San Diego CA—Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT), a nonprofit organization that engages a caring community of volunteers to help transition-age foster youth, ages 18-26, achieve self-sufficiency and well-being when they leave the foster care system without family support, has named nine new board members. These include Gordon Boerner, Evangeline Dech, Brad Lupien, Pilar Meza, Jessica Pressman, Keisha D. Robinson, Pierre Towns, Luis Valencia-Moreno, and Samuel Webster.
Don Wells, Chief Empowerment Officer of JIT, said, “Just in Time is thrilled to have these distinguished individuals join our board of directors to enhance the resources we offer to the youth we serve. They each bring significant knowledge, leadership, and passion to our work.”
The core of JIT’s philosophy is based in the fact that the most critical gap for youth in foster care is the lack of resources and community connections. JIT proudly and consistently delivers quality services to young men and women to help them become confident, capable, and connected, led by a staff of former foster youth who understand the challenges participants face.
New board members include:
- Gordon Boerner, Senior Vice President, Western US Regional Banking Manager at US Bankhas a special place in his heart for foster youth because was placed in the foster care system as an infant and was adopted by a loving family. He serves in regional leadership roles as Advisory Board Chair for the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Loan Fund, Board Chair of non-profit micro-lender ACCION, Advisory Co-Chair of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s San Diego affiliate, and President of the San Diego Kiwanis Laurels for Leaders. He has also served on the City/County Reinvestment Task Force, Downtown San Diego Partnership Board, the Mayor’s Convention Center Expansion Task Force, and the UCSD Cancer Center Foundation Board.
- Eva Dech is a Term Law Clerk for the Honorable Daniel E. Butcher. She and her older brother were raised by her single father after their mother died. While Dech spent only one and a half years in foster care before being reunited with her family, she watched as her foster brothers and sisters struggled and failed; she knew then that she wanted to help change those outcomes for other young people impacted by foster care. This is what drew Eva to volunteer at Just in Time for Foster Youth before joining the board, first as a Financial Fitness advisor and then as a coach for Career Horizons for Young Women.
- Brad Lupien is Co-Founder, President, and CEO of arc, where he is responsible for leading a team of over 400 mentors, teachers, tutors, and coaches for youth in Southern California. He is also co-founder of CORE Educational Services, former board member of Interfaith Family and Education Synergy Alliance, an executive advisor to Learning In After School & Summer, member of the Region 11 Workforce Advisory Group, founding member of the youth-centered Take Action Campaign, co-founder of Youth Advocating for Civic Action, member of Vistage, alumni of Leadership North County, and policy committee member at the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Division. Brad is passionate about empowering young people and volunteered as a JIT Shark Tank coach, guiding 2019’s winner before joining the board.
- Pilar Meza is a realtor with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. She specializes in selling luxury real estate in San Diego. For the past year, Meza has been engaged as a volunteer in numerous activities and services at Just in Time’s North County office, situated on the Vista campus of JIT’s collaborative partner, North County Lifeline.
- Jessica Pressman is an Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, San Diego State University. She studies and teaches experimental literature, digital literature, and media studies. She also co-founded and co-directs SDSU’s Digital Humanities Initiative (dh.sdsu.edu) and is author of three books, including her latest, Bookishness: Loving Books in a Digital Age. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of English at Yale University. Knowing that education is the gateway to personal and professional achievement, Jessica is committed to lending her skills to the College Bound service at Just in Time.
- Keisha D. Robinson, MBA, MPM is a Senior Manager of Clinical Research at Illumina, a global leader in genomics, with 20 years of clinical research experience in numerous therapeutic areas. She has also launched her own diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy firm, Imperative Solutions LLC. She first came to Just in Time for Foster Youth as a volunteer and served as a coach and presenter for Career Horizons for Young Women.
- Pierre Towns is a well-established human resources executive whose portfolio spans over 40 years with major companies such as ARCO and DreamWorks SKG. He currently serves as Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Human Resource Capital Consultants, Inc., which provides organization development consulting services for entities ranging from startups and non-profits to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. He is also a lecturer at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM). In 2012, Pierre was instrumental in forming the partnership between the Carlsbad-Laguna-Temecula Alumni Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Just in Time for Foster Youth, which resulted in the launch of an innovative service called Bridges to Success for Young Men.
- Luis Valencia-Moreno is an attorney at Southern California Realty Law, APC where he specializes in real estate law. He began his legal career in the nonprofit sector at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego representing hundreds of low-income individuals over a five-year period, many of whom were Spanish speaking clients. Luis is passionate about connecting with foster youth and served as a volunteer at Just in Time providing pro-bono legal advising to youth in need before being invited to join the Board of Directors.
- Samuel Webster is Managing Director at Community First Strategies, LLC. He has more than 20 years of experience in core business development, bulk acquisition consulting, loss mitigation, and mortgage banking fundamentals, and a history of over 30 years of service to community, individual, and nonprofit organizations. Sam has a passion for giving back to the community, especially as a mentor and coach to young men and women. He believes at-risk youth are our greatest resource and they deserve the opportunity to be seen, heard, and valued for the great potential they possess while championing how far they have come.