Meet our Speakers and Mentors


Keynote Speaker: Lateefah Simon 

Lateefah_Simon_photo.jpgLateefah Simon is President of the Akonadi Foundation, an organization based in Oakland, CA, that funds and nurtures racial justice movement building to eliminate structural racism and expand opportunity for youth of color. In 2016, Lateefah won election to the BART Board of Directors, representing District 7, where as a transit-dependent woman she is fighting for equitable mobility. She is also an California State University Trustee, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve the largest public university system in the world. Lateefah has been on the frontlines for the most vulnerable communities in the San Francisco Bay Area since age 15, when she was recruited to be an organizer for the Center for Young Women’s Development (CYWD). At 19-years-old she was appointed Executive Director of CYWD, where she served 11 years and brought the organization to national acclaim. At 26, her work earned her the distinction of the youngest woman ever to receive a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. She went on to lead the creation of San Francisco’s first reentry services division under the leadership of then District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. Lateefah later served as Executive Director of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Program Director at the Rosenberg Foundation. Lateefah has received awards for her work including Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World, the Remarkable Woman Award from Lifetime Television, the Levi Strauss Pioneer Activist Fellowship, the New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, “Woman of the Year” by the California State Assembly, and inclusion in Oprah Magazine’s first ever “Power List”, Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40, and the Root 100.  An avid speaker, Lateefah lectures across the country at top conferences and universities on community leadership and social change. Lateefah lives in West Oakland and is a mother of two daughters. 

Jessica_Castro.jpgJessica Castro was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has spent most of her life in CA. She grew up in Irvine and attended the University of Southern CA (Fight on!) where she studied Broadcast Journalism, International Relations and Multimedia. Jessica started her career in TV news in Amarillo, TX before she spent nearly half a decade in Las Vegas as a reporter and morning anchor. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys tennis, reading, cycling, swimming and hiking.


Screen_Shot_2017-01-23_at_3.05.16_PM.pngKimberly Ellis has revolutionized Democratic politics in California through her work as the first African American Executive Director in Emerge America's national network. Kimberly has dedicated her career to supporting, training, and inspiring Democratic women to step into political power all across California. In seven years and under her leadership, Emerge California has greatly expanded its reach, effectiveness, and visibility. Today, more than half of Emerge California’s 400 alumnae currently serve in elected or appointed office. Kimberly’s commitment to diversifying the state's political landscape to become truly and authentically reflective of its electorate is reflected in the Emerge alumnae: 56% are women of color. Ellis has worked in private industry, state government and the non-profit sector, developing leaders and successful organizations across platforms. In 2009, she was appointed by the Mayor of the City of Richmond to serve as a Commissioner for the Community Development Commission. Kimberly is married with two children and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gabriela_Jimenez.jpgGabriela Jimenez is Senior Public Affairs Officer for Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund. Her lifelong dedication for advocacy and political organizing began as a toddler when her mother would take her precinct walking and phone banking on weekends. In high school she volunteered at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles because she wanted to help educate her peers about sexual health and their rights. While attending San Francisco State University, Gabriela interned with San Francisco SupervisorJohn Avalos and Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar. Previous to working at PPNorCal AF, Gabriela spent time working on Capitol Hill for New York Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and for the Department of Labor, Office of Public Affairs. Gabriela is passionate about reproductive justice because she believes a woman’s right to choose cannot just be theoretically legal but actually accessible for all woman.

Dey_Nava.jpgDey Nava is the Public Affairs Officer for Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund. Dey is passionate about advancing healthcare access for all, and also ensuring that the social and economic environments within communities support opportunities for a long and healthy life. In 2015, she graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Anthropology, and went on to complete a fellowship with Oakland-based TOLA (The Organizing & Leadership Academy). At TOLA, she worked on a San Francisco Board of Supervisors independent expenditure campaign, as well as a door-to-door canvassing project in Watsonville that engaged the community around issues of diabetes and the possible solution of a local soda tax. Dey is bilingual in Spanish, and has completed internships with the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California in Sacramento and Asociacion Karibu in Madrid, Spain.


Daisy Ozim is the Director of Resilient Wellness, a health education programmed designed to end the cycles of multi-generational trauma through policy advocacy, service delivery and education. She has been involved in community based outreach and advocacy and civic youth engagement, since her late teens. As a seasoned health advocate, based in San Francisco bay area, she's a fierce proponent of health and wellness as well as decolonizing all aspects of the public sector. She dedicates time outside of her advocacy life to train in holistic health. In addition, she has worked on several issues including, health care quality for young women, public health implications of police violence, increasing visibility of self-care for social justice advocates and political empowerment for young women. Daisy is an alumni of IGNITE and previously served as a High School Facilitator.

angelesroy.jpgAngeles Roy is a bilingual and bicultural political campaigns operative and strategist based in San Francisco CA. Originally from Chile, she emigrated to the Bay Area nine years ago and holds a B.A., in Political Science from UC Berkeley. Angeles has extensive experience leading and winning candidate and issue based campaigns such as Hillary Ronen for supervisor in 2016 and No on Proposition E in 2014. In addition, she has served at a number of boards including the SF Chapter at ACLU; California Women's list––a PAC working towards electing women to statewide office––and the San Francisco Young Democrats where she's focused her efforts in voter registration, educational programming and advocacy. Angeles is also a proud graduate of Emerge California and the New American Leaders Project.

Erin_Schrode.jpgErin Schrode is a citizen activist and journalist. This leading voice on sustainability, social impact and millennials and a vocal advocate for environmental action, public health and equal justice She  just ran an unprecedented campaign for US Congress in California. Since co-founding Turning Green in 2005, Erin has developed eco education and action platforms to inspire, educate, and mobilize millions of students and the global public. As a social entrepreneur and community organizer, she champions civic leadership, conscious living, and environmental stewardship worldwide.  For more on Erin – and @ErinSchrode on Twitter and Instagram.

mel.jpgMarissa Trambley is a Director at Stott Development Solutions Group. She most recently served as the lead fundraiser in Silicon Valley for Hillary For America’s Presidential campaign after working in development and politics for nearly 10 years. Marissa’s career began in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill as Clerk & Legislative Advisor for the House Natural Resources Committee, focusing on water and energy issues. Marissa then ventured into the development field at EMILY’s List to support a growing major gifts operation, and subsequently launched a new program to build bridges between policy thinkers and change agents in Congress. She managed all the West Coast fundraising and development for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under Leader Nancy Pelosi. She has also advised on development for multiple women’s groups and emerging non-profits. Marissa received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. A California native, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and their dog, cat, tortoise and chickens.

Jocelyn_Yow.jpgJocelyn Yow joined Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi in October 2016, focusing on issues related to Asian Pacific Islander (API) community, education, healthcare, social security, and grants. Prior to joining Office of Congresswoman Pelosi, she was a District Representative at Office of State Senator Tony Mendoza. She held multiple leadership positions while attending college. She was the youngest Student Body President at Norco College. While attending UC Berkeley, she founded the Pre-Law Coalition for Social Justice and had the honor of serving as a Commissioner for City of Berkeley. She was recently elected as a Delegate for AD 60.