Yuovene Whistler was born, raised and has lived within the service area served by Crystal Stairs – South Central Los Angeles, Inglewood, Gardena, Hawthorne and Lawndale. It is the commitment to and love of community that has made her 15 years of work at Crystal Stairs that much more meaningful. She is currently the Manager of the Resource & Referral Department where she oversees various government and private contracts that assist families and the broad spectrum of the early care and education workforce, as well as representing Crystal Stairs on various boards and committees.
Janet Zamudio has worked in the early care and education field providing support to families and child care programs through Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) organizations for 14 years. In her work at the CCR&R she has provided consultation for child care programs, grew a healthy and safety project to provide CPR & First Aid trainings in diverse languages to child care providers in her county, worked as a community organizer with low-income families to advocate for child care, and in programs that help pay for child care for low-income families. She is currently the Director of Parent Services at the Children’s Council in San Francisco. In that capacity, she provides support and guides the work of the Resource and Referral Department, Parent Voices (a grassroots advocacy organization of parents fighting for quality, affordable, and accessible child care for all California families who need it), San Francisco Child Care Connection (SF3C – a city and county web-based system that gives access to eligible families that need help paying for child care), and Inclusion Enhanced Referrals (an enhanced referral process for families with children of special needs). Janet’s passion for supporting families and child care providers grew out of her own experience, having become a mom at a young age needing child care in order to finish college. She has three children. She received her BA in Social Welfare from the University of California in Berkeley, her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Mills College and is currently a Doctoral Candidate researching a leadership development for families in Parent Voices.
For the past 20+ years Mike has dedicated his professional life to education, not only in Early Childhood Education but also at the K-8 level. Prior to working in the ECE field as the Executive Director and Program Director of Siskiyou Child Care Council, he was a 5th grade teacher, K-8 principal and a K-8 district superintendent for over 10 years with state preschools on some of the campuses. For 5 of these years he was the superintendent of four small districts simultaneously, with enrollments from 90-200 students per district. This meant that he had four board meetings each month, four separate school boards and four separate school staffs in four distinct and unique communities in Siskiyou County.
He was an active member of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), serving at the charter (county) level as well as the Region (8 northern CA counties) level. Additionally he was on the Executive Committee of the Small School District Association for four years and presented a budgeting workshop at their annual New Superintendent’s Symposium.
Mike holds a Master’s Degree in Education, multiple subject teaching credential and a Professional Clear Administrative Credential.
Cheryl Nelson is currently the Director of Community Connection for Child Care in Kern County. She is responsible for Kern County’s Resource & Referral Program, Alternative Payment Program, all CalWORKs Programs (Stage 1, 2, & 3), and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. However, she believes her biggest and most important responsibility is supporting families, children, and early care and education professionals.
Cheryl was born, raised, and still reside in Bakersfield, CA. She is married with 4 adult children (2 sons and 2 daughters). As a parent, she understands the benefits of quality child care and the importance of ensuring children are placed in quality child care programs that are developmentally appropriate.
Cheryl has an earned Doctorate Degree in Public Administration, Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Leadership, Bachelors of Science Degree in Public Administration, and an Associate of Arts Degree in Human Services.
For more than 21 years, Cheryl has been a voice and supported families, children, and early care and education professionals. She has more than 16 years of working in leadership and partnership with community organizations, state associations, and advisory committees. She has experience with the administration and implementation of federal and state funded programs. She also has knowledge and experience in policy development and policy analysis.
Cheryl currently participates on the CAPPA Public Policy Committee and Efficiency Committee. She is a member of the R&R Network Public Policy Committee, Kern County Local Planning Council, Kern County Local Planning Council Public Policy Committee, Bakersfield College Advisory Committee, Kern County QRIS Consortia, and Community Connection for Child Care Advisory Committee. She was recently voted in as the Resource and Referral Central Valley Regional Vice President.
Cheryl is committed to ensuring families receive the support and services needed to be successful. She is dedicated to the work of ensuring children are placed in healthy and safe environments while growing and learning in quality programs.
Tanya McMahan, Southern Regional Vice President
Michael Olenick, Ph.D. is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Child Care Resource Center in Chatsworth, CA. Programs in some or all of its northern Los Angeles/San Bernardino service area include Stage 1, 2, 3, AP, Head Start /Early Head Start, quality improvement for child care providers and home visitors.
Dr. Olenick is a member of the California State Advisory Committee on Early Care and Learning. He is Los Angeles Child Care Alliance’s Vice-president and Chief Contract Negotiator resulting in three county contracts totaling over $1 billion. He is a past chair of the California Child Care Resource Referral Network and a past president of Child Care Aware of America. Dr. Olenick has a B.A. from the University of Illinois, a M.Ed. from the Erikson Institute, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. He taught child care policy at the university level and was a public policy instructor for the California Association for the Education of Young Children Leadership Program. He is married and has three children.
Christie Hendricks is the Assistant Superintendent of the Early Education Department of the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE). She serves as the Executive Director of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs for Merced County as well as providing program oversight of the Child Care Resource and Referral program, the Alternative Payment program, Race to the Top- Early Learning grant, CARES Plus, Local Child Care and Development Planning Council, and other unique grants and programs that the MCOE Early Education Department operates. Christie has also served as the Coordinator for the California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN) Region 7 covering Merced, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties, and previously provided speech and language pathology services for children and adults in health and educational settings. Christie has developed and implemented numerous pilot projects including the Early Learning Opportunities Act (ELOA), Constructing Connections of Merced County, and served as the coordinator of the Merced County Local Child Care and Development Planning Council.
Kelly has been working at The Resource Connection of Amador and Calaveras Counties for more than 20 years, prior to that she operated a family child care home in Amador County and offered licensed exempt care in the Bay Area. She currently serves as the Program Director for the Child Care Resource and Referral, Alternative Payment Program and the Calaveras Local Child Care and Development Planning Council, as well as a Director in a shared management structure of a multi-service agency. Kelly holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development with a specialization in Social Change and she enjoys program and community planning and development. She also feels it is important to stay connected to providers and families and continues to train on Health and Safety, Strengthening Families and other topics of interest.
Kelly is an advocate for rural families and communities, as well as for broad child care issues that affect all child care consumers, providers and communities. She is a member of the Columbia College Child Development Advisory Committee, the California Early Childhood Mentor Program Selection Committee and Amador Local Child Care and Development Planning Council. She has participated in the R&R Networks Conference Committees, Professional Development and Quality Improvement Task Force, Reallocation Committee and Strengthening Families Community of Practice. She is committed to working with others to ensure accessible, affordable and quality child care for families and children is a priority.
Richard Winefield joined BANANAS, Inc. in 2012 as its new Executive Director. Previously Rich was the Executive Director at the Bay Area Discovery Museum and the Vice President for Education and New Media at KQED Public Broadcasting. Throughout his career he has focused on children and education, having also served as Superintendent of Schools in Orinda and as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Oakland. At BANANAS Rich focuses on strategy, planning and fundraising. He loves the opportunity to work with a diverse, passionate team to serve families and providers. Thirty years ago as a new parent, he and his wife turned to BANANAS for support, and he is delighted to be back.
YMCA of San Diego County, Childcare Resource Service
Child Care Resource Center
Marian Mulkey is an independent consultant to philanthropy, public sector and non-profits clients. Formerly she was Chief Learning Officer at the California HealthCare Foundation, an independent philanthropy based in Oakland that works to improve quality, increase efficiency, and lower the costs of health care for all Californians. Over the previous fifteen years, she held progressively responsible positions at the Foundation, managing projects and developing analyses on health care finance, state and local health care policy, and health insurance issues. She is the parent of three children who are now young adults, and years ago was an appreciative user of referral services and parental supports available through her local child care resource and referral agency. Marian holds a Bachelor’s degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and Master’s degrees in public policy and public health from U.C. Berkeley.
As the Senior Director of WorkLife Strategy for Stanford University Phyllis has responsibility for designing and managing programs and services that support the Stanford community in navigating the competing demands of work, study, personal and family lives. Phyllis came to Stanford with an extensive background in providing pragmatic, comprehensive programs to improve the workplace for working families. She spent many years designing, building, and managing corporate child care centers and founded the award-winning Family Services programs at Cisco. During the past few years, she has held a variety of HR, communications, and diversity roles at Cisco and SAP.
Phyllis has her Master’s Degree in Human Development from UCLA. She currently serves on the Families and Work Institute Corporate Leadership Circle Advisory Board and the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network Board of Directors. Phyllis is also a representative on the Stanford Center for Advancement for Women's Leadership's Corporate Partner Program Phyllis has spoken and written on the topics of worklife integration, women in leadership, creating inclusive work environments, and effective worklife interventions for companies.
Phyllis brings a personal passion for ensuring the work environment addresses the changing needs of today’s workforce and families. She is part of a dual-career couple and has three busy children ages 9, 16, and 19 years.
Sara Bachez is a Legislative Advocate for the Association of California School Administrators. In that capacity, she represents over 16,000 school administrators statewide on legislative matters affecting public education finance. Prior to her current role, Sara worked for the Assembly Budget Committee as a budget consultant from 2008-2012, administering $15 billion in state General Fund expenditures for all three higher education systems, the California Student Aid Commission, child care and development programs, and the Employment and Development Department. As a budget consultant, her duties included providing fiscal and policy recommendations to legislative leaders, and negotiating the State Assembly’s funding priorities pertaining to higher education and employment issues with key stakeholders and the Administration. Sara received her B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley and is currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration from the California State University, Sacramento.
Christina (Kiko) Malin is the Family Health Services Director for the Alameda County Public Health Department. She is responsible for overall supervision of the Family Health Services Division which houses California Children’s Services, the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program, and the Maternal, Paternal, Child and Adolescent Health unit that provides home visitation and family support services for mothers, infants and their families. Kiko has more than 20 years of experience in the maternal and child health field, including managing clinical services at the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Portland, Oregon and six years as a community outreach worker, first providing HIV/AIDS education in the high schools and migrant camps just outside Portland and later working as a perinatal health educator with Mexican immigrant women in Salinas, California. After completing her Masters degree in Public Health and Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, Kiko served as the first Executive Director of Grounds for Health, a non-profit organization based in Burlington Vermont that provided health care to women in the coffee-growing regions of Mexico and Guatemala. She later worked as the Director of Programs for the March of Dimes California Chapter and then went on to serve as the Preconception Health Coordinator for the Maternal Child and AdolescentHealth Division at the California Department of Public Health. In her current position, Kiko feels truly fortunate to be working for a health department that is at the forefront of the growing movement to address the social conditions that affect people's health.
Ly Le is Head of Customer Success at CyberSource, a Visa Company, where her teams build strategic relationships with merchants and focus on customer retention and growth. She is responsible for leading and transforming the organization to provide merchants the best user experience with CyberSource’s product suite. In previous companies, Ly has worked in various Customer Success and consulting roles and has an extensive background in strategy, process, change management, and training. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside. Ly is a mother to a 7 year old daughter and is a big advocate of children’s programs and work/life balance for parents. Her interest is to provide resources and information on children’s programs to have the right care and support at all times.
Lara Magnusdottir, Member-At-Large
Born and raised in Iceland, Lara came to USA to complete a BA in Spanish and Modern Languages, and MA in International Public Administration, with some time in Spain in between. She spent 13 years at Language Line Services, mostly assessing bilingual aptitude and overseeing the recruiting of interpreters in 140 languages to work in various countries. Lara has worked at the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs)since 2006, both as Resource & Referral Director and Public Policy Director, with a one-year break spent living in the Philippines, volunteering at an orphanage, teaching English as a Second Language, and traveling in Asia.
Judy Kriege, Member-At-Large
Judy began her early education career as a teacher in child care centers. She later became a site supervisor, a position she held for many years before coming to BANANAS the Child Care Resource & Referral agency for Northern Alameda County. She joined the agency in 2000 as a Resource & Referral Counselor and was promoted to Program Director in 2012. She stays busy evaluating and developing programs, training staff, providing referral information and support to parents and the broader community, communicating with funders and community partners, and advocating for children and families locally and statewide.
Michelle Graham, Member-At-Large
Sandee Blechman, Member-At-Large
Sandee Blechman is a career non-profit executive who has provided transformational leadership for a variety of San Francisco organizations. As Executive Director of Children’s Council of San Francisco since 2011, she leads an organization that helps over 20,000 families per year to find child care that meets their needs and works to make quality child care and early education a reality for all children in San Francisco. An active participant in early care and education policy and planning, Sandee serves on San Francisco’s Child Care Policy and Advisory Council and on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for San Francisco’s Office of Early Care and Education.
Prior to Children’s Council, she served as CEO at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. She is married and has three adult children and two grandchildren.