RYSE Board of Directors
Sonia Bustamante is the Chief of Staff for the Board of Supervisors, District 1 of Contra Costa County, and serves on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Committee. She has served as the Legislative Director for Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, working on constituent issues and policy areas including immigration, workforce development, and healthcare, working on neighborhood initiatives with CBOs and coalitions. Before her work in the public sector, Sonia worked in the labor movement organizing hotel workers for Unite Here 2850, and in the Central Valley as part of the California Labor Federation. Sonia grew up in Fresno, attended Santa Monica College and transferred to UC Berkeley where she earned her BA in Sociology.
Angela Clausen is a Hospital Services Manager at SightLife for the greater California area. Since 2015, she has served on the Board of Directors to generate additional funding in support of RYSE’s work creating systemic changes for youth empowerment. Prior to moving to Contra Costa County in 2011, Angela was the director of a private nonprofit foster care agency for more than eight years and fell in love working with children of all ages. She has worked in social services for 13 years with a focus on nonprofit management, and brings to RYSE her networking and fundraising skills, as well as her sense of humor. She received her Ph. D. in 2006 from Capella University in Human Services and will soon earn her Ph. D. in Public Service Leadership with a nonprofit emphasis. Angela enjoys spending time with her family, running, and hanging out with her dogs.
A resident of Richmond, Sarita Ahuja is Director of Organizational Development at Neighborhood Funders Group. She is also an independent consultant with over 20 years of grantmaking, fundraising, and research experience. She works with organizations and projects that promote racial equity, immigrants’ rights, economic justice, and community organizing. Her professional background includes past positions with the San Francisco Foundation, Asian Law Caucus, the California Endowment, and the Ford Foundation. She has authored a number of publications aimed at educating funders about the needs of communities of color, including the recent report Widening the Lens on Boys and Men of Color: California AAPI and AMEMSA Perspectives.
In addition to serving on RYSE’s Board, Sarita is also a Trust member of the California Vipassana Center. A second generation Indian-American, she has served on the boards of Narika (a Bay Area-based domestic violence agency for South Asian women) and the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota.
Tavae Samuelu serves as the Executive Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), an organization that promotes social justice in the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community through culturally-relevant research, advocacy, and leadership. She joined the RYSE Board in 2017, after almost five years as a staff member. In that time, she was inspired by the talent and brilliance of Richmond youth. Tavae is passionate about liberation work and dedicated to RYSE's mission to create safe healing-centered spaces for young people.
Abel Pineda is a lifelong San Pablo resident with over twelve years of civic and leadership experience. He is the youngest Councilmember to serve in the City of San Pablo and is also the Principal Field Representative for State Assemblymember Rob Bonta. Abel previously worked in the same position for former State Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, served as Assembly District 15 elected Delegate to the California State Democratic Party, and was co-founder of both the San Pablo and the West Contra Costa Unified School District Youth Commissions. He is a proud first generation college graduate of UC Santa Cruz where he earned a BA in Sociology and is a RYSE Center alum.
DeAngelo Mack currently serves as the Director of State Policy for Public Health Advocates. He oversees state policy efforts focused on creating or changing laws centered around trauma and health disparities. He recently served as program manager of WellSpace Health’s acclaimed Sacramento Violence Intervention Program, a hospital-linked program serving the most critically injured and traumatized youth. For almost two decades, Mr. Mack has provided trauma-informed care to the underserved in marginalized neighborhoods across California. Using his knowledge and expertise as an organizer, youth pastor and playwright Mr. Mack finds creative ways to teach and empower others about the effects of generational and historical trauma. Mr. Mack sits on numerous committees locally and nationally focusing on trauma informed practices and social determinants of health, including the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and American College of Surgeons Committee of Trauma.
Lishaun Francis is the Associate Director of Health Collaborations. As part of the health team, Lishaun supports Children Now’s mental health/trauma efforts. Prior to joining Children Now, Lishaun Francis was an Associate Director at the California Medical Association. She provided policy support and analysis for California physicians on the issues of Medi-Cal, Workers’ Compensation, and Health Information Technology. Lishaun spent over two years with the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO where she provided fiscal and policy analyses to the State Legislature on issues of mental health, developmental disabilities, and alcohol and drug programs. In Washington, DC Lishaun Francis worked as a Program Analyst for the U.S Department of Education, providing fiscal support on issues of higher education. Lishaun Francis received her Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.
Michele Levine joins the RYSE Board with a long history of work in schools, school districts, and nonprofit organizations. Her expertise comes from an ability to envision the future and optimize opportunities in the systems and organizations she’s worked in. From being a high school teacher to a small school principal, district administrator, and nonprofit program director, Michele has developed strong skills in teaching and training, management and leadership development, and strategic thinking and program implementation. During her 8-year tenure with the JCC East Bay, Michele led the summer day camp through an intensive accreditation process, developed the Specialty Camp summer program, and led an expansion of the after school program into two Oakland public schools serving over 500 students a day. Michele currently runs her own consulting business with a focus on curriculum development, teaching and training, management and operations, and HR support. Michele holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master’s of Education from the New School for Social Research in New York City.
Michele Seville is the Arts & Culture Manager for the City of Richmond, where she has overseen the Public Art program and the Neighborhood Public Art mini-grant program. She brings to the Board of Directors knowledge about the arts, project management, affinity for youth, and a love for collaboration. Her hope for RYSE is that they continue to expand not only physically, but also as a shining example in the Richmond community and beyond of what integrity, diversity, and humanity is. Michele is passionate about the arts and culture, and their roles in healing. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, and is certified as a Paralegal.