Meet Our Team
These are the individuals responsible for making The Children’s Partnership what it is today.
Board Of Directors
Ken has a long history of civic involvement including service on non-profit boards focused mostly in Environmental Policy, municipal governance and youth development including Coro Southern California, Legacy Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation Executive Committee, Sustain OC and the Environmental Leadership Institute. He holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA, a MA in Public Policy from Claremont and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. He currently lives in Pasadena with his wife, Dr. Lan Nguyen-Chawkins and has two college-aged daughters, Dania and Emma.
Berenice Núñez Constant
In addition to her current role as Chair of the Board of Directors of The Children’s Partnership, she has been a program consultant on several TCP projects since 1996, including Computers In Our Future, for which she facilitated corporate outreach and donations. She also serves as the Co-Director of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College and adjunct professor of Political Science.
Prior to her nonprofit work, Shari spent 12 years as a public affairs advocate and governmental relations consultant and has experience as a municipal finance investment banker. She is past chair of Covenant House California and served on the boards of the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, the Weingart Center Partners, and Alternative Living for the Aging.
Shari graduated from the University of Southern California, where she double majored in political science and public relations. She went on to earn her master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She and her husband have made Santa Monica their home for 30 years and have three children. She enjoys running, skiing, and enjoying the beach with her family.
Prior to joining HMA, she served as national vice president for Medicaid, Charitable Care and Coverage for Kaiser Permanente where she was responsible for the creation and implementation of strategies for Kaiser Permanente to participate in Medicaid.
She has also served as a Medicaid health plan medical director providing medical oversight for a one million-member program serving members insured through government payers including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Her clinical experience includes serving as medical director and physician for a Federally Qualified Health Centers providing healthcare services to low-income uninsured individuals and families, including the homeless. She has also been an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) teaching community medicine to residents and medical students.
Dr. Fleischman is active in advocacy and improving programs and care for families in need. She earned a Doctor of Medicine degree and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UCLA and is a graduate of the first class of the California Healthcare Foundation Medical Leadership Fellowship. She has also participated as faculty for the program.
She has two children in college, and enjoys running, spinning, yoga, music, and scuba diving.
Prior to her work in politics and CPCA, Rebecca held positions at Clinica Romero, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Council of La Raza/California State University Long Beach Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training, AltaMed Health Services, and the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health.
Rebecca began her career as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Edward Roybal Public Health Fellow for Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. Her work on cervical cancer and Latinas has been published in the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy entitled, “Latinas and Cervical Cancer, a Preventable Disease.” Rebecca is also the mami of three adorable and chaotic little humans. She strongly believes that as a mom, we are our children’s first learning models. Rebecca revels in drinking a cup of coffee and celebrating another day that she gets to be with her family, feeling supported by friends and coworkers, making memories. Even little ones. Maybe, if she’s lucky, her children will remember those the most. Rebecca was appointed to the Commission for Community and Family Services by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and serves on the Board of The Latina Public Service Academy. She holds a BS from Cal State Long Beach, and an MPH from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health. She lives in Whittier with her husband, Emanuel Pleitez, and three children, Suremikal, Ixnuukda, and Niyayuma.
Follow Rebecca on Twitter at @RebePleitez and connect with her on LinkedIn.
Tamara Ritchey Powers
Tamara served on the board of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for nine years, including work on the Strategic Planning and Executive Committees. She has also served on the board of The Wonder of Reading, a literacy organization that helped build over 200 libraries in local public elementary schools; and on the board of The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, where she served as Board Chair her last two years. Tamara is also on the Board of Pueblo Nuevo Education Group, the resource and advisory arm of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. She served on the State’s Rewards and Intervention Advisory Committee from 1997-2002, to help create the state’s Public School Accountability Act. And, after twenty years as an advisory board member for The Children’s Partnership, she is now a founding board member.
In 2013, Tamara chaired the Grant Screening Board for The Everychild Foundation, a women’s foundation that makes a single $1 million grant each year to a child-based organization in the Los Angeles area.
An active community volunteer, Tamara has led parent groups and fundraising efforts at both Chadwick School, an independent school, and at local public schools, as well as leading a local mother-daughter philanthropy group, including volunteering significant hours to a range of local non-profits.
Tamara received a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and continues to be actively involved in fundraising for both.
Anthony has worked with a broad range of clients focused on pushing progressive criminal justice reform policies and new safety priorities. In California, he has worked with Californians for Safety and Justice on the passage and implementation of Proposition 47. He worked with the client to build a broad coalition of Latino, immigrant rights and business leaders to support the ballot initiative and engage in its implementation. Anthony has also been working with a group of re-entry providers in LA County to integrate financial coaching into their service delivery model and help build a national model on asset building for formerly incarcerated individuals. Nationally, Anthony has been working with Alliance for Safety and Justice to help the organization build its visibility nationally and in seven of the nation’s top incarceration states.
Anthony helped with the firm’s expansion into Texas, working alongside colleagues to assess the needs and opportunities in the Lone Star State. Anthony has provided communications and advocacy support to The Borderplex Alliance and the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) as they tackle economic development and education issues in the Texas border region. Anthony has helped both clients build relationships with national reporters and influencers and gotten them featured in The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, and El Diario de Mexico. A few of Anthony’s other clients include The California Endowment, The Campaign for College Opportunity, and Diverse Asset Managers Initiative.
Prior to joining The Raben Group, Anthony worked as a data analyst for The Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC, conducting quantitative and qualitative research on a broad range of policy issues such as immigrant integration, environmental justice, and movement building and publishing reports on these topics. Anthony also worked at The California Endowment, developing grant-making strategies on youth development and violence prevention in California.
Anthony is a native of Santa Ana, California, and child of immigrant parents whose story of adversity and perseverance navigating this country keep him grounded and committed to social justice. Anthony holds a master’s in Public Policy from the University of Southern California and received his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
James earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California (USC) and his J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was the Executive Editor of the New York University Law Review. He also served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Detroit, Michigan and to the Honorable Julian Abele Cook, Jr. for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. In 2016, Mr. Perez was named one of the National Bar Association’s “Nation’s Best Advocates: Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers.” For his pro bono work, he received the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the ACLU of Southern California.
Ms. Lazarus is a leading advocate and policy expert on a wide range of children’s issues, having spent more than 40 years working on the front lines for children across the nation. Throughout the years, she has helped secure improved health care, child support, access to information technologies and other vital resources for hundreds of thousands of children and families.
Through her leadership at The Children’s Partnership, digital opportunity for children has become a forefront policy issue in the United States. Ms. Lazarus helped secure first-in-the-nation technology policy gains in California that directed technology resources and training to underserved children and their families.
She also carried out pioneering work on the content dimension of the digital divide, having co-authored the first comprehensive report on Internet content from the standpoint of the needs of underserved Americans. The Children’s Partnership also developed a portal to help low-income and underserved communities use and create online content and produced a widely used Parent’s Guide to the Internet.
In addition, Ms. Lazarus has worked to ensure that every child in America has access to quality health care and has led a number of health reform efforts, including major improvements in the federal Medicaid program for children. While at TCP, she helped create and lead the 100% Campaign, a California-based effort which succeeded in its goal of enabling all children to get health coverage. With Ms. Lazarus’s leadership, The Children’s Partnership also spearheaded the creation and roll-out of Express Lane Eligibility, pioneering a way to use technology to expedite enrollment in public health insurance programs for hundreds of thousands of uninsured children through other public programs in which they are already enrolled. Ms. Lazarus also developed the next frontier in health care for children—the deployment of new technologies such as telehealth to improve children’s health.
Prior to founding The Children’s Partnership, she served as the Children’s Defense Fund’s first national Director of Health, as founding Vice-President for Policy at Children Now, and as a consultant to the Conrad Hilton and Piton Foundations.
Her work at The Children’s Partnership has been recognized for its foresight and leadership, especially in the area of children and digital media. In 1994, she co-authored the first comprehensive report on how digital society impacts children, followed by co-authoring an award-winning, first-of-its-kind parenting resource for the information age. In the following years, she authored multiple publications about children and the digital society and led the development of several digital projects including the first website focused on creating content for low-income Americans. She created and managed communications for many successful advocacy campaigns, securing increased health care and dental care for California’s children, the expansion of next-generation technologies for health care through telehealth, and numerous efforts to close the digital divide.
Ms. Lipper was founding Vice President for Communications at Children Now, a California-based policy organization, where she developed groundbreaking communications strategies for child advocacy. Her work at Children Now included several innovations such as fashioning the marketing elements and releasing, in 1989, the first California Report Card on how the state’s children are faring. This technique spawned a generation of data-based accountability tools supported by communications presentations and messaging in child advocacy. She also developed a model media and communications program for children’s issues, including public opinion research projects, the blending of policy and communications outcomes in strategy development, and the creative development and production of the print, digital, and video advocacy tools for the organization.
Previously, she was Deputy Campaign Manager for a California campaign reform initiative, Proposition 68, and Marketing Director of Hands Across America, a one-of-a-kind mega-event that raised awareness and funds to alleviate hunger and homelessness. She served as Executive Director of The Nation Institute, a New York-based organization that promotes civil liberties and debate on foreign and domestic policy.
Throughout her career, Ms. Lipper has fostered innovative approaches to advocacy. She has been adept at anticipating emerging issues and developing them into advocacy platforms. At The Children’s Partnership, she also honed the structure of the organization to support 22 years of co-leadership and a virtual organization with multiple offices. She has worked to recruit and mentor young advocates interested in pioneering new approaches to advocacy and she has designed organizational structures to support innovation.
In 2017, Laurie Lipper co-founded Kids Impact Initiative, a nonprofit project started to improve the lives of the nation’s 74 million children. After more than three decades as an advocacy organization executive, Ms. Lipper launched Kids Impact to support and strengthen the child advocacy field as a whole. Kids Impact analyzes advocacy trends and lessons across a broad range of issues, advancing new ways to reinforce effective efforts already underway and ratchet up accountability and advocacy for children. Currently, Ms. Lipper serves on the Washington Advisory Council of Common Sense Media. She is an accomplished speaker to schools and parent groups, and to the media. Ms. Lipper received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and resides in Washington, D.C.
Mayra E. Alvarez
Mayra E. Alvarez, MHA is President of The Children’s Partnership, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to advance child health equity by ensuring all children have the resources and opportunities they need to grow up healthy and thrive. In 2021, she was named by President Joe Biden to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. In 2019, she was nominated by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to serve on the First 5 California Commission and the Early Childhood Policy Council and in 2017, by then-Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve on the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC).
Prior to The Children’s Partnership, Ms. Alvarez completed a several-year set of assignments at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the administration of President Barack Obama. She served as the Director of the State Exchange Group for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and led a team responsible for supporting states in the establishment of Health Insurance Marketplaces. Previously, Ms. Alvarez served as the Associate Director for the HHS Office of Minority Health, where she led the coordination of OMH’s work related to the Affordable Care Act, community health workers and language access. Prior to this role, Ms. Alvarez served as Director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at HHS where she had primary oversight responsibility for coordinated and timely implementation of the public health, prevention and health care workforce policy provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Before joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Alvarez served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and for then-Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA). Ms. Alvarez began her professional career as a David A. Winston Health Policy Fellow in the office of then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).
She completed her graduate education at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate education at the University of California at Berkeley. She is originally from outside San Diego, CA, and is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants.
Gabriella Barbosa is the Managing Director of Policy at The Children’s Partnership, where she leads the development, implementation and supervision of a multi-issue advocacy agenda focused on advancing systemic changes that protect and promote the well-being of children from historically marginalized communities through public policy, research, partnerships and community engagement. Gabriella has a decade of experience using various advocacy strategies to achieve a more just and equitable society for children. She previously served as the Public Policy Director for a local elected official and a non-profit advocacy organization, where she developed and utilized a policy-making approach that shifts power to community members as the drivers of systemic change for themselves, their families and their communities. Gabriella began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Children’s Rights Project at Public Counsel, where she designed and implemented an advocacy project focused on improving the academic outcomes of immigrant students and students from immigrant families using direct legal representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy and community education. She was also previously a public school teacher in South Los Angeles. Gabriella is a proud daughter of immigrants. She received a B.A. in Political Science and Human Rights from Columbia University and a law degree from Columbia Law School.
Kristen Golden Testa
Kristen has worked with TCP since 2001 to expand and improve health coverage and enrollment for children, focusing on Medi-Cal, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Covered California. She also leads on federal health coverage issues affecting children to secure the sustainability of children’s health insurance programs and continue to improve upon children’s ability to easily enroll in coverage and access care.
As the Communications Manager for TCP, Marwa Abdelghani oversees and leads internal and external communications in order to provide a consistent, targeted and impactful message for the organization. Marwa has dedicated the greater part of her career in social change using digital advocacy. Previously, she served as the Communications Manager for UNITE-LA, where she helped establish the organization as an independent entity and uplift its presence in the Los Angeles region. As the Communications Coordinator for the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, she communicated the importance of education equity to the business community. At UNITE-LA and the L.A. Area Chamber, Marwa elevated equity issues related to education, early childhood and workforce development. Throughout college and after receiving her B.A. in Literary Journalism at the University of California, Irvine, she continued working as the Media Analyst for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), where she engaged with reporters and producers in improving perceptions of American Muslims. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, bowling, and watching reruns of Friends, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Marvel Universe and Harry Potter.
Monique is TCP’s Operations Manager. She plays a critical role in supporting and ensuring the effectiveness of the TCP team by ensuring the organization runs smoothly, with particular emphasis on administration, finance & accounting and organizational governance. Prior to stepping into an operations role at TCP, Monique was Ms. Parks – a first grade teacher in Lost Hills. Having worked the last few years in a small town in the Central Valley, Monique got to experience firsthand how health and food deserts can be detrimental to a community. Monique is passionate about making systems and processes work so others can focus on their primary work and feel supported. Monique earned dual bachelor’s degrees at Howard University in Sociology and Administration of Justice. She is originally from Roanoke, Virginia.
As a Policy Associate at The Children’s Partnership, Gabby works in multiple areas of the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts including immigrant health, oral health and health care coverage that aim to advance children’s health equity and access. Gabby has experience in program evaluation, assessing programs for government and community based organizations in the areas of education, public health, community outreach, criminal justice and substance abuse and prevention. Gabby is passionate about social justice and equity, and as an immigrant herself, she has examined and advocated to improve educational opportunities for marginalized communities at public universities and representation at schools. Gabby is a triple alumnus of UC Irvine with a B.A. in Political Science, B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy.
Alexis Martin is a Policy Associate at The Children’s Partnership. She is on the mental health policy team where the focus is on TCP’s policy priorities by ensuring children get equitable access to mental health services. Alexis received a B.A. in Sociology/African American studies from Loyola Marymount University and her M.S.W. from USC.
Dayanara Ruiz is a Policy Associate at The Children’s Partnership (TCP). She works with the Mental Health Policy Team focusing on Early Childhood Development with the goal of ensuring 0-5 year olds have their social and emotional health needs met in an equitable and holistic manner. Dayanara’s work supports TCP’s policy priority of ensuring children receive equitable access to mental health services through policy advocacy, policy research and community engagement. She received her B.A. in Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles and her Master of Public Health from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Joann Guerilus is the Executive Assistant at The Children’s Partnership (TCP) where she works closely with the President and staff to ensure that the organization’s strategic goals are being met effectively and efficiently. Joann is also a storyteller who believes in community, and she uses film to tell authentic and emotionally driven stories about underrepresented communities.
Our work is not possible without our interns! Interested in interning at TCP? Email us at email@example.com.
Allison is a Graduate Intern at TCP and a third-year Doctoral Student of Public Health at the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University with a concentration in Leadership and Management. She serves as the Chair of her DrPH class. She is a former K-12 educator, principal and non-profit executive director. She is a Connecticut native and received her Bachelor’s degree in Pathobiology from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from Midwestern University. Her research interests and passions are merging critical public health issues into the education sector to better understand and meet mental health needs in underprivileged children and the socioecological perspectives of their environment, such as teacher mental health and impact of racial disparities. She is extremely delighted to be interning at TCP and supporting their crucial mission which aligns perfectly with her future dissertation work and hopes to contribute as much as she can!
Jazmin Estevez-Rosas is a policy intern for The Children’s Partnership where she supports advocacy efforts through policy research, data analysis and community engagement. Jazmin is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania where she is a candidate for a B.A in Health and Societies, focusing on health policy and law. Her academic experiences range from interests in the sciences, particularly in biology and genetics, paired with a passion for public health and the sociology of medicine. Although Jazmin supports TCP from her current location in Philadelphia, she is a proud Boyle Heights native and enjoys the opportunity to advocate for her community.
Marisha Kashyap is an intern at The Children’s Partnership. She supports TCP’s Government and Community Relations teams. Marisha’s professional interests lie in program development, evaluation, community engagement and policy-advocacy work from the lens of racial and socioeconomic equity, as well as cultural humility in issues such as preventive health care for pediatric populations, early childhood education, reducing risks of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and building resilience in childhood. Marisha received her B.A. in Economics from India and her M.P.H. in Population and Family Health from Columbia University.
Tamara Oueini is TCP’s Communications Intern. She supports TCP’s Communications team by uplifting our work to a variety of audiences in order to elevate TCP’s mission to advance child health equity. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in International Studies and an emphasis in global issues in Africa and the Middle East. Her studies primarily focused on poverty and development in Africa and led her to study abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Having spent the last four years working at a community health clinic and health justice organization in Los Angeles, she has learned, first hand, effective nonprofit strategy, organization, and management skills as she works directly with executive leadership and program staff in administration, development, communications, operations, fundraising, and finance. She has completed a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, which she intends to use to assist service-oriented organizations in learning effective strategies to ensure success in achieving their mission. Most recently, she returned from an internship in Kenya, working with a community-based organization that delivers supplemental education programs, women and girls empowerment initiatives, and soon, medical and wellness services to the local community. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, traveling, and spending time in nature.