Meet the LeaderSpring Staff

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dr. Sonia Bassheva mañjon,
Executive director,
Class of 2006 Alumni

Sonia possesses experience in higher education, nonprofit, and government administration. She served as the inaugural director of the Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise and Associate Professor of Arts Administration, Education and Policy at The Ohio State University (OSU). Before joining OSU, Sonia was Vice President for Institutional Partnerships, Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), and Visiting Associate Professor of Theatre at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She was appointed by CT Speaker of the House Donovan to the State Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. She was a member of the Governor’s Education Policy Task Force to reform teacher preparation programs for the CT State Department of Education. In California, she was a member of the Alameda County Education Reform Policy Board for secondary and post-secondary education. Sonia is the former executive director of the Center for Art and Public Life and founding chair of the Community Arts major.

Teju adisa-farrar
interim externaL Relations coordinator

Teju has been involved in urban advocacy work for over a decade with issues spanning: arts, education, leadership & empowerment, human rights, and environmentalism. She has extensive work experience in the nonprofit sector and academia, as well as experience in startups and philanthropy. With a BA in Sociology and a MSc in Urban Studies & Culture, her work focuses on supporting artists and activists of color in cities. Before returning to the Bay Area, she spent the last two years living in four different European countries researching Black artists and activists, urban exclusion, social art praxis, and city culture initiated by marginalized communities. In addition to her work at LeaderSpring, she is the Creative Director of World Unwrapped.

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RACHEL FARAHBAKHSH,
MANAGER OF OPERATIONS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS

For more than 10 years, Rachel has strengthened nonprofit organizations by creating people-centered systems and infrastructure. A native Bostonian, Rachel spent three years in Guatemala before making the move to California. She likes ice cream and studies Afro-Latino percussion and dance.

SAFI JIROH,
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

Safi brings more than 25 years of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors as a leader, grantmaker, nonprofit consultant and certified integral coach. Her Oakland-based leadership positions have included: Executive Director of the Marcus Foster Ed Fund; Community Faculty Fellow with the Center for Art and Public Life at the California College of the Arts; and Grants and Nonprofit Management Analyst for the City of Oakland’s Cultural Arts Department. Safi is an alumna of the LeaderSpring Class of 2008!

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Carri Katonah,
Interim Program Coordinator

Carri has managed programs in youth leadership development and environmental education for over 8 years, specifically with the Student Conservation Association, as well as other non-profits in the Bay Area and Denver, CO.  While she has called the Bay Area home for almost 10 years, she is originally from the Chicagoland area. Carri is interested in working at the root of social justice issues in order to create systemic change. She loves to spend time exploring outdoors and adventuring with her family.

Molly Linares,
Program Assistant, Fellowship services

A San Diego native, Molly brings a vision of dignity and humanity for communities of color to our team. A recent graduate from San Francisco State University with a degree in Latina/Latino and a minor in Race and Resistance Studies, she has experience and knowledge of organizing in communities of color. Molly is also a graduate of the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) with the Center of Third World Organizing, where she helped organize around workers rights and immigrants rights in the Greater Boston Area. She looks forward to supporting the work of the fellows throughout their fellowship at LeaderSpring.

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eric medrano,
Program assistant, consulting services

Born and raised in Oakland, Eric joins us as a recent San Jose State graduate where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Minor in Business. Eric served in student government as Vice President and became involved in the California State University policy-making process advocating for student issues. His passion working to improve the social sector comes from working as a student organizer his last two years at State, in which he led campaigns against a tuition increase, for higher faculty salary, for Proposition 13, and other local initiatives affecting students across the CSU system. Eric is interested in one day working in the legislative process to improve access to higher education and enjoys different forms of exercise, watching movies, listening to podcasts, and taking outdoor trips with friends and family during his free time.

LEA WOODS,
DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS ASSISTANT

Lea studied Philosophy at Portland State University and the University College London before moving to China to teach English. Prior to joining LeaderSpring, Lea became involved in politics, where she worked for two years at the Center for Women’s Leadership, and interned for a congressional office and a political campaign. Lea is interested in community development and in finding innovative, cross-sector solutions to social issues.

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Our Leadership Council

DIANA BERMUDEZ Consultant in Philanthropy

DIANA BERMUDEZ
Consultant in Philanthropy

CHARMAINE DETWEILER(TREASURER) Women’s Leadership Council

CHARMAINE DETWEILER(TREASURER)
Women’s Leadership Council

HOLLY GOLD* (VICE CHAIR) Rockridge Little Schools

HOLLY GOLD* (VICE CHAIR)
Rockridge Little Schools

KYM JOHNSON LUQMAN* BANANAS

KYM JOHNSON
LUQMAN* 
BANANAS

MICHELLE LY CPA, Marcum LLC

MICHELLE LY
CPA, Marcum LLC

MARIANA MOORE (CHAIR) Mariana Moore Consulting

MARIANA MOORE (CHAIR)
Mariana Moore Consulting