Sarah Dillon, Interim Executive Director
Sarah served on the board of Alchemist CDC for two and half years before stepping down to fill the role of interim ED. She has previously worked in development, nonprofit marketing, and field organizing for political campaigns. Holding a B.A. in Urban Studies & Planning from UC San Diego and a Masters in Food Systems & Society from Marylhurst University, her passion for health, food justice, and livable urban spaces brought her to Alchemist.
She can also be found hiking, doing yoga, painting, at trivia nights, and camping with her second cousins.
Davida Douglas, Operations Director
Davida was Alchemist’s first employee. She oversees programs and manages the day-to-day operations of the organization. Davida came to the organization with over ten years’ experience working with non-profit organizations, as well as several years with a private community outreach firm, and general business management experience. She is originally from rural Missouri, and has been a Sacramento resident for over 18 years, currently residing in the Oak Park neighborhood.
Emma Burke, Farmers’ Markets Program Manager
Emma works on our CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers and Market Match programs, including volunteer and intern recruitment and coordination. Emma is a recent graduate of California State University East Bay where she received her Masters in Public Administration and Policy. Emma has previously worked as a student consultant for a nonprofit strategic planning company in Oakland and as a community organizer for the California Faculty Association. When she’s not working Emma enjoys hiking with her dog, taking yoga classes and exploring local breweries.
Jacob Sacks, Alchemy Kitchen Program Manager/Administrative Manager
Jacob assists with all programs on the administrative side. He is also the project manager for the Alchemy Kitchen Project. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from UC Davis in 2011 and has experience working at public interest law firms. In addition to having a passion for social justice issues, Jacob is also passionate about Red Sox baseball, cooking and travel.
La Tisha Sohai, Alchemist Microenterprise Academy Program Manager
La Tisha is our nutrition and food access expert. She manages the Valley Mack Farmers’ Market, provides CalFresh booth staffing and outreach support for our CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers and Market Match programs, and develops food safety and nutrition-related curriculum for the Alchemy Kitchen Project. La Tisha is a Sacramento native and holds certifications in Health & Wellness Education, Food Service Management, Culinary Arts and Medical Assisting. After moving to Denver for college, she returned home in 2015 and has worked extensively with various nonprofits.
Charlie Variano, Farmers’ Market Associate
Charlie assists with our CalFresh at Farmers’ Market program and staffs the Laguna Farmers’ Market EBT booth. She graduated from UC Berkeley with her B.A. in Anthropology, with a special focus on food and community. Charlie has previously volunteered in social services and education with seniors and people experiencing poverty and homelessness. She is excited for the opportunity to connect with and give back to her community. Outside of work, Charlie enjoys volunteering, visiting her family back home in New York, and spending time with her two dogs.
Jon Johnson, Planning & Community Development Specialist
Jon conducts research and advises on planning, development and design issues for our land-based neighborhood development projects. He brings experience as a Land Use Planner from various jurisdictions, and has a B.A. and M.A. in Environmental/Urban Studies.
CalFresh at Farmers Markets Program interns:
Angelica Galvan: Central Farmers’ Market
Melina Chhin: Sunrise Station Farmers’ Market
Brittany Kelly: Midtown Farmers’ Market
Kristy Kenworthy: Country Club Plaza Farmers’ Market
Interested in internship opportunities with Alchemist CDC? Learn more here.
Board of Directors
Jamie Cutlip, President
Jamie is a Local Government Affairs Representative at SMUD. She has an extensive background spanning 15 years in government and nonprofits including community planning, economic development and environmental advocacy. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University, and is a former board member of the Northern California Solar Association. As a former Associate Planner with the City of Sacramento, her expertise extends from permitting/entitlement reviews to sustainability program management and policy development focused on green building, solar permitting and infill development. When not exploring new campsites or wineries, Jamie resides in Sacramento with her husband and two dogs.
Matthew Joy, Vice President
Compliance Manager at Mechanics Bank
Matt Read, Treasurer/Secretary
Matt is a lawyer and advocate working on transportation, health, and municipal policy in Sacramento. Matt has over five years experience on nonprofit boards and has contributed to increasing the internal sustainability of organizations through good hiring and committed management. When he is not helping develop good, green, community-led projects, he is a District Representative for Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen. He sits on the Sacramento City/County Bicycle Advisory Committee and tries to ride his bike as much as he can. To his mind, bagels are the single-best yeasted bread and he is constantly amazed by the quantity and quality of Prince’s catalog.
Jamila Bebe Khan
Born and raised in Sacramento, Jamila is the Content and Social Media Coordinator for Sacramento365, the year-round source for events. Jamila is a graduate of the University of California, Davis Community and Regional Development program, where she first was introduced to Alchemist’s work. Before joining the Board in 2011, Jamila first worked with Alchemist CDC as an intern at the Bryte and Broderick urban farm stand in West Sacramento. In her free time, Jamila loves to add new stamps to her passport, attend community events, discover new music, and try out new recipes in her kitchen.
Shawn is a CalWORKs Employment Policy Manager with the California Department of Social Services. He has worked in his time at Social Services with county partners, Community Based Organizations, and advocates to implement policies that increase food access. A Sacramento native, Shawn received a Bachelor of General Studies from Arkansas State University in 2000, and was a member of the 2013 cohort of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute, facilitated by the Sacramento Housing Alliance. Shawn lives in Tahoe Park with his daughter Violette. In his free time he enjoys fishing and riding with the 2nd California Cavalry, a civil war living history group.
Mary is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the UC Davis Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement, helping faculty and students use research, teaching and knowledge to serve the public and advance the common good. Before UC Davis, she worked on health education campaigns in the media office for the California Department of Public Health, and served in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa where she supported rural communities in building capacity to export baskets to the U.S. In her free time she’s failing at Pinterest, trying not to get hurt in co-ed recreational soccer, and walking her dog.
Beth weaves together food and farming advocates doing state policy through the California Food & Farming Network. With a masters in Food Systems and Society, Beth has experience across the food system from advocating for farmers in climate and racial equity policy to serving on the Steering Committee for the Sacramento Food Policy Council. Prior to joining Alchemist’s board, she helped us facilitate the use of CalFresh benefits at farmers’ markets. Beth also loves to experiment in her own kitchen, baking homemade bread and pickling anything she can get her hands on.
Tamara is the Outreach and Communications Director for the California Department of Public Health.
Mariko is the the Legislative Counsel and Policy Director for the California Employment Lawyers Association. She works on legislation, education and outreach, and amicus briefs, to help advance and protect workers’ rights in California. In 2015, she helped pass the Fair Pay Act, giving California the strongest equal pay laws in the nation. She is also the board chair of the Center for Workers’ rights in Sacramento. In law school, Mariko studied health law and food policy, which helped develop her interest in food access and food justice work, and steered her toward Alchemist. In her free time Mariko enjoys volleyball, soccer, and traveling.