Karen Ferguson

Karen Ferguson

Chief Executive Officer
Pronouns: She / Her

Dr. Karen Ferguson is passionate about using her expertise and background to contribute to humanitarian, social justice and DEI initiatives.

Prior to her work with CORA, Dr. Ferguson was Executive Director of the Northern California offices of IRC–the International Rescue Committee. She led the regional offices serving Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Modesto and Turlock, providing comprehensive services for newly arriving refugees. She managed programs ranging from securing housing and providing financial assistance to employment and career development, with the goal of helping refugees achieve self-sufficiency and thrive in their new American communities

She also spent 10 years as the Alaska State Refugee Coordinator and Resettlement Director, directing assistance and resettlement services for refugees, immigrants and victims of trafficking, and establishing a resettlement program with a diverse portfolio of nationally recognized refugee services.

Karen is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist and possesses a PhD within the field. She previously served as the Clinical and Department Manager for Outpatient Mental Health Services at Southcentral Foundation Primary Care Center and as a Psychology Consultant for American Samoa Government. She has been a frequent invited speaker, including most recently presenting with the cast of Hamilton on issues of immigration.

Rupinder Kaur Malhi

Rupinder Kaur Malhi

Chief Financial Officer
Pronouns: She / Her

Rupinder began her public accounting career in 2007 in the Bay Area with Frank Rimmerman & CO, LLP after graduating from San Jose State University. She has provided accounting and consulting services to nonprofits since 2013 and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Rupinder plays a critical role in partnering with the senior leadership team as CORA continues to enhance its programs throughout San Mateo County. She is an active member of the Sikh temple where she teaches kids Punjabi language every Sunday. After work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.

Lynn Schuette

Director of Quality and Strategic Initiatives
Pronouns: She / Her, They / Them

Lynn has worked in the non-profit field since 1990, focusing on financial and program development. She has created programs, forged community partnerships, and raised millions of dollars for services benefitting children, youth and families in the Bay Area. Highlights of her financial and program development efforts include: helping to fund and develop YMCA of San Francisco’s family resource centers and technology centers; developing a plan for and securing an infusion of emergency funds for a cohort of San Mateo County’s safety net organizations during the 2008 financial crisis; securing funding for CORA’s second safe house and StarVista’s Pride Center. She has also served on the County’s Continuum of Care committee since 2020. Lynn is a second-generation San Mateo County resident and comes from a family that has contributed locally as volunteers and donors to immigrant services and community enrichment. Lynn’s own community volunteer work has focused on the LGBTQ community and educational services. When Lynn isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family and taking vacations to locations of historical significance.

Alyssa Wieting

Alyssa Wieting

Development Director
Pronouns: She / Her

Alyssa is a mission-driven individual who is passionate about her work as a fundraiser. Having worked in both non-profit and political fundraising, she has a diverse skill set that she can apply to organizations and campaigns of any size. Prior to joining CORA, she independently managed a US Congressman’s reelection campaign in Indiana –securing its funds and building relationships amongst major donors and community leaders. Her work has taken her all over the globe, having worked and lived in Asia, Africa, and Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University in Chicago and a Master’s Degree from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

 

Tracey Cook

Human Resources Director
Pronouns: She / Her

Tracey is a Human Resources professional with over 20 years of experience in Managing Human Resources in the private sector. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Organizational Psychology and is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Born and raised in Chicago, Tracey relocated to the Bay Area and began working for CORA in 2022. Tracey is a thought leader on the leadership team, providing vision and leading the human resources function for the agency. Tracey is responsible for helping CORA to cultivate and build the agency’s most valuable asset – its dedicated staff. For Tracey, CORA’s values align with hers and the work holds significant personal meaning. When not at work Tracey enjoys being outdoors with her dogs, the beach, cooking, wine-tasting, and refinishing old furniture.

Maria Bastardo, LMFT

Manager of Mental Health Services
Pronouns: She / Her

Maria earned her BA in Psychology in Venezuela in 2013 and moved to the United States to pursue a Masters in Clinical Psychology at NDNU. Maria joined CORA in 2017 as a mental health trainee and became a full time Bilingual/Bicultural Family Clinician in 2018. In her work as a therapist, Maria specializes in supporting immigrant families to overcome intergenerational trauma, building resiliency, developing healthy relationships and advocating for themselves. Maria is passionate about using a client centered trauma informed approach, motivational interviewing, DBT skills, EMDR, art and play therapy when working children and families. Maria was promoted to Manager of Mental Health Services at CORA in 2022. She oversees the mental health department operations, provides consultation to staff, interns and volunteers. Maria regularly trains CORA partner agencies on domestic violence and its effects, trauma and trauma informed practices.

Kaitlin Chang

Manager of Safehouse and Supportive Housing
Pronouns: She / Her

Kaitlin was born and raised in San Bruno and joined CORA in June 2019 after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from San Francisco State University. During her time with CORA, Kaitlin has been instrumental in creating and implementing a program to build and maintain relationships with local housing providers to secure safe and stable housing for survivors of domestic violence. This initiative aims not only to secure safe housing for survivors of domestic violence, but also to foster long-term relationships with landlords to ensure ongoing support. Her efforts have been pivotal in providing survivors with the stability they need to rebuild their lives. Kaitlin also has experience working in CORA’s Safe Houses, providing client-centered case management, peer counseling, and other supportive services for its residents so they have the support to reclaim their lives. In her free time, Kaitlin enjoys spending time with her pets and family, reading, and anything Disney-related.

Maríluisa Diaz

Manager of Community Education & Outreach
Pronouns: She / Her

Maríluisa joined the CORA team in April 2017 with over 14 years of experience in the domestic violence field. Highlights of Mariluisa’s experience includes work with DV agencies and police departments, working in DV clinics, providing court accompaniment, advocacy, crisis counseling, and outreach. As the Prevention and Education Manager at CORA, Maríluisa continues that passion and commitment by working with the community to increase public awareness of domestic abuse. She believes in the importance of educating the public on the risk factors of abuse and strengthening community engagement in healthy and safe relationships. Maríluisa holds a B.A. in Politics from the University of San Francisco. She has also received Cultural Humility facilitator training created by Melanie Tervalon M.D., M.P.H and Jann Murray- García M.D., M.P.H.

Melissa Gibbs

Manager of Legal Services
Pronouns: She / Her

Melissa received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice from San Diego State University. Melissa is passionate about helping survivors navigate the complexities of the civil and criminal legal systems and empowering them to make informed decisions for themselves. In her free time Melissa enjoys rooting for the San Jose Sharks, spending quality time with family, and dancing.

Cindy Kilpatrick

Grants and Contracts Manager
Pronouns: She / Her

Cindy came to CORA in 2021 with a depth of experience in grant writing that has resulted in millions of dollars raised to help underserved persons in San Mateo County. Her considerable writing experience includes editorial and development support at Stanford University Press and Stanford School of Earth Sciences, grant writer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, San Mateo Police Activities League (PAL), and grants consultant for local educational institutions. Cindy has also contributed her skill and passion to the community through volunteer work — most recently for Friends of the Redwood City Library. When not at work, Cindy enjoys time with family and friends, gardening, hiking, and supporting animal rescue organizations.

Celeste Mercado

Manager of Crisis Support Services
Pronouns: She / Her / Ella

Celeste has extensive experience in providing and managing crisis services for people experiencing domestic violence. Celeste joined CORA in October 2008 as a 24-Hour Crisis Hotline Intake Specialist. Since joining the agency, Celeste has used her skill and experience in progressively higher positions of responsibility, both in leading the agency’s crisis response and helping to develop staff skills. Celeste has also led interagency coordination of services among many of CORA’s partners, including law enforcement, the Community Entry System (CES), and safety net organizations. Celeste received her B.A. in Psychology and La Raza Studies from San Francisco State University.

Tony Myles

Facilities Program Manager
Pronouns: He / Him

Motivated by CORA’s mission statement and wanting a job where he could make a difference and help others, Tony joined CORA in April of 2019. Tony semi-retired after working over 25 years at Stanford Health Care as Facilities Supervisor at their Menlo Park facility. In his time at CORA, Tony has contributed his skills and knowledge to help make the agency a safer and more enjoyable place to work for staff and clients. He has been instrumental in updating CORA facilities with an eye toward safety and energy efficiency. Tony is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys the open road and fellowship of other enthusiasts when not at work.

Rebecca Reiner

Volunteer Manager
Pronouns: She / Her

Rebecca Reiner is a Bay Area native, born and raised in San Francisco. She came to CORA as the Volunteer Manager in 2022, excited to grow and strengthen CORA’s volunteer program by forming one that is richly enhanced by community members and groups that meet CORA’s values and goals. She has a degree in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Rebecca began her career at the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco. Since then, she has had many years of experience as a Volunteer Manager and is passionate about working with diverse volunteers, clients, donors, boards, and committees. Rebecca loves opening the door for new community members to join and support essential community work, and she says that “CORA makes this easy to do by being such a robust organization!” When not working, Rebecca likes going to Bay Area sports games, enjoys spending time with friends and family (especially with her little chihuahua, Bella), and she loves a foggy coastal day at the beach.