Leadership Program: Alumni Advisory Committee

The Leadership Program’s Alumni Advisory Committee leverages the experience and leadership of alumni and community leaders who are committed to the impact of the Leadership Program. Together the Advisory Committee is improving the program and supporting the impact of the alumni network

The Advisory Committee:

  • Reviews and provides feedback on curriculum
  • Supports class recruitment
  • Supports leadership placement of graduates
  • Offers mentorship for current cohort
  • Plans alumni reunions
  • Supports continuing advocacy education for alumni

Email [email protected] if you want to learn more about the Advisory Committee.

Class of 2017

Bryan Beck

Kian Nikzad headshot
Class of 2021

Kian Nikzad

Class of 2019

Cherise Orange

Mel Sarmento
Class of 2020

Mel Sarmento

Class of 2020

Yvette Valenzuela

Class of 2019

Matthew Warren

Class of 2017

Bryan Beck

Bryan has a degree in architecture from UC Berkeley. For the majority of his career, Bryan has worked in the research divisions of pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He is currently working as a statistical programmer, preparing clinical trial data for submission to the FDA.

Bryan lives in Redwood City. His hobbies include bicycling and nature photography.

Class of 2021

Kian Nikzad

Kian is a UCLA graduate who enjoys working on a wide variety of sustainability projects ranging from facility audits to bees. He is currently exploring how to transform his passion into a career. He graduated from the Green Foothills Leadership Program in 2021. The program showed him the diverse ways people can get involved and contribute to something they support.

Class of 2019

Cherise Orange

Cherise is a respected creative and brander who has developed multiple brand identities for women entrepreneurs and professionals. As the Founder and Brand Strategist for You Just Got Oranged, she leads the integration of visual, verbal and strategic efforts for clients. Cherise’s extensive background in brand development, brings a unique perspective to her strategies and includes product and service work for public- and private-sector companies.

Cherise’s innovative approach to workshop facilitation and brand storytelling has helped companies manage brand expansion. In her spare time, Cherise serves as the Diversity Co-Director for the American Planning Association – California Northern Chapter Board and the Executive Board Member and Curriculum Chair for the New Leaders Council Silicon Valley Chapter.

Class of 2020

Mel Sarmento

Mel Sarmento is a San José State graduate who studied youth Education and minored in Portuguese Studies. Mel’s passion is connecting all individuals of different backgrounds and abilities with the outdoors. She has worked, interned, and volunteered with various outdoor education organizations in the Bay Area for the last 15 years. As the current Education Program Manager with Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, she is able to foster her passion by bringing groups who typically experience barriers accessing nature to the outdoors – Title One students, students of color, groups with Special Needs, foster youth, and many more!

In addition to education experience, Mel was an intern Assistant Wildlife Biologist studying burrowing owls, specifically. This experience sparked her passion for maintaining and preserving natural habitats by increasing biodiversity (as well as a deep-rooted love for burrowing owls).

Mel was a 2020 Green Foothills Leadership Program graduate, and continues to advocate for safe, clean, and natural spaces for all to enjoy.

Class of 2020

Yvette Valenzuela

I was born in El Paso Texas but relocated to San Jose at age 4 and never left. I believe I was born an advocate, and every year I am a part of something that not only makes me grow as a person but gives me helpful things to pass on to others as well. My latest project is bringing a Greenmarket-style farmer’s market to California. New York’s Greenmarket has been going on for over 40 years now, and I believe if it can happen in a state with winter it can definitely happen in the Valley of Heart’s Delight! I think that the Green Foothills Leadership Program is providing a specialized training not currently found elsewhere, even in high-ranking universities. Every class not only leaves each student ready to apply a lesson to our own advocacy efforts, but also provides us with the contact information of agencies and people in the community who can provide further resources and advice. I love being in such an eclectic group of people, and I strive to help us have a good time while we’re working for things we believe in.

Class of 2019

Matthew Warren

Matthew Warren is a staff attorney for the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley in San Jose, California. His work includes litigating fair housing matters in state and federal courts as well as advocating for the production and preservation of affordable housing locally. Through his practice, Matt works to combat displacement of households of color from the diverse communities of Silicon Valley. Matt graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was a Dean’s Fellow. He received a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Human Rights from Arizona State University, and he received his undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University.

Note

You are leaving the Green Foothills website to go to our Protect Coyote Valley website.

Continue on to PCV Website

Note

You are leaving the Green Foothills website to go to our Protect Coyote Valley website.

Continue on to PCV Petition

Note

You are leaving the Green Foothills website to go to the Protect Juristac website.

Continue on to Juristac Petition

Note

You are leaving the Green Foothills website to go to our 2021 CALA Application.

Continue on to 2021 CALA Application