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 a 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 bachelor's 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. Jacques S. Whitfield

Dr. Jacques S. Whitfield

Jacques Sterling Whitfield is a seasoned Human Resources Executive with over 19 years of experience in human resources management. Whitfield recently completed a six year tenure as the Chief Human Resources Officer for the Yuba Community College District. Whitfield was responsible for the management and oversight of the human resources operations for the district. Whitfield is a member of ACCCA (Association for California Community College Administrators), ACHRO (Association of Chief Human Resource Officers), and a graduate of the ACCCA Mentor Program and ACCCA Admin 101.

Whitfield attended college at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina, graduating in 1985 with honors earning a B.A. Degree in History with a minor in French.  While at Wake Forest, Whitfield attended the University of Dijon, in Dijon, France, studying at the International Center for French Studies.  Upon graduating from college, Whitfield entered the University of North Carolina, School of Law in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Whitfield graduated in 1988 with distinction as a member of the Order of the Barrister. 

Upon graduating from law school in 1988, he became an Associate with the law firm of Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois and Bisgaard in Los Angeles, California, where he specialized in business litigation, professional liability and securities litigation.  In 1992, Whitfield moved to Sacramento, California, where he began the law firm of Whitfield and Gittisriboongul in downtown Sacramento, specializing in business entertainment law, labor and employment law, education and administrative law. 

In 1997, Whitfield was appointed General Counsel of the Grant Joint Union High School District.  As the General Counsel, Whitfield was responsible for the management, operation and oversight of the District’s Legal Services Office and Grant Police Services/Campus Safety Department. One of the highlights during Whitfield’s eleven (11) year tenure as District General Counsel included overseeing the historic unification of the Grant District with its elementary feeders, creating the Twin Rivers Unified School District.

In 2008, Whitfield became the Director of Administrative Services and Strategic Planning for Target Excellence. As Director of Administrative Services and Strategic Planning, Whitfield managed all of the human resources and personnel operations for the organization in California, Texas, Tennessee and Ohio, as well as directed all of the strategic growth planning activities for the Board of Directors and Senior Management Team. Whitfield now serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Target Excellence.

Whitfield is the father of three amazing (3) children, Ashley Elizabeth (23), Chase Sterling (21) and Joshua Jordan (18).  Whitfield has served on numerous civic organizations and boards of directors including the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce Educational Foundation, Nehemiah Ventures, Inc. (Vice Chairman), American Leadership Forum - Mountain Valley Chapter, Equality California, The Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center (Board President), and Center for AIDS Research and Educational Services (CARES).

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.  

Malonn Barnes

Malonn Barnes

Malonn Barnes is a Financial Advisor that works for Merrill Lynch and has served in the financial industry since 2003. He helps business owners, health care professionals, entrepreneurs, and individuals set a clear and realistic path toward meeting their financial objective while showing them how to build and preserve wealth.

Malonn attended Troy University where he became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and achieved a Bachelor of Science in Business with a Marketing concentration. He also holds two Masters Degrees in Business and Internet Marketing. In addition, Malonn holds several financial industry licenses including, Series 7, 63, 24, 65, 66 and is currently working on his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification. His financial industry experience spans over 13 years including, management at E*TRADE Financial to serving as a part of the original operations division of Motif Investing, a Silicon Valley based start-up company that secured over 126 million dollars in funding in their first 5 years of operation.

Malonn resides in the Elk Grove, CA area with his wife Shayla Barnes and two daughters. His wife is a doctoral candidate and a preschool director and his daughters are currently in elementary school. Outside of work, Malonn occupies his spare time enjoying his girls and coaching. He also enjoys numerous hobbies including golfing, basketball, and producing music.

Marcellene Watson-Derbigny

Marcellene Watson-Derbigny

Associate Vice President for Student Retention and Academic Success

Marcellene Watson-Derbigny is the Associate Vice President for Student Retention and Academic Success at Sacramento State. She is responsible for the oversight of services provided by the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Faculty Student Mentor Program (FSMP), the College Assistant Migrant Program (CAMP), the Peer and Academic Resource Center (PARC), and the College Based Educational Equity Programs (CBEEP). All of the programs noted comprise the Student Academic Success and Educational Equity Programs (SASEEP) Unit, which primarily serves students from first generation and low-income communities.

Marcellene also works as the Coordinator of the EOP Learning Communities Program and she has been instrumental in growing the program from one to over twenty-five different learning communities. In collaboration with various sectors of the Sacramento State campus, she has also created an academic, social, and faculty training component for the EOP Learning Communities Program. Marcellene currently serves on the California Learning Communities Consortium Task Force, chairs the Campus Educational Equity Committee, and serves as a chair of the Graduation Initiative for Sac State.

Marcellene has also served as an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Psychology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, two master’s degrees, one in Psychology and the other in Clinical Psychology, and a doctorate in Educational Psychology with a minor in Educational Administration.

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 possible. 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 over eleven years and is the Confidential Human Resources Officer overseeing recruitment for the district. Los Rios is the second largest community college district in California educating approximately 75,000 students annually with over 4,000 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 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 nearly 7,000 Black women holding to critical pillars of self-love, education, outreach, and political activism. She is also on the advisory committee for GirlTrek, a national walking and social justice movement for over 170,000, African American Women, and President of the Los Rios Community College District’s Black Faculty and Staff Association.

Mellonie’s second term with the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s board of directors is an exciting opportunity to continue to contribute to the wonderful work, of improving the lives of African Americans and other underserved communities, already being done by the highly respected Chamber and Foundation.  

Robynn Rose Haymer

Robynn Rose Haymer

Robynne Rose-Haymer serves as the proud Executive Director for Wind Youth Services. Wind’s mission to provide supportive services and opportunities to youth experiencing homelessness as they pursue self-determined lives of stability and independence is an avocation. With over twenty years of workforce development and leadership experience, Robynne's continuing passion is helping young people obtain the education and skills they need to pursue their goals. Robynne began her career as an 'on the ground practitioner ' working directly with low income families and communities of color on health & well-being and education issues.

As local school district employee and leader, she planned the implementation of the WIA & Adult Career Technical Education programs districtwide. Focused on making an impact, Robynne extended her range to include consulting and grant writing for non-profit organizations seeking to build new programs or shore up existing ones seeking to serve community.

As a graduate of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP- Class VI), Robynne took her leadership skills to the next level by strengthening her boardsmanship and program management skills. Additionally, since Robynne completed the Prosperity Now Platforms for Prosperity Fellowship in partnership with Bank of America, Robynne has become a champion for financial capability integration into workforce development programming. In 2018 she graduated with a master’s in Organizational Learning and Effectiveness and started the journey for a doctorate at the University of the Pacific.

Of all her accomplishments, her greatest is being a proud parent of three successful children. Her oldest daughter is a graduate of Pepperdine University and Teach for America, her middle daughter is a magna cum laude graduate of Loyola Marymount University, and her youngest child is completing his education with Los Rios Community Colleges.