Marguerite Bachand, Executive Director: email@example.com
Marguerite is a non-profit executive with over 20 years of experience creating new programs and leading organizations through periods of change and growth. She developed a program for economically disadvantaged students at the University of California Office of the President that she implemented at multiple campuses, and has more recently worked in global development for an organization that removes land mines and works with farmers on sustainable farming practices in Afghanistan and Vietnam. She has dedicated her career to promoting equity and empowerment by working to broaden access to education, healthy environments, and economic opportunity for all individuals. Marguerite joined Operation Dignity in January 2017.
Gretel Tortolani, Chief Financial Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gretel joined Operation Dignity in October of 2018. She comes with over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting. She previously held positions with the Mt. Diablo Region YMCA, Mi Pueblo Supermarkets, Best Express Foods and Dynamic Office and Accounting Solutions. She is very excited to be back in the non-profit world! Gretel graduated from St. Mary’s College with a degree in Management. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her kids and great friends. She also loves to travel, do sports and go on hikes with her two Nordic Spitz.
Tomika Perkins, Operations Director: email@example.com
Tomika has more than 23 years of experience (including 13 years at Operation Dignity) working directly to help individuals who are homeless secure housing through outreach, housing, and supportive services programs. At Operation Dignity, she successfully manages outreach programs serving between 60 and 125 individuals each day, as well as overseeing assessment and intake for more than 100 units of shelter and housing for veterans experiencing homelessness.
Mercedes Brown, Program Supervisor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mercedes has been serving with the homeless population for over 15 years. She started as an outreach worker specializing in harm reduction, disease preventative education, and case management. Mercedes received her AA in Community Social Service from Merritt College. She supervises transitional veteran housing and services at Dignity Commons in Alameda and Ashby House in Berkeley, where she leads with integrity, compassion and humility. When not working, she enjoys travel, music and spending time with family and friends.
Brandon Maurice Williams, Program and Site Supervisor: email@example.com
Brandon has been working with vulnerable populations of color (youth & adults) since 1994 in his native Pittsburgh, PA and in NYC servicing anti-gang initiatives, community outreach, and at-risk youth programs. During his tenure in the Bay Area, Brandon has worked intensely within the harm-reduction model, assisting homeless clients with post-treatment housing resources as a Program Director for a dual-diagnosis (mental health & substance abuse) 90-day Adult Transitional Residential Treatment program, as well as working as a Training Specialist for IHSS Homecare Providers who assist high-needs residents with their activities of daily living within San Francisco SRO living facilities. Brandon holds a terminal degree (Master of Fine Arts, Screenwriting) and has worked as an adjunct professor with graduate students. Brandon continues to write, develop, and produce short films and documentary projects that promote social change.
Katie Derrig, Development and Contracts Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie works to build Operation Dignity’s financial strength and sustainability through fundraising, grantwriting, and fostering community relationships. She has worked in nonprofit communications for almost 10 years, and is committed to helping our community end homelessness. Katie is originally from Chicago and holds an M.A. in Classics from the University of California Berkeley.
Board of Directors
Daniel Lopez, President
Daniel B. Lopez has over 35 years of experience in the affordable housing field. Since 1994, he has had his own consulting practice specializing in affordable housing finance, program development, and general problem solving. His clients have included the U.S. Circuit of Appeals, Ninth District; public agencies (cities, counties, and the U.S. Treasury CDFI Fund); for-profit developers, government sponsored entities (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae); tax credit equity investors; and nonprofit organizations. He has served on a variety of nonprofit and public agency boards, committees, and commissions, serving as board chair for many of these efforts. He has a B.A. in Economics and Statistics from UCLA and a M.A. in City Planning from San Jose State University where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow. He has received numerous national, regional, and community awards for his expertise and dedication to the affordable housing and community development field.
John Marquez, Vice President
John is a professional with over 25 years of Human Resources Management and Talent Acquisition experience. He joined the Navy after high school and was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, where he served in the Personnel Support Detachment. After almost 5 years of service, John left the Navy and attended California State University, East Bay where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. After graduation, his first job was with the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Francisco. He worked for service industries, IT and non-profit companies before joining Kaiser Permanente 12 years ago. John is also the Chairman of the Kaiser Permanente Veterans Association San Francisco Chapter.
James De los Reyes, Secretary
James is an attorney at Boornazian, Jensen & Gerthe and concentrates in construction defect and general civil litigation. While not a veteran himself, he is indebted to the men and women who have served our country, including the many members of his family who helped raise and inspire him, and is passionate about serving his local community and the larger veteran community. He is a Legal Clinics Co-Director for the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC) and recently served as pro bono counsel for Bay Area Legal Aid’s family law clinic. James received his J.D. from UC Hastings and his B.A. from Stanford University. He enjoys time with family and friends, and occasionally going lindy-hopping in San Francisco.
Rosa Maria Zanolli, Treasurer
Rosa Maria has served on the Board since 2009. She graduated with a degree in Business and Administration at the University of Rome, Italy, eventually moving to San Francisco for a job as an audit manager. She soon became a CPA and has had a private practice, providing consulting, accounting, auditing, and tax services, for many years. During the 5 years she took off to raise her children, she volunteered in various school activities and was PTA treasurer. When not working, she enjoys traveling to foreign countries, hiking, and scuba diving.
Dale is a Navy Veteran with a history of commitment to community service. He spent seven years doing missionary work in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda, leading community development projects and helping youth build leadership skills. His professional background is in IT, where he combines technical proficiency with customer service and problem solving. He joined the Operation Dignity Board in March 2019 to give back to other veterans and contribute his team- and infrastructure-building experience.
Cathy is a principal at Ryan-Boer Solutions, which specializes in accounting for small businesses and nonprofits. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics from UC Berkeley, she obtained her M.B.A from California State University, East Bay. She has been an active volunteer for much of her adult life, primarily on school-related boards and activities where her twins were involved. Cathy is passionate about veterans’ support as her dad, uncle and father-in-law all served and her brother is career Navy. She is excited to make an impact as a board member.
Morgan joined Operation Dignity’s board in July of 2016. After graduating high school, Morgan joined the Air Force as a member of the USAF Security Forces, where he worked in law enforcement, force protection, and corrections. He was stationed for four years in New Mexico, and served one tour in Mosul, Iraq, after which he transitioned to the Air Force Reserves and served five more years at Travis AFB in Fairfield, until 2013. While in the reserves, Morgan completed a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at Sonoma State University. In 2017, he completed a graduate degree in Public Management and Policy Analysis at California State University, East Bay, working with one of his professors to do research on behalf of a local police department. He enjoys traveling with his wife, reading, and visiting the Bay Area’s museums and craft breweries. Morgan believes strongly in public service, in a civic duty to facilitate the reintegration of veterans, and in protecting the inherent dignity of all – regardless of their present circumstances.
Originally from Indiana, Sylvia has lived in Oakland the past 26 years with her husband and two children. Her proudest accomplishment by far are her two exceptional daughters. Sylvia has spent her entire professional life working in public service agencies whose mission is to improve the lives and circumstances of marginalized communities and the people who inhabit them. She is currently the Public Affairs Director for the Alameda County Social Services Agency. Her 25-year-long (and counting) career spans a variety of areas, including public policy, program development, and marketing and public awareness. Sylvia firmly believes that it is her mission to continually find ways to directly impact the quality of life of veterans, seniors, children, people with disabilities, and poor families. When speaking of her life’s work, Sylvia often says, “To do this work well, you must view it as a calling and be about the business of perfecting your vocation.”