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.
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.
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.
Venbrook Insurance Services, LLC
Dale is responsible for sales, account management, and marketing to Venbrook Insurance Services' national client-base for retail insurance brokerage, risk analysis, program design, risk solutions, and alternative risk financing.
Dale has spent the majority of his career (34 years) developing and servicing commercial and multifamily real estate / REO clientele within the Western and Gulf Coast regions of the U.S. The majority of his career has been spent at J & H, Marsh & McLennan Cos, and the Willis Group within the large risk management and commercial lines divisions. Dale has substantial knowledge in complex insurance program structures, 831b micro-captives, risk retention groups, and alternative risk concepts to help clients deal with operational and organizational risk.
Dale earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. He also sits on a number of non-profit boards in Los Angeles.
Early Childhood Education (ECE) Expert
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.
Griselda De Mel
Griselda De Mel is a Vice President and Relationship Manager for the Citizens Business Bank at the Pasadena Center. She has over 10 years of experience in the financial industry. Her experience includes credit, commercial real estate, commercial lending, retail banking, and portfolio management. Ms. De Mel strives to provide her clients customized banking solutions to meet their unique needs.
Ms. De Mel earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from California State University at Los Angeles and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Pepperdine University. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Child Care Resource Center and Ascencia.
P/C Head Start Representative
Martha is from Palmdale and is a mother of 3 boys. She is a stay at home mother and very involved in our community. She is eager to be more involved in CCRC. In her spare time, she loves to cook for her husband and children.
Former Los Angeles City Councilman 7th Council District
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.
Jeffrey S. Goodfried
Goodfried Law Group, APC
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.
Anthony Peña has worked at Wells Fargo Bank since 2005 and is currently Vice President and Relationship Manager of Commercial Banking. He manages one of the largest relationships in the office, a construction rental company, with commitments of $70 million and annual bank profitability of $1.5 million. He has originated and structured $15 million in new real estate loans for the company. Anthony participates in the Board Leadership Institute at the Ventura County Charitable Foundation and volunteers at both UCLA Anderson Riordan Program and El Concilio del Condado de Ventura. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.S. degree in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Economics. He also spent time in Salvador, Brazil studying Intensive Portuguese and International Economics.
P/C Head Start Representative
Jason is a counselor for youth from DCFS and probation for over 10 years. He has helped young adults stay drug free. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from CSUN and he owns his own business, “Heroic Fathers”, which advocates a fatherhood type environment. In his spare time, he enjoys attending comic book conventions with his children.
Dean A. Rocco
Employment Litigation Attorney
Dean Rocco is a Chair of Wilson Elser’s national Employment & Labor practice group. He represents employers of all types and sizes across the country as well as executives and members of management. He advises clients on issues such as managing employees with disabilities and medical leave rights, building sound personnel policies and complying with workplace regulations. Dean maintains a significant practice defending employers from lawsuits alleging workplace harassment, denials of disability or medical leave rights, unlawful termination of employment, and wage and hour violations.
A distinguished labor and employment law attorney, Dean lends his knowledge and perspective to proactive counseling and training measures as well as the efficient and effective litigation of employment law disputes. As a recognized authority in his field, Dean is often asked to lecture on evolving employment law topics. In 2015, Dean was appointed Chair of the Employment Practices Liability Committee for The Claims & Litigation Management Alliance, a national organization for claims and litigation professionals comprised of more than 30,000 members.
Community Advocate & Executive, Retired
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.
IT Director, Systems Engineering