meet our board
Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami is the Founder and Executive Director of the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic ARTS Center (OCCTAC), a nonprofit (501c3) organization located in the City of Santa Ana. She is also an Adjunct Faculty at Chapman University. During the past 30 years, she has dedicated her life to helping communities at-risk and families with special needs students. Prior to founding the OC Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center, she taught at California State University (Los Angeles), Loyola Marymount University, and the University of Puerto Rico. Dr. Jimenez-Hami holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California, and a Masters’ Degree in Psychology and Music Therapy from the Florida State University.
Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami has been recognized continuously in the community for her contributions in the fields of Arts and Culture, Education and Social Services. Some of her awards include the following: the 2013 OC Register Hero of the Year award; an Outstanding Contributions to Education Award by the Orange County Department of Education (2012), the National Hispanic Business Women Association Award for Organizational Entrepreneurship (May, 2007); a National Award for Creativity in Special Education by the Heart Spring Foundation (July, 2007); a Faculty Award from Chapman University (June, 2007); a (2006) Community Building award by the City of Santa Ana; a 2004 Human Relations award from the Orange County Human Relations Commission (2004) for promoting equality, human rights and social justice, and a Community Building award in the fields of Arts & Culture by the National Organization of MANA (2003).
Dr. Ana Jimenez-Hami is committed to bringing artistic access to low-income families, therapeutic arts programming for children and youth with special needs, and inspiring the Latino community through education and leadership development. Her passion is to inspire future leaders in the community; as well as researching educational methods that help the Latino community succeed in the academic world and reach for higher educational goals.
Dr. Sayyedi is the founder and executive director of Omid Multicultural Institute for Development (O.M.I.D.). She is also an adjunct faculty in the Department of Counseling at California State University Fullerton. She obtained her doctorate from Washington State University in clinical psychology with emphases on Child Development and Neuropsychology. She has more than 20 years of clinical experience working with diverse populations of children and their families. She has authored chapters, and presented on issues related to providing culturally responsive mental health care to Iranian-American and Middle Eastern immigrant populations in the U.S.
Don Barnes is the Sheriff for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (California). As Sheriff, Don is the Chief Operating Officer overseeing all operations of the nation’s sixth largest sheriff’s department. Sheriff Barnes is a 27 year veteran, with experiences in Field (Patrol) Operations, Investigations, Jail Operations, and Administration. Sheriff Barnes has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Masters of Public Administration, where he was recognized as the Outstanding Graduate Student for the Department of Public Policy. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, serves as Board Chair of Orange County Crime Stoppers, teaches for California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) at California State University, Long Beach, and is an instructor at the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy.
Hannah Nguyen is an assistant professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in Human Services. Prior to joining CSUDH, Dr. Nguyen led projects in collaboration with Orange County school districts, community organizations and families to assess mental health needs and implement school-based interventions for adolescents at risk of developing depression. She also coordinated the federally-funded Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Health (REACH) project, providing health outreach and education to older adults in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. The primary focus of her teaching is in community practice and culturally responsive service delivery to diverse populations. Her research expertise highlights the experiences of consumers and communities to inform culturally relevant mental health services for immigrant families. Dr. Nguyen holds a B.A. in Sociology and Public and Community Service from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.S.W. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Vattana Peong, MPH, is the Executive Director of The Cambodian Family Community Center (TCF), a non-profit community-based organization providing preventive health, mental health, youth and resident leadership and education, civic engagement, immigration, and cultural preservation programs to low-income children and families in Orange County. Under Vattana’s leadership, TCF has doubled its budget and has tripled its staff members and clients in a span of two years. He has raised approximately $2 million in grant and contract funding for the past three years to support his organization’s programs and services for the community. Vattana has had over 15 years of experience working with non-profit organizations both in the United States and abroad and has been a strong advocate for health equity. He has been working for more than 7 years to bring culturally and linguistically appropriate services to immigrant and refugee families in Orange County. Previously, He served the United Nations Population Fund in New York as a Special Youth Fellow and Japan International Cooperation Agency in Cambodia as a Health and Training Program Assistant. He currently serves on two County committees as the Co-Chairs of the Cultural Competency Committee for Behavioral Health Services and Orange County’s Healthier Together (Health Improvement Partnership). He is also a board member of Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA) and Khmer Parent Association (KPA). Vattana’s community and volunteer work has gained him several awards, including Asian Pacific Islanders Outstanding Graduate Student Award and Kathryn T. McCarty Scholarship for Scholastic Achievement Award from Cal State Fullerton, and many certificates of recognition from local and state elected officials. Vattana is bilingual and bicultural in English and Khmer (Cambodian) and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from California State University, Fullerton. Vattana has recently been awarded the 2018 Emerging Leader Award by the Orange County Grantmakers for his emerging leadership and continuing service to the community.
Dr. Reza Karkia is Emeritus Executive Director of Academic Affairs, California State University, DH. He has more than 30 years of experience in education, senior management, and leadership. He is an involved and participating community member of Orange County at large in all areas of education, businesses, and constructive politics. Dr. Karkia has served the State of California under four recent Governors as Commissioner of “California Council on Criminal Justice (CCCJ). He also served as Commissioner of California Health Policy and Data Advisory for two terms. While at The California State University, he has had budget responsibility of $1.8 billion for CSU system’s Capital Outlay projects, and has had managed over $280 million annual operating budgets. Currently, he is the chairman of advisory board of School of Management and Public Policy at California State University, DH, and the Orange County Sheriff Department’s, Advisory Council. Presently he is also serving on the Advisory Council of 211Orange County, a nonprofit organization serving 34 cities of Orange County.
Gloria Reyes was born in Mexico and immigrated to Southern California with her family in 1962 at the age of nine. Gloria is the President and Chief Executive Officer of ABRAZAR, Inc. an organization that addresses the needs of individuals residing in Orange County. ABRAZAR manages two community centers that provide services to more than 15,000 unduplicated households annually. She has been at ABRAZAR since November of 1976 as the Executive Director and has held this position for 38 years. Gloria was named “Woman of the Year” by the California State Legislature and “Westminster Citizen of the Year” by the Westminster Chamber of Commerce and “Woman of the Year” by Soroptimist of Westminster. Gloria is the recipient of Orange County’s United Way Hispanic Influential award and has received two Clara Barton Spectrum Awards in the Education and Health Services fields. Gloria received a life-time achievement award by Cal State Fullerton, Gerontology Department.
Walt Disney Company, Product Development Manager
Molina Healthcare, Director of Healthcare Services
Retired, Division Manager for Health Promotion, Health Care Agency
meet our staff
Dr. Miguel Gallardo is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Aliento, The Center for Latina/o Communities at Pepperdine University. He maintains an independent/consultation practice where he conducts therapy with adolescents and adults and consults with organizations and universities on developing culturally responsive systems. He teaches courses on multicultural and social justice, intimate partner violence and professional practice issues. Dr. Gallardo’s areas of scholarship and research interests include understanding the psychotherapy process when working with ethnocultural communities, particularly the Latina/o community and in understanding the processes by which individuals develop cultural awareness and responsiveness. Dr. Gallardo has published refereed journal articles, books, and book chapters in the areas of multicultural psychology, Latina/o psychology, and ethics and evidence-based practices. Dr. Gallardo is currently serving a second-term Governor appointed position on the California Board of Psychology. He has been honored for his dedication and commitment to the field of psychology locally, statewide and nationally. Dr. Gallardo is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.
Mark Canett comes to MECCA with a background in international education. He is a returned U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in which he served in Bulgaria as a TEFL and Community Development volunteer from 2005 to 2007. He has also lived and taught in Shanghai, China and Pakchong, Thailand. Mark earned an MA degree in international studies from Concordia University in Irvine and a bachelor of arts degree in history from California State University, Long Beach. Mark’s professional life has been dedicated to serving the diverse members of the international community for which he has a deeply rooted passion. Along with being an employee at MECCA, he also works at Santa Ana College in the Veterans Resource Center. His hobbies are reading, primarily 20th century and contemporary American literature, music composition and world travel.
Shelly graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Psychology. While in school she interned at the Lakeview Senior Center supporting the community by referring and linking them to community resources. In addition to her work with older adults, Shelly also worked with families and their children who experience developmental disabilities, holding a position at Autism, Prevention, and Resources (AIR) in Laguna Hills. During her time working with families, Shelly was trained in providing family training, report writing, and individualizing behavioral plans. Through her experience, Shelly’s passion for serving underserved communities and reducing the stigma of mental health became clear, which lead her to begin working with MECCA as a program coordinator.
Muna Odeh is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. Muna has a double masters in psychology and counseling psychology. Muna has six years of experience working with diverse populations, especially immigrants and refugees in a non-profit setting. Muna is deeply passionate about educating different communities about mental health and the stigma behind seeking help. She is an immigrant herself, who really understands the challenges that face minorities in adjusting to a new culture. Muna also worked with the elderly, youth and adults through County programs that serve the underserved communities through the Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies. Muna enjoys reading and driving. And if she ever goes missing you will find her at Laguna beach watching the sunset.
Andrew Fahmy is the Director, Partnerships, Communications, and Program Development for the Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA). MECCA aims to enhance and improve the quality of life for underserved multicultural communities by being a unified voice advocating to reduce ethnic disparities. Before joining MECCA Andrew held a position with Families and Communities Together (FaCT), a public-private partnership with the mission of promoting best practices, training, funding, and advocating for Family Resource Centers to be Orange County’s community-based platform for prevention activities and family support services. He also founded and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Community Camp Corporation, a 501c3 organization helping peer-led groups plan and host recreational camp experiences designed to improve each participant’s social, emotional, and leadership skills. Andrew graduated with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton.
Yesenia Velez Ochoa is the Director of Operations and Programs Administration for the Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA). Prior to joining MECCA, Yesenia served as the executive director for Oak View Renewal Partnership where she led key community initiatives focusing on long-term community impact and sustainability through collaborative efforts. Other positions have included Director of Community Development for Orange County United Way and Program Officer for the Merage Foundation for the American Dream where she developed programs engaging non-profits, public and private agencies for the economic empowerment of minority groups. She is currently the immediate past chair for the Orange County Community Housing Corporation’s Board of Directors where she has volunteered 15 years. Throughout her career Yesenia has served on various committees and advisory boards dedicated to creating access and awareness of services for the underserved such as the St. Joseph Health Community Benefits and the Community for Innovation, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Opportunities (CIELO). Yesenia graduated from Claremont Graduate University with Master’s in Education and California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s in Human Services.
Iliana Soto Welty is the Executive Director of the Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies (MECCA). In her role, her primary purpose is to work towards eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in Orange County. Iliana’s career has focused on intercultural communication and community relations for the past 20 years. She has been a diversity trainer and consultant to schools, cities, hospitals, universities, nonprofits and police departments. Her passion is building the capacity of low income, underserved populations and developing grassroots leaders to have a voice in creating policy and systems change in their community. Iliana’s strengths are in community strategic planning, community assessments and developing collaborative initiatives. She is excited to be working with a collective impact organization focused on improving the lives and health of multicultural communities. Iliana enjoys having adventures with her two daughters Emily and Annika, spending time in nature, off-roading and creative writing.