Under the direction of Dr. Zachary Green, a core faculty of academics and professional coaches offers a wealth of expertise in leadership studies and community change to our Urban Leadership Fellows Program at USD. Together and individually, they work closely with the RISE Fellows as they learn and grow under the program’s adaptive leadership approach.

LEAD FACULTY, 2015 - present

Zachary is the founding designer and inaugural lead faculty of the RISE Urban Leadership Fellows Program. He is also a professor of practice in

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Leadership Studies and a director at the Nonprofit Institute, University of San Diego. Trained as a clinical and community psychologist, Zachary earned both a masters and doctorate from Boston University. He went on to complete advanced clinical training in psychology at Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Georgetown University.  

His career as an organizational consultant began with projects through the Wharton Center for Applied Research. Zachary’s over more than three decades of practice have included multinational corporations, local and federal government agencies, major university departments, diverse religious institutions, and internationally recognized nonprofit organizations. He was an internal leadership coach for the World Bank for nearly two decades, co-founding IMAGO Global Grassroots with former Bank senior executives. Major projects have included facilitating the development of the innovative Buddha Fellows and Aspirational District Fellows Programs as well as conducting advanced training for the SEWA Management School team, each in India. Zachary has also lead efforts as contrasting as facilitating the convening of the National Policy Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force while concurrently conducting a decade of psychology of decision making training for the intelligence community.

Other career highlights include serving on the dialogue development team for the President’s Commission on Race, conducting leadership and group relations training on five continents, founding the Student Group on Race Relations, and leading a multi-year process for emerging leaders of Northern Ireland in advance of the Good Friday Peace Accord.

Zachary and his husband, René Molenkamp, a prominent international leadership scholar and practitioner, successfully challenged a law to gain recognition of their international same-sex adoption in the Netherlands and were in the first wave of same sex parents to be granted co-parent birth certificates for their children in DC. They are also the authors of numerous scholarly articles and popular essays, among the most prominent is “Boundary, Authority, Role and Task: The BART System of Organizational Analysis.” They recently founded the Group Relations International Institute to further their coaching and consultation practices as well as deepen their generative study of conscious and unconscious behavior in human ecosystems.

2018 - present

Macedonio is an alumnus of the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Art in Ethnic Studies. He is currently employed with San Diego

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Unified School District’s Race Human Relations and Advocacy Department. His first employment after college in 1992 he began working with Triple Crown, a gang violence prevention/intervention program headquartered in the Diamond District of southeastern San Diego. He then created his own model program in San Ysidro at three San Diego Housing Commission sites. A year later he and others founded Izcalli, a nonprofit for Chicano/Native American youth in San Diego, which promotes self-esteem and self-determination through arts and culture.

Through Izcalli and Family Health Centers of San Diego, Macedonio was also instrumental in creating Circulo de Hombres, a cultural-arts/rites of passage mentoring program for adolescent and adult males that serves to reduce violence and promote higher education. Now in its seventeenth year, Circulo de Hombres has been implemented in the San Diego Unified School District, South Bay Union School District, and several charter schools in the county. His work with the program was part of a documentary that premiered in Manchester, England in 2010 and was later shown in the United States through PBS. He has consulted and spoken internationally about his work with young men for several years.

A published poet and playwright, Macedonio co-founded a nationally known comedy troupe, Teatro Izcall. Teatro Izcalli’s book, Nopal Boy and Other Actors, received a state award from the California Teachers Association of English. His work has appeared in such publications as Lowrider, Latina, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Enlace, and San Diego Magazine, and in newspapers from Denver to Florida. He was instrumental in forming the San Diego County Gang Commission and was recently appointed a Commissioner for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

Macedonio runs traditional Native American healing ceremonies for his community as he was given permission after many years of learning from several medicine people. He speaks at hundreds of schools and conferences motivating youth and adults. In 2005, he received the Local Hero of the Year Award from KPBS and Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Local Hero Award. In 2006, he was honored with the Males as Positive Forces Award from the Chula Vista Community Collaborative. In 2009, he received the Local Hero Award from Best Buy and the City of San Diego recognized February 27th as Macedonio Arteaga Jr day for his contribution to the arts. Macedonio was recognized as a National Hero on Maria Antonieta radio in 2011, which was broadcast in the United States and Latin America. In 2014, he received a national Positive Impact Award in Miami, FL for his work in the community, which was televised by Telemundo and viewed by millions internationally.

2020 - present

Fabiola is a thought provoker and change catalyst. She has dedicated her life to improving conditions for students and educators in public K-12 systems as

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a teacher, teacher coach, principal, assistant superintendent, and now executive leadership coach for the San Diego County Office of Education.As a principal for a large elementary school in the Shelltown community of San Diego, she led the school in academic gains of over 100 points. She is the 2013 Cesar Chavez Visionary leader as well as a nominee for San Diego’s 79th Congressional District educational leadership award from Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber.

Fabiola is a proud San Diego native and continues to be active in our community, whilst remaining steadfast in ensuring that the complexities of our geographical space is understood. She is certified in Stakeholder Centered Coaching with The Marshall Goldsmith Group and also “Leading Dialogue through Conflict” with Public Conversations Project. This allows her the opportunity to provide coaching to large organizations seeking to improve their processes and employee engagement. As a leader in the development and implementation of change initiatives within large educational settings (including programs and people), her expertise in dialogue and conflict resolution enables her to successfully lead in diverse challenging environments. She consistently gains and maintains the trust of those she engages.

Specializing in topics of educational and system equity, dialogue facilitation, authenticity, improvement science, and adaptive leadership, she has taught in the teaching and learning department at the University of San Diego, has led many seminars on principal leadership, building collaboration, professional learning communities, teachers as researchers, and organizational culture.

Fabiola is current faculty for the administration credential program at the County of San Diego and for RISE@Work’s RISE UPP (Urban Principal Preparation) Program, which is nurturing future school leaders. She is on the geographic team lead for educational equity in the State of California. Fabiola is also a founding member of ARNA (Action Research Network of the Americas) and is a board member of the Social Publishers Foundation, which believes in the democratizing of knowledge. She is a National Equity Project Fellow.

Fabiola holds a PhD in leadership studies from the University of San Diego, where her dissertation work was on Latina leadership and identity formation. She is a published author and poet and is currently waiting on the publishing of her chapter “Belonging and Being Enough” in a textbook about Latina leadership.

2017 - present

Azadeh is a certified executive leadership coach with over ten years of experience in developing and conducting personal and organizational leadership

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programs with a deep reflective approach to raise consciousness. She is an award-winning trainer with a successful record of founding and facilitating over 100 local and international leadership capacity building workshops for professionals in the fields of human resources, science, technology, engineering, startups, education, and healthcare, and for organizations such as UNICEF, WHO, multinational corporations, NGOs, and universities.

Azadeh is a researcher with a diverse academic background from leading universities in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, with a focus on intercultural understanding and diversity. As an organizational consultant and coach, her interest is to create a deeper understanding of self, others, groups, and systems to develop intercultural dialogue and collaboration. Her passion is to increasingly attend to issues of diversity, inclusion, equality, social justice, conflict management, women empowerment, mindfulness, consciousness, and reflective practices in leadership and organizational change.

Her educational background and global experience is significant to her style of program design, coaching, and facilitation. In addition to her role at RISE San Diego, Azadeh is adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership and at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She received her doctorate in leadership studies with a focus in organizational leadership and consulting from University of San Diego, where her dissertation work was focused on culturally-based leadership perspective. Prior to her doctoral studies, she completed two years of nonprofit leadership and management MA courses and a certification in executive leadership coaching at the University of San Diego. She holds a masters and a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology Engineering and a diploma in food and nutrition security from Wageningen University in The Netherlands, and she is an alumnus of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program at East West Center, Honolulu.

2015 - present

Leah believes that the arts are a universal tool for healing. She is the owner of Leah Goodwin Creations, “Where Art and Soul Meet”. She has a

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diverse background that includes strategic planning; fundraising; event, festival, and conference coordination; art and culture projects; curating gallery exhibits; and creating art master plans. Her exemplary career in the arts encompasses everything from public arts management, to visual and performing arts program development and consultation, to creation and implementation of award-winning arts in education and arts in hospital programs.

Leah has held many important leadership roles in the arts, including Director of Visual and Performing Arts at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in San Diego, CA and Director of Museum and Education for the California Center for the Arts, Escondido (CA), where she presented seventeen exhibitions over four years. She is a proud founding faculty member for RISE San Diego’s Urban Leadership Fellows Program, chair of the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls for the County of San Diego, and co-chair of the Imperial Beach Sun and Sea Festival.

In August 2015, she created the San Diego Experience of the Civil Rights Movement exhibit acknowledging the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which is on displayed all around San Diego. In 2019, she created and curated the 1619 Celebration of Black Women exhibit for the California Women’s Museum.

Leah is an accomplished and published poet and writer, including significant contributions to the book, Teaching English Language Learners through the Arts, by Merryl Goldberg. Her honors include a Moxie Award for being a Woman of Grit and Determination, and being one of the selected featured women in Beautiful, Brilliant and Brave: A Celebration of Black Women exhibit for her work in art and culture.

2020 - present

Kristopher is a graduate of St. Augustine’s College (now St. Augustine's University, 2005) with a BA in psychology and Seton Hall University (2008 and

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2009) with degrees in community counseling and education. During his time in the field, he worked primarily with the Hudson County Child Abuse Prevention Center focusing on youth and family populations, conducting individual and group counseling; he also worked with college-bound international students and their parents in the Bronx, NY to prepare them for secondary education. Feeling a pull to academia and looking to make a bigger impact, he attended the University of Central Florida (2014), graduating with a PhD in counselor education.

Currently employed as an assistant professor at the University of San Diego, Kristopher focuses on research in pre-service military populations, practical applications for Relational-Cultural Theory, and minority mentorship in counseling. This has led to partnerships with the government of the Bahamas overseeing group curriculum with students and working with RISE San Diego assessing trauma. Kristopher is student-focused and active on campus, serving on several committees and participating in university initiatives including CEE Just Read campaigns and the Black Men’s Collective.

2016-17; 2019 - present

Roxanne is a life transformation strategist and owner of Kymaani Catalyst Consulting. She works in the development and implementation of transformation

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initiatives for both individuals and organizations. She uses her expertise in dialogue, group relations, and conflict resolution to successfully lead in diverse and challenging environments while gaining and maintaining the trust of those she engages with. She specializes in identity construction, dialogue facilitation, leadership development, diversity, inclusion, and equity, emphasizing self-awareness, empathy, authenticity, and collective discovery.

Roxanne received her PhD in leadership studies from the University of San Diego and is a certified life coach through Accomplishment Coaching. She works with clients on who they are “being” as a way of developing a new relationship with themselves that offers a new dialogue for how to view and experience the world from a place of love and authenticity. She currently teaches at National University in the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, Goucher College’s Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability and Master of Arts in Management, and RISE San Diego’s Urban Leadership Fellows Program. She is a board of trustee member for the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and serves as chair for the board development and programs committees.

2015 - present

Carlos is a senior clinical psychologist with the County of San Diego’s Juvenile Forensic Services STAT Team. Tasked with creating and providing innovative,

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community-based services to youth in detention or who are otherwise involved in the juvenile justice system, he has applied his clinical, group-relations, leadership, and community activist experience to educate, advocate for, and be part of the empowerment of these youth. An adherent to the idea of “faith without works is dead,” he brings committed action to the development of peaceful, loving relationships among all of San Diego’s individuals, families, and communities, with specific interests in gang redirection work, violence intervention, and restorative justice issues among youth.

Carlos is a co-creator of Group Relations International and director of its Youth Empowerment Services initiative. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and a BA from the University of California, San Diego. He has been providing community consulting and clinical services in San Diego for twenty-five years.

2019 - present

Ferchil was born in Baguio, home of hills filled with rice terraces in the Philippines, and raised in the Bay Terraces neighborhood of southeastern San Diego.

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As the Digital Media and Creative Strategist for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties he uses his multicultural experience to create a layered approach to combining art and activism that makes an impact on the city and the communities where he lives and serves in. For many years, he volunteered as the program director for the Filipino American Arts & Culture Festival (FilAmFest), where he adopted a sense of civic duty and culture. As an original RISE San Diego Urban Leadership Fellow, Ferchil developed Sound Future: a creative career expo where youth from underserved communities can hear and exchange ideas with creative career professionals.


Grace is a higher education professional and leadership educator. She currently serves as the assistant dean of student

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affairs at Revelle College at the University of California San Diego. In addition, Grace provides leadership development training to high school and college students as well as community leaders in conjunction with various education and community organizations around the greater San Diego community. Grace has also worked in areas such as student activities, student governance, test prep, design thinking, strategic planning, and organizational consulting.

Grace earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies and her Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Higher Education from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Most recently Grace completed her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego. Grace’s dissertation is titled Career decision-making of higher education professionals of Philippine descent: The untold stories of an Asian Pacific Islander community. Grace has served on regional and national boards and committees through NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Grace has co-authored two chapters in the NASPA monograph Beginning Your Journey on social media and professional networking. Grace has served as a NUFP (NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program) mentor and currently chairs the NUFP program at UC San Diego. Grace has served as coaching faculty for RULFP and lead faculty for the summer On the RISE experience, and currently serves as the lead faculty for CU RISE.

An avid Pokemon Go player and foodie adventurer, Grace enjoys the culture, food, sights and people as a world traveler. Creativity and innovation are always part of the big picture thinking that guides Grace’s work and play, including fun crafts that involve gemstones or succulents and even upcycling used Comic-con bags. Grace is also known for walks to see the sunset and selfies for group photos.

2015, 2018

Meenakshi is a writer of literary fiction and practitioner in the fields of conflict resolution and leadership development.

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She received a master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a doctorate in Social Anthropology from Cornell University. She has taught at UC San Diego and Princeton and has considerable experience with economic research, grassroots community work, ethnographic research, business entrepreneurship, dialogue training and facilitation, and strategic program development. Prior to joining the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) at the University of San Diego, Meenakshi was vice president for program development at the Public Conversations Project where she worked for thirteen years as a practitioner and in program development and management. She has worked with a wide variety of leaders and communities both nationally and internationally, including U.S. stakeholders on national energy policy, emerging women leaders from transitional countries, and peacebuilders in Burundi.


José is the executive director of Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI), a college-prep, out-of-school-time program for

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disadvantaged youth. Located in the heart of Barrio Logan, where only about a third of residents 25 years of age or older have a high school diploma and less than 3% have a bachelor’s degree, BLCI combats these statistics by ensuring 100% of its high school graduates enroll in college so that they can use their higher education to transform communities. He graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and Spanish and obtained a Master of Education in adolescent risk and prevention from Harvard University.


Alexis is a Harvard-trained conflict resolution practitioner with a background in Person-Centered

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Approach (PCA) therapy, the hallmarks of which include living in the present rather than the past or future with organismic trust, naturalistic faith in one’s own thoughts and the accuracy in one’s feelings, and responsible acknowledgment of one’s freedom with a view toward participating fully in our world and contributing to other people’s lives. In addition to his practice, Alexis lectures at San Diego State University and is the founder of Notes to Our Sons and Daughters and My Sister’s Voice.


Diane is the assistant vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of California, San Diego,

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where her responsibilities include strategic planning, advancing institutional effectiveness, serving as liaison to human resources, and leading diversity-focused community engagement and campus-wide initiatives. As a member of the vice chancellor’s leadership team, she represents the vice chancellor on high-level task forces, advisory groups, and system-wide work groups. Diane has over twenty-two years of experience working in higher education, nonprofits, and government and brings a proven record of success in organizational communication and development, strategic planning, and assessment of EDI initiatives. She previously served as director of practicum at Sixth College, where she spearheaded the development, design, and assessment of multiple community-based initiatives and courses. She has planned and implemented three regional conferences hosted at UC San Diego that convened hundreds of participants to dialogue about high impact practices, diversity in education, and social justice. Prior to UC San Diego, she was a lead consultant in a countywide organizational effectiveness and diversity initiative in Montgomery County, Maryland where she led an assessment and planning process to improve organizational effectiveness and strengthen equity, diversity, and inclusion for thousands of employees in the county government. Diane was previously an associate professor and department chair of communication at Trinity University, a visiting professor at George Mason University, and a senior fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park in leadership and public policy. She has been awarded faculty fellowships in the areas of women’s leadership, community-based research, public policy, and dialogue from Georgetown University, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, and the Interactivity Foundation. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in intercultural communication, organizational communication, leadership and discourse, and women’s studies. She also served as an ombudsperson at the US Capitol in the areas of conflict resolution and communication. Diane received her master’s and doctoral degrees in organizational communication and social psychology from Howard University and earned her BA in communication arts and a certificate in Spanish translation and interpretation from Barry University. In 2014, she was awarded the UC San Diego Diversity Award for her outstanding efforts in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion; for increasing access to international education; for extending community-based courses and initiatives in underserved communities; and for organizing large-scale experiential learning conferences on campus that featured research and best practices in community-based courses and diversity initiatives.


Joe is the Western Region Program vice president for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the country’s

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largest nonprofit focused on rebuilding and revitalizing neighborhoods and communities, and serves as interim executive director for LISC Los Angeles. Prior to his return to LISC, he served as an independent consultant and advisor focused on the impact, improvement, and innovation of people and place in traditionally less-served neighborhoods and markets. He previously served as vice president of community development at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and executive director of LISC San Diego, and his experience includes university fund development, community leadership, and research analysis. Joe is a devoted husband and father who received a bachelor of science degree in finance and a Community Economic Development Practitioner’s Certificate from San Diego State University.


Adriano is a doctoral student in the University of San Diego (USD) School of Leadership and Education Sciences and

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a graduate assistant in its Leadership Institute, where he facilitates the leadership workshop series, promotes USD’s global study program in Brazil, and worked on the planning committee for the 2014 ILA Global Conference in San Diego. His passion and involvement in the field of leadership began in the early 1980s when he was appointed as an American Field Service Youth Leader and granted by the European Council to study in Italy with other European peers; since then, the majority of his professional experience has centered on organizational auditing, consulting, training, and coaching of top executive managers. He pioneers and continues to work his executive/life coaching business in Portugal, where he was born and raised, and Spain. Adriano has traveled extensively throughout the world and is fluent in five languages.

2015, 2017

JC’s path as a changemaker began after college when he traveled the world for six years while working for a study

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abroad leadership program. He went on to earn a master’s in communications and organizational change with the intention to focus his career within in the community development field. Over the past fifteen years, JC’s career has evolved into developing curriculum for young adult leadership programs and taking part in grassroots community development initiatives in Mexico, Guatemala, and the U.S. As part of the Changemaker Team at the University of San Diego, JC is inspired every day by the incredible talent, drive, and determination of students who have embraced the practice of being a changemaker.