Board of Directors
CCRC's talented and diverse Board of Directors provides guidance, oversight and support to the organization. Each Director brings a unique set of skills and collectively ensures fiduciary responsibility, builds a strong public standing, creates a strategic agency vision and provides oversight of programs and services.
Michelle Torres currently works as a Supervisor for the Sales Planning department of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. She has a strong background in communication, resource building, research and child advocacy, and television syndication and distribution. Michelle has worked in mediation and arbitration, collaborated on the production of a curriculum entitled "Power in Me" to be used with foster youth, and worked in business and legal affairs in production and domestic distribution in the entertainment industry. Michelle has more than eight years social services experience working with foster youth in Los Angeles County and has worked in the entertainment industry for more than eleven years. She earned a BA in Sociology from Cal State Los Angeles.
Adrian Stern is a founding member of Clumeck Stern Schenkelberg & Getzoff and has been engaged in public accounting since 1979, specializing in management consulting and the installation and evaluation of data processing systems. He is experienced in expert witness testimony regarding computer systems, damage calculations, loss of earnings and professional malpractice cases. Adrian provides consultation to CPA firms regarding valuations, mergers and acquisitions. Adrian is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is an active wine collector and is always looking for the next great find. Adrian is married with four daughters.
Regional Branches Director, Premier America Credit Union
Shelia Jones is the Regional Branches Director for Premier America Credit Union. Ms. Jones has served the west San Fernando Valley community both professionally and personally for many years. As a seasoned banking professional with over 28 years of experience, she has built strong community relationships. With a passion to use her knowledge to match need with resources, Shelia is active in local chambers of commerce. For six years she was very active in fundraising for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She also served as secretary and treasurer for the homeowners association in her community. Shelia lives in the San Fernando Valley.
Jeriel Smith is a retired attorney who specialized for 30 years in construction claims litigation with Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, Senet & Wittbrodt, LLP in Century City. Prior to practicing law, he taught social studies, English, and speech, and coached forensics at Locke High School in South Los Angeles. Jeriel has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations including World Federalist Association, Meditation Groups, Inc. (Meditation Mount in Ojai), the Los Angeles Intergroup, Inc., and Inspiring Notes, Inc. Jeriel earned his law degree from the UCLA School of Law, a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA, and a California Lifetime Teaching Credential in social studies and English. He has three children and lives in Tujunga with his wife Jerry Ann Harrel-Smith, PhD.
Real Estate/Investment Advisor
Aaron Rafelle is a private client real estate & construction advisor specializing in commercial brokerage, asset management and real estate development. He is dually licensed as a broker and general building contractor. Aaron graduated CSUN with BA in Psychology and received a MSW (Masters in Social Work) from Loma Linda University. Aaron also privately offers consulting to grassroots nonprofit organizations in the areas of policy, program development, strategic planning, technology integration, and outcome evaluation. As a former parent of two children in Head Start he has witnessed the value and importance of early child education.
Civil & Geotechnical Engineer
Ed Hill has been involved with CCRC since 2003 and is currently CCRC’s Chair Emeritus. He is the president of Geotechnologies, Inc. which has consulted on more than 21,000 projects. Mr Hill oversees marketing, client development, coordination and performance of field exploration, laboratory testing and preparation of formal geotechnical reports. He is a geotechnical engineer, engineering geologist, and practicing attorney. Ed has more than 35 years of experience serving the Greater Los Angeles area in seismic, soils and foundation engineering projects. Ed is an Eagle Scout, a former president of the California Geotechnical Engineers Association (CalGeo) and is Chair of the Board of Ume Credit Union. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a BS degree in geology, and earned his law degree at Glendale University College of Law. He is married and has two daughters.
Dr. Alyce Akers is a professor emerita and former chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at CSUN and has previously served as Board Chair for CCRC's Board of Directors. Alyce has also served as president of the Council of Accreditation for the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and is on the Advisory Board of the Child and Family Studies Center at CSUN. She holds a BA in home economics from San Diego State University, an MA in home economics from California State University, Long Beach, and a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Southern California. Alyce is married, has four children and six grandchildren.
Child Development Professor
Joannie Busillo-Aguayo is an expert in designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating new community-based programs serving young children and families in low-income communities. Her research interests include identifying ways to strengthen and support families of young children, promoting campus-community collaboration, and enhancing service-learning partnerships between students and early childhood programs in the community. For 12 years, she was the assistant coordinator of the CSUN's Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences' Transdisciplinary Early Intervention Program, serving infants and toddlers with development challenges and their families. Joannie has been a member of the CSUN community since 1991, earning her bachelor's degree in Child Development and a master's degree from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences/Family Relations-Child Development. She earned her doctorate in 2010 from Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology/Organizational Leadership.
Head of Video Operations, Amazon Instant Video
CJ Allen has an affinity for business strategy and technology with developed expertise in product management, business analysis, domain modelling and strategic planning across a multitude of business disciplines. He is currently leading content operations in the video supply chain at Amazon where he is responsible for the publishing of TV Shows and Movies worldwide. Prior to Amazon, he was the Vice President for Business Development at a technology startup. CJ holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. He is married and has two children.
Certified Public Accountant
Rita García is a Manager at Meloni Hribal Tratner LLP. She oversees annual financial statement audits and reviews. She also handles tax planning and preparation for clients in various industries such as manufacturing, wholesale/distribution and high net worth individuals. Rita has been in public accounting for over seven years. Before that, she was with Accenture Consulting, where she worked on SAP implementation projects for Exxon Mobil and Colgate-Palmolive. Rita is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California and a member of the AICPA. She holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of the Phillipines and an MBA from CSUN. She lives in the San Fernando Valley with her husband and two sons.
Sr. Vice President, VEDC
Alex Guerrero is senior vice-president for VEDC, a leading non-profit small business lender with headquarters in Los Angeles. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization, including all government and community affairs, economic development initiatives, and construction projects. Mr. Guerrero is the former executive vice president of Tower General Contractors where he oversaw the company’s growth to one of the top General Contractors in California overseeing construction of the Columbia Space Shuttle Museum, renovations to the Beverly Hills City Hall, expansion of the Gibson Amphitheater and reconstruction of the iconic Theme building at LAX. Mr. Guerrero is very involved in Los Angeles civic duty and active in several non-profit organizations. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Business. He and his wife live in Canyon Country with their two children.
Chief Academic Officer
Dilmit Singh is the Chief Academic Officer at Granada Hills Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley. She is a passionate educator who served as a classroom teacher teaching English and English as a second language to high school students for almost 30 years before taking on the responsibility of a school administrator. She also served on the school board as a teacher representative. Additionally, for several years she worked as an adjunct professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), teaching teachers in the secondary education program. As a school leader, she is actively involved in curriculum development and teacher professional development and firmly believes that a sound educational program and good teachers are the cornerstone for students’ future success. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from St. Bede’s College in India, an M.S. in Educational Psychology from CSUN and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership, also from CSUN.
Jason Irwin has over 18 years of experience in technology consulting, management and executive leadership. Passionate about helping organizations find and implement innovative solutions to meet strategic business objectives, he started his professional IT career with the United States Air Force. Jason is president and founder of Smash Data, Inc., a consulting company focused on integrating technology into business operations with a focus on e-commerce and fulfillment distribution systems.
Community & Local Government Expert
John Bwarie is the founding partner of Stratiscope, LLC a consulting firm that helps businesses, institutions, and individuals strategically connect with communities to establish the vision for what communities can and will be in the future. John is focused on building coalitions and communities, creating messages that lead to direct actions, and creating plans to achieve partnerships that lead to even greater success and results. John is a seasoned public affairs leader with expertise in social policy and economic development. He has worked with non-profits, chambers of commerce, neighborhood councils, schools and other community groups to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. He is founder of the L.A. Heritage Alliance, a volunteer organization that organizes historical societies, preservation groups, museums and heritage committees across Los Angeles.
Romalis Taylor, a community advocate involved in processes to strengthen and support families, has over 30 years’ experience working with government agencies, communities, children, youth, and families to improve services in schools, foster care, and clinical service programs. He has served as a Director of a Mental Health Center and a Director of Government & Community Relations for a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles County. Mr. Taylor implemented innovative services such as: Point of Engagement, Family Preservation, and Up Front Assessment. He has presented program development, prevention, field based and family support services at conferences and forums. Romalis chairs Compton/East Compton Best Start Leadership Group, which advocates, develops, and implements community activities to strengthen families with children 0-5 based on the First 5 Strengthening Families model. He is a representative for the advisory group for Under Representative Ethnic Populations Groups on the Department of Mental Health System Leadership Team and is a member of the Services Area Advisory Council 6 in South Los Angeles. Mr. Taylor received his BA degree from California State, University, Los Angeles.