YWCA Monterey County Board of Directors
In an effort to maintain a balanced Board of Directors, we collect applications on a continual basis. To find out more information and apply, please email our general mailbox at email@example.com
Mary Gunn, Chairman of the Board
Mary Gunn joined the Montage Health Foundation in June 2021, bringing an understanding of the role of nonprofits in the community and a passion for transformative relationships that power community impact. She worked for The David and Lucile Packard Foundation for more than 19 years, with 15 of those years focused on community impact in Pueblo Colorado, the birthplace of David Packard. Mary worked with community members on collective impact strategies for greater community health and resilience and was responsible for grantmaking to benefit Pueblo County
residents. Mary returned to California in 2000, taking the role of Director of Philanthropy for Monterey Peninsula Foundation, host of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the PURE Insurance Championship. She was responsible for awarding grants totaling between $10 – 15 million each year to agencies in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Mary is a native of San Luis Obispo and an alumna of the University of Santa Clara. She holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University.
Liana Shapiro-Lee, Treasurer
Liana Shapiro-Lee is a California native, growing up in the San Francisco East Bay. She obtained her B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine in 2003. Worked her way through college in varying roles including administrative, Human Resources, Sales, Staffing, and Office Management. She then received her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area in 2012. Since then she has worked the non-profit, Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance in Watsonville as a Mental Health Clinician and Referral Triage Coordinator. She currently has a Private Practice in the Monterey Lighthouse District treating PTSD and LGBTQ+ adolescents
Anna Maria Velazquez, Board Member
Anna Maria Velazquez was elected Mayor of the City of Soledad in November 2020 becoming the first female Mayor to represent the city in ninety-nine years. Anna was born and raised in the Salinas Valley by farmworker parents. Her father was an active member of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) and fought alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to bring social, political and economic equality to farmworkers. Anna has over 20 years of experience in local government—including four years as a City Council member and many more in her current position as District Director for a State Senator. Her career in public service, includes 17-years with the City of Salinas where she held the position of Community Development Analyst in the Housing and Community Development Department and Neighborhood Services Coordinator in the office of the City Manager. Anna has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology from CSU, Fresno and an Associate Degree from Hartnell Community College. Her passion for public service has led her to serve on numerous boards and committees focused on creating lasting and positive impacts in the community.
Anna’s policies will continue to focus on the development of affordable and workforce housing, bringing greater transparency and accountability in all functions of local government and creating systems and policies that are inclusive, embrace cultural diversity and encourage community engagement. Anna leads with will honesty, compassion and integrity.
Georgina Mendoza McDowell, Board Member
Georgina has been working in the youth violence prevention and reduction field for over 14 years. In her current role as Senior Policing Fellow at Evident Change, she is a member of a Monitoring Team working closely with California DOJ, the courts, the community, and law enforcement. Her experience in this field ranges from local, national, and international arenas. She worked as a Senior Crime and Violence Advisor for Creative Associates International, based out of Washington, D.C. with an emphasis on juvenile justice reform, violence prevention, and family and community engagement, with an emphasis in the Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) region. Prior to Creative, Georgina had the honor of working as a political appointee in President Obama’s Department of Justice. She served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) with a focus on youth violence prevention efforts and reducing and eliminating race and ethnic disparities. Georgina served as the policy lead on the National Forum for Youth Violence Prevention, a White House initiative that brought diverse federal agencies to partner with local jurisdictions that create comprehensive, strategic city-wide plans to prevent and reduce youth violence by implementing prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry strategies. Prior to joining OJJDP, she served as the Community Safety Director and Senior Deputy City Attorney/City Prosecutor for the City of Salinas, California. As Community Safety Director, Georgina led the effort to develop and implement a strategic work plan that incorporates evidence-based strategies for gang prevention, intervention, suppression, and re-entry. In October 2011, Georgina was invited by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to be a member of his National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.
Ms. McDowell earned her bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Santa Clara University and her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. She is admitted to the California State Bar.
Georgina is also a proud mom to two happy, active and creative toddlers and wife to a wonderful man who recently retired from military service after 23 years. She likes hiking, eating good food with friends and family, and watching Peppa Pig with her kids.
Jennifer Wood, Board Member
Jennifer Wood grew up just outside of Toronto Canada, and after getting her bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto, went straight into working in the nonprofit world. Before she became a professional, she volunteered at various nonprofits in her hometown and Toronto. She worked at the National Ballet of Canada, World Wildlife Fund, and ultimately at her alma mater as part of a team that raised a record-breaking $1 billion for their comprehensive campaign.
Jennifer decided to leave the cold Canadian winters and moved to California in 2000 to lead the annual fund at UC Santa Cruz. From there she went on to become part of the newly created Silicon Valley Community Foundation in Mountain View. She has been in California for 22 years now and has enjoyed working for Montage Health in major gift fundraising for the past 12 years. Jennifer served on the Board of the local Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for six years, two of them as President. She cares deeply about the impact nonprofits have on their communities and is excited to be part of the YWCA board.
Her hobbies include bird watching, hiking, sightseeing, and looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
Danelle Thomsen, Board Member