Our team and board are some of the best and brightest minds in LA all working to make change in our communities.


CHAD MAYER, Executive Director

Chad Mayer has years of leadership experience building community relationships, acting as a networking catalyst to mobilize citizens, the faith community, community-based organizations and businesses to get involved in community service and youth development. Chad is the founding director of Sharefest Community Development and is a selfless leader who does what it takes to make programs work. He forges ahead to solve community problems and delights in the successes of the youth who engage in Sharefest programs. His love for youth and for improving their lives and their communities, one person at a time, is inspiring. Chad’s achievements and awards are numerous. Recently, he was awarded The Daily Breeze’s People of Distinction Award in the Volunteer Category.

BETSY CHOU, Vice President, Finance and Operations

Betsy joined Sharefest November 2016 as the Accounting Manager. Her main responsibilities include keeping the financial records, human resources, operations and development support. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with an Accounting Degree and also has a Special Education teaching credential. She is a full-time mom of three teenagers. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching her girl’s softball team, cheering on the Dodgers, reading and staying fit with friends.

GRETCHEN DOWNEY, Vice President, Programs

Gretchen Downey is a 25-year veteran in youth physical/mental/social health services. In previous roles, her program innovations were responsible for changing unprecedented longitudinal population-based behavioral health outcomes for youth in southern California. At Sharefest, Gretchen is using her holistic approach to update and create programs to guide youth to their full potential. She is passionate about engaging the community and forging partnerships between organizations, schools, government, and volunteers to maximize positive outcomes. Gretchen is also a best-selling author and speaker who has been featured in the LA Times, Parent Magazine and on Los Angeles area news. Her ultimate goal is to help people reinstate the power of their own human potential to live fulfilling, stable and joy-filled lives.

TODD DORAM,  Communications and Community Engagement

Todd graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland Oregon where he majored in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism. He’s spent the last 5 years in Television & Film production and using those skills and connections to produce media content that allows Sharefest to convey a clear message for our mission.

KOANA LAIMANA,  Development Manager

Growing up within the LA School District herself, Koana knows exactly what our students at Sharefest face daily. She understands the struggles and pains of growing up in a lower-income area, the mistreatment and stereotyping that comes with that, as well as the lack of resources for youth. Koana fought to get into college and wanted to find an area that she knew other children, with similar stories, needed support in. While attending Vanguard University of Southern California she found a passion for Psychology and saw the need for mental health rise in her hometown. While working full-time in education and in the entertainment world, she was able to graduate with her B.A. in Psychology; with an emphasis in Human Development. Working for a non-profit like Sharefest has become such a fulfilling part of her life. Being able to give back to the areas that affected her as a child is her way of stopping the cycle. She is blessed to be in this chapter of her life surrounded by the support of her friends, chosen family and children Kawai’a’alalehuaopaliuli and Kekoa.

THOMAS VALENCIA, Director of Education

Thomas Valencia is an educational leader and life-long learner with over 20 years of teaching and administrative experience. Thomas has degrees in Psychology, Curriculum development and Education Administration with an Administrative Services credential. Thomas has served as both a classroom teacher and Principal. He believes that all students can succeed by fostering a passion for learning through creativity, collaboration, and real-world applications.

LUIS GUERRERO, Instructor-Mentor

Luis A. Guerrero is a School-Based Instructor for the College-Prep Class at the continuation high schools. Once a continuation student himself, he is passionate in helping students recognize their full potential. He holds a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Chicano/Latino Studies and History and is currently working on his Master's in Education. His hobbies are reading, exercise, and listening to various types of music.

PHONNYTA SENG, Career Counselor

Phonnyta Seng is a school-based Instructor for the College-Prep Class at the continuation high schools for LAUSD. She's also a Mentor to her students, and the lessons and values that she strives for are to prepare and inspire her students to address "what is next?" after they graduate high school. Will they continue on with their education? Either in trade school or in college settings. If so, how? If they already have a career in mind, what kind of steps and plans would the student need to make, so it becomes a reality? Are the students lacking motivation or self-esteem? Those are just some questions that come up in the mentoring sessions and classrooms. Phonnyta understands that every student is different with different goals and backgrounds. She used her experience from being an Art Instructor in Santa Ana Unified School District and owning and operating her own Real Estate Business as tools to help understand her students better and provide knowledge. Phonnyta holds her Bachelor in Art from the University of California, Irvine. She is currently getting her Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and finishing her Life and Health Coach Certificate from Health Coach Institute. Outside of work and school, Phonnyta enjoys going to art museums and shows, attending symphonies, taking care of her mind, body, and spirits, and spending time with her grandparents, dogs, family, and close ones. She also loves to eat fruits and good food.

TIFFANEY ROBINSON, Instructor Case Manager

Tiffaney Robinson has years of mentorship and teaching experience, acting as an agent of change within under-served communities. Tiffaney has a passion for service, and her skill set varies from program coordination and curriculum curation, to case management, and holistic interventions. She graduated from Howard University with a degree in Legal, Strategic, and Management Communications, and has elevated her knowledge while pursuing a Master’s in Counseling at the University of Southern California. Tiffaney is also heavily involved in the arts, intertwining her purpose with her passion through writing and dance. Although she’s not a Los Angeles native, Tiffaney hopes to one day establish her own school within this community. 

LISETTE VALLEJO, Program Administrative Specialist

Lissette is a UC Berkeley alum, she graduated with a Landscape Architecture degree and Education minor. She has over six years of formal experience in tutoring K-12+ students in a wide range of subject areas with a focus on reading literacy and STEM. She is an LAUSD graduate and is passionate about giving back to her community by ensuring educational equity for all students. She is a lifelong learner and dedicates her free time delving into a wide range of subjects, including architecture, computer technology, design, psychology, and writing.

LAURA CASTILLO, Operations Specialist

Laura Castillo has 20 years of experience in operations and human resources. In her previous roles, she helped improve employee performance, promote collaboration and teamwork, and help employees and organizations improve goals through recruitment, coaching and developing staff. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Laura grew up in the LA School District herself and recognizes the lack of funds and means for youth. Laura understands the critical window of opportunity for youth and young adults to gain an education and/or training that would provide the foundation for their occupational development. On her free time, she takes pleasure of volunteering as the room-mom at her children’s school. Laura enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and mom.

LIBERTY COHEN, Workforce Development Manager

Liberty joined Sharefest Inc. March of 2023. Using her degree in Communications from Cal State University, Fullerton, she has overseen training initiatives from small group facilitations to nation-wide onboarding. She comes to us with a back ground in Workforce Development that crosses a variety of industries including Entertainment, Home Finance, and Technology. SoCal raised and San Pedro local, Liberty is passionate about the communities that helped mold her. Her peers have described her as dedicated, driven, and enthusiastic. Liberty describes herself as a “forever student” and lives by the following phrase: What I don’t know, I will learn, and what I already know, I share.



Rebekah Kim is an experienced public affairs and government relations professional with nearly two decades of political experience at the federal, state and local levels. Most recently, Rebekah led the Los Angeles County portfolio for one Los Angeles’ top public affairs firms. In leading high profile technology and infrastructure client accounts and initiatives, Rebekah engaged with elected officials, department heads and key staff across the County and City of Los Angeles. Rebekah was previously Chief of Staff to the Southern California region executive for AECOM, a Fortune 500 global infrastructure firm. As Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Rebekah oversaw the Harbor and Palos Verdes Peninsula region and worked with the County's 34 Departments to deliver essential services to the more than 2 million constituents of the Fourth District. Her County role also provided her with an insider's perspective on how the County’s $30 billion budget is organized and allocated to serve more than 10 million residents. Rebekah also served as Deputy to U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman, for whom she focused on the South Bay and Beach Cities in addition to labor, aerospace/defense, port and transportation issues. Her public sector career also includes positions with the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors and the office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. A graduate of UC Irvine where she majored in Psychology and Social Behavior, Rebekah and her husband are proud parents of a daughter and son.


Tim Seidel is the Refinery Manager of the Los Angeles Refinery for Phillips 66. The refinery has operating sites in Wilmington, Carson and the Port of Los Angeles. In his role, Tim is responsible for managing the 600+ employee operation to safely refine oil into transportation fuels. Tim and his family moved from Oklahoma in July of 2018 from Ponca City where he served as the refinery manager.

A graduate of Montana State University, Tim began his career with the company in 1997 and has worked at multiple sites in both California and Texas as well as at the company’s Billings Refinery in his home state of Montana. In the different cities where Tim has lived, he has served on a variety of boards ranging from the Billings Food Bank to a Board of Reagents position for the University Center at Ponca City. Tim and his wife, Kim, both chemical engineers, live in Palos Verdes Estates with their two sons.


Mark Limpert is a Principal at ColdWater Partners, a privately held Real Estate Investment firm focusing on opportunities in the Western United States. Prior to joining CWP, Mark served as Vice President at two large institutional real estate private equity firms where he focused on asset management responsibilities. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Dartmouth College and resides in Hermosa Beach with his Wife, son, and golden retriever.


Cindi Krippendorf and her husband, Michael, have been residents of the South Bay for 30 years. They’ve owned and operated Fielding Electric, Inc., an electrical contracting company headquartered in Torrance, since 2000. They enjoy active participation in their church and community and are proud supporters of the Sharefest Workday, both as volunteers and corporate sponsors.


Chad Mayer has years of leadership experience building community relationships, acting as a networking catalyst to mobilize citizens, the faith community, community-based organizations and businesses to get involved in community service and youth development. Chad is the founding director of Sharefest Community Development and is a selfless leader who does what it takes to make programs work. He forges ahead to solve community problems and delights in the successes of the youth who engage in Sharefest programs. His love for youth and for improving their lives and their communities, one person at a time, is inspiring. Chad’s achievements and awards are numerous. Recently, he was awarded The Daily Breeze’s People of Distinction Award in the Volunteer Category.


Prior to founding West Harbor Capital, Eric was a Senior Vice President at Sitex Group, a national industrial real estate private equity firm where he led the firm's expansion into Southern California. Eric has also held key roles at CenterPoint Properties, First Industrial Realty Trust and AEW Capital Management. Eric currently serves on the board of directors for the NAIOP Inland Empire chapter and the SIOR Los Angeles chapter. Eric lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife and two children.


Dan is the Director of Finance at Wedbush Inc., an investment firm headquartered in Los Angeles that includes among its holdings broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, and private and public equity funds. Dan is responsible for oversight of daily operations, including finance and accounting and is also directly involved with the underlying investments, including serving as a Board Member or Committee Member. Dan joined Wedbush in 2006 as the CFO of Wedbush Capital Partners, where he oversees the funds administration, interacts with portfolio companies, and supports the financial due diligence process. Prior to joining Wedbush, Dan was the CFO of DynaFund Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Dan began his career in the attestation group of Ernst & Young LLP and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive). An avid ice hockey and University of Washington Huskies fan, Dan often can be found yelling at the television during football season. He spends the rest of his free time with his family, coaching Little League baseball, enjoying sports and traveling.


Frank is a born leader who spends his days serving his corporate clients at The Klabin Company and helping them solve their commercial real estate needs. Frank has served his professional association SIOR (Society of Industrial & Office Realtors) in Los Angeles as its Chapter President and at a national level as Leader of its Young Professional Group. Collaboration, hard work, and building relationships are what makes Frank tick. His leadership extends to Sharefest in serving as the Chairman to the Fundraiser Dinner Committee. Frank's hobbies include swimming, tennis, and chasing his young twins.


With over 15 years of experience in creating iconic destinations, Jessica's guiding principles are of hospitality as an entire experience, one that is woven together with place, service, food and art. Born and raised in Canada to Hong Kong immigrants, after getting her degree in illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, she worked for various notable design firms and MGM Resorts in design, management and marketing. Career highlights include design management of all the signage, water features and Fine Art Collection at CityCenter in Las Vegas and traveling to China with Mayor Eric Garcetti to support development investment in Los Angeles. She currently oversees a portfolio of 5 small family businesses with 65 team members across 6 cities in Asia/North America.


Gabriela Medina is the District Director to Councilwoman Traci Park, representing the communities of Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Sawtelle, Del Rey, Mar Vista, Venice, Playa del Rey, Westchester, Ladera, and Playa Vista. In this capacity, she oversees district operations and works collaboratively with the field team to guarantee city services to a constituency of 285,000 residents. She was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and majored in Sociology. This is her 11th year serving the residents of Los Angeles. Gabriela is a proud daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico and El Salvador.


Moises Figueroa is the Regional General Manager of SA Recycling Ports/Anaheim region. His region includes two locations in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Mr. Figueroa has been in the scrap metal business since 1990 and has held key positions in equipment, operational, production and service management on a large scale. Presently, he oversees the operation of 300 individuals in five facilities, collectively loading 1.5 million tons of scrap per year. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering at Lima University and obtained his Associate degree in Hydraulics and Fluid Power Technology at the University of Washington. Mr. Figueroa is very active in the communities SA Recycling serves. He is currently on the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and Wilmington Chamber of Commerce Board. He is dedicated to educating the community of the importance and benefits of recycling. Mr. Figueroa was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States in 1989. Moises is married to his lovely wife, Fabiola Figueroa and they have two children, Nicholas and Karina.


Vincent Vanacore serves as Senior Vice President, Market Manager in the South Bay Market and is focused on supporting privately held businesses and their owners in Southern California. He joins CalPrivate Bank after serving as Vice President, Commercial Lender at Boston Private and prior to that was a Relationship Manager at Bank of Manhattan which then merged with Plaza Bank. Vincent is a native of Southern California and grew up in the South Bay where he still resides with his wife and son. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach and an MBA from Loyola Marymount University.


Jeff Etherington is Alaska Airlines’ Director of Sales for California/Arizona/Mid-West/ East Coast /Mexico. Jeff began his airline career with Delta Air Lines in Dallas, Texas and transferred to Los Angeles following the Delta/Western merger. While at Delta, Jeff was Regional Director of Sales for the West Region and General Manager Corporate Sales - West Region. Jeff joined Alaska Airlines in January of 2005. A resident of the greater Los Angeles area, Jeff serves on the board for Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, past Board member for Junior Achievement of San Diego County, former Chairperson for the March of Dimes Annual Health Walk. Jeff was formerly on the Torrance Unified School District West High Site Council as Chair and was a board member with the California Travel Association. A native of Tucson, Arizona, Jeff graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and minor in International Relations. He resides in Torrance, with his wife Courtney, a Torrance Unified School Teacher. Jeff and Courtney have 2 recently graduated children, Matt from the University of Arizona and Sydney from West High School.