Our Staff and Board

Board Members

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Matthew Keasling

Board Chair

Attorney - Taylor & Wiley

Matthew Keasling is an attorney at the law firm of Taylor & Wiley. His practice focuses on land use, environmental and regulatory matters, he specializes in securing and defending discretionary entitlements for development projects located throughout the Sacramento Region and Northern California. In his professional capacity, Mr. Keasling successfully represented, pro bono, the Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center and River City Food Bank in the expansion and relocation of their family shelter and food distribution facilities, respectively.

Mr. Keasling currently serves on the City of West Sacramento’s Economic Development and Housing Commission and on the Board of Directors at Sacramento Steps Forward. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of Next Move, including two terms as board president, served on the YLG executive committee of the Urban Land Institute, Sacramento Chapter, and participated in the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce’s leadership program.

Matt earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A Sacramento native, Matt now lives in Southport with his wife, Leslie, and their young son.

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Brian Augusta

Vice-Chair

Director, Rural Housing Project, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

Brian Augusta is an attorney and legislative advocate for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, focusing on housing and land use policy in the California Legislature. Brian began working on affordable housing issues in 1991, as the director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, a position he held for four years. In 1999, after graduating from Santa Clara University School of Law, Brian joined the staff of Legal Services of Northern California, where he worked for six years as a staff attorney. During his time with LSNC he has been credited with helping to expand affordable housing opportunities throughout the region, providing leadership on a number of policy initiatives and successful litigation.

In his current position, Brian has played a key role in legislation on affordable housing, land use, tenants’ rights and other housing-related measures over the past 15 years. Most recently, he was part of a team of advocates who helped negotiate and win passage of key parts of a 15-bill affordable housing package that expands funding and opportunities for new affordable housing.

He is a past President of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Housing Alliance and a past member of the board of the East Sacramento Improvement Association. He lives in Sacramento with his wife Katy and their two teenage children.

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Pamela Maxwell

Treasurer

Community Development Manager for Government Relations & Community Development, U.S. Bank

Pamela Maxwell joined U.S. Bank in July of 2010 and currently works as the Community Development Manager for Government Relations & Community Development at U.S. Bank. Ms. Maxwell is responsible for the development, coordination and management of community relations and development activities within the Sacramento area, Northern California and Utah. She collaborates with community groups focusing on affordable housing, small business development, capacity building and financial education. The primary focus of her work is serving community needs within low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and meeting corporate CRA objectives. In addition, she manages the corporate giving budget for Sacramento and Northern California.

Pam has been working in the banking industry for over 25 years. She previously worked for Wells Fargo in Retail Banking for 19 years. She is a board member of Junior Achievement of Sacramento, Hands4Hope, Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento Steps Forward, committee member of Sacramento Self Help Housing, and is on the Lighthouse committee for the Women’s Fund El Dorado. She resides in Shingle Springs with her husband and has two daughters.

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Cassandra H.B. Jennings

Secretary

President & CEO, Greater Sacramento Urban League

Cassandra H. B. Jennings is the newly appointed President & CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League to promote economic empowerment through education, job readiness, training and placement programs and advocacy for underserved individuals and families. She most recently served as Senior Advisor to Mayor Kevin Johnson, City of Sacramento on key policy initiatives such as arts, homelessness, housing, volunteerism, public safety, health and community issues. Cassandra spent six years as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Sacramento and over 20 years with Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, including six years as Deputy Executive Director. She has provided great leadership in housing, community and economic development throughout the Sacramento Region.

Cassandra currently serves on the boards of Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Golden 1 Credit Union, Norwood Avenue Housing Corporation, Shasta Housing Corporation, The Sacramento Judicial Library and Learning Center Foundation, and Sacramento Steps Forward. She is also an active member of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and President of the Sacramento Chapter of The Links, Inc.

Cassandra has been recognized as: 2005 Women Who Mean Business, 2008 Mother of the Year by the Saint John’s Shelter Program, 2009 Black Expo Women of Inspiration, 2010 Zeta Phi Beta Woman of the Year, The Repairer of Breach Award, 2015 Asian Resources Community Service Award and 2016 California Legislative Black Caucus Black History Month Honoree.

Cassandra received a Masters in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco and Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. She and her husband, Rick, have been married thirty eight years and enjoy spending time with their adult children and their spouses and three beautiful granddaughters.

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Michelle Odell

Member-at-Large

Director, Public Affairs, Kaiser Permanente

Michelle Odell is the Director of Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente. Her responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of Public Affairs including community relations, government relations; community health and community benefit planning; and internal and external communications, including media relations

Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente in 2008, Odell spent nine years at The Sacramento Bee, serving as Public Affairs Manager where she oversaw public affairs and corporate communications initiatives, including branding, community outreach, media relations, and charitable contributions. Prior to The Sacramento Bee, she spent eight years as Associate Vice President of Investments at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

Odell currently serves as Chair for Sacramento Covered, and as Director on the boards of the local PBS affiliate KVIE, and the Los Rios Foundation. She is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum and a member of the City of Sacramento Gang Prevention/Intervention Task Force.

She previously served on the Board of Directors of WEAVE, Elk Grove Economic Development Corporation, The Sacramento Ballet, The Sacramento Public Library Foundation, Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home, The Sacramento Theatre Company and Stanford Home for Children.

Odell holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. She live in Sacramento with her husband Kevin and their three daughters.

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David Husid

Member-at-Large

Director of Community Development - Cottage Housing Inc.

David Husid is Director of Community Development for Cottage Housing, Inc., a non-profit that develops healing communities that are solution-focused, participant-driven and strength-based, where homeless people help themselves – and each other – through their transition from the streets to self-sustainability.

Husid, who was adopted at birth, was raised in a middle class neighborhood south of San Francisco. Growing up, he was told that he was the “chosen one” and had a great childhood with great parents.

However, alcohol and drugs became a problem early in life, leading to repeated cycles of homelessness. A conviction for computer-fraud led him to state prison. At the time, he thought this was the end, his life was over.
It was not. Through a journey of recovery and with the help of great counselors and mentors, Husid found his strength and regained hope. He got his life back on track.

Nearly twenty years later, Husid is a respected leader in the addiction and recovery fields and is a non-profit executive responsible the operation of two permanent supportive housing programs serving approximately 150 adults and 175 children who have previously experienced homelessness.

As someone with lived experience of homelessness, addiction, and incarceration, Husid has become an advocate for those he serves and uses his story to speak for those who have been silenced by their situation. Recognizing his work as an advocate, Husid was honored by the Sacramento Housing Alliance in 2016 with their Homeless Justice Award.

Husid is a graduate of the Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Leadership Program and Sierra Health Foundation Leadership Program. He has served on the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness Board of Directors and the Sacramento Homeless Continuum of Care Advisory Board.

Husid is Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor and California Board Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor. He holds Associates Degrees in Human Services and Chemical Dependency.

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A. Jonathan Porteus, Ph.D.

Member-at-Large

Chief Executive Officer, Wellspace Health

A Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Addictionologist, Dr. Porteus has extensive experience in health and behavioral health integration, evidence-based practice and clinical research and evaluation. He also has extensive experience in program development, including outpatient, residential, and systems-level interventions (e.g. creation of trauma- informed initial assessment for NY State Office of Mental Health
psychiatric facilities). His clinical practice includes addiction and compulsive behavior, trauma practice, integrated behavioral health, primary care, and behavioral health treatment across all levels care.

As a trainer, Dr. Porteus has conducted training in Motivational Interviewing, behavioral interventions around compulsive behavior, PTSD, complex trauma, and co-occurring disorders treatment and built the Outpatient Drug Treatment system for the Republic of Vietnam.

Dr. Porteus brings unique perspectives to the understanding of addiction, health care, supply and demand reduction, and our current opioid epidemic. He began his work with WellSpace Health as Clinical Director in 2002. He has been Chief Executive Officer since 1/1/11 and has received accolades for his systems integration work bringing a ‘blanket of care’ comprised of a network of Federally Qualified Community Health Centers to a region with a historically tattered ‘safety net.’ In his tenure as CEO, Dr. Porteus has overseen a ten-fold expansion of the patient population (5,000-70,000 persons served in the FQHC CHCs) across multiple regional Health Centers.

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Sarah Bontrager

Member-at-Large

Housing and Public Services Manager, City of Elk Grove

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Fred Teichert

Emeritus

Executive Director, Teichert Foundation

Fred Teichert is the Executive Director of the Teichert Foundation in Sacramento, California. Mr. Teichert serves on the boards of the City of Sacramento’s Policy Board to End Homelessness, People Reaching Out, Sacramento State University Foundation, and Sacramento Regional Community Foundation. Mr. Teichert is actively engaged with the Sacramento’s business, arts, and social service communities. Teichert’s construction company is known for building California’s infrastructure and Fred Teichert continues this tradition, building his Sacramento community.

Mr. Teichert holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from California State University, Sacramento.

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Ali Youssefi

In Memoriam

Vice President, CFY Development, Inc.

Ali Youssefi is Vice President of CFY Development, a Sacramento-based firm that develops, builds and manages affordable and mixed-income housing. The family-owned company has a portfolio that includes over 3,000 apartment units in 25 cities. Mr. Youssefi oversees all phases of the development process, including project design, financial analysis, entitlements, permit processing, construction and property management. While CFY operates throughout the state of California, Mr. Youssefi’s primary focus has been on mixed-use, infill development in his hometown of Sacramento.

Mr. Youssefi currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Iranian American Council, Downtown Sacramento Partnership, VERGE Center for the Arts, B Street Theatre, E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts and the R Street Sacramento Partnership. Prior to joining CFY Development, Mr. Youssefi was an investment banking analyst at WR Hambrecht + Co in San Francisco. Mr. Youssefi graduated from DartmouthCollege in New Hampshire with a B.A. in Economics and Cognitive Science.

Staff Members

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Lisa Bates

Chief Executive Officer

Lisa Bates is the Chief Executive Officer of Sacramento Steps Forward.

She recently served six years in deputy director positions for California Department of Housing and Community Development leading housing policy initiatives including adoption of a statewide housing assessment, and overseeing development and deployment of over 15 housing and community development funding programs to communities and affordable housing developers. Prior to state service, Lisa spent 21 years with Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, including 11 years in senior leadership positions. While working for SHRA she provided strategic direction and program development in housing, and community development throughout the Sacramento Region.

She holds a Bachelors Degree from UC Davis in International Relations and is a graduate of the Sierra Health Leadership program

She has been Sacramento area resident for 28 years and enjoys spending time with her husband of 23 years, children and grandchildren.

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Rolf Davidson

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer at Sacramento Steps Forward, Rolf provides operational leadership, oversees grant management functions, administrative and financial procedures, human resource functions, SSF Board support, and operation controls to the day to day work of SSF.

Prior to joining our team, he served as Chief Operating Officer at California YMCA Youth & Government and the Executive Director for California Chapter 1 of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Rolf brings nearly 20 years of experience in non-profit capacity building, strategic planning and process improvement.

Rolf is a Sacramento native and a graduate of the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Leadership Sacramento Class of 2015.  In his off-time he enjoys spending time with his family and is active in scouting with his son.

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Michele Watts

Chief Programs Officer

Michele Watts is the Chief Programs Officer for Sacramento Steps Forward. She has been with the organization since its founding in 2011.

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Ya-yin Isle

Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer

As the Officer of Strategic Initiatives, Ya-yin is responsible for developing, communicating, executing and sustaining SSF’s high priority state and locally funded initiatives, overseeing system performance, and assisting with stakeholder relations.

Ya-yin brings extensive background working with local agencies, housing initiatives, project management and stakeholder relations.  She has lived and worked in the Sacramento region for over 20 years in both the public and private sector. She is excited to be joining the SSF team and is looking forward to working with all of our community partners in our fight to end homelessness.

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Greg Schuelke

CoC Program Manager

Greg joins our team after graduating from the USC School of Social Work.  Prior, he served as a Presidential Appointee in the Obama Administration – first at the White House, and later at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  While there he focused on sensitive casework for the President, managing a large-scale volunteer program, and advancing the federal strategic plan to end homelessness – including the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness Initiative.  Before Washington D.C., he worked as a Lead Case Manager administering a federally funded Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) in the Los Angeles area.  Greg is excited to contribute to our team’s growing effort to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Sacramento County.

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Joe Concannon

Coordinated Entry System (CES) Manager

As Manager of the Coordinated Entry System at Sacramento Steps Forward, Joe is responsible for administering the implementation and ongoing operations of the CES.  He oversees the core operational components of coordinated entry – access, standardized assessment, and orchestrating the client referrals to the appropriate housing provider. Additionally, Joe ensures the collection, recording and review of all documentation is complete and in regulatory compliance.

Prior to joining our team, Joe served as Data Services Manager at the Sacramento Area Council of Government.  He brings over 30 years of detail oriented and proactive experience in data management and strategic project management.

Joe has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning from San Diego State University and a TESOL Certificate from the UC Berkeley Extension.  He volunteers at a local food bank teaching English as a Second Language classes.

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Susan Emmington

Accounting Manager

During her nearly 25-year career with the State of California, Susan served in various accounting systems and management positions.  She was responsible for direct oversight, training, and management of accounting operations, accounting systems, general ledger, fund accounting, and preparation of year-end financial statements at several departments.  Over the course of her tenure, Susan was admired for her technical ability and ability to problem solve.  Her knowledge of the California State Accounting and Reporting System (CalSTARS) led her to serve as one of two statewide CalSTARS trainers, providing training and technical support to statewide agency accounting staff.

After leaving State service, Susan was responsible for all accounting and administrative functions for D&J Kitchens and Baths, Inc.; a local contractor specializing in remodeling residential homes.

Susan holds a double Bachelor’s Degree from William Jessup University in Theology and Leadership.

Outside of work, Susan enjoys snow skiing, hiking, bicycling, yoga, and gardening.

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