San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter

Welcome to the American Red Cross of the San Gabriel Pomona Valley

The San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross serves 1.8 million people in 44 communities from La Canada Flintridge to Pomona and Duarte to Rowland Heights, covering 320 square miles.


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Veronica Garcia Dávalos, Executive Director, San Gabriel Valley Pomona Red Cross Chapter

Veronica Garcia Dávalos, Executive Director, San Gabriel Valley Pomona Chapter

Veronica Garcia Dávalos has devoted her entire career to the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining the American Red Cross,she served as Vice President of Advocacy and Community Engagement for the Greater Los Angeles Habitat for Humanity. She directed several capital campaigns as Vice President of Netzel Grisby, and has held executive positions at MoLAA, TELACU Education Foundation, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, KCET and the Boys Scouts of America. Veronica is the President of Leadership Long Beach, a board member of Long Beach Non Profit Partnership, a member of Long Beach Rotary Club, and the co-founder of the United Latino Fund and National Latina Alliance. She also serves on the Habitat for Humanity International’s U.S. Council Advocacy Committee. Veronica was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California and has been a resident of Long Beach for more than 20 years. She has three children and six grandchildren.

San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter Board of Directors 2015 - 2016


Dr. John Rodarte, General Pediatrician

Dr. John Rodarte is a general pediatrician at Descanso Pediatrics in La Canada, part of the Huntington Medical Foundation. He also currently serves as the Vice Chair of Pediatrics at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where he is a member of the Physician Disaster Task Force, in addition to several other committees. John has been a Reserve L.A. County Deputy Sheriff since 2003, serving as a member of the Montrose Search & Rescue Team. John also volunteers with the non-profit group Healing Hearts Across Borders, serving as the Past-President and current Medical Director for this volunteer team that provides free medical and dental care to the impoverished of Tijuana, Mexico. As an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Keck USC School of Medicine, John teaches 2nd year medical students how to interview and examine patients in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course. He has been on the Medical Staff with the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008 and a Network Physician for U.S. Figure Skating since 2013. He received his BA from Harvard College, MD from Keck USC School of Medicine, and did his Pediatric Internship and Residency at Mattel UCLA Medical


Akbar Jazayeri

Akbar Jazayeri retired from Southern California Edison Company (SCE) in April 2013 after 30 years of service. His last position at SCE was the Vice President of Regulatory Operations managing SCE's rate department and SCE's relations with regulatory agencies. He currently works on a part-time basis for Ernst & Young LLP as a Senior Manager in its Downtown Los Angeles office. Akbar previously served on the board of Southern California Special Olympics. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from USC and taught courses in Economics and quantitative methods as an adjunct faculty in California State University and Pepperdine University while working at SCE. Akbar lives in San Marino with his wife.


Bertral T. Washington, Fire Chief for the City of Pasadena

Born and raised in southern California, Chief Washington began supporting the Red Cross in 2001, with pool safety while working as a firefighter in Las Vegas,

NV. Chief Washington has a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) and has led the department to become accredited by CPSE's Commission on Fire Accreditation

International. Since his appointment, the department has also improved its Public Protection Classification rating to Insurance Services Office (ISO) Class 1. Only 32 fire departments in the country are both accredited and ISO Class 1. Chief Washington lives in Pasadena with his wife Cheri and two children.


Bernadette C. Hensel, RN

Bernadette is an active volunteer with the Rotary Club of Montebello where she served as Club President and Assistant Governor. She also serves on the Board of the Beverly Hospital Foundation and the Montebello-Commerce YMCA. She currently manages the operations of a 27-unit apartment complex and residential homes. She is a retired Nurse and Medical administrator. She received her Nursing degree from East Los Angeles College and graduated Cum Laude. Bernadette received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcast Communications from the University of the Philippines.


Angelle Roussel - Vice President and Treasurer of Parsons Corporation

Ms. Angelle Roussel is the Vice President and Treasurer of Parsons Corporation a global engineering, construction, technical, and professional service firm based in Pasadena, CA.

San Gabriel - Leadership - Heather Backstrom

Heather Backstrom, Ed.D., C.P.C.C – Director

Dr. Heather Backstrom is a Certified Personal Co-Active Coach. She has more than 20 years of experience in leadership coaching, workshop facilitation, instructional design, meeting facilitation and problem resolution with both individuals and groups. As an adjunct faculty member with the University of Redlands, Heather teaches leadership and management courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs. She has worked in the for-profit, not-for-profit and public sector for large and small organizations. Heather holds a B.A. from the University of the Pacific, a M.S. from Chapman University and an Ed.D. from Pepperdine University.

Todd Blecha - American Red Cross San Gabriel Chapter

Todd Blecha – Director

Wescom Credit Union

Todd Blecha is currently the Director of Internal Audit at Wescom Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in California. Todd has been a Red Cross volunteer for 20 years. He currently volunteers with first aid stations in the community (both small and large) and has taught CPR and first aid classes in the past.

Dr. Richard Chang

Dr. Richard Chang – Director

Evergreen Dental Care

Dr. Chang maintains a private dental practice in the city of Alhambra with a sub-specialty in holistic mercury-free dentistry. He has been teaching CPR/First Aid for the San Gabriel Valley Pomona Chapter since 1995 and conducts classes in both English and Chinese. Dr. Chang lives with his wife and two daughters in the city of San Marino.

Red Cross Pasadena Board Fernando Del Rio

Fernando Del Rio – Director

Fernando Del Rio is the head of DOME Enterprises, a management/communications firm that specializes in media, video productions, public relations and event production. He spent 25 years as a television newsman, show host, producer and editorial writer.

Mark Stapf

Mark Stapf – Chair


Born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley, Stapf first joined the Red Cross in the ’80s in the Health and Safety department as an instructor and later as an instructor trainer. For the past 15 years, Stapf has taught the Health Advocate Program at the California Institute of Technology.

Charles Wert

Charles Wert – Past Chair

Evercore Trust Company, N.A.

Mr. Wert serves as President and CEO of Evercore Trust Company which provides specialized investment management, independent fiduciary, and trustee services to employee benefit plans.

Hassan Kheradmandan

Hassan Kheradmandan – Director

Bicentennial Realtors, Dove Properties

Hassan Kheradmandan is a Commercial Real Estate Broker and investor with Bicentennial Realtors and Dove properties.

Linda Marsh

Linda Marsh – Director

AHMC Healthcare Inc.

Linda Marsh is senior vice president at AHMC Healthcare Inc, in Alhambra. She is responsible for all financial matters for six acute care hospitals.

Red Cross Pasadena Leadership Gene Jeffers

Gene Jeffers - Director

Gene Jeffers has supported the Red Cross for more than 30 years in volunteer and staff capacities. He has worked most recently as Executive Director of the Themed Entertainment Association (2001 – 2013). Previous positions include Executive Director of the American Red Cross Inland Valley Chapter; Executive Director of the Western Insurance Information Service; VP, Public Affairs and Communications of the National Association of Broadcasters; and a variety of positions at the American National Red Cross Headquarters, including Head of Media Relations, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, and Corporate Photographer.


Laura Olhasso

Laura Olhasso served twelve years on the City Council of La Canada Flintridge with three terms as Mayor. In addition to a term as the President of the Contract Cities Association, she has been a member of the Board of the Directors of the Crescenta-Canada YMCA, the Community Center of La Canada Flintridge, the Lanterman Museum Foundation, and Assistance League of Flintridge. She received the Les Tupper award in 2007 for service to the community and was named La Canadan of the Year in 2009. Laura owns a government affairs consulting company, putting to use for her clients her 30 years’ experience in campaign management and political consulting.

Red Cross San Gabriel Board Diana Peterson-More

Diana Peterson-More - Director

The Organizational Effectiveness Group

Diana Peterson-More is a labor lawyer, President of The Organizational Effectiveness Group ("OEG"), and Founder of HRO on the Go. She has 15 years of experience in human resources, including time spent as head of HR for Times Mirror Company and 12 years at Southern California Edison Company. She is a frequent guest lecturer/adjunct professor at various graduate and law schools in Los Angeles.

Red Cross Pasadena Board Member Ken Rivers

Kenneth Rivers – Director

CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

Kenneth Rivers is a graduate of Brown University. He is an experienced healthcare executive with critical leadership skills in strategic-planning, market positioning, service line growth, relationships with clinical and regulatory personnel, legislative advocacy and building a strong organizational structure. He is currently President and CEO of CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

Fred Soldwedel - American Red Cross San Gabriel Chapter

Fred Soldwedel – Director

Fred D. Soldwedel A Professional Law Corporation

Based in Pasadena, Fred D. Soldwedel has been a probate and estate planning attorney for the past 23 years. He received his BA from Northwestern University, attended the San Diego School of LA, served in the Navy on the super carrier USS America, and was also a Legislative assistant in the U.S. Congress.

Red Cross Pasadena Board Mercy Steenwyk

Mercy T. Steenwyk - Director

Forensis Group

Mercy T. Steenwyk is the Founder, President and CEO of the ForensisGroup, a consulting firm in Pasadena. She has 30 years of experience in strategic planning, marketing and community relations. ForensisGroup is one of the 100 largest, women- and minority-owned businesses in Los Angeles for the past two years. Mercy has a B.A. from the University of the Philippines.

Joy Sullivan - American Red Cross San Gabriel Chapter Board of Director

Joy Sullivan – Director

Born in Alhambra, Joy has been a Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts member for 23 years and has served many key positions within the organization.

Esther Wee - American Red Cross San Gabriel Chapter

Esther Wee – Director

Cathay Bank

Esther Wee is Cathay Bank’s Director of Marketing & CRA Officer. Her banking experience encompasses commercial lending, international trade finance, and capital markets.

Red Cross Pasadena Board Mike Zoeller

Mike Zoeller – Prepare San Gabriel Valley Vice Chair

Riedon Incorporated

Michael Zoeller has been involved with the San Gabriel Valley Chapter for 10 years as a Board member. He is the current president of Riedon Inc., an Alhambra-based electronic manufacturing company.