Lisa Villarreal |  CEO

Lisa Villarreal joined Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority, as the CEO in 2016.  She is a native Californian of Mexican-American descent who has been a Bay Area resident for the past four decades.  Her career spans  from time as a front line bilingual adolescent crisis counselor, with La Raza Consortium, to spearheading national think tank efforts in education equity and social justice on the boards of Grantmakers for Education, the National Equity Project, and the National Coalition for Community Schools. Lisa has worked at the local, regional, state and national levels to convene both public and private sector groups. For more than a decade she served as the Education Program Officer at the San Francisco Foundation, and helped seed funding efforts such as the Oakland offices of African American Student Achievement, Latino Men and Boys, Restorative Justice, and Community Schools/ Thriving Students.

Lisa has an M.Ed from San Francisco State University and a K-12 Management and Administration Credential from CSU East Bay. She also holds degrees in Psychology and Counseling, is a trained facilitator, and earlier served on the American Federation of Teachers/AFLCIO executive board. Her long and diverse background in both the public and private sectors allow her to view the work of the JPA “from the balcony to the stage”.


Cathy Torres Mercado | Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer

Cathy Torres Mercado joined Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority in February 2017. Cathy has over 20 years nonprofit administration and philanthropic experience. She served as a Program Associate at the Hewlett Foundation, with a focus on education policy and open educational resources, with the Education program at the Stuart Foundation, and with the Education and Community Health programs at the San Francisco Foundation. Previously, Cathy also served as the Practice Coordinator at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health Center for Public Health Practice & Leadership, which supports students, faculty, alumni, and practitioners promote individual and community health, and was a pre-school teacher and psychologist at the Montessori Children’s House, a pre-school that integrated special needs children into regular classrooms.

Cathy holds a degree in Psychology from the University of the Philippines and a Certificate in Accounting from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

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