We’re Stronger Together
We continue to build a team that reflects our commitments to equity, advocacy, and food for all. For employment and fellowship opportunities, check out our Career Opportunities.
To learn more about our team, read on.
Angeles Nelson (she/her)
Angeles, Policy Advocate, joined Nourish California as a board director in 2018. She left the Board and joined the team as a staff member in 2019. Angeles specializes in advancing state policy that improves students’ access to healthy school meals and increases food access for immigrant Californians.
Angeles co-leads the Meals Count Team to develop resources, break down barriers, and identify potential state policy solutions to expand universal meal programs in CA. Angeles also conducts federal advocacy to preserve, protect, and improve access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Angeles serves as Nourish California’s liaison to Spanish-speaking communities and media organizations to uplift immigrants’ voices and to advance mutual priorities.
Prior to joining Nourish California, Angeles worked as a community advocate and organizer in the community of Lemon Grove to create a vibrant community with opportunities, equity, and wellness for all through resident-led community projects, advocacy, collaboration, and leadership development. Angeles currently serves as President on the board of directors for the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition. She is an appointed Community Advisory Commissioner for the Lemon Grove City Council, and she is a proud member of Kitchenistas.
When Angeles is not at work or volunteering in the community, she is a perpetual tourist in San Diego enjoying the sunny beaches with her four kids, her husband, and Daisy’s cheerful-golden paws.
Director of Engagement
Betzabel Estudillo, MSW (she/her)
Betzabel, Director of Engagement, joined Nourish California in 2020. Betzabel’s personal history as a former undocumented immigrant who was shut out of critical safety net programs drives her passion for this work. Betzabel leads our Food4All Campaign for inclusive access to food benefits among California immigrants. She also leads our organization’s engagement efforts to learn from, collaborate with, and amplify the power of individuals directly affected by food insecurity and poverty.
Betzabel Estudillo has more than a decade of experience in immigration, health, and public benefits working in the non-profit and labor sector. Her areas of expertise include policy development and analysis, legislative and budget advocacy, coalition building, and community outreach. Betzabel is a member of the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Community Advisory Committee.
Prior to joining Nourish California, Betzabel was at the Miguel Contreras Foundation and the California Immigrant Policy Center. Betzabel obtained her Masters in Social Work from the University of California Los Angeles, Luskin School of Public Affairs.
In her free time, Betzabel enjoys solving Sudoku puzzles, black coffee, and spending time with her family.
Courtney Shojinaga (she/her)
Courtney, Communications Coordinator, joined Nourish California in 2022. She executes communications strategies and manages the social media channels for Nourish California to effectively uplift the voices of those we serve and share the important work we do to address systemic injustices that perpetuate hunger and food insecurity.
Courtney attended the University of California, Los Angeles where she received her BA in Geography/Environmental Studies with a Food Studies minor. Prior to joining Nourish California, Courtney worked as a communications specialist and health educator at a few nonprofits based in Los Angeles. At these organizations, she advocated for equitable access to food, wellness and fair labor within local communities of color.
During her free time, Courtney enjoys drawing, checking out new coffee shops, and exercising.
George Manalo-LeClair (he/him)
George Manalo-LeClair (pronunciation) Executive Director, joined Nourish California in 1999. George describes his role as ensuring that Nourish California has the “resources and relationships” needed to advance our mission.
George’s long career in advocacy has taken him from the streets to the seats of power. He started as an organizer with the Alliance of the Streets and prior to joining Nourish California, he was the Legislative Director for the Children’s Alliance in Washington. He has helped thousands of advocates find their voice in policy advocacy campaigns across four states and has raised his own voice in seats of power in several state capitals and in testimony before Congress.
Prior to becoming Executive Director in 2012, George led the successful campaigns to knock down persistent barriers to food stamps like fingerprinting, excessive paperwork, and the car rule. As a result of these efforts, he has helped bring more than $2 billion a year to fight hunger in California. He was the driving force behind the transformation of the Food Stamp Program in California to CalFresh. His early vision and persistent advocacy for paperless school meal enrollment has helped feed millions of students and created thousands of hunger-free schools in the state.
George has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and takes a personal and professional interest supporting new advocates. Many of his former interns and supervisees continue in advocacy across the country and in all levels of government.
In his free time, George enjoys setting aside the macro problems of poverty and hunger for a moment to focus on problems that can be solved in a weekend, like plumbing leaks or broken furniture. He loves to cook for a crowd. He thinks neckties are stupid.
Jackie Mendelson (she/her/they/them)
Jackie, Policy Advocate, first joined Nourish California in 2022 as a graduate student intern supporting the Food4All campaign – a movement to expand food benefits to all Californians, regardless of immigration status. She rejoined the team as a full-time staff member in 2023. Jackie co-leads the Food4All campaign and supports Nourish California’s ongoing work in reducing barriers to CalFresh. They also lead organizational advocacy efforts in alleviating food insecurity among LGBTQ+ communities across the state.
Jackie brings years of direct experience with state-level food assistance programs. Prior to joining Nourish California, she managed programs at a farmers market nonprofit that increased community engagement and improved food access for low-income community members. She assisted in research with Californians experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis and evaluated an empowerment and health literacy program for high school youth. She and her peers started a movement in Berkeley Public Health to address weight stigma in the field of public health. Most recently, she served in the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) bureau preparing CFAP to begin its historic implementation work by championing equity initiatives that center the lived experiences of California immigrants.
Jackie first got her hands dirty in advancing food security in community gardens and urban farms of Tucson as a University of Arizona undergraduate. She holds a Masters of Public Health Nutrition with a Graduate Certificate in Food Systems from the University of California, Berkeley.
In her free time, you can find Jackie hiking and backpacking, gardening, baking, and serving as a community builder in her Jewish community.
Jared Call (he/him)
Jared, Senior Advocate, joined Nourish California in 2015. He oversees the organization’s state legislative agenda and the annual policy development process related to state legislation.
Jared leads Nourish California’s advocacy aimed at increasing low-income Californians’ access and participation in CalFresh. His areas of focus include ensuring an equitable customer experience across the state, linking CalFresh access to other public benefit programs, and simplifying the application process — particularly for older adults and people with disabilities. He also leads our work to successfully implement state-funded nutrition benefit pilot projects.
Jared received his BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University. Prior to becoming a policy advocate, he worked to improve access to healthy food in Los Angeles by operating certified farmers’ markets, nutrition education programs, and healthy incentive projects for a local nonprofit organization.
While he has lived in various locales across the country and abroad, Jared considers himself a Californian through and through. He has equally split his years in the Golden State between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, where he currently lives and works. Fittingly, he is a fan of both the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jared enjoys spending his free time cooking, hiking and biking in the outdoors, and rooting for his favorite sports teams.
Kameron Mims-Jones, MSW (she/her)
Kameron, Policy Advocate, joined Nourish California in 2019. She is a part of our Cal-Fresh policy team whose work is focused on implementing policies to improve access and participation.
Kameron specializes in the intersection of age and access to public assistance. She is leading our nutrition advocacy with Governor Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan on Aging, a blueprint that can be used by state government, local communities, private organizations and philanthropy to build environments that promote an age friendly California.
Prior to joining Nourish California, Kameron was a MSW candidate whose research was focused on welfare reform, specifically reforms that support educational attainment in single mothers who identify as African/Black American. Kameron is passionate about policies that stimulate economic mobility and economic justice for minoritized populations. She has a Master of Social Work from Columbia University.
In her free time, Kameron loves to travel, especially travel with my family and friends.
Michelle Lee, MPH, RD (she/her)
Michelle, Policy Advocate, first joined Nourish California as the Sarah Samuels Public Health Policy Fellow in 2021 and rejoined the team as a full-time staff member in 2023. She supports the organization’s advocacy efforts surrounding early childhood nutrition, CalFresh benefit adequacy, and ensuring state and federal programs meet the needs of the Californians they serve.
Prior to joining Nourish California, Michelle worked directly with community members and partners to increase participation in CalFresh in Santa Cruz County. During the CalFresh to Supplemental Security Income expansion, she led her county’s efforts to facilitate the enrollment of historically excluded individuals into CalFresh. Michelle also partnered with Basic Needs teams from various California college campuses to improve food security for undergraduate and graduate students. As a fellow at Nourish California, she identified and helped close gaps in equitable access to CalFresh for families with newly born children.
Michelle is a Registered Dietitian and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. She hopes to further ensure that programs and policies are inclusive and take into consideration people’s lived experiences, shared values, and cultural implications when making recommendations about food, nutrition, and well-being.
In her free time, Michelle enjoys exploring ice cream shops, climbing, and playing piano.
Director of Programs
Tia Shimada, MPH (she/her)
Tia, Director of Programs, joined Nourish California as a paid intern in 2008 and as a full-time member of the staff in 2009.
Tia provides overarching direction for programmatic work at Nourish California, leading the organization’s efforts to develop people-centered, stakeholder-informed, evidence-based priorities. She also oversees the Nourish California policy research agenda and serves as a staff lead for the Board’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. In all of these roles, Tia is privileged to work alongside a team that is dedicated to making California a better place for all who call it home.
Before life as a policy advocate, Tia conducted microbial ecology and child development research. The analytical and critical thinking skills she fostered in the pursuit of science serve her well in the pursuit of progressive policy change.
Her role at Nourish California allows Tia to engage in all areas of the organization’s work, though her deepest expertise lies in the school and summer nutrition programs. Among her favorite advocacy experiences was leading the long-sought, hard-fought effort to give students in California charter schools equitable, guaranteed access to school meals.
Tia earned a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. She values opportunities to support graduate students and new professionals as they blaze trails in public health and beyond.
Tia balances work life with adventures in open water swimming, hiking with family and friends, perpetual home repairs with her husband, and raising an ever-inquisitive Bay Area kid.