2013 NLC Fellows: Orange County


Rahul Chandhok, General Counsel/Director of Development, Freedom Writers Foundation

Rahul “Brown” Chandhok currently serves as General Counsel and Director of Development for the Freedom Writers Foundation. He manages all strategic partnerships, literary rights, media distribution, communications, and internal programs for the Foundation. While his duties may seem removed from that of a typical non-profit, the work leads to aiding the Foundation train teachers, empower students, and create equity in every classroom. Rahul’s unofficial title is Master of the Dark Arts (he is NOT a Harry Potter fan, but respects the series). Prior to joining the Foundation, Rahul served as a Mayoral Fellow for Mayor Kevin Johnson in the City of Sacramento. He was responsible for the financing of the Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Complex, a $391 million arena in the heart of Sacramento. His work involved fostering public-private partnerships, drafting investment agreements, and reviewing offers for qualification. During law school he was exposed to a bevy of legal issues as a Law Clerk for the Oakland Raiders football team. He worked on CBA, contract, insurance, sponsorship, and employment issues on behalf of the team. Rahul earned his B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society from UC Irvine. While at Irvine he researched social deviance, and deviance theory. He then went on to earn his J.D. from UC Davis School of Law (King Hall). While at Davis his research contributed to the creation of a new book on legal research and writing.


Cassandra Chase, Managing Director, Chase Consulting Group

Cassandra Chase, Managing Director, Chase Consulting Group and Co-Founder, Read Lead Cassandra Chase is a business development/new media marketing consultant and social entrepreneur. She takes pride and serves her municipal and surrounding communities through developing unique partnerships that improve business systems. She is the owner and managing director of Chase Consulting Group, a boutique consulting firm based in Los Angeles, CA. The team provides strategic management and business development consulting services to small and medium sized businesses. As an advocate for education and entrepreneurship, Cassandra is the co-founder of Read Lead, a nonprofit organization that provides literacy and leadership opportunities for children, youth, teens, and young adults. Through strategic partnerships the group works with families, school districts, schools, and community agencies by providing literacy-based summer and after school programs, and a leadership institute focusing on global, civic, and entrepreneurial leadership. Cassandra’s educational background includes a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. As a graduate of the Riordan Volunteer Leadership Development Program, Cassandra shares her leadership experience by serving on a variety of boards and advisory councils. She currently serves as Chair of the National Association of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations(NAJASO) Young Professionals committee; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 2nd District Empowerment Congress Leadership Council and Education committee and is a member of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Shonda Hutton, Principal Consultant & Founder, Voice of the People

As principal consultant and founder of Voice of the People, a marketing and strategic communications company, Shonda Hutton has ample experience working in the public relations, government affairs and political campaign management arenas. She possesses the track record, communications and public affairs knowledge and expertise to effectively produce positive and winning results. Ms. Hutton has formed long-term partnerships with leading organizations such as the California Charter School Association, Margaret and Rex Fortune School of Education, California Tribal Business Alliance and a wide-range of state and local politicians. Prior to forming Voice of the People in 2011, Ms. Hutton worked as a director of communications and government affairs for Time for Change Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless women and children. In that position, she oversaw the agency's public relations, marketing, E-advocacy, government affairs, new media, website maintenance, and training and development programs. In 2010, Ms. Hutton was selected to participate as a Women's Policy Institute Fellow for the Women's Foundation California, which offers an intensive training program that teaches hands-on policy development, advocacy, and lobbying to women. As a fellow for the criminal justice co-hort, she worked with a team of lobbyists, nonprofit advocates, and elected officials to have Assembly Bill 568 - limit the use of shackles on pregnant women and wards - enacted into law. In addition, Ms. Hutton has worked for Grassroots Campaigns, the California State Legislature's Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter, the US Census Bureau, and ABG Marketing & Business Communications. Shonda has also actively participated in building a better community for all by volunteering for various organizations like BLU Educational Foundation, Arrowhead United Way, Youth Action Project, and Child Advocates of San Bernardino County. In addition, she is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Inland Area Kwanzaa Group.

Anbar Mahar

Anbar Mahar recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a focus in Nonprofit Management at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at University of Southern California (USC). During her time at USC, she was also rewarded the HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Fellowship for two consecutive years. This fellowship is awarded to 10 American-Muslim graduate students each year and provides education and training in nonprofit management and philanthropy in order to become effective leaders of nonprofits. This fellowship also provided Mahar an opportunity to head consulting projects for ISNA’s sister organizations. Prior to USC, she worked for almost five years at the national civil rights and advocacy nonprofit group, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter, as the Membership and Administrative Manager. It was in this position that she gained her initial experience in nonprofit management and thus discovered her love for capacity building for nonprofits. Mahar was born to Pakistani-American parents and was raised in Orange County. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies at University of California, San Diego, while doing one year abroad at American University in Cairo. Having a strong connection to Southern California, she currently works as an independent contractor helping local nonprofits with small consulting projects.

Robert William Mittendorf

Currently a third year Ph.D. student at Claremont Graduate University, Will Mittendorf studies the intersection of religion and politics from a philosophical point of view. Originally from Chicago, Will moved to California in 2001 to attend Pitzer College where he received a B.A. in Philosophy. While at Pitzer, Will founded a green bicycle program and served as a member of the Pitzer Board of Trustees Committee on Social Justice for four years. After graduation, he worked as program director for VIP Mentors-Orange County, a mentoring program for men, women, and juveniles on parole, and as the high school manager for the Woodcraft Rangers, a non-profit after-school program serving underprivileged students in South Los Angeles. Will returned to Claremont to earn an M.A. in Philosophy in 2010 and plans to receive his doctorate in 2014.

Chau Nguyen, Account Executive, Imprenta Communications Group

Chau Nguyen is an Account Executive at Imprenta Communications Group. In this role, she coordinates and implements public education, community relations, political and marketing campaigns throughout California. Chau works on a variety of outreach and marketing campaigns targeting the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. During the November 2012 General Elections, Chau played a critical role in coordinating multiple independent expenditure campaigns including the production and successful execution of more than 55 direct mail pieces under extremely tight deadlines. Chau managed outside vendors, designers, mail houses, printers and the production team to ensure that the mailers were delivered on time and within budget. While at Imprenta, Chau worked for various clients including the El Monte Anti-beverage tax Campaign and the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas). For SoCalGas, Chau worked with Latino and APA community-based organizations in Orange County to promote CARE and other programs targeting low income households. Prior to joining Imprenta, Chau worked as a production coordinator for two years and conducted casting for numerous ethnic markets. At the same time, Chau also taught in public schools as a substitute teacher. She sees education as a vehicle for socio-economic empowerment and wanted to understand educational systems as a lever for change and pivoted into the education industry. She worked internationally in China and South Korea to teach English language learners. Upon return to the US with an interest in politics and electoral campaigns, she interned with California State Controller John Chiang and learned about the inner workings of the state run office. There she saw how important effective messaging and outreach can be to advance social causes. Active in number of APA community groups and causes for several years, Chau serves as a volunteer board member of Manos Internacional and finds new donors to provide culture and language exchange programs for students in rural communities of China, Mexico, and Vietnam. As a counselor for the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association, she led workshops to help college students understand California state and local government. She donates her time to mentor her peers in public speaking through Toastmasters International. In her hometown of Pomona, she coordinated media and publicity to build awareness to save the Pomona Public Library Task Force and continues to support the effort. Chau earned her BA in Art from the University of California Berkeley and teaching credential from CalStateTEACH. Chau is fluent in Vietnamese.

Sara Parker, Tutor, Tutor Nerds

Sara Parker is a private academic tutor in Orange County, California, working with students in elementary school through college to improve their abilities in English language, literature, history, studying and organizational skills. Prior to becoming a tutor, she worked at the Montage Hotel and Resort in Laguna Beach, California. As a Concierge, she ensured the most mundane to the most outrageous requests were accomplished with speed and precision. Throughout her time at Montage, Sara earned both her B.A. and M.P.A degrees. She now has aspirations of creating her own business, combining her passions for the LGBT community and safer sex education. Sara continues to be an active member of the LGBT community, networking with Orange County's LGBT Young Professionals Council and volunteering with GLIDE (Gays and Lesbians Initiating Dialogue for Equality). GLIDE is an all-volunteer speakers group who conducts anti-homophobia presentations throughout Los Angeles schools, churches, community centers and professional organizations. She also stays connected to safer sex educators through conferences, such as the most recent Catalyst Conference in Long Beach, California. Sara graduated from USC's Price School of Public Policy with a Master's of Public Administration, specializing in Nonprofit Management. During her time at USC she was a speaker for the university’s LGBT Speakers Bureau and a mentor in the LGBT Peer Mentor Program. Prior to becoming a Trojan, Sara graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s in English and a minor in Business Management from California State University, Channel Islands.

Leanne Stogsdill, Attorney, Orange County Public Defender’s Office

Leanne Stogsdill is an attorney with Orange County Public Defender's Office. Her current assignment is felony trial defense. She has practiced law for the past five years and is currently licensed in California and pending admission to Washington. She is also certified to practice in California's dependency courts. Leanne graduated from the University of Washington in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies and earned her Juris Doctor in 2007 from the George Washington University. While in law school she secured a reversal in the Maryland Court of Appeals in a felony criminal case through her work in George Washington University's Community Legal Clinics. Leanne grew up in Washington, Arizona, and California, and was the first person in her family to go to college. Her maternal grandfather was a farmer and migrant worker. In her free time she enjoys reading, documentaries, and pursuing her never-ending search for the perfect cupcake.