California Volunteers Welcomes New Members to the Team

With the Governor’s and Legislature’s continued investment in service and volunteering, California Volunteers has brought on an all-star team to meet this moment. Welcome the newest members of the team: 

Jacquie Yannacci, Chief Program Officer

Jacquie worked with California Volunteers as part of the initial COVID – 19 disaster operations coordinating the Food and Supply Workgroup before taking on the position of Chief Program Officer. Jacquie previously served as the National Community Mobilization Director for the American Red Cross. Jacquie has been working in community engagement since 2006, first during recovery for Hurricane Katrina and then standardizing a resilience building strategy for national implementation.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from American University.  

Kif Scheuer, California Climate Action Corps Director

Kif was most recently at Local Government Commission (LGC) where he has been serving as the CivicSpark Program Director. CivicSpark is one of California Volunteers’ AmeriCorps programs, and Kif helped launch and grow the program over the last seven years from 50 to more than 100 members. While at LGC, he also led several other climate initiatives including the statewide California Adaptation Forum and the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation

Mark Skidmore, Digital Infrastructure Officer

Mark was most recently at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian as a Technical Project Manager. He served as a Senior Director for IT at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. He was an IT Consultant at Cedars-Sinai Health System. He was the executive in charge of all relevant Enterprise Architecture initiatives including strategic planning, new technology analysis and implementation, best practices adoption and design reviews on all projects supporting Fox branded properties

Emily Matthews, COVID-19 Communications Manager

Most recently, Emily was a Producer for the Biden for President campaign where she produced over 100 advertisements for the campaign ranging from national TV ads to highly targeted digital ads. Before joining the campaign, Emily was an Associate at SCRB Strategies, a California-based political consulting firm where she worked on campaigns such as Kamala Harris for President, Gavin Newsom for Governor, Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor, and Alex Padilla for Secretary of State. 

Jennifer Leshnower, Volunteer Director

Jennifer was most recently a project executive with love.fútbol where she executed five community-driven soccer field construction projects in India, Australia, Nigeria and the United States. She was also previously a program director for Rebuilding Together San Francisco where she oversaw design, execution and budget for 250 home repairs and 20 CBO renovation projects, annually. As an AmeriCorps VISTA member, she designed and executed an after-school STEM mentoring program. She is also a proud Returned Peace Corps Volunteer; serving in the Eastern Caribbean as a capacity-building facilitator.  Jennifer has a Master of Public Administration and Master of Social Work from Columbia University, New York.

Robert Cooper, Web Developer

Robert joins us from Golden State Opportunity where he redesigned the organization website and worked with California Volunteers Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. Robert is an experienced graphic designer and was the Creative Director for the American Red Cross-Los Angeles. 

Iram Jabbar, AmeriCorps Program Officer

Iram is from San Francisco and has worked in the field of volunteer management in several capacities, bringing eight years of experience overseeing youth and community programs, including volunteer engagement, program evaluation and strategic partnerships. 

Lindsay Righter, California Climate Action Corps Senior Program Officer

Lindsay joins us from Humboldt State University where she served as the Student Success & Community Initiatives Liaison for the College of Professional Studies. Lindsay’s career began as an AmeriCorps member with the Watershed Stewards Program, where she completed two terms of service and helped manage the program in several staff roles. Lindsay also served for 10 years as a north coast field representative for US Representatives Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson. She is passionate about service and excited to apply her background in AmeriCorps, program development, and natural resources to support the state’s environmental service programs, including the new California Climate Action Corps.  

Molly Linares, Email Manager

Molly Linares joins the California Volunteers team as the new email manager. Molly most recently worked in the restaurant business and was previously a program coordinator for the LeaderSpring Center and legislative aide in the state senate. 

Michael Henning, Communications Manager

Michael has served as a communications director for two members of the California State Legislature. He has managed political campaigns statewide. Most recently, Michael was the Area Field Director for the Bernie Sanders for President 2020 campaign. He has a B.A. in Liberal Arts, English and Art History from the University of California, Davis. 

Rhonalyn Cabello, Communications Specialist 

Rhonalyn has spent the last two years serving as a Communications Officer for the former Mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs. She also worked as a Communications Coordinator for the Reinvent Stockton Foundation where she helped launch Stockton Service Corps, the first-ever service program in the Central Valley, in partnership with California Volunteers. 

Kat Larrowe, Operation Feed California VISTA Program Manager

Kat joins us from Alameda County Community Food Bank where she was the Sustainability Program Manager. Leading the Food Recovery Program and green initiatives, Kat worked closely with community partners and food businesses to divert food to neighbors in need, prepared for CA Organics Waste Reduction (Senate Bill 1383) implementation, and helped launch a Sustainability Committee. As California Volunteers’ new VISTA Program Manager, she is excited to apply her background in food banks and community nutrition to support the state’s efforts to feed Californians during the pandemic. She holds an MPH from San José State University and a B.S. in Nutrition from Chico State University.  

Sunshine Swinford, Director of COVID-19 Operations

Sunshine joins the California Volunteers team with over 25 years of experience in community relations, engagement and activism. She has a deep passion for bringing people together to share experiences in efforts that improve the quality of life for everyone, in particular, the lives of the most vulnerable. With roots in Native Oklahoma, she grew up with a connection to nature, and believes that access to the basic needs of the environment; water, clean air, and healthy soils is a fundamental right of every individual and community. Last year, Sunshine launched her own consulting business, We Act Locally, another platform to mobilize and inspire people by building out engagement programs for local non-profits and by creating and managing corporate stewardship programs for the ever-growing tech industry in the Bay Area.

Candice Aquino, Coastal Regional Volunteer Coordinator

Candice is the California Regional Volunteer Coordinator for the Bay Area and the northern coastal region of state. Prior to joining the California Volunteers team she worked as the Program Manager for the Tom Steyer 2020 campaign, where her experience working in public service guided her work with the political surrogate program. As a former Recreation Coordinator with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department at Camp Mather, Candice was part of a team that worked to expand access to safe, affordable recreation programming for San Francisco families. Her passion for service developed through her work as a Constituent Representative, and later as the Field Director for the Bay Area, in Senator Barbara Boxer’s Oakland Office. Candice brings her experience working with federal and local agencies to the important mission of serving California residents.

Natalie Obaldia, Southern California Regional Volunteer Coordinator

Natalie Obaldia is the Southern California Regional Volunteer Coordinator. Natalie is a native Californian and has volunteered extensively stateside and internationally. Her most recent experience was with Peace Corps in Cameroon. She received her B​.A​. in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her volunteer and work experiences have given her a deep appreciation for public service and community engagement.

Karen Melendez, Inland California Regional Volunteer Coordinator

Karen is the Inland California Regional Volunteer Coordinator which includes the Sacramento area, northern California, and San Joaquin Valley. Previously, Karen was Senior Operations Associate at NationSwell for the Council, a membership community of service-minded leaders. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies with a minor in English Literature. Karen grew up in Winters, California, a small, rural town 30 miles west of Sacramento. She enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, and hanging out with her dog, Jack.

Jadonna Keim, Deputy Director of COVID-19 Operations

Jadonna is a recent transplant from Indiana to California. Jadonna has a history of working with nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, universities, and hospitals. Jadonna holds a master’s degree in public administration and enjoys working on content strategy and strategic goal setting. She was previously the Regional Volunteer Coordinator for Region 6 for California Volunteers, which includes Mono, Inyo, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial counties.

Megan Suarez-Brand, AmeriCorps Program Officer

Megan joins us from University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources where she ran a community-based volunteer program in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Prior to her time with UC, she was the Watersheds Program Director with the Sierra Nevada Alliance working to build the organizational and technical capacity of natural resource efforts throughout the Range of Light.  While at the Alliance she also had the opportunity to serve as the first Program Director for the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Program. She is excited to join California Volunteers to work in partnership with the amazing programs who are tackling our region’s most pressing issues. Megan is passionate about all things outdoors, community service and protecting our cherished California landscapes.  

Denise Santamaria, AmeriCorps Program Officer  

Denise Santamaria is the new Program Officer with California Volunteers. In this role, she will be overseeing a portfolio of AmeriCorps Programs. She was formally the Regional Volunteer Coordinator for  #OperationFeedCalifornia. Denise is an AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni and brings experience in program development and non-profit volunteer capacity building. She recently received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a focus on organizational leadership.