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 and is currently the Co-Chair of CASA, a newly formed task force charged with developing a housing strategy for the nine- county Bay Area . She is a dedicated housing wonk, loves policy and research, and is excited to lead SV@Home.
Michael Lane has an extensive background in management, housing development, local government, public policy, legislation, politics and campaigns. Prior to joining SV@Home, he worked for the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) and Self-Help Enterprises (SHE), the oldest and largest nonprofit developer of affordable self-help housing in the nation.
Michael has significant experience working with financial institutions, foundations and other funders. He served as a regional whip on the successful 2002 Proposition 46 and 2006 Proposition 1C statewide housing bond campaigns. Michael served as President of the Board of Directors for the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County and was a member of the Advisory Committee for the State of California’s 2014 Affordable Housing Cost Study. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Housing California and the Board of Governors of the California Housing Consortium. Michael has worked in local government and held elective office as a school board member and city council member. He speaks, reads and writes the Spanish language fluently.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
David is a former U.S. diplomat with experience working across eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. He’s excited to be applying his background in coalition-building, policy making, and advocacy to SV@Home’s mission of making affordable housing accessible to all.
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.
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.
As Operations Manager 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.
Civic Engagement Manager
As Civic Engagement Manager, Mario will take the lead on building up the newly established SV@Home Action Fund focused on local campaign work. He will also track regional policy proposals and state legislation that impacts the interests of the South Bay.
Mario is a social policy innovator and political strategist. Throughout his career, he has leveraged a racial justice, equity, and cultural responsiveness framework to design and improve policies, practices and programs in an effort to empower and uplift communities out of poverty.
For the past four years, Mario has served as a Policy Aide to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors culminating his tenure with the Office of Supervisor Ken Yeager. While at the Board of Supervisors, Mario oversaw matters relating to child welfare, juvenile justice, immigration, public safety, and community outreach.
Most notably, Mario was instrumental in shaping the County’s immigrant integration efforts helping secure over $1.4 million to establish the New Americans Fellowship, the Immigrant Programs Task Force, the Notario Fraud Unit, and an emergency DACA Fund to assist eligible immigrant youth and young adults renew their permits. Mario was also instrumental in permanently repealing the assessment and collection of juvenile administrative fees and fines in an effort to assist juvenile involved youth and their families thrive.
Mario currently serves as the Co-Director of the New Leaders Council of Silicon Valley chapter, the nation’s flagship leadership training program for progressive millennials. Mario also serves as a Board member of BAYMEC (Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee), the premier LGBTQ civil rights political action committee in Silicon Valley.
Mario, a DACA beneficiary himself, is originally from Mexico City, Mexico. At the age of 5, he migrated to the United States establishing roots in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
Mario holds a BA in Political Science with a focus on Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
A San Francisco native and San Jose resident, Mitch is passionate about combating inequality in the Bay Area and insuring access to high quality affordable housing for all. As Outreach Associate, he manages SV@Home’s project endorsement process, advocates on behalf of specific developments, and monitors public meetings countywide.
Prior to joining SV@Home, Mitch worked at a variety of Bay Area nonprofits, including Benetech, Global Citizen Year, and Clinic by the Bay, as well as working as an organizer on San Francisco ballot proposition campaigns with 50+1 Strategies. He holds a BA in Economics and International and Global Studies from Brandeis University with a minor in Social Justice and Social Policy, and is fluent in Spanish. In his free time, Mitch is a singer-songwriter, saxophonist, guitarist, and pianist.
For nearly three years, Huascar Castro served as a policy aide to Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco. Throughout his time with Vice Mayor Carrasco, Huascar worked extensively on Housing and Land Use policy for the Vice Mayor. Huascar also addressed issues pertaining to the small business community of East San Jose. With increased development and transportation projects taking place in East San Jose, Huascar has worked to ensure that community and business concerns were addressed as these projects have taken place.
Prior to working with Vice Mayor Carrasco, Huascar interned with San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen who represents Southeast San Francisco including the Bayview and Hunters Point. Huascar worked on public safety issues and assisted in research over several policy issues affecting neighborhoods throughout San Francisco. With his experience in public policy and community outreach, Huascar looks forward to contributing to the Silicon Valley@Home right away.
Huascar also enjoys spending time with friends and family, as well as volunteering as a youth basketball coach. Huascar holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from San Francisco State University.
Anna is excited to join the SV@Home team as a Planning Associate. Anna is a California native from the Central Valley, who moved to San Jose in 2017. She previously served with City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley as a Site Office Associate, where she acted as a project manager and systems builder. Anna received a Master of International Development from the University of Pittsburgh. During her graduate work, she focused on regional governance and affordable housing at local, national, and international scales. She has previously worked with local governments in California in a planning capacity, and is looking forward to engaging the local community on topics related to housing. Anna also enjoys attempting to play sports and eating breakfast for dinner.
Policy and Outreach Associate
A long-term Bay Area resident, Kriti will be helping manage SV@Home’s soon to-be-launched emerging leaders network, Coalition of Housers (COHO) and Affordable Housing Week as well as supporting various policy and advocacy initiatives. She is excited about collaboratively working towards a more socially and economically just future with the SV@Home community.
Prior to SV@Home, Kriti worked at various social impact organizations in northern California, including Silicon Valley Community Foundation, United Food and Commercial Workers union, Compass Family Services, and the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center, where she focused on community advocacy, cultural and political programming, professional development, and peer education.
Kriti holds a B.S. in Community & Regional Development from UC Davis and a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She is also an inspired alum of two local leadership and advocacy programs, Bay Area Solidarity Summer and Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute.
A Willow Glen native, Rachel has an extensive administrative, event planning, and membership services background. Most recently she finished a project-based, consultancy with Google assisting in the implantation of their One Today mobile app supporting hundreds of nonprofits in running their fundraising campaigns on Google’s web platform.
Prior to that, she was a Membership Services Representative at Costco Wholesale supporting customer acquisition and retention. She also has experience managing marketing campaign events & promotional presentations.
Rachel has an A.A. in Social & Behavioral Studies from West Valley Community College and is currently pursuing her B.A. in Organizational Leadership at Arizona State University online.
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.