Meet the Team | Not in Our Town

Meet the Team

   Staff  |   Board Members   |   Advisors

Staff and Consultants

Patrice O’Neill, Not In Our Town Executive Producer, is an award-winning media producer dedicated to telling stories about everyday people transforming their communities. As co-founder of the Oakland-based non-profit strategic media production company The Working Group, she has produced successful national series on PBS for fifteen years, using a multi-platform approach that utilizes documentary film, social networking, outreach and organizing efforts to encourage dialogue and spur action.

Charene Zalis produces and directs films for The Working Group and the PBS film program Not In Our Town. Her films focus on human rights issues, standing up to hate, and people who are making change in their communities. Prior to joining The Working Group, Zalis produced for the Globalvision human rights series Rights and Wrongs where she reported stories from the US, the Middle East and Asia and produced for the Frontline documentary The Arming of Saudi Arabia on PBS. Zalis began her career at NBC News and Sports, where she won an Emmy Award for The Championship, a Muhammad Ali documentary and was part of the production units for NBC News and the Olympic Games in Seoul and Barcelona.

Mimi Shum is Bookkeeper and Financial Manager.
 
Jeremy Jue is an Assistant Editor at Not In Our Town. He has taught basic video production to youth around the world, and is passionate about providing voice and opportunities to underserved and vulnerable populations. He is thrilled to be part of the NIOT team. 
 
Paul A. Di Lella is the Director of Law Enforcement Relations for Not In Our Town. He is an attorney and a recently retired prosecutor from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey. He is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Criminal Trial Attorney and by the New Jersey Police Training Commission as a Police Academy Instructor. Paul is a member of the National District Attorneys Association and the American Bar Association. 
 
Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas (Emeritus) is the former Director of Not In Our School (NIOS). She has spoken on the subject of how to combat bullying at conferences,schools, and universities across the United States. Becki's newbook,“Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn,” co-authored with Dr. Dorothy Steele was published by Corwin Press. Prior to working at The Working Group, she spent over 35 years in public education in California. She was a preschool director in Healdsburg, teacher and  principal in the Oakland Unified School District, Elementary Curriculum Director for the Palo Alto Unified School District and Superintendent of the Luther Burbank School District. While serving in Palo Alto in 2003, Becki initiated Not In Our School: Palo Alto, one of the first NIOS initiatives featured on KQED public television. 
 
Past and present team members who have also contributed to Not In Our Town's films and website : Erika Gosser, Kelly Whalen and Alicia Upano who were integral to the creation of NIOT.org. Additional producers and contributors include Barbara Nishi,  Emma Clune, Kate McLean, Heather Blackwell Gersh, Christina Corodimas, Kirthi Nath, and Sue Fishkoff; producer Adrienne Calo; and editors Anthony Lucero, Bob Laird, Matt Dibble, Andy Gersh and Jill Strong. David Molina is responsible for some of the music featured in the videos on NIOT.org. You can find David's music here. Additional music was provided by Music Orange and Dave Nelson of Outpost Studios.
 
NIOT.org was built and designed by EchoDitto and their collaborators at Biro Creative. We could not have asked for a more skilled, experienced and simpatico team. They listened… they heard. We’re proud to work with them. Special thanks to Michael Silberman, Scott Bulua, Nicco Mele, and the entire Biro Creative team. NIOT currently works with the wonderful team at verynice.co
 

Board of Directors

Frank Dukes is a mediator and facilitator who directed the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia (UVA) from 2000 to 2015 before stepping down to concentrate on his applied work. He also is founder of the University & Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE), which addresses the university’s legacy of slavery, segregation and its impact on the wider community. He served on Charlottesville's Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces, was on the design team leading community engagement for the forthcoming Memorial for Enslaved Laborers at UVA, and speaks frequently about the history and legacy of white supremacy at UVA and Virginia.

Grande Lum is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Menlo College in Atherton, California. Prior to joining Menlo, he was Director of the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Previously, Grande Lum was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2012 as the Director of the Community Relations Service (CRS), an agency within the Department of Justice. Before joining CRS, Grande Lum was a clinical professor at the University of California Hastings School of the Law, where he directed the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. He is the author of The Negotiation Fieldbook (McGraw-Hill 2nd Edition, 2010); Tear Down the Wall: Be Your Own Mediator in Conflict (Optimality, 2013); and the forthcoming America’s Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights (University of Missouri, 2020. Co-authored with Bertram Levine). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley and a law degree from Harvard. Grande joined The Working Group / Not In Our Town board in May 2020.

Jacquelyn McCormick is Chief of Staff to Mayor Jesse Arreguin of Berkeley, CA. Jacquelyn is a community leader, devoted organizer and activist. In 2016, she joined newly elected Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin as his Senior Advisor and became his Chief of Staff in early 2019 following a career in architecture, project management and holding senior leadership positions in corporate facility management.  During 2017, right-wing extremists came to Berkeley almost a dozen times.  

In response to the tragedies of Charlottesville and in preparation for a similar demonstration in Berkeley, Jacquelyn organized the printing and distribution of over 50,000 signs in Berkeley and neighboring communities.  These signs, still found in the windows of businesses and homes, bear the message that each community stands United Against Hate. This one-time effort has evolved into the United Against Hate movement, a growing regional week of action to build safe and inclusive communities that Jacquelyn co-chairs. Jacquelyn joined the The Working Group / Not in Our Town board in October 2019.

Patrice O’Neill is a founder of The Working Group/ Not In Our Town and serves as Director and Executive Producer for the nonprofit founded in 1988. O’Neill has produced successful national PBS series for 20 years, and led a multi-platform approach that utilizes documentary film, social networking, and civic engagement to encourage dialogue and community action. O’Neill’s acclaimed Not In Our Town series set a new standard for public television impact, launching a dynamic national movement that uses film, social media, and grassroots organizing to connect people in the fight against intolerance.

Stephen Scaffidi has worked extensively in media research, marketing, public relations and local government, and is currently the co-host of the Scaffidi and Bilstad show, which airs from 12-3 p.m. every day on 620WTMJ in Milwaukee. He served as the mayor of Oak Creek, Wisconsin for 5 years, beginning in April of 2012. 4 months after his election, a gunman killed 6 people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and he led a community response which is considered a model for communities dealing with mass shootings. As a project manager in Special Projects for the Nielsen Company, one of the largest media research firms in the world, he was involved in audience research for the major U.S. television networks, leading a team that identified and tested new research methods to extract viewing data from new viewing platforms like laptops, smartphones and PCs. He is the founder of Oak Creek Cares, a donor fund established by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, which raises money for programs which help to reduce violence in communities. He is also the author of the book, Six Minutes in August, which tells the story of the shooting in Oak Creek in 2012, and the incredible community response and recovery from that horrific event.

Adam Strom is the Director of Re-Imagining Migration. Throughout his career, Mr. Strom has connected the academy to classrooms and the community by using the latest scholarship to encourage learning about identity, bias, belonging, history, and the challenges and opportunities of civic engagement in our globalized world. The resources developed under Strom’s direction have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms and experienced by millions of students around the world including Stories of Identity: Religion, Migration, and Belonging in a Changing World, What Do We Do with a Difference? France and The Debate Over Headscarves in Schools, Identity, and Belonging in a Changing Great Britain, and the viewer’s guide to I Learn America. Before joining the ReImagining Migration Project, Strom was the Director of Scholarship and Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves.

Eunice Ward joined The Working Group / Not In Our Town board in June 2020; biography TBD.

Advisory Council 

Aman Ahuja is a founder of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of DataKind, a non-profit dedicated to helping NGOs and other organizations tackle data science problems. In his third year as chapter leader, Aman focused on developing processes and leadership structures that lead to successful, sustainable projects. With a background in engineering and physics, he worked for several years at a consulting firm that focused on content management systems, taking on roles as a project manager, business analyst, and data engineer.

Susan Bro is the mother of Heather Heyer, and a Co-Founder of the Heather Heyer Foundation (HHF).  Heather was murdered while standing up for social justice with her friends on August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Susan taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade for 18 years. She also worked as Administrative Assistant for Greene County Cooperative Extension for 6 years until Heather's death. Based on her daughter's adopted motto, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention," Susan brings Heather's legacy alive by sharing a positive, call to action to speak up and step out for social justice and civil rights through dialogue and understanding. While she is studying anti-racism from strong Black Women, she has also studied to become a Certified Life Coach.

Malissia Clinton is senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Aerospace, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the objective application of science and technology toward the solution of critical issues affecting the nation’s space program. There, she provides legal advice and counsel at the senior management level and manages corporate transactions of the board of trustees and its committees. Before joining Aerospace, Malissia worked for several years in the Office of General Counsel at Northrop Grumman. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman in 1998, she worked for the law firm of Tuttle and Taylor in Los Angeles. She began her career working summers during college as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. Malissia received her BA from Arizona State University and her JD from Stanford Law School, where she was an editor for the Stanford Law Review. She serves on the boards of directors of the City of Hope Medical Center and the Arizona State University Alumni Association, and she formerly served on the board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Malissia lives with her husband, Ronald, and their three children in Manhattan Beach.

Ellen Hume is a journalist, teacher and civil society activist who works on the front lines of democracy around the world. Before moving to Budapest (2009-2016) where she mentored journalists and founded a project on Roma integration, she was research director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT (2008-9), and creator of the New England Ethnic Newswire (2007-2009). Hume’s analysis of why independent journalism hasn’t done well in post-Communist countries “Caught in the Middle: Central and Eastern European Journalism at a Crossroads”  was published in 2011 by the Center for International Media Assistance. Her earlier report “Media Missionaries” was the first comprehensive study of U.S. efforts to train foreign journalists, published in 2004 by the Knight Foundation. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the advisory aboard of the Center for International Media Assistance, the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University, and DIREKT36, a Hungarian investigative reporting group. An international journalism trainer since 1993, Hume also served on the board of Internews. Hume is also a founding member of the International Media Development Advisers which trouble-shoots media problems in challenging environments, I work to help people develop their own versions of journalism and democracy.

Pardeep Singh Kaleka is the eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka – the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, who was gunned down during the attacks of August 5th, 2012. Pardeep grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Marquette University. Being a former Milwaukee Police Officer and a current teacher in the inner city – Pardeep is no stranger to the never ending battle against racism, bigotry, and ignorance. He firmly believes that the lamp of knowledge and truth will outshine all the darkness in the world, and does his best to profess this through his work with Serve 2 Unite.

Arno Michaelis, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was a leader of a worldwide racist skinhead organization, a reverend of a self-declared Racial Holy War, and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which sold 20,000 CDs by the mid-nineties and is still popular with racists today. Single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people he once hated all helped to turn Arno's life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all life. After spending over a decade as a successful information technology consultant and entrepreneur, Arno is now a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development as an educator working with Serve 2 Unite. Founded as an ongoing peaceful response to the August 5th 2012 Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek, WI, S2U engages students creatively with a global network of peacemakers and mentors in partnership with Against Violent Extremism, The Forgiveness Project, Arts @ Large, and Parents for Peace. Arno’s customizable keynotes and workshops leverage noble qualities of compassion, curiosity, and kindness to engage all human beings, building foundations for diversity appreciation and cultural agility. 

Rabbi Sydney Mintz was ordained in 1997 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where she progressed through the Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York campuses.  Rabbi Mintz has served on the Reform Movement's Commission on Social Action, the Board of the Brandeis Hillel Day School and the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, the Rabbinic Advisory Councils of Shalom Bayit-the San Francisco Jewish Domestic Violence Board and the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. In addition to lecturing widely in the area of Midrash and Jewish humor, she is currently on the Board of the Documentary Production, "A Gift for Laughter-Comedy and the Jews."  Rabbi Mintz became a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem after completing her fellowship in 2004. She helped to found the award winning Late Shabbat Young Adult Program at Congregation Emanu-El where she has served as Rabbi since her ordination in 1997. Although Rabbi Mintz dreams that real Chicago pizza existed in San Francisco, she would never dream of giving up life in the vibrant Jewish community of the Bay Area.  Rabbi Mintz led Team Emanu-El in the AIDS Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles and is an avid open ocean swimmer.

Deepak Puri is a Silicon Valley veteran with executive experience at OracleNetscape and VMware. He specializes in applying technology to maximize the impact of philanthropy and volunteers with non-profit groups such as AshokaTaproot and IESC. Deepak is the co-founder of Democracy Labs and also serves on the board of the Tides Foundation.

Adam Strom is the Director of Re-Imagining Migration. Throughout his career, Mr. Strom has connected the academy to classrooms and the community by using the latest scholarship to encourage learning about identity, bias, belonging, history, and the challenges and opportunities of civic engagement in our globalized world.  The resources developed under Strom’s direction have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms and experienced by millions of students around the world including Stories of Identity: Religion, Migration, and Belonging in a Changing World, What Do We Do with a Difference? France and The Debate Over Headscarves in Schools, Identity, and Belonging in a Changing Great Britain, and the viewer’s guide to I Learn America. Before joining the ReImagining Migration Project, Strom was the Director of Scholarship and Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves.