Alchemist CDC

A Catalyst for Change

Alchemist CDC - A Catalyst for Change

Staff & Board


Davida Douglas, Executive Director
Davida was Alchemist’s first employee. She runs Alchemist’s programs and manages the day-to-day operations of the organization. Davida came to the organization with over ten years’ experience working with non-profit organizations, as well as several years with a private community outreach firm, and general business management experience. She is originally from rural Missouri, and has been a Sacramento resident for over 15 years, currently residing in the Oak Park neighborhood. Contact Davida at 916-204-8260 or by email: davida(at)alchemistcdc(dot)org

Claire Curley, Farmers’ Markets Program Coordinator
(916) 538-0707
Claire works on our CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers and Market Match programs, including volunteer and intern recruitment and coordination. Claire, a Sacramento native, earned her B.A. at UC Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies in 2013 where she focused her studies on climate justice. After college, Claire served the Sacramento community in Americorps where she developed and managed various climate change-related programs with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management Board. Through her education and Americorps experience, Claire became interested in food justice and how it relates to social, environmental and climate justice in Sacramento. Claire lives in the Southside Park neighborhood and enjoys reading, drinking coffee, traveling, playing with her dog, and weaving.  

Jacob Sacks, Administrative Manager
Jacob assists with all programs on the administrative side. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from UC Davis in 2011 and has experience working at public interest law firms. In addition to having a passion for social justice issues, Jacob is also passionate about Red Sox baseball, cooking and travel. 

Ashleigh Belding, Special Projects Manager
Ashleigh became interested community health at an early age while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminology at UC Davis. Shortly after college she began working with emotionally disturbed youth in Northern California and over 7 years became intimately familiar withLinkedInPhoto the effects of poorly developed environments on the health and welfare of our most vulnerable communities. Ashleigh holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Drexel University. She began interning with Alchemist CDC in 2014 and was later hired to continue working on special projects. She lives in West Sacramento with her husband, son and 3 chickens.  She spends her free time cooking, traveling, hiking and most importantly, flipping pancakes on Saturdays.

Shelly Smith, Farmers’ Market Associate
Shelly staffs the CalFresh booth at the Galt Market, and as a long-time Galt resident, is passionate about serving her community.

LaTisha Sohai, Healthy Communities Program Coordinator
2017116 Tisha website picLaTisha conducts educational tours related to nutrition and food access at neighborhood grocery stores. She also provides CalFresh booth staffing and outreach support for our CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers and Market Match programs.
LaTisha is a Sacramento native and holds certifications in Health & Wellness Education, Food Service Management, Culinary Arts and Medical Assisting. After moving to Denver for college she returned home in 2015 and has done extensive work with various nonprofits.


Marieflor Bauzon: CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers (primary site: Midtown Farmers’ Market)

Joselyne Monterrubio: CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers (primary site: Laguna Gateway Farmers’ Market)

Kathleen Caesar: CalFresh: Connecting Families to Farmers (primary site: Sunrise Station Farmers’ Market)

Claire Youngerman: Promotional Video Development Intern

Jillian Jackson: Green Alley Project

Arturo Fuentes-Ortiz: Pansy Ave. Pocket Park project

Find out more about internship opportunities with Alchemist CDC, click here.

Board of Directors

Elizabeth Smoker, President

Holding an M.S. in Food Systems and Society from Marylhurst University, Beth is a Policy and Communications Consultant for the California Climate and Agriculture Network. She also consults for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, contributing to research on their Agroecology Knowledge Hub, and serves as Vice Chair on the Sacramento Food Policy Council.

Beth has volunteered with numerous nonprofits: helping market managers at farmers’ markets and teaching cooking and nutrition classes in low income communities. Prior to joining Alchemist’s board, she helped us facilitate the use of CalFresh benefits at farmers’ markets. Beth also loves to experiment in her own kitchen, baking homemade bread and pickling anything she can get her hands on.

Shawn Mainville, Vice President201751 Shawn for website
Shawn is a CalWORKs Employment Policy Manager with the California Department of Social Services. He has worked in his time at Social Services with county partners, Community Based Organizations and advocates to implement policies that increase CalFresh program access. A Sacramento native, Shawn received a Bachelor of General Studies from Arkansas State University in 2000, and was a member of the 2013 cohort of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute, conducted by the Sacramento Housing Alliance. Shawn lives in Tahoe Park with his nine-year-old daughter and ten-year-old greyhound. In his free time he enjoys fishing and riding with the 2nd California Cavalry living history reenactors.

Jamie Cutlip,Treasurer
Jamie is a Local Government Affairs Representative at SMUD. She has an extensive background spanning 15 years in government and nonprofits including community planning, economic development and environmental advocacy. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University, and is a former board member of the Northern California Solar Association. As a former Associate Planner with the City of Sacramento, her expertise extends from permitting/entitlement reviews to sustainability program management and policy development focused on green building, solar permitting and infill development. When not exploring new campsites or wineries, Jamie resides in Sacramento with her husband and two dogs.

Mariko Yoshihara, Secretary
Mariko is the the Legislative Counsel and Policy Director for the California Employment Lawyers Association.  She works on legislation, education and outreach, and amicus briefs, to help advance and protect workers’ rights in California.  In 2015, she helped pass the Fair Pay Act, giving California the strongest equal pay laws in the nation.  She is also the board chair of the Center for Workers’ rights in Sacramento.  In law school, Mariko studied health law and food policy, which helped develop her interest in food access and food justice work, and steered her toward Alchemist.  In her free time Mariko enjoys volleyball, soccer, and traveling.

Jamila Bebe Khan
Born and raised in Sacramento, Jamila is the Content and Social Media Coordinator for Sacramento365, the year-round source for events. Jamila is a graduate of the University of California, Davis Community and Regional Development program, where she first was introduced to Alchemist’s work. Before joining the Board in 2011, Jamila worked as an stipended intern at the nonprofit’s Bryte and Broderick urban farm stand in West Sacramento. In her free time, Jamila loves to add new stamps to her passport, attend community events, discover new music, and try out new recipes in her kitchen.

Colin Bailey
Colin is the Executive Director and an attorney at law at The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. He received his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, where he participated in the Program in Public Interest Law & Policy and the Critical Race Studies concentration. He lives in Sacramento with his wife and two daughters.

Dawn Dunlap, Past President (2013-15)

Dawn is Manager of Nutrition Programs for the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, one of the most successful co-ops in the nation. She earned a B.S. in Dietetics with a minor in Child Nutrition from San Francisco State University. With a diverse background in nutrition education, policy and environment change initiatives, Dawn has held a number of leadership roles to support local, regional and state policy and projects related to obesity, hunger, poverty and access to healthy foods. She is the former President of Alchemist CDC, former chair of the Sacramento Hunger Coalition, steering committee member of the California Hunger Action Coalition, steering committee member for the Regional Food System Collaborative, graduate of Sacramento City’s Planning Academy and recipient of Honorable Service for development of Nutrition Programs for low-income populations by the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Hailing from a small farm in Washington State, Dawn is passionate about local agriculture, social equity, education and economic development that targets low income populations. In her free time Dawn enjoys finding new places to explore and hike, spending time with her advocate-in-training 10-year-old daughter, and putting her unprofessionally trained but decently good interior design skills to use.

Dave Kempa
Dave is a freelance journalist and Adjunct Professor of Journalism at American River College. Holding a B.S. in English-Creative Writing and M.M.C. in Journalism & Mass Communication, Dave earned a Robert F. Kennedy Award for Journalism for his 2009 exploration on why southern Mexico’s young men continued to risk their lives crossing the United States border. He serves on the board of 916 Ink, reports on poverty, arts and life in the Sacramento region, and even sets aside time for creative writing of his own. In his free time Dave enjoys running, soccer, crosswords and disappearing into foreign lands.