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New Leaders Council

2012 NLC Fellows: Sacramento


Robert Blanco, Legislative Aide, Senator Loni Hancock

Robert Blanco serves as a Legislative Aide in the office of Senate Public Safety Chair Loni Hancock, representative of the 9th Senate District. Robert first joined the staff of Sen. Hancock as a 2009 Senate Fellow, and was subsequently hired on as a full-time staffer in 2010. As a Legislative Aide, Robert is responsible for managing bills through the legislative process and advises the Senator on a variety of issues, including elections, government reform, revenue and taxation, and redevelopment. Beyond work, Robert volunteers his time with a number of organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters Sacramento, and with the Sacramento County Young Democrats, where Robert serves as Treasurer. Robert has also worked on a number of campaigns, both state and national, including as a field organizer on the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential Campaign, and on the 2010 Harry Reid for Senate Campaign. Prior to working for the Legislature, Robert worked as a Procurement Coordinator for Northrup Grumman, a Fortune-500 aerospace company, and was an elected member of ASI Board of Directors at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he graduated Cum Laude with a degree in History and minors in Business Administration and Music Theory.

Claire Conlon, Legislative/Press Aide, CA State Senate

Claire Conlon is a legislative/press aide to State Senator Kevin de León (D-26 Los Angeles). Claire is the primary staff for issues relating to health, human services, education, transportation and housing. She also has responsibility for press matters producing numerous releases and events to support the Senator’s legislative agenda. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the California Young Democrats (CYD), which tripled in size and saw a doubling of its budget under her leadership. At the CYD helm, she spent her time organizing young leaders and teaching them to mobilize using peer-to-peer campaign methods that would activate, engage and mobilize young voters. She also was a vocal leader for college affordability, healthcare for all and a sustainable economy. After graduating from UC Davis, Claire began her career and honed her communications strategy skills as an Associate at the well-known Democratic Consulting firm Acosta|Salazar. While nothing makes Claire happier than checking things off a to-do list, she also enjoys communing with nature by taking her Newfoundland for walks in the woods and trying out campgrounds around the great state of California. She is a proud Puente Program mentor and on the board of Sababah at Congregation B’nai Israel.

Robert Graham, Consultant, JPM&M

Originally from Roseville, California Robert Graham attended both CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and CSU Sacramento (CSUS) where he graduated with a degree in Government. Robert became interested in policy and politics as President of the student government at CSUMB and helped found Dream.Develop.Do., an educational nonprofit in the Fall of 2009. Additionally, Robert is involved with an arts, cultural and community center in Sacramento called Sol Collective where he sits on the Executive Board. Recently, Robert finished the Capital Fellows Program as a Jesse H. Unruh Assembly Fellow for Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez. Currently he works with JPM&M, a political consulting firm in Sacramento. Robert’s future goals include attending law school, continuing to build Dream.Develop.Do. and pursuing a career in public service.

Alex Hanway, Special Interest Programs Coordinator, Cal Aggie Alumni Association

Alex currently works as the Special Interest Programs Coordinator for the Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA) at UC Davis. In this role, he serves as staff liaison to a broad portfolio of regional and affinity based alumni groups, coordinates alumni involvement in the university’s legislative advocacy efforts, and manages the association’s social media presence online. Immediately prior to his role at CAAA, Alex managed Comprehensive Review – the process by which the university makes its freshman selection – for UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions. In a previous life, before returning to California, Alex spent several years teaching English in France, first at the lycée Camille Claudel in Vauréal and then next at the Université de Provence, Aix en Provence I. Additionally, while earning his Masters of Art in French Language and Literature at the University of Virginia, Alex served as a graduate teaching assistant and worked in the Special Collections library on a number of grant funded digitization projects. The subjects of this ground-breaking work ranged from 16th century French books to the personal correspondence of Thomas Jefferson, and James and Dolley Madison. Alex originally hails from Modesto, California.

Ryan Hughes, Legislative Consultant, Assembly Speaker John Pérez

As a legislative consultant, Ryan analyzes, tracks, and drafts hundreds of bills relating to elections, local government, utilities, commerce, among other areas. His analysis concisely informs members of the Assembly Democratic Caucus of bills' content and alerts leadership about bills that will be contentious. Previously, Ryan served as Senior Research Associate to the Jerry Brown 2010 campaign, as a judicial extern to Justice Carlos Moreno of the California Supreme Court, as a policy associate at Education Trust in Washington, DC, and as a Teach For America corps member in the Mississippi Delta. Ryan received his J.D., cum laude, from UC Hastings College of Law and his B.A. from University of Virginia. In law school, Ryan focused on legislation, alternative dispute resolution, and employment law; through clinics and courses, Ryan drafted regulations to implement ballot initiatives, mediated small claims cases with litigants, and advised employees of their rights. Ryan grew up in California's Inland Empire and was the first person in his family to attend college. In his free time, Ryan enjoys designing and coding a fantasy baseball system to bring to market, which simulates professional baseball management better than existing products.

Juan Carlos Ibarra, Fellow, Columbia Law School

Juan Carlos Ibarra is a recent law school graduate serving as a Social Justice Pathways Fellow through Columbia Law School. His primary areas of law include voting rights, civil rights, and public policy. Mr. Ibarra’s work seeks to ensure that everyone has an equal and fair opportunity to participate in our democratic institutions. His experience ranges from working in legal aid and community organizing to impact litigation and civil rights lobbying. Most recently, Mr. Ibarra worked on immigrants’ rights and redistricting litigation at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a leading civil rights organization in New York City. He also served as the Voting Rights Fellow for the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). In this role, he co-authored, with Joaquin G. Avila, the HNBA Guide to Redistricting: Preserving and Promoting Latino Voting Rights Under Section 2 and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. As a public speaker, Mr. Ibarra has facilitated workshops about redistricting at Columbia University and the National Conference of State Legislatures, in addition to other subjects and institutions. Mr. Ibarra grew up in Northern California. He received his B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2006 and J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2011.

Melissa Javinar, Teacher-Leader, St. HOPE Public Charter Ps7 Middle School

Melissa S. Javinar is currently a teacher-leader at St. HOPE Public Charter Ps7 Middle School. She is the lead teacher for the seventh grade and the Science Department Chair. She has worked as a substitute teacher for the Del Paso, Rio Linda, Elverta, and Sacramento City Unified school districts. Prior to moving to Sacramento, she worked in higher education as a special assistant for a retention program at San Francisco State University and as an instructor to aid college-level English as a Second Language students meet University of California writing requirements. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego with honors in Ethnic Studies, she moved to the Bay Area to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education. Then, she obtained her teaching credential from CalState TEACH at California State University Fresno. Melissa is a life-long learner and is strongly committed to providing a quality education for all students in California. Having emigrated from the Philippines with her family nearly three decades ago, she believes in the importance of getting an excellent education and participating in government. Only then, she believes, will we truly become the change we want to see in the world.

Mary Keaney

Mary “Meg” Keaney is a contract attorney, currently working primarily in plaintiff-side employment litigation. Meg received her J.D., cum laude, from UC Hastings College of Law in 2011. She is a recipient of both the CALI Excellence for the Future Award, as well as the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence. Meg was Senior Symposium Editor for the Hastings Law Journal, collaborating with faculty and the ABA to present roundtable discussions of proposed revisions to the Criminal Justice Standards on the Prosecution and Defense Function. She also published a student note in the flagship journal addressing the Judicial Committee’s opposition to pending consumer protection legislation. While enrolled in law school, Meg served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Susan Illston of the Northern District of California and worked for the Code Enforcement team at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. Prior to law school, Meg worked in a variety of community organizer roles, including two terms with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps in the Southeast and Western regions. Meg also spent two years as a Project Manager for KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to creating great play spaces through the participation and leadership of communities throughout America. Meg grew up in a suburb of Boston and moved to Northern California in 2003. She currently resides in San Francisco.

Amanda Kimball, Research Specialist, UC Davis Graduate School of Management

Amanda is a Research Specialist at the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Davis, where she authors and promotes the school’s annual Census of California Women Business Leaders. In that capacity, she has been interviewed on KBFK in Sacramento and the Fox40 morning show. She also collaborates with the business school faculty on a variety of research projects. Her past work experience includes Analyst positions with the Corporate Executive Board, the Investment Company Institute, and CapitalOne. Amanda received her Masters degree in Economics from UC Davis in 2003 and is nearing completion of her PhD. She received her Bachelors degree from the University of Virginia in 1998, where she lived on the Lawn, designed by Thomas Jefferson. In addition to having experience teaching college Economics and English as a Second Language, she recently co-managed a successful capital campaign for her church and is also volunteering as registrar for an upcoming Buddhist meditation retreat. Amanda hails from the Washington DC area.

Arvin Magusara, HIV Incidence Surveillance Project Coordinator, Office of AIDS, California Department of Public Health

Arvin Magusara was honorably discharged from the United States Navy in 2009 as a Petty Officer 3rd class. Most of his service was spent at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Sicily, Italy where he worked as a hospital corpsman. Off duty, Arvin earned a baccalaureate degree in health science from Touro University International. Post Navy, Arvin found his way to the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento. Initially, he worked in the Research and Evaluation section of the Women, Infants and Children program where he investigated effects of program changes to the nutritional choices of participants. He was then promoted to Health Program Specialist at the Office of AIDS where he now works as the HIV Incidence Surveillance Project coordinator. In this role he directs the efforts of county health departments, hospitals/clinics/treatment centers and laboratories to effectively report new cases of HIV to the state and CDC. Arvin’s civic engagements include an appointment to the Sacramento HIV Health Services Planning Council by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and board involvement with the Pacific Chapter of the Neuropathy Association. Arvin is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at Drexel University’s Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento, CA.

Andrea San Miguel, Project Manager and Campaign Coordinator, Phil Giarrizzo Campaign Consulting

Born and raised in San Diego, Andrea formed a passion for politics, public policy, and social issues at a young age. She was fortunate enough to spend four years enriching these interests as an Aaron Price Fellow and through YMCA Youth & Government. Andrea moved north to attend UC Santa Cruz, where she majored in Community Studies with a focus on Health Care Inequalities. This included an internship in Seattle for six months through the field study program. Throughout 2007 and 2008, she organized and volunteered for the Obama campaign in three states. For her graduation capstone, she co-designed and taught a course, “The Health Care Crisis and the Middle Class.” Immediately after graduating in 2009, Andrea worked for Congressman John Garamendi’s special election campaign. She arrived in Sacramento to join the Dr. Ami Bera for Congress campaign in 2010, and has been here ever since. Andrea is currently a project manager and campaign coordinator with Phil Giarrizzo Campaign Consulting. She enjoys working on state and federal issue advocacy and continuing to build on her political campaign experience. Outside of work, she devotes time to a rewarding Bikram yoga practice and loves to travel (in between election cycles).

Venita Sivamani, Program Administration, UC Davis Extension

Venita Sivamani, a California native, has focused her efforts on educational equity and leadership for nearly a decade. She has a keen passion for international education and closing the achievement gap locally and abroad. She currently supports continuing education certificate programs in the Business and Leadership Department at UC Davis Extension. Venita also coordinates the Northern California chapter of a non-profit organization working to change patterns of inequality through educational initiatives that support and empower youth affected by poverty and conflict in South Asia. Before returning to the Sacramento region, Venita taught first grade for two years in one of the Bay Area’s lowest income school districts as a Teach For America corps member. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development at UC Davis in 2007. While an undergraduate, Venita received the Mary Jean Gilhooly Award for Most Outstanding Graduating Senior Woman and the College Medal. In her spare time, Venita can be found on the dance floor. Professionally trained in classical South Indian dance, Bharatanatyam, Venita’s repertoire also includes Kathak, Bollywood, Salsa, and Polynesian dancing.

Andrew Smith, Analyst, CalPERS - Alternative Investment Management Program

Andrew works as an Analyst in the Alternative Investment Management (AIM) asset program conducting business, policy, process, and contract analysis for CalPERS, the US' largest pension with over $230 billion in assets. AIM is one of the five asset classes in CalPERS and is responsible for identifying leverage buyouts and other capital sensitive investment vehicles purchases. Andrew has garnered international expertise through a number of executive training and fellowships. In 2008, he completed a Executive Fellowship Program sponsored by the Office of the Governor. As a Fellow, he worked with a team of experts implementing California's historic Assembly Bill 900 (Prison Reform), a comprehensive initiative to realign the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) before multiple court appeals reached the US Supreme Court. AB 900 provided $7.7 billion to fundamentally shift how CDCR approaches rehabilitation for prisoners. Prior to CDCR, Andrew worked as a correspondent for a start-up foundation and dispatched the democratization effects of NGO advocacy in Europe. While abroad, he studied at the Anglo-American University in Prague, and founded the university's International Relations Council. Andrew holds a BA from UC-Berkeley and has recently been awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to complete an MBA at Trinity College Dublin.

John To, Performance Analyst, State Street Investment Analytics

John To is a lifelong learner with specific interests in finance, computers, economics, efficiency/innovation and psychology, which he intends to leverage in social entrepreneurial endeavors. Presently, John is a performance analyst at State Street Investment Analytics where he analyzes investment performance and attribution for the world's largest institutional investors. Concurrently, John is a graduate student at the University of San Francisco, achieving his MS in Organization Development (large-scale organizational change management) in May 2012 and a Chartered Financial Analyst Candidate. Prior to joining the Analytics team to assist with a restructuring, John serviced one of the world's largest asset managers as a fund accountant where he managed and improved the full gambit of institutional investments accounting processes. He also served on a selective audit team, which produced financial reporting books for hundreds of investment funds. Through his time at State Street and undergraduate studies at the University of California - Davis where John tripled majored in Economics, Philosophy and Psychology, rounded off with minors in Managerial Economics and English; John also served in the US Marine Corps primarily as a logistician and was honorably discharged in July 2011.

Anika Van Eaton, Legislative Coordinator, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen

Anika works as legislative coordinator in the Office of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to advance policy that promotes government transparency and elections integrity. Anika started at the Secretary of State in 2009 as a Fellow through the Executive Fellowship Program sponsored by the Office of the Governor and the CSU Sacramento Center for California Studies. Prior to the Executive Fellowship Program, Anika worked in Oakland, California, as Senior Membership Associate for the nonprofit, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, where she managed outreach to the organization's membership of police chiefs, sheriffs and district attorneys who advocate for state investments in preschool, after-school programs and effective interventions for juvenile offenders. Anika holds a BA in Government with a concentration in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University, where she was a Cornell Tradition Fellow.
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New Leaders Council is a 501 (c) (3) public charity dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders and to providing those leaders with the tools they need to succeed. NLC does not engage in political or legislative activities of any kind, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and serves only as an educational leadership training ground.