Foundation Board

BJ Snowden

BJ Snowden

A product of the Elk Grove Unified School District and the California State University system, Dr. BJ Snowden currently serves as an Interim Dean of Instruction at Folsom Lake College.  Before taking on this role he served as the Interim Dean of Kinesiology, Health and Athletics at Cosumnes River College, the Director of Inmate Education for the California Community College Chancellor’s office, a tenured community college faculty member, department chair, faculty senate president and liaison in equity and diversity to the statewide Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, he serves as a board member for Closing the Gap, and The Friends of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.   He is an active member of the Sacramento Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated and a Class 6 fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program.  In 2015 in recognition for his professional accomplishments and commitment to the Sacramento region he was named one of the Sacramento Business Journals 40 under 40 award recipients. 

Dr. Snowden holds a bachelors degree in Radio, TV and Film Production from San Jose State University, a Master of Arts in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University and a Doctorate of Education in International & Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco.

Dr. Lorenzo Smith

Dr. Lorenzo Smith

Dr. Lorenzo Smith comes to Sac State by way of Oakland University, where he enjoyed success in both teaching and research. Now as Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Sac State, Dr. Smith is committed to working with the faculty and industry community to advance both teaching excellence and scholarly activity in the college.

Erin Thuston, MSSW

Erin Thuston, MSSW

Erin Thuston is a Research Program Specialist for the California Department of Social Services. She applies expertise related to research methodologies and statistical analysis to child welfare services program data as it relates to children in foster care in California.

In 2005, Erin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor from in Management and Organization Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Not ready to return home to California, she decided to pursue an advanced degree in Social Work and in the summer of 2005 she moved to New York City to attend Columbia University where she was awarded a Master of Science in Social Work in 2007.

Erin moved back to her hometown of Sacramento, CA to begin her professional career as a child welfare social worker. After five years of hard work and dedication, she left direct practice and began working as a policy analyst. As a subject matter expert on Independently Program Policies, Erin developed and implemented policies (i.e. extended foster care, transitional housing programs, and the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program) that impact transition age youth (16-21) of California’s child welfare system.

When she is not fighting for children’s justice and safeguarding the rights of every child so that they can meet their full potential, Erin enjoys traveling the world and indulging in the world’s epicurean pleasures of food, wine, and culture.  

Lishaun Francis

Lishaun Francis

As a native New Yorker, Lishaun Francis has quickly made Sacramento her new home. Her interest in community and social justice has led her to be an avid participant the fight against domestic violence and sexual assault in the Sacramento region. Currently serving on the Board of Directors for WEAVE, Lishaun allows her passion for the state of women in the world to impact her service to the women in Sacramento. WEAVE serves women in the Sacramento region who are survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking. Lishaun is most proud of this service as she believes the work WEAVE does will help build a community that does not tolerate violence against women. 

In addition to her work in the community, Lishaun enjoys her career with the California Medical Association. As an Associate Director with the CMA, her position allows her to be an advocate for physicians.  Although a registered lobbyist, Lishaun's efforts for CMA are concentrated outside of the Legislature. A regulatory advocate, Lishaun is responsible for how legislation is implemented--a role equally important as regulatory language is responsible for the experience many have with the laws that are implemented.

Prior to her post at the California Medical Association, Lishaun spent over four years with the U.S Department of Education and the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO), respectively. At the LAO, Lishaun provided fiscal and policy analyses to the State Legislature on issues of mental health, developmental disabilities, and alcohol and drug programs.

Lishaun Francis received her Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.

Mellonie Richardson

Mellonie Richardson

Mellonie Richardson is a proud mother, loving wife, daughter, sister, and aunt. She is fueled by the power of community and sisterhood and committed to being a part of change whenever and however she can. She is passionate about family, children, the black community, and social justice for all people.

For her undergraduate work she studied at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta Georgia and California State University, Sacramento where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies and Media Production. She completed her graduate studies at the University of San Francisco, receiving a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development.

Mellonie has worked for the Los Rios Community College District for almost ten years and is the Human Resources Officer overseeing recruitment for the district. Los Rios is the second largest community college district in California educating over 75,000 students annually with nearly 7,000 employees. Her professional experiences include positions in recruitment, training, organization development, and management in non-profit and private industry. Mellonie is also the principle consultant of Bene Consulting Group, a Human Resources and Organizational Development firm, providing professional services to small businesses, non-profits, and faith based organizations.

She has been involved with social justice change and community outreach since she was a teenager and was recently acknowledged as a Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) honoree for her continued commitment.

Mellonie is one of the founding members of the Sacramento Sister Circle and serves on the leadership team. Sacramento Sister Circle is a social network of over 3,000 Black women holding to critical pillars of self-love, education, outreach, and political activism. She is also the Sacramento City Captain for GirlTrek, a national walking and social justice movement for over 80,000, African American Women, and President and Communications Officer for the Los Rios Community College District’s Black Faculty and Staff Association.

Other groups that Mellonie actively participates in are the Sacramento Mocha Mommy’s Club, Ask My Big Sister mentoring network, and the Sacramento Emotional Emancipation Circle; all groups focus on supporting Black women, children, families, and the community. She is also the founder and co-coordinator of the annual Sacramento African American Children’s Read-In project.

In Mellonie’s commitment to serve others she has and continues to participate in many outreach and awareness efforts to include the Sacramento Sister Circle’s annual College Bound Luncheon and four-year “Sistership”, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and #BringBackOurGirls, #BlackLivesMatters campaigns, marches, and demonstrations.

Mellonie’s involvement with the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s board of directors is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the wonderful work, of improving the lives of African American people, already being done by the highly respected Chamber and Foundation.