Russ Gould is a partner of the Sacramento-based public affairs firm California Strategies, LLC. As a partner for California Strategies, LLC, Mr. Gould advises clients on issues pertaining to public fiscal policy, public and private financial markets, education, the state budget, and health and welfare policy. His extensive experience with California’s budget and financial issues is diverse and multi-faceted.
Prior to joining California Strategies, LLC, he served as senior vice president for Wachovia Bank, providing leadership for the development of the bank’s investment management and public finance services from 2004 through 2009. He earlier served as senior managing director at Wachovia Portfolio Services – formerly Metropolitan West Securities – one of the five companies he developed as a partner of Metropolitan West Financial, which he joined in 1996. While a partner at MetWest, he also served as executive vice president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, responsible for investments of the Trust’s $5.5 billion in assets and the annual budget, accounting and risk management programs.
His career accomplishments also include multiple cabinet positions during Governor Wilson’s administration, heading the Department of Finance and the Health and Welfare Agency. Mr. Gould also served as the deputy state treasurer under then-State Treasurer Tom Hayes.
Mr. Gould is a member and past chair of the UC Board of Regents. In addition to serving as a board member for the College Access Foundation, he is also on the board of directors for the Irvine Company and the California Endowment. He has served as past chair of the board of directors for the California Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors and the Constitution Revision Commission.
Mr. Gould received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Mr. Gould was elected to the Board in February 2009.
Donna Lucas is founder and principal of Lucas Public Affairs, a California-based strategic consulting, public affairs, and communications firm.
One of the nation’s foremost public affairs strategists and a widely recognized expert in media relations and political affairs, Ms. Lucas has provided strategic counsel to large corporate clients, labor unions, non-profits, and political candidates. She also has worked on several statewide initiative campaigns on a variety of policy issues.
Previously, Ms. Lucas served as a deputy chief of staff for strategic planning and initiatives for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and chief of staff to First Lady Maria Shriver. Ms. Lucas also served as deputy press secretary for Governor George Deukmejian, deputy treasurer for Tom Hayes, and California press secretary for President George H.W. Bush. She was also the global and public affairs practice leader for Porter Novelli, an international PR firm, after Porter Novelli acquired Nelson Communications Group, where she served as president and CEO for several years.
Currently, Ms. Lucas serves on the boards of directors for California Forward, the Public Policy Institute of California, Venoco, Inc. and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography; she is also a faculty member of the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics 2012 Project.
Ms. Lucas has served as chairperson of the American Association of Political Consultants and a member of the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She received the 2009 Crystals Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Communications Profession from the Sacramento chapter of International Association of Business Communicators. She was named one of Sacramento’s 100 most powerful people by Sacramento Magazine and distinguished as one the most powerful political strategists by Capitol Weekly.
Ms. Lucas is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Journalism. She and her husband, political satirist and former Bureau Chief of the San Francisco Chronicle, Greg Lucas, live in Sacramento.
Ms. Lucas was elected to the Board in August 2012.
Lenny Mendonca is a director emeritus (retired senior partner) from the Washington D.C. and San Francisco offices of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. He is a senior fellow at the Presidio Institute. He is also an advisor to several entrepreneurs.
Mr. Mendonca founded McKinsey’s U.S. state and local public sector practice. For many years he led the Firm’s knowledge development efforts overseeing the McKinsey Global Institute and the Firm’s communications, which includes the McKinsey Quarterly. He served for a decade on the McKinsey Shareholder Council (its board of directors). Over the course of his career he helped dozens of government, corporate, and nonprofit clients solve their most difficult management challenges.
Mr. Mendonca is the Chair of Children Now, co-Chair of California Forward, and founder and Chair of Fusecorps. He is the Chair Emeritus of the Bay Area Council and the Economic Institute of the Bay Area, and was vice-chair of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council. He serves on the boards of New America, Western Governors University, The Committee for Economic Development, Common Cause, the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, The Campaign for Business & Educational Excellence, The Educational Results Partnership, and the Super Bowl 50 Fund. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Trustees for Junior Statesmen of America and the Advisory Boards of QB3 and The Public Policy Institute of California.
He received his MBA and certificate in public management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He holds an AB, magna cum laude, in economics from Harvard College. Mr. Mendonca lives on the Half Moon Bay coast with his wife, Christine. They raised their two daughters, Allie and Rebecca, there and are the founders and owners of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and the Mavericks Beer Company.
Mr. Mendonca joined the Board in 2015.
Gretchen Hartnack Milligan brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit field. She is the founder of Board Focus, a consultancy focused on nonprofit organizations and independent schools. She also serves as chair of the board of Cottage Health System in Santa Barbara, on the board of Marlborough School in Los Angeles, which she chaired, on the board of the Santa Barbara Foundation, and on the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council. Previously she served as board president of Crane Country Day School in Santa Barbara, on the Trustee Committee of the California Association of Independent Schools, and in a number of volunteer positions at Stanford University including the boards of the Stanford Alumni Association, the Stanford Business School Alumni Association, and as president of Stanford Associates. Ms. Milligan received both an undergraduate degree and Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University.
Ms. Milligan is a former executive in corporate lending for Wells Fargo Bank, and brings analytical expertise in finance, accounting, planning and management.
Ms. Milligan joined the Board in August 2010.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Superintendent-President of Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD), is best known throughout California and the nation for implementing innovative programs and policies that help students succeed in college. Mr. Oakley believes that California’s emerging economies demand a workforce with certificates and degrees and that the state’s 112 community colleges play a pivotal role in moving California forward.
Mr. Oakley himself is a community college success story. After serving four years in the US Army, he enrolled at Golden West College. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine where he received his degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Design and Master of Business Administration. He joined LBCCD in 2002, serving as the assistant superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services. Before that, he served as the vice president of college services at Oxnard College; the assistant vice president of the Property & Casualty Division of Keenan & Associates and the manager of risk services at the Coast Community College District. Oakley also served as an adjunct faculty member teaching in and coordinating the Environmental Technology Certificate Program at Golden West College.
Mr. Oakley joined the Board in 2013.
Mr. Rosenblatt is president and general partner of Founders Investments, Ltd. He is also a director of BlackRock Equity Liquidity Mutual Funds, Forward Management, and the Pherin Corporation. Mr. Rosenblatt has been active in the civic arena, and a trustee of a number of community organizations, for many years. He served as president of the San Francisco City Planning Commission from 1977 – 1988. He was a founding trustee of the San Francisco Day School and chair of the Board of Trustees from 1976 – 1992. He has served on the boards of the San Francisco Art Institute, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena, the California Higher Education Policy Center, Sutter Health, California Pacific Medical Center, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, San Francisco University High School and the Thacher School in Ojai, CA. Mr. Rosenblatt was founding chair of the Presidio Trust and has also served on the board of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. He currently serves as chair of the Fort Scott Council, a Federal Advisory Committee to the Presidio Trust. He recently retired as the vice chair of the James Irvine Foundation, where he continues to serve as an advisory member of its investment committee. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Rosenblatt received his Master of Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Mr. Rosenblatt was elected to the Board in February 2009.
Willa Seldon is a partner at The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven leaders that are focused on achieving breakthrough social impact. Ms. Seldon advises organizations on developing their strategies and improving their operating models. Her clients have included Reading Partners, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the White House Council for Community Solutions. Building on her business experience in management, joint ventures and mergers, Willa is a leader in Bridgespan’s work in employment and collaborations.
Before Bridgespan, Ms. Seldon served as CEO of the Glide Foundation, where she focused on growing programmatic impact and enhancing the organization’s operations. Prior to Glide, she was executive director of the Tides Center, an organization that provides infrastructure services to nonprofit groups. Ms. Seldon’s for-profit experience includes seven years at Milepost Ventures, a venture capital firm she co-founded. Additionally, she was executive director of AirTouch Communications, a multi-billion dollar wireless communications company which she helped achieve dramatic global expansion.
Ms. Seldon is vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of Bryn Mawr College and a private nanotechnology company. She has served as board chair of KQED. She was also awarded the Most Influential Women in Business award by the San Francisco Business Times.
Ms. Seldon has an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Ms. Seldon joined the Board in 2015.
Ashley Swearengin is president and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, a charitable foundation serving the six counties of Central California and providing over $100 million in funding to over 650 community benefit organizations over the last decade. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as mayor of Fresno from 2009 through 2016.
As mayor, she implemented substantial changes to improve the delivery of city services, revitalize the downtown and urban core, promote business and job growth, address chronic homelessness, and stabilize the city’s financial position.
Before becoming mayor, Ms. Swearengin led a number of economic development initiatives in the Fresno region, including the Central Valley Business Incubator, Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development, and the Regional Jobs Initiative. She holds MBA and BS degrees from California State University, Fresno.
Linda Davis Taylor is CEO and chairman of Clifford Swan Investment Counsel, and leads CCM Family Advisors, the family advisory services practice for Convergent Capital Management, a Clifford Swan affiliate. She is currently chair of the Board of Trustees of Scripps College and also serves on the Board of Overseers of Claremont University Center.
Ms. Taylor’s prior experience includes 25 years in senior management positions in philanthropy and admissions for several education institutions, including Amherst College, Claremont McKenna College, Scripps College, Emory University, and former trustee at Thacher School in Ojai, California.
Ms. Taylor joined the Board in August 2010.
In 2007, Dr. Joseph Watson retired from the University of California as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Watson joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1966. In 1970, Dr. Watson was named the founding provost of Third College (now named Thurgood Marshall College) and served in that capacity for 11 years. He served as UCSD’s Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs from 1981 until his retirement in 2007. He has served on a number of statewide organizations, including the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) (1985-1989) and the California Student Aid Commission (Chair 1990-1992 and 1999-2001).
Dr. Watson obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the City College of New York in 1961 and his doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1966. He also pursued postdoctoral studies at UCLA. He attended the Harvard University Institute of Educational Management-Executive Development Program in 1983.
Dr. Watson was elected to the Board in 2005.
Richard Whitmore is Chief Administrative Officer at WestEd, a nonprofit, public research, development, and service agency that works in education and communities to improve learning for children, youth, and adults.
From 2003-2006, Mr. Whitmore served as WestEd’s Chief Financial Officer, and prior to rejoining WestEd in 2011, he served as the Superintendent for the Los Gatos Union School District.
Mr. Whitmore was Chief Deputy Superintendent to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, and also served during her two terms as the Chief Policy Advisor and as Deputy Superintendent for Finance, Technology, and Planning. He represented the California Department of Education (CDE) in the development of the state’s first accountability system, helped create state budgets for K-12 education, developed state policies to identify and intervene in low-performing schools, and was responsible for the day-to-day management of CDE.
Mr. Whitmore graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and received his MBA from Harvard University.
He has served on the boards of the California State Teachers Retirement System, ConnectEd, and the Saklan Valley School in Moraga, CA. Currently, he is an elected Governing Board member of the Acalanes Union High School District in Lafayette, CA, and is active in other local community affairs, having served as the President and Fundraising Chair of the Lafayette Arts and Science Foundation.
Mr. Whitmore joined the Board in December 2013.