Alumni

Toni Atkins

Toni Atkins is currently California Senator to the 39th Senate District within San Diego County. Prior to her current post, Senator Atkins served as the 69th Speaker of the California State Assembly and formerly the Majority Leader. In 2010 and 2012, Senator Toni Atkins was elected to represent the 76th and 78th Assembly Districts, which includes central and northern San Diego communities and areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. From 2000 to 2008, Speaker Atkins represented San Diego City Council District 3. She also served as Acting Mayor of the San Diego City Council in 2005.

While Speaker, Senator Atkins was chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Homelessness, and served on the Housing and Community Development, Agriculture, Health, Veterans, and Joint Legislative Audit Committees. Senator Toni Atkins is devoted to her community by tackling a variety of issues such as economic development, health care, and veterans. Moreover, she and is committed to addressing issues of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
 

Matthew Doherty

Matthew Doherty is the Acting Executive Director at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). He is responsible for leading national strategies and initiatives to meet the goals and objectives outlined in Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness (Opening Doors). Prior to assuming this role, Doherty served as the USICH Regional Coordinator Team Leader and was responsible for the implementation of Opening Doors in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii. Mr. Doherty has previously held various positions at CSH, the San Diego Housing Commission, and Washington State’s King County Housing Authority. In his role at LDC, Mr. Doherty served as Principal of Housing Policy and Planning, where he managed the implementation of the Campaign to End Homelessness in Downtown San Diego and many other projects.

Mr. Doherty has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Washington.
 

Gretchen Kinney Newsom

Gretchen Kinney Newsom is the Political Director of IBEW Local 569. As a community and labor advocate, she organizes efforts to invest in good paying green-collar jobs, workforce development, civic engagement, and alternative energy.

In her role at LDC, Ms. Newsom was Principal and Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs. She supported our clients with research and analysis of frontier policy initiatives, public relations, and tracked legislative policy decisions connected to community development, environmental policies, affordable housing, homelessness, federal and state budgets, and new funding opportunities. Prior to joining our firm, Ms. Newsom served as Special Assistant to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and previously worked for two real estate investment firms and the California State Treasurer’s office. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Humboldt State University with a degree in Government and Politics, and was also awarded with the “Woman of the Year” honor.
 

Jessica Lawrence

As an Associate at LDC, Jessica Lawrence provided consulting services related to affordable housing policy and planning, community and economic development, and homelessness, with an emphasis on grant writing, research, and analysis of local, state, and federal funding sources.

Ms. Lawrence graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a BA in Urban Studies and Public Policy. In addition, she holds Certificates from the University of San Diego in Real Estate Finance, Investments and Development and Real Estate Entitlement, Development and Design. In 2013, she was selected as a Fellow for the San Diego Chapter of the New Leaders Council.
 

Rachel Ralston

Rachel Ralston is currently pursuing a doctorate in Communication at The Ohio State University. Prior to attending graduate school, Ms. Ralston held a few positions at LDC, including Executive Assistant/Office Manager, Associate, and Operations Manager. In these capacities, Ms. Ralston managed the daily operations of the company; assisted the senior staff with various aspects of project planning, development, and implementation; and provided assistance to the president on client projects and day-to-day company operations.

From 2003 to 2007, Ms. Ralston was an Associate/Web Editor of the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times/Rocket magazine. Ms. Ralston graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) with a degree in English Literature.
 

Chevelle Newell

As a Research Analyst at LDC, Chevelle Newell supported our senior team with projects involving affordable housing and civic engagement. Prior to joining LDC, Ms. Newell completed a year-long internship at Community HousingWorks in the Housing and Real Estate Development Department. In this capacity, Ms. Newell completed California Low-Income Housing Tax Credit applications and organized and implemented a 9,400 sq. ft community garden program. Ms. Newell is a graduate of UC San Diego with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Communication. She is also a member of the Rising Leaders Program through the San Diego Housing Federation.
 

Melanie Wilson

As an Associate at LDC, Melanie Wilson supported our client work on homelessness, affordable housing finance, and project management. Prior to joining our firm, Ms. Wilson was an intern at the San Diego Housing Commission in the Real Estate Department. She also has experience at a real estate investment firm, and at a private development firm. Ms. Wilson has degrees in Economics and Political Science from San Diego State University and is working toward a Master’s degree in Public Administration. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana Chapter Young Leader’s Group and the American Planning Association.
 

JESSIELEE COLEY

As a Research Analyst at LDC, Jessielee Coley worked on homelessness issues and permanent housing solutions. Ms. Coley has an extensive background advocating for those experiencing homelessness. She was involved in numerous homeless outreach services in Santa Barbara, including the coordination of Registry Week in January of 2013, in which she helped recruit over 600 volunteers who surveyed over 1400 homeless individuals in Santa Barbara County. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Biological Sciences, and is currently pursuing her graduate degree at San Diego State University in Public Health with an emphasis in health promotion and behavioral sciences.
 

ALEXANDRA PAXTON

As a consultant at ELP Advisors, Alexandra Paxton developed, implemented, and oversaw the firm’s work on green economy and workforce development policy, planning, and program initiatives. She led research projects in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco on public investments in green infrastructure and energy efficiency, developing recommendations as to how these investments could be leveraged to create family-supporting career opportunities for disadvantaged residents. Ms. Paxton previously served as Project Manager at the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) and was Deputy and then Acting Executive Director for the LA City Workforce Investment Board. Ms. Paxton received a J.D. from Yale Law School, an MFA in Theater Management from Yale School of Drama, and a B.A. cum laude in American Studies from Yale College.
 

Keryna Johnson

Keryna Johnson is a Planning and Food Environment Specialist for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. As a Senior Associate at LDC, Ms. Johnson assisted clients with strategic planning and community and economic development.
Prior to joining LDC, Ms. Johnson’s work focused on research, outreach, and planning in the environmental justice communities of Southeastern San Diego and Encanto. Her work included support in drafting the Community Plan Updates with the City of San Diego Planning Department, obesity prevention outreach with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Chollas Creek master planning for Groundwork San Diego, and a needs assessment for the Diamond Business Improvement District. Ms. Johnson received her Master’s degree in City Planning and Bachelor’s in Business Management from San Diego State University.
 

Rudy Cervantes

As a Research Analyst at LDC, Rudy Cervantes performed various communications and business development activities and supported the senior team on proposal development and client work associated with housing needs assessments and housing market analysis. Prior to joining LDC, Mr. Cervantes managed City of San Diego wide reports, and was the data manager for the San Diego Housing Commission’s Workforce and Economic Development (WED) unit. As the site administrator for the WED’s enterprise level client case management software, Mr. Cervantes designed online programs to capture, analyze, and report on client outcomes in a variety of workforce development curriculums. He also tracked and reported individual asset build saving accounts accumulated from portions of clients’ rental obligations. Mr. Cervantes received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and extensive work towards a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University.
 

Ruben Jubinsky

As an Associate at ELP, Ruben Jubinsky provided research, analysis, and writing in the areas of economic development, strategic planning, environmental sustainability, and implementation planning. Prior to joining ELP, he held various positions at Freddie Mac, where his responsibilities ranged from setting prices on new business to managing development of IT systems. He was also a policy associate and database manager at Global Green USA. Mr. Jubinsky received a Master of Planning (in Sustainable Land Use) and a Master of Public Administration from USC, and a Bachelor of Arts (concentration in Russian) from Haverford College.
 

Kathy -4x5

Kathy Tran supported our senior team with research, analysis, and writing in the areas of real estate analysis, strategic planning, and economic development. Prior to joining our firm, Ms. Tran worked as a research analyst at Cassidy Turley where she researched and developed reports on San Diego’s commercial real estate industry. Ms. Tran has also worked on various community development projects in San Diego and Los Angeles that include revitalizing alleyways into vibrant public spaces, developing popular education tools on healthy grocery stores, and creating a community asset-mapping guide. Ms. Tran received her Masters of Urban & Regional Planning from UCLA and her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Planning from UC San Diego.

Marina

Marina Espinoza performed various communications activities for our firm and supported the senior team on client work associated with homelessness and community and economic development. Prior to joining LDC, Ms. Espinoza was the Administrative Coordinator of UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies – a public policy think tank – where she oversaw the promotion and execution of the Center’s weekly events; worked to improve the Center’s web presence and social media strategy; and prepared development materials for prospective donors and supporters of the Center. She was also previously an intern of the San Diego Housing Federation, where she provided research support to its staff on advocacy initiatives around affordable housing. During her time as an undergraduate, Ms. Espinoza conducted research in the City Heights, Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, and University City communities of San Diego. Also as a student, she co-founded the UC San Diego chapter of Community Hope Project – a volunteer-run nonprofit organization focused on empowering communities. Ms. Espinoza received her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Planning from UC San Diego.

Marina

Tracy Frommelt’s experience spans a broad range of functional areas, including strategy, marketing, and finance. Prior to joining Lesar Development Consultants, Ms. Frommelt spent several years in the start-up space, focusing on acceleration of growth and website optimization. Ms. Frommelt has also worked in large corporate organizations, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Sempra Global, and Intuit. Ms. Frommelt has a passion for entrepreneurial environments, accelerating growth, and optimizing customer experience. Analytics and data-driven decision making have been themes throughout her career. She thrives on translating big, complex ideas into tangible, measurable plans that she can then drive through to execution. Ms. Frommelt holds an M.B.A. in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Economics from Wellesley College.

vicky joes

As Principal and Director of Housing Policy and Programs, Vicky Joes developed, implemented, and oversaw our work on housing and homelessness policy, planning, and program initiatives – particularly our efforts to end homelessness in San Diego. She also served on internal firm multi-disciplinary teams working on urban development and human capital development initiatives.

Prior to joining our firm, Ms. Joes served as Policy Advisor for the Mayor’s Office of the City of San Diego, during which time she developed and implemented the Mayor’s policies, convened and lead cross-sectional planning efforts, and provided high level strategic planning and analysis in areas related to special districts, housing, homelessness, grants, special districts, grants, and parks. Previously, she held senior positions at the San Diego Housing Commission and the San Diego Workforce Partnership. Ms. Joes received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. Joseph’s University.

Amanda -4x5

As Associate, Amanda Foster supported our client work around homeless issues and solutions. She has a passion for social change and currently serves has our Collective Impact Coordinator. Ms. Foster received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego with a business minor focused on marketing. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Point Loma Nazarene University.

Keryna Johnson

As a Senior Associate with LDC, Keryna Johnson assisted our clients with strategic planning and community and economic development. Ms. Johnson also worked with jurisdictions throughout California in the creation of Consolidated Plans to assess their affordable housing, community and economic development needs and market conditions, and to make data-driven, place-based investment decisions. Prior to joining our firm, Ms. Johnson’s work focused on research, outreach, and planning in the environmental justice communities of Southeastern San Diego and Encanto. Her work included support in drafting the Community Plan Updates with the City of San Diego Planning Department, obesity prevention outreach with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Chollas Creek master planning for Groundwork San Diego, and a needs assessment for the Diamond Business Improvement District. Ms. Johnson received her Master’s degree in City Planning and Bachelor’s in Business Management from San Diego State University.