Board of Directors
Kay Fernandez Smith, Chair
Kay Fernandez Smith, a former Fulbright Hayes Scholar to the Philippines and a San Francisco Foundation Fellow, has worked with grassroots groups, public agencies, and philanthropic organizations to advance equitable development. She is currently the Director of Community Benefits and Social Responsibility at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she oversees the country’s first community benefits program administered by a large public utility. Prior to joining the SFPUC, Kay was Deputy Director at PolicyLink where she launched the Promise Neighborhoods Institute, a national intermediary focused on supporting antipoverty programs modeled focused on the academic and life success of low-income children. She holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She joined the Forward Together board in 2011.
Eveline Shen, MPH, President
Since Eveline's leadership began in 1999, Forward Together has become widely recognized for its innovative role in the Reproductive Justice Movement—working with grassroots communities; providing thought leadership; developing effective tools and resources for evaluation, training, and documentation; and organizing for long-term systemic change. Eveline serves on the board of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project and Movement Strategy Center. She has also served as Principal Investigator for two National Institutes of Health grants that explore the intersection between environmental justice and reproductive justice. Women's eNews recently named Eveline one of their 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. She was a 2009 Gerbode Fellow and holds a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley in Community Health Education.
Liza Fuentes, Secretary
Liza is a Senior Project Manager at Ibis Reproductive Health. Prior to that she was a fellow at the City University of New York Institute for Demographic Research, and was a researcher at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Her research has focused on the effects of immigration and health policies on Latina and immigrant reproductive health, clinician training in reproductive health, and abortion access. She is also interested in issues around the role of social scientists in the movement for reproductive justice. She is the current chair of the board of directors of Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a board member of Forward Together and is a former member of the boards of the National Network of Abortion Funds, New York Abortion Access Fund, and the DC Abortion Fund. Liza is doctoral candidate at the CUNY School of Public Health and has a Master of Public Health from Columbia University.
Sojeila Maria Silva, Treasurer
Sojeila is passionate about social change, and she’s passionate about using finance as a tool to make that change happen. Currently a Partner at Small Hill Partners—a firm specializing in finance and strategy work with nonprofits—her experience in management, finance, and consulting is broad and deep. For more than three decades Ms. Silva had been an activist, staff person, board member, CEO, and consultant in areas as diverse as health education, housing development, microfinance, and labor in both the nonprofit and public sectors. Ms. Silva is a successful and widely respected Interim Executive, but she remains passionate about face-to-face consulting and innovation in the field. In her volunteer activities she has supported industry organizations, the international microfinance sector, and local schools, and she has served multiple terms as a City Planning Commissioner. When she isn’t working she can be found with her nose in a book, hanging out with friends and family, or tinkering. She received her MBA from UCLA.
Yee Won Chong
Yee Won Chong is a trainer, strategist, and social entrepreneur. His consulting practice aims to increase organizations' ability to fulfill its purpose by creating inclusive, healthy and holistic organizational culture that allows everyone to thrive.
Before becoming a consultant, Yee Won was the Development and Communication Director at Western States Center. He also worked at United for a Fair Economy and Haymarket People's Fund and served on the board of Grassroots Institute of Fundraising Training and Alternatives for Community and Environment.
In 2012, Yee Won delivered Beyond the Gender Binary at TEDx Rainier in Seattle, weaving his personal story about being an immigrant and transgender with practical tips on how to be a good ally.
Yee Won's Say This Not That startup is an award winning idea dedicated to bringing greater language consciousness and compassion to communication.
Rosie is the President/CEO for The Center for Asian Pacific American Women. “The Center” is a non-profit organization dedicated to building leadership capacity within our communities. Previously, her career spanned multiple disciplines across government and corporate entities. Rosie holds multiple patents in manufacturing, software and laser applications and led projects in the US, Europe, Asia and South America. She left the technical sector to provide opportunities for women and our communities.
Rosie has taught martial arts for over 25 years and is a Gura Fifth Degree of the Kamatuuran School of Kali. She is a 2002 Fellow of the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute (APAWLI). As a result of her APAWLI project, she co-founded Rosemary Pai, Inc., a small business focused on marketing and distributing products from artists and startup businesses. She is a recipient of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in America award.
Edith worked as an organizer with the Service Employees International Union for 5 years. During her time there she developed a knack for strategy and organizing, and learned the importance of leadership. Those 5 years were the equivalent of a degree in the political and economic history of Los Angeles and California through the experiences and political struggles of working people and immigrant communities.
She put her strategy and organizing expertise to work as the Field Director for Choice USA, a national pro-choice organization based in Washington, D.C. She developed the field strategy for over 25 chapters and developed campaigns around sex education, birth control, and health care reform. She brought a distinct perspective to her work as Field Director, developing both the organizing capacity of the organization, and the reproductive justice framework. Her experience as an organizer, a queer woman of color, and a child of immigrants and working class parents helps her recognize and strategize around interconnected issues. In 2011, she helped convene hundreds of parents in Los Angeles, and mobilized them to advocate for key policy changes in education while she was Program Officer in Education and Youth Development at United Way.
So far in her career, she has found training to be the most exciting, challenging and inspiring part of her work. Not to mention, it keeps her on her toes. After several years as a Campus Camp trainer, Edith was hired in the Labor Training Program at Wellstone Action and is currently the Deputy Director for Strategic Capacity Development. She is happy to be back "home" working once again with union members, staff, and leadership.
In 2012 she moved from Los Angeles to Denver for love, inspired by a need to take the "long distance" out of her relationship. Edith was born feet first in Tehran, Iran on the first day of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. She likes to hit the ground running.
Mia has spent more than 20 years fighting for the self-determination and pointing out the brilliant adaptations of everyday people. In her current role as Co-Director of Family Story, Mia is updating this nation’s outdated picture of the families in America. Previously, Mia worked as the Vice President of the Family Independence Initiative, where she created and curated the Torchlight Prize.
Mia, whose 2015 TED talk – titled, “The Story We Tell About Poverty Isn’t True” – has been viewed over 1.3 million times, has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Salon, and On Being, and has guest lectured at UC Berkeley. She co-founded Canerow, a resource for people dedicated to raising children of color in a world that reflects the spectrum of who they are. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and an inaugural Ascend Fellow of The Aspen Institute.
Mia is a modern Renaissance woman. She has spent time organizing to abolish prisons, teaching teenagers about sex and drugs, interviewing literary luminaries like Edwidge Danticat, David Foster Wallace, and John Irving, and attending births as a midwifery apprentice. These are some of the many reasons that Mia was recognized as one of Colorlines' “15 Remarkable Women of Color Who Rocked 2015.”