Rachel Alderette joined Capitol Impact in December 2019. As a program manager, she supports the following programs: The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards, the California Legislative Staff Education Institute, and the Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign. Prior to joining Capitol Impact, Rachel consulted for the Sacramento-based nonprofit California Coverage and Health Initiatives. She provided support for members, assisted with grant reports, and led event planning and execution. In 2017, Rachel worked as a Legislative Aide in the California State Assembly, managing legislative relationships and successfully steering two bills into law. Additionally, Rachel has a decade of experience in hospitality management. She has trained and led effective teams in fine dining and planned and executed successful banquet events for more than 3,000 guests. Rachel holds a B.A. in Government from the California State University, Sacramento; and an A.A. in Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts from American River College.
Christopher Cabaldon supports multiple initiatives at Capitol Impact through his expertise in strategic planning and design, policy development and implementation, movement building and change management, and facilitation. He has led the firm’s projects on linked learning and college/career readiness, legislative staff capacity-building, and community college student success, as a trusted intermediary with the James Irvine, Bill & Melinda Gates, Hewlett, and many other philanthropic foundations. He served as Chief Consultant to the Assembly Higher Education Committee and then Chief of Staff to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, before joining the California Community Colleges as Vice Chancellor for Policy, Planning & External Affairs. Appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate to three terms as California’s delegate to the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, he is also a board member for EdSource. Cabaldon became Mayor of West Sacramento in 1998 and served as chair of Jobs, Education and Workforce for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He co-chaired the national mayors’ working group to dismantle systemic racism with the mayors of Atlanta and Augusta, and represented the U.S. at the Global Parliament of Mayors.
A tenured faculty member at Sacramento State University, he was appointed as the Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair and Professor of Public Policy & Administration. His innovative initiatives have been featured at national forums from South by Southwest to the Federal Reserve, and he has facilitated strategic planning for the Regents of the University of California. Cabaldon was founding co-chair of both the Asian Pacific and Gay/Lesbian caucuses of the League of California Cities, and the national chair of America’s LGBTQ mayors. He was also president of Asian and Pacific Americans in Higher Education, founding chair of the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, and president of the Asian Pacific Legislative Caucus. He holds a B.S. in environmental economics from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from CSU, Sacramento.
Senior Program Director
Olivia Capeloto joined Capitol Impact in 2013. As Senior Program Director and Operations Manager, Olivia supports firm business activities and several flagship initiatives, including The California Legislative Staff Education Institute (CLSEI), the only ongoing professional development program for legislative staff. Across assignments, Olivia provides project/program management, event planning, content development, design and implementation and budget management, grant writing and reporting, and relationship development with funders, board members, businesses, elected officials and local stakeholders and practitioners. Since joining the team, she has been instrumental in the successful expansion of both CLSEI and the firm.
Prior to Capitol Impact, Olivia graduated Summa Cum Laude from UC Davis with a B.S. in Community and Regional Development with dual concentrations in Policy and Planning and Organizational Management. Olivia’s passion for educational access and equity result from her deeply personal experience navigating the public educational system with a disability.
Outside of the work, Olivia is an avid equestrian and animal lover who has never met a fury friend she doesn’t want to pet. She also loves quiet spa days, renovation projects, outdoor adventures and spending quality time with her family and two beautiful golden retrievers.
Senior Program Director
Anna Fontus has provided policy analysis, development, and strategy services to various projects at Capitol Impact since her hiring in 2014. As a program manager, she has helped drive policy agendas responsive to challenges in K-12 schools, higher education and workforce development, with a success story to tell at the local, state, and federal levels. Her work at Capitol Impact has reinforced long-held beliefs that “we are all in this together.” Anna cherishes the opportunities her job has provided in connecting segments and building coalitions to improve programs and positively impact millions of Californians. Known for her unyielding commitment to underserved populations and deconstructing the roots of their challenges, she brings an incisive focus on equity to her work at Capitol Impact and in her community engagement.
Outside of Capitol Impact, Anna works to serve the Sacramento community in several volunteer roles. She is the 2019 Vice Chair for the Paratransit, Inc. Board of Directors, the Community Engagement Lead for the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Metro EDGE Leadership Council and sits on the Inspire Giving Leadership Council.
After completing morning cardio, her workday, and engagement with a local organization, you can find Anna ensuring she has spectacular food recommendations for her friends, convincing them to walk or bike to those recommendations, or planning her next voyages abroad. She recently added three new stamps to her passport and hopes to add more in the near future.
Erika Gonzalez joined Capitol Impact in May 2021. As a Program Assistant, she provides administrative and program support to several initiatives, including The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards and the Governor’s Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign. Erika has more than 15 years of administrative experience working for a wide range of government and private sector organizations. Most notably, she worked as an administrative assistant for former City of Sacramento Councilmember Bonnie Pannell and a program technician for the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Erika is deeply engaged as a volunteer in the greater Sacramento region. She served as a member of the Sacramento Valley Organizing Community which consists of grassroots leaders from three racially and ethnically diverse Northern California counties. In this role, she helped secure funding to build hundreds of affordable homes, enabled thousands of immigrants to become U.S. citizens, and created a Welfare-to-Work center that placed people in living-wage jobs. She has multiple years of experience in event planning and helped plan and execute of a large-scale community concert in Sacramento.
Erika is fluent in Spanish, proficient in both speaking and writing. In her spare time, Erika enjoys spending time with her three children and grandson, traveling, cooking and arts & crafts.
Melissa Granville joined Capitol Impact in January 2018. As Principal, Melissa supports several projects at the firm, including The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards program, the Governor’s Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign, and the California Legislative Staff Education Institute. Across projects, Melissa provides project/program management, event planning, partnership development, and philanthropy and policy advising.
Melissa previously served as the development director for the Sacramento-based nonprofit, Food Literacy Center. In her role, she was responsible for leading all fund development activities, including annual planning and budget management, grant writing and reporting, event planning, and building relationships with funders, businesses, elected officials and individuals. She also managed all nonprofit communications, including public relations and marketing.
Melissa holds a B.A. & M.A. in Communications from Wichita State University. She is an member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community (Sacramento Hub). In her spare time, Melissa enjoys riding her bike, traveling, eating at Sacramento’s best restaurants, and playing ultimate Frisbee.
Senior Program Director
Natalie Lenhart is a Senior Program Director at Capitol Impact. In this role, she focuses on coalition building, cross-sector collaboration, workforce development, education technology, and strategic planning. Natalie is passionate about working with many different organizations to expand and strengthen their impact.
Before starting at Capitol Impact, Natalie received her B.A. in comparative government at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). She spent time in the political realm working on Assembly and Senate campaigns, and as a constituent service representative. After joining Capitol Impact in 2016, she returned to school to obtain her Master’s in Public Administration from the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California (Fight On!). Her academic and professional background has solidified her belief that social issues do not exist in a vacuum and only through collaborative partnerships can we create scalable solutions.
Outside of work, Natalie sits on the Board of the Capitol Network Association, enjoys cheese board hopping with friends, bingeing 90’s sitcoms on Netflix, and escaping to Tahoe for a much needed hike or climb.
Rick Miller has extensive experience in education management, policy and communications on the federal, state and local level. His work at Capitol Impact focuses on district improvement and large scale collaboration between educational organizations.
Miller serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CORE Districts. The CORE districts is a learning partnership between eight large California school districts, representing over a million students.
Prior to joining Capitol Impact, Miller was a Deputy State Superintendent at the California Department of Education. In this position, Miller developed policy recommendations on promising ways to improve student achievement throughout California specifically focused on closing the state’s achievement gaps from Prek to Higher Education.
Previously Miller worked at Microsoft Corporation developing communications strategies on privacy, security, and overall corporate image. Miller also served as a strategic communications advisor to the Chancellor of the California State University System (CSU). Prior to working at CSU, Miller served the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. as Press Secretary to Richard W. Riley, Secretary of Education in the Clinton Administration. Miller also spent time during those years periodically detailed to the White House Office of Advance where he traveled domestically and internationally on behalf of President Clinton.
Miller lives in Rocklin, California with his wife Julie, an elementary school speech therapist, and their two High School aged sons, Casey and Ryan. Miller was also elected as a Trustee for the Rocklin Unified School District in 2018 and is currently serving a four year term.
Jay Schenirer has worked in a multitude of positions that provide him a unique and comprehensive view of the world. He has had experience in both the public and private sectors, as a legislative and state employee, operating his own businesses, working in the non-profit and philanthropic fields and as an elected official.
Mr. Schenirer is co-director of the California Legislative Staff Education Staff Institute, a program officer for the California Education Policy Fund, and leads a variety of Capitol Impact’s projects on education and children’s health.
After earning his Masters in Public Affairs at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, he came to Sacramento to work as a budget and policy analyst in the Office of the Legislative Analyst, focusing on general government and health issues. In two other stints as a legislative staffer, he worked for the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Office of Research concentrating on health and youth issues. He was also appointed as an Assistant Secretary of Education for Development and Planning by former Governor Gray Davis. Mr. Schenirer left state government to develop a restaurant and catering business that, over 11 years, grew into a multimillion-dollar operation with 5 facilities and up to 100 employees at a given time. Mr. Schenirer transitioned from the private sector into the non-profit world, first as Deputy Director of the Foundation Consortium for California’s Children and Youth and later as the General Manager of Sacramento Food Bank Services in one of Sacramento’s poorest neighborhoods.
Mr. Schenirer was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Sacramento City Unified School District in 1996, serving as Board President for 3½ years and vice-president for 2 years, helping lead the district through an academic renaissance that resulted in SCUSD becoming known as a national model of school reform. He also led two bond campaigns that resulted in over $400 million to rebuild the physical infrastructure of the district. More recently, Mr. Schenirer was elected to the Sacramento City Council, representing 58,000 Sacramentans in 22 neighborhoods.
Over the past decade, Mr. Schenirer has helped build Capitol Impact into a well-respected consulting business working primarily in the non-profit and philanthropic arena. Mr. Schenirer serves on a number of boards and commissions important to the future of the community. Jay and his wife Bina have two sons, David and Noah.
Whitney Stormberg serves as a Program Associate at Capitol Impact and is the Office Manager for the nonprofit, CORE Districts. Primarily serving as CORE’s Office Manager, she provides liaison support between school site staff, district strategists, and CORE’s Improvement Coaches; is responsible for the back end maintenance of CORE’s website; manages CORE’s insurance with clients and partners; amongst other duties.
Previously, Whitney managed constituent affairs and performed event brief research for Governor Gavin Newsom while he was Lieutenant Governor of California. With a degree in International Relations and minor in Business Admin from Carroll College, she has continuously paired her interest in foreign affairs with her passion for service work. Within the past five years she has traveled and worked with Engineers Without Borders and various private entities; meeting, serving and developing friendships with those she has encountered both nationally and internationally. With a passion for public service, Whitney plans to always be a part of an organization whose mission is to improve the surrounding community.
Alex Taghavian, who joined Capitol Impact in 2013, has 20 years of educational leadership and teaching experience, and has extensive expertise in economic and workforce development strategies. Prior to joining Capitol Impact, Taghavian served in academic management roles for public and private universities, including as an adjunct professor at Sacramento State teaching scholarly writing and research methodologies.
Taghavian serves as the Chair Elect for the Los Rios Colleges Foundation board of directors, and previously served as Chair of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce board of directors in 2019.
At Capitol Impact, Taghavian leads strategy for the firm’s business clients and their social impact initiatives. His portfolio covers the design and implementation of technology solutions, workforce development programs, and postsecondary partnerships.
Taghavian holds a bachelor degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a master degree from Sacramento State, and a doctor of education from Drexel University. He received the Leadership and Service Award from the School of Education at Drexel University and was selected as a winner in the Sacramento Business Journal 40 Under 40 award.
Senior Program Director
Traci Verardo-Torres joined Capitol Impact in February 2021, bringing over two decades of experience in public affairs, advocacy, and public policy.
Prior to joining Capitol Impact, Traci founded TVT Consulting, an independent, Sacramento-based public affairs consulting firm. She counseled clients on policies and legislative issues, successfully lobbied the state Legislature and Administration to gain passage of key legislation and budget requests and delivered trainings to help nonprofits increase their advocacy capacity. Before founding TVT Consulting, Traci was Vice President of Government Affairs at the California State Parks Foundation for over a decade. She established and led the organization’s portfolios in legislative affairs, grassroots activism, policy, and nonprofit support. She has served in several nonprofit executive roles and also has experience in public affairs and public relations in the private sector.
Traci’s legislative and policy work began in the mid-1990s when she served as a Senate Fellow and later as a Legislative Aide in the California State Senate. Traci holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Administration from California State University Sacramento, and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of California San Diego. She lives in Sacramento with her spouse and daughters.
Join Our Team!
We are a highly motivated, action-oriented team focused on making real social change and impacting people’s lives and opportunities. Our staff has a wide variety of experiences and training, and we hire people who are savvy, smart and are both great collaborators and independent. We’re looking for talented, smart, curious/hungry folks who want to make a difference. Please review our open positions and apply to the positions that match your qualifications.