WELL UnTapped 2023 Fellows
Councilmember, City of South El Monte
Manuel “Manny” Acosta received his B.S. and M.S. in Biochemistry at California State University, Los Angeles. He then spent over 22 years in the Biomanufacturing industry.
After a successful career in the biomanufacturing industry, Manny obtained a Faculty position at Los Angeles Trade-Tech College where he teaches General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry. Concurrent with his teaching role, Manny was elected to South El Monte’s City Council in 2017 and re-elected in 2022.
Manny has also used and will continue to use, his platform to educate the community about issues that affect South El Monte.
Boardmember, Bellflower Unified School District
Renita Armstrong is an Early Childhood Special Education Specialist for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) with 24 years of teaching and leadership experience, more than 15 years of PTA membership and school involvement, a history of volunteering in her church as well as serving as treasurer for Los Angeles County Education Association (LACEA).
Renita is a Bellflower resident and single mother to five former and current BUSD students. She has a passion for service and a mission for elevating others to aspire to their potential.
Dr. Sabrina Bow
President, Azusa Unified School District
Elected in 2020, Dr. Sabrina Bow serves on the Azusa Unified School District Governing Board. Dr. Bow has served as an educator for 18 years, working in Title I schools in the greater Los Angeles area. Her work to centralize marginalized students is grounded in a strong belief in advocacy and agency. As a first-generation college student, Dr. Bow holds an MBA from USC and a doctorate in education from UCLA.
President, West Valley Water District
The people of the West Valley Water District elected Channing Hawkins to the Board of Directors in November 2019.
President Hawkins is a practicing attorney and shareholder of Bracy Hawkins Law, PC. His practice includes civil litigation, board governance, labor, and employment. Hawkins has served as a staff advisor to a member of Congress, the California state legislature, and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. Additionally, he has served as a chief contract negotiator and government relations liaison for public sector labor unions.
Hawkins earned his Juris Doctorate and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Boardmember, Antioch Unified School District
Antonio Hernandez grew up in Antioch after his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico looking for opportunities and settled in Antioch.
He earned a degree in Economics from Stanford University and is currently a medical student at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine.
Antonio knows that getting a good education means addressing all of the challenges that students face, including access to housing, food, and healthcare.
Councilmember, City of San Jose
Sergio Jimenez was elected in 2016 to represent San José’s District 2. He is committed to serving residents to make our community a better, more equitable, and inclusive place for all.
Sergio was raised in East San José by his single mother, who was his biggest inspiration. She instilled in him the values of hard work, resiliency, and a passion for helping others. Thanks to his mother’s support, he was the first in his family to attend college and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from San José State University.
Soon after graduating from SJSU, Sergio moved to District 2, where he has lived ever since.
Councilmember, City of Commerce
Kevin Lainez is a Council Member for the City of Commerce and was elected in June 2022.
He has previously served as Chairperson of the Commerce Planning Commission where he and his colleagues worked to thoughtfully bring forward new and exciting projects to develop the city’s infrastructure and diversify its revenue sources. He currently serves as the City of Commerce’s board representative on the Southeast Water Coalition (SEWC).
Kevin is a Southern California native who attended Loyola High School in Los Angeles and has worked in the technology industry for over 15 years. He is a proud husband and father of two young boys.
Jazmin Lopez Leos
President, Valley County Water District
Jazmin Lopez Leos is Board President at Valley County Water District where she has served on the board for 4 years.
During her time at the water district, she has increased community outreach, efficient water use, and infrastructure improvement. Outside of her elected position, Lopez Leos is the Head Coach for Girls’ Cross Country and Head Coach for Track and Field at Baldwin Park High School.
Jazmin Lopez Leos has an associate degree in Communications and Language Arts from Mt. San Antonio College and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management from California State University Bakersfield.
Councilmember, City of Maywood
Heber was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and came to Los Angeles at a young age. He is a proud product of LAUSD schools. He earned a B.A. degree and Teaching Credential in Liberal Studies with a Concentration in Language and Literacy from Cal State Long Beach and a MA degree in School Leadership from Cal State Dominguez Hills. He is currently working on his Doctoral Degree in School Leadership from USC with a focus on Educational Psychology and research on Motivation in schools.
With over 15 years as an educator, Heber also brings with him a duty of civic engagement and does so by leading by example. He represents the City of Maywood at the Gateway Cities of Government, COG 710 AdHoc Committee, and the LA County Sanitation District 1. In January, he joined the United States Conference of Mayors where he represented Maywood in Washington DC with many other mayors from across the United States.
Councilmember, City of Madera
Elsa Mejia is a lifelong Madera resident who became the first woman of indigenous descent elected to the Madera City Council in 2021. Born and raised in California’s Central Valley to immigrant farmworkers, the granddaughter of a Bracero, and now a proud union member —she has been involved in social justice causes locally, statewide, and internationally all of her life. Councilwoman Mejia earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science, Mass Communication, and Journalism, as well as a Certificate in Legal Studies, from Fresno State.
Mayor, City of Pinole
A collaborative leader and social entrepreneur, he is focused on building a regenerative economy that engenders increasing prosperity while maintaining the natural systems that sustain us. Devin has over a decade of business development and marketing experience. In 2018, Devin was appointed as a Technology and Democracy Fellow by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In his free time, he likes reading, long-distance walking, and spending time with his nieces and nephews and his dog, Miles. Devin is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and holds a Certificate in Public Leadership from the University of San Francisco.
Councilmember, City of Paramount
Born and raised in Paramount, Brenda Olmos was appointed to the City Council in July 2019 to fill an unscheduled vacancy and was subsequently elected to the City Council in March 2020. She has served one term as Mayor from 2021-2022 and one term as Vice Mayor from 2020-2021.
She currently serves as the City’s representative for the California Contract Cities Association as an Executive Board Member, The League of California Cities, a Policy Board Member for SELACO Workforce Development, and is a member of the City’s Homelessness Ad Hoc Committee. She is also a Commissioner for the Los Angeles County Commission on Local Government Services and sits on the Governing Board for Coast Hospital.
Professionally, Olmos is the Senior Director of Network and Business Development at Optum Healthcare and has a master’s degree in Public Policy from USC.
Ana Maria Quintana
Councilmember, City of Bell
Ana Maria Quintana is a proud product of the Southeast community. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Yale University, a Master’s Degree from the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, and legal studies at Columbia Law School in New York City.
As the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Durango, Ana Maria values her parents’ lifelong commitment to providing her family with a better life. It is a direct result of both her parents’ tireless sacrifice that she has learned to give nothing less than her personal best.
Ana Maria opted to run for Bell City Council in 2010 to reform and bring transparency to Bell City Hall with the goal of creating good government. With the aid of friends, family, and the Bell community, she was successfully elected to office in 2011 and re-elected in 2013, 2017, and 2022. Since being elected, Ana Maria has been an ardent advocate of education by organizing community meetings on Charter Reform and Immigration.
Councilmember, City of Salinas
Anthony Rocha is a California native from the Salinas Valley, a graduate of local public schools, and has served the public in several capacities.
In 2018, Anthony Rocha was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Salinas Union High School District. As a School Board Member, Anthony championed the district-wide ban on the use of toxic pesticides on school grounds, worked with the Board to adopt ethnic studies as a graduation requirement, and supported the expansion of mental health wellness centers on all school sites. In 2020, at the age of 21, Anthony was elected to the Salinas City Council and currently serves on the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority Board of Directors, and as a member of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board.
Anthony holds an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Hartnell Community College and is completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Councilmember, City of San Ramon
A second-generation American, Marisol was raised by her single mother, a teacher in a high-need school district. Marisol Rubio served as Director and Vice President of the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) prior to winning her election for San Ramon City Council District 4 on November 8, 2022. Marisol has an extensive volunteer background in San Ramon, Contra Costa County, the Bay Area, and the State of California in areas such as disability rights, human rights, workers’ rights, social and racial justice, and the environment. She is also a Founding Advisory Board Member of a nonprofit that advocates for women’s reproductive health education and treatment, as well as a fund that advances policies to protect individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Marisol received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley with a major in Molecular and Cell Biology – Neurobiology emphasis where she received the P.E.O. Women’s Leadership Award. Marisol currently lives in San Ramon with her daughter who is a student at Diablo Valley College.
Councilmember, City of Rialto
Rafael Trujillo was first elected as a Council Member to the City of Rialto in 2016. He previously served two terms on the West Valley Water District Board of Directors. He serves on several agency and association boards. Councilmember Trujillo makes difficult decisions in the city’s long history with perchlorate contamination cleanup and during the city’s economic boom with an increasing demand for water with new residential and commercial customers. He also serves as a Case Manager for Congresswoman Norma Torres. He believes in the value of collaboration and sharing ideas in water policy.
Mayor, City of Soledad
Anna Maria Velazquez was elected Mayor of the City of Soledad in November 2020 becoming the first female Mayor to represent the city in ninety-nine years.
Anna was born and raised in the Salinas Valley by farmworker parents. Her father was an active member of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) and fought alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to bring social, political, and economic equality to farm workers.
Anna has over 20 years of experience in local government—including four years as a City Council member and many more in her current position as District Director for a State Senator. She brings a breadth of experience and her expertise. Anna has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology from CSU, Fresno, and an Associate Degree from Hartnell Community College.