Robin Brune was recently elected to the Board of the Valley Women's Club of the San Lorenzo Valley. She has been a resident of the San Lorenzo Valley, in the Santa Cruz mountains, for fourteen years. She looks forward to strengthening her skills in advocacy and civic engagement through the Community Advocates Leadership Academy.
Dr. Mary Larenas possesses a BA in Biology and a Doctorate in Psychology. During her Post-Doc as a Neuropsychologist with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center Mary became fascinated with how the brain responds to the natural environment and how wilderness experiences are vital to good mental health. During her 64 years on planet earth, she participated in two Arctic expeditions, traveling by canoe, with no outside contact, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Each trip was almost 40 days long and over a 1000 miles in length. Mary and her husband lived on a sailboat for 12 years and traveled over 30,000 miles on their 30-foot sailboat to the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, and Hawaii. Mary has been actively involved in advocating for sensible development, gender equity, the right to die with dignity, Marine Protected Areas, open-space and natural resource protection. Currently, she is a Docent naturalist at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (FMR) in Moss Beach. Her passion is working alongside the County Parks Dept., N.O.A.A., Fish and Wildlife, community members and other stakeholders to update policies that protect the fragile habitats at FMR, which has been designated an Area of Special Biological Significance.
Salvador Castro, Sr.
Salvador moved to San Jose in 1973 to attend San Jose State University. While going to school, he began working for the Social Security Administration (SSA) and liked his job so much. After 25 years of working for the SSA he retired.
Salvador thinks San Jose is such a beautiful city to retire in. Unfortunately, he has not been able to enjoy his retirement because of the housing affordability crisis and homelessness. Instead, he joined a number of community organizations trying to help the homeless and the high cost of rent. He supports California Proposition 10 of 2018.
Andrea Fraume Valencia
Andrea Fraume Valencia has been calling the Bay Area "home" since 2005. She was raised to believe in improving the world for future generations and care for the environment. Living and studying in San Jose gave young Andrea the safety to apply these lessons, serve her local community and learn about social justice. Andrea currently works as an Outreach Coordinator for Bay Area Wilderness Training, bringing resources for educators and youth workers to lead outdoor trips for youth of color and young people from low-income backgrounds.
Kathleen grew up on the East Coast, went to college in the Midwest, and has lived in San Carlos for over 30 years. For most of her adult life she has worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional office in San Francisco, where she currently manages the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) program. Kathleen has a B.S. in Science and Environmental
Change, with an emphasis on biology, and is a Certified California Naturalist. She volunteers as a docent, Education Center host, and citizen scientist at Edgewood Preserve in Redwood City, and serves on the board of the Friends of Edgewood. She has completed the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability’s (OSS) Master Conservation and Master Composter training programs, and periodically volunteers to assist with public outreach for OSS programs and Peninsula Clean Energy. She has also been trained in crisis response by the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Kathleen loves working with children. She has enrolled in CALA to learn how she can be most effective in working at the local/regional level to: ensure that Peninsula communities continue to be leaders in combating and adapting to climate change; support the well-being of foster children; and generate public support for the restoration and protection of native ecosystems. When not working or volunteering, she can often be found puttering around in her yard, which she is trying to transform into a locally native wildflower garden.
Born and raised in the city of San Bernardino, California, Rick Holder is intimately familiar with the challenges of concentrated poverty, mass incarceration, and civic disengagement. After a
rather tumultuous childhood spent in the foster care system, Rick enlisted in the United States Navy as an Information Systems Technician. His six-years of service took him on a journey
around the globe aboard the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser ported in Yokosuka, Japan. Having recently separated from active duty, Rick is currently studying Economics and Political Science at Foothill College with the hopes of transferring to a four-year university to study Public Policy. He’s been extremely active in his post-military life, interning with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and the California Wilderness Coalition while also working part-time at two technology companies. Profoundly passionate about all matters pertaining to poverty, criminal justice, veterans, and climate change, Rick hopes to have the opportunity to channel his endless energy and passion to affect real change in his community and beyond.
An avid reader and writer, Rick hopes to one day pen his own novel, but until then he’ll be content with traveling the world with his lovely wife Leslie and caring for their adorable Australian Shepherd. His mission is leverage his energy, passion, and experience to uplifting and empowering society’s most marginalized individuals and communities. Although he doesn’t know what the future holds, he knows for certain that he’ll continue to serve in whatever capacity he can, whether as an elected official or as a highly engaged community advocate.
Jay is a native Californian raised in Cupertino, CA with an engineering and psychology degree from Santa Clara University. He's been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in San Mateo County the past few years where he advocates for youth on behalf of the juvenile court. Jay's mission is to ensure that all foster children know that they matter a great deal to their local community. This occurs when a multitude of community members show up to lend a hand. To achieve this, he's orchestrating an effort to make it easy for individuals, businesses and other organizations to find, connect and contribute resources to a specific foster child at the time of need.
A true Marylander, Cherise Orange has always strived to build bridges instead of walls. From helping organizing community events as a young child to a volunteer planner at Baltimore’s Neighborhood Design Center. It is her love of people and building stronger Black communities that pushed her path toward planning. In 2013, she graduated from Morgan State University with a Masters in City and Regional Planning and was recognized by the American Planning Association (APA) Planning in the Black Community Division as a Robert A. Catlin/David W. Long Scholar.
Today, Cherise is an Associate Planner for Santa Clara County Parks where she focuses on innovatively engaging the public in the planning process and getting people outdoors. Cherise serves as the Board of Directors Chair for the African American Community Service Agency in San Jose and on the APA – Northern California Section Board as the South Bay Regional Activity Coordinator. In these roles, she hopes to implement changes that will help minorities to thrive in Silicon Valley.
Barb has been a strong advocate for the issues close to her heart. As an amateur violist who got her start in public school beginning strings class, she has a passion for children’s music education, all performing arts, and live orchestral music. This led her to work at a professional symphony as a development manager.
During the 2012 presidential election cycle, Barb was in charge of contributions to political campaigns for Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of genetically engineered food (GMO’s). The outpouring of passion from contributors inside and outside of California for this ballot measure showed Barb what could be accomplished when people join together. Sparked by this job, she joined the League of Women Voters, started a Money In Politics committee, organized and promoted the City of Emeryville’s City Council and School Board Candidates forums and accompanied the Mayor and City Manager to speak to the public about the issues.
After moving to Mountain View in late 2016 for a cyber security position at NASA, Barb became more aware of the extreme issues facing Silicon Valley including the housing shortage and inequity. This prompted Barb to return to a career in the nonprofit sector. Recently, Barb has volunteered with ProMatch.org, Innovate Climate Action in Sunnyvale, and STEAMfest - Redwood City Library Foundation.
Barb is originally from Southern California and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Business Management from Pepperdine University and a MS in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
Mr. Smith is the founder and CEO of E&I Advisors, a boutique management consulting firm focused on delivering operating and go-to-market strategy for small and medium-sized technology companies that are struggling to meet their revenue goals. He is also an Assistant Professor of Business at Cañada College in Redwood City where he teaches courses on business law, entrepreneurship, and strategy.
Prior to the founding of E&I Advisors, Mr. Smith was a Director of Strategy and Business Planning at American Express based in New York. In this role, he worked in the Global Corporate Payments business unit focusing on innovation and target growth development.
Mr. Smith also lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea as a Global Strategist for the Samsung organization. While at Samsung, he advised c-suite members of the company on market entry, competition, and mergers & acquisitions. He also spent several years on Wall St as an investor and relationship manager.
Mr. Smith lives in Redwood City where he serves as a Planning Commissioner and the Palm Park Neighborhood Co-chair. Michael holds an MBA from New York Univeristy's Stern School of Business. He also holds a BA in Political Economy from Yale University.