LifeSTEPS’ Board of Directors and Key Employee Biographies
LifeSTEPS is a non-profit provider of social and supportive services to individuals and families experiencing
poverty and/or homelessness.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Craig Gillett, JD, MFT
LifeSTEPS Founder & Board President
Attorney, Professor, M.F.T., Former Director of Clinical Training Antioch University
Craig is an attorney, educator and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist living in Los Angeles. He has been involved with non-profit agencies since 1992, with a focus on homelessness, affordable housing for families and seniors, and mental health issues. At Antioch University Los Angeles, Craig was a core faculty member and the Director of Clinical Training in the Master’s Degree Program in Clinical Psychology. Currently, Craig is a faculty member at the Southern California Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis. Craig also maintains a small private psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles. Craig’s contributions to LifeSTEPS include the insistence on high quality service providers and case management services for every resident. Craig states, “we know from experience the crucial role that case management plays in stabilizing housing. We value the bond of trust between service provider and resident, a human relationship of care with professional boundaries that often makes the difference between housing success and failure.”
Kenneth S. Robertson
Executive Director, Riverside Charitable Corp.
Member: ETHIC Housing Trust, Lennar-LNR Heritage Fields, El Toro US Marine Corp Air Station; Advisory Board Member: New Market Tax Credit, WNC California Community Development Fund I and II; Chairman, Community Housing Assistance Program, Inc.; Advisory Board Member: Orange County Community Housing Corporation; Member: California Council for Affordable Housing; Member: Kennedy Commission. Formerly with Coldwell Banker Commercial Development Services. Comprehensive experience in real estate, investment, and development of over 14.85 million sq. ft. of multi-family residential, commercial, industrial and institutional property.
Barbara G. Valiente, C.P.A.
Controller, Occidental College
Certified Public Accountant. Formerly with Price Waterhouse Coopers. Comprehensive experience in non-profit accounting. Accomplished in all aspects of General Ledger, sub ledger accounting, and auditing. In-depth knowledge of internal control issues and procedures. A team leader in management, administration, and communication with a keen ability to effectively interact with senior management, faculty, staff, administrators and outside parties.
Dr. Lili Y. Kim, Clinical Psychology
Adjunct Professor, University of California, Irvine. Adjunct Professor, Antioch University.
Specialization in Multicultural, Community Clinical Psychology and also a specialization in Marriage, Family and Child Therapy. Therapist, AIDS Services Foundation; Therapist, The Counseling Center of Santa Monica; Therapist-GATE Specialist, West County Counseling Center; Therapist, Southern California Counseling Center; AAMFT-accredited.
Jonathan Gabriel, Esq.
Gabriel Salomons LLP
Jonathan Gabriel is a seasoned business attorney with 25 years’ experience. He is a principal in the firm, where he focuses on helping business clients navigate the legal challenges they face in today’s competitive marketplace, whether it be drafting contracts or litigating business disputes. Mr. Gabriel is admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and the Federal Court of Claims. Mr. Gabriel has served as a Judge Pro Tempore for the Los Angeles Superior Court since 1997.
Farrell J. Hirsch
President / CEO, GFF, Inc.
Certified Public Accountant. Chartered Accountant, South Africa. Mr. Hirsch currently serves as President/CEO of GFF, Inc., a stand-alone company that licenses the name GIRARD’S for the manufacturing of mayonnaise, salad dressings, and sauces. Mr. Hirsch has also served as Chief Operating Officer, PureTek Corporation; Chief Financial Officer, Small World Toys; Principal, Dultch Franklin & Co.; Chief Financial Officer, Swiss Precision Instruments; Director, Glenhurst MTS, Ltd., London, England; Senior Accountant, Touche Ross & Co.; and, Staff Accountant, Arthur Anderson & Co., Cape Town, South Africa.
Gregory J. Popovich
President / Owner, Castle Rock Winery
Mr. Popovich has been involved in every aspect of the wine business for over 25 years. His 1994 vision of a winery making delicious wines at reasonable prices has become a very successful reality. Castle Rock is now one of the top 30 wine companies in the U.S. (out of over 6,000) having sold 370,000 cases in 2007. Popovich now sets the strategic direction of the business and leads the company’s commercial and marketing activities. Popovich started Castle Rock Winery after completing his Masters Degree in Business Administration at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.
Assistant Director , Business Development, West Region, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
Beth Southorn, Executive Director
Beth Southorn has been a leader in the social services field for over 30 years. Experienced in working with numerous special needs populations, her approach to housing and the prevention of homelessness was shaped and has continuously evolved from her spent time working at Mills/Peninsula Hospital and the Shelter Network of San Mateo County. Beth has built a career out of a unique combination of experience in diversity, leadership, training, and program development that have allowed her to form successful national models that are inclusive of vocational rehabilitation, supportive services, and affordable housing programs. As Executive Director of LifeSTEPS, Beth has propelled LifeSTEPS to its current status as one of the premier social services providers in affordable housing, now serving over 38,860 homes throughout the entire state of California from the border of Oregon to the edges of San Diego County. Beth has not only created and grown a successful model of resident empowerment for affordable housing communities throughout California, but has also been actively addressing the “Trapped in the Gap” paradigm faced by many seniors, in her efforts to assist older adults to thrive in place.
Chief Financial Officer
Jody McKay, CFO
Jody is a certified finance professional with a commitment to organizational growth, excellence and making a difference in communities. She has more than 30 years of experience administering all aspects of finance and operations for non-profit organizations. In addition, she has volunteered for numerous local nonprofits focusing on at-risk youth, environmental causes and pediatric cancer research. Jody joined LifeSTEPS in 2010 and continues to be inspired by LifeSTEPS’ sustainability model designed to break the cycle of poverty.
Jody is often spending time with family when not at the office. Her six grandchildren just feed her soul! She enjoys exploring the outdoors; kayaking, cycling, hiking and occasional road trips. Other interests include reading, gardening and wine tasting of course.
Senior Director of Support and Health Services
Meredith Chillemi, M.S.G./M.H.A., Senior Director of Support and Health Services
Meredith, a Gerontologist, has a background working in various social service and health care settings since 1994, including the Department of Veterans Affairs Geriatric Education Center, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Adult Day Care, and at a senior health insurance plan. Meredith has also facilitated programs funded by the Area Agency on Aging, including home delivered meals, shared housing, and case management. Meredith joined the LifeSTEPS team in 2002 and now oversees our Thriving in Place initiatives, long term services and supports collaborations and the Older Adult RN Case Management Program. She has been instrumental in developing and guiding the programs and services LifeSTEPS offers to more than 90,000 residents.
Director of Program Development and Quality Control
Pam Moore, Director of Program Development and Quality Control
Pam provides leadership throughout the organization finding strategic solutions to improve the quality of life for at-risk and underserved populations through direct services and community partnerships. After spending nearly a decade working with LifeSTEPS expanding our business model across the State, Pam truly knows how to make an impact developing and implementing diverse programs and has revolutionized the agencies database infrastructure and reporting that continually drives performance to a higher level – and it’s not from just mastering nonprofit leadership. It’s how well she is able to connect with a committed group of professionals, honor individual talents, and communicate the value we bring to our partners.
For 20 years, Pam has also worked with and provided consultations to The Community College Foundation to bring young adults with disabilities work experience opportunities and the necessary job skills and education for them to realize their dreams. In addition, as an Assistant Director for Ride to Walk, she promoted the human physical and mental health that horseplay therapeutic riding brings to children with physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities.
Pam enjoys living on three acres with her husband and son in Rocklin. Family, friends and nature are her true source of happiness. She likes taking photos of nature and animals around her pond and loves to read.
Pam holds a BS in Organizational Behavior from National University.
Director of Community and Resident Services
Ann Elias, Director of Community and Resident Services
Ann Elias is a strategic leader with over 25 years of experience in non-profit and not-for-profit organizations. She has an MBA in Marketing from Webster University and holds certifications as a master trainer, strengths coach and change management professional. Ann has directed collaborative initiatives with diverse key stakeholders to deepen culture and develop talent across large and complex organizations.
She has designed and delivered leadership workshops, presentations and programs to optimize human performance and leverage world-class outcomes. Throughout her career she has directed organizational effectiveness initiatives, including talent management, training and development, workforce engagement, diversity and inclusion, performance development, succession planning and is passionate about building interdependent teams to deliver outstanding results.
Ann has also served as a life coach and consultant. She enjoys collaborative working relationships and empowering people to fulfill their personal mission and life goals. She resides in Roseville, California with her family and enjoys traveling, reading, sports, history, volunteering and writing.
Director of Human Resources
Melissa Aita, Director of Human Resources
Melissa is a certified Senior Human Resources Professional and holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Health Care Administration from California State University as well as several professional affiliations (Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Sacramento Area Human Resource Association (SAHRA) and Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA). She has more than 12 years of extensive experience leading HR operations such as employee relations, performance management, training and development, safety and talent acquisition, as well as providing support in the areas of organizational development and strategic planning. She sees her role as one of service to employees, empowering them to achieve excellence in all they do. Melissa views our employees as her customers and feels the best way to support them is to truly understand the unique challenges of each of their roles.
REGIONAL STAFF CONTACTS
Bay Area Regional Director of Social Services
Central California Regional Director of Social Services
Desert Senior Regional Director of Social Services
LA Valley Regional Director of Social Services
Orange County/San Diego County/South LA County Regional Director of Social Services
Northern Regional Director of Social Services