Staff

 

Sam Greenlee, Executive Director, He/Him/His
Sam joined the Alchemist team after six years in the professional food safety industry and several years in community organizing as a co-founder of the Oak Park Fix-it Cafe. Sam is passionate about building strong equitable communities where the most vulnerable neighbors can flourish. He is a resident of the Oak Park neighborhood and can be found spending his free time gardening, taking evening walks with his spouse, and enjoying time with his children.

Davida Douglas, Operations Director, She/Her/Hers
Davida was Alchemist’s first employee. She manages the day-to-day operations of the organization, including HR, bookkeeping, contracts and compliance, and budgets/financials, as well as providing assistance to Program Managers for improving program efficiencies and excellence. She has over 20 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, including implementing healthy food access projects in the Sacramento region for 11 years. Additional experience includes three years with a private community outreach firm, and seven years of business management experience. She is originally from rural Missouri, and has been a Sacramento resident for over two decades, currently residing in the Oak Park neighborhood where many of Alchemist CDC’s Neighborhood Empowerment projects are focused. When not working, Davida enjoys teaching English as a foreign language, gardening, bird watching and baking.

Jacob Sacks, Alchemy Kitchen Program Manager / Administrative Manager, He/Him/His
Jacob assists with all programs on the administrative side and is a program manager for the Alchemist Kitchen Project. Since beginning at Alchemist CDC in 2016, Jacob has played a pivotal role bringing the Alchemist Kitchen project from concept to reality. As program manager, he co-facilitates the Alchemist Microenterprise Academy program and works with businesses in the Incubator Program. Jacob loves to work with entrepreneurs, see their creative business concepts and eat their delicious creations. Outside of work, Jacob is passionate about Red Sox baseball, cooking and travel.

Seynabou Sohai, Alchemist Microenterprise Academy (AMA) Program Manager
Seynabou is our nutrition and food access expert. She develops food safety and nutrition-related curriculum and technical assistance for entrepreneurs participating in AMA. Seynabou is a Sacramento native, currently working remotely from Denver, CO. She holds certifications in Health & Wellness Education, Food Service Management, Culinary Arts and Medical Assisting. After moving to Denver for college, she returned home from 2015-2020, and has worked extensively with various nonprofits.

Joe Robustelli, Neighborhood Empowerment Program Manager, He/Him/His
Joe joined Alchemist with over 25 years of nonprofit experience with the YMCA and several animal welfare organizations where he was responsible for bringing programs to underserved communities. He is also the owner/founder of a small urban nursery in downtown. Joe manages our land-based Community Empowerment projects, which include Oak Park Sol Community Garden, Oak Park Art Garden, and Pansy Community Garden Park. Outside of work he enjoys gardening, volunteering for Front Street Animal Shelter, and watching sports.

Emma Burke, CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets Program Manager, She/Her/Hers
Since joining Alchemist CDC in 2017, Emma has grown and developed the CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets and Market Match programs to expand food access in the Farm to Fork Capital. Emma oversees all functions of this work including program staff, interns and volunteers, local advocacy efforts and policy initiatives, and CalFresh education. Most recently Emma developed CalFresh Access Services for regional market operators and has deepened connections in the community to increase food access during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Outside of work, Emma enjoys hiking with her dog, yoga and exploring local restaurants.

Charlie Variano, CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets Program Coordinator, She/Her/Hers
Charlie works on our CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets and Market Match programs, including community outreach, volunteer coordination, and CalFresh application assistance. She first started at Alchemist as a CalFresh volunteer at the Florin and Central Farmers’ Markets before joining the staff in 2019. Outside of work, Charlie enjoys knitting, drinking local coffee, volunteering at River City Food Bank, and visiting family and friends across the country.

Sarah Young, CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets Program Assistant
Sarah Young assists the CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets Program after starting off as a volunteer at the Florin Market, like many others. Sarah has worked and volunteered in the social services sector with a focus on economic and community development. Since transitioning from the Bay Area years ago, her passion for sustainable and equitable food systems grew rapidly while living in this agricultural capital. Sarah is enthusiastic about traveling, trying new recipes, hiking up mountains, and then snowboarding down them in the winter. 

Kal Schiller, Food Access Associate 

Kal works as a Food Access Associate with CalFresh at the Laguna Farmers’ Markets and as the Community Connections Coordinator, including volunteer recruitment and CalFresh application assistance. They first started at Alchemist as a CalFresh volunteer at the Central and Midtown Farmers’ Markets before joining the staff in February 2022. Outside of work Kal enjoys diving into a good book, exploring places to eat around in Sacramento, swimming, relaxing and playing with dogs.

Sneha Chand, CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets Program Associate, She/Her/Hers
Sneha staffs the Midtown Farmers’ Market CalFresh booth in Midtown Sacramento. Sneha started off as a CalFresh intern at Midtown FM during summer 2020 and came back as an associate starting in 2021. She is currently pursuing her Public Health degree, concentrating on Community Health Education, at California State University Sacramento. Sneha loves watching cute romantic comedies, eating spicy food, and is a skincare/self care enthusiast!

Makenzie Pierce, CalFresh at Farmers’ Markets Program Associate

Makenzie staffs the Country Club Plaza Farmers’ Market CalFresh Booth in Arden. She is currently a full time student at California State University, Sacramento. She is double majoring in Biological Sciences as well as Nutrition and Food with an emphasis in Dietetics. She plans on becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to work and specialize in Community Nutrition after graduating. In her free time, Makenzie loves to spend time with her loved ones, explore the outdoors, read, and practice yoga.

Uri Flores, Garden Coordinator

Uri Flores assists our garden projects at the Oak Park Sol, Oak Park Art, and Pansy Community Garden. They are currently training to become a certified farmer in California, with the goal of educating those who have a harder time accessing land on gardening and food sovereignty in their communities. Uri also organizes with various mutual aid collectives in Sacramento that address housing and food insecurity within the city. Besides farming and organizing they also love creating and appreciating art, more specifically mural/street art, and silk screen printing.

Constance Vazquez, Marketing Associate

Constance helps Alchemist to better tell the stories of our work at the human level. She is conducting and transcribing one-on-one interviews with people involved in our programs at many different levels to help improve our understanding of our work beyond the numbers.  A psychology major with a focus on Community Psychology at CSU Sacramento, Constance is a recent arrival to the Sacramento area, originally from East Los Angeles. She is a community-oriented person and enjoys being actively involved through volunteering and organizing. With more than 10 years working in the food service industry, she loves thinking up new recipes created out of seasonal flavors that are also influenced by her culture.

Jessica Mcallister, Farmers’ Market Cookbook Creator

 
Jessica works to create and compile a collection of recipes based on seasonally available produce at Sacramento-area farmers’ markets. She is currently a graduating senior at California State University, Sacramento; majoring in Nutrition and Food with a concentration in Dietetics. She plans to become a Registered Dietitian and would like to work with families in the clinical and community nutrition setting to increase the consumption of healthy homecooked meals, as cooking is her passion. With her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with loved ones which include her fiancé, dog, and cat, practicing yoga, reading, and Sunday Fundays swimming in the summer with friends.

Board of Directors

Sarah Dillon, President
Sarah is a non-profit consultant and former Interim Executive Director for Alchemist CDC. 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.

Saige White, Vice President, She/Her/Hers
Saige currently works Food Literacy Center as their Marketing and Communications Manager. Prior to this role, she worked in environmental education and recreation for various conservation organizations. With a passion for environmental stewardship, sustainability, and community, Saige strives to create and maintain accessible, relatable, and inclusive communicative pathways between an organization and the communities it collaborates with. As a passionate gardener and nature enthusiast, she recognizes the immense importance of access to open spaces, fresh foods, and community land. She is proud to be a part of the Alchemist CDC Board and work towards fulfilling it’s meaningful mission. When not working, Saige enjoys painting, reading, and baking.

Matthew Joy, Treasurer
Matthew is the Fair Lending Officer at Tri Counties Bank. Prior to working in banking, Matthew worked with nonprofits, including The International Rescue Committee, focusing on refugee placement and employment in the Sacramento area. In addition to serving Alchemist’s board, he serves on the Board of Trustees with NeighborWorks Sacramento. When not working, Matthew is riding his road bike, camping, playing board games, and visiting the many local playgrounds with his son.

Anna Tolle, Secretary
Anna is a Program Coordinator for the Center for Land-Based Learning in Woodland, focusing on workforce development in agriculture. Originally from Wisconsin, she holds a B.S. in Community & Nonprofit Leadership, Environmental Studies, and Spanish from UW-Madison. She previously worked in food service and served on the board of Three Gaits, a therapeutic horsemanship organization in Stoughton, WI. In her free time, Anna enjoys hiking, gardening, bicycling, and spending time with her two dogs.

Jamie Cutlip-Gorman
Jamie is a Regulatory Administrator with Xcel Energy. She is an energy policy professional with an extensive community planning, economic development and environmental advocacy background, spanning 20 years in local government and nonprofits. As a former Associate City planner and community organizer, her expertise extends from entitlement reviews, to sustainability program management, and green building and renewable policy development. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University. As a recent transplant to Colorado, Jamie is fond of discovering new campsites, hiking trails and the many creative uses of green chiles.

Ravenn Moon
Ravenn is a Program Analyst with the State of California and is pursuing a M.A. in Diverse Community Development Leadership through the Tseng College, California State Universty Northridge. Ravenn earned a B.A. in Psychology from Earlham College in 2013 and soon after began her career with the State; working with the Department of Rehabilitation developing vocational rehabilitation programs designed to serve Californians with disabilities. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their miniature pinscher, reading, gardening, and listening to music.

Matt Read
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 Staff Counsel for the California Strategic Growth Council. Matt provides legal support to advance SGC’s work to help California achieve its climate change goals through place-based, community-driven programming.  He previously served as Policy Director and Chief of Staff to Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen. He managed a broad policy portfolio of housing, sustainability, homelessness, public works, transit, and active transportation issues, along with a team of dedicated staffers. 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.

Shawn Mainville, He/Him/His
Shawn is a Staff Services Manager I – CalWORKs Engagement with the California Department of Social Services. He has worked in his time at CDSS with county partners, Community Based Organizations, and advocates to implement policies that increase employment. A Sacramento native, Shawn received a Bachelor of General Studies from Arkansas State University in 1999, 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, a rabid teen fiction fan, Violette. In his free time he enjoys fishing and riding with the 2nd California Cavalry, a civil war living history group.

Mary Martin-Mabry
Mary is the Marketing Director for California Volunteers, focused on programs that foster civic engagement and community connectedness. She previously worked at UC Davis, for both Public Scholarship and Engagement and Global Affairs, helping faculty and students use research, teaching and knowledge to serve the public — locally and globally. 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, as a community economic development volunteer.

Jeff Jelsma
Jeff is a Sacramento native and has recently moved back after a long stay in the Bay Area. Jeff works as a Grant Analyst for the CalMoneySmart program, which provides funds for nonprofits working on financial empowerment programs in California. Prior to working for the state, Jeff helped manage the largest open-street program in the country, created and managed farmers’ markets, and somehow was able to pay off his student loans. In his free time, Jeff likes to play piano, read on his couch, and ride his bike.

Roxana Garcia-Ochoa
Roxana is Director of Health Access Programs with the Health Education Council, a public health non-profit organization serving the Greater Sacramento region. She earned both a B.A. in Sociology and a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Davis. Roxana always puts others first both personally and professionally in her line of work that aims to identify the root causes of inequities faced by our most vulnerable communities. She loves to meet new people, is an avid thrift shopper, enjoys listening to upbeat music and spending time with her two four-legged children.

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