Meet our Speakers


Keynote Speaker: Kimberly Ellis, Candidate for Chair of the California Democratic Party

Named the most powerful, unelected person in California Democratic politics by the Sacramento Bee, Kimberly Ellis is a captivating orator and progressive movement leader who educates, motivates and inspires people to action.

As the former Executive Director of Emerge California, the state’s most effective training program for Democratic women who run for office, Kimberly is a nationally recognized Progressive leader who has been credited with revolutionizing Democratic politics in California.

Today, more than 50% of Emerge California’s alumnae currently serve in elected or appointed office including California’s first female Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen.

After running for Chair of the California Democratic Party in 2017 where she inspired thousands, this past summer Kimberly Ellis founded and launched Unbought - Unbossed (UnB2), an incubator for the next generation of political disruptors.

Kimberly has appeared on syndicated television and radio, and is frequently interviewed by leading political media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press. She is a frequent contributor to a number of online and print dailies, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Huffington Post.

With the vacancy created amidst scandal, Kimberly Ellis is again running to be the next Chair of the California Democratic Party.

Kimberly is committed to making sure that the California Democratic Party looks forward, not back; and builds broader coalitions with new allies; and most importantly, creates the culture shift within the Party that ensures the reported abuses never again occur.

Kimberly holds a law degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Jacksonville University.

Kimberly lives in the Bay Area and is a proud, single working mom of two teenagers – and their cat Agave. Kimberly enjoys washing dishes, Murder-She-Wrote reruns, ballet and hip-hop dancing, going to church, discount clothing stores and fancy restaurants that serve Crème Brûlée.

Connect with Kimberly via her website and on social media: Twitter, InstagramFacebook

Wendy Aragón, District Representative, San Francisco Citizens Advisory Committee

Wendy Aragón is a 2017 Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute Alumnus. She currently serves as a District Representative on two San Francisco citizen oversight bodies. In 2013, she was appointed to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Citizens Advisory Committee since 2013, where she served as Chair for 4 years. In 2017, she was appointed to the San Francisco Park, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Committee. Her focus on these committees has always been to hold city departments accountable to meeting the needs of low-income communities and people of color, as well as being an advocate for economic development and environmental justice. Wendy is a first-generation university graduate, receiving her degree in 2000 from San Francisco State with a dual major in American Studies and Urban Studies where she first took an interest in Land Use and Economic Geography. She lives in the Richmond District.

Larisa Casillas, Program Director of Leadership Development and Advocacy, Urban Habitat

Larisa is a passionate advocate with a great sense of humor and love for justice. Working with and for communities of color and low-income communities energizes and inspires her. At Urban Habitat, she oversees the leadership development activities of the organization, ensuring alignment with the Urban Habitat policy priorities. She is an alumna of Urban Habitat's Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI). Larisa is an advisory board member for PODER, a San Francisco-based economic and environmental rights organization and board treasurer/secretary for EBASE, an Oakland-based regional economic rights organization. Prior to joining Urban Habitat, she managed a ten-county immigration legal services collaborative at the International Institute of the Bay Area.

Naeemah Charles, Public Affairs Officer, Planned Parenthood Northern California

Naeemah Charles oversees public affairs for Planned Parenthood Northern California in San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma counties.

Prior to this, Naeemah worked as a legislative aide in Sacramento at the California State Assembly. Naeemah also previously served as staff for the San Francisco Democratic Party where she focused on community engagement, elections, and voter education.

Naeemah graduated from San Francisco State University majoring in political science with a double minor in Health Education and Gender Studies. She holds a graduate certificate in Applied Politics and Government from Sacramento State University. In her free time, she enjoys aerial fitness classes.

Megan Crawford, Board Member, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School Board

Megan Crawford is a lifelong resident of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and attended K-12 schools there. With the strong educational background Megan received in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD), she continued on to obtain an AA degree from Marymount California University, followed by a BA in Environmental Studies and Geography from UCLA, then an MA (Master of Arts) in Education from Pepperdine University. Aiming to further her education, Megan is now enrolled in the MPA (Master of Public Administration) program at USC. Inspired by her years enrolled in the PVPUSD, Megan has devoted her career to education and is currently a teacher in the Redondo Beach Unified School District. Megan was recently elected to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School Board in November 2018. She is the youngest elected official in Palos Verdes and has been enjoying her time on the PVP Board. She plans to focus on balancing the budget, high-quality curriculum and education, listening to teachers’ opinions and ideas, improving student wellness (both physical and mental) and student safety, sustainability in the district, and extending community partnerships.

Abigail Edwards, Student Advisor to the Chancellor, UC Davis

Abigail is a fourth-year studying Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and double minoring in History and Global and International Studies.  She has participated in IGNITE at UC Davis for four years. Abigail’s journey in agriculture and food justice began at age 5 when she began selling vegetables at the local farmer’s market, she later became California’s youngest ever Certified Master Gardener at age 17.  Abigail currently serves as the Student Advisor to the Chancellor which includes advocating for student needs such as food security. This past summer, through a Blum Fellowship, Abigail conducted an international agricultural development project in the Republic of Georgia.  Abigail hopes to attend law school to ultimately represent small farmers and farm workers.

Kisha Grove, Human Resources Leader, Kaiser Permanente

Kisha Grove is employed at Kaiser Permanente as a Human Resources Leader for Greater San Francisco Service Area and a member of the Senior Leadership Team. She has been with the organization for over 13 (Thirteen) years. She has worked in multiple disciplines in the area of  Human Resources and holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a variety of HR Certifications. Kisha spent the beginning of her career as a Social Worker, Job Coach and Activist supporting the growth of women at work and doing work with youth of color in the bay area. Since that time she has devoted her time to coach, mentor and provide guidance to individuals (specifically women of color) who are going back into the workforce as well as seasoned professionals. Kisha is involved in many organizations that support people of color and women. In her free time Kisha is dedicated to caring for her 2 sons Winston (18) and Quincy (16) and her black standard toy Poodle “Duke”(7). Kisha and her boys are frequent flyers and have traveled to many countries and places in the USA. Kisha’s goal is to be retired in 5 years, living in an affordable and diverse community and being known as “the lady of leisure”.

Rachel Hyden, Executive Director, San Francisco Transit Riders

Rachel Hyden serves as Executive Director of San Francisco Transit Riders, working to build the pro-transit movement in San Francisco and give voice to riders who deserve excellent, affordable and growing public transit. In her role, Rachel oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization, including managing a growing staff, fundraising efforts and advocacy initiatives. She also supports an eight member Board of Directors to set the strategic vision and priorities of the organization.

Prior to joining SFTR, Rachel worked at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency where she was the communications and brand manager for the Muni Forward program. In her role, Rachel successfully led the public engagement efforts for eight major transit projects and four service increases, considered the most significant improvements to Muni in decades. Before her stint in city government, Rachel oversaw membership development for Efficiency First, and organized several public interest campaigns with Sierra Club and Ohio PIRG.

Rachel holds a BS in Journalism from Ohio University, with a specialization in nonprofit management. Outside of work you can find her skiing the mountains at Tahoe or watching reruns of The Office with her pug Duke. She also makes regular guest appearances on Muni’s L Taraval.

Stephanie Kim, Director of Government & Nonprofit Programs, CommunityConnect Labs

Stephanie Kim is the Director of Government & Nonprofit Programs at CommunityConnect Labs, a nonprofit technology provider and consulting group based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her role, she drives the design, development, and implementation of our census outreach solutions. She’s facilitated design-thinking workshops on Census for Salt Lake County’s Chamber of Commerce, American Express, New America California, and SPUR. Stephanie managed the implementation of CommunityConnect Labs’ community-based address canvassing tool for four county and city clients across three states, coordinating with county leaders, city staff, local funders, community-based organizations, and dozens of canvassers to ensure a successful operation.

Stephanie brings a background in social impact strategy and operations, specializing in workforce development, social entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibility. She’s served as an associate director at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and also led local canvassing operations for the Hillary for America campaign / Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s South Philadelphia region for the 2016 presidential election. Stephanie holds a MPA from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Wellesley College.


Margaret Martinez Franks, NorCal Public Affairs Officer, Planned Parenthood

Margaret is the Planned Parenthood NorCal Public Affairs Officer for Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano counties. Previously, she spent two campaign cycles with TBWB Strategies, a political consulting firm in San Francisco, where she was instrumental in more than a dozen local and statewide campaigns throughout California. Margaret graduated with a degree in Political Science from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2017.

Alex Navarro, Statewide City Gun Violence Lead, Moms Demand Action, California

Alex Navarro has been an active volunteer for Moms Demand Action since 2013. While living in The Netherlands as an American expat, Navarro began raising awareness through social media of the gun violence epidemic that was affecting Americans every day. She is currently the lead photographer and statewide city gun violence lead for the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. Her work in the Hispanic community has been featured in Ms. Magazine and online publications for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action National.

Daisy Ozim, Founder, Blockchain for Social Justice Collective

Daisy Ozim is the founder of Resilient Wellness, a public health startup designed to reestablish cultural medicine access for marginalized communities. As a commissioner for Alameda County Public Health Commission, she works towards health equity and decentralization of power for vulnerable communities. Her work is centered around decolonizing philanthropy, technology and public policy. Past experience in the public sector for social justice inspired her to start the Blockchain for Social Justice collective. A platform designed to promote education and access of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency for marginalized communities. Daisy has worked to support the inclusion of vulnerable communities within the emerging industry and is now working on statewide efforts to establish blockchain education for community-based organizations and local government. Daisy hosts events to bring women together and educate them in order to diversify the blockchain space. She was even featured in BuzzFeed speaking up against the objectification of women in the blockchain space. She is an advocate for self-care and wellness for women experiencing burnout in the tech space and has spoken at conferences such as Tech Intersections, Youth, Tech and Health, DISCON and more.

Caitlin Quinn, Petaluma City School Board

Caitlin is a lifelong resident of Northern California, born in the South Bay, raised in the North Bay, and educated in the East Bay. In the 2012 and 2014 elections, Caitlin led efforts at UC Berkeley to register over 10,000 voters, mostly students. She is passionate about representing young people but is more passionate about making sure young people have their own seats at the table. She has sat in on important meetings with state legislators, city councilmembers, and university administrators, and used that experience combined with her work in the student government at Cal to run for Petaluma City School Board where she and her colleagues defeated all three incumbents in 2018 on a platform of inclusion and justice.

Mya Whitaker, Program Director, Bay Area Urban Debate League; and former candidate for Oakland City Council, East Oakland

Mya Whitaker has many years of experience working professionally and voluntarily with youth and families in Oakland. Upon graduating from Skyline High School, Mya stayed local to give back to her community. She currently works as a counselor for foster care youth of Alameda county, and as a program director for the Bay Area Urban Debate League. BAUDL is a non-profit that teaches policy debate to Oakland youth. From 2015-2017  Mya served as a youth commissioner for the Oakland’s Citizen Police Review Board. She understands what it’s like being a Black youth in Oakland who has overcome challenges of her own, still with room grow. Mya prides herself on being “touchable” and “relatable” when it comes to the people of Oakland. By yielding herself as a public servant, she maintains that she is able to directly influence the youth of her community as well as be a conduit that bridges the gap between the young and old.

Mya graduated from San Francisco State in 2016. In 2017 she completed training with EMERGE CA, an organization that gets women ready to run for office. In 2017 Mya was selected by Mayor Schaaf to assist on the panel to select the current chief of police, Anne Kirtpatrick. Since 2011 Mya has facilitated community round tables to formally bridge and unmask the veil of politics and policing in her community. As recent as in March hosting a round table with the Chief, FMR.Councilmember Brooks, and the community.

In April Mya announced her run for Oakland City Council in East Oakland. Mya Whitaker became the youngest and first Black woman to run from the district she was raised. Upon finishing in 3rd in November, Mya came in 3rd with 23% of the vote. She looks forward to continuing her work in her community and local government.  

Antonia Wong, Director of PMO, TrueAccord

As TrueAccord’s Director of PMO, Antonia Wong is obsessed with innovating ways to bring effective process to a creative startup environment. With more than 14 years of paralegal and project management experience, she leads a team of 4 to accomplish projects that ultimately improve the business experience for TrueAccord's clients.  Antonia also serves as the Diversity & Inclusion Chair and most recently presented at LatinaGeeks, Women in Legal, and Women in Consumer Finance Conference. Connect with Antonia on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Jocelyn Yow, Councilwoman, Eastvale City Council

Jocelyn Yow was elected to Eastvale City Council in Riverside County with a 40 point margin in November 2018. She is currently the youngest and the first and only Asian American city council member in Riverside County. Aside from serving her community, she recently joined Congressman Gil Cisnerosa newly flipped districtas his constituent services manager.

Yow previously worked for California State Senate and Speaker Pelosi, where she helped immigrants, seniors, families, and children access valuable government services as they navigated through the complexities of our government. Most notably, she helped immigrants navigate through the Travel Ban and assisted refugees from the Middle East and Tibet who were seeking asylum in the United States.

Yow is an alumna of Norco College and the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in government at Harvard Extension.

No matter where life took her, she has always known that Eastvale is where she wants to live and raise her family. She is honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the city she proudly calls home.