Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Recommend us on Google+ Watch us on YouTube Join us on LinkedIn NLC on Reddit
New Leaders Council

Silicon Valley 2015 Fellows

Atlanta  | Augusta  | Boston  | Broward  | Capital District Chicago  | Connecticut
Des Moines | Detroit  | Houston  | Kentucky  | Los Angeles Louisiana  | Madison  | Maine  | Miami  | Montana  
Nashville | New Jersey  | New York City  North Carolina  | Oakland  | Omaha  | Orlando  | Palm Beach  

Philadelphia  | Pittsburgh  | Rhode Island  | Sacramento | San Francisco  | Silicon Valley  | St. Louis | Tallahassee  
Tampa Bay  | Washington DC

Louis Barocio, Principal, Berryessa Union School District

 My biography begins with my parents immigrating to the US from Mexico. I am the second of six children in my family and was raised in east San Jose, California. I attended public schools in east San Jose and graduated from Independence High School. After receiving my high school diploma I attended the University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduating with honors I joined Teach for America and taught middle school English in the same under performing district I attended as a child - the Alum Rock Union School District.

I enjoyed teaching and was humbled by the impact I was having in my classroom and community. However, I wanted to create more systemic change outside the walls of my classroom and later obtained an MA and Administrator Credential from Teachers College at Columbia University in New York to help me do so. Subsequently I continued my professional path in education and became a Vice-Principal in Alum Rock and later in its neighbor district, the Berryessa Union School District. Currently, I am an elementary school Principal at a Title 1 school in Berryessa. As a Principal I continue to serve underprivileged communities and positively change students' academic trajectory and life outcomes.


Nick Becker, Good Government Coordinator, City of Santa Clara

 Raised in San Diego, Nick moved to San Jose in 2008 to attend San Jose State University where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, with minor in Philosophy. For the past year Nick has been working in the City Clerk's Office in Santa Clara coordinating major elements of the City's award winning voter and community engagement programs, including: managing the creation and distribution of direct mail pieces, acting as a community liaison between residents and the City, recruiting City commissioners and volunteers, enhancing general voter outreach methods and creating interactive City websites. While in college, Nick was a member of San Jose State's Ethics Bowl debate team and worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Philosophy Department. He also worked for various local elected officials and community groups. These included former California State Senator Elaine Alquist, Working Partnerships USA and San Jose's CommUniverCity. After graduating in 2013, Nick was awarded the Ward Family Scholarship from San Jose State's Political Science Department which funded a summer Congressional internship in Washington DC with Congressman Mike Honda. Nick is passionate about social and economic justice, and with finding innovative ways to involve residents in their community. Nick plans on one day attending graduate school to pursue his dream of being a community college professor. In his free time, Nick likes to read science fiction books, watch baseball (go A's!) and play the guitar.


Jonathan Chan, Coordinator, Program Operations, Teach For America

 Jonathan currently serves as a program coordinator at Teach For America, where he focuses on operations and developing systems that support staff members and teachers in their work towards educational equity. In addition, Jonathan supports patient care as a clinical information assistant at Regional Medical Center of San Jose, a hospital serving a large Medi-Cal population, and serves as a clinical coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is helping build a new specialized clinic for patients with kidney disease. Jonathan graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a degree in biology and global health. At UCSD, Jonathan conducted global health research on the San Diego - Tijuana border, and worked with global health groups including the University of California - Haiti Initiative and Partners In Health. In addition, he served as a resident advisor, teaching assistant for biology and public health classes, and peer health educator.


Yan Yin Choy, Operations Manager, Silicon Valley Talent Partnership

 Yan Yin K. Choy is Operations Manager at Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP), where she revitalizes civic engagement through pro-bono cross-sector partnerships with corporate and government leaders to solve public problems and improve government services such as waste management and food recovery, small business development, education, transportation, and workforce development. From 2013 to 2014 she was an executive fellow for the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR), where she coordinated interagency efforts on open data and developed policy recommendations to strategize the standards and governance of California's open data initiative with agency executives. At OPR, Yan Yin also managed a cohort of twenty-one policy interns and fellows, and drafted policy recommendations for the General Plan Guidelines.

Before joining the Capital Fellows Program, Yan Yin was the Communications Director for CommUniverCity San Jose, where she spearheaded strategic communications, public relations, marketing and website design. She has also worked for the California State Assembly, Santa Clara County Office of Women's Policy, APALI (Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute), San Jose State University (SJSU) Cesar E. Chavez Community Action Center, SJSU Women's Resource Center, and AmeriCorps. Yan Yin is passionate about cultivating civic engagement, open government, sustainable land use development, place making, and social services. Yan Yin was inspired by her peers to serve in student government at SJSU as the Associated Students Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities from 2011-2012. She advocated for 30,000 constituents and solutions for university affairs, focusing on higher education, voter engagement, violence prevention, and sustainability. At SJSU, Yan Yin was also involved in three benefit productions of SJSU VDAY from 2010 to 2012, which fundraised $12,000 for the Asian Women's Home, YWCA Rape Crisis Center, and the global campaign for Haiti and Congo. In 2012, she produced the 10th annual SJSU VDAY benefit production. Yan Yin Choy was born in Hong Kong, and grew up in Texas and the California Bay Area. Yan Yin graduated from SJSU in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies and minor in Anthropology. In 2012, Yan Yin received the Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Education Award and SJSU Robert and Ellen Baron Student Leadership Award. In 2011, she earned the Arthur Dunklin Diversity Award. Yan Yin is an alumna of APALI Civic Leadership Program (2012) and SJSU Leadership Today (2010). She enjoys painting, biking, hiking, and exploring public spaces and public art.


Jacklyn Joanino, Policy Aide  City of San Jose

 Jacklyn (Jaki) Joanino was raised in Southern California and moved to San Jose after graduating UC Davis with degrees in Political Science and Dramatic Art. She currently works for the City of San Jose as a Policy Aide for Councilmember Don Rocha. Her policy areas include the issues of Public Safety, Housing, Water, Youth, and the Arts. During her time at Davis, she was active in recruitment and retention efforts for minority communities on campus with a focus on LGBT and women students. In 2013, Jaki helped advocate for the passage of K-12 education bill AB 123 by organizing Destination Delano, a state-wide convergence to recognize the contributions of the 1965 Grape Strike to the US Labor movement. Prior to joining NLC, Jaki spent time in the Central Valley assisting Filipino immigrant farmers in navigating local policy to establish farm cooperatives. JakiÕs passion is working toward healthy and sustainable communities for all. She is extremely excited to be a part of the 2015 NLC Silicon Valley Chapter Institute.


Candace Joy, Board Aide, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian

 Candace Joy is a Board Aide for Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. Candace grew up in Redwood City where she attended local public schools. She worked her way through San Jose State University earning a BA in Political Science, and graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2011. Following graduation, and realizing the job market had still not recovered from the recession, Candace took a chance and started her own political consulting firm, Joy Group Consulting. As the Sole Proprietor of Joy Group, Candace has worked with multiple clients - including the California Ethics and Democracy Project and Santa Clara City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr. - and specializes in grant research/writing and fundraising. Candace lives with her dog, Emmy, is an avid beekeeper, and an enthusiastic Sharks fan.



Phil Kang, Assistant Principal, Downtown College Prep

 I grew up in Queens, New York and moved to San Jose 6 years ago as a 2009 Teach for America Bay Area corps member. I attended State University of New York at Binghamton and majored in political science. While in college, I started ThiNK (Tomorrow's Hope in North Korea) to raise awareness about North Korean human rights violations. Between my junior and senior year, I went through Marine Corps officer candidate school in Quantico, VA. It was by far the best leadership training I received. I started my teaching career at Mathson Middle School in East San Jose and fell in love with my students and community. In addition to teaching, I coached cross-country and wrestling. Last year, I switched schools and moved to Downtown College Prep Alum Rock Middle School. Currently, I am serving as the assistant principal at my school and completing my master's degree in educational leadership at Columbia University.


Jessica LaMonica, Program Manager, City Year

 Jessica is a new Bay Area resident that brings extensive experience working for the U.S. Government, higher and elementary education and nonprofit management. Jessica has a B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, Boston, MA, that drives her dedication and commitment to social justice advocacy and public policy reform.







Rocio Molina, Public Policy Coordinator, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits

 My name is Rocio Molina. I am the eldest of two daughters. Both of my parents were immigrants to the United States from Mexico. My mother was the biggest influence in my life, and instilled in me a drive that I have I have preserved since her passing. She always said that education was of the utmost importance, and that I could be anything I wanted. For a long time I thought was standard parent rhetoric, but the more time passes, the more I understand how fortunate I was to be raised by someone who believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. I grew up in Oakland, CA. In high school, I served on the Oakland City Youth Commission, and advised the mayor and city council on policy issues relating to youth. I did not realize it then, but this would be the start of my interest in public policy. Though I went into Stanford University pursuing a biology degree, I came to realize that political science was far more interesting to me. It was an America and Global Economics class that helped me decide to switch majors my junior year. It was the most difficult class I took, but also the most gratifying. I learned a lot about how various academic themes and world events are related. I connected dots in my education that led to a complete shift in perspective. I found that there was more to the relationships between industries and counties than the segmentation presented in other courses. I saw that through advocacy, education, and economic participation, individuals had a concrete influence on these large scale patterns. I wanted to work in a field where I felt like I had a material influence after graduating. I thought that this was most accessible through work in immigration law and advocacy. My time at various law firms and nonprofits in this field allowed me to help others access systems and affect change. I believe this work materially helped manifest the executive actions of the President's in 2014 and I am very proud of that. I next sought a professional opportunity that would engage me in various public policy aspects, as I hope my career will also have variety. I was fortunate enough to join the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits as the Public Policy Coordinator and participate in advocacy on behalf of various health and human service nonprofits.


Jonathan Padilla, Manager of Regional Policy, San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce

 Jonathan Padilla is a native of San Jose, California. Beyond 5 years on the east coast split between Cambridge, MA and Washington, D.C., Jonathan was born and raised right here in the heart of Silicon Valley. Jonathan got an early start in politics, learning the ropes at the South Bay Labor Council from dynamic leaders like Amy Dean and Steve Preminger. During high school he was the statewide chair of the California High School Democrats and went on to found the Young Democrats of America's High School organization. He would eventually be named to the DNC Youth Council by then Governor and now Senator Tim Kaine and would be elected YDA Treasurer where he served for two years. Outside of politics, Jonathan has held leadership positions in the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League. Recently, Jonathan led the fundraising and policy operation for San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo's successful 2014 election. His team raised over $1.9 million, shattering local records and produced bold ideas for moving San Jose forward. Jonathan currently works at the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce managing public policy and political operations in support of Mayor Liccardo and pragmatic leaders across the valley. Jonathan graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Government and from Bellarmine College Preparatory.


Kristina Peralta, Education Policy Analyst, City of San Jose Mayor's Office

 Kristina grew up in San Jose, CA and attended UC Davis as an undergraduate, where she earned a degree in Sociology and Stanford University as a graduate student, where she earned her Masters degree in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies. After graduating from UC Davis, she was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows program and worked as an elementary special education teacher in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Following the completion of the program, she moved back to the Bay Area and worked as a community organizer for the Asian Law Caucus' Immigrant Rights Program. As an organizer, she provided direct services to low-income immigrant communities in the Bay Area and created ASPIRE: Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education, the first Asian Pacific Islander Undocumented Immigrant led organization in the nation, prior to attending Stanford. She is currently a policy analyst for the Mayor's Office in the City of San Jose where she works on Education and Gang Prevention initiatives for the city. Her accomplishments in the Mayor's Office have included writing San Jose's Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund Grant, for which San Jose was one of 23 cities in the nation to receive funds from the Bloomberg Foundation to start an after-school program in East San Jose, developing two online search tools to help residents connect with education and gang prevention services, and organizing a successful campaign to maintain critical funding for San Jose Public Libraries. She sits on the Stanford Pilipino Alumni Network Leadership Board where she serves as the Mentorship Chair.


Melissa Sandoval, Advisory Consultant, Deloitte

 Melissa is a Bay Area- Peninsula native and as a former first-generation college student, she actively volunteers in her local community to support low-income and under-represented scholars in their quest to graduate from a four-year university. Accordingly, she serves on the Board of Directors of The Peninsula College Fund, which provides students of the Mid-Peninsula with the tools for success in college and beyond. Melissa joined The Peninsula College Fund as a scholarship recipient in 2009. Following her graduation, she became an active member of the Peninsula College Fund Alumni Association. Outside of work, she is actively engaged in the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), dedicated to enhancing opportunities for underrepresented minorities. Melissa has received the Dr. Juan Andrade Award from the US Hispanic Leadership Institute for demonstrating significant community involvement. She is a graduate from Santa Clara University and holds a Bachelors degree in Finance and Spanish Studies. Melissa currently works as an ERS Consultant at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Her experience includes Sarbanes Oxley services, testing control design and operating effectiveness among other internal control analysis for public and private companies in the semiconductor, high-tech and banking industries of Silicon Valley.


Irving Torres, Legislative Aide, Supervisor Warren Slocum

 Irving Torres currently is serving as Legislative Aide to Supervisor Warren Slocum, 4th District of San Mateo County. Irving, who is bilingual (Spanish), worked as the San Mateo Hispanic Chamber Coordinator where he planned events and projects to foster civic engagement among youth and small business. He served as an intern for Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson and helped organize the San Mateo County's first Foreclosure Resource Fair and Youth Gun Violence forum. In 2012 Irving served as a field organizer for President Barack Obama's Re-election campaign in the South Side of Milwaukee. Irving grew up in San Francisco and San Mateo County; he earned his B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Utah.


Stephanie Vanegas, Account Executive, Spitfire Strategies

 Stephanie Vanegas enjoys making a positive impact in the world and in people's lives. This passion led her to Spitfire Strategies, a communication firm, where she works with foundations and nonprofits on a range of issue areas. Through extensive research, media relations, and branding and messaging work, Stephanie helps her clients move their issues forward to create big change. Prior to working at Spitfire, Stephanie worked at Hara Software, a green tech startup company based in Silicon Valley. While there, Stephanie translated complex concepts into easy-to-understand verbal and written messages. As an intern with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, she developed digital strategies for the Step-Up Silicon Valley, a campaign to reduce poverty. Stephanie graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in marketing and a double minor in international business and Spanish. She is a co-founder of Sigma Omega Nu's Santa Clara chapter, a sorority that established an annual scholarship for at-risk high school students in the South Bay. Stephanie enjoys hiking, cheering on Bay Area sports, traveling the world and geeking out to good books.


Jessica Wenzel, High School Program Director, Breakthrough Silicon Valley

 Jessica currently works for Breakthrough Silicon Valley, a non-profit, college access program that works with motivated, but under-resourced, middle and high school students. She originally began her work with Breakthrough upon graduating from high school as a volunteer. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in Spanish and minor in Education, Jessica was offered a full-time job with Breakthrough to design and implement a program for the Breakthrough high school students. Over the past five years, Jessica has worked hard to ensure that her first generation students were receiving services that those from a more affluent background could receive. She strongly believes that all students deserve high quality college counseling, regardless of their socio-economic status. 100% of her students have been accepted into four year universities, 100% have continued to pursue a higher education, and 95% are currently enrolled in four year universities. In her free time, Jessica enjoys volunteering in her community. Through her volunteer work and connections with her students' families, she often found herself counseling additional students through high school to college. This past summer, she decided to formalize this counseling and created a small program for high school seniors to get assistance in applying to college. Through word of mouth and referrals, she has been able to help sixteen students and their families navigate the college application process. She hopes to expand this program to over fifty students next year. Jessica is passionate about creating equal opportunities for all students, especially for first generation college students. While Jessica does enjoy spending time with high school students, helping them apply to college, and keeping up on new slang, she does have other hobbies. She loves spending time with her family, serving on the board for Somos Mayfair, dancing bachata anywhere she can, wine tasting wherever they serve wine, serving as an aspiring stand up comedian for her friends, and pretending to be a professional blogger as a contributing writer for Elite Daily.


Atlanta - Augusta - Austin - Boston - Broward - Capital District NY - Chicago - Cincinnati - Cleveland - Connecticut - Dallas - Denver - Des Moines
Detroit - Houston - Kentucky - Los Angeles - Louisiana - Madison - Maine - Maryland - Miami - Montana - Nashville - New Hampshre - New Jersey - New York City
North Carolina - Oakland - Omaha - Orlando - Palm Beach - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Rhode Island - Sacramento - San Antonio - San Francisco - Silicon Valley

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.