2022 NPD Conference Sessions & Speakers

National Philanthropy Day Registration Now Open!

Early Bird Rates to remain in effect throughout registration period.
Conference ticket includes entrance to all conference session, National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon, and post-conference Happy Hour.

AFP Emerging Leader Member (Young Professionals) - $199
AFP Member - $259
Non-Member - $279

$10 Late fees will be added to above pricing for those who register on-site.

Full participation in National Philanthropy Day Conference is applicable for 4.0 points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

Conference Sessions

7:45 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. - Registration Opens

8:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Keynote Presentation People. Purpose. Community.
In a social climate marked by polarization, binary thinking, and seemingly endless stressors, joy peaks out from the cracks in the surface and invites us to shift our perspective away from the doom and gloom. The choice to live and move in joy, independent of our external circumstances, is a radical act that nourishes the seeds of revolution and transformation. This keynote address will inspire attendees to reach within to reignite the spark of joy and hope that led them into philanthropy. Attendees will leave feeling empowered with knowing the importance of prioritizing communal joy as a social medicine that helps us all of us restore, repair, and recommit to the critical work of long-haul social change. 

Presented by Dr. Niki Elliott

10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. - Coffee Break with Conference Exhibitors

10:15 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. - Concurrent Breakout Sessions 

Equity in Fundraising: How to Diversify Your Team, Boards, and Retention
As nonprofit leaders, we endeavor to create a world that works for everyone through philanthropic programs, often serving the most marginalized among us. However, the lack of diversity in donor bases, fundraising teams, executive leadership, and board governance has resulted in an industry that doesn’t reflect the populations it serves. This panel will examine strategies to create inclusive organizations, recent challenges and strides in DEI, and how we move past diversity numbers and into a place where all individuals feel included and have a voice.

Presented by Derek Steele, Kevin Barry, and Monica Lee Copeland 
Moderated by Celeste Davies

Diamond Room 6

Transformative Philanthropy in Action
Transformational philanthropy is an approach to Business development that enables nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists to develop meaningful and effective ways to work together to solve real problems.” According to Nonprofit Pro: To obtain a transformational gift, a combination of elements must be present, such as the right donor, right purpose, right amount, right solicitor, and the right time. A 2011 study by Dini Partners of donors who contributed $100,000 to $1 million found that the single most important factor influencing is alignment with an organization’s mission.

Presented by Angela Johnson Peters & Nicole Lynn

Diamond Room 7

From the Sacklers to Cannabis: An Ethical Dilemma Discussion
Without ethical fundraising, our donors would not trust us or our organizations. Join current AFP Global Ethics Committee member, Melanie Elliott, and former AFP Global Ethics Committee chair and member, Yulanda Davis-Quarrie, M.S., CFRE, where we will have interactive sessions on two ethical hot topic issues, explore our Code of Ethics, and participate in an active dialogue about the ethical dilemmas that may face an organization receiving funds from a Cannabis business. This session will provide a safe space for you to ask your ethical dilemma questions and receive feedback that may help you in your decision making.

Presented by Melanie Elliott and Yulanda Davis-Quarrie

Diamond Room 8

Addressing Mental Health and Ending Stigma in the Workplace: Moving from Awareness to Action!

Mental health is one of the most critical health issues impacting our nation today and a top workforce concern for employers. Now, more than ever, there is a growing need for employers to support their employees’ mental health and emotional well-being. Learn how your organization can move from awareness to action.

Presented by Laura Alvarez, Kymberly Garrett, and Becca Joza
Moderated by Paco Rentana

Diamond Room 9

11:15 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. - Concurrent Breakout Sessions
Setting the Stage for Stellar Donor Stewardship
Presented by Fundraising Academy - In this interactive session, attendees will learn tried and true stewardship practices that deepen relationships with and commitment from supporters. A brief presentation of best practices will lead us into fast-paced, facilitated group engagement. Participants will walk away with constructive feedback on their organization’s current practices, new peer connections, and an actionable list of innovative ways to keep donors feeling connected to your cause.

Presented by Hannah Berger

Diamond Room 6

Capital Campaigns and Giving Circles
If your organization needs to raise a significant amount of money for a particular project that can’t be covered by your annual fund, then it might be time to launch a capital campaign. Successful capital campaigns require a fundraising goal that can be reached by developing giving circles. When like-minded givers come together to discuss community needs and support them with their donations, time, and resources, a giving circle is born. Over the past two decades, the giving circle movement in the United States has grown to more than 2,000 giving circles made up of 150,000 people donating nearly $1.3 billion.

Moderated by Andrea Salazar
Panelists Priscilla Valencia and Carrie Tsang-Hidding

Diamond Room 7

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: Career and Professional Development in A Rapidly Changing Sector
The fundraising world is evolving at record speed. Currently, we’ve found ourselves doing all we can to keep up in a climate that has bred significant shifts in the employee-employer dynamic. Be it the new remote/hybrid work structure or the necessity for staff to live more purpose-driven lives; there is an intrinsic need to seek communities or build ones that support these shifts, and our leaders are being held accountable more than ever.  A recent project by NTEN and Cornerstone, “The State of Nonprofit Professional Development,” uncovered that “nonprofit staff want to learn and grow in their jobs and careers and that they seek to pursue professional development even if it’s not an official part of the expectations and evaluations in their jobs.”1 While most nonprofits understand the importance of investing in ongoing professional development for their employees, some balk at that investment because they fear employees will just learn and leave.

Presented by Randy Shulman, Cris Lutz, Matt Kamin
Moderated by Lisa Baxter

Diamond Room 8

Activating a Culture of Philanthropy
Activating a culture of Philanthropy is something most of us strive for but rarely accomplish. New generations, socially conscious efforts, and the idea of ambassadorships have given us opportunities to activate and enhance how we, as people see fundraising in our own organizations. 

Presented by Priscilla Valencia and Carrie Tsang-Hidding
Moderated by Andrea Salazar

Diamond Room 9

12:25 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon

Diamond Room 5

2:10 p.m. - 3:05 p.m. - Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Equity in Fundraising: How to Diversify Your Team, Boards, and Retention
As nonprofit leaders, we endeavor to create a world that works for everyone through philanthropic programs, often serving the most marginalized among us. However, the lack of diversity in donor bases, fundraising teams, executive leadership, and board governance has resulted in an industry that doesn’t reflect the populations it serves. This panel will examine strategies to create inclusive organizations, recent challenges and strides in DEI, and how we move past diversity numbers and into a place where all individuals feel included and have a voice.

Presented by Derek Steele, Kaci Y. Patterson, and Jacob Adams

Moderated by Megan Hayward

Diamond Room 6

Using Digital Tools to Build Relationships

It seems like every day there's a new, shiny best practice for using email, your website, and social media to advance your mission and fundraise. If you're stressed about all the advice about digital tools and want a strategy that helps you build sustaining, ongoing relationships, this session is for you. We'll cover how to create a digital plan that's focused and authentic to your organization and can be used over and over again, no matter how tools, platforms, and algorithms change. 

Presented by Julie Lacoutre

Diamond Room 7

Storytelling and Beyond: How to Craft an Impact Report that Inspires, Engages, and Activates Donors

Some of the best writers of our time began in the advertising industry, creating compelling stories using emotion, artwork, and excellent topography. We’ll dive into their work, and also share how to make sure the story gets read and shared using digital strategies. Glean take-a-ways to uplevel your fundraising and messaging game.

Presented by Monica Lee Copeland, Chris Wesley and Will Cooper
Moderated by Carmen E. Himes

Diamond Room 8

Cryptocurrency 101: The New Digital Money Millennium 

Bitcoin. Ethereum. Tether. Binance Coin. USD Coin and the Blockchain of it all1. These are just some of the various types of cryptocurrencies that have appeared since its first launch in 2017. Today, the nonprofit sector has found themselves smack dab in the gateway to a new millennium of digital money and with the impending wealth transfer, fundraising is about to get creative and integrated with technology in a way we’ve never seen before. To help ease the transition and educate nonprofits on what this means for their organizations, we invite you to join Lisa Rubin, Blockchain and Fintech Attorney at Paul Hastings LLP as she share cryptocurrency basics.

Presented by Lisa Rubin

Diamond Room 9

3:10 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. - Happy Hour Reception

Diamond Foyer

2022 National Philanthropy Day Speakers

Jacob Adams

Jacob Adams
Founder & Executive Director, Stem to the Future

Jacob is the Founder and Executive Director of STEM to the Future.  Prior to founding STTF, Jacob was a Teach For America teacher in New York City where he was an elementary school educator in Brooklyn and Harlem. He moved to Los Angeles to be an instructional coach at Teach For America. Jacob has 10+ years of experience in education and is using that experience to help students be solution-oriented individuals who use their gifts to uplift the community. He’s a 4.0 School Essentials and Tiny Fellow and a member of the inaugural Black Equity Collective “Build Cohort.”  He’s also a photographer who enjoys eating.

Laura Alvarez, PHR, SHRM-CP

Laura Alvarez, PHR, SHRM-CP
Vice President of Human Resources


Laura Alvarez is the Vice President of Human Resources at Wellnest. Ms. Alvarez is responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction to support the Clinic’s objective to recruit, develop and retain the best talent to advance their mission. She oversees the areas of benefits administration, compensation, compliance, employee relations, performance management, recruitment, training, and development.

Prior to joining Wellnest, Ms. Alvarez served as the Vice President of Human Resources for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, the largest charter school network in Los Angeles. During her tenure at Alliance, she led the development and implementation of the organization’s HR policies, procedures, and programs to support the organization’s rapid growth in their first decade. Prior to that, Ms. Alvarez served as a Certificated Personnel Specialist & Credential Analyst for Soledad Enrichment Action, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-risk youth with tailored educational services and a variety of wrap-around and support services. There, she supported the restructure of the organization’s HR department, which helped her gain the foundational knowledge and skills to excel as an HR professional. Ms. Alvarez has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Southern California. In 2014, she obtained a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Cal State University, Long Beach and obtained her PHR and SHRM-CP certifications.

Lisa Baxter

Lisa Baxter

Lisa’s philosophy on life can be summed up by Nelson Mandela’s famous quote, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” 

A fundraising practitioner for 15 years, she has successfully raised millions of dollars for local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations and has led and mentored high performing teams. 

Lisa held prior roles at MLK Community Health Foundation, After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles (ASAS-LA), Starlight Children’s Foundation, Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. 

Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Greater Los Angeles (AFP-GLAC) and is the 2022 President-Elect. 

As a community builder, equity activist, public speaker and thought leader, Lisa has been tapped to share her expertise for various publications, podcasts, panels and events. She recently started a new chapter in her professional life as a Fundraising & Career Strategist who equips executives of the Global Majority with the tools they need to be successful in environments that have not been built with them in mind.

When she is not advocating for social justice and community related issues, she is a contributing writer for two online publications: Suite Life SoCal Concierge Magazine and Holistic Californian. An avid reader, music lover and marathon dancer with a penchant for fashion and inclusive stationary products, she is a proud Afro-Latina, wife and mama of a very cool 8-year-old.

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Saint Mary’s University. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.

Hannah Berger, MPA, CFRE

Hannah Berger, MPA, CFRE
President, The Philanthropy Coach and Certified Cause Selling Trainer, Fundraising Academy

With 20+ years of experience in the philanthropic sector, Hannah provides coaching and consulting that is steeped in lived experience as a professional fundraiser, non-profit executive, campaign consultant and board member. Hannah has proudly supported dozens of nonprofit organizations in raising more than $100M, specializing in major expansion campaigns, board recruitment and development, development audits, program restructuring initiatives and the creation of strategic development plans. A lifelong learner and believer in the power of education, Hannah loves to teach and has been a lead trainer for Fundraising Academy since 2018, in addition to sharing her voice and expertise with AFP Chapters throughout California and at AFP International’s global conference. To learn more: ThePhilanthropyCoach.com

Will Cooper

Will Cooper
Digital Fundraising
Children's Bureau of Southern California

Will Cooper is a tech-startup veteran who has been responsible for marketing, digital strategy, partnerships, and data analysis. He’s helped companies set revenue records, win innovation awards, secure over $45MM in venture capital funding, and acquire.

Celeste Davies

Celeste Davies
Director, Prospect Management & Advancement Services
MLK Community Health Foundation

Celeste is responsible for managing and leading the advancement services and development research and relationship management functions of the MLK Community Health Foundation - the fundraising arm of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital. She is a relationship management professional with over 15 years of experience leading and managing all aspects of fundraising database management, development research, and donor management activities.

Her most recent roles were at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) where she held the position of associate director, development research and donor management, and prior to that, senior development officer, research and prospect management. Celeste spent over a decade at CSMC managing the Development Research and Donor Management department and supporting development officers with fundraising strategies, management of portfolio planning, and tracking activities.

Prior to CSMC, Celeste honed her development research and management skills at the UCSF Foundation where she was a senior development researcher.

Celeste holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from Howard University, Washington, DC.

Yulanda N. Davis-Quarrie, CFRE

Yulanda N. Davis-Quarrie, CFRE
Assistant Vice President of Advancement
Pitzer College

Yulanda N. Davis-Quarrie brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in the field of philanthropy, and currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Advancement at Pitzer College. In her role she oversees major and planned giving, donor experience as well as Advancement Events. 

A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) since 1990, Ms. Davis-Quarrie has secured more than $80 million in philanthropic dollars for various nonprofit organizations in Southern California, including Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles, The Claremont Graduate School, St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, The Wellness Community in Santa Monica, Citrus Valley Health Partners in West Covina, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation, Beverly Hospital, St.Lucy’s Priory High School and Ramona Convent High School. 

She is actively involved with the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, Global, where she serves as Chair of the Investment Subcommittee and serves on AFP Foundation Nominating Committee.  She is currently also Chair of Communications, for her local AFP Chapter, the Greater Los Angeles Chapter. 

Ms. Davis-Quarrie is also active in the larger community where she currently serves as Vice Chair, Fundraising, for the Assistance League of Covina Valley and is an active member of the Rotary Club of West Covina, chairing the annual Heart of the Valley annual 5K and Health Fair. 

A resident of San Dimas, Ms. Davis-Quarrie earned her undergraduate degree from the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences,  from the University of Southern California and her graduate degree in Health Care Management from California State University, Los Angeles. Ms. Davis-Quarrie is married to her husband, Donald, has two adult children Tara and Kira, and a Maltese, named Sydney. 

Melanie Elliott

Melanie Elliott
m3 Development

Melanie Elliott is a consultant with m3 Development. She has extensive experience in cultivating relationships, prospect research, grant writing, communications and works with a wide range of nonprofits. Melanie serves on the AFP Global Ethics Committee. She served on the AFP-GLAC Board as VP, Membership and Ethics Chair. Currently, she’s a Trustee at The Wesley School. Melanie has an MFA from DePaul University and a BA in History from UC Berkeley.

Kymberly Garret

Kymberly Garrett, MBA GPHR
Chief People and Diversity Officer
Children's Bureau of Southern California

With over 30 years of progressive Human Resources experience in varying disciplines, Kymberly Garrett has a background using a holistic Human Resources Management style.  As the Chief People and Diversity Officer at Children’s Bureau of Southern California for almost five years - Ms. Garrett supports all levels of People Support Services and has created cutting-edge, award-winning programs in Talent Acquisition, Talent & Performance Management and Leader Development.  Whether creating customized leadership training programs or facilitating change management initiatives - Kymberly utilizes her experiences in both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, as well as private and nonprofit organizations to help guide teams into becoming sustainable high-impact and high performing teams!  

Kymberly’s philosophy on today’s unique workplace environment is an approach steeped in organizational inclusion that firmly and outloud supports a complete employee well-being, personal safety model that seeks to build an authentic and sustainable sense of belonging as employees and leaders emerge from the pandemic years in rediscovering its new future of work. 

Kymberly is certified through various Human Resources and Training organizations and also teaches Human Resources Leadership Practice.   Additionally, Ms. Garrett serves on various Advisory Boards and is listed as a Subject Matter Expert with many labor-related governmental agencies.

Ms. Garrett, a Chicago native has called Southern California home for the last 20 years.  Kymberly holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a diehard NFL fan.  

Megan Hawyard

Megan Hayward
Director of Development
Social Justice Learning Institute

Megan Hayward serves as the Director of Development, where she is responsible for cultivating all fundraising activities. With a wide, rich variety of hands-on experience, she is poised to grow brand awareness and increase market share through strategic initiatives and transformative giving.

Megan is passionate about creating change through youth empowerment. She has been a fundraising fixture in Southern California for over 10 years, helping drive revenue for several charitable and advocacy organizations. Prior to joining SJLI, she assumed various fund development roles committed to foster youth advocacy, improving mental health outcomes for children and families, secondary and higher education acceleration, and health equity advancement.

Megan is also active in programs mentoring young Black athletes, serving as an impact partner for several amateur exposure events. Her ability to integrate the latest marketing and development trends is a testament to her appetite for sports and community.

Megan earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of San Diego, where she is a member of the Black Alumni Network.

Carmen Himes

Carmen E. Himes
Donor Engagement and Event Manager
Social Justice Learning Institute

Carmen E. Himes serves as the Donor Engagement and Event Manager where she oversees individual donor gifts, sponsorship management, data management and event production. Aside from her tenure as a fundraising professional, her expertise also focuses on special events, street festivals, concerts, 5k’s, parades, and art collectives from Los Angeles to New York City. 

With more than 10 years of experience, she has had the pleasure of working with organizations such as LA Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, Phil Harmonics, CARS, Chitjian Foundation, Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, ASF, YWCA GLA, Pehrspace, The Smell, FMLY, Desert Daze, Echo Chamber, LA Zine Fest, The L.A. Fort, APAP, and Global Fest. Additionally, she currently serves as the co-chair for the National Philanthropy Day conference with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and is a supporting member of Arts for LA, Latinx professionals LA, and The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Chamber of Commerce as well. 

Carmen earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine.

Angela Johnson Peters

Angela Johnson Peters
Associate Director of Programs and Development
Social Justice Learning Institute

Angela Johnson Peters serves as Associate Director of Programs and Development. In this role, Angela works with all of SJLI’s program areas to support their strategic objectives and assists with program and operational oversight.

Prior to joining SJLI, Angela founded ALJ Consulting, an independent consulting firm that specialized in developing resources, and effectively planning and successfully implementing programs with the nonprofit, philanthropic, government, and community sectors.

Since 1999, she estimates working with over 500 organizations and individuals including the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, Latino Equality Alliance, Funding Bright Spots Program, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Hate and Violence Prevention Partnership Los Angeles, L.A. Care Health Plan, Black Women for Wellness, Street Poets, Regenerative Design Institute, and Growing a Global Heart.

Angela is a certified trainer, and meeting facilitator. She has also completed the National Community Development Institute’s Community Builders Leadership Program and is a Wilder Foundation Shannon Leadership Fellow.

Becca Jozsa, LCSW, MPH

Becca Jozsa, LCSW, MPH 
Employee Wellbeing Specialist
Martin Luther King Community Healthcare

Becca Jozsa (Joe-za)  is a licensed clinical social worker who has received her dual master’s degree in Social Work and Public Health from USC’s Keck School of Medicine. Becca has previously worked in the school setting where she provided individual and group therapeutic counseling to students that were diagnosed with neurological delays, and/or emotional disturbances. From there she went into the healthcare field to perform psychosocial evaluations with kidney dialysis patients which included crisis interventions, short-term case management, and counseling support filled with empathy and care. Becca became involved in developing and facilitating educational courses to patients that promoted healthy behavioral changes for one’s mental, emotional, and physical health which she found as one of her passions. She now leads the Employee Wellbeing Program at Martin Luther King Community Healthcare where she focuses on the wellbeing of the hospital’s staff. She provides short term counseling sessions to healthcare workers while creating, implementing, and analyzing organizational wellness programs for all hospital staff members that support their Mental, Emotional, Physical & Spiritual Wellbeing.

Matt Kamin

Matt Kamin
Envision Consulting

Matt Kamin is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Envision Consulting, a consulting firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Denver, specializing in nonprofit search and strategy services. Matt has been working and volunteering in the nonprofit world for over 25 years and holds a MBA in nonprofit management. Matt has served as Executive Director of Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation in New York, Children’s Nature Institute in Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Youth Network in Hollywood. Matt has also served as a consultant to organizations serving populations ranging from disabled adults, domestic violence, children in nonpublic schools, and the geriatric community. Matt is co-founder of Youth for Charity, an organization bringing together teens of different faiths to raise awareness for families living in poverty, as well as founder of Eleventh Commandment, which has grown into JQ International. Matt has sat on numerous boards located in the US and abroad and has lived and worked in Southern California, the New York Metro, and the Middle East.

Julie Lacouture

Julie Lacouture
Good Ways Inc.

Julie Lacouture is the founder of Good Ways Inc, a consulting firm that helps nonprofit organizations raise money, awareness, and support using digital tools and good old-fashioned strategy. Julie has worked with organizations including MLK Community Health Foundation in South LA, Disability Rights California, and the California Community Foundation. She developed and taught a Digital Fundraising class at UCLA Extension. Prior to Good Ways Inc., Julie worked in communications and fundraising at some great non-profits including DonorsChoose.org and the Massachusetts Coalition against Domestic Violence. She started her career in corporate PR and Advertising where she drove a hotdog across the country for Oscar Mayer and was a copywriter for McDonald’s, Coldwell Banker, and other brands. She holds an MBA from UCLA and degrees in Psychology and Advertising from Syracuse University.

Nicole Lynn

Nicole Lynn
Philanthropy Advisor
Liberty Hill

Nicole is responsible for growing and sustaining meaningful relationships with donors and securing Changemaker gifts of $1,200+ annually.

Nicole Lynn is a 20-year sales veteran possessing first-class relationship-building, project management, and leadership skills who successfully transitioned her expertise to the non-profit sector. Before her shift into philanthropy, she worked in music publishing, licensing production music for both Universal and BMG. Nicole is extremely passionate about the issues surrounding women, youth, and BIPOC people. She is a first-generation college graduate and currently holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada. She is currently attending Pepperdine University, working towards her Master's degree in Psychology.

Cris Lutz

Cris Lutz
Assistant Vice President of Gift Planning
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Cris Lutz is the Assistant Vice President of Gift Planning at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, where she also serves as Chair of the staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is the President-Elect of the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners (LACGP) and has served on the board of directors of the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA). Cris earned her master's degree in psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and bachelor's degrees in art history and social science from the University of California, Irvine. Cris is a certified specialist in planned giving (CSPG) and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP).

Kaci Patterson

Kaci Patterson
Founder & Chief Architect
Social Good Solutions

Kaci Patterson is the Founder and Chief Architect of Social Good Solutions (SGS), a Black-woman-owned and operated boutique consulting firm working at the intersections of philanthropy, racial justice and community. Kaci brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and is widely recognized for her expertise in equity-centered grantmaking and community-driven design. In her role as Sr. Director for the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment, Kaci organizes philanthropic engagement for the LA County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative (AAIMM), a public-private-community partnership working to advance joyous and healthy births for Black mothers and families in LA County. She is also the Founder and Chief Architect of the Black Equity Collective, serves on the board of Social Justice Partners Los Angeles, Tides Advocacy and was an appointed state commissioner serving in the CA Department of Consumer Affairs for eight years. Kaci is a graduate of Pepperdine University and holds an MBA in Organizational Management & Leadership from the University of LaVerne. 

Paco Retana, MSW, LCSW

Paco Retana, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Vice President of Programs

Paco Retana’s passion is serving underserved and marginalized communities. As Vice President of Programs at Wellnest, he is responsible for all clinical services, including program evaluation and training. He also oversees Wellnest’s Division Directors in areas of outpatient, early intervention, intensive services, and life learning/transition-age youth services. Previous roles Paco has held include: Clinical Supervisor at Green Dot Public Schools, Regional Director of Community Mental Health Services at Children’s Institute, Inc., Director of Outpatient Services at Wellnest, Co-founder of the Youth Development Project of St. John’s Health Center, and Clinical Coordinator of the Child and Family Development Center at DiDi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center.

Paco is the co-chair of the Latino Underserved Cultural Communities for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH) and was a voting member of the System Leadership Team and former co-chair of the Service Area Advisory Committee for South Los Angeles. Paco is a Board of Director for the UCLA Alumni Association and serves as the co-chair for its Diversity Advisory Committee. As an expert in Boys and Men of Color work, he is invited to conferences and forums as a panelist, speaker, and mental health expert.

Paco is the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice, and an Honoree of NAMI Urban Los Angeles. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Masters in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Leslie Rubin

Leslie Rubin
Blockchain and Fintech Attorney
Paul Hastings LLP

Lisa Rubin is an associate in the Fintech and Payments practice at Paul Hastings, specializing in digital asset and blockchain related matters. Ms. Rubin represents and advises financial technology companies, with an emphasis on navigating the regulatory complexity presented by cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Her clients include major digital asset trading platforms, investment firms, digital asset project teams and developers. Ms. Rubin also has prior experience managing state and federal litigation from inception through trial. 



USC Gould School of Law, J.D., 2017

University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 2012

Andrea Salazar


Andrea Salazar 
Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs 

As Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs for Wellnest, Andrea Salazar is responsible for overseeing all development activities for the organization in addition to raising awareness for Wellnest’s innovative initiatives and programs throughout Los Angeles County. A highly creative, results-driven, professional, Andrea has over 18 years’ experience in development and is skilled in cultivating strategic partnerships to secure funding for some of Los Angeles’ leading non-profit organizations. Before coming to Wellnest, Andrea held key leadership positions in fundraising and development for Olive Crest, the Whole Child, Boy Scouts of America, and Good Shepard Center for Homeless Women and Children. Andrea’s drive and passion for service comes from a desire to use her skills, personal experience, and influence to make a difference in the lives of underserved communities – in particular at-risk youth and children who have been in foster care.

Andrea received her Bachelor of Science in Business with an Emphasis on Organizational Management, from the University of La Verne. She also received a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Center of Nonprofit. She also serves on the Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Los Angeles and serves on the Figueroa Corridor Board.

Randy Shulman

Randy Shulman
Vice President for Advancement and External Relations
Huntington Library Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Randy serves at the Vice-President for Advancement and External Relations, working closely with the president and other members of the senior team in charting the overall course of fundraising activities and donor stewardship.  Next to the president, he is the Huntington’s chief external affairs presence and is responsible for promoting and cultivating institutional contacts with appropriate individuals, organizations, government agencies and community contacts.

Randy has a Bachelor of Science degree in urban and regional planning from Cal Poly Pomona and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California.    Previously, he worked in local government positions in city management, community development, and historic preservation.  Also active in the community, he sat on the Board of Union Station Homeless Services, where he also served as Board Chair and is a past Board member of Pasadena Heritage. 

Derek Steele

Derek Steele
Executive Director
Social Justice Learning Institute

Derek Steele, a proud HBCU graduate of Morgan State University, is an experienced problem solver who started his professional career as an electrical engineer at Northrop Grumman. He soon after began his journey of work in his community with the Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) as a volunteer figuring out how to recreate local food access systems to solve health disparities and food insecurity in Inglewood, CA, and beyond.

Finding success in this work that he believed to be more fulfilling, he took on the opportunity to become SJLI's first Health Equity Programs Director. Under his leadership, his team taught over 15,000 families in nutrition, physical activity and urban agriculture, built 126 urban gardens in the community, began the Inglewood Farmers' Market and Inglewood Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), significantly influenced the passing of two major state bills impacting food insecurity in the great state of California and during COVID, and provided over 1M lbs of produce to families all throughout LA County.

Also during this time, SJLI was experiencing significant growth, becoming thought and movement leaders in health, educational, racial and social equity. To support and improve the structural foundation of the organization to prepare for regional and national expansion, he was promoted to Associate Director of Operations and Finance of the Social Justice Learning Institute.

Now as the Executive Director, he brings his system-building experience, engineering perspective and unique skill sets garnered over his 11-year career to lead SJLI as they solve the inequities and inequalities that plague communities of color, particularly the Black community.

Carrie Tsang-Hidding, CPA, MBA

Carrie Tsang-Hidding, CPA, MBA
teamCFO Inc.

CARRIE TSANG-HIDDING, CPA, MBA, is a founder of teamCFO Inc., an accounting and consulting firm helping for and nonprofits strengthen and improve the finance and accounting operations. Carrie works closely with CEOs and Executive Directors to manage business risks and make better business decisions with financial information. Carrie brings over 35 years of combined experience in audit, finance and operations to her clients, helping them implement best in class financial system and build long term company values.

Carrie gained her experience as a senior audit manager at PriceWaterhouse Coopers; senior manager in public companies (First Interstate now Wells Fargo Bank and East West Bank, for example) serving as director of internal audit, division controller and now running her own business for the past 18 years. Carrie understands how financial strategies, sound accounting infrastructure and discipline can increase sustainable long term company values.

Carrie currently serves on several nonprofit Boards including California Society of CPAs-State and LA Chapter; League of Women Voter LA Advisory Board; LA County Business Federation (BizFed) Small Business/Labor Committee Co-Chair and Wellnest, an established Los Angeles nonprofit serving children, young adults and families with mental health and housing challenges for over 95 years. She is a member of AICPA, CalCPA and past president of the American Society of Women Accountants Los Angeles, NAWBOLA Board Treasurer.

Priscilla Valencia

Priscilla Valencia
Director, Annual Giving 
MLK Community Health

Priscilla is the Director, Annual Giving at MLK Community Health Foundation. She develops and scales programs to grow the young health system’s donor base. Priscilla’s work includes innovative digital campaigns, employee giving and all fundraising events, including the signature Dream Show. 

Prior to joining the foundation, Priscilla managed programs for several LA organizations whose missions align with her values––from affordable housing to foster care to food justice. She’s a Los Angeles native with 10 years of nonprofit experience.  

She earned her Bachelor of Art degree in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her master’s degree in nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco. While pursuing her graduate degree, she served as vice president of programs for the Nonprofit Student Council and launched its first speaker series, bringing prominent nonprofit professionals to campus.