Keynote Address: Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 9:00AM - 10:30AM

New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and a deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores.

Titles include several picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels. He also recently launched a new story arc in the Jedi Academy series with Star Wars™: Jedi Academy: A New Class. His most recent book, Hey, Kiddo (Oct 2018), is a graphic memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction and finding the art that helps you survive. Hey, Kiddo was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Keynote Address: Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy

Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 9:00AM - 10:30AM

Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy is a Clinical and Organizational Consultant at the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York, NY where he also serves as Director. He provides Racially Focused Trauma-Informed training, executive coaching, and consultation to a diverse network of individuals and organizations throughout the United States and abroad. He is a former Professor of Family Therapy at both Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Syracuse University in New York, and has also served as the Director of Children, Families, and Trauma at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York, NY.

In addition to his consultation work, Dr. Hardy is a frequent conference speaker and has also appeared on ABC’s 20/20, Dateline NBC, PBS, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

He is the author of Culturally Sensitive Supervision: Diverse Perspectives and Practical Applications, Promoting Culturally Sensitive Supervision: A Manual for Practitioners, Revisioning Family Therapy: Race, Class, and Gender, and Teens Who Hurt: Clinical Strategies for Breaking the Cycle of Youth Violence.

Keynote Address: Cristela Alonzo

Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:45PM - 3:30PM

Cristela Alonzo made history in 2014 when she became the first Latina to create, produce and star in her own network sitcom, “Cristela” for ABC. During that same year, she split her time between LA and NYC to serve as one of ABC’s favorite guest hosts on their hit daytime talk show, “The View”.  In 2017 Cristela made history again when she became the first Latina lead in a Disney Pixar film when she voiced the part of “Cruz Ramirez” in Cars 3. Her first stand-up special, Lower Classy, is currently streaming on Netflix. Cristela’s memoir, “Music to My Years,” was released in October of 2019 by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Cristela also has a podcast called “To Be Continued” which can be streamed on all major podcasting platforms. 


Other featured Speakers

Ann Edwards

Ann is currently Director of the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, with 26 years of experience in social services.  She previously served Sacramento County as Director of Health and Human Services, as well as Deputy County Executive, and Solano County as Director of Health and Social Services. 

Ann holds a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and attended the Harvard Leadership program for public service executives.  She is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Ann is our current CWDA President, formerly serving as Vice President at Large, Vice President of Services and Co-Chair of Child Care and CalWORKs committees.  She is also presently a member of the CalWIN Policy Board and Co-Chair of the CalSAWS JPA Board.

Dr. Mark Ghaly

Dr. Mark Ghaly was appointed in 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom as Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, overseeing California’s largest Agency dedicated to health care and safety-net services. Previously, he was the Medical Director of the Southeast Health Center, a public clinic in San Francisco. There, Dr. Ghaly practiced pediatrics and led a transition to the patient-centered medical home model of care. In 2011, Dr. Ghaly became the Deputy Director for Community Health and Integrated Programs for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. There, he directed clinical operations in the juvenile detention system and led the transition of health services into an integrated system. He also led a team to expand services on the Martin Luther King, Jr., health campus, including opening the community hospital there. Dr. Ghaly earned his M.D. and M.P.H. from Harvard. He is married to Christina Ghaly and has four young children.

Kim Johnson

Kim Johnson was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom as the Director of the California Department of Social Services in July of 2019.  Ms. Johnson had previously been appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to serve as the Deputy Director of the Family Engagement and Empowerment Division and was responsible for the planning, policy direction and oversight of services to over 4 million individuals, children, families, and living in poverty through safety net resources, employment opportunities, and additional engagement strategies.  

Ms. Johnson has over 20 years of experience working in various family support and children’s programs focused on social justice, equity, and poverty disruption in both community-based organizations and government. She holds a degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.

Elizabeth Kelly

I grew up in Ventura California and spent every summer in Glenn County (5th Generation) with my grandparents who were rice and cattle farmers in Butte City. I have been in public service since 1986 starting with serving in the US Navy for six years as a Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class, went on to college and received a BA in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Law, and attended Ventura College of Law; served Ventura and Tehama counties as a Deputy Probation Officer, advanced to managing Poverty Programs in Glenn County for almost seven years, and for the last ten years serving as the Director for Colusa County Health & Human Services. I have served within CWDA for those same 10 years in chairing 20 Small Counties, Medi-Cal, Cal-Fresh, Conference Planning, and currently Vice-Chair and IT Chair for CWDA. When I started out with probation, the first question that always came up for me with each individual, was how did this person get here and what was my purpose in that. It has been my passion that an individual’s past does not define their future, and wanting to empower and spread that message on to others and to ensure we collectively provide what we can to anyone who is struggling on their journey. I am extremely grateful for those who have supported and assisted me on my journey, and especially those within CWDA, who challenge, listen, support, and advocate for all of us. It is a real privilege to be part of such an amazing organization such as CWDA and the truest honor to serve as Director for HHS in Colusa.

Will Lightbourne

Will Lightbourne was appointed Director of the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) by Governor Gavin Newsom effective June 16, 2020.

Before his appointment to DHCS, Mr. Lightbourne served on Governor Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, and previously as Director of the California Department of Social Services from 2011 through​ 2018​.  Before his state service, he was director of the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, director of the Human Services Agency of the City & County of San Francisco, director of the Santa Cruz County Human Services Agency, and general director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Mr. Lightbourne earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University.

Frank Mecca

Frank Mecca has served as Executive Director since October 1991, during this time he has helped establish CWDA as a leading advocacy and policy organization in the field of public human services.

Under Frank’s leadership, the association has been instrumental in the development of significant human services programs and policies, including helping shape the CalWORKs program, creating the Adult Protective Services program, and advocating for significant child welfare reform efforts such as extending foster care support to youth after age 18.

Frank is Vice Chairman and a board member of the California Budget & Policy Center, as well as a member of the California Child Welfare Council. He is a former president of the National Association of County Human Services Administrators.