Our Staff & Advisors
Diverse, local leaders with a positive vision for Silicon Valley
Alex was raised in Silicon Valley and came home after a dozen years away. He served eight years on San Jose's Housing & Community Development Commission and is on the Advisory Board of the Silicon Valley chapter of the New Leaders Council.
Most recently at the communications and public engagement consulting firm Katz & Associates, Alex worked with the Valley Transportation Authority on the extension of BART into Silicon Valley. He has also been a policy aide for a Santa Clara County Supervisor and a Director of Government Affairs for a Bay Area nonprofit organization.
Alex studied Political Science and African American Studies while earning a BA from Vanderbilt University and holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California. Alex lives off The Alameda in San Jose and is active in his neighborhood, founding efforts to bring a farmers market to his community and to name a street after President Obama.
Interim Deputy Director
Rocio Molina is a Bay Area native. She grew up in Oakland, CA and attended Stanford University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. She has extensive experience in nonprofit management and community engagement across the Bay Area.
Most recently, she has fundraised and advocated to establish sustainable fiscal business practices in nonprofit businesses as well as coordinated housing advisory groups for the City of San Francisco.
She has been a long-time advocate in San Jose for increased social services, economic access, and civic engagement through her work with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits and the San Jose MBDA Center.
Manager of Development Projects
Jake is a Santa Clara County native who can trace his roots in San Jose back over 120 years to his great-great-grandfather. Born and raised in The Valley of Heart's Delight, Jake has a deep understanding and appreciation for the region's history. His connection to the area has shaped his values and perspective, making him a passionate advocate for sustainable, equitable, and forward-thinking urban design.
He is currently set to graduate from San Jose State University in spring 2024 with a B.A. in Geography and a focus on Urban Studies. Afterward, he intends to continue at SJSU by pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning. Jake plans to leverage his knowledge of urban planning principles and practices to help engage with community members, understand their needs, and advocate for policies that reflect their priorities.
When he's not busy, Jake is an avid reader and enjoyer of local and state history; it's not uncommon to find him in the California Room of the MLK, Jr. Library. Additionally, he enjoys backpacking and playing board games with friends.
Technical Program Manager
in partnership with Open Source San Jose
Originally from India, Shalini has lived & worked in the Bay Area for more than half of her life. Leveraging her previous career as an engineer, 6 years ago Shalini co-founded AnewVista Community Services, a non-profit creating safe and comfortable ways for senior citizens to adopt new technologies. For helping local seniors interact with technology, she was awarded Volunteer of the Year by the City of Los Altos in 2018.
Shalini grew up in the central part of India in a multi-generational family with 15 uncles and aunts. This has shaped her interest in engagement with the community. In India, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering. After moving to the United States, she earned a Master’s in Computer Science from the State University of New York, Stonybrook.
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, anything that touches her creative soul, & planning fun events for friends and family. Shalini hopes to help create comfortable communities for all and especially for the senior population.
Steve is a A 3rd generation resident of the Bay Area, Steve was raised in Fremont before moving to San Jose in 2004. Spending his early years living on his family’s walnut and apricot orchard, he witnessed firsthand the impact of urban expansion on agricultural land. This experience shaped his view on the importance of approaching development through engagement to enable a better understanding of communities’ needs and aspirations. Steve has a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of the Pacific. He has worked in a wide range of industries from banking and consumer finance to educational and collaboration solutions. Steve currently is the Director for North America for Re Mago Ltd., a meetings and collaboration solutions company headquartered in the UK.
Originally from Fresno County, California, Elizabeth has lived and worked in the San Jose area since 2005. Each academic year, Elizabeth leads two dozen community engaged learning projects in Central San Jose. Elizabeth holds a degree in Liberal Arts from Fresno City College and a degree in Recreation from San Jose State University.
Jamie landed in San José in 2010, thrilled to find herself in a city where she can bike and garden year round, after living most of her life on the East Coast. Since then, she has worked as an organizer in many forms: labor organizer with SEIU working to organize a union for security officers in Silicon Valley; electoral organizer with Working Partnerships USA managing field campaigns including raising the minimum wage; and community organizer and garden network manager at Sacred Heart Community Service, where she worked to creatively combat food and housing insecurity. In her work with primarily low income and immigrant communities in San José, she has seen firsthand the importance of ethical, sustainable, and inclusive housing development in the area, and how people from all walks of life working together can build power, shift policy, and influence development for the better. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.S. from the London School of Economics, and now works on the Organizational Effectiveness team at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Working at the intersection of housing, land use, and environmental policy, Lisa is committed to building a more inclusive and sustainable future for our cities and communities. Lisa currently serves as Housing & Land Use Policy Advisor to San Francisco Mayor London Breed. She previously worked as a land use attorney, helping clients navigate the complex development process in jurisdictions across the Bay Area. Prior to that, she acted as a research fellow for the World Resources Institute in Mexico City, exploring and addressing issues of spatial injustice and urban accessibility. Lisa received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Williams College. In her free time, Lisa enjoys being in/around the ocean, biking around the city, and cooking vegan meals for family and friends.
Steve Lynch is Director of Planning and Entitlement for Sand Hill Property Company, a Silicon Valley-focused real estate holding & development firm. Sand Hill’s portfolio of stabilized investments and development projects includes retail centers, mixed-use communities, office developments, affordable housing, and hotels. Steve is involved with the management and planning of several large-scale office projects (Redwood City, Mountain View), a new mixed-use town center (Vallco Fashion Mall Cupertino), mixed-use office/residential corporate campus (San Jose), as well as other retail and office properties in the South Bay area. Prior to his time with Sand Hill, Steve worked in the public sector as a city planner for 16 years. This experience includes time with the Town of Los Gatos as Assistant Planner, City of Sunnyvale as Senior Planner, and City of Santa Clara as the Planning Division Manager. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley (1993) and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly (2000).
Michael has called San Jose home for over 5 years after living across the US: originally in Northern Virginia, and also in Austin, Atlanta (twice), and Los Angeles. He embraced the nuanced cultures and appreciates the unique challenges faced by individuals & groups in each locale. Michael is a strong believer that walking, biking, & public transit enable a healthier community and environment; and that smart, citizen-led development can achieve this reality in an equitable and sustainable manner. Michael is a Manager in PwC Advisory’s ‘Customer Strategy & Operations’ practice, where he advises global technology companies on sales and go-to-market strategy, business case development, pricing structure, new business models, and lead-to-cash transformations. He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson and undergraduate degrees from the University of Virginia.
Amanda La Roche
Originally from San Diego, Amanda received her undergraduate degree in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz, and her master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. She recently moved to Monterey and is enjoying the area’s natural vibrant beauty. Since 2010, Amanda has worked in the nonprofit field serving those in need. She began her career as a housing provider to individuals with disabilities, before eventually finding her areas of expertise in compliance management and program development. Upon finishing her graduate degree, Amanda pivoted from housing to the field of fiscal sponsorship, serving as a client services manager to over 350 charitable start-up organizations (most recently at Social Good Fund, Catalyze SV's fiscal sponsor). Within these roles, Amanda has been responsible for reviewing and approving all agreements with a lens on risk mitigation and 501(c)(3) compliance, including grant agreements, commercial leases, & third-party vendor contracts. Additionally, she has used her creative skills to design and present trainings on a variety of topics for diverse audiences new to fiscal sponsorship. In her free time, she enjoys exploring her new city on foot, cooking, reading, hiking in nature and traveling.