Alejandra “Allie” Fen

Community Organizer, Barrio Logan

Anibal edit2Allie joined EHC in 2020. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a Master’s in Education from MSU Billings. She started creating social change as a fundraising field manager for Environment California and later coordinated clean energy campaigns for the California Public Interest Research Group. After working in adult education for several years, Allie came to EHC to help people develop skills to engage in their democracy and stand up for themselves, protecting their families and communities from health risks and increasing access to economic opportunity.

In her free time, Allie loves swing dancing, running, cooking, and spending time with her husband and friends.

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Angelica Estrada
Communications Director

Anibal edit2The daughter of an immigrant and a Southern California native, Angelica Alicia Estrada, is committed to empowering underserved communities to successfully advocate for social and environmental justice. Angelica joined Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) in 2020 as the Communications Director. She has more than half a decade of strategic communications experience, helping local and national organizations expand their reach and impact. She started her career working with nonprofits in Los Angeles county, gaining some experience in the entertainment industry, then transitioned to a public affairs firm out of Orange County. Before joining EHC, Angelica was the Marketing and Communications Manager at Sepsis Alliance, a national nonprofit, where she led targeted multimedia marketing campaigns.

Angelica graduated Cum Laude from California State University Northridge, where she studied Political Science and received the Academic Excellence Award. In her free time, Angelica can be found exploring California’s eclectic communities, hunting down new restaurants, and dreaming of her next adventure with her husband and son.

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Aníbal Méndez
Campaign Director, Border Environmental Justice Campaign

Anibal edit2Aníbal joined EHC in 2008 as the Youth Group Coordinator for our Tijuana Community Action Team. He has a degree in psychology, is a graphic and webpage designer, a musician and composer, and has been a teacher, therapist, radio spokesperson, and video performer.

Aníbal enjoys seeing the community members develop and increase their commitment to each other and to improving the quality of life in their community. His personal interests include music, movies, reading and sports.

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Carolina Martínez
Climate Justice Director

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Carolina works together with residents in low-income communities of color to advocate for climate and land use policies that respect their priorities, improve health, and are consistent with environmental justice principles. For 8 years she worked with National City residents implementing a comprehensive community plan that phased out polluting industries out of a residential neighborhood and created an affordable housing project. Currently, she is advancing the equitable implementation of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan.

Caro is a proud Colombian immigrant who enjoys working at the intersection of liberation, race, culture, gender, civic engagement, environmental issues, health and city planning in the struggle for environmental justice. Carolina has M.A.s in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies and spends her free time learning to play Son Jarocho and dance Puerto Rican Bomba.

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Clay Myers-Bowman
Fund Development Manager

Clay

Clay Myers-Bowman joined Environmental Health Coalition as Fund Development Manager in August, 2019. He is an award-winning leader who has spearheaded dozens of projects (from New York to California, from Minnesota to Colorado, and from Kansas to Sweden and Norway) over the past 30 years.

He’s worked for, consulted with, and served on the boards of arts and cultural groups, human service agencies, educational institutions, disaster relief agencies, and an event management company. This experience, coupled with strong philanthropic values and ethics, has enabled him to help nonprofit organizations advance their mission and carry out successful fundraising campaigns and events.

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Danny Serrano
Campaign Director, Toxic-Free Neighborhoods

Danny SerranoDanny joined the EHC in 2020 as the Toxic-Free Neighborhoods Campaign Director. Danny is a bilingual land use/environmental specialist born in Mexico and raised in southern California with over 12 years of experience in long range planning, environmental impact analysis, and housing development.

Danny attended the University of Granada (Spain), received his Bachelors in Latin American & Iberian Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and has a Masters in City Planning from SDSU.

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Diane Takvorian
Executive Director

Diane takvorianDiane is one of the founders of EHC and has been its Executive Director since 1982. She holds a Masters degree in Social Work with an emphasis on public policy and community organizing. As a major force behind the environmental justice movement, Diane has served on international, national, state, and regional advisory boards. In 2009, President Obama appointed her to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation. In July 2008 Diane received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her "creative and inspirational leadership benefiting the people of California."

Diane and her husband Bob enjoy adventure travel, working on the native plant landscaping in their yard, and Diane's cooking specialty is vegetarian soups.

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Dominique Navarro
Fund Development Director

Dominique edit3Dominique joined EHC's development team in 2016 after working with various partners including the Center on Policy Initiatives and The San Diego Foundation Center for Civic Engagement in functions including grant writing, event planning, and community outreach. She has always been passionate about social and environmental justice and has worked on environmental education efforts in the U.S., Costa Rica and Mozambique.

She has a M.A. in International Environmental Policy and a B.A. in Environmental Systems with a minor in Ethnic Studies. She loves to travel, dance, try new food, and spend time with her three rescue dogs.

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Eric Wilson
Human Resources and Administration Director

PIC For Website vJun2019Eric joined EHC with over 20 years of administrative and operational experience within the for-profit and not-for-profit arenas. He has notable experience in the management of Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance. He uses his skills and experiences to ensure the back office business processes of an organization are efficient, effective and compliant.

Eric has worked with several notable non-profits such as the San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the Phoenix House and several multi-million dollar for-profit companies. However, Eric’s heart is with social and environmental justice work.

When not administrating, Eric enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants and eateries, reading and spending time at the beach.

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Franco García
Organizing Director

Franco GarciaFranco joined EHC in 2010. He has a B.A in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego. He directed the Community Building Department at the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils in San Diego and worked with the United Domestic Workers of America and SEIU 2028.

Franco likes working for environmental justice to secure a safe and healthy environment for the community. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons.

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Jorge Gonzalez
Regional & Civic Engagement Organizer

jorge edit3Jorge considers himself a border hybrid from San Diego and Tijuana. He holds an M.A. from UCSB in Latin American & Iberian Studies. From 2012-2016, Jorge did faith-based organizing with the San Diego Organizing Project & PICO National Network; where he was part of the state and national civic engagement campaigns on Immigration and Criminal Justice reform. He joined EHC in 2016 as the Barrio Logan Community Organizer and Civic Engagement Coordinator.

In January 2020, Jorge transitioned to his new role as the Regional Community and Civic Engagement Organizer. In his free time, Jorge enjoys cooking, collecting records, the outdoors, traveling to Baja, and spending quality time with his wife and two kids. Read more about Jorge’s story at EHC here.

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Julie Corrales
Barrio Logan Policy Advocate

Julie Bio 100x150

Julie grew up in City Heights and now lives in Barrio Logan, both environmental justice communities. She and her family have experienced firsthand the harmful effects of institutionalized racism, including discriminatory land use, lack of protection for domestic workers, over-policing of communities of color and the prison industrial prison complex. In 2016, Julie began volunteering with grassroots organization People Over Profits San Diego to effect criminal justice reform. She joined EHC in 2018 to focus her efforts on fighting environmental racism in her beloved community by advocating for cleaner air, affordable housing, and safe streets.

Julie enjoys spending time with her three children, writing poetry, and performing spoken word at various venues in San Diego. She continues to volunteer on the Leadership Council of People Over Profits.

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Karla Weber
Administrative Assistant

karla Karla joined EHC in December 2016 with 11 years of experience in Administration and Finance. Born in Chula Vista and raised in Tijuana, she commuted across the U.S./Mexico border on a daily basis to attend school and work. Karla enjoys spending her spare time with her two daughters. She currently serves as the Staff Representative to the Board of Directors.

 

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Kyle Heiskala
Climate Justice Policy Advocate

kyle heiskala Kyle joined EHC in 2021 bringing years of experience as a political and media strategist with a passion for making San Diego a better place to live, work and play for all. He began his career working as a community representative and policy advisor at the San Diego City Council before launching into several international environmental justice campaigns abroad. His background also includes local non-profit management and community activism around social justice, affordable housing, equitable transportation and climate action.

Kyle grew up in the South Bay in Chula Vista and has a B.A. in Environmental Systems with a focus on Environmental Policy from UC San Diego. When Kyle isn’t working, he can be found tending a garden or planning his next bike ride with his partner.

 

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Laura Benavidez
City Heights Organizer

Laura Benavidez Laura grew up in a diverse community in Southeastern San Diego, which sparked her love for learning and organizing. Her involvement in community organizing began at an early age and has led to her work with non-profits for the past 15 years. In 2016, Assembly Speaker Emeritus, Toni Atkins, recognized her as an “Emerging Female Leader”. Laura’s leadership focuses on empowering others to find their own voice, especially among underrepresented communities, women of color, and youth.

Laura holds Bachelors in Legal Studies and a combined Latin American and Latino Studies/ Sociology, in addition to her three Associates in Chicano Studies, Communication Studies, and Sociology for Transfer. She hopes to use the intersections of her education to assist the communities she serves through resource sharing, leadership development, and mentorship.

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Leticia Ayala
Campaign Director, Healthy Kids & Leadership Development

Leticia edit2Leticia received a B.A. in Business Administration in 1994, became a certified Lead Hazard Control Specialist in 2000, and was Home Energy Rating System certified in 2010. She joined EHC as Office Manager in 1995, became Membership Associate in 1997, Coordinator of EHC's pilot lead poisoning prevention project in 1998, and Campaign Director in 2002. In high school, Leticia was the Youth Representative for the Los Angeles Mayor's Committee on Children, Youth and Families. She is a member of the San Diego Citizen Advisory Committee for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, the Southern California Healthy Homes Collaborative, Smoke-Free Housing Taskforce and the California Healthy Housing Coalition. Leticia is a 2010 graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute.

Leticia enjoys working for justice and is passionate about protecting children rights. She enjoys nature, traveling, photography, camping, feng shui, and dancing Rueda de Casino with her husband Pablo.

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Lilia Escalante
Finance Director

Lilia Escalante

Lilia joined EHC in 2000 with an AA degree in accounting and business management, and is completing a degree in international business. She is bilingual and is a certified translator/interpreter. In addition to her fiscal responsibilities, Lilia translates EHC publications and provides oral interpretation for events.

Lilia and her three children live next to Chollas Creek, the focus of EHC's urban watershed protection efforts. She and her family volunteer for watershed cleanup events.

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Maria Magdalena Cerda Baez
Border Environmental Justice Policy Advocate

Magdalena edit2Magdalena joined EHC in 2000. She was technical coordinator for the Mexican government agency INEA (Instituto Nacional de Educación para los Adultos), where she worked with adult literacy programs in the border region. She served as president of a community group in Colonia Guadalupe Victoria in Tijuana that secured land rights and infrastructure from the Mexican Government. In 2009, she received the Grass Roots Organizer award from the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.

Magdalena likes EHC's environmental and social justice efforts to create a world where many worlds can co-exist. Her family and friends are her joy, strength, and inspiration; dancing is her therapy. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, dancing, gardening, traditional Mexican cooking, sewing, and arts and crafts.

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Maria Moodie
Fund Development Associate

Maria MoodieMaria Moodie has 15+ years of non-profit experience, specializing in communications, events, and fund development for high-impact non-profit organizations. Most recently, she worked to open Cristo Rey San Diego High School. A Detroit native, she has worked in Chicago, San Francisco, and Mexico City, and is glad to make San Diego her home. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and earned her Master of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University.

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Monica De la Cruz
Climate Justice Policy Advocate

Monserrat edit2Since Monica de la Cruz joined EHC in February 2019, she has grown from an internship in fundraising, to part-time SOMAH Coordinator, to her current role as Climate Justice Policy Advocate. Monica's professional experience ranges from digital advertising and voter outreach for progressive political campaigns to volunteer recruitment and community engagement for youth and education nonprofits. Monica grew up in inland north county San Diego and earned her B.A. in Literature and Cultural Studies at UC San Diego.

Outside of her work at EHC, Monica advocates for more affordable housing, sustainable growth, and safe, high quality active transportation options as a volunteer board member of her community planning group. Monica loves all things San Diego and enjoys spending her free time exploring neighborhoods by bike and learning about San Diego's history.

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Monserrat Hernández
Community Organizer, National City

Monserrat edit2Monserrat learned about the opportunity to participate with EHC at her children's school and then served on EHC's Barrio Logan Community Action Team for five years. During that time, she was involved in the effort to change truck routes in the community. Monserrat began working at EHC in 2007.

Monserrat likes meeting people in the community, working with them to improve the quality of life for families and learn about social and environmental justice.

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Nancy Cruz
Director, Organizing

Nancy CruzNancy was born and raised in a working-class immigrant household in San Diego. Witnessing countless injustices and lack of equity drove her to organize with her community, starting in her early teen years. In 2021, she comes to EHC as the Organizing Director with over a decade of community and labor organizing experience. She has had the honor of building power with youth, immigrants, janitors, fast food workers, postdocs and academic researchers. Nancy is involved in many community efforts and currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of CPI's program Students for Economic Justice and as Board Member of Project YANO.

Nancy is passionate about building a better future and enjoys dancing, taking nature walks and spending quality time with family and friends.

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Rebecca Miranda
Executive Assistant

Rebecca MirandaRebecca joined the EHC team in 2020. Originally from California’s Central Valley, Rebecca is committed to fostering healthy community building and facilitating the advancement, social capital, and representation of marginalized communities at both the local and global levels. Before working at EHC, she held roles at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, and as a co-chair for the San Diego Refugee Forum’s World Refugee Day Committee. Rebecca holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the Institut Barcelona D’Estudis Internacionals, where she focused her thesis research on social movement theory and transnational advocacy networks.

In her free time, Rebecca enjoys traveling, playing beach volleyball, visiting the San Diego Zoo, and spending time with her family and friends.

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