Lisa Smusz is a creative problem-solver with a knack for combining data and out-of-the-box thinking to produce measurable outcomes. Lisa brings nearly 20 years of senior-management-level experience in developing, executing, and evaluating community mental health initiatives on local, statewide, national, and international projects. She provides content expertise and project management services to mental health and educational organizations across California, with a focus on stigma reduction, working with college-age young adults, and culturally responsive approaches to promoting mental health in diverse communities.
Lisa is also an Instructor at California State University, East Bay where she has been teaching mental health, women’s studies, and social justice coursework for the past 13 years. Her training and content development topics include: stigma reduction, integration of mental health and primary care, implementation and training for peer support workers, wellness (social, physical, occupational, and intellectual), social justice, career counseling, law and ethics, group counseling, community mental health, and technology.
Nicole Jarred is a communications strategist who is passionate about building community-driven campaigns for social change. Nicole brings innovative leadership and marketing expertise to all her projects. A hallmark of her work is the successful engagement of the target audience, particularly underserved and/or inappropriately-served populations (i.e., cultural and ethnic communities in California, youth and young adults, mental health consumers, veterans, and system-involved persons) in meaningful and authentic roles in the campaign development and implementation process.
For more than 15 years, Nicole has lead public health and social justice efforts in the nonprofit and public sectors, both in Washington D.C. and her native California. Nicole’s past work has addressed a diverse array of issues, including youth development, community health/wellness, environmental justice, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, school climate, and mental health.
Tawny Porter is a social justice advocate with a passion for data-driven social change. Tawny provides organizational and logistical support on projects to ensure that they are completed on-time, on-scope, and on-budget, while ensuring they maintain integrity and heart. Tawny approaches her work with the goal of creating sustainable solutions that are culturally responsive to the needs of unserved and underserved populations.
Tawny has a wide range of experience within the social justice field, which includes directing health promotion and inclusion efforts for LGBTQ+ people; leading community coalitions; evaluating programs; conducting qualitative research and performing data analysis in child development, social work, and psychology; coordinating trainings and events; managing websites and social media platforms; and developing online mental health initiatives for a variety of audiences.
Aubrey Lara is a hands-on, results-oriented professional with a talent for implementing world-changing ideas. Aubrey got her start in grassroots youth development and community-based social services, which inspired her to pursue an MBA with a focus on helping nonprofits build capacity, grow sustainable programs, and increase effectiveness and impact.
Aubrey has a successful record in administration and development including organizational and project management, capacity building, grant writing, evaluation, policy advocacy, workforce development, and public/private collaboration. She brings her expertise in business development, operations, and leadership development to support The Social Changery and our clients.
Emily Bender is a skilled community advocate with a talent for building inclusive, diverse coalitions. As a native Spanish speaker with
25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Emily brings expertise in cultural responsiveness, program development, training design, facilitation, event planning, and community organizing.
Emily’s approach to community engagement is based in active learning and listening, serving the most marginalized, and
providing collaborative leadership. She brings an awareness of cultural differences and intersectionality to a wide array of public
health and social justice issues, including mental health disparities, youth development, LGBTQ+ communities, and affordable
housing in the Sacramento region.
RYAN K. BROWN
Ryan Brown is a social justice driven communications professional who knows how to ask the right questions, listen effectively, and get the job done. He brings a background in both advocacy and campaigns, as well as years of working to strengthen services for traditionally underserved populations. After getting his start with local community organizations, he was inspired to bridge the gap between policy and communications by pursuing dual degrees in Public Relations and Economics at CSU Sacramento.
Ryan has a strong record of success in project management for both nonprofits and the private sector. He brings advocacy and outreach experience in the fields of higher education, K-12 education, active-duty military & veterans issues, mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, and community transit development.
Heather is an education and community engagement professional who is passionate about reducing barriers and increasing opportunities for historically underrepresented Californians to reach their fullest potential. She brings a wealth of experience working with higher education programs and initiatives focused on student equity, including health and mental health, basic needs, foster youth, student veterans, and public benefit access to CalFresh.
In addition to her expertise developing programs at the statewide level, Heather spent more than a decade working in the Sacramento community, where she honed her skills in building community coalitions, leading task forces and implementing peer-based support and youth development initiatives around alcohol, drug, marijuana and violence prevention and early intervention.