Commissioner Bios

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 Susan Belinda Christian

Susan Belinda Christian, Chair 

Commissioner Christian is an Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office where she is currently assigned to the Behavioral Health Court, a collaborative, multidisciplinary court providing treatment and rehabilitation for people whose offenses are tied to mental illness. She is a member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Commissioner Christian received her B.A. and J.D. from Yale University. A former Co-Chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, Ms. Christian has also served on the boards of directors for Walden House, the Transgender Law Center and the Service Members Legal Defense Network, the national organization which led the legislative, legal and lobbying effort to fully repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". As a Commissioner, Ms. Christian's primary interests include reform of the criminal justice system so that it no longer substitutes for meaningful responses to the effects of social inequality.
 

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Richard Pio Roda, Vice Chair

Richard D. Pio Roda is a Principal at the law firm of Meyers Nave. Richard provides legal counsel and transactional advice to cities, counties, special districts, and businesses throughout California. Richard specializes in public contracting and construction law, municipal governance, government ethics and conflicts of interest, land use, real estate, and education law. Richard currently serves as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of San Leandro, and General Counsel to the Rodeo Hercules Fire District, and the Mendocino County Community Development Commission. Prior to joining Meyers Nave, Richard was a Deputy General Counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District, where he was assigned to advise the District's Finance, Facilities, and Operations departments. Richard was also counsel to the Board of Education during its regular and committee meetings. Richard is on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, and several other non-profit boards throughout the Bay Area. He has also served as a special counsel and fundraising advisor to various arts and education organizations throughout California. Richard provides his skills as a professional auctioneer and fundraiser to non-profit and charitable organizations throughout the world. He has conducted auctions for Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the Bay Area, the American Cancer Society, various education foundations, humane societies, and international aid organizations, including the Philippine International Aid Foundation, the Children's Heritage Foundation, and the Tokyo English Lifeline (TELL). Richard graduated from the Texas Auction Academy in 1994. He then received a B.S. in Accounting, and a Minor in International Economics, cum laude, from the University of San Francisco. Richard received his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and became a member of the California Bar in 2001. Richard resides in Potrero Hill.

  Melanie Ampon
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Eva Chan

Eva Chan is a Supervising Attorney at the Positive Resource Center in San Francisco, where she helps people living with HIV/AIDS and/or mental health issues access disability benefits and life-saving health care. As part of her day-to-day work, she provides direct services to many different populations in San Francisco, including people who face housing insecurity or homelessness, immigrants, victims of trauma, and the LGBT community.
 
Prior to joining PRC, Ms. Chan was a commercial litigator at Winston & Strawn LLP and Thelen LLP. At these firms, her pro bono work included tenant defense, asylum work, disability cases, and advocacy on behalf of a class of foster youth alleging due process violations. While in private practice, Ms. Chan also served on the banquet planning committee of the Asian Law Caucus.
 
Ms. Chan received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. While she was a law student, Ms. Chan was a co-chair for the National Asian Pacific American Conference on Law and Public Policy.
 
Ms. Chan grew up in the Richmond District, and now finds herself living on the other side of Golden Gate Park, in the Sunset, with her husband and young son.
 

Theodore Ellington

Theodore Ellington is the Director of Public Affairs for the Golden State Warriors. Previously, he served on San Francisco’s Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure overseeing the implementation of several major development projects in the Bayview Hunter’s Point, Mission Bay, and Transbay neighborhoods of San Francisco. In addition, Ellington worked as an operations and programming consultant for local nonprofits and technology firms in San Francisco.

Prior to his commission appointment by Mayor Edwin Lee, Ellington was the founding president of the Black Young Democrats of San Francisco where he led the organizing efforts opposing the predatory policing practice of ‘Stop-and-Frisk,’ which gained national attention. Ellington was also given the Local Hero Award by the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper for his political organizing efforts. In 2008, Ellington was appointed by then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to serve on the San Francisco Youth Commission, and shortly after, the Southeast Community Facilities Commission.

A graduate from Notre Dame de Namur University with a degree in Political Science and Business Administration minor, Ellington is also a Board Member of the historic Bayview Opera House; directed and produced a short documentary The Homeless Orchestra; and worked on multiple political campaigns on both local supervisorial and city-wide mayoral races garnering community organizing acumen. Ellington is also pursuing a Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco in Urban Affairs.

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Hala Hijazi

Hala is a San Francisco Business and Community Leader with over fifteen years of public service, business, and social entrepreneurship experience collaborating with and representing high-level government, business, and diverse constituency stakeholders for the advancement of economic and workforce developments, civil rights, and political empowerment.

Hala’s expertise in government, economic development and public relations and ability to navigate multiple and complex agency and organizational structures stems from her extensive management experience with the City and County of San Francisco, notably as (i) a Special Assistant to former two-term Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., (ii) a Deputy Director of Marketing, (iii) a Manager of some of the City’s major economic, infrastructure, and community programs, and (iv) a Principal Liaison to key business and community stakeholders.

Hala is a go-to person for and has a proven track record of building consensus, negotiating expectations, and designing innovative strategies, policies, communications, and legislation, in highly charged and sensitive environments to address complex public policy issues and to deliver economic and political solutions.

For example, she identified and addressed the City’s existing regulatory programmatic barriers impacting the participation of large and small private companies on multi-billion-dollar infrastructure programs. She created innovative and inclusive business and outreach initiatives and assisted in drafting legislation, including a Local Hire Policy and a Community Benefits Policy (the 1st public utility in the nation to adopt such a policy), which is promoting public/ private partnerships and serving as a catalyst for robust and expanding economic inclusion and growth, creating jobs, and revitalizing underserved neighborhoods. Additionally, and most recently, at the request of the SF District Attorney, Hala provides communications and outreach strategies on public education campaigns to denounce negative ad campaigns intended to marginalize groups.

In 2002, to address the lack of civic and voter participation amongst (ages 28-45), Hala created the Professionals VIP Network. San Francisco’s first political and business networking organization which now has grown to 5000+, provides sponsored educational forums to engage diverse business professionals and public leaders in civic dialogue and to spring into action on key political, legislative, business and philanthropic initiatives. She is sought out by public officials and business leaders and organizations including the Democratic Party, American Red Cross, Clinton Foundation, and the SF Symphony.

Since 2009, Hala is honored to serve on President Obama’s National Finance Committee. She has played an integral role in the 2012 campaign. She has assisted with fundraising efforts and organized receptions for President Obama, David Plouffe and Jim Messina and provided the White House and the Northern California Region with strategy, outreach (to Muslim & Arab Communities), and with securing of venues and surrogates.

Hala is proud to serve as a Partner at the Truman National Security Project, working on opportunities for defense, diplomacy, development, and democracy and to serve on the Board of Directors of Emerge California, which recruits, trains and creates a pipeline for democratic women to run for and win public office.

A trusted and an effective philanthropic and political engager, Hala has raised over $1,500,000.

For her public service and social entrepreneurship, Hala was honored by the League of Women Voters, San Francisco Chapter as a "Rising Star", presented with Commendations by the City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and received news coverage by KTVU Channel 2 News. 

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Mark Kelleher

Mark Kelleher is Associate Vice-President of Development with San Francisco State University where he is helping to expand a successful new division focused on securing funding from individuals, foundations, companies and government sources to counter deep state budget cuts in recent years. Special areas of focus have included the development of community outreach programs, most targeting underserved individuals, such as the Family Acceptance Project which is designed to reduce suicide, HIV infection and other perils often faced by LGBTQ youth; Project Rebound boasting stellar graduation rates for previously incarcerated individuals; as well as initiatives to improve education access and success for at-risk youth including the Guardian Scholars Program and Metro Academies.

Prior to SF State, Kelleher was with the University of California, San Francisco where he launched the first full-time development program for the AIDS Research Institute, managed fundraising for the School of Nursing, and served as corporate and foundation relations director. Highlights include the development of community outreach programs, most targeting underserved youth, including Valencia Health Service, LINC (child-focused domestic violence prevention), Women’s Global Health Imperative and Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education and its Smoke Free Movie Campaign.  He served on the CTCRE advisory board after leaving UCSF.

During this period, Kelleher helped launch Magnet/Strut, a uniquely combined community space and gay men’s health service, now an internationally recognized model.  He remains an active board member focused on advocacy concerning the integration of personal community engagement approaches as a pioneering wellness strategy, contrasted with traditional HIV/STD prevention.  Kelleher also co-founded Plan C San Francisco, a community-based political action organization to enhance urban quality of life and served as a co-chair on the board of the Academy of Friends – a community foundation assisting individuals affected by HIV.

Although some of his direct ancestors were Bay Area pioneers beginning in the mid-19th Century, Kelleher was raised near Boston. Before moving to California in 1994 he managed several record-breaking reunion classes for the Harvard Law School Fund. Kelleher began his career at Boston University where he helped expand a pioneering partnership to reform public schools in nearby Chelsea, at the time one of the nation’s most socioeconomically challenged urban communities.

Kelleher earned his M.S. at Boston University and B.A. at St. Anselm College. He and his husband, partners of over twenty-five years, reside in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district.

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Andrea Nill Sanchez

Commissioner Sanchez is an associate at Keker & Van Nest. Prior to joining the firm, she clerked for the Honorable Edgardo Ramos in the Southern District of New York. During law school, she worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, first as a law clerk in the Northern District of California and then as an extern in the District of Connecticut. She also served as co-chair of the Latino/a Law Students Association.

Ms. Nill Sanchez’s career began in the field of communications, where she spent five years as an advocate for Latinos, immigrants, and workers.  During this time, she served as a spokesperson and developed content on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Immigration Policy Center and Center for American Progress. Ms. Nill Sanchez was cited by outlets such as the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post and the Rachel Maddow Show. She has also appeared on Univision, CNN Español, Telemundo, Televisa, and TV Azteca.

She is fluent in Spanish, and has an intermediate knowledge of Portuguese

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 Michael Pappas

Michael G. Pappas 

Commissioner Pappas was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He graduated from Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) in 1983, after which he successively worked as a lobbyist, regional field director for a presidential campaign and investment banker for the oldest municipal bond firm in New Jersey. In 1987, he left the world of politics & finance and enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline, MA) attaining an M.Div., with honors, in the class of 1992. An ordained priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, Michael served parishes in Palos Hills, IL, Stockton, CA, and San Francisco, CA. During his sixteen-year ministry, he was a prolific writer, contributing articles to numerous religious and secular periodicals. As well, he devoted energy to work with the homeless and further ecumenical/interfaith relationships. After transitioning from parish ministry in 2007, he was selected by the San Francisco Interfaith Council to the newly created administrative post of Executive Director. In his tenure as Executive Director Michael has helped increase the Council’s budget and programs substantially; strengthened existing and cultivated new relationships with civic leaders, NGO’s, judicatories and congregations; and significantly projected the SFIC through expanded use of technology. His recent (previous/current) board memberships include: San Francisco Disaster Council, San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement (Census Complete Count Committee), Advisory Board; San Francisco Assisi Sister City Committee; Board Member of the National Shrine of Saint Francis; United Religions Initiative North America Region Leadership Council; Board of Directors & Program Committee Chair of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio; The San Francisco Foundation FAITHS Advisory Board; Episcopal Charities Board of Trustees; Night Ministry Advisory Board Member; and most recently was appointed to a seat on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. He traveled to Turkey as a participant in the Pacifica Institute Cultural Exchange, attended the United Religions Initiative Global Assembly in Mayapur, India; the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia; and spent a week in New Orleans doing disaster relief. In May, 2013 he was appointed to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors. He is the father of two sons, George and Paul, and one daughter, Julia. He is a congregant at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, CA..

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Abigail Michaelson Porth

Abby is a public affairs veteran, managing complex and sensitive community relations issues and developing and executing effective organization-wide strategies to advance Jewish Community Relation Council's mission of pursuing a just society and a secure Jewish future.

Abby is an Officer of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and a member of the Board of Directors of Congregation Emanu-El and Scattered Among the Nations, an organization that assists geographically and politically isolated Jewish or Judaism-practicing communities around the globe. She previously served on the Advisory Committee of San Francisco CARD, which trains social service agencies to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, and was proud to serve on the Board of Directors of San Francisco Head Start.

Before coming to JCRC in 1999, Abby managed a Boston-based juvenile hate crime offender program that diverted children out of the criminal justice system.  She earned both her Master of Management and B.A. at Brandeis University.

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Michael Sweet

Commissioner Sweet is a San Francisco native who earned his B.A. at Brandeis University and his law degree from UCLA. He is a Partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild where he specializes in litigation, restructuring, and election law. He also is co-chair of the Firm’s Israel Practice Group.  Commissioner Sweet was appointed to the Human Rights Commission by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2007.  He served as Commission Vice-Chair from 2008 until 2010 and as Commission Chair from 2010 through 2013. Commissioner Sweet is active in many communities. He is the Past-president of the Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club of San Francisco. He also serves as a member of the California State Democratic Central Committee and on the California State Democratic Party's Platform Committee.  He is a member of the board of directors of the San Francisco Metropolitan Jewish Community Relations Council. Commissioner Sweet Chair previously chaired the Rincon-Point/South Beach Citizen's Advisory Committee to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and served as a member of the Port of San Francisco’s Cruise Terminal Advisory Committee. Commissioner Sweet and his family live in western San Francisco. He is an avid runner who has completed more than 15 marathons.

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