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
Jonathan Hunter was formerly with Corporation for Supportive Housing, where he worked as Western Region Managing Director. Jonathan is a creative leader in collaborative design of innovative solutions to address the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, including developing and funding supportive housing for people who are chronically homeless and have disabilities related to mental illness, substance use, HIV/AIDS and other chronic health conditions. In Los Angeles, this work resulted in the creation of more than 3,000 new units of supportive housing. Learn More
Liz Tracey has over 20 years of experience in housing and community development finance. Ms. Tracey was most recently Senior Vice President at the Low Income Investment Fund, where she managed a team of lenders and program officers covering the western United States. Her team worked to bring increased capital to meet community needs, using tools such as the Bay Area’s Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Fund,and the Golden State Acquisition Fund. Prior to LIIF, Ms. Tracey was Vice President of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Group at JP Morgan Chase, covering California, Oregon and Washington. Projects financed included commercial and retail space, manufacturing facilities, community centers, health clinics, and charter schools. Learn More
Dr. Elenore (Nelli) Garton is working to develop an ecosystem approach to Impact Investing in the San Diego region and to direct more private capital towards the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors. Her expertise includes board development, research and evaluation, program planning and assessment, policy analysis, organizational development and fundraising. Previously, she was a Partner in Keel Asset Management where she conducted investment readiness assessments and provided capacity building to shift organizations to outcomes based approaches. Prior to that, she was a Vice President at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and the Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University. Learn More
Patrick A. Gibbons
Patrick A. Gibbons has more than twenty‐five years of experience in the real estate industry, with an emphasis on the acquisition and management of development projects in the southwestern United States. Since 1991, he has advised on the evaluation, acquisition, financing, entitlement and/or disposition of more than 60,000 residential units and 40 million square feet of commercial property. He has also advised on the district formation, underwriting and issuance of more than $750 million of land secured municipal bonds. Learn More
Director of Operations
As 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.
T Hampton Dohrman
Director of Finance and Administration
T. Hampton Dohrman is a finance and nonprofit management professional who is uniquely skilled at connecting finance, marketing and metrics in mission-based organizations. He is responsible for the firm’s financial reporting, analytics, business strategy, marketing, communications, and technology. He helps clients manage projects, interpret financial data, model potential outcomes, and understand both their business and social impacts. Hampton previously served as the Director of Finance for Mission Edge, which offers strategic consulting and fiscal sponsorship to more than 50 San Diego nonprofits. He also served as executive director for arts and creative economic development organizations in Tampa Bay, FL. Hampton volunteers in his spare time with civic organizations, performing arts groups, and as a strategic advisor to nonprofit organizations. He holds a Master’s Degree from the Top-20 accounting program at the University of South Florida, where he also received his B.S.
Sharon Hudnall is a strategic resource development and communications consultant to government and the nonprofit sector, bringing expertise in identifying and pursuing public and private financing opportunities for capital projects and programs. Prior to joining the LeSar Development Consultants team, she supported the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Development (Jacobs Family Foundation) through successful campaigns that financed civic engagement, planning, environmental and infrastructure improvements, and construction for a multi-phased $1 billion transit-oriented urban village in southeastern San Diego to be completed by 2030. Ms. Hudnall received her M.A. in America Literature from San Diego State.
Kris Kuntz has expertise in systems modeling and change, particularly as applied to homelessness and housing policy. During his prior employment with Father Joe’s Villages, Mr. Kuntz performed data analysis and evaluation activities on the various, social services, housing, and health care programs operated by the organization. He collected data and performed analysis on San Diego’s chronically homeless frequent user effort, Project 25, and worked with several Managed Care Health Plans to expand the program using Medi-Cal dollars. Kris has also been the community lead in partnership with the Corporation for Supportive Housing for San Diego’s SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery (SOAR) model and has participated in several work groups on health and housing, and cross system data sharing. In addition to his work in homelessness and housing policy, Kris was an adjunct faculty member in the sociology department at San Diego City College for three years. Mr. Kuntz holds a master’s degree in sociology from California State University, San Marcos and a bachelor’s degree from Chico State.
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.
Rachel Ralston specializes in project management and research related to affordable housing, health care and homelessness. She has extensive experience with qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, particularly related to focus groups, interviews, surveys and experimental research. She has a background in LGBTQ journalism and also has focused on social and behavioral outcomes stemming from health communication. Her studies of perceptions and experiences among adolescents, the LGBTQ community and women have been presented at multiple conferences and published in several journals, including the Journal of Health Communication, Computers in Human Behavior and Psychology of Women Quarterly. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in English literature and holds both an M.A. and Ph.D. in communication from The Ohio State University.
Artemis Spyridonidis, Esq.
Artemis Spyridonidis is covering housing policy issues, including structural solutions to the housing affordability crisis, consolidated plans, housing elements, accessory dwelling unit policy implementation, and regional issues across the state of California. After receiving degrees in Political Science and Spanish from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, she worked for the now late Congressman Joe Moakley before moving to San Diego. During her prior employment with then Councilmember Toni Atkins, she handled housing and homelessness policy. She then went on to work in the San Diego Housing Commission’s Housing Finance and Development Department before attending law school. Artemis also serves as a board member of the City Heights CDC, C3, and Circulate San Diego.
Felix Yan is the Financial Operations Analyst for LDC. Felix has a solid understanding of corporate finance, hands-on experience in financial modeling, strong analytical skills and a great eye for detail. He holds responsibility for all business analytics and reporting on actuals, variance to budget and financial impact of organizational changes. He also responds to information and ad hoc reporting requests from operations and finance team. He supports the project managers by developing interactive budget models to evaluate potential opportunities and streamline budget estimation for proposals and project management. Felix received his Master’s degree in finance from the Rady School of Management at University of California, San Diego in September 2015.
Sebastian Sarria assists with capital mapping, RFP development and communications, as well as facilities management. An avid volunteer and activist for environmental justice in the San Diego community, he received his B.A. in International Relations and Comparative Politics from the University of Central Florida and plans to pursue graduate studies in urban planning.
Thomas Phillips splits his time between assisting with administrative tasks, communications and provides critical support to senior staff on many of our ongoing client projects. In addition, Mr. Phillips assists in the management of marketing collateral and social media sites. Mr. Phillips has attended The University of Memphis and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communications from San Diego State 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.
Meet Our Affiliate – Estolano LeSar Perez (ELP) Advisors.
CECILIA V. ESTOLANO
Co-CEO and Co-Founder
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. 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.
Tulsi joined ELP Advisors in October 2013. In her current role as Senior Associate, Tulsi assists clients in the areas of community and economic development, stakeholder engagement, environmental policy, and program design. Tulsi supports the firm’s role as Executive Director of the LA Bioscience Hub, a nonprofit focused on the creation of a bioscience cluster in East Los Angeles. She is also working with a national foundation to pilot an equitable economic development grant program that provides technical assistance to Southern Cities. Tulsi serves as a Board Member for People for Parks. Learn More
Winnie Fong provides research, analysis, and writing in support of various consulting projects, especially ELP’s role as Executive Director for the Westside Cities Council of Governments. Other projects include development in the historical El Pueblo District of Downtown Los Angeles, and market research for a research university. Winnie received her Master of Planning from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics for California State University, Sacramento.
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.
Leah joined ELP as a research analyst in January 2016. In this role, she provides research and general project support to ELP staff and clients. Leah has worked in the nonprofit, public, and philanthropic sectors, focusing on community development and stakeholder engagement. Currently, Leah is assisting Eden Housing in mapping the affordable housing landscape in San Diego using ArcGIS software. Prior to ELP, Leah was a VISTA at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, where she managed a neighborhood evaluation project in which she collected, analyzed, and presented housing data that was shared with various stakeholders, including Frogtown Neighborhood Association, Frogtown Rondo Home Fund, and the City of Saint Paul, MN. Leah is currently an M.P.A. candidate at the University of Southern California, and received her B.A. in Sociology and Music from Loyola Marymount University.
Grethel Fuentes joined ELP Advisors in February 2016 as an Administrator Assistant. In her current role as an Administrator Assistant, she provides a variety of admin assistance to project managers. Currently, she is assisting Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors with various projects. Ms. Fuente’s professional background includes assisting administrators and executives in public and nonprofit businesses to effectively carry out various operational and financial control procedures.
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
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.