Chief Service Officer and Staff

California Volunteers is led by the state’s Chief Service Officer, Karen Baker. The office is comprised of four departments: AmeriCorps, Community Partnerships, Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness, and Finance & Administration.

Contact Us

1400 10th St, Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information:
Phone: (916) 323-7646
Toll-Free: (888) 567-SERV
FAX: (916) 558-3185

Chief Service Officer

Karen Baker
Chief Service Officer
  • Profile Detail
    Karen Baker currently serves as California’s Chief Service Officer for Governor Gavin Newsom. She leads CaliforniaVolunteers, the State Service Commission charged with administering the nation’s largest state AmeriCorps portfolio. In addition, CaliforniaVolunteers serves as the lead agency for disaster volunteering and donations management, and promotes volunteering and service across California. Initially appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in January 2006, Karen was named the Secretary of Service and Volunteering and has forged vibrant public-private partnerships resulting in the creation of successful innovations, including the California Disaster Corps, Business Partners Program and the CaliforniaVolunteers Service Enterprise Initiative. Karen’s 20-plus year career began with a year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member, working with at-risk youth. Her solutions-based innovations have been fundamental to her work in settings ranging from federal and state government, to local nonprofits, national nonprofits, and universities. Her creative community solutions began while serving as the Executive Director of Chrysalis, a Los Angeles- based homeless nonprofit. She was then appointed by the Clinton administration as the Deputy Director of AmeriCorps*VISTA serving at the Corporation for National and Community Service. While there, she was appointed the Director of Special Projects for CEO, Harris Wofford. Her interest in addressing poverty issues led her to Share Our Strength, where as the Director of Innovation, she led “Taste of the Nation,” a fundraising platform in 50 states and Canada. She returned to Sacramento as the Managing Partner of Valley Vision, an “action tank” that addresses regional economic, environmental, and social issues, and then began her state service with CaliforniaVolunteers. Karen holds her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Karen, her husband Ed, and her two children live in Sacramento.

Community Partnerships

Kao Ye Thao
Executive Fellow
  • Profile Detail
    Kao Ye Thao is an Executive Fellow with the Capital Fellows Program. Prior to joining CaliforniaVolunteers, Kao Ye proudly served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Sacramento Promise Zone, a federally designated place-based initiative. In her role as the Sustainable Communities Coordinator, Kao Ye advanced Promise Zone initiatives that helped to increase art opportunities in historically under-served Sacramento neighborhoods. She also supported other Promise Zone initiatives including the Sacramento Performance Partnership Pilot, SEEK Summer STEM Camp, and the Financial Institution Partnership Opportunity. Kao Ye earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health Policy from the University of California, Irvine. She is a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar alumna.

External Affairs

Nikka Tahan
External Affairs Specialist
  • Profile Detail
    Nikka Tahan has been with CaliforniaVolunteers since April of 2018. She was brought on as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Global Climate Action Summit and now currently serves as the External Affairs Specialist. Before joining the CaliforniaVolunteers team, Nikka worked at Amigos de las Americas for 6 years which culminated in her roles as the Training Director for the East Bay Chapter as well as the Associate Project Director in the Dominican Republic. While completing her undergraduate degree in Public Policy and Philosophy at Mills College, where she graduated with honors, Nikka held a Senior Supervisor position for the College’s Telephone Outreach Program, working with Alumnae and parents from all over the world in order to increase engagement and giving. Nikka holds a Masters in Science from the University of Edinburgh in Comparative Public Policy where she was awarded the highest marks in her program.

Finance & Administration

Anthony Chavez
Director of Finance
  • Profile Detail
    Anthony Chavez joined the CaliforniaVolunteers team as the Director of Finance and Administration effective November 2011. Anthony assists the Chief Service Officer in implementing the goals and priorities of CaliforniaVolunteers. In addition, Anthony oversees the internal operations of CaliforniaVolunteers and manages the development of internal processes and protocols to ensure the timely and effective implementation of the organization’s work. Previously Anthony has served the California Employment Development Department within the Fiscal Programs Division where he led budget staff in the development of budget policy, expenditure monitoring/control and interfaced with Control Agencies and Legislative contacts. As the grant coordinator for the Department, Anthony’s efforts resulted in the approval of seven competitive grant awards. Anthony has earned a Bachelor of Arts from Humboldt State University.
Amelyn Tadeo
Fiscal Monitoring Supervisor
  • Profile Detail
    Amelyn Tadeo, “Ame” has proudly served the State since 2003. She accepted her appointment to CaliforniaVolunteers in October 2013. Before coming to CaliforniaVolunteers, Ame was recently with the Department of Education where she advanced in the accounting specialty. Ame is applying her accounting experience and providing CV with Fiscal and Administrative support. She holds an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies, specializing in Business Corporations from Mt. San Antonio College.
Kaitlin Meyer
Government Affairs Specialist
  • Profile Detail
    Kaitlin Meyer joined CaliforniaVolunteers in November 2016 as an Executive Fellow within the Capital Fellows Program and currently serves at the Government Affairs Specialist. Prior to joining CaliforniaVolunteers, Kaitlin worked as a research assistant with both the Trans-Border Institute and the Women PeaceMakers Program at the University of San Diego. She has also worked extensively with Habitat for Humanity, as an intern with San Diego Habitat for Humanity and as a co-founder of and volunteer coordinator for the University of San Diego Habitat for Humanity campus chapter. Kaitlin graduated with Honors from the University of San Diego in May 2016, where she studied Political Science, Spanish, and Conflict Resolution. Her work with local non-profits and social justice focused research institutes inspired her to pursue a career dedicated to public service.
Gaylord Daluz
Grants Management Associate
  • Profile Detail
    Gaylord Daluz joined CaliforniaVolunteers in August 2014 as the AmeriCorps Grants Management Associate. He is responsible for monitoring AmeriCorps programs budget throughout California and assisting in the grantmaking process for CaliforniaVolunteers. Prior to his appointment at CaliforniaVolunteers, Gaylord has served the California Department Education within the Fiscal Administration Services and Nutrition Services Divisions for 13 years where he interfaced with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and California School Districts. He led staff in compiling statistical data, prepared and analyzed various reports, and made certain that school districts utilized their entitlement dollars appropriately for the National School Lunch Program. Before serving the State of California, Gaylord served in the U.S. Army where he traveled the United States, Europe and a Southwest Asia deployment.

AmeriCorps Program

Ia Moua
Director of AmeriCorps
  • Profile Detail
    Ia Moua serves on the staff leadership team for CaliforniaVolunteers as the Director of AmeriCorps. In this role, Ia is responsible for the strategic investments of $90 million in federal and local match funding annually to support AmeriCorps State programs across California and oversees the management of the Commission’s AmeriCorps State portfolio and Governor’s initiatives. Prior to joining CaliforniaVolunteers, Ia served as the program manager and interim executive director for the Hmong Women's Heritage Association, where she designed and oversaw programs aimed at fostering youth resiliency and health and well-being for immigrant and refugee families. A native Hmong speaker and proud AmeriCorps Alumni, Ia received her Bachelor of Science degrees in Spanish and Community Regional Development from the University of California, Davis.
Kari MacDonald
Deputy Director of AmeriCorps
  • Profile Detail
    Kari MacDonald is the Deputy Director of AmeriCorps with CaliforniaVolunteers. She has more than twenty years of experience working in public, private and nonprofit environments and has considerable experience working in nonprofit capacity building, with specific expertise in nonprofit financial management, board governance and program evaluation. Kari earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of California San Diego.
Eddie Aguero
AmeriCorps Specialist
  • Profile Detail
    Eddie has served in a variety of AmeriCorps staff roles since California’s Commission on Service (CaliforniaVolunteers) inception in September 1994. He has served as the Assistant Director of Programs, the Training and Technical Assistance Director, the Disability Coordinator, and the Manager of Program Operations to name a few. As one of California’s Service “Trailblazers”, he continues to serve as the Commission’s AmeriCorps Specialist, providing support and guidance to programs and CV staff. Eddie earned his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from CSU Sacramento.
Carrie Lewis
Senior Program Officer
  • Profile Detail
    Carrie Lewis joined CaliforniaVolunteers in July 2014 and serves as a Senior Program Officer. Carrie develops and monitors a portfolio of AmeriCorps programs and is the staff lead on new program development, community outreach, program mentoring, and overall team management. Prior to working with CaliforniaVolunteers, Carrie spent ten years directing a statewide environmental AmeriCorps program with the California Conservation Corps. Carrie’s experience has leveraged her ability to provide guidance on the impacts of all programs in the CV portfolio as well as develop training and technical assistance for programs and staff. Carrie earned a Master of Social Science (Environment & Community) from Humboldt State University and a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.
Patrick Gianelli
Senior Grants and Program Development Specialist
  • Profile Detail
    Patrick Gianelli has served with CaliforniaVolunteers since 2013, first as a Student Assistant working on the Volunteer Generation Fund and currently as a Senior Grants & Program Development Specialist. Prior to working with CV, Patrick served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta, GA. He did his undergraduate work in Sociology at San Francisco State University and earned his Masters of Public Policy & Administration degree at CSU Sacramento.
Tara Baltzley
Senior Program Officer and Training & Technical Assistance
  • Profile Detail
    Tara leads the AmeriCorps Department’s training and technical assistance efforts. Her 4 years as a Program Officer gave her profound respect for the amazing work of AmeriCorps program staff and a passion to gather and create training resources, tools and experiences that support staff and programs from brand new to highly experienced. Tara returned to the Sacramento area after nearly 12 years in international community development, including 9 years in Kyrgyzstan where she was involved in rural health and agriculture projects. Locally, Tara served in the nonprofit arena with programs offering health access, services for at-risk youth, and a residential recovery program for homeless women and their children. She has also worked in the education sector. Prior to joining the CV team in 2014, Tara worked as a consultant in grant writing and foundation relations. Tara holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition from California State University at Sacramento.
Becca Joyner
Program Officer
  • Profile Detail
    Becca Joyner joined CaliforniaVolunteers in March 2018 and currently serves as a Program Officer. Prior to joining the CV team, Becca managed an AmeriCorps Program from 2015-2018, that provided life skills mentoring, financial literacy and academic assistance to foster youth throughout California. Becca has dedicated her career to service through nonprofit work, and working with at risk youth, drug prevention and providing legal information and training to her community. She also has a background with working with local and state legislatures. Becca earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from CSU Chico in 2014
Brynna Arneson
Program Officer
  • Profile Detail
    Brynna Arneson joined CaliforniaVolunteers in April 2018 and currently serves as a Program Officer. Prior to joining CaliforniaVolunteers, Brynna worked in the nonprofit sector for several years, focusing on program development and fundraising for both national and local nonprofits. She also worked as a middle and high school English teacher in under-resourced communities for six years and served as an AmeriCorps member in Boston, MA. Brynna graduated from UC San Diego in 2009 and earned her teaching credential in 2010.
Kayla Bowman
Program Officer
  • Profile Detail
    Kayla Bowman joined CaliforniaVolunteers in August 2018 and currently serves as a Program Officer. Prior to joining CaliforniaVolunteers, Kayla served two terms as an AmeriCorps State and VISTA member with Reading Partners in Sacramento. Kayla earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology from San Jose State University in 2010 and a Master’s in Public Health from National University in 2015. In 2016, she completed the Aspire Teacher Residency, where she earned a Master’s in Education and Single Subject teaching credential from the University of the Pacific.

Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness

Suu-Va Tai
Director of Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness
Jeremy Goldsmith
Disaster Volunteer and Preparedness Specialist
  • Profile Detail
    Jeremy Goldsmith joined CaliforniaVolunteers in December 2018 in the capacity of Disaster Volunteer and Preparedness Specialist. Before joining CaliforniaVolunteers, Jeremy served as a Boren Fellow in Senegal where he lived and worked for over a year and a half. While there, he led several outmigration-related projects with both the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). He also worked with the City of Seaside, Oregon on community emergency preparedness outreach projects and writing grants for a local food bank. Jeremy received his Masters from the University of Wyoming and his Bachelors from Western Kentucky University. He has also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and as an AmeriCorps Volunteer.
Sharron Leaon
Senior Emergency Officer
  • Profile Detail
    Sharron Leaon joined CaliforniaVolunteers in June 2006, was appointed as Director of DVP in March 2007, and since August 2014, has served as a Senior Emergency Officer (Retired Annuitant). Previously, she spent nine years with the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in the Preparedness Division, and was appointed as the Emergency Services Representative to the California Seismic Safety Commission from May 2007 – June 2011. Her planning background also includes work in waste management and resource conservation.