Rockwood Staff

Akaya Windwood, President

Akaya is internationally recognized for elevating the effectiveness of leadership and collaboration in the nonprofit and social benefit sectors. Her vision for our global community includes infusing a sense of purpose, delight and wonder into everything we do. She has a life-long commitment to working for a fair and equitable society, and believes that Rockwood's network of over 5,000 powerful, collaborative, and interconnected leaders will help lead the way. Ext.108.


Darlene Nipper, Chief Executive Officer

Darlene is Rockwood's CEO, and has been part of the training team since 2012. She has over 25 years of leadership and advocacy experience. She previously served as Deputy Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, Executive Director of the BET Foundation, founder of the Multicultural and International Outreach (MIO) Center, Chief Operating Officer at NAMI, and Director of LGBT Affairs in the Executive Office of the Mayor of D.C. Darlene, a native Washingtonian, is also an ordained interfaith minister, practices mindfulness meditation and yoga, and has practiced both near and far, including in India and the Bahamas. She is located at Rockwood's D.C. office. Ext.112.


Julie Besaha, Chief Operating Officer

Julie oversees the finance and operations functions at Rockwood. She has over a dozen years of experience in financial management of nonprofit organizations. Previous to coming to Rockwood, she was the Director of Finance and Administration at California Ocean Science Trust, and at the Oakland Schools Foundation. She has a strong background in office operations, human resource management, information technology integration, contract negotiation and management, risk analysis and mitigation, quality assurance, fund development, client/customer service, customer resolution, board/volunteer management, program administration, and communications planning/media strategy.  Ext.118.



Tyson Casey, Program and Curriculum Manager

Tyson oversees Rockwood's Leading from the Inside Out Yearlong Fellowship, and supports other programs and internal systems. Prior to Rockwood, Tyson was the Managing Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, of which he currently serves on the advisory board. He is a graduate of the MA program in Social Change at Starr King School for the Ministry, where he focused on education, collaboration, sustainability, and organizational change. He has worked with interfaith and secular justice communities and organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, North Carolina, and Florida. Ext.105.




Virada Chatikul, Senior Program Manager

Virada manages the BCORR program, the Fellowship for Arts and Culture, and the Fellowship for a New California. Prior to joining Rockwood, she led various youth and workforce development programs in San Francisco. She also volunteers with youth and performing arts projects at the Berkeley and Fremont Thai temples. She holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco and a BA in Sociology from Smith College. Ext.119.




Melissa Estrada, Executive Assistant

Melissa has devoted her life to helping low-income communities catalyze change, and brings compassion and enthusiasm to even the smallest tasks. A young heart with an old soul, Melissa believes all that's needed to unleash the leader in all of us is inspiration. She's a natural nurturer who enjoys cooking, being surrounded by nature, and spending time with her family, including her two children.




joi foley, Communications Manager

joi manages Rockwood's communications and social media. She's all about connecting people with causes they care about and experiences they cherish. Before joining the Rockwood team, joi ran her own business developing communications strategies for nonprofits, higher-ed institutions, small businesses, and artists. She also worked as a producer and director in the NYC area film and television industry, creating music videos, documentaries, news programs, and award shows. Ext. 110.


Eileen Hazel, Senior Finance and Program Operations Manager

Eileen supports the work of Rockwood by providing thorough, accurate management of its accounting and operations functions. Eileen has worked with numerous social change and nonprofit organizations including The International Forum on Globalization, The Oakland Institute, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Changemakers, and KPFA Radio. She earned her degree in International Relations from the University of Minnesota. Eileen is also a singer-songwriter with two CDs of her original music (www.eileenhazel.com). Ext.109.



Lucia Kimble, Program Manager

Lucia is deeply passionate about helping others bring their best selves to social justice work in service of collective liberation. She loves supporting the development of vibrant movements, dance, and bringing joy to others. Ext.104.



Stacy Kono, Director of Programs and Innovation

As the Director of Programs and Innovation, Stacy oversees Rockwood's Public Trainings, Fellowships, and Organizational Partnerships. She participated in the Art of Leadership in 2007, and in the Advanced Art of Leadership in 2009. Before joining Rockwood, Stacy worked with Asian Immigrant Women Advocates (AIWA) building the leadership and collective power of low-income Asian immigrant women workers and their families. Stacy is a certified coach, working primarily with emerging leaders and community organizers, and is on the Board of the  Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). Ext.113.



Amie Lam, Program Coordinator

Amie secretly wonders what makes people come alive. Resourceful and calm, she brings together people and ideas that seem unconnected to make the world a more joyful place. She has an uncanny ability to pick up accents and languages, and spends her time questioning, exploring, and salsa dancing. Ext.120.


Franco Nguon, Administrative Coordinator

Franco brings to Rockwood his authentic kindness, humble warrior spirit, and ability to remember the melodies to songs, but not the lyrics. He's amazing at helping others, and has devoted his life to adding value to people's lives. Originally from West Oakland, Franco loves the arts and live music, and wants to know what makes others sing. Ext. 121.


Sharon Price, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Sharon's purpose at Rockwood is to support the personal growth and well-being of transformative leaders in order to build a unified progressive movement. She manages several Fellowship programs, including the Cross-Movement Yearlong, special programs with SEIU, and the Fellowship for Human Rights and National Security Reform Leaders. Previously, she worked in international conservation building networks of local environmental leaders. Before that, she studied Religion and Anthropology in Washington, D.C. and Kathmandu, Nepal. Sharon is certified as an Integral Coach® through New Ventures West. Ext.106.


Haley Reimbold, Senior Resource Manager

Haley believes that we need social justice leaders who are nurtured, supported, connected, inspired, and inclusive. She loves design-thinking, writing, and color coding, and has devoted most of her life to helping create, sustain, and grow social ventures that increase access to justice across the US. Originally from the East Coast, she is grateful every day for the California sunshine (and occasional rain, too).



Amanda Rodriguez, Operations Manager

Amanda brings her skill for making connections, taking initiative, and diving in to projects to this newly created position. She believes that no matter how stuck you feel, making any movement is a contribution towards the big movements that change the world. Ext.111.


Ebony Ross, Associate Director of Programs

Ebony is a food lover, rule breaker, and proud mother & daughter who has devoted most of her life to serving under-represented communities and advocating for reproductive justice and sexual health. She believes that if you want to see change, you've got to take action, and she brings warmth and a decisive nature to the work of creating a world of equity and opportunity for everyone. Ext.117.



Liz Telschow, Salesforce and Special Projects Manager

Liz is Rockwood's Salesforce and Special Projects Manager. A Midwest transplant, she spent 10+ years in Chicago working in continuing education administration, first at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then Northwestern University. When not supporting the efforts of Rockwood's staff and Board, she spends much of her time exploring the world. From weekend jaunts to Marrakech and Rio de Janeiro, to longer trips through Namibia and southern Spain, she's always up for adventure and discovery. Ext.114.