Board of Directors

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Executive Board

Xavier Abrams
Board Chair

Chair – Promotions Committee

Xavier Abrams grew up in Richmond, California and attended Cal State East Bay where she studied Business Administration, Marketing, and Spanish. Mrs. Abrams is Office Manager of The Mechanics Bank, Kensington Branch. Through her career at Mechanics Bank, she has built key relationships within the Richmond community. She is a board member for A New America Community Corporation and the board chair for Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. Mrs. Abrams is married, the proud mother of two girls and a volunteer with numerous organizations in West Contra Costa County.
Billy Ward
Board Vice Chair
A native of Richmond, California, Billy Ward is currently a sales manager for Southern Wine and Spirits of California, one of the largest wine and spirits distribution companies in the world. Ward is also very active in the community as he had served on the Executive Board of Directors for Take Wings Foundation for over 8 years. In addition, he volunteers as a mentor for the YMCA of the East Bay.
Charlene Smith
Board Secretary

Chair Economic Development Committee

Charlene Smith received her B.A. from McGill University (Montreal) and completed all course work in the M.B.A. Arts Administration program at Golden Gate University (San Francisco). Since 1985, she has worked with a variety of Bay Area non-profit organizations, including: San Francisco Ballet, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Stern Grove Festival, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and Oakland Asian Cultural Center. She has also taught workshops on various aspects of grant writing and fundraising and has on boards of numerous local organizations. Ms. Smith currently works for East Bay Center for the Performing Arts as Senior Development Officer and serves as Chair of the Economic Development Committee.
Tami Steelman Gonzales
Board Treasurer
Charlene Smith received her B.A. from McGill University (Montreal) and completed all course work in the M.B.A. Arts Administration program at Golden Gate University (San Francisco). Since 1985, she has worked with a variety of Bay Area non-profit organizations, including: San Francisco Ballet, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Stern Grove Festival, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and Oakland Asian Cultural Center. She has also taught workshops on various aspects of grant writing and fundraising and has on boards of numerous local organizations. Ms. Smith currently works for East Bay Center for the Performing Arts as Senior Development Officer and serves as Chair of the Economic Development Committee.
Amanda Elliott
Board Secretary

Chair Economic Development Committee

Amanda Elliott is a graduate of St. Mary’s College Masters in Leadership Program. She has helped to improve the image of downtown Richmond by providing exciting activities and events that celebrate the rich history and diversity of the city. Amanda has been instrumental in organizing and implementing health & wellness activities and events including weekly fitness classesFarmers’ Market, and Healthy Village Festival events. Additionally, she collaborated with the City of Richmond to implement the Summer Youth Entrepreneur ProgramArt In Windows, and the pilot Neighborhood Ambassador Program. She has built strong relationships within the community and garnered support from area stakeholders including, business and property owners, community based organizations, local government and residents. Under her leadership, she helped to form the Downtown Richmond Property Business Improvement District (DRPBID) in 2012—the first and only Property Business Improvement District in West Contra Costa County.

Amanda is the recipient of community service awards from Black American Political Action Committee and Full Vision Arts Foundation. She serves on the board of the California Main Street Alliance, the City of Richmond Economic Development Commission, and the Berkeley Global Campus Community Working Group.

Board Members

Cynthia Haden
Past Board Chair

Chair Clean and Safe Committee

Cynthia Haden is a licensed private investigator with over 20 years experience. Currently Ms. Haden is working in the field of intellectual property. Ms. Haden serves as Chair of the Richmond Main Street Initiative, Executive Board President for Richmond Police Crime Prevention, Secretary for Richmond Police Volunteers, and as a chaplain for the Richmond Police Department.
Gina Fromer
Gina Fromer has committed her life to the building of community and to the inclusion of families, businesses, and community-based organizations. A native San Franciscan, raised in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, Gina began her community social work at Young Community Developers, where she spent her teen years counseling her fellow youth and helping to develop and sustain the YCD’s Summer Youth Employment Programs.

From there, she moved to a successful position as a youth coordinator at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, balancing her career development with her pursuit of a psychology degree at S. F. State – and raising a family. Her resume also includes positions at the San Francisco Head Start Program, OMI Family Resource Center, and Bayview YMCA. Gina has won a number of awards for her work and service, including the Jefferson Award for Community Service (2012) and the KQED Local Heroes Award (2013).

In her current role as the California State Director of the Trust for Public Land, Gina applies her skills and expertise to realizing her goal of “empowerment toward advocacy toward social justice toward social change”.

Susan Bain
Susan Bain is a Division Manager for Contra Costa County’s Employment and Human Services Workforce Services Bureau. She manages and oversees the Welfare to Work and Childcare program in West Contra Costa County. Prior to her career with Contra Costa County she worked extensively in the non-profit and public educational arenas. Susan holds a B.A. degree in Sociology from California State University, East Bay.
Virgil Weekes

City of Richmond, LEAP Director/Teacher Coordinator, Retired
RPAL Mentorship Coordinator, Retired

Zakhary Mallett
Zakhary Mallett was first elected to represent the residents of BART’s Seventh District during the November 2012 General Election. The Seventh District includes Albany (partial), Berkeley (partial), Emeryville, Oakland (partial), El Cerrito (partial), Hercules, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Unincorporated Contra Costa County (partial) and San Francisco (partial).

A Bay Area native, Director Mallett became fascinated with transit at a young age. As a youth, in his day-to-day experiences on transit, he curiously wondered why it worked in some places and not in others. From this curiosity, Mallett developed a passion for seeking out solutions to transit-related issues and advocating for transit and land-use investments that allow this mode of transportation to be a viable and competitive alternative to driving. Before being elected to the BART Board, Mallett participated civically in several transportation and regional planning study initiatives for more than ten years.

Consistent with his passion, Director Mallett is trained as a City/Transportation Planner by profession. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University and has a Master of City Planning (MCP) degree with a Transportation Planning emphasis from the University of California, Berkeley. Director Mallett resides in El Sobrante.

Advisory Members

James Goins
James “Jim” Goins holds degrees in Business Administration and Social Psychology from the University of Utah. He joined Salt Lake County Government as the Director of Intergovernmental Relations and was promoted to the Chief Administrative Officer. Following his county service, Mr. Goins served as the City Manager for Compton, California.

Immediately prior to his appointment at the City of Richmond as the Finance Director in August 2005, Mr. Goins was the Managing Director of Public Finance with the Holfer & Arnett firm, headquartered in San Francisco. He is a NASD registered Municipal Securities Principal (series 53) and a General Securities Representative (series 7 and 63). Mr. Goins’ commitment to the revitalization of historic Main Street was recognized in 2014 when he became a recipient of the Downtown Champion Award. He retired from his role as the Finance Director in 2015.

Jerrold Hatchett
Jerrold Hatchett was born and raised in Northern California and graduated from Hogan High School in Vallejo. As Division Manager of Sims Metal Management, Richmond, he has made a variety of lasting contributions to the community, including: fundraising for Juneteenth celebrations, sponsorship of Music on the Main and the Holiday Festival, to name a few. He also makes contributions to the Richmond Arts Center, the East Bay Center for Performing Arts, and the Rosie the Riveter Memorial. He has been an active member of the King Solomon Lodge since 1986, the Santa Fe and Coronado Neighborhood Councils, and Richmond Rescue Mission. He is also a member of the Council of Industries and Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
Michael Davenport
Michael Davenport graduated from Harry Ells High School in 1967. After serving in the US military, he attended Contra Costa College and UC Berkeley. In 1996, Mr. Davenport established Richmond-based business DP Security LLC, a motorcycle escorts and personal protection service. His community service work includes: Richmond Anti-Drug Force (former chair); Richmond Kiwanis Club (past president); Richmond PAL (Executive Board member); Richmond Chamber of Commerce (Board Member); BAPA; and Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Emeritus Members

Arnie Kasendorf
Arnie Kasendorf is a graduate of CSU Hayward with master’s degree in Recreation Therapy. He has spent over 30 years as the senior vice-president of an international marketing company. He served as chairman of the Richmond Commission on Aging for 10 years. Following this position, the Mayor appointed Mr. Kasendorf to the Richmond Housing Advisory Commission. Currently he is an ambassador for the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, vice-president of the California Alliance for Retired Americans, and represents Richmond on the Contra Costa County Area Agency on Aging. Mr. Kasendorf served as Chair of the Richmond Main Street Board of Directors (2004-2010) and as a board member (2011-2015). In 2014 he became a recipient of the Downtown Champion Award in recognition of his dedication and service to the revitalization of historic Downtown Richmond.

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