The Ventura County Community Foundation Board of Directors understands that participating at the leadership level of a community foundation affords a special and unique opportunity to address the most serious challenges facing our community today, as well as shape the future for a better tomorrow.

Our Board members think strategically, looking at the interconnectedness of pressing societal issues. They serve as fiduciaries and focus on upholding donor intent. They advocate for the advancement of philanthropy in our community and leverage their personal and professional relationships to further the efforts of the foundation.

VCCF is happy to announce that ALL of our board members are certified in Fiduciary Essentials for Foundations and Endowments (FEFE)!

Sean Leonard

Chair

BIO

Sean Leonard is President and CEO of S.L. Leonard & Associates, Inc. which he founded in 2004. S.L. Leonard is a certified Minority Business Enterprise that provides Owner’s Representation, Project and Construction management for nonprofits, public agencies, developers, businesses and investors. Some of Sean’s more notable projects are Disney Concert Hall, the Camarillo Library and over 5,500 units of affordable housing throughout Central and Southern California. He has also taught Construction Management at UCLA Extension & USC’s Graduate School of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Sean is a first-generation immigrant born and raised in Hong Kong, and has lived in Ventura County for over 30 years. Sean & his wife Gwen currently reside in Oxnard. He serves on the Boards of A Community of Friends (which develops and operates affordable housing for people with mental illness), Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families, and volunteers for numerous other nonprofit organizations. Sean has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from UCLA and an MBA from USC.

Veronica Quintana

Treasurer

BIO

Veronica Quintana is a Senior Manager at CBIZ and Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., and specializes in providing services to companies in the agricultural, construction, manufacturing, restaurant, and professional service industries, as well as government contractors.

Veronica has been with CBIZ MHM, LLC for the last 17 years, where she has been the manager in charge of bookkeeping and tax clients for the Oxnard office, with overall responsibility for tax and accounting services to commercial entities.

CBIZ MHM, LLC is one of the nation’s leading providers of professional advisory services, focused on accounting, benefits and insurance, HR and payroll solutions. Quintana earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1995. She serves on the Board of the Oxnard and Port of Hueneme Boys and Girls Club and is an active community volunteer.

Leah Lacayo

Secretary

 

BIO

Lacayo is a 35-year resident of Ventura County, a native Southern Californian.

Lacayo is a community activist and is currently serving her community through a number of organizations, including the Ventura County Fair Board, (31st District Agricultural Association), Vice Chair, CSU Channel Islands Alumni & Friends Association, immediate past Co-President, Ventura County Women’s Political Council, Congress of California Seniors Education & Research Fund, Chair, and the Congress of California Seniors.

Lacayo serves on the Ventura County Community Foundation Scholarship Committee, reading applications for the Destino Scholarship Fund. The Lacayo Family is one of the founding members of the Destino Fund. Lacayo became a Certified Mediator in 2010, and is a member of the Jewish Labor Committee Advisory Board.

Lacayo is passionate about mentoring young women, giving them a voice, leading by example, and a “yes I can” attitude!

Lacayo is a mother, grandmother, attending grandkids soccer, baseball games, piano and dance recitals. Lacayo was married to Henry L. “Hank” Lacayo (deceased), a former VCCF board member.

Scott P. Hansen

Immediate Past Chair

BIO

As the Managing Director – Branch Manager in the Valley Market for Wells Fargo Advisors, Scott Hansen has the honor of leading three financial advisor branches in Westlake Village, Woodland Hills and Encino. He also leads Private Wealth Advisors at The Private Bank which operates from offices in Santa Barbara, Westlake Village, Encino and Pasadena. He has been in the financial services industry for 30 years.

Mr. Hansen earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of California, Santa Barbara. Scott resides in Ventura with his wife of 25 years and their three children. He volunteers in the community with various organizations including Women’s Economic Ventures, California State University Channel Islands, and Ventura Foothill Little League Baseball.

Investment and Insurance Products are:
* Not Insured by the FDIC or Any Federal Government Agency
* Not a Deposit or Other Obligation of, or Guaranteed by, the Bank or Any Bank Affiliate
* Subject to Investment Risks, Including Possible Loss of the Principal Amount Invested

Brokerage services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

The Private Bank is an experience level for qualifying clients of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management (WIM). WIM offers financial products and services through affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. Bank products and services are available through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

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Meryl Chase

BIO

Meryl Chase is co-owner of Clearmont, LLC, a family-owned real estate investment company, but considers serving the community her primary vocation. Recently awarded Emeritus status by the board of directors of kidSTREAM, Meryl served a three-year term as founding VP of Finance on the board of the emerging children’s museum. She is also involved with WEV, Women United and other local organizations, and especially enjoys her involvement with her son’s school. Meryl considers this opportunity to serve philanthropists and charitable organizations throughout Ventura County with VCCF to be an extraordinary honor.

Having married into a wonderful, third-generation Ventura County farming family, Meryl moved to Camarillo in 2007, leaving behind a career in advertising, film and TV production. Her company, LA-based Zystar Films, Inc., worked with giants including Ford, Acura, Intel, Toyota, Fox and Imagine Entertainment. Meryl credits UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management with giving her the financial acumen to build a successful business in a highly competitive industry and has found that she thrives in environments that combine financial stewardship with serving others.

Geoff Dean

BIO

Geoff Dean is the recently retired 19th Sheriff of Ventura County and a 35-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. As Sheriff, Geoff oversees a department of 1200 people with a budget of $225 million. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office provides policing for over 500,000 people and patrols over 80 percent of the County’s geography. The Office serves as the police department for five contract cities: Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Moorpark, Fillmore and Ojai. VCSO also operates three jails, the only regional crime laboratory, air unit, bomb squad, and operates the Regional Criminal Justice Training Center.

Geoff is a lifetime resident of California, born in Los Angeles and raised in Simi Valley. He has lived in Camarillo for the past 21 years. Prior to being elected Sheriff, he worked various assignments throughout the Department including commanding the SWAT Team, as Chief of Police for the City of Moorpark and oversaw three of the Sheriff’s four divisions.

Geoff is involved in various community activities including Camarillo Noon Time Rotary, American Red Cross Presidents Council, the Board of Directors for Casa Pacifica and the American Cancer Society’s Community Council to mention a few. He has been married to his wife Marlene for the past twenty-five years. Marlene is a lifetime Ventura County resident and a mathematics professor. He has two children; Lindsey, who is in law school, and Andy, who is a college junior. Geoff holds a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Northridge and a second master’s degree in management from Cal Poly Pomona. He is a graduate of the California State Peace Officers Command College.

Jack Edelstein

BIO

Jack Edelstein’s passion in life is to help people who spend their time helping others. Jack provides his business experience, contacts and personal resources to non-profit executives who are seeking help. As a sales outreach trainer and executive coach, he works with local CEOs in creating more efficient non-profit organizations, providing advice in fundraising, internal and external processes, public relations and employee satisfaction. 

Experience:

President/CEO of ExpressLink Inc from 1985-2015, growing the company from a start-up to the largest U.S. provider in their category of auto dealer services.

Served as a Board Member for: 

  • Boys and Girls Club of Conejo Valley
  • Fit4The Cause
  • Engage Treatment Programs
  • Express Systems, Inc

And as a consultant for Caring Hand for Children in Los Angeles and Temple Ner Simcha in Westlake Village.

Jack attended University of California Northridge and University of California Los Angeles for his education in business and mental health treatment.

Catherine Sepulveda

BIO

Catherine has spent her adult life as a resident of Ventura County. She was born in Georgia and traveled extensively as a child growing up in the military. As an adult, Catherine has traveled through Europe, Asia, Central and South America. She is active in her community, currently serving on the Ventura County Community Foundation Scholarship Committee and co-chair of the Donor Peer Network. Catherine is a co-founder of the scholarship fund SGLTH.

She served on the Santa Paula High School Board as a trustee and was a Delegate on the California School Boards Association. She is passionate about helping youth achieve through scholarships and education.

Work and Committee Experience:

  • Santa Paula High School Academy – Scholarship Program Coordinator
  • Committee Chair for Whole – Child Development, Santa Paula
  • Ventura County Women’s Political Council

Catherine currently owns and operates an avocado ranch in Santa Paula where she raised her daughter.

Catherine’s education includes a Juris Doctor degree.

Venkat Yepuri

BIO

Venkat Yepuri is currently the Chief Operating Officer at ImmPACT Bio, a clinical-stage company developing transformative CAR T-cell therapies for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases. Previously, he was the Vice President, Global Business Solutions and Chief Procurement Officer of Amgen. Over the 20 years with Amgen, Venkat held multiple roles with increasing responsibility in functions such as Business Development, Corporate Transformation, Information Systems, and Strategic Sourcing/Sustainability.

Prior to Amgen, Venkat co-founded a physician group purchasing company in the U.S. Earlier, with the Healthcare Association of Southern California spin-off, he ran the technology consulting program for clients such as Kaiser Permanente. In addition, he established subsidiaries in India and Malaysia focused on medical equipment sales & services.

He has a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor’s degree in electronics & communication engineering from Delhi University.

Venkat has been on the Board of VCCF since October 2020. A resident of Ventura County for over 25 years, he has actively volunteered locally along with his family and has previously served on the Dean’s Leadership Council at California State University, Channel Islands.

Venkat resides in Thousand Oaks, California, with his wife. He enjoys hiking and following a wide range of sports, including basketball, cricket, and football.

Headshot of Mike Januzik

Mike Januzik

BIO

Michael (Mike) Januzik is vice president and chief financial officer of the RAND Corporation. He oversees financial reporting and accounting; contracts, grants, and procurement; billing; treasury; and risk management.

 

Prior to RAND, Januzik served as senior vice president and CFO at the Jewish Community Foundation of L.A., where he oversaw investment, accounting, donor relations, IT, and legal functions, as well as staffing the Investment, Finance, and Audit Committees of the Board of Trustees.

Januzik began his professional career with Pacific Telesis Group (subsequently AT&T), where he spent 12 years in areas of investor relations, financial management, and business analysis. His tenure culminated as CFO of the company’s Pacific Bell Information Services unit, a $65 million revenue subsidiary.

Subsequently, Januzik served five years as vice president and portfolio manager for QuantiLogic Asset Management Co., Inc., a SEC-registered investment adviser. He moved on to hold senior-level finance and administration positions with several companies in the information technology and telecommunications industries before shifting to the nonprofit sector at The California Endowment.

At The California Endowment, Januzik’s responsibilities and accomplishments included: enhancing transparency and moving governance toward Sarbanes-Oxley Act standards; rebuilding investment and finance staffs; and assisting in the development of that organization’s landmark 140,000-square-foot Center for Healthy Communities.

Mike moved to Southern California in 1972 and has a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He has been a Camarillo resident since 2002. Mike and his wife Renee’s two children graduated from Camarillo High School and received their degrees from the University of California. Mike enjoys working for mission based nonprofits and welcomes the opportunity to help the Foundation be an ever more impactful asset of Ventura County.

Headshot of Dr. Cesar Morales

Dr. César Morales

BIO

Dr. Morales is currently the Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. He also served as a District Superintendent in the Oxnard School District. He held leadership roles in the Lawndale and Lennox School Districts in Los Angeles County.

Dr. Morales leads VCOE, which employs nearly 1,000 people and provides teacher training and administrative support services to all the County’s 20 school districts. VCOE also operates schools for students with special needs, at-promise students and provides career education for students countywide.

Dr. Morales received his Doctor of Education degree from UCLA and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Loyola Marymount University. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors of FCMAT (Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team) and an Advisory Board Member for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. He serves on a number of local nonprofit boards and is a past President of the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators.

Dr. Morales was the recipient of the El Concilio Latino Leadership Award and was named a “Leader to Learn From” by Education Week magazine. His areas of expertise include all aspects of public school management. He has gained recognition locally and statewide for his leadership on critical issues.

He is a passionate advocate for students and a strong believer in the power of education to help all young people achieve their dreams.

Headshot of Leslie Leavens

Leslie Leavens

BIO

Leslie Leavens recently retired after 30 years working for her family’s farming company, Leavens Ranches LLC, where she was vice president of finance and operations. The company grows lemons and avocados in Ventura and Monterey counties, and wine grapes in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County. As a member of the Ag Futures Alliance, she became involved in the critical issue of farm worker housing and is now chair of House Farm Workers!, a nonprofit education and advocacy organization. Leslie also serves on the boards of the Museum of Ventura County, the Ventura County Community Foundation, and several agricultural mutual water companies. She is a past president of Farm Bureau of Ventura County, and a graduate of the California Ag Leadership Program (Class 34) and the University of California, Los Angeles. Leslie enjoys traveling with her partner John Krist in their Sprinter van, exploring and learning about the landscape, people, history and cultures of the American West.

Headshot of Brando Pozzi

Brando Pozzi

BIO

Raised in Camarillo, Brando attended the local public schools of Mesa Union, Rio Mesa, and UCSB, where he studied history and labor studies. He is an alumni of Leading from Within’s Katherine Harvey Fellows 2023 cohort, a program designed to encourage self development and authenticity in community leaders. Brando currently runs a small family business, focusing on property investment and management.

As the grandson of founding VCCF Board Member, Martin “Bud” Smith, Brando is proud to continue his family’s legacy of philanthropy in Ventura County. After serving several years on the Smith Foundation Board, he now serves on both the VCCF and McCune Foundation Boards and their Investment Committees.

Brando lives in Camarillo with his beloved wife, Karla, and their two rescued dogs. His interests include synthesizers, birding, 80’s soul/funk, NBA/WNBA, eBay, and old movies.

Headshot of Dr. Richard Yao

Dr. Richard Yao

BIO

Dr. Richard Yao has served as President of California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) since January 2021, first in an interim role after having served as Vice President for Student Affairs since June 2018, and then in his permanent capacity after a nationwide search and the CSU Board of Trustees’ appointment in January 2022.

President Yao earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Illinois University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University. Prior to joining CSUCI, he resided in Las Vegas, Nevada for 23 years, where he was an active member of the higher education and mental health communities.

Early in his clinical career, he worked with individuals with chronic and persistent mental illness as well as with transition-aged youth from the foster care system. Yao then focused primarily on forensic psychological assessments, with an emphasis on juvenile certification evaluations for the Juvenile Court and Public Defender’s Office, parental capacity evaluations for the Department of Family Services, and psychological disability evaluations for the Bureau of Disability Adjudication. Throughout this time, he also served as a full-time Psychology Lecturer with Nevada State College, which like CSUCI, opened its doors in 2002. He was eventually tasked with building out their Student Affairs programming and first served as the Director of Student Development before becoming their founding Dean of Students.

Since coming to CSUCI, President Yao has distinguished himself as a campus leader who is steady the face of challenges—including those that are life-threatening, such as the campus evacuations and wildfires he helped the University to navigate in his first semester; a mass shooting at a nearby club that same semester; and the global pandemic. Dr. Yao’s deep background in managing trauma and promoting mental health as well as his engaged and authentic presence have served the students and employees of the campus well in extraordinarily difficult times.

While serving as the Vice President for Student Affairs, President Yao increased collaborations between Academic and Student Affairs programs to improve student success and worked to ensure that co-curricular programming was in full alignment with the academic mission of the University. He worked to demonstrate the relationship between students’ utilization of support services and academic success markers, and in collaboration with the Chancellor’s Office, helped lead a system-wide pilot program to develop a Student Affairs data dashboard and examine student demographics in relation to utilization of support services.

As the educational, fiscal, and community leader now responsible for the youngest of the CSUs in its third decade of being, President Yao has been assertive from the start in establishing and enacting his priorities for the campus. Under his leadership and through his personal commitment of “honoring our past, building the future,” CSUCI has: recentralized the role and impact of Institutional Research as a critical partner for Enrollment Management, divisional leadership, individual researchers (faculty, staff, and student), and the Office of the President; created and implemented the University’s first Inclusive Excellence Action Plan, with responsibility institutionally owned for the first time in campus history for actively advancing the values of diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility; undertook a multi-year, cross-divisional study of CSUCI students’ post-graduation outcomes, seeking to understand and improve them through an examination of high impact practices as potential predictors of improved salary earnings post-graduation; launched a three-phased Integrated Marketing Communication Plan, utilizing market research as the foundation of an emerging brand foundation; facilitated an unprecedented level of philanthropic support for CI with several highly impactful, multi-million dollar gifts received since 2021; received Board of Trustee approval for an aggressive Academic Master Plan that will bring new undergraduate and graduate programs into being over the coming decade, prioritizing regional industry needs and utilizing the campus’s first data-based, cost-model methodology for evaluating and prioritizing new and existing programs; actively partnered with the local Indigenous community to ensure strong tribal-campus relations and respectful cultural engagement through the creation of a President’s Chumash Advisory Council; and engaged the campus community in a President’s Operational Effectiveness Challenge, inviting faculty, staff, and administrators to form teams to study operational challenges, using Bolman & Deal’s Four-Frame analytical framework for understanding where “sand in the gears” is impeding effectiveness, and to identify actions for improvement.

Dr. Yao’s presidency is guided by his commitment to transparency, authentic engagement, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility – all in service to CSUCI’s academic mission of placing students at the center of the educational experience and impactfully serving regional needs.

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