Advisory Board

Ruthie Bolton, 2x Gold Medal Olympian and WNBA Hall of Fame

Mighty Ruthie" is respected around the globe not only for her skills on the court but for motivating, energizing, and engaging audiences, drawing on her rich life experience: as a former professional basketball player, author, educator, and lifelong advocate for women. She is an original franchise player for the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs. She has scored over 2000 career points, she is 4th on the WNBA's all-time 3-pointer list, and she is the only player in the history of the Monarchs to have her number retired. She is a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, a USA Basketball Female of the Year, the Sports Illustrated Best Woman Athlete by home state, and one of only four players to be named to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Ruthie was the WNBA's first National Spokeswoman for the youth development program "Play Fit/ Stay Fit." Watch ESPN's full feature documentary about Ruthie's life.

Lisa Gauthier, East Palo Alto City Council Member

Prior to being elected to office in 2012, Lisa supported organizations as an executive assistant supporting C-level executives in the venture capital, biotech, and high-tech industries, including start-ups and global, publicly-owned companies. She has successfully moved to the management area having successfully served as an Administrative Services and Government Affairs Manager.

Skilled in policymaking, facilities management, nonprofit organizations, budgeting, entrepreneurship, volunteer management, public speaking, and team building. Strong leader with an Associate of Arts (AA) focused in Business Management & Marketing from De Anza College and a Bachelor of Science (BA) in Business Administration.

In her words, "I understand the impact that education can have on one’s future and was proud to earn my degree as an adult while working as a Government Affairs Manager and serving as the Mayor in 2019.

Additionally, I strongly believe in Diversity and Inclusion. Diversity without Inclusion is just checking a box and creates a revolving door."

Bill Berkowitz, Ph.D.

Bill Berkowitz is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and former Coordinator of its graduate program in Community Social Psychology. He is also an original and continuing team member of the Community Tool Box (, the largest single source of information about community development presently in existence. His prior work includes community program creation, program administration, college teaching, professional writing, and consultation.

Bill’s particular interests are in local community development and the strengthening of community life. His four books, book chapters, and articles focus on skills, ideas, and examples for improving local communities. In his home community, Bill has represented his neighborhood in public office as an elected Town Meeting Member for 40 years.

Louise Pencavel, Producer

Louise Pencavel has produced several programs and series at the Midpen Media Center. She now heads up Professional Services, the production company that produces professional videos in support of the Midpen Media Center’s non-profit activities. She is also the host and creator of the annual Local Hero Awards, a series of interviews with six people from the Midpeninsula who are honored for their inspirational stories and contributions to the communities. She has produced, hosted, written, filmed and edited television in the Bay Area for over 25 years. Productions have included news, documentaries and children’s programs for KPIX, KRON and KGO in San Francisco and three nationally televised documentaries for PBS.

Gregory Fischer, Architect

Gregory Fischer is a designer and creative facilitator with extensive experience leading innovation within design teams and helping clients uncover and articulate their stories, translating insights into transformative endeavors. Gregory pairs a human-centered design approach with systems thinking to broaden perspectives and guide design teams toward responsive, impactful solutions. As a keenly interested and empathetic advocate, he uses his design role as a catalyst: not the author, but a spark igniting powerful opportunity.

Gregory brings nearly 30 years of experience leading a diverse range of transformative projects, including the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry, the Institute for Contemporary Art Los Angeles (ICA LA), the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). His work in East Palo Alto includes the EPACENTER and the future home for the East Palo Alto Library. He remains actively engaged in the community through advocacy, community activation, teaching, and friendships.

Monica Bendernagel, Accenture

Monica is a management consultant with Accenture helping her clients transition to subscription business models and establish their customer success organizations. Outside of her client work, Monica works with several non-profits, including Farming Hope, focused on local causes in the Bay Area. She holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Leslie Johnson, Hurlbut-Johnson Charitable Trust

Leslie is a former early childhood educator and Special Education teacher who is passionate about children’s literature and early literacy. She recognizes the value of early education and intervention and the involvement of both parents and children in the learning process, thus is a strong advocate for what 10 Books A Home provides to families. Leslie has a B.S. degree in Child Development from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a Master’s degree in Special Education from San Francisco State. She is an advisor to the Hurlbut-Johnson Charitable Trust, a 10 Books A Home contributor since 2012. In addition, she is the founder and co-president of Epic Transitions, aka Trek Epic, a non-profit that supports young adults in discovering their authentic selves and unique gifts through guided, transformational trek experiences. A native of the Bay Area, Leslie is the mother of four young adult children who share her love of reading.

Sean Murphy, Achieve Kids

Sean is currently a Special Education teacher at AchieveKids in Palo Alto. He studied Special Education with an emphasis in Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) at Michigan State University. Before moving to the Bay Area Sean was a Special Education Teacher in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area. Sean founded Good Humans Tutoring LLC in Tempe, Arizona with the goal of providing quality special education services to home-schooled children with mild to moderate disabilities. Sean is passionate about inclusive and equitable education for individuals with disabilities, and individuals from underserved communities. When he’s not in the classroom you can find him pursuing his passion for adventure through travel, hiking, camping, or reading. Action Sports such as skateboarding and snowboarding have been long-term passions of Sean’s that continue to motivate and challenge him.