OLAS is very fortunate to benefit from the extensive personal and professional experience of the following members of our Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee meets periodically throughout the year to discuss the progress of OLAS and offer suggestions for future growth and improvement.
Abigail Rich: Abigail is an attorney interested in the intersection of immigration legal services and mental healthcare for survivors of trauma. She is currently a Liman Fellow at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, where she primarily represents asylum seekers escaping gender-based violence and anti-LGBTQ persecution. She previously worked with immigrants and refugees at Greater Boston Legal Services, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, where she earned a JD. Abigail received her undergraduate degree in art history, anthropology, and studio art. Adela Pedroza: Adela is a full-time Consultant with Kaiser Permanente Market Research in Oakland, CA, where she assists senior health care leaders in making business decisions. Adela has over 8 years of market research and marketing experience. She holds an MBA in Marketing and a BA from Vassar College, and did graduate studies in international marketing in Mexico.
Amy Bank: Amy has recently returned to the Bay Area after living almost 30 years in Nicaragua. In the ‘80s she was part of the incipient Nicaraguan gay and lesbian rights movement that got shut down by the Sandinista government in a time of war, and which later was re-born as the Popular Education Collective to prevent HIV/AIDS. She is also one of the co-founders of the Nicaraguan feminist organization, Puntos de Encuentro, which has worked for LGBTQ rights since its founding in 1991. She produced Puntos’ two “social soap” TV series, Sexto Sentido and Contracorriente, both of which have LGBTQ characters and were aired on national television in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and several other countries and are used for educational and organizing campaigns. Amy currently lives in Berkeley with her 17-year old daughter and her 80-something parents, while her 20-year old son is in Nicaragua, attending university and living with his other mom, Amy’s co-parent and best friend. Joy E. Carlson, MPH: Joy Carlson has been active in the non-profit sector for over 40 years, working primarily in the public and environmental health arena. She is currently Principal at J. Carlson Consulting which provides strategic planning, organizational development, program and policy development, and evaluation services to non-profit organizations. Prior to founding J. Carlson Consulting, she was the founding director for the Children’s Environmental Health Network, a national organization dedicated to preventing toxic exposures to children. She has worked at local, state, national and international levels with a broad range of constituencies and sectors. She has a special interest in supporting organizations and staff committed to change.
Julio Leiva: Julio was originally from El Salvador and has been living in Oakland, CA for the past 16 years. He has indigenous roots and has been an active member of organizations that promote the rights of indigenous people. He also served on the Board of Directors of CAREN (Central American Resource Center) and is currently a founding member of "El Dia del Salvadoreño," an annual Bay Area event that celebrates Salvadoran history and culture.
Rebecca Tarver: Rebecca has been a resident of Oakland since 2000, when she moved here from El Salvador. Rebecca lived in El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua for 14 years, working as a journalist and supporting the popular organizations fighting for change in El Salvador, with a particular interest in women’s organizations. Rebecca’s family is bicultural and bilingual, and through friends and family Rebecca maintains a deep connection to El Salvador and the immigrant experience. She and her husband own a cleaning service which provides employment for more than 40 low income immigrant women from Mexico and Central America.
Scott MacPherson: Scott is an Environmental Manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where he works in the design and permitting of environmentally-friendly utility projects. He has over 25 years experience in the environmental field, including in political organizing for environmental justice issues. He holds a MS in Natural Resources with a concentration in environmental advocacy, and a BS in Psychology, both from the University of Michigan.
Sylvia Soriano: Sylvia is from Bogotá, Colombia. She came to the U.S. at age 16, and has been living in the Bay Area for 37 years. She is an artist and a gardener, and is interested in the interrelation between art, health and nature and the regenerative effect it has at all levels. As a member of the LGBTQ community, she is honored and pleased to collaborate with OLAS and it's participants.