Vanessa Armijo, Resource Family, San Francisco, CA
Director, Azaya Ranch
Vanessa’s track record includes building three companies from conception to fully functional and successful businesses. She is a team player with strong analytical and interpersonal skills. Her expertise includes strategy development, mentoring, partnership cultivation, human resource management, program management, and leading teams with a cross functional approach to business development.
Her core principles are built on the belief that investing in people, and helping them reach their fullest potential, is the best way to achieve outstanding results. Her experiences abroad in challenging and ambiguous conditions have built empathy, resourcefulness, and resilience that are reflected in her strong work ethic.
Shelly Best, Foster Parent, Santa Barbara, CA
Accountant, Treasurer, California Alliance of Caregivers
Shelly loves systems and helping to improve them. Her professional work in accounting and as a business owner has allowed her to assist families, businesses, and organizations become fiscally responsible, sound, and sustainable. Her passion for children led her to become a foster parent 15 years ago; and to help Santa Barbara County and the CA State Foster Parent Association improve programs and policy.
Ashley Snee Giovannettone, Vice President, CASA, Davis, CA
Strategic Communications Consultant, Meridian Pacific, Inc.
Ashley is a respected communications and public relations professional with a decade of experience at the highest levels of federal and state government. Her skills were honed while serving on two presidential campaigns, as White House Spokesperson, Deputy Press Secretary for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Assistant Secretary of State for California.
During the 2000 Bush for President primary campaign, Ashley served as the California Political Coordinator and then went on to serve in the campaign’s Texas headquarters for the general election. In 2001, Ashley moved to Washington D.C. where she served in the White House for three years – first, as Special Assistant to Vice President Cheney, then as Assistant White House Press Secretary.
In 2003, Ashley returned home to California to serve as Deputy Press Secretary for Governor Schwarzenegger. She then went on to become Assistant Secretary of State under Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.
Tara Higgins, Foster Parent, Mountain View, CA
Organizational Change Manager, Google
Tara’s career has always focused on helping children and adults to learn and succeed. She spent seven years as a teacher and educational technology director before going on to study teacher professional development as part of her PhD in Education at UC Berkeley. Following graduate school, Tara designed educational toys before shifting to corporate learning and development. Tara has been at Google for almost ten years supporting employee development, including roles as an instructional designer, learning innovation lead, and currently focused on supporting digital transformation. She was a foster parent for three years in Santa Clara County.
Mikaela Randolph, Former Foster Youth & Adoptive Parent, Los Angeles, CA
Vice President, California Alliance of Caregivers
With over 15 years of experience working internationally, nationally, and locally on a variety of public policy issues and strategic communications campaigns, Mikaela brings her professional, and personal experience with the child welfare system to California Alliance of Caregivers.
Mikaela has experience working in all levels of government, non-profit and the private sector. Mikaela is an accomplished public policy expert with a keen ability to translate complex policy issues to multiple audiences to create actionable change. Mikaela enjoys working on a variety of issues that affect the most vulnerable populations ranging from land-use, transportation, housing, economic development, and food access. She acknowledges the value of the issues independently but thrives on the opportunity to identify the points of intersection. She believes by identifying the points of intersections affords the opportunity to identify and bring strategic partners to the table to provide innovative solutions. Mikaela’s facilitation of strategic partnerships has played a critical role in advancing the work of multiple organizations by ensuring diverse voices are a part of the solution. Mikaela is a skilled facilitator, facilitating national and local coalitions to influence policy change at the state and national level to smaller workgroups or trainings at the local level to assist businesses in navigating complex challenges to achieve their end goals. Mikaela has convened diverse sectors around a common cause and is a skilled researcher.
Mikaela holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Southern California and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication Studies and Urban Studies from Loyola Marymount University.
Jennifer Rexroad, Foster Parent, Woodland, CA
Executive Director, California Alliance of Caregivers
Jennifer Rexroad’s training was in teaching and technology. She has over a decade of K-12 & adult classroom teaching experience. She has experience in educational programming, leadership, training, curriculum, and staff development. She has developed, implemented and managed educational technology programs; and has a proven ability to envision, plan and execute innovative and complex programs and activities.
Jennifer is a Yolo County First 5 Commissioner and her family has fostered children for five years. Jennifer has experience in local and statewide advocacy on youth and child welfare issues.
Megan Snee, Secretary, Resource Family & Adoptive Parent, Simi Valley, CA
Megan and her husband have fostered children in Los Angeles for three years, and have been name Resource Family of the Year in Ventura County. She has become a mentor for foster parents in her county.
Founding Board Members Emeritus
Brenda Anaya, Children’s Advocate & Consultant, Newport Beach, CA
Rob Bethke, Adoptive Family, Pasadena, CA
Brian Fitzgerald, Foster Parent, West Sacramento, CA
Program Coordinator, University of California, Davis
Georgia Rosenblum, Foster Parent, Davis, CA
Michael Schaps, Attorney, Davis, CA
The Schaps Law Office
Kelli Sedgewick, Foster & Adoptive Parent, Placentia, CA
Paula Treat, Lobbyist, Sacramento, CA