Board of Directors
Tiffany Harris, President
Tiffany Harris was appointed Executive Director of Bay Area Girls Club (formerly known as Girls Inc. of West Contra Costa County) on February 9, 2015. She brings a background of leadership, program management, fund development, and a passion to serve youth to Girls Inc.
Mrs. Harris attended The Branson School and graduated from Holy Names University, with a B.A. in Communications and English. Tiffany has had a long association with BAGC having participated in programming in the 5th and 6th
grades and later as a volunteer. In December 2011 she became an employee initially as a GOAL (Girl Outreach Academic Leader) providing afterschool programs in the West Contra Costa County School District, and then was promoted to be the Program/Office Manager in September 2012. She served as Interim Executive Director for a year before her appointment in 2015 as permanent E.D.
Tiffany is well known and respected in West Contra Costa County. She is well known for her work with PTAs, from the unit level all the way to the district’s level. She is a member of the African American Site Advisory Team for the
school district, and was past Chair of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. And recently she has joined the Richmond Chapter of the Kiwanis International Club.
She is a wife and mother of four: 1 son, 2 daughters and 1 step-daughter. Tiffany brings creativity, management skills, effective leadership and embodies BAGC’s mission to empower girls to be the game changers of tomorrow.
Alestra Menendez, Secretary
Alestra Menendez was born and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA, and taught Spanish dual immersion there until she moved to Molokai, Hawaii to become a Literacy Instruction and Support Specialist for Kamehameha Schools. In 2013, Alestra was hired by Jaquey Barber to join UC Berkeley’s Learning Design Group at the Lawrence Hall of Science to develop elementary and middle school science units for Amplify Science. In 2017, Alestra taught college English at UC Berkeley and San Quentin prison and became a Professional Learning Manager for Amplify Science. Since then, Alestra has supported professional learning nationwide in science and English Language Arts and most recently in Spanish Language Arts Curriculum and Assessment. Alestra believes that literacy development across all curricular areas is a life-long endeavor and the most impactful way to change lives.
Janine Benedict is a Bay Area Girls Club board member who brings over 20 years of progressive financial and operational leadership across multiple industries; for organizations ranging from early startups, nonprofits, and investor groups to Fortune 50. Her professional projects are inspired by her belief in uniting innovative products and services to unlock often overlooked human potential. Similarly, her personal passion projects can be exemplified by her dedication to being in service to others. She has a long history of advocacy for adults and children with special needs, in addition to other marginalized populations experiencing shelter and food scarcity.
Her dedication can be most readily seen crossing the finish line of several of the World Marathon Majors and in her commitment to family. She is fueled by the pride she feels for her two empowered daughters, the support of her husband, and her insatiable curiosity and search for adventure.
Yenny Garcia is a warm-hearted, visionary, and joyful leader from Richmond, CA. She migrated from Guerrero, Mexico, to Richmond at six. She embraces her ancestral roots by weaving social justice issues to create balance and equity as an indigenous woman.
Ms. Garcia is known for building bridges between people with diverse opinions. She opens doors and positively influences people to advocate, share information, and discover their strengths and solutions.
Ms. Garcia is a proud Richmond resident and serves as the Executive Director Assistant at The Latina Center in Richmond, California. In other capacities, Ms. Garcia has served as the Young Latina Future Leaders program coordinator, serving youth 13-18 years old. She also worked in the hospitality industry as a General Manager for over ten years. Helping people has always been at the core of Ms. Garcia’s work.
Ms. Garcia uses her voice to advocate for issues she is passionate about and uplift unheard voices. As a young child, she began publicly speaking locally at her church. Most recently, Ms. Garcia was the 2019 Alumna speaker at the Women’s Health and Leadership Program for the 2018-2019 graduating class. She encouraged Latina leaders to get involved in the local civic affairs of their city or join boards and commissions.
Ms. Garcia continues to serve as the Vice-Chair of the Community Police Review Commission (CPRC) of Richmond (since 2013). She has been instrumental in investigating and hearing complaints of excessive or unnecessary force, discrimination, racism, and sexual harassment by Richmond Police Officers and has worked with fellow commissioners to submit valuable recommendations to the Chief of Police and city council. Ms. Garcia has worked eagerly in outreach strategies to promote positive police-community relations. Due to her leadership and passion for the community in this role, Ms. Garcia was appointed by two different Richmond city mayors to be a Commissioner for the CPRC.
Ms. Garcia ensures that resources are made available to residents across Richmond. She gets involved in issues that impact the most vulnerable populations, such as food insecurity and domestic violence. For that reason, she has committed time and energy to previously serving on the board of directors for Urban Tilth and The Latina Center. As well as being a key participant in the planning committee of the Sister’s in Solidarity-International Women’s Day celebration in the City of Richmond for over nine years.
Ms. Garcia graduated from West Contra Costa public schools and completed her High School diploma from Sylvester Greenwood Academy in 2001. She continues to work towards her bachelor’s degree in sociology, emphasizing behavioral health while also working on completing a Paraprofessional Certificate in Social Work and Human Services.
Aside from being a fierce advocate and bridging people, Ms. Garcia enjoys roller skating, dancing, road trips but her favorite thing to do is spending time cuddling with her two young daughters.
Jasmine Pournavab is Bay Area Girls Club’s newest board member. She is a first generation Iranian American passionate about advancing equity in education. As an alum of an all girls high school, she has experienced first-hand the growth in confidence, leadership, and overall development of being in a safe and supportive all girls environment, and she deeply believes in the BAGC mission to support Bay Area girls.
As a former classroom teacher, Jasmine has seen the disparities in resources and their impact on student success, and is committed to ensuring that all students, particularly young girls and students of color, have access to opportunities to help them grow and reach their goals. In her current role working as an Educational Partnerships Manager for a curriculum publisher, Jasmine works with local school districts to implement curriculum and improve student outcomes.
In the past, she has coached a Girls on the Run team, supported first year teachers through their fieldwork course at National University, completed a Public Policy Fellowship working full time for Oakland Mayor Schaaf on homelessness and housing security, and has consulted on a variety of policy research projects in education. Jasmine holds a B.S. in Health Sciences from Chapman University and a Masters degree in Urban Education with a concentration in Policy and Administration from Loyola Marymount University. Her passion for education and empowering young women shines through her work and she is excited and honored to be a part of the great work BAGC is doing to support the girls in our community.
Golddie Williams is a seasoned HR Leader, of 31 years and Certified DEI Practitioner.
She is a trusted advisor and works in partnership with all levels of leadership within any organization.
As a sought after thought partner and Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) champion and pioneer, Golddie has dedicated over 15 years to diversity work. With a “Black Belt” in Conflict Resolution, she is not afraid to hold challenging discussions and go deeper into systems and practices that prevent the richness of diversity and inclusion of new talent.
Golddie is Certified in professional leadership development, honored by the Harvard Leadership Development Program and the STAR Leadership of Kaiser Permanente. Certified by the eCornell University, Diversity, and Inclusion program, Golddie looks forward to partnering with you to meet your Diversity and inclusion needs.
Currently she is an active board member of the Bay Area Girls Club, Richmond, Ca, Co-Chair of AASAT (African American Site Advisory Team in West Contra Costa Unified School District) is a mother of 3, grandmother of 2 and is a community educator, motivational speaker and published author.
Lou Schuster, Treasurer
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Lila Carrillo, Vice President
Bio coming soon!
Karen Thompson, Board Advisor
With 20+ years of working in the nonprofit sector ranging from small, grassroots’ organizations to large, nationally renowned nonprofits, Karen Thompson brings her public health and fundraising/development backgrounds to the professional roles she has assumed.
Currently, she serves as the part-time Development Director for Bay Area Girls Club (previously known as Girls Incorporated of West Contra Costa County) and part-time Program Analyst for LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Prior to these roles, she worked for Wayfinder Family Services as Associate Director of Development for their Northern and Central California Region from October 2014-June 2020. Before working at Wayfinder Family Services, she served as Easter Seals Bay Area’s Development Director from December 2012-September 2014 and was the Corporate & Foundation Relations Officer for Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland from July 2010- December 2012. Prior to working at Children’s Hospital, Karen served as Project Manager for Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit-National Program Office where she managed a $400,000/year fund to support quality improvement and patient safety training for healthcare professionals and developed partnerships between Kaiser Permanente and public hospitals/community clinics around chronic care initiatives. During her time working at Kaiser, Karen also served as an internal consultant and project manager at Kaiser’s Institute for Culturally Competent Care.
Karen has served as both Board Co-Chair and Board Member of the Board of Directors for Berkeley Youth Alternatives and as a fundraising advisor for Dogs for Diabetics headquartered in Concord. She and her husband have been foster volunteers for Northern California Beagle Rescue. Last but not least, Karen volunteers for We Care Animal Rescue, a sanctuary for cats and dogs who have been surrendered or found.
Meseret Zeleke, Board Advisor
Meseret Zeleke is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and California Society of CPA’s. The accounting firm of Meseret Y. Zeleke, CPA was established in 2005 to provide efficient, quality, and affordable financial services to businesses and individuals. She has over 20 years of experience in public accounting. She continues to grow significantly due to staff’s commitment to maintaining high operating standards. She inspires girls in her community to become entrepreneurs and has been overseeing Bay Area Girls Club’s taxes for many years.