Skip to main content
group photo of Tipping Point Staff

Tipping Point Launches Emerging Leaders Fellowship

PUBLISHED: Nov 30, 2017

Inaugural cohort of Emerging Leaders at kickoff retreat in Bodega Bay

10 Nonprofit Leaders of Color Selected for Nine-Month Intensive Program

This fall, Tipping Point launched our first Emerging Leaders Fellowship, a nine-month program to support the growth and leadership skills of emerging nonprofit leaders of color. The Fellowship brings together 10 mid-level managers from Tipping Point Community grantee organizations, who hone their own personal leadership style, build organizational management skills and cultivate a group of peers all focused on alleviating poverty in the Bay Area.

Recent research shows that people of color represent over 40% of the nonprofit workforce, but less than 20% of nonprofit executives nationally identify as people of color. And while the U.S. population and workforce has become more diverse over the last 15 years, these percentages have remain unchanged. The Emerging Leaders Fellowship is designed to turn those statistics around, creating a network of emerging practitioners of color who will become the equity-centered leaders to develop interventions that are culturally appropriate, client-focused and community-minded.

“There is a persistent and systemic racial leadership gap in the nonprofit sector,” said Jonathan Brack, manager of the Tipping Point Emerging Leaders Fellowship. “That lack of diversity in leadership reflects a lack of diversity in strategies, interventions, and solutions. The Emerging Leaders Fellowship aims to close that gap and enhance our efforts to reduce concentrated poverty by building a sustained network of rising leaders of color.”

While the Fellowship has been in development for the last year, it officially kicked off in early November with a two-day retreat focused on creating community amongst the Fellows, deepening their understanding around racial equity and helping them identify their leadership style.

“Tipping Point is proud to support future leaders who reflect the communities we serve,” said Daniel Lurie, CEO + Founder of Tipping Point Community. “People have always been at the heart of what we do, and this is a natural extension of our investment in people on the front lines of poverty alleviation.”

The following 10 leaders were selected as the first class of Tipping Point Fellows:

Ligeia Barajas-Garcia is Assistant Program Director at Compass Family Services. Out of a lifelong interest in working with children, she started out volunteering with San Francisco Education Fund and San Francisco Unified School District, then honed her skills as a teacher, health advocate and case manager at Holy Family Day Home. Ligeia was awarded her B.A in Psychology and minor in Special Education from San Francisco State University.

Vincent Cabada is Associate Director of Programs at Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), where he supports Program Managers to provide high-quality programs to young people in Santa Clara County and help prevent juvenile crime and incarceration through legal education, leadership training and mentoring. Prior to FLY, Vincent worked with BUILD as a College Access Program Manager, where he supported a team providing 1:1 academic advising, tutoring and support in the college application process. Vincent received his B.A. in Sociology from California State, East Bay.

David Edwards is a Talent Manager with KIPP Bay Area Schools and has also held roles with K-12 and college access organizations in New Jersey and New York. After graduating from Williams College, David began his career as a College Counselor and then College Coordinator for The Harlem Children’s Zone. David continued on to College Counselor roles with Democracy Prep Public Schools and The Paulo Freire Charter School. David also served as an Emerging Leader Fellow with New Leaders for New Schools, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Riverhead Charter School in Calverton, NY.

Chayla Gibson is Head of HR at Caliber Schools, where she also works on Community Engagement for new schools, and was a founding team member at its inception in 2013. Although new to the field of education, Chayla has over 15 years of experience with start-up companies in marketing, operations and office management, most recently at Education Super Highway. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Chayla returned to school and received her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Business with a concentration in Marketing from The University of Phoenix.

Laronette Perry serves as Program Manager for HousingWorks! and HUD Programs. She has worked with SHELTER, Inc. since 2004, and has over 20 years of experience working with populations struggling with homelessness, substance abuse, addiction and mental health. Laronette earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services at University of Phoenix. She has also completed extensive training in mental health symptomology with an emphasis on recognizing suicidal ideations.

Carla Roberts is Program Manager at the Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP), where she’s worked since 1994. Her initial work with HPP consisted of creating Substance Abuse Services for families and working with the Department of Human Services to build support for families within Child Protection Services (CPS). Carla managed the Differential Response Program and Substance Abuse Support Contracts, and created a Peer Parent Program (PPP) which employs parents who were formerly involved with CPS to be mentor parents currently going through the system. The first in her family to complete graduate school, Carla received her Masters in Social Work from California State East Bay.

Nii Sai Sai is Director of Information Management for Aspire Public Schools, and has over 20 years of experience providing impactful solutions in Education and Information Technology. He volunteers in support of social impact causes globally, especially towards developing the next generation of young leaders with organizations including Mastercard Foundation Scholars, Moremi Initiative Fellows, and MLT Scholars. Prior to receiving his MBA from UC Berkeley in 2010, Nii worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM Global Services as a technology consultant, with expertise in project management, business and systems analysis, and client relationship management.

Joel St. Julien is Employment Program Manager at New Door Ventures. He supervises a team of nine who support over 200 youth annually with employment and job training at New Door’s two social enterprises, Ashbury Images and Pedal Revolution, as well as 70+ business partners across the Bay Area. Prior to his seven-year tenure at New Door, Joel worked with foster care youth at Edgewood Center for Children, where he also served as the Cultural Diversity Trainer for new hires and staff. He received his B.A. in both Sociology and Urban Studies at Eastern University.

Crystal Talitonu-Naea serves as Santa Clara County Director of Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) San Jose. Her key responsibilities include managing the day-to-day operations of the CEO San Jose office and managing all administrative functions, as well as developing and ensuring achievement of program performance goals. Prior to CEO, Crystal managed the Santa Clara County Employment Program at the International Rescue Committee, and initially began her nonprofit sector work at Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence developing community-based prevention programs against gender-based violence. Crystal holds a B.A in Ethnic Studies with a focus on Gender and Sexuality in Communities of Color from California State University, East Bay.

Marcela Trujano is Enrollment Manager at the Stride Center, where she first received her certifications in ICT Cybersecurity, and went on to volunteer teaching ESL and basic computer skills for low-income students. While cleaning houses, working in factories, and serving fast food brought many challenges and periods of depression to her family, Marcela persevered with the support of her church and adult education in English and computer classes.

Visit to learn more about the program and look out for their perspectives on equity and leadership development, coming soon!

Tipping Point Stories + News

Powerful leaders, strong solutions, everyday heroes. Read stories from our community.