WELL UnTapped 2023 Fellows
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.
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.
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.
Antonio Hernandez is a Boardmember of the Antioch Unified School District. He 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.
Claudia has been a resident of Richmond, California for over a decade where she has been an active and beloved member of her community.
Claudia has a history of building coalitions between unions, community organizations, political leadership, philanthropy, and the private sector. Originally from Colombia, Claudia is a trained architect who has worked to design and build affordable housing and watershed management projects in Colombia. She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley. She lives in District 6 of Richmond with her husband and two children.
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.
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.
A lifelong resident of Sonoma County, Sylvia Lemus was raised in Southwest Santa Rosa and has lived in Cotati for fifteen years.
Sylvia is a 33-year County public servant, most recently in County communications and human resources. Sylvia is invested in the community through her active participation in numerous community organizations and boards that support businesses and nonprofits, including Sonoma Speedway Children’s Charity, and founding member of Los Cien Sonoma County and Santa Rosa Cinco de Mayo.
Sylvia is passionate about community and ensuring equitable solutions are applied with the goal of improving the lives of the county’s residents through education, business, and workforce development, especially in historically underserved communities.
Jazmin Lopez Leos
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.
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.
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.
Devin T. Murphy is the Mayor Pro Tempore of the City of Pinole, California.
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.
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.
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.
Marisol Rubio is the Vice President of the Dublin San Ramon Services (water) District and San Ramon City Councilmember-Elect.
A second-generation American, Marisol was raised by her single mother, a teacher in a high-need school district. Today, as Vice President of the Dublin San Ramon Services District, Marisol has taken her lifelong background in science, social justice, and environmental advocacy to protect one of California’s most valuable, vulnerable, and limited resources – water.
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.
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.
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.