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New Leaders Council

2012 NLC Fellows: Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley

Claudia Avila-Martin, Program Manager, Ace It!

Claudia currently serves as Program Manager of Ace It!, where she manages teams of teachers and tutors who provide after school tutoring to Title I students. Prior to this she worked for the Hispanic College Fund as Director of the Silicon Valley Hispanic Youth Institute, where she launched and oversaw all aspects of the inaugural year-round program and two summer institutes at Santa Clara University. Claudia’s other experiences include working as a Program Coordinator for the Alum Rock Counseling Center and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. Claudia’s area of focus is public education, specifically working with innovative programs which motive students and prepare them to become the next generation of professionals. Claudia’s passion drives her commitment to working with the local community, where she mentors Latino youth from the Seven Trees and Sacred Heart/Washington neighborhoods. Claudia is a native of San Jose, California and a graduate of Santa Clara University with a bachelors degree in Political Science and Spanish.

Natasha Baker, 1000 Hearts for 1000 Minds Associate, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Natasha Távora Baker is the 1000 Hearts for 1000 Minds Associate for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. 1000 Hearts for 1000 Minds aims to narrow the achievement gap in Silicon Valley by recruiting volunteers to serve as tutors to K-8 students in literacy, math and science. A volunteer herself, Natasha spends each Monday morning tutoring a second grader named Jamie in reading. Natasha earned her B.A. from Boston College, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Hispanic Studies. Natasha worked for Friends of the Children Boston (a mentoring organization) and won the department award for her senior honors thesis on detainee policy in the War on Terror. She also served as president of the university’s Amnesty International chapter and the Brazilian Club. A Bay Area native, she spent her undergraduate summers coaching gymnastics, visiting family in Brazil, and interning at Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose. Upon graduating, Natasha taught English in the Limousin region of south-central France. Natasha loves languages (she is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and French), capoeira, traveling, reading, and above all, children. She is the proud older sister of three siblings, all of whom have surpassed her in height.

Joshua Barousse, Policy Research Assistant, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits

Joshua is looking forward to an exciting year as a fellow with the New Leaders Council- Silicon Valley. He currently serves as a Policy Research Assistant with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (SVCN). Joshua has also previously served as a Political Organizer with the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council and as a Marketing and Public Outreach Assistant with the City of San Jose- Environmental Services Department. Joshua had received his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Community Change, as well as a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from San Jose State University, and dedicated his Graduate Research analyzing effective job creation models for marginalized communities. As a San Jose native, what Joshua enjoys the most about Silicon Valley is its rich diversity, and has developed an infinite passion for community service learning and social justice. As a volunteer, Joshua serves on the City of San Jose's Human Rights Commission (HRC) and Independent Police Auditor Advisory Committee (IPAAC), and on the Executive Boards for the Silicon Valley Young Democrats (SVYD) and District 8 Community Roundtable (D8CRT).

Mira Browne, Director of Development & External Relations, Summit Public Schools

Mira H. Browne is the Director of Development & External Relations with Summit Public Schools, a high-performing charter management organization based in Silicon Valley. Previously, Browne served as Senior Account Executive with Larson Communications, a public relations firm specializing in education reform. Browne worked with public charter schools and education reform organizations to raise their visibility through media relations, strategic positioning, message development, stakeholder engagement and coalition building. Before moving to California, Browne worked in the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the New York City Department for the Aging. Browne interacted daily with leading print and broadcast news outlets to ensure that the Mayor’s vision for aging services was conveyed across all media platforms. Browne also project managed the Department’s involvement with the Mayor Bloomberg's Enhanced 311 program and Language Access and Customer Service initiatives. Browne began her career working on behalf of the Arab-American community as the Public Affairs Coordinator with the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C. Browne received her bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University in Journalism with a concentration in Middle East Affairs. Browne was born and raised in New York City.

Sean Hassan, Recent Graduate, Stanford Law School

Sean was born in North, Miami Florida a few years after his mother immigrated to the U.S. Sean attended Tufts University, where he was a student leader serving, among other roles, as the Vice-President of the Pan African Alliance. During the summers and after graduating from Tufts, Sean returned to the public high school which he attended, North Miami High, to teach American History and U.S. Government to an overwhelmingly immigrant, working-class student body. Sean subsequently obtained a Masters in NGO Management from the London School of Economics. Thereafter, Sean began working at the Aga Khan Council as Director of a 501(c)(3) that developed and implemented youth programs across the country for Muslim elementary, high school, and college students. Sean then headed an international youth development and community capacity building initiative through which he consulted with and trained leaders of Muslim communities in Syria, Tajikistan, the U.A.E., and France. In 2008, Sean entered Stanford Law School where he served as President of the American Constitution Society and a co-leader of the Domestic Violence pro bono program at Bay Area Legal Aid. Sean's law school classmates honored Sean by electing him as the Graduation Speaker. Sean is currently pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities.

Andrew Hening, Employment Development Specialist, Downtown Streets Team

Andrew Hening moved to Silicon Valley a year and a half ago in order to pursue an AmeriCorps VISTA opportunity with the City of San Jose Housing Department. As the Project Homeless Connect Coordinator, he supervised one-stop resource fairs around Santa Clara County, including an event at San Jose's City Hall attended by over 500 unhoused people. At the end of his year of service, Andrew was offered a position with his current employer, the Downtown Streets Team. He is in charge of the Palo Alto based non-profit's employment services. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, after graduating from the University of Virginia, Andrew moved back home to work as a paralegal in preparation for law school. He realized, however, that his heart was not in that line-of-work, and coupled with an internship at the City of Richmond's Department of Economic Development, he decided he would rather pursue a career in community development. In his free time, Andrew enjoys hiking, biking, photography, and traveling. He recently joined Rotaract of Silicon Valley in hopes of finding a motivated group of young professionals who share his passion for community service. Through NLC, Andrew hopes to increase his political activism for progressive causes.

Margaret Hobstetter, Consultant, Ibis Reproductive Health

Margaret Hobstetter is a consultant with Ibis Reproductive Health. Margaret received a J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from Fordham University School of Law, and a M.P.H in health policy from Columbia University. While in law school, Margaret facilitated projects in Ghana, Thailand, and Haiti, and worked as an intern for the U.S. Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Margaret spent 2010-2011 on the Thailand-Burma border managing reproductive justice projects and conducting research on the reproductive health needs of migrants, refugees, and populations in eastern Burma. Prior to attending graduate school, Margaret worked as a post-production unit manager for National Geographic Television & Film and as a program associate for the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. She received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies cum laude with University Honors from American University. Margaret is from Palo Alto, California.

Jonathan Horowitz, Clinical Psychologist, Palo Alto Therapy

Jonathan Horowitz is a clinical psychologist at Palo Alto Therapy, a private practice specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. He also works as an executive coach at the Center for Creative Leadership, a top leadership development consultancy. In his roles as clinician and coach, he is strongly committed to helping his clients capitalize on their strengths to make positive changes in their lives. As a researcher, Jonathan has worked on several federally-funded research studies, contributed to the publication of numerous academic articles, and has provided research consulting services to the United States Air Force. Jonathan is a proud native of New Jersey. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Political Science and Psychology. He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin. He completed his postdoctoral training at VA San Diego/UCSD School of Medicine, where his work focused on the system-level improvement of mental health services. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys honing his public speaking skills at Toastmasters, traveling, and training for half marathons.

Tim Hsia, U.S. Army ROTC instructor, U.S. Army

Tim Hsia was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from West Point in 2004. At West Point, Tim was the President of the Philosophy club and double majored in Environmental Engineering and Military History. Upon graduation, Tim was commissioned a second lieutenant and branched infantry. In the Army, he graduated from Airborne and Ranger school and deployed twice to Iraq. On his first deployment he was an infantry platoon leader and on the second deployment he was a squadron logistics officer for a Stryker unit. He has written numerous essays in the New York Times, LA Times, and several military journals about civil-military affairs, the role of contractors on the battlefield, and military technology. Tim is currently pursuing a JD/MBA at Stanford. Tim started graduate school at Stanford in the fall of 2010. He is currently a captain in the Army Reserves and is an ROTC instructor who trains San Jose State, Santa Clara, and Stanford cadets. He enjoys triathlons and playing basketball. Tim is married to Heather Hsia. They have been married for 6 years and they have a 20 month old son (Garrison).

Ellen Kamei, ICMA Management Fellow, City of Fremont, CA

Ellen Kamei currently serves as an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Management Fellow with the City of Fremont, CA. This fellowship is designed to generate interest in local government careers among recent master's program graduates by being placed in a full-time management-track position, shaped by direct mentorship under senior government leaders. Ellen completed her Master's Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Politics in May 2011 from the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government. During her time at Penn, she was a representative for the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the School of Arts and Sciences Student Government. She also was a graduate intern for the City of Philadelphia's Performance Management and Accountability division and a Summer Analyst for the New York City Mayor's Office of Operations. Prior to graduate school, Ellen spent two years in Washington, D.C. as a Congressional Aide. She served in the Capitol Hill offices of Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Anna Eshoo.Ellen attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where she was a student athlete on the Rowing Team. She received a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Japanese Language. Ellen is a native to Silicon Valley.

Grace Kay, Federal & State Policy Associate, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Grace Kay is the Federal & State Policy Associate for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Grace assists efforts to advance legislation on both the federal and state level. Her federal portfolio covers issues ranging from tax reform, immigration, cyber-security to free trade. On the state level, she supports legislation to improve California’s economic competitiveness and quality of life. Grace has always been passionate about non-profit work. Previously, she ran support groups for at-risk youth at the Washington United Youth Center in the San Jose Washington/Guadalupe neighborhood. Grace also has a background in non-profit development and has volunteered her time as a grant writer for the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter. Grace earned her B.A. from Amherst College, a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, where she majored in Jurisprudence. She went on to receive a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law where her coursework focused on family law and non-profit corporation law. There, she participated in the research and writing of a legal treatise on New York and Massachusetts family law and wrote chapters on child custody and procreation legislation. Grace is a Bay Area native and currently resides in San Jose.

Thuy Anh Le, Community Outreach Coordinator/Liasion, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)

Thuy-Anh Le grew up in East San Jose and is the first person in her family to go to college. Raised in an ethnically diverse city in Silicon Valley and being a daughter of Vietnamese refugees has shaped her political, personal and professional ambitions. Le earned a degree in Ethnic Studies and Health Care/Social Issues at the University of California, San Diego. Le’s experiences demonstrate a commitment to diversity, scholarship, public health, and in advancing the field of public service. Le’s passion for traveling and knowledge led her to be a traveling researcher with the School for International Training (SIT) on global health research in Washington D.C., South Africa, Vietnam, and Brazil. Le currently works at Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), a non-profit health agency serving low-income families in Santa Clara County (SCC). She is part of a team that pioneered and established the Center for Addiction Recovery & Empowerment (CARE), the first community-based program integrating addiction recovery and behavioral health services. Her area of interests includes access to health for underserved communities, policy development analysis, public health research, and in advancing the field of public service. Her family's history, academic background, research, and professional experiences clarified her objective to transfer her passion into a career in public service to implement better policies and advocate for programs to improve community health in the United States and internationally.

Neetal Parekh, Founder, Innov8Social

Neetal Parekh is the founder of blog exploring the emerging field of social innovation. She spent the last 3 years working on initiatives in social media, email marketing, online community management, and wiki development at FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business. Neetal holds a J.D. from Chapman University and is particularly interested in the potential of entrepreneurship to guide and shift sustainable business and start-up innovation, and policy and law that support social entrepreneurs. Prior to pursuing her law degree she completed a B.A. in international political science at UCLA. For the blog, Neetal interviews thought leaders in the field, compiles resources, and writes about existing law and proposed legislation supporting social innovation. Her experiences studying human rights law abroad, interning at the U.S. State Department, volunteering in rural India, mediating small claims cases in California, and working at a SF Bay-area nonprofit provide a helpful framework to understanding the complexities of how business, government, and consumers impact one another. When she is not writing, researching, and editing Innov8Social, you can find Neetal connecting people to technology at Apple.

Seren Pendleton-Knoll, Program Coordinator of the San Mateo County Youth Commission, StarVista

Seren Pendleton-Knoll is the current Program Coordinator of the San Mateo County Youth Commission, a program of StarVista, where she works to bring youth voice into local government. Additionally, she works on-call at two group homes for runaway and homeless youth, and one for youth with eating disorders. She is also a volunteer Case Manager for girls coming out of the Juvenile Justice system, and a contributing writer on Girl's Self Esteem for the website When she is not working or volunteering, Seren is dancing, as a member of a Contemporary Dance Company in San Francisco, and a member of the Bollywood Dance Group GSquad. Before her current positions, Seren had worked with Federal and State inmates, with a Youth Court, and the San Jose Public Defender, where she developed her passion for social justice. Hailing originally from Vancouver Canada, Seren received her BA with honors in Clinical Psychology and Applied Theater from Whitman College in Washington. Recently Seren had the honor of being selected as the Winner of Dr. Lisa’s Africa Challenge, where she travelled with the CBS show “The Doctors” to Malawi to provide aid to women and children.

Anthony Pineda, Founder, Creatrix Institute

Anthony Pineda currently works in an educational environment with youth who have great difficulty controlling their emotional states. Anthony’s primary function is to assist with students during intense emotional outbursts while maintaining a safe and productive work environment. Although Anthony succeeded in his work, he felt as though an integral part of learning was missing and developed into Creatrix. Anthony graduated from the University of California at Davis in 2007 with Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Sociology, and African & African American Studies. During Anthony’s academic career at Davis, his research efforts remained on Hip-hop music. After Davis, Anthony sought a Master’s Degree at John F Kennedy University focusing on how human Consciousness and Hip-hop music builds relationships. Anthony was born in Stockton, CA and initially took a difficult path trying to find success, but learned the need for education and teachings of hip-hop culture unfolded. With over ten years of studying Hip-hop and formalized training in academic discourse and research, Anthony has established his credibility as an expert in Hip-hop Culture and Consciousness. Anthony will continue to grow in his knowledge to stay up to date on the variety of topics Hip-hop and Music cover, including legislative policy.
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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.