organization Development.
Lizzie Velten, MPH, Co-Chair, is the Vice President of Health for the American Heart Association in the Bay Area, leading the team working on policy and systems changes with clinical and community partners. Her work strives to increase nutrition security, decrease hypertension, and end tobacco use with particular focus on communities that are impacted by structural racism and the social determinants of health. Lizzie has a B.A. from Pomona College and a Master of Public Health from U.C. Berkeley with a specialty in Nutrition. She has developed expertise in coalition building, media advocacy, lobbying and strategic research. Lizzie has advocated for state-level soda taxes, healthy vending standards, sugar-sweetened beverage warning labels, and funding for prediabetes interventions as well as local soda tax implementation, healthy default drinks in kids’ meals, ending the sale of flavored tobacco and creating strong enforcement for tobacco retailers.
Mary Vollinger is a Program Supervisor of the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. She is a member of the San Mateo County Food System Alliance and co-chair of the Farm to School Subcommittee. She is passionate about ensuring access to affordable, nutritious food, and physical activity opportunities for all. Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, an associate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, and a Certificate of Achievement in Dietary Management. She is a Registered Dietetic Technician and is certified in ServSafe.
Blythe Young is the Community Advocacy Director for the American Heart Association, Greater Bay Area. She has a BS in Dietetics and Community Nutrition Services from UC Davis. She dedicates her public health policy career to community health through prevention and enacting local policy with equity and social justice. Blythe advocated for City and County level funding for food access programs, healthy vending standards, sugary drink warning labels, flavored tobacco sales restrictions, and tobacco licensing implementation. Blythe co-leads PSEAT.