Board of Directors

Ellen

Ellen Pacola

Co-founder - President / CEO
Ellen is all heart. Since a young age she has been reaching out to communities and inspiring people. Her love of music and service inspired her to play percussion alongside local and international artists for charity events. . In the late 90’s she worked as a DJ, events to build community and support Brazilian immigrants. She was a partner for 5 years in “Little Pancakes Childcare’, inspiring children to get involved with music and culture. Her love for children inspires her to become a Music Together® certified instructor. She frequently travels abroad to Bali , Jamaica, and Brazil to spread joy to children by bringing music and love. Today she works as a personal chef, cooking healthy meals for families in the Bay Area. Recently, she led a humanitarian project in Brazil that helped to feed 160 families in poverty. Ellen’s passions are playing the drums, the sun, and building community.
Dinize

Dinize Wales

Co-founder - Executive Director / COO
For the last 35 years, Dinize Wales has been engaged in humanitarian work. At the age of 18 she wrote and published a book of poetry in Brazil and a percentage of the profit was donated to an orphanage in her hometown Natal/RN. Dinize held a variety of leadership positions with DoneWell Organizing and Nativa Productions, frequently hosting events and raising money for charities, dedicated to reaching out and helping the most vulnerable, especially children. In 2015 she organized the Street Store San Jose for the homeless. Four years in a row she raised money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, walking 60 miles from San Jose to San Francisco in three days. Dinize’s heart is in her family, friends, music, children, and inspirational events.
Jennifer

Jennifer Carolan

Board Member
I started my career as a classroom teacher in Elmwood Park Illinois. I moved to the Bay Area in 2000 where I was inspired by all of the entrepreneurs working on their ideas. I found a way to use my teaching experience to support these founders. I co-founded my first fund New Schools Seed Fund in 2011 and co-founded my second Reach Capital I in 2015 and Reach Capital II in 2018. These funds have aggregated more than $150M in capital to back amazing entrepreneurs who are passionate about creating exceptional tools for teachers and engaging curriculum for kids. They are creating opportunities for kids and young adults who might think of themselves as underdogs because of background or challenges. I love my job because I get to support these amazing founders every day. Specialties: teacher tools, education technologies, curricula.
Katrina

Katrina Leni

Board Member
Katrina is committed to developing regenerative and resilient communities for all. Her work is supported by a deep exploration of the human experience: building her own home and living off-grid enhanced her awareness of resource conservation, teaching middle school environmental education deepened her understanding of human development, living in Brazil opened her to a new level of human connection and joy. On practical matters, Katrina has worked for over 12 years as a mechanical engineer, researching and developing clean energy technologies. She currently works for the California Energy Commission where she leads a team focused on research and development to advance energy equity. She is a visionary with practical skills and abilities to put big ideas into action. Katrina has a masters degree in Sustainability from Harvard University and speaks Portuguese fluently.
Lisa

Lisa Bernard

Board Member
Lisa Bernard is a board-certified pediatrician who has been in the Bay Area for several decades. She grew up on the East Coast, attended Stanford, then returned to the East Coast for medical school and residency training. She worked at Kaiser for many years, took a hiatus to raise her two daughters, and then went back to practicing a few years ago. As a pediatrician, she is a proponent of healthy lifestyles and concerned by the number of kids with obesity. Her focus as a pediatrician is in promoting wellness and emphasizing the importance of exercise and smart food choices, beginning at a very young age.
Maíra

Maíra Strauss

Board Member
Maíra Strauss brings over 15 years of business development in diverse fields such as education, finance, and clean energy industries. Currently, she works as the Senior Finance Analyst for Marin Clean Energy, the first Community Choice Aggregation in California, which has redefined the local energy landscape, offering customers a cleaner and local choice in their electric service. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business from San Francisco State University and her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Strategic Marketing from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is currently a candidate for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) Certification. Besides being part of the Kind Hearts of Bay Area Board of Directors, Maíra is also engaged in year-round fundraising efforts to help underserved residents in Marin County, where she has been residing for the last three years.
Tatiane

Tatiane Martins

Board Member
Tatiane’s mission in life became clear during a volunteer work trip to Mozambique. While leading a team of twelve volunteers, including doctors, nurses, carpenters, and teachers in a project to provide a Community Service Facility and a Water Well for much needed clean water for the community, she realized she had a calling. She wasn’t sure where this calling would take her, but with her family’s support, and the exceptional organization and leadership skills from her years of experience as a Commercial Real Estate Property Manager, she stepped out in faith. She has returned to southern Africa five more times and worked on development projects. With her second son’s arrival, she focused her desire to continue her philanthropic work closer to home. For over ten years, she has been cooking a hearty, made from scratch, monthly dinner for 75-100 homeless and low-income guests with The Refuge program in Sunnyvale, California. She actively fundraises and coordinates with multiple donors to provide specialized services for this community. She is also the Chair for the Philanthropic Board at BOMA Silicon Valley, and for the past eight years, has organized their annual silent auction, leading a team that solicits corporations, companies and, single donors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes and gifts. Tatiane initiated a partnership for the program with the City Team Ministry and has raised over $500K to sponsor kids in need during the Christmas holidays, shopping and delivering to 150 children annually. Serving communities in need is here calling, her passion!
Thays

Thays Portugal

Board Member
Thays strives to find innovated ways to positively impact the lives of people living in social vulnerability. She is a co-founder and the CEO of Aurora & Lolo, a sustainable and conscious fashion e-commerce platform. Her work aims to empower people to identify possibilities where they can thrive while contributing to a more sustainable planet and fair society.
Thays has a background in law, licensed in California and in Rio de Janeiro; is certified in Entrepreneurship and Innovation by the Stanford Graduate School of Business; in Mindfulness Teaching by The Mindfulness Institute, and in Strategic Intervention Coaching by the Robbins Madanes Institute.

Our Team

Celia

Celia Fagotti

Treasurer / Executive Assistant
Celia started her career as a Librarian at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Since she arrived in the United States in 1992, Celia has funded and operated three businesses. As a family daycare provider, Celia reached out to more than 50 children and taught them Spanish as a second language. As an apparel entrepreneur, Celia imported handmade clothes and jewelry from Uruguay and proudly provided jobs for more than 200 women from the countryside of Uruguay. With a passion for healthy food, Celia founded and operated a commercial kitchen, producing and distributing organic lunch for companies and schools around the Bay Area. Celia has a passion for a healthy lifestyle, biking, hiking, socializing with friends, and learning how to be a better person. The most rewarding part of her life is helping others and knowing that she is making a difference.
Gustavo Girard

Gustavo Girard

Designer / IT
Graduated with a Degree in Systems Analysis and Development and certified in Web Design. He discovered his passion when working with creative people. Professional designer with 10+ years of experience in Startups, Agencies, E-commerce, and IT Companies. His Portfolio was published in the book "Interactive Agencies & Creative Professionals of Brazil" by the publisher Arteccom. He also won the "Site of the Day" award at CSSDA (CSSDesignAwards) and achieved a rare and special award with honors in the evaluation of the portfolio on AWARDS (a renowned website that awards talent in design, creativity, and innovation on the internet). Gustavo is a true believer in the power of teamwork to fight inequality, a reality he got to know closely as a volunteer in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) at a church committed to helping the most vulnerable ones. He believes that using his art and work to touch people's hearts and inspire great connections is a way to put thoughts into action towards changing the world to be a better place for everyone.
Aline

Aline Genzerico

Human Resources
From a very young age she worked as a volunteer teaching elderly ladies how to embroider bath and face towels to sell and earn money  for themselves. She also  worked in a barber shop cutting hairs for  those who couldn’t afford a haircut, to help them feel better by building their self-esteem. She studied Psychology to better understand human behavior and the mind, so she could better help those in need of empathy and love. Aline built a career in human resources, working at global companies such as Whirlpool and Capgemini as a Consultant Business Partner, where she developed good leadership skills and developed human resources processes, like recruiting, on-boardings, employee training & development, compensation and legal procedures. Passionate, she provided consulting and coaching to employees experiencing employee relations issues and challenges that were impacting their job satisfaction or performance, helping them to rise in their career by feeling part of a company that believes in the potential of people. She loves music, dancing, arts and community.
Evelyn

Evelyn Fonseca

Copy Editor
Evelyn Fonseca is a Finance Coordinator at Stanford University School of Medicine. She currently assists a group of 20 Clinical Research Coordinators at the Cancer Clinical Trials Office, where she ensures the financial data entry accuracy of her team and assists with the reconciliation of over 30 Hematology-Oncology Clinical Trials. Her role is essential in improving the Division’s financial liquidity, while creating visibility of collected funds. Evelyn brings over 10 years of business administration, event coordination and customer service experience. Aside from her current position, she also volunteers for two non-profit organizations. At Kind Hearts For You, in addition to participating in projects and assisting in raising funds for the institution, she also contributes her English proficiency in the role of Copy Editor. At BayBrazil, where she’s volunteered since 2012, she contributes her skills in event coordination by engaging with members, speakers and future clients, and aiding in promoting regular networking affairs throughout the Bay Area. Her hobbies include dancing, hiking, volleyball, traveling, cooking, writing, and embracing new adventures.
Amanda

Amanda Pereira

Marketing
Journalist, Planner, and Entrepreneur. Manager at Cuca (www.agenciacuca.com.br) and Minnemann Surf Club (www.minnemannsurf.com.br); amateur chef and mother of 3 pets, Amanda believes in the power of communication to create and strengthen relationships capable of transforming the world. As a yoga practitioner passionate about nature, she sees that love and understanding that we are all connected are the main paths to a full and meaningful life.

Corporate Partners

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality."
- John Lennon