in memory of

DANA HARVEY

A visionary leader who devoted her life, passion, and creativity to catalyzing groundbreaking programs, launching community-based businesses, and forging wide-reaching partnerships that fostered food security and equitable economic development.

TEAM

Mariela Cedeño

Interim Executive Director

For over a decade, Mariela has shaped strategies that build the assets of community members, entrepreneurs, farmers, and values-aligned stakeholders engaged in cultivating our local economy and food system. As part of Mandela Partners' (MP) leadership team, she catalyzed the development of MPs economic ventures framework, entrepreneurship programming, and Community Capital Fund – which seek to increase access to low-cost, relationship driven capital. In her role as Interim Director, Mariela develops and promotes new models for investment, growth, and shared wealth that sustain and elevate community ownership, opportunity and health.

Mariela's lifework is firmly based in the belief that supporting under-resourced entrepreneurs is key in building thriving, sustainable, and healthy communities. She brings with her a wide breadth of in the field experience in economic development, business advising, accessible capital, and community engagement. Mariela holds B.A. degrees in Economics and International Relations with honors from the University of California, Davis, and an M.A. in Latin American Development for Vanderbilt University. She is currently a BALLE fellow, and NALCAB Colegio alumni.

Christine Kuo

Director, Finance & Operations

Christine has extensive experience in finance across multiple industries including healthcare, power and gas, entertainment, software and retail. In search of an opportunity to do something meaningful in the food industry, she decided to leave the corporate world and follow her desire to make a positive contribution to the Oakland community. Inspired by Mandela MarketPlace's mission, Christine joined Mandela MarketPlace as the Finance & Operations Manager and looks forward to growing with the organization.

Ciara Segura

Director, Program & Policy

Ciara’s professional experience within California’s food system spans several industries, including food/tech startups, organic produce distribution, and food justice advocacy. Her graduate research examined pesticide regulation and how rural and immigrant communities mobilize against environmental injustice brought on by chemically-intensive agriculture. These experiences have given her an aerial view of the food system and a familiarity with the perspectives of its many stakeholders - including growers, distributors, food activists and scholars, farm workers, restaurant staff, and consumers - and have honed her skills in developing meaningful community engagement strategies.

 

 

Ciara brings with her a strong capacity to think across disciplinary borders and a commitment to thoughtful, place-based advocacy that is driven by the needs and perspectives of local residents. She holds a B.A. in Feminist Studies from Stanford University and a M.A. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Maureen Silva

Director, Development and Innovation

Maureen plays an important role cultivating fundraising and leading development opportunities designed to advance the mission and organizational functioning of Mandela Partners. Maureen takes on a level of responsibility tied to building funder relations, fostering new innovation, visioning areas of growth, and seizing new partnership opportunities on a local and national scale. She works closely with the Mandela team to conceptualize and implement systems to strengthen organizational effectiveness.

 

Over the past decade, Maureen has been part of several nonprofits--serving communities nationally as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area-- to support healthier, equitable food environments. Maureen acquired her Master's Degree in Public Health from San Jose State University in 2014, and has traveled extensively across the country providing consultation with coalitions, nonprofits, and public health departments to develop multi-sector strategies that advance healthy places nationwide.

Nina Berman

Manager, Business & Culinary Development

Nina is the Business & Culinary Development Manager at Mandela Partners. Nina oversees the Ashland Market & Cafe and manages the Mandela Entrepreneurs Program - leading workshops, business advising, sales channels development, and providing food-specific technical assistance to community entrepreneurs. 

 

Nina has a variety of experience in food systems and business development as a professional cook, farmer, financial coach, educator, and food business entrepreneur. She believes in the strength of locally-owned businesses to empower communities and transform neighborhood economies. Nina holds a B.A. from Oberlin College in Food Systems, Urban Planning, and South Asian Religions.

Sean Brekke-Miesner

Manager, Food Retail | Oak Harvest Kitchen & Ashland Market & Cafe

A 3rd generation East Oaklander, Sean's grandparents owned a restaurant for 22 years, which had a big influence on his interest in food. Working in the restaurant industry for the last 10 years, Sean has worked every job in the kitchen from dishwasher to Sous Chef. Drawing on a background in everything from menu development to running an internship program at a local restaurant, Sean ​became the Food Retail Manager at Mandela Partners. Sean manages the day to day operations at Oak Harvest Kitchen, formerly Core Kitchen -  a produce-center restaurant and second-chance employment training program - in addition to providing facilities management and support for the Ashland Market & Cafe - a community food hall and community space. His belief in equity, job training for residents with employment barriers, and investing in underserved communities are the core values that attracted him to working at Mandela Partners and he looks forward to continuing to grow with the organization. Outside of work Sean enjoys watching the A's & Warriors as well as trying new restaurants in Oakland

Amani Ali

Coordinator, Healthy Grocery Initiative

Amani Ali is an Oakland native and the Healthy Grocery Initiative Coordinator at Mandela Partners. Amani received an MSW from Cal State East Bay, where she studied community mental health and her understanding of societal injustices were deepened. Shortly after, she was called toward food justice while volunteering in Oakland. Her professional experience includes nonprofit administration and facilitating a variety of youth programs. In her free time, Amani enjoys cooking and competing in pool (billiards) tournaments.

Nina Arrocena

Coordinator, Community Produce Stands

Nina Arrocena is part of the Healthy Retail Team. Raised in the Salinas Valley, agriculture has been a large part of her life, and she moved to Oakland with hopes of making a positive contribution to her new community. She is thrilled to be part of the meaningful work of providing access to fresh, healthy food to community members throughout the city. From families at elementary schools to the regulars at the Senior Center, Nina's favorite part of her job is the daily interaction with a wide variety of customers.

​Aliyah Bey

Wellness Educator

Aliyah Bey is Mandela Partners' Wellness Educator. She is from Southern California and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Psychology from California State University, East Bay. Aliyah is currently studying nutrition and aspires to become a Registered Dietitian. Aliyah joined the Mandela Partners team because the work aligned with her core values, and allows her to support communities that desire to live healthy and peaceful lives. 

Leroy Musgraves

Health & Diet Educator

Leroy is a master gardener and farmer who has been working with Mandela Marketplace and the West Oakland community since 2004. 16 years of farming and urban gardening experience make Leroy an invaluable asset to Mandela Marketplace and the West Oakland community. Mr. Musgraves holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Cal-State Los Angeles. He received his Certificate in Horticulture from the Agro-Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture Department of UC Santa Cruz in 1997. Currently, Mr. Musgraves lives in West Oakland and works with Mandela Marketplace as a Health and Diet Educator. He gives classes on nutrition, physiology, and major diseases affecting African American and other low-income communities of color. He continues to utilize his extensive nutrition and produce experience to benefit the Bay Area community through community education.

Joseph Tsai

Associate, Healthy Retail

Joseph Tsai is part of the Healthy Retail team. An advocate for change, he believes in healthy eating in all communities. Growing up as an Oakland native, Joseph encourages the strength of cultural diversity wherever he goes. Also a participant of Oakland's Youth Impact Hub, he is starting a social enterprise around cultural soups to bring communities together. Joseph enjoys good music, especially old school Bay Area hip-hop.

Ryan Tern

Associate, Healthy Retail

Ryan Tern is a part of the Healthy Retail team. Born and raised in Oakland he grew up eating unhealthy because it was the most accessible option. After spending years learning about health and fitness he grasped the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Ryan holds a B.A. in Psychology from University of California, Davis. By being a part of the Mandela team he hopes to build community with his neighbors and highlight the importance of taking care of your health both physically and mentally.

Sang (John) Saephan

Associate, Healthy Retail

Sang Saephan is a part of the Healthy Retail team. Growing up in Oakland, he would often go to corner stores to buy unhealthy snacks while his parents were at work. As a college student with the hopes of becoming a Physical Therapist, he started to understand the value of healthy foods and its role in the physical and mental health for people of all backgrounds, especially those in low-income communities. As part of Mandela Partners Healthy Retail Team, Sang hopes to promote healthy eating alternatives!

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MANDELA PRODUCE DISTRIBUTION

Erick Ismael Sanchez de Leon

Manager, Operations | Mandela Produce Distribution

Erick Ismael Sanchez de Leon, who friends call "E", loves California and has a special place in his heart for the Bay Area. His academic interests revolve around our built, natural, and imagined environments. He also enjoys learning about places and spaces off the beaten path. Erick works along side Yuro at Mandela Foods Distribution assisting with warehouse management, produce sourcing, and delivery. Erick loves meeting new farmers, exploring West Oakland, and providing community residents with healthy, locally grown produce.

Yuro Chavez

Manager, Sourcing & Client Services | Mandela Produce Distribution

Yuro is a San Francisco raised Guatemalan-American who has been living in the East Bay for over a decade. He has been with Mandela Marketplace since 2007, and now is the manager of one of Mandela Marketplace's food enterprises: Mandela Foods Distribution. Yuro believes strongly in supporting local small farmers and providing the community with healthy fruits & vegetables. Managing Mandela Foods Distribution has allowed him to gain valuable business ownership skills and he looks forward to continuing to grow his skills as well as the business.

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