2013 MPP Alumnus of the Year Rusty Bailey, MPP 1999

William R. “Rusty” Bailey III is a Riverside native who has served as Mayor of his hometown since 2012, having previously been a member of the City Council. His family came to Riverside in 1914 and has a long history of service to the community. Mayor Bailey is proud to be part of the fourth generation of Baileys working for the advancement of Riverside.

After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in political science in 1994, Mayor Bailey worked in a variety of public service positions locally and in Washington, D.C. He is a 1999 graduate of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, earning a Master’s Degree in Public Policy, and was named Alumnus of the Year in 2013.

Mayor Bailey was elected to the City Council in 2007, representing Ward 3, and took office on Dec 11, 2007.  He was re-elected in 2011 and served in that role until he was elected Mayor in November, 2012. Mayor Bailey took office on Dec 11, 2012 and was re-elected in June, 2016.

Mayor Bailey is active in regional affairs and serves on the Western Riverside Council of Governments, the Southern California Association of Governments, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, the One Water One Watershed Board, The Regional Housing Needs Assessment Board, and the Riverside County Continuum of Care, which focuses on homeless solutions.

Homeless solutions have been a major focus of Mayor Bailey, and through his leadership, our community together to proactively combat homelessness, resulting in outreach and enforcement efforts, coupled with housing expansion for those who are willing to accept services. As a result of his call to the faith based community to partner with the city in addressing homelessness, in 2018 Riverside opened the doors to the Grove Village, four barn-raised housing units coupled with strong community support provided by the Grove Community Church. This project is being looked upon nationally as a model approach.

Mayor Bailey’s many accomplishments include serving as a helicopter pilot, platoon leader, and Company Executive Officer in the U.S. Army, earning an Airborne Badge, and Air Assault Badge and an Army Aviator Badge; securing a two-year Presidential Management Fellowship; and working for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Executive Office of the President in Washington D.C. Mayor Bailey also served as a Legislative Aide for County Supervisor John F. Tavaglione and worked at the Riverside County Economic Development Agency. He spent more than a decade as a teacher at Poly High School in Riverside and served as a member of the City of Riverside’s Cultural Heritage Board.

Mayor Bailey lives in the Magnolia Center neighborhood of Riverside with his wife, Judy, a former elementary and middle school teacher, and his two daughters, Elizabeth and Julia. He is an active member of his church, a mentor to young people and can often be seen cycling around the city with his family.

Employer: City of Riverside
Profile: linkedin.com/in/rusty-bailey-bb62a5
Twitter: @BaileyForMayor
Media: The Highlander, The Press-Enterprise, The Press-Enterprise, The Press-Enterprise, Youtube, UCLA Alumni

2014 MPP Alumna of the Year Nathalie Rayes, MPP 1999

Nathalie Rayes is the President and CEO, of the Latino Victory Project, a nationwide political organization dedicated to making sure Latino voices are heard by empowering Latino voters, developing a pipeline of Latino donors, and developing Latino candidates through three entities: Latino Victory Fund, Latino Victory Project and the Latino Victory Foundation.  Most recently Nathalie was the Vice President of Public Affairs for Grupo Salinas in the U.S., a Mexican conglomerate with US$6 billion in annual sales and 90,000 employees in Mexico, the United States, and Central and South America, and with operations in the broadcasting, retail, banking and financial services, telecommunications and internet. Nathalie was also in charge of Grupo Salinas’ philanthropic activities in the United States, which seek to improve the quality of life of Latinos by partnering with existing nonprofits to empower, create awareness and motivate change on social and civic issues. She previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Los Angeles’ Mayor James K. Hahn, under whom she directed the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations and helped establish the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and as Senior Advisor to Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Feuer.

Employer: Latino Victory
Profile: linkedin.com/in/nathalierayes
Twitter: @NathalieRayes
Media: The Hill, HispanicExecutive.com, MMLaFleur.com

2015 MPP Alumna of the Year Nurit Katz, MPP/MBA 2008

UCLA’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, Nurit Katz is working to foster partnerships among academic, research, and operational departments to facilitate creating a world class living laboratory for sustainability at UCLA. As Executive Officer for UCLA Facilities Management, Nurit provides strategy support to make the university more operationally efficient and coordinates with Emergency Management on resilience planning. Facilities Management provides energy to the campus through a highly efficient cogeneration plant, as well as managing landscaping, renovations, operations, and maintenance. Nurit is also an Instructor for UCLA Extension’s Sustainability Certificate Program. Before starting in this position she founded the UCLA Sustainable Resource Center  to provide resources for the community on sustainability. She then served as President of the Graduate Students Association and assisted Dr. Charles Corbett in developing a new interdisciplinary graduate certificate program – Leaders in Sustainability.

After graduation she helped launch the UCLA Center for Corporate Environmental Performance. She has worked on a variety of sustainability projects including a project for the City of Los Angeles that focused on transit-oriented development along the Expo Light Rail Line. Her essay on the topic was published in the UCLA Anderson Forecast’s “Solutions for Our City”. Nurit holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a Masters in Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a BA in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University. Nurit was honored as one of 100 Inspirational Alumni for the 75th Anniversary of UCLA Anderson. Her course Principles of Sustainability I was recently included in LA Weekly’s Best of LA 2012 as one of the 10 Best Classes in LA. In 2017 she received the Dean’s Award from UCLA Extension for outstanding instruction and contributions to the UCLA Extension community.

Recently she was recognized as one of the top 100 business trailblazers in the Women Worth Watching 2015 issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Luskin Center for Innovation and on the Advisory Boards of Sustainable Works and the Green Business Council of Southern California as well as the Steering Committee for the USGBC Resilience LA Initiative, the Built Environment Advisory Board for the LA Cleantech Incubator, and the leadership team for Path to Positive LA. Nurit is also working on building statewide collaboration and best practice sharing through the CA Higher Education Sustainability Conference Steering Committee.  In 2010 Nurit completed a full Ironman distance triathlon with Team in Training in support of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Employer: UCLA
Profile: linkedin.com/in/nuritkatz
Twitter: @sustainUCLA
Media: Sustridge, Vimeo, TEDx Talk, American School & University, Faalta.com, Daily Bruin, AffordableCollegesOnline, WomenWorthWatching.com, Smart Cities Dive, Humboldt Magazine

2016 MPP Alumnus of the Year Chuck Gatchell, MPP 2005

Chuck Gatchell has worked at Nike, Inc. for 16 years and currently leads Nike’s efforts related to the Tokyo Summer Olympics and other global initiatives, where he is a Global Vice President / General Manager.

Prior to his current role, Chuck has had the opportunity to lead teams in various functional areas including strategic planning, innovation, product management and marketing, general management, corporate finance, and sustainability. Chuck’s first Nike role was developing Nike’s first public sustainability reports and leading corporate transparency efforts related to labor relations, environmental sustainability, community affairs, diversity and inclusion, and government affairs. Prior to Nike, Chuck was a senior consultant at Ernst & Young LLP in Los Angeles.

Chuck holds an undergraduate degree in Management from the University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business), where he also earned a minor in Creative Writing and ran cross-country and track (steeplechase).  He also holds master’s degrees in Accounting from the University of Virginia and Public Policy from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

A first-generation college graduate, Chuck co-founded Advance!, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing college awareness, information, and access for underserved populations, in his hometown of La Habra, California in 2002.  He also coaches various youth sports, advises start-ups in the social and environmental impact space, and serves on advisory boards for the UCLA School of Public Affairs and the Haas School of Business (Berkeley).

Chuck spends time away from work with his wife, Melissa, who holds a PhD in Public Health from UCLA, and their four children (Nate, Dylan, Zach, and Charlize).  Chuck is based in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Employer: Nike
Profile: linkedin.com/in/gatchell
Twitter: @chuckgatchell
Media: Berkeley Haas Magazine, Oregon Live, Podium Runner

2017 MPP Alumna of the Year Tanzila "Taz" Ahmed, MPP 2007

Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles, California.

An electoral organizer by trade, she’s mobilized thousands of Asian American & Pacific Islanders to the polls in over seventeen different languages in the past fifteen years. In 2004, she founded South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), a national organization that organizes South Asian American youth to have a political voice and get involved in the electoral process. She has since worked at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles and Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance employing in-language culturally competent tools to mobilize hundreds of thousands of AAPI voters to the polls. She currently is a Campaign Strategist at the Asian American new media organizing group 18MillionRising.

With a Master in Public Policy degree with concentration on racial justice policy from UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, she was part of a student led initiative to bring Critical Race Theory into public policy. While at UCLA, her thesis project entitled Barriers to Student Voting examines the various barriers that students in California face when exercising civic engagement. An experienced campaign trainer, she has led workshops with EnviroCitizen, APIA Vote, the League of Young Voters, and Campus Camp Wellstone.

In 2016, Taz was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. She is cohost of The #GoodMuslimBadMuslim Podcast that has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Wired, andBuzzfeed as well as live shows recorded at South by Southwest and the White House. An avid essayist, she had a monthly column called Radical Love, was a blogger for Sepia Mutiny, has written for Truthout, The Aerogram, The Nation, Left Turn Magazine, and more. She is published in the anthology Good Girls Marry Doctors (2016) and poetry collection Coiled Serpent (2016) and was published in the anthologyLove, Inshallah (2012). Her third poetry chapbook Emdash and Ellipses was published in early 2016. Taz curates Desi music atMishthi Music where she co-producedBeats for Bangladesh and she annually makes #MuslimVDay Cards. Her artwork was featured in the shows Sharia Revoiced (2015), in Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centers “H-1B” (2015), and Rebel Legacy: Activist Art from South Asian California (2014).

Employer: #GoodMuslimBadMuslim Podcast, 18 Million Rising
Profile: linkedin.com/in/tanzila
Twitter: @TazzyStar
Media: NBC News, NPR, Mother Jones
Website: tazzystar.me, goodmuslimbadmuslim.com, eightpointfivemillion.org

2019 MPP Alumnus of the Year Nelson Esparza, MPP 2015

Fresno City Councilmember Nelson Esparza is a 2015 MPP Alumnus of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He was elected to the Fresno City Council in November of 2018, and prior to that he served his community as an elected representative on the Fresno County Board of Education, where he was elected in 2016. On the City Council, Nelson serves as Chairman of both the Finance & Audit Committee and the School Liaison Subcommittee. Outside of Fresno City Hall: Nelson continues to teach Economics part-time at Fresno City College, he is the PAC Chair of his faculty union (State Center Federation of Teachers, Local 1533), he serves as the Political Director of the Fresno County Young Democrats, and is a Delegate to the California Democratic Party. In addition to attending the UCLA Luskin School, Nelson received his BA in Economics (Cum Laude) with a minor in Public Policy at UC Riverside, and is an alumnus of the PPIA Fellowship Program at UC Berkeley.

Employer: City of Fresno, District 7
Profile: linkedin.com/in/nelson-esparza-949b7881/
Twitter: @Esparza_Nelson
Media: GV Wire, Zócalo Public Square, The Business Journal, UCLA Luskin, Fresno Bee

2020 MPP Alumnus of the Year Max Gomberg, MPP 2007

Max Gomberg is the water conservation and climate change manager at the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) where he leads development of water conservation, water affordability, and climate change policies across the water sector. Under his leadership, the Water Board developed a statewide plan for low-income water rate assistance, adopted a comprehensive climate change mitigation and adaptation policy, and implemented regulations to reduce urban water use during California’s severe drought. Mr. Gomberg often serves as an expert spokesperson on water conservation and climate change, and is regularly quoted by regional and national media. Previously, he was a senior analyst for the Office of Ratepayer Advocates at the California Public Utilities Commission where he worked on a range of water and energy proceedings. Mr. Gomberg holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from UCLA and a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Chicago.

Employer: California Water Boards
Profile: linkedin.com/in/max-gomberg-85a7523
Twitter: @MaxGomberg
Media: Sacramento Bee, Orange County Register, Youtube, ABC10, Fox40, KCRW, News Deeply, New York Times,

2018 MPP Alumna of the Year Jaime Nack, MPP 2002

Jaime Nack is a double Bruin who is the President of Three Squares Inc. (TSI) – an award-winning sustainability consulting firm specializing in creating strategies for corporations, events, and communities. Nack is one of the nation’s most prominent environmental experts and has advised many Fortune 500 companies, cities, and large-scale events. Most notably, Nack served as the Director of Sustainability for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, marking the first time in history where measures were taken to reduce the environmental impact of the event on the host city. In 2011, Nack was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She also received an appointment under the Obama administration to serve on the National Women’s Business Council, an advisory council to the President, Congress and the SBA on economic issues of importance to women business owners. In 2013, Nack was named the “Environmental Conservator of the Year” by the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce. Nack speaks to audiences around the world about the business case for sustainability and its impact on the future of the global marketplace. Nack has a Master’s in Public Policy from UCLA, where she also earned her Bachelor’s in International Economics, with a specialization in Latin America.

Nack credits UCLA with helping her meld her interests and foster her career. “I always knew I wanted to focus on ‘impact’ and figuring out a way to effect change around the landscape around me, and public policy felt like the best place where I could actually explore those interests,” she said. “Whether it be transportation or housing or social welfare, all of the pieces that I was interested in my impact puzzle I found at Luskin, I found in public policy.”

Employer: Three Squares, Inc., Women in Green Forum
Profile:  linkedin.com/in/jaimenack
Twitter: @jaimenack, @threesquaresinc, @WomenGreenForum
Media:   YouTube: FutureTalks, UCLA Magazine, World Economic Forum, EcoWatch, Sustainable Brands
Wikipedia: Jaime Nack

2013 MPP Alumni Fellowship Recipient Janine N'jie David, MPP '14

Janine N’jie David is Deputy Director of the Global Lab for Research in Action, an active UCLA research institute that pursues evidence-based solutions to critical health, education and economic challenges faced by children, adolescents and women around the world.

Janine has over a decade of experience as a non-profit leader, specializing in cross-sector partnerships with a special interest in equality for women and girls globally. Areas of expertise include strategic planning, board governance, philanthropy, talent acquisition, and corporate social responsibility.

Previously, Janine was Executive Director at Spark in Los Angeles, a national career exploration and mentoring program for middle school students, as well as a Senior Executive at Plan UK, a global organization which works to advance children’s rights and equality for girls in 50 countries. Janine’s work at Plan UK took her to Zambia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and India.

Janine holds a Master in Public Policy from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and is a member of their MPP Alumni Council, as well as a Luskin Alumni Career Leader, helping current students prepare for the job market.

Please visit Janine’s LinkedIn to learn more about their professional experience.

2013 MPP Alumni Fellowship Recipient Vernessa Shih, MPP '14

Vernessa Shih is the Senior Director of Story Bank at the Center for American Progress. In this role, Vernessa leads an innovative team seeking to humanize policy and politics through storytelling.

Prior to joining CAP, Vernessa was the digital correspondence manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. She led the team responsible for all inbound digital messages to Secretary Clinton’s campaign. In this role, she empowered those messengers to become storytellers in paid ads, digital assets, policy proposals and features in Secretary Clinton’s campaign speeches. She joined the Clinton team in 2014, interning for the Clinton Foundation, for Chelsea Clinton’s personal office, and then as the executive assistant to the chief of staff for Secretary Clinton’s personal office.

Vernessa was born and raised in Southern California to proud Taiwanese immigrant parents. She attended UCSB for her undergraduate double majors and the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for her masters in public policy. She resides in Washington D.C.

Please visit Vernessa’s LinkedIn to learn more about their professional experience.