Board of Directors

CEO and President | Kathy Young

Kathy Young co-founded Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance in 2014. Kathy is thrilled to be in the role of CEO and President for TVNPA to dedicate more time and resources in support of the nonprofits in the Tri-Valley and surrounding regions. Kathy developed a passion for the nonprofit community as TVNPA grew and she learned about the hundreds of nonprofits working in our communities every day to improve our quality of life. Kathy previously served as the Executive Director of the Hertz Fellowship Programs for the Fannie & John Hertz Foundation which provides graduate fellowships nationally in applied physical and biological sciences, engineering and mathematics. Kathy was with the Hertz Foundation for more than 13 years. She is happy to now be focused on the local communities. Prior to her career with Hertz, Kathy spent many years working in the legal field. She received her B.S. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from the University of San Francisco. She is a resident of Livermore and spends her leisure time with her husband, Edward, three children, and two dogs.

Board Chair | Marti Sutton
Chair, Human Services Commission – City of Livermore

Marti Sutton has worked for more than 20 years with non-profits and government agencies. Her career started at the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton Administration. She then proceeded to work at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.  While at the Urban Institute she tackled issues such as education, welfare reform and was one of the founders of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (now Power to Decide).

In 2008, Marti moved to Livermore with her husband and 3 young children and began volunteering at her children’s school. In addition, Marti served on the Las Positas College Foundation Board for 8 years as Treasurer (4 years) and Chairperson (2 years). Prior to joining the Human Services Commission, she served on the Beautification Committee for the City of Livermore. Along with her current role with the Human Services Commission, Marti currently serves on Business Advisory Board for CSU, Chico.

After returning to California, Marti worked in the Finance Group for the Learning Network, a Pearson Education company. She missed the nonprofit world and began to volunteer with BayKids, a nonprofit empowering the artistic endeavors of hospitalized children. Soon she was elected as Chair of their Board of Directors.

Marti has seen firsthand how hard non-profits work to raise funds and serve their clients. As a board member of TVNPA, Marti is excited to bring her rich experience to support nonprofits and give them the tools they need to be successful in our community.

Board Secretary | Valerie G Jonas
Chief Development Officer, Axis Community Health – Retired

Valerie Jonas served as Chief Development Officer at Axis Community Health (2010 to 2023), overseeing community relations, advocacy, grants, fundraising and capital projects. Axis, a non-profit organization, is the major provider of primary care, mental health, and dental services for low-income Tri-Valley residents. Prior to that, Valerie worked with several Bay Area nonprofits, including as Regional Director for Jewish Federation of the East Bay and as consultant to the Bankhead Theater during the pre-development phase. She has served on many nonprofit boards, including Pacific Chamber Orchestra, South Florida Epilepsy Foundation, J. the Jewish News Weekly, and Congregation Beth Emek. Presently she is a board member of SPARC, serves on the Livermore Valley Arts Honorary Arts Commission, and volunteers at the Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantry. Her career began in Miami, Florida at Hank Meyer Associates Public Relations and Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Foundation.  A graduate of Duke University (B.A., magna cum laude) and recipient of an American Field Service Scholarship (Istanbul, Turkey), Valerie is originally from Lakewood, New Jersey. She has resided in Livermore since 1994 with her husband David, where they raised their three children and now dote on their two dogs.

Board Treasurer | Christine Dillman
Executive Director, Tri-Valley Haven

Christine Dillman has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 25 years. In 2001, she began working at Tri-Valley Haven and has held several positions at the organization including Director of Sexual Assault and Counseling Services. Last year she was promoted to Director of Development. Christine received her BA from Brandeis University. Currently, she is pursuing her MBA in Finance at the University of California, Davis and will graduate in September 2021. Christine has been on the board of directors of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA). She also served as a founding board member of Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance (TVNPA) from 2015 – 2019. Currently, Christine is the President of the Women in Leadership at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management. Christine’s lifelong passion is ending violence against women and children.

Board Director | Andrew Gelb
General Counsel & Senior Vice President, Hitachi High-Tech America, Inc. – Retired

Andrew Gelb grew up in New York City and lived in Southern California before settling in Pleasanton, which has been his home for over twenty-two years. After graduating from UCLA’s School of Law, Mr. Gelb practiced law in Los Angeles for twenty years — emphasizing business, commercial, and employment dispute resolution and litigation — before he left his law practice to accept a position in Pleasanton with a longtime client, a foreign-owned technology company that operates nationally and internationally. He spent many years as its Senior Vice President and General Counsel, strategizing, advising, resolving problems and, more importantly, helping to avoid them. Mr. Gelb retired several years ago from his positions there, and is thankful for the experience, which included learning to recognize and respectfully navigate cultural and other differences worldwide. Since retiring, Mr. Gelb has become a member of Pleasanton North Rotary and the Pleasanton Police Department’s Community Advisory Board.

Board Director | Mary Grace Gomilla
Director of Communications & Community Engagement, Axis Community Health

Mary Grace Gomilla has more than a decade of experience in multiple marketing and communications channels, including event planning, web and graphic design, copy writing, creative directing, social media management, and internal communications. She attended Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, where she obtained a B.S. in Management and Global Business. After working in New York City for several years, she and her husband moved to the Bay Area to raise their three beautiful children.

Mary Grace previously worked as a brand consultant and designer focused on helping small businesses understand their business goals, target audiences, and competitive landscape to create a unique and compelling brand strategy. She joined Axis Community Health in 2019 and has grown in her role, leading Axis’s communications initiatives and supporting the organization’s development efforts. As Director of Communications and Community Engagement at Axis Community Health, Mary Grace finds joy in connecting with the Tri-Valley community, sharing Axis’s mission, and helping those in need. She enjoys spending time with her family and participating in community theatre in her spare time.

Board Director – Communications | Susan Hayes, MSOD
Nonprofit & Communications Consultant

Susan has enjoyed 25 consecutive years of community involvement in the Tri-Valley, dedicating time as a volunteer and board member to over 20 regional organizations and civic committees. She spent the first six years of her professional career as a paralegal, eventually moving into journalism, where she spent 12 years- nine of which as the weekly columnist for Around Pleasanton for Bay Area News Group.  For the past 15 years she’s worked in nonprofit management as Coordinator of the Tri-Valley Educational Collaborative, Auction Coordinator for Auction Napa Valley 2012, Executive Director of Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation, and Interim Executive Director of the California Main Street Alliance. She presently runs her own nonprofit and communications consultancy.

The 2019 recipient of the Pleasanton Chamber’s Individual Community Service Award, Susan is completing her second 4-year term on the Pleasanton Human Services Commission; serves on the boards of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Pleasanton Adult & Career School; and in 2020, co-founded the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Fund for Covid Relief with TVNPA CEO Kathy Young.

Susan holds a BA in Political Science from UC Davis and an MS in Organizational Development from University of San Francisco.  A resident of Pleasanton since 1991, she is the proud mom of two young adults, Sarah and Grant, and a spunky Jack Russell Terrier Mix rescue dog named Finley.

Board Director – Special Events | Barbara Heilmann
Event Services Manager, UCOP

Barbara Heilmann has been at the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) since 2010, managing a team of Senior Event Planners. Her team coordinates more than 150 events a year across the state, helping the 10 campus, five medical centers, and three affiliated national laboratory system further its public interest, academic, and research missions. For the past five years, Barbara has also served on the board of UCOP’s President’s Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

From a young age, Barbara has been involved in the Tri-Valley. As a teenager, she scheduled the umpires for the Pleasanton Girls Softball League and later served on the board of the Bollinger Canyon Education Fund. More recently, she was a celebrity dancer for the Putnam Clubhouse’s annual gala, So You Think You Can Dance? Reach for the Stars!

A graduate of Humboldt State University (HSU), Barbara earned a B.A. in psychology with a minor in business. She was a four-year letter winner and three-time team captain of the Lady Jack’s softball team. She was inducted into HSU’s Hall of Fame as a pitcher and later as a player from the 1999 Division II National Championship team.

Barbara resides in San Ramon with her husband, Tim, two children, Zach and Kallie, and dog, Lucky. In her spare time, she is learning to play pickleball.

Board Director | Jen Lenard-Benson

Jen Lenard-Benson has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 25 years, fundraising for local, regional, national and international organizations. She’s raised millions for vulnerable populations, and most recently served as Executive Director for Sunflower Hill in Pleasanton. In addition to TVNPA, Jen’s previous volunteer Board service includes the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in Ann Arbor, Michigan as the Issues for Action Chair, and the Secretary, Fundraising, and Governance Committee Chair for Serve! in Toronto, Canada. She also served on the Fundraising Committee for the Contra Costa Humane Society Walk for Paws in 2022, led fundraising, sponsorship, and VIP events for the ‘…with Brian Austin Green Live Podcast’ benefitting in 2019, and assisted with the Oasis for Girls fundraising gala in San Francisco in 2014. 

Jen earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Valparaiso University and holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy. She is originally from the Midwest, and has lived in the Bay Area for 13 years. She enjoys creating art, collecting wine, volunteering at the Contra Costa Humane Society, and spending time with her husband Mike and their 5 cats Harry, Nick, Annie, Emmy, and Fluff.

Board Director – Anti-Poverty Collaborative | James Paxson,
General Manager, Hacienda

James Paxson has been employed with Hacienda in Pleasanton for thirty-five years in various capacities and has served as its General Manager since 1995. He currently manages all programs operated on behalf of investors and owners of property within Hacienda including: Development and Planning, Infrastructure Management, Security, Transportation, Environmental Monitoring, Amenities and Community Relations. In addition to serving on the board of the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance, Mr. Paxson also serves on the boards of several local and regional organizations including: The East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the East Bay Leadership Council and Axis Community Health Center (currently serving as Chair). Mr. Paxson has also served on and chaired: the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, the City of Pleasanton Economic Vitality Committee, the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center, the Alameda County Measure B Citizens Watchdog Committee (as an EBEDA Appointee), and the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board. In addition, Mr. Paxson serves on the Steering Committee for the Tri-Valley Anti-Poverty Collaborative, a project of the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance. Mr. Paxson lives with his wife of thirty years, Kathy. They have two children.