Our Team

Meet our Team
About Us

Since January 2021, CommunityGrows has been in the process of restructuring our organization. We are currently working towards a collective leadership model. Our intention is to create a work environment where each member of our team has an equal voice in how we operate. We hope that this new structure will better reflect our values and vision for a just world. The process has been slow and intentional, and has grounded us in our values, excited us in the potential, and brought us closer together as a staff. We look forward to sharing more details on our new ways of operating in the coming months.

Looking to get in touch? For general inquiries, please email info@communitygrows.org. For more specific questions, please select the staff member that most closely matches your inquiry below.

Anna Luberoff

Director of Programs (she/her)


Anna has worked at the intersection of youth development and sustainable agriculture for over 10 years. She believes that co-powering youth to grow their own food is key to creating a more just and sustainable food system. Her favorite vegetable is delicata squash.

Contact Anna for: general program questions and inquiries, contracts and MOUs, garden questions and inquiries

Karen Lally

Director of Operations (she/her)


Karen is a recent graduate of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities, in Minnesota, with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in English. Since graduating, she has worked performing hands-on conservation efforts in Colorado, teaching at an outdoor science school in southern California, and is now happy to join the team at CommunityGrows. She enjoys theater, spontaneous storytelling, and exploring new places in her free time.

Contact Karen for general operations and development, grants, finances, & funding opportunities, VISTA program inquiries, advisory board & volunteer opportunities

Cristina Vila Ruiz

Bi-lingual Garden Educator & Operations Specialist (she/her)


Cristina has always been passionate about the environment, cities, sustainability, and food systems. She believes in facilitating classes so students can learn, enjoy themselves, and be more passionate for the natural world.

Contact Cristina: Spanish-language program and curriculum , grants, finances, & funding opportunities

B Freas

BEETs Program Manager & Organizational Strategist (they/them)


B is an educator, gardener, and climate organizer who has lived in the Bay Area since 2017. Before joining the CG team, they taught kids about birds in Vermont, and worked as a bilingual garden teacher with Education

Contact B for: Organizational strategy & sustainability, CommunityGrows' restructuring process, BEETs program

Vanessa Williams

Environmental Education Programs Manager (she/her)


Vanessa is an educator, advocate, and lover of the outdoors. She brings over five years of experience in environmental education, trail work, and conservation, which she cultivated during her time at the Student Conservation Association and Education Outside.

Contact Vanessa for: Garden education program and curriculum, Program Scheduling

Yaya Persing

Seed to Mouth Educator & Community Programs Specialist (she/her)


Ya’ara brought her passion for environmental justice, play, art and gardening to the Bay in 2012. She is delighted to be part of the CommunityGrows Team and can’t wait to share her love of learning and food as the Seed to Mouth Garden Educator. She holds a B.A. in Geography with a concentration in City and Nature and M.A. in Community Development and Planning from Clark University.

Contact Yaya for: Community partnerships, Seed to Mouth program and curriculum

Abigail Henriquez

Communications and Social Media Coordinator (she/her)


Abigail has always been a creatively driven person, expressing herself through art, food, and exploring ways of living an environmentally sustainable life. She has worked with CommunityGrows on the rebranding of the organization, which includes the new logo and marketing materials.

Contact Abigail for: Marketing and social media inquiries

Mayer Fischbach Barria

Community Engagement Coordinator (she/her)


Mayer’s guiding passions include research, agroecology, human rights, youth empowerment, and building community. She believes there are many intersections between these areas and dedicates her time to uncovering them. In the past she has done plant science research, taught children about the environment, done wildlife rehab, and coordinated a community farm. These experiences have her excited to bring her skills and insights to CommunityGrows and to build on them during her year long appointment. When away from a computer she enjoys searching for aphids, identifying mushrooms, smelling plant volatiles, biking just a tad bit too far, and taking her time on hikes.

Contact Mayer for: Volunteer events, Newsletter & social media information

Advisory Board
Jessica Jauw

Jessica Jauw

Business Development Manager, JSI

Jaromy Schmidt

Jaromy Schmidt

District Manager, Starbucks

Christina Mathis

Christina Mathis

Corporate Vice President, CCS

Caitlin McLaughlin

Caitlin McLaughlin

Manager, Clearway Energy Group

Liz Holm

Liz Holm

Store Manager, Starbucks

William Newsom

William Newsom

Attorney, Cooley LLP

Sarah Penney

Sarah Penney

Senior Manager, Bain & Co

Evan Zhang

Evan Zhang

Associate, Norwest Venture Partners

Click here for more information on how you can join our advisory board.