President and CEO
Jennifer LeSar is an expert in community development and real estate finance. With more than 25 years of experience in the real estate development and investment banking industries, Ms. LeSar brings a diverse background to her work in community development and urban revitalization. Her technical expertise spans from policy and program development to comprehensive strategic planning for top executives and executive teams to the origination and underwriting of complex investments in equity funds, multi-family portfolios and historic and low-income tax credit properties utilizing federal and state financing programs. Ms. LeSar previously worked for nine years as an investment banker arranging equity investments on behalf of Edison Capital and Bank of America, and for twelve years as an affordable housing developer. Ms. LeSar received both her M.B.A. in real estate and finance and an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA and she received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in political science and economics. Learn More
As Principal and Director of Housing Policy and Programs, Vicky develops, implements, and oversees our work on housing and homelessness policy, planning, and program initiatives – particularly our efforts to end homelessness in San Diego. She also serves on internal firm multi-disciplinary teams working on urban development and human capital development initiatives. Ms. Joes has a passion for improving economic and residential environment through sound public policy, and brings with her an impressive network and knowledge of local government officials and development professionals. Learn More
Keryna Johnson assists our clients with strategic planning and community and economic development. Currently Ms. Johnson is working 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.
Amanda Foster supports 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. Recently, she received her Master of Business Administration from Point Loma Nazarene University.
Rudy Cervantes performs various communications and business development activities for our firm, and supports 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. Those savings accounts were used by program participants for educational and workforce development needs such as tuition, books and computer purchases. 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.
Marina Espinoza performs various communications activities for our firm and supports 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.
Director of Operations
As Principal and Director of Operations, Cathy Romanas manages business operations for LeSar Development Consultants and ELP Advisors. She has over 20 years of experience in administration, financial management, and operations, including six years as a Supply Officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Prior to joining our firm, she was the Director of Transportation and Operations Manager at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla. A long-time volunteer and advocate for education and equal rights, Ms. Romanas has served as a board member for several nonprofit organizations. For three years, she chaired the planning committee to bring an all-day Independence Day celebration to the San Diego community of University City. Ms. Romanas received her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of San Diego and is working toward a Master of Business Administration.
Chief Operating Officer
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.
Meet Our Affiliate – Estolano LeSar Perez (ELP) Advisors LLC.
CECILIA V. ESTOLANO
Cecilia V. Estolano is an expert in sustainable economic development and urban revitalization. The many projects she has directed as co-founder of ELP Advisors include advising local governments, non-profits and foundations on redevelopment dissolution and economic revitalization; overseeing research on green infrastructure and job creation in Philadelphia; and managing complex multi-stakeholder processes, including the creation of economic development implementation plans and the LA 2050 visioning project for the Goldhirsh Foundation. Prior to co-founding ELP Advisors, Ms. Estolano was Chief Strategist of State and Local Initiatives for Green For All, a national organization that advocates for broad access and opportunity in the clean-energy economy. Ms. Estolano oversaw Green For All’s State and Local Initiatives and the Capital Access Program and was charged with spearheading the organization’s effort to scale public-private partnerships as a means to grow family-supporting jobs in energy efficiency, water and transportation infrastructure, green manufacturing and other green sectors, particularly in under-served communities. Learn More
KATHERINE AGUILAR PEREZ-ESTOLANO
Katherine Aguilar Perez-Estolano is an expert in urban planning, transportation, and stakeholder engagement. As co-founder of ELP Advisors, she has managed numerous transportation planning and community engagement projects, and has co-led complex multi-stakeholder processes, including the LA 2050 visioning project for the Goldhirsh Foundation. With her diverse background, she has emerged as one of the most credible advocates promoting the responsible use of land and transportation. Prior to co-founding ELP Advisors, she was the Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute, Los Angeles District Council (ULI LA), and she was formerly the Vice President of Development for Forest City Development where she focused on transit-oriented development in emerging markets. She received her Master’s in Urban Planning and Transportation from UCLA and her B.A. in Political Science from California State University Northridge. Learn More
Richard France assists our clients with strategic planning, visioning, and community and economic development. His work includes authoring a report on the current state of human development in Los Angeles for the Goldhirsh Foundation (LA2050). He also coordinated a study to improve bike and pedestrian access to transit oriented districts for the County of Los Angeles, and has researched and reported on opportunities to leverage energy efficiency investments to create jobs for disadvantaged residents. Mr. France provides training materials and ongoing analytic support on the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. He previously worked for a media consulting firm, where he assisted on social action campaigns, including partnership development and the strategy and day-to-day execution of active campaigns. Mr. France received his M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from University of Colorado at Boulder.
Cynthia Guzman supports the senior team through the research, writing, and preparation of reports and materials in the areas of strategic planning, visioning, and workforce and economic development. Specifically, she assisted in convening a task force of business leaders to develop an economic development implementation plan and she has conducted research and analysis to connect low-income and disadvantaged workers to career paths in green infrastructure and energy efficiency in the cities of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She is also leading the process to draft an implementation roadmap to revitalize a 110-acre brownfield with green space, quality housing, and economic development. Ms. Guzman received both her Masters of Urban & Regional Planning and her undergraduate degree in English from UCLA.
JENNY GANT PHAM
Jenny Gant Pham has expertise in market rate and affordable housing real estate development and finance. Ms. Gant authored “Inclusionary TOD: Bringing Affordable Housing to the Lake Merritt BART Station,” which explores the financial feasibility of affordable housing at a TOD site in Oakland, CA. She also led the real estate research on a study of the economic impact of a biosciences cluster around the Lawrence Berkeley Lab campus in Richmond, CA. In addition, Ms. Gant participated in the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties competition, in which she worked with a team to advise the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on the highest and best use of an underutilized site. Ms. Gant received her Master’s and Bachelor’s in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Veronica Cruz assists our clients with community development and social innovation by performing data gathering and analysis and providing research support for professional reports and client presentations. Ms. Cruz has over 10 years of experience in research and data analysis, with an emphasis on synthesizing and interpreting quantitative data using Microsoft Excel. She previously worked as a senior research analyst and supervisor for Zenith Media’s Competitive Intelligence department where she was in charge of research project management and business development. Ms. Cruz received her M.P.L. in Economic Development from the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy, and her B.B.A. in finance and accounting from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Ruben Jubinsky assists clients and provides research, analysis, and writing in the areas of economic development, strategic planning, environmental sustainability, and implementation planning. Mr. Jubinsky brings strong financial management, policy analysis, and process management credentials to the ELP team. 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.
Tulsi Patel has diverse experience in community outreach and engagement from her work at ELP Advisors and various internships. At ELP, she developed collateral for client presentations at the ULI Urban Marketplace, and performed event planning for LA2050 (Goldhirsh Foundation). Other tasks include gathering and analyzing data for the economic development reports, conducting bill analysis and research, preparation of reports and presentations to clients, and producing e-communications on sustainability issues. Her past experiences include community development and environmental sustainability work through the equity perspective. At the Local Initiatives Support Corporation in Houston, she publicized, coordinated, and facilitated community meetings on education, planning, and crime prevention; Ms. Patel also conducted one-on-one interviews with targeted stakeholders. She is a candidate for a Master of Urban & Regional Planning at UCLA.