How lucky are we?! These smart, passionate, and engaging individuals share our mission to empower nonprofits to achieve their missions. They share their expertise and time to provide consulting, lead workshops, and enhance Spokes’ services. It takes many hands to keep Spokes turning. These are the people that have invested their time in helping our community’s nonprofits grow.
Lesley Santos Dierks
Chief Executive Officer
Lesley comes to Spokes with a hands-on understanding of the unique perspectives and challenges facing both nonprofit and funding organizations. Lesley began her career as a development officer and grant writer for the California ScienCenter, California’s only free-admission, state-sponsored science and technology museum located in Los Angeles, and Menlo College, a private business college located in Menlo Park. She continued her work with the nonprofit sector as the Community Relations Manager for Adobe Systems, Inc., a software company located in San Jose, where she was responsible for the company’s corporate philanthropy and community relations programs including their cash, in-kind and employee volunteer grants programs. After moving to San Luis Obispo and taking a career hiatus to focus on her young daughters, Lesley joined Spokes’ predecessor organization, the Nonprofit Support Center (NSC), as Regional Manager and was responsible for NSC’s training programs in Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo. Lesley earned her undergraduate degrees from the University of Southern California.
Jenna has been in the nonprofit sector for several years, beginning in graduate school where she received a dual masters in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from American University in Washington, D.C. and the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. While abroad, she looked closely at how communities with limited resources develop in a meaningful way. She knew she wanted to bring her international experience back to her local community and focus on sustainable community development in the United States. For three years, that meant serving as the Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo-based 501c(3) Central Coast Grown. Jenna brings that first-hand experience with her as she supports a multitude of nonprofits in our Central Coast Community through her role at Spokes.
Jody brings a dash of creative flair to Spokes. She hails from the Midwest, where she earned a BFA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has built a diverse career in art, nonprofit administration, and customer service. Most recently, Jody served as the Public Relations Manager and Capital Campaign Administrator at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. She enjoys a good challenge, and views laughter an excellent remedy for life’s unsolvable problems.
Joshua moved to San Luis Obispo in 2008 to attend Cal Poly; 9 years later, Joshua has come to call San Luis Obispo home. Having completed his Bachelors of Architecture with a minor in Sustainable Environments, studied for a year abroad in Italy, and worked for Apple Higuera Street for the last 5 years, Joshua now joins Spokes to complete his final 8-units of internship credit for his Masters of Business Administration. Joshua brings academic knowledge, customer-focus, and attention-to-detail and seeks to apply them in Spokes’ outreach and communications efforts.
Taylor is a fourth year sociology major, concentrating in organizations, at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. To supplement her bachelor’s degree in sociology, she is also working towards obtaining a minor in integrated marketing communications and a minor in psychology. In her free time she enjoys crafting, cooking/baking and swimming. She looks forward to being a part of Spokes’ annual fundraiser this year.
Spokes Fund Master
Maylene is a Central Coast native currently pursuing a degree in International Studies at Vassar College. She hopes to work for an international NGO after completing her education, and is excited about the future of the nonprofit sector. Her passions include learning languages, exploring Manhattan’s food scene, and hanging out with her dog Lily.
Member Utility Narrator
Hannah Hunter is a senior at Cal Poly, studying Business Entrepreneurship. Originally from Colorado, Hannah always imagined herself going to school out on the West Coast. While on vacation heading up to Big Sur, she fell in love with the San Luis Obispo area and all that it has to offer. Hannah is passionate about Cal Poly’s learn-by-doing mantra and has been involved with various entities around campus that have invoked critical thinking and change. Hannah’s interests include international development work, specifically development projects that focus on promoting innovation and generating community involvement. She recently completed her independently conducted senior project paper, which proposed an International Economic Development plan for implementing sustainable tourism in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Her project proposal focused on shifting development work from ineffective foreign aid to sustainable development projects used to advance economic growth and sources of income in poor countries. In her free time, Hannah enjoys spending time at the beach, going on road trips, and spending time with family and friends.
Board of Directors
Michael Kaplan has been a professional writer for over thirty years, working on projects in film, television, video games, educational CD-ROMs, and online entertainment. His clients have included Electronic Arts, Microsoft, MGM, Comedy Central, and McGraw-Hill. He is a published playwright and will have a new work premiering at the SLO Little Theatre in January 2015. In 2004, Michael began writing grant applications for nonprofit organizations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Over the past 12 years, Michael has written successful grant requests for numerous nonprofits, and has been instrumental in securing over $4,500,000 in federal, state, and local grants for his primary client, Transitions-Mental Health Association. Michael has worked with community hospitals, animal shelters, art institutions, universities, cancer research foundations, and charter schools. He designed and currently teaches grant writing curriculum for local nonprofits, and acts as a Spokes Staff Consultant regarding grant writing questions.
Mark Corella graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo’s School of Agriculture in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation Administration. Mr. Corella has been in the field of Banking Management on the Central Coast for 25 years and is currently the Vice President and District Manager of the Central Coast for Wells Fargo. Current Community involvement includes Board Member for the YMCA of San Luis Obispo County, Committee Member for the Five Cities YMCA Advisory Committee, Advisory Board Member for the Children’s Resource Network of the Central Coast, and Advisory Board Member for the Lucia Mar Foundation for Innovation. Mark is the past Chair of the Latino Outreach Council and past Board Member of the Workforce Investment Board (WIB), also serving on the Youth Council. Mr. Corella has a passion for sports and youth and has been a youth basketball volunteer for over 20 years and continues to assist the 5 Cities Youth Basketball Program.
John D. Buerger, CFP® MSFS, works primarily as a business and wealth coach for SLO-area business owners and entrepreneurs. His expertise is in behavioral economics – how and why people make financial choices (both the good and the not-so-good) – and how to strategically manage those human decision-making idiosyncrasies. He is the founder of ALTUS Wealth Solutions, a local financial planning and independent Registered Investment Advisor firm. John has lived in the area since 1989, is married and has two college-age children who grew up in the community.
You could say that Jeff is a kid at heart — he loves anything that he can do with his girlfriend, Jessica and their four awesome kids. But Jeff has another side as well – a super star techie side. At 15, he built his first computer system and later went on to study electrical engineering in college where he worked as an automotive installation technician. And now, as a Consulting Associate, he brings not only technical cred but also excellent customer service skills to his role at TekTegrity. Jeff appreciates that Spokes supports many of the nonprofits that he works with every day. Serving Spokes helps him give back to several of his own customers while at the same time, making a bigger impact than he could do on his own.
Jami has many years of experience in marketing, business organization and community outreach that she offers to numerous local businesses, including GH Sports, Circa Company, LLC and Hind Foundation. At GH Company, Inc. dba GH Sports, a designer and manufacturer of specialty run, cycle, swim, fitness and triathlon apparel (at the original headquarters in San Luis Obispo, CA), Jami works alongside a talented team to develop and implement marketing strategies for both existing and new apparel products. At Circa Company, LLC, Jami works with the management team to share the gift of the original fragrance, Circa23, with former and new customers alike and to introduce new products to market. At Hind Foundation, Jami manages updates to the nonprofit’s website, highlighting the good work of the Foundation and its grantees, and also works as a liaison, communicating the Board’s wishes to both potential and existing grantees. Jami has volunteered and collaborated with various nonprofits in SLO County and becomes more and more passionate about Spokes as she continues to see its positive ripple effects throughout our community.
Volunteers and Faculty Members
- Adrienne Harris
- Bob Lucas
- Bob Shanbrom
- Carol Nelson Selby
- Erica Morrison
- JayMe Phillips
- Jeremy Teitelbaum
- John Buerger
- Kathleen Marcove
- Ken Miles
- Kim Austin
- Leslie Jones
- Lisa Gonzales
- Mariola O’Brien
- Michael Jencks
- Michael Kaplan
- Michael Simkins
- Rachel Cementina
- Sara LaForest
- Stacey Hunt
- Suzanne Valery
- Yvon Gresser
We help the organizations that help our community. You can, too!
Contribute by doing what you do best! If you are interested in volunteering with Spokes for Nonprofits, please let us know.