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 the Project Director and a Public Health Nutritionist for SF Nutrition Equity Opportunity and Physical Activity (SF 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.
Rachel Del Monte is Vice President of Member Experience with the YMCA of San Francisco. In this role, Rachel supports wellness programming across Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Rachel is committed to providing accessible, engaging and culturally-appropriate wellness offerings for all. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys gardening, cooking, and exploring San Francisco staircases with her wife and two daughters.
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.
Gigi Hill-Hopkins is the Senior Director Citywide Community Health and Wellness at the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA of San Francisco. Gigi moved into the nonprofit field following 30+ years in the corporate and public sectors. She initially volunteered at the Bayview YMCA, then began teaching classes, and ultimately joined the team as Director of Health and Wellness in 2013. She now oversees the Citywide Health and Wellness programs at the YMCA of San Francisco, which include the African American Holistic Wellness program, Silver Plus program and Holistic Wellness for Active Older Adults program. Gigi has a Business Management degree (BSBM) from The University of Phoenix and numerous certifications in the health and fitness field. Gigi believes it was her calling to give back, and her specific focus and dedication to her community—and Black health and wellness—does just that.
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).
Brendan Rea is the Nutrition Program and Physical Education Manager for Catholic Charities in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo. In this role, he creates, prepares and presents nutrition curriculum modules for k-8 students. He also oversees the physical education program and leads trainings for staff on CATCH curriculum to ensure that the schools he serves are receiving the most current and best education. He currently serves 6 schools and 3 afterschool programs. Brendan grew up in San Mateo and is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in Geography.
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.
Laura Urban is the Associate Director of Health and Nutrition at the Children’s Council of San Francisco. In her role, she oversees health and nutrition programming aimed to increase nutrition security and support development of facility-level policies that support the nutrition and physical activity environment of Early Care and Education centers. Laura brings over 10 years of experience strategizing and implementing food security and nutrition programs at the state and local level. Laura started her career with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and most recently oversaw the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Office of Food Security.
Lizzie Velten, MPH, Co-Chair, is the Vice President of Community Health and Corporate Relations for the American Heart Association, Bay Area, leading local strategy for public policy advocacy, systems changes with clinical and community partners, corporate sponsorship implementation and employee wellness, as well as the Association’s local communications and marketing. She has developed expertise in coalition building, systems change and health policy advocacy, health promotion and wellness, and communications. She is dedicated her career to increasing nutrition security, decreasing risk factors for chronic disease, and ending tobacco addiction with a particular focus on partnering with 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.
Laura Vollmer, MPH, is a Community Nutrition and Health Advisor at the University of California Cooperative Extension serving San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. She provides oversight to two federally funded nutrition education programs, CalFresh Healthy Living and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), and conducts locally relevant evaluation and research work, primarily focused on food and nutrition security and diet quality for children and families. Prior to joining UC Cooperative Extension, Laura was a staff researcher at the Nutrition Policy Institute. She has long pursued an interest in food and nutrition: from running a summer camp kitchen in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania, to teaching at an elementary school garden program in Mountain View, CA, to fighting hunger at City Harvest, an emergency food provider in New York City, Laura has diverse experience working towards a better food system. Laura is a registered dietitian and holds a Masters in Public Health in Nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA in English from Wesleyan University. Laura co-leads PSEAT.
Leah Walton, MPH, RDN is a Public Health Nutritionist for SF Department of Disability and Aging Services. She partners with a variety of community-based organizations that provide groceries, meals, nutrition education, and physical activity services to older adults and adults with disabilities in San Francisco. A portion of the programming is state or federally funded by the Older Americans Act and CalFresh Healthy Living. Leah has a B.S. in Dietetics from San Francisco State University and a Master of Public Health Nutrition from UC Berkeley. Leah has worked in restaurants, grocery stores, as a children’s culinary instructor, a soccer coach, and as a dietitian at both Meals on Wheels San Francisco and Community Action Marin.
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.