Zaneta Encarnacion

Zaneta Salde Encarnacion is a lifelong resident of San Diego County. She is a first generation college student and graduate who has overcome youth homelessness to become a results-driven executive leader with more than 20 years of experience in public education and government institutions. She never loses sight of her 13-year-old self when working to address the challenges and barriers that keep people from reaching their potential. Zaneta’s chronic volunteerism includes serving on the boards for The San Diego LGBT Community Center, The Museum of Us, and Child Development Associates. She loves and values her fierce inner circle of family and friends. She thrives in intentional relationships that serve a greater good. She has a love-hate relationship with faith and politics.



John Valencia

John Valencia is a visionary leader and advocate for social change with a proven track record in education and business. As the President & CEO of Good For Others, a consultancy firm supporting nonprofits, government agencies, and educational institutions, John empowers organizations to develop impactful workforce development projects that drive social and economic progress. Throughout his career, John has been at the forefront of creating and leading award-winning regional workforce development programs. He was the driving force behind the establishment of CyberHire San Diego, Apprenticeship Readiness Collaborative, and the East County Education Alliance. These initiatives have served as models for best practices in providing unemployed and underserved individuals with the skills and opportunities necessary to attain family-sustaining wages. A dynamic and inspirational figure, John has held a multitude of significant roles within the community college sector, including Vice Chancellor of Workforce Development and VP of Innovation. His innovative approach to education has revolutionized the way colleges engage with and support their students, leading to increased enrollment and student success.With a deep commitment to fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environments, John has not only shaped the futures of countless individuals, but also enriched communities and organizations with his dedication, passion, and unparalleled expertise.


Tom Wong

Tom K. Wong is an associate professor of political science and founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California, San Diego. He served as an advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) under the Obama administration where he co-led the immigration portfolio and was appointed by Governor Gerry Brown to serve on the State of California 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (CCC). He is also winner of the ACLU Presidential Prize, which is given to an academic who has made outstanding contributions to civil rights and civil liberties. He is also Co-Director of the Human Rights and Migration program. His research focuses on the politics of immigration, citizenship, and migrant “illegality.” As these issues have far-reaching implications, his work also explores the links between immigration, race and ethnicity, and the politics of identity. His first book, Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control, analyzes the immigration control policies of twenty-five Western immigrant-receiving democracies (Stanford University Press, 2015). In analyzing over 30,000 roll call votes on immigration-related legislation in Congress since 2005, his second book, The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity (Oxford University Press, 2017), represents the most comprehensive analysis to date on the contemporary politics of immigration in the United States. Wong’s research has been used by policymakers both in the U.S. and in Mexico, as well as by organizations that serve immigrant communities. Wong’s research has been used in several federal lawsuits to defend DACA, end family separation at the southern border, and prohibit indefinite child detention, among others. Wong and his work has been covered by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, NPR and major media outlets across the country in hundreds of articles. He is also on the board of the California Immigrant Policy Center. Wong also consults on campaigns elections and has run large-scale c3, c4, and independent expenditure campaigns specializing in mobilizing low-propensity voters of color and immigrant communities. He is lead evaluator for the Four Freedoms Fund civic engagement program and lead evaluator for the RISE Together Fund civic engagement program.

Lucas O’Connor

Lucas is the Executive Director of the Progressive Labor Alliance, and has nearly two decades of work in campaign, governance, labor, and community organizing spaces in San Diego. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for San Diego Councilmember and now-Assemblymember Chris Ward. Additionally, he has worked for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Congressman Scott Peters, Senator Barbara Boxer, and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. He was a founding board member for Climate Action Campaign and the San Diego Leadership Alliance, and has served on the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party and as a Board Member of the League of Conservation Voters San Diego. He has been published in a variety of regional, state, and national outlets and has his own branded t-shirt line.