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CEN Staff Members 

 


Larissa Robideaux, MPA

Chief Executive Director

Larissa has an extensive background in the nonprofit sector and a true passion for leadership development. She is a second-generation nonprofit leader, raised on the philosophy that commitment to quality services empowers the people served and the community as a whole. Her father, Dr. Joseph F. Campbell, spent 40 years as a nonprofit leader and an advocate for individuals with disabilities. Larissa was deeply impacted by his commitment to social justice, education, and human services and has dedicated her life to continuing this legacy. Larissa and her family immigrated from Ireland in 1976 and traveled back frequently. It was this immigrant experience in part that influenced her deep commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and in always striving to represent and give voice to those not always given a seat at the leadership table.

Larissa became CEN’s Executive Director three years ago and has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and private business sectors. In her tenure with CEN, along with her dynamic team, and dedicated Board, the organization has almost tripled in size. She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration, an undergraduate degree in Business and completed her thesis on public and private sector partnerships. Larissa has served in leadership roles for organizations that served individuals with disabilities, the autism community, at a community health clinic, and at an organization that served individuals going through health emergencies and crisis.

Larissa currently serves on the Board of Directors for Carry the Vision, a nonprofit in the SF South Bay. Larissa is a graduate of CEN’s Leaders Institute Class IX and was the 2016 CEN scholarship recipient for Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management course. In 2019 Larissa was recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a woman of influence. Larissa is currently completing a certificate in Change Management from Cornell University and is BoardSource certified. Larissa has been married to her wonderful husband for 25 years and is a proud mother of her two sons, Quinn and Cassidy.

Contact Information: Larissa@cen.org

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illyasha (Illy) Peete, MBA

Director of Diversity & Consulting/Training

Illy joined the CEN team in 2018, bringing a wealth of knowledge through her experiences as a transformational nonprofit executive director, corporate trainer, adjunct college professor, and a health and fitness manager (at Stanford Health Care/ValleyCare). She is extremely passionate about self-care and has spent decades working on the prevention side of health and wellness. Additionally, Illy has experience as a real estate professional, with a multi-million-dollar portfolio, which armed her with the ability to market effectively, negotiate contracts, and manage finances. Through all her experience, Illy is most intrigued by partnering with leaders to create work spaces geared at fostering a sense of belonging and believes this is achieved by developing a more sophisticated understanding of intergroup relations and by demolishing the policies, processes, and hiring practices interfering with the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and liberation.

Illy earned a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University in human resource management and her master's in business administration from Ashford University with a focus in global management.  She also earned a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University and a certification from BoardSource in nonprofit governance and leadership and is a graduate of CEN's Leaders Institute.

Contact Information:  illy@cen.org

 

 

Jen Polidoroff Fredericks

Director of Operations & Development

Jen has been with the organization for nearly ten years, starting as CEN's office manager, then moving to manage development and communications for the organization, and now overseeing operations. In her current role, she works closely with CEN's executive director and board members on organizational development and community outreach. She studied psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine and graduated in three years with a bachelor's degree. Jen also holds a Certificate of Achievement in Principles & Techniques of Fundraising from Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She is active in the Bay Area community and previously served as a counselor for Rape Trauma Services of Burlingame, CA after successfully completing a 65-hour California State Certified Sexual Assault Counselor Training.

Contact Information:  jen@cen.org

 

Shana Peete, JD

Director of Curriculum & Community Engagement

Prior to joining CEN in 2019, Shana served as the founding executive director of Partners for Change of the Tri-Valley, an organization dedicated to offering individuals and families a hand up from poverty. She has a Bachelor of Science in international business and a Doctor of Jurisprudence. She practiced law for eight years prior to moving to the Bay Area and has professional experience that includes managing Excel Child Development Center, serving as a program coordinator for Read Aloud America, and managing a 30-person customer fulfillment team for Amazon. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching the game of tennis to students of all ages and using her gifts of connecting people and communication—in English and Spanish—to bring people together. In light of COVID-19 and the social uprising in support of Black lives, Shana, a community activist, was tapped to serve as moderator for a three-city panel on Racial Inequity in City Government and Policing featuring 9 government officials.

Contact Information:  shana@cen.org

 


 

Colsaria Henderson, MSW

Senior Leadership Development Specialist

Colsaria has a Master’s in Social Work with a specification in Administration and Planning. She is from the South and considers her social justice training buried in the roots of activist parents, who dedicated their early lives to the civil rights movement.  She began working in the field in the 1990s and began her official career in anti-gender based violence work as a Sexual Assault Counselor in Atlanta, Georgia.  She later finished a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work while working in a dual Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault advocacy agency.  Since moving to California, she has held leadership roles in multiple Bay Area anti-violence organizations, most recently she was the Executive Director of Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse. Over the last many years, Colsaria has focused her work at the macro level, enjoying leadership and program development, survivor and community based evaluation and advocacy, and state-wide policy change. Colsaria has completed several leadership and advocacy programs including the Women’s Policy Institute through the Women’s Foundation of California, the Strong Field Leadership program sponsored by Blue Shield of California Foundation, and Center for Excellence in Nonprofits’ Leaders Institute. She leads and participates in local, statewide, and national advocacy efforts discussing anti-violence, anti-poverty, and racial justice.  In addition to supporting the nonprofit leadership as a whole, she is currently focused in areas of intersection between anti-violence, racial justice, community level advocacy and prevention, and transformative justice approaches.

Contact Information: colsaria@cen.org 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Torai

Senior Leadership Development Specialist

In her current role, Jennifer (Jenn, she/her) provides consultation, coaching, and facilitates learning for nonprofit leaders across the nation. She is also a co-founder of Asian Women Empowered - a group that fosters civic engagement and leadership in the Silicon Valley, serves on the planning committee for the County of Santa Clara’s National Day of Racial Healing, and serves on the Professional Development Committee and Awards Committee for the National Association of Social Workers-California Chapter.

Professionally, Jenn has been an adjunct professor for San Jose State University’s School of Social Work, was the first Director of Learning and Member Engagement for the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, managed community engagement activities for Stanford Health Care’s Government and Community Relations team, oversaw autism services for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties with the Regional Center of the East Bay, and was the Social and Racial Justice Coordinator for the YWCA of Silicon Valley.  As a volunteer, Jenn has served as the Vice President of Professional Development for the National Association of Social Workers-California Chapter, as Co-Chair of the Asian/Pacific Islander Social Work Council of Northern California, and as a member of the Bay Area Regional Advisory Committee for the State Council on Developmental Disabilities.  She has also curated and co-hosted a Community Conversation with the Milpitas Community Educational Endowment to address diversity and inclusion issues within the school district, and was a Community Educator for Asian Americans for Community Involvement’s Silicon Valley Asian American Voices project. Jenn has a Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting through BoardSource, completed the Leadership Palo Alto program (class of 2017), was in the Northern California Grantmakers’ inaugural cohort of the Race Equity Action Institute (2019).  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz and Master’s degrees in both Urban and Regional Planning and Social Work from San Jose State University.

Contact Information: jennt@cen.org 

 

Yanira Guzman

Leadership Development Specialist

Yanira Guzmán, has over 15 years of developing and delivering culturally relevant and engaging training for both the public and private sectors.  As a first-generation college graduate, she has 8+ years of teaching in California’s public elementary schools, in both urban and affluent school districts as a Spanish bilingual teacher and literacy coach complemented by 8+ years in providing software implementation and customer-training for a top 50 Forbes tech company.  She advocates for all student populations – regardless of background, socio-economic status, language, etc.  to have access to quality education.

Yanira’s heart is in the nonprofit world.  She sits on the Board of Help One Child, and as an elected Board Trustee for Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District. When she is not working, she co-leads Latinas of the Bay Area, a professional and social network for 400+ Latina women.

She holds an M.A. in Education from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. 

Contact Information: yanira@cen.org 

 

 


 

 

Allison Underwood

Assistant Director of Operations & Development

Allison joined the CEN team in early 2021. She brings a wide range of experience in fundraising, event management, communications, database logistics, and business operations. Prior to beginning her role at CEN, she served for almost five years as Project Manager for JW House where she created, managed, and implemented plans for all fundraising and development activities, and strategically lead the organization through many phases of change. Additionally, she has spent three years as a nonprofit consultant for other Bay Area organizations, including CEN. Allison has a passion for nonprofit work and has supported multiple organizations, as a contractor and volunteer, in upgrading internal systems and infrastructure to prepare for and scale growth.

Allison graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Marketing Management. She and her husband, both born in Virginia, moved west together after college. Outside of work, the two spend their weekends pursuing their personal mission to visit and hike all 63 U.S. National Parks.

Contact Information: allison@cen.org

 

Mona Singh

Programs Manager

Mona first learned about CEN’s benefits as a client when she attended its workshops as a board member of a local nonprofit. She is proud to join the organization to help serve other nonprofits and its leaders who are changing the world for the better. Mona strongly believes it takes a village to raise a family and was active in several nonprofits in the bay area to support that including, Blossom Birth, Strive for College, local school bond and parcel tax school funding initiatives, school PTA board and most recently as the Board Chair for the Mountain View Educational Foundation. Mona’s previous professional experience includes work in areas of marketing, communications and media production. She holds an BA in International Relations from the University of California at Davis. Born in India and having lived on three different continents, she loves to travel and experience new cultures.

Contact Information: mona@cen.org