Leslye began her professional career at the State Department of Housing and Community Development, where she held several positions before taking on the challenge of overseeing the day-to-day activities of the State’s housing loan and grant programs. In that capacity, she worked to pass and then implement the first affordable housing bond initiatives, which made $550 million available for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing throughout the State.
Leslye joined the City of San Jose as the Department of Housing’s first Assistant Director in 1991, and then served for 14 years as the Director. While with the City, she oversaw a program that developed and improved 21,000 affordable housing units, leveraging the City’s funds with more than $2.7 billion from public and private sources.
Leslye has served on a number of federal, State, and regional boards, most recently serving as a Co-Chair of CASA, a regional task force that developed a housing strategy for the nine- county Bay Area that tackled the 3Ps of housing— production, preservation, and protection. She is a dedicated housing wonk, loves policy and research, and is excited to lead SV@Home.
Director of Operations
As Director of Operations at SV@Home, Sonia brings with her more than 25 years of professional experience in operations management and leadership development with corporate, nonprofit and government agencies. She worked alongside Senator John Vasconcellos for 14 years as he chaired the Public Safety, Education, and Economic Development committees, as well as the Senate Subcommittee on Aging. Sonia and her family have a long history and lifetime commitment to working on social justice, immigrant issues and other needs in the Latino community. The Avitia Family was awarded the La Familia Award from the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley in 2003.
Born in Durango, Mexico and arriving as an infant she considers herself a San Jose Native and is bilingual and bicultural. She is is a Santa Clara University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Currently, she continues to run her own business as Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics, co-parent her niece Dahlia and her nephew Carlos Joaquin, enjoys spending time with her husband of 18 years and loves to escape into a good book.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
As Director of Strategic Initiatives, David spearheads SV@Home’s strategies for achieving high levels of affordable housing through major planning areas and projects. This means collaborating closely with community advocates, local elected officials, city staff, and developers, both non-profit and for profit, to craft land use proposals that respond to our shared affordability crisis.
A former U.S. diplomat, David has experience living and working across eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, and the former Soviet Union.
When he’s not at work, you can find David enjoying a hike with his wife in the Bay Area’s incredible parks, training for the next triathlon, or maybe just reading a good book at a local coffee shop.
David holds an MSc in comparative politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University. He speaks French and some Russian.
Mathew has a decades long commitment to affordable housing development, preservation and policy. Beginning as a tenant organizer in New Jersey in the 1990s, he has worked to bring community interests to housing policy discussions and to insure that affordable housing is a part of our understanding of inequality and our movements for social justice.
In the Bay Area, he has worked in the public, non-profit, and the private sectors as a housing demographer, a social policy evaluator, and an organizer. Most recently, Mathew was with Sacred Heart Community Service as a community organizer and housing analyst, where he worked on homeless prevention, renters’ rights, and efforts to expand affordable housing funding and development.
Mathew holds a PhD in Urban Sociology and Social Policy from Northwestern University.
Commmunications and Membership Manager
As Communications and Membership Manager Gabriela is responsible for fostering strong relationships with members and sponsors and executing an effective communications strategy that supports SV@Home’s mission and vision.
Gabriela comes to SV@Home after managing strategic partnerships for the New Mexico Hospitality Association, a statewide association focused on serving its members and all segments of the hospitality industry. She cultivated relationships, developed programming, and advanced a public policy agenda to improve statewide educational opportunities, workforce development, and economic prosperity.
After graduating with a degree in Political Science from Santa Clara University, Gabriela spent over 10 years supporting organizations and causes in the Bay Area that spoke to her deep-rooted passion for social justice and social change. As a dedicated philanthropy professional at the Koret Foundation, she enjoyed supporting institutions and organizations that contributed to a caring and vibrant community. In addition, she has worked as a Communications and Marketing consultant, has managed community engagement events and special events, and even ran a political campaign!
Gabriela is a social entrepreneur, energized and inspired by pioneers and leaders of social change. She believes that Silicon Valley is a special place—and that housing is the #1 quality of life issue.
Senior Housing Development Associate
As Senior Housing Development Associate, Rick will be responsible for technical housing issues and engaging with developers and other partners to facilitate policy relating to housing production.
Rick is an urban planner, program manager, and data analyst. His skills and domain will help advance SV@Home’s housing development and finance policy work with developers and partners to increase housing production in the South Bay.
Prior to joining SV@Home, Rick led cross-functional teams to develop cloud based epermit, regulatory, and entitlement risk data analytic solutions for local governments and real estate developers. In that time he pioneered a partnership with Rockefeller’s 100 Resilient Cities and grew his portfolio more than 20% annually. He brings global experience working with regional and local governments for land use development, advanced planning, policy analysis, and mega infrastructure project planning.
Rick holds a M.S. in Urban Planning and Data Analytics from San Jose State University, a B.S. in Business from Boston University and is an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Senior Planning Associate
Yuju is passionate about community engagement and addressing institutional racism within urban planning and housing policy that has resulted in segregation and inequity. As Senior Planning Associate, she develops and implements SV@Home’s land use campaigns and oversees planning policy that supports meeting SV@Home’s housing affordability goals.
Prior to SV@Home, Yuju worked at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. as a Research Analyst conducting research on policy issues that intersected with housing instability and has also worked with the Terner Center for Housing Innovation and the Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley on housing policy research. In her free time, she enjoys frequenting local pastry shops, going to the beach, and exploring new neighborhoods. Yuju holds a B.A. in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College with a minor in Education and is completing her M.S. in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley.
Community Engagement Senior Associate
As Community Engagement Senior Associate, Cory works on state, regional, and local housing campaigns, and also supports SV@Home Action Fund’s legislative program.
Prior to joining SV@Home, Cory worked in and with government in multiple roles: as an elected official, staffer, consultant, and advocate. On the Palo Alto City Council from 2015 – 2018, he prioritized addressing the housing crisis through accessory dwelling unit liberalization, zoning reform, and tenant protection. In addition to housing policy, he has worked on initiatives relating to transportation, climate action, fair wages, civil liberties, and electoral reform. Cory has mentored numerous local candidates and their teams, sharing lessons learned from his first-hand experience in politics and public service.
Cory holds a B.A. in Political Science / International Relations from the University of California, San Diego. When not working or volunteering, he enjoys exploring the region’s neighborhoods, hiking trails, and backroads. A Silicon Valley native, Cory is committed to helping create a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable future.
Policy and Research Associate
As Policy and Research Associate, Alison’s work supports evidence-based policy through qualitative and quantitative research across a broad range of housing topics. She believes that now more than ever, policymakers need access to nuanced, accurate, accessible data to make effective housing policy that engages and respects our communities. Alison holds a Master of Public Administration from San Jose State University and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Central Florida.
A long-time Bay Area resident living in a vibrant East San Jose community, Alison is involved in hands-on organizing and service, especially around housing and public education. In her free time, Alison enjoys experiencing a great local adventure with her family, taking a class, hiking with friends, or curling up with a great book.
Emily Ann Ramos
Preservation and Protection Associate
As Preservation and Protection Associate, Emily assists in the implementation of SV@Home’s approach to tenant protections, affordable housing preservation, and comprehensive anti‐displacement policy solutions, all undertaken in an equity framework.
Prior to joining SV@Home, Emily worked at a political consulting firm, where she had the opportunity to work on campaigns for Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Close the Gap California, an initiative to recruit progressive women to the State Legislature. From 2009 to 2017, she brought together technology startups and community groups for events at The Tech Museum of Innovation in Downtown San Jose. Outside of work, Emily volunteers as a member of the City of Mountain View’s Rental Housing Committee, a board director of the Community Services Agency of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, and with the League of Women Voters Los Altos – Mountain View Area’s Housing Committee.
Emily holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Maritime Academy. She is a tinkerer and loves to look at the source code for everything. She finds great joy in exploring uncommon uses for tools and processes and her life’s work is to enable exceptional people and great institutions to change the world. Born and raised in the Bay Area by Filipino immigrants, Emily is passionate about keeping Silicon Valley an innovative, inclusive and diverse community.
Tom is an avid traveler who worked for the City of San Jose’s housing department for many years. He retired in 2016 and now provides statistical analysis and research for Silicon Valley at Home.