Linda Asato brings twenty years of successful public sector, non-profit management experience, and a lifetime commitment to child and family advocacy. She understands the dynamic early childhood environment and has extensive experience in community organizing, public administration, and organizational development. As the Executive Director, Linda is at the forefront of leading the Network in its mission to inspire, inform, and advocate for a quality child care system that supports all families in California.
Prior to joining the Network, Linda served as the Executive Director of Wu Yee Children’s Services in San Francisco. She currently serves on the San Francisco Children and Families Commission (First 5 San Francisco).
B.A. Psychology, University of California - Berkeley
MPA, Columbia University NY
Hometown: Los Angeles
Favorite Food: Mexican
Favorite SF Activity: Biking around the coastal areas in San Francisco
Chief Financial Officer
Tom Calhoun is the Chief Financial Officer of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. He oversees and directs the financial, human resource, IT and administrative functions of the organization. He collaborates with management of the various programs including membership services/public policy, research, Parent Voices, TrustLine and California Child Care Initiative Project staff to provide support and a high degree of accountability and control to the organization.
Tom brings over 30 years of financial and operating experience, having worked in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. He started his career with Stryco Manufacturing Company working in their accounting department, and subsequently took a position as a contract manager working for the city and county of San Francisco administering contracts for the Clean Water Program, a division of the Department of Public Works. In 1989 Tom decided that he wanted to direct his efforts toward pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, beginning his career with California Child Care R&R Network. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and three children.
B.A. Political Science, University of California - Riverside
MBA, University of California -Riverside
Hometown: San Francisco
Favorite Food: Too many to limit this to just one
Favorite SF Activity: Running in Golden Gate Park
Domenica M. Benitez
Provider Services Manager
Domenica manages the California Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP), a quality improvement project, funded by the California Department of Education (CDE), Early Education & Support division (EESD).Domenica joined the Network in 2006 as the Bilingual Training Coordinator and has since also served as the Growing, Learning, Caring Project Manager. She has traveled the state on behalf of the Network, conducting site visits, cluster meetings, and trainings; she has represented the Network at State-wide/National initiatives on topics such as nutrition and health. Prior to the Network, she coordinated an Even Start Family Literacy program, which provided Adult ESL and Parent classes for families, home visits, transportation, and quality child care.
B.A. Liberal Studies- Behavioral & Social Science, San Francisco State University
Hometown: Oakland, Ca
Favorite Food: Lengua, sushi, and lately onigiri
Favorite SF Activity: this is hard to keep to one... so... Ocean and China Beach, Ferry rides (from Jack London or to Sausalito) and eating through the ferry building, Mitchell's, mural walks in the mission, and Koret playground
Mary Ignatius is the Statewide Organizer of Parent Voices, a parent-led grassroots organizing effort fighting to make quality child care accessible and affordable for all families. As the Statewide Organizer since August 2005, she coordinates the work of its 15 chapters and implements the leadership development model Parent Voices has crafted for 20 years. Under her tenure, Parent Voices has won campaigns to update income eligibility guidelines to qualify for subsidized child care, restore a child care program that was eliminated, and protected child care subsidies for thousands of families. Born and raised in the Bay Area by Indian immigrants and as a mother of 2 budding feminist sons, Mary's commitment to social and economic justice is both personal and political. She holds a Master of Social Work in Administration and Social Planning from Temple University and a Bachelor of Social Work from Rutgers University. She is a recent fellow of the Ms. Foundation for Women's OpEd Project-Public Voices program and received the Foundation’s prestigious Woman of Vision Award in April 2016. Her previous experience includes work with the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, Instructor- City College of San Francisco, and Project SURVIVE. Mary loves to travel and is inspired by the curiosity and wonder that her sons bring to this world.
B.S.W., Rutgers University, N.J.
MSW, Temple University, P.A.
Hometown: Fremont, CA
Favorite Food: My mother's home cooked South Indian cuisine
Favorite SF Activity: Renting a canoe at Stowe Lake in Golden Gate Park. My toddler demands to be the captain of the canoe and instead of rowing, the oars go up and down and we proceed to go nowhere!
As Research Director, Rowena manages all primary and secondary research activities, and provides technical assistance and training to member agencies on data collection, database systems, and statistics relating to Network research projects. She also manages the Network’s Statewide Data Standardization Project, which produces the biennial California Child Care Portfolio, a county-by-county statistical report about child care costs, supply, and demand throughout the state.
B.A. Global Studies Socioeconomics, University of California - Santa Barbra
MPA, Syracuse University
Hometown: Alameda, CA
Favorite Food: Golden Boy Pizza
Favorite SF Activity: Anything outdoors! Running, Hiking, Camping, Surfing, SCUBA diving, Climbing, Biking
Senior Program Manager
Cindy came to the Network in 1987 as Office Manager, but within five years was developing and managing TrustLine. Cindy is now the Senior Program Manager at the Network and besides managing the TrustLine and Consumer Education contracts, she also coordinates the Network's statewide Annual Conference held for 25 years at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove and now jointly coordinated with CAPPA and held in Sacramento. Prior to working at the Network, Cindy was a preschool teacher, a recreation leader for children and adults with special needs, and the director of a before- and after-school program. She has a B.A. in Developmental and Experimental Psychology from U.C. Santa Barbara and a M.S. in Child Development from U.C. Davis. She has two children, Nicolas, 16 and Daniel, 10 and a puppy, Kirby. She volunteers at her son’s elementary school and assists with fundraising events.
B.A. Developmental and Experimental Psychology, University of California - Santa Barbra
M.S. Child Development, University of California - Davis
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Favorite Food: I could live on pasta, bread and ice cream.
Favorite SF Activity: I enjoy going to Broadway Musicals, Giant’s Games, and being in the outdoors-Angel Island, Marin Headlands, etc.
Co-Director of Public Policy and Membership Engagement
Lola Cornish has been with the Network as the Director of Member Services since June 1, 2015. Lola has spent the past fourteen years with the R&R in Napa County, has served on numerous Network committees, and most recently served as the Bay Area Regional Vice President on the Network Board of Directors. Lola holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and is a passionate advocate for children and those who care for them. She is a long-time member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Lola lives in Sacramento and has three daughters. She enjoys being involved in her community and volunteers for a variety of causes.
B.S. Early Childhood Education, Pacific Union College
Hometown: Napa, CA
Favorite Food: Italian
Favorite SF Activity: Live music
Co-Director of Public Policy and Membership Engagement
Keisha Nzewi started with the Network in May 2016. She has many years of experience as a community organizer and policy advocate in the Bay Area. For 6 years, Keisha was the Advocacy Manager at the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland. Prior to that she was the Advocacy Director at the American Heart Association, and a Health Educator at Berkeley Youth Alternatives. Keisha's background in food policy advocacy and health add much value to The Network's advocacy and membership work. Her past work offered her many opportunities to work with federal, state, and local level elected officials. She has one 8 year old daughter, marched in the Cal Band, and runs half marathons as long as there is a big sparkly medal at the finish line.
B.A. Social Welfare, University of California - Berkeley
MPH, San Francisco State University
Hometown: Hanford, CA
Favorite Food: Popcorn
Favorite SF Activity: Wine tasting in Oakland
Jennifer Greppi is a single mom of two smart and beautiful girls age 18 and 21 and a 2 year old granddaughter. She is a former CalWorks/Welfare participant who used the program to get the education she needed to become and remain fully self-sufficient. Jennifer is the statewide lead chapter organizer for the 15 chapters of Parent Voices across the state. Prior to joining the statewide team, she was the community organizer for the Southern Alameda County Chapter of Parent Voices for over 10 years. She built the chapter into one of the strongest in the statewide group. She also worked as a resource and referral Supervisor at 4C’s of Alameda County serving families for almost 11 years. A vocal advocate for child care, Jennifer is often in Sacramento testifying on behalf of low-income working parents on child care issues. She is committed to working hard to make policy changes that will help all children and families succeed in today’s challenging economy! Jennifer is regularly sought after in the community for her expertise in child development and advocacy and her work with parents is known Nationwide.
Hometown: Fremont, CA
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite SF Activity: Giants game!
Research & Policy Analyst
Begoña Guereca graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from UCLA. She is passionate about issues of disparities in child welfare and the social determinants of poverty and inequality. Begoña has served as the 2014-2015 Luskin Leaders Fellow, working on child sex trafficking issues for the Los Angeles County (LAC) Commission on Human Relations. Prior to attending graduate school, she worked in Senator Feinstein’s Los Angeles field office as an Administrative Researcher. She currently works for the Network as a Research and Policy Analyst. Here she leads the coordination and communication of the Data Standardization Project (DSP), a statewide project reporting the total supply of licensed child care spaces and requests for child care in CA and on a county-by-county basis. She also provides data and policy analysis of state child care program data. She is the daughter of two hardworking loving immigrant parents and has two brothers who she is jealous of because they have photographic memories :P. Begoña is extremely proud of her Mexican and Basque heritage.
B.A. Political Science, University of California - Los Angeles
MPP, University of California - Los Angeles
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Favorite Food: Indian Food, diablitos, Tony’s Pizza, and tacos, tacos, tacos- did I mention tacos?
Favorite SF Activity: Alcatraz, trying funky craft sour beer, exploring different neighborhoods
Central Valley Regional Coordinator
Juan is the Regional Coordinator for the Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP) Central Valley Region. Juan has a BA in Psychology from National University and a Master’s in Education from California State University, Fresno. Prior to joining the Network, Juan worked for the local R&R in Fresno County as the Fresno Accreditation Institute Manager which helped center-based programs and family child care homes, become nationally accredited. Juan also managed the CCIP Project for many years.
B.A. Psychology, National University
M.A. Ed, California State University- Fresno
Hometown: Tepic Nayarit, Mexico
Favorite Food: Enchiladas rojas, Peruvian food e.g. Lomo Saltado y Ceviche
Favorite SF Activity: Sightseeing, walking to different places e.g. shopping centers, malls, museums, Pier 39, visit Peruvian restaurants, etc.
Northern Regional Coordinator
Helen is the Northern Regional Coordinator for the Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP). She has an M.A. in Social Science and a B.A. in Child Development with a minor in Psychology. She also currently chairs the Plumas Local Child Care Planning. She currently lives in Quincey with her husband and two children.
M.A. in Social Science, California State University- Chico
B.A. in Child Development, Minor in Psychology, California State University- Chico
Hometown: Chico, CA
Favorite Food: Salads
Favorite SF Activity: Listening to Music
Southern Regional Coordinator
Disa is interested in progressive politics & advocacy; social justice & peace work; laughter & merry-making; reading (literature, non-fiction, children’s lit, biography/autobiography, poetry, politics, social science, history); mental illness & mental health; addressing the “child care trilemma”; affordable housing, sustainability (Transition Town Movement, Time banking); and researching things she’s learning about. Her immediate family includes her husband, Greg, who is currently building a 10” telescope; her mom, Margaret, a retired Registered Nurse and former civil disobedience practitioner; her brother, Alan, who loves to write & lives with a chronic, awful mental illness. Other close, extended family members are her aunts & cousins in Northern CA & Sweden, and mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces & nephews in New York & New Jersey. Recreational enjoyment comes from watching movies, singing, walking (especially in nature), but most of all—reading. She would like to spend more time with friends; learn to play an instrument (violin, mandolin, slide whistle); visit each of these countries for a few months: Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, China, New Zealand, Ireland; and do more of the following: listen to music, spend time with babies, sleep, write letters, color, hike in nature, take her mom camping. Also: be less sedentary; take up swimming again; and create an edible garden with herbs, vegetables, fruits, & flowers.
B.A. Philosophy, Earlham College
M.A. Human Development, Pacific Oaks College (thesis pending)
Hometown: Culver City, CA
Favorite Foods: Middle Eastern and Indian (vegetarian cuisines – all kinds), peaches, cherries, berries, melons, butter, knäckebröd + cheese, black currant anything, pies made with fresh fruit (a la mode) + Favorite Spice: cardamom
Favorite SF Activity: seeing my Network colleagues, cousins + kids and childhood friend (Erika), browse in any independent bookstore, walk in Golden Gate Park, picnic in Crissy Field, enjoy the fog and Golden Gate Bridge (not simultaneously), soak up San Francisco’s vibrancy (people/land/architecture/cultural institutions + happenings/food)
Training/Events and Administrative Coordinator
Rita began as Training & Events Coordinator for the Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP) in 2008. By 2011 she was coordinating outreach and logistics across the State for almost every training/event hosted by the Network: such as R&R Day in the Capitol, the Annual Conference, Stand for Children Day, and the CCIP Regional Trainings. In addition, Rita is Lead Coordinator of the Administrative Team and works to connect the Network’s Administrative Staff with the various needs of each department.
B.A. Anthropology, University of California - Santa Cruz
Hometown: Fresno, CA
Favorite Food: Vietnamese Cuisine
Favorite SF Activity: Movies at The Castro Theatre- it's a SF landmark and neighborhood treasure
Gretchen Ames, aka “Chappy”
Bay Area Regional Coordinator
Gretchen Ames, aka "Chappy", joined the Network in Fall 2016 after having worked in and studied education systems and early childhood for over twenty years. Chappy has been in many roles, including: preschool teacher, child care center director, subsidy administrator, grassroots organizer, program officer, evaluation & support program director, consultant and lecturer. She worked in Long Island, New York; Nashville, Tennessee; Boston and Cambridge Massachusetts before relocating to San Francisco in 2004. She believes passionately in social justice and educational equity and advocate for high quality teaching and learning environments for children and is proud to support our CCIP partners as the Bay Area Regional Coordinator.
B.A. Concentration in Education and Conflict Resolution, Hampshire College
M.A. Leadership Program in Early Education Childhood, Mills College
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Mills College
Hometown: Knox County, Maine
Favorite Food: Grilled veggies!
Favorite SF Activity: Stretching and Hiking - on most weekends she can be found on Mount Davidson, Grandview Terrace or at Ocean Beach.
Informal Caregiver Training Project Manager
Tracy Tompkins began working at the Network in November of 2015 as the Informal Caregiver Training Project Manager. She supports the Kaleidoscope Play and Learn project for family, friend, and neighbor or license exempt caregivers, as well as supports the development of the new health and safety online training modules for childcare providers. Tracy has a BA in Child and Family Development and an MA in Human Development and has worked in childcare and early childhood education for over 20 years.
Tracy grew up in Ohio and has lived in Wisconsin and Washington State over the years. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband Eric and kitty Maisy and enjoys hiking, travel, yoga, seeing live music, and exploring all of the natural and cultural wonders of the Bay Area. When she isn’t working or engaged in these activities, you can often find her at a local beach unwinding and taking in the fresh ocean air!
B.A. Child and Family Development, Bowling Green State University
M.A. Human Development: Specialization in Leadership in Education, Pacific Oaks College
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Favorite Food: Thai, seafood, and french fries!
Favorite SF Activity: Hiking
Gretchen is the Program Assistant for the Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP) and Kaleidoscope Play & Learn. She grew up in upstate New York as the youngest of five children. Her parents and older siblings heavily influenced her interest in public service and social justice. She graduated from Skidmore College in 2014 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. While at Skidmore, Gretchen founded a chapter of a student political activist club to engage students in working to create a more democratic political system. She also worked as General Manager of Skidmore’s college radio station, WSPN 91.1FM, hosting concerts and community events. She is particularly passionate about using art and culture to engage people in social movements. In her two short years in the Bay Area, Gretchen has become a part of several wonderful activist and volunteer communities.
B.A. Psychology, Skidmore College
Hometown: Glenmont, NY
Favorite Food: Nachos with lots of jalapeños
Favorite SF Activity: Visiting the MoMA
TrustLine Program Assistant
I was born and raised in Mexico City, my parents immigrated when I was only 10 years old, I have been living in San Francisco ever since. I'm not sure if I've gotten used to it or if it's really my favorite city (nope, it's definitely my favorite city). I have a very energetic, full of love and life 3 year old daughter, her name is Dalilah Sesilu, we are both Pisces (our birthdays are two weeks apart)- I must admit it is both scary and super exciting being her mom. I am currently working toward my Bachelors in Criminal Justice. While growing up I had an amazing teacher who taught me most of what I know now. She inspired me to always help, because of her and my personal experiences I want to become a Case Manager for youth. Fun fact about me: I love chocolate and peaches but can't seem to find onions delicious.
B.A., Criminal Justice (pending)
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Favorite Food: Tacos, the soft chicken corn tortilla with guacamole and limon kind of tacos.
Favorite SF Activity: I like reading, walking and sometimes cooking but my favorite thing to do is listen to Dalilah while we play, paint, build puzzles. Also, we enjoy dancing :)
TrustLine Program Assistant
Nick graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2011. After graduating, I spent time working in two different group homes in the Sacramento area. I then spent over two years as the Childcare Advocate at a domestic violence shelter before joining the Network as a TrustLine Assistant in September 2015.
B.A. Psychology, San Diego State University
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Favorite Food: Sushi
Favorite SF Activity: I spend most of my time in Oakland where I enjoy attending A’s games
TrustLine Program Associate, Administrative Assistant
Claudia currently holds the position of TrustLine Associate and Administrative Assistant of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. She has been with the Network since July of 2005. She provides support to the Office Manager/TrustLine Manager, and provides overall supervision and management of the office. With over 10 years of administrative experience, she supports the administrative team in any projects or human resources functions. Prior to joining the Network, she worked as the Executive Assistant of the VP of Administration of the San Francisco Design Center for 5 years.
She has two children, and a 5-year old granddaughter. She is also currently attending school to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.
A.A. Science-Business Administration
B.A. Business Management (pending)
Hometown: Richmond, CA
Favorite Food: Picante de Camarones (Peruvian Dish)
Favorite SF Activity: I love going to the movies, so this activity can be done anywhere J
TrustLine Program Assistant
I am a native San Franciscan, I am bilingual (English & Spanish) and have translated a good share of documents for TrustLine and Parent Voices throughout the years and used to manage the TrustLine Member page on our Network’s website, many eons ago, I have been at the network since 2005 and I have one adult daughter.
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Favorite Food: All foods except anything overly garlicky
Favorite SF Activity: Driving, believe it or not (but not looking for parking)