Meet our team

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Danna Elneil

Learning + Member Engagement Manager

Danna is a nonprofit strategy leader and community organizer. She has played various roles in organizations within the Muslim community throughout California and is passionate about leadership development, capacity building, and movement building. Most recently, she served as the first full-time staff member for MSA West where she led strategy & organizational development, and built programs and resources to cater to the holistic wellbeing of college students across California. Within this capacity she worked to strengthen relationships with 30 member campuses, create community partnerships statewide and nationally, and spearheaded the creation of a grassroots community organizing intensive training program that trained 100 students over three years. Prior to that, she worked at a civil rights organization in Sacramento leading operations and programs development, and played a key role in leading youth and civic engagement programs. 

Danna is a UC Davis alumna, where she majored in International Relations, minored in Spanish, and was active in leadership roles on campus that worked to mobilize and support marginalized communities. She sits on the Board of A Continuous Charity (California chapter) and is an advisor for MSA West. She currently lives in San Jose with her husband and in her free time can be found exploring coffee shops and spending quality time with her family.

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Alan Gouig

Nonprofit Catalyst Fellow

Originally from San Leandro, CA, Alan now stands as a proud graduate from San José State University (SJSU), holding a B.S. in Business Management and Administration.


From participating in LEAD Filipino’s Awareness in Action Leadership Program (AAP), graduating from the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute’s (APALI) Civic Leadership Program (CLP), and engaging as a Public Policy and Advocacy Intern at UC Davis' Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, Alan found passion in exploring the civic sector at the intersection of his own API identity. Across his lifetime, Alan seeks to raise the democratic capacity of his community by raising the political consciousness of Filipinx Americans and the broader API population as a whole.

Currently, Alan leads as a Civic Engagement Organizer with LEAD Filipino and stands on the Board of Directors for the South University Neighborhood (SUN) Association. In addition, he also serves as a Legislative Organizer with The Malaya Movement (South Bay) in which he advocates across the State of California on various Philippine human rights issues. He also serves on the 5-member Distinguished Service Award Selection Committee (2020-2021) as an appointee of Mary A. Papazian, the President of San José State University. Throughout his career, Alan hopes to continue the fight in advancing diversity, inclusion, and racial equity throughout all sectors of service and representation.

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Kyra Kazantzis

Chief Executive Officer

Kyra has been a nonprofit professional, community leader, and public servant in our Silicon Valley community for over 25 years. Her most recent role was as a Senior Policy Advisor to the San José Mayor, focused on solving San José’s housing and homelessness crisis. Her prior role as a longtime directing attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley saw her leading teams of in-house and law firm pro bono attorneys in conducting strategic impact policy advocacy and litigation in a wide variety of issue areas—fair housing, affordable housing, civil rights, inmate rights, consumer protection, disability rights, and poverty; Kyra co-founded the Law Foundation’s innovative Fair Housing Law Project. She began her legal career at the Law Foundation’s mental health advocacy program, where she was the directing attorney for 8 years, specializing in issues of involuntary mental health commitment, criminal justice interaction with individuals with disabilities, quality of care in psychiatric institutions and jails, and minors’ rights in residential care.


Kyra has a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction and honors from the University of Arizona. She has served on the governance boards of SVCN, MACLA, and the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA) and is a long-time volunteer at Children’s Musical Theater, San Jose. In 2013, Kyra was named as SCCBA’s Professional Lawyer of the Year and, in both 2012 and 2020, was listed as a woman of influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Kyra is an American Leadership Forum senior fellow (Urbanism Class XXXVI, CEO DIEL Cohort Class III) and lives in downtown San José with her husband Eric and teenager Kassia.

Nick Kuwada

Policy Director

Since 2006, Nick has served as an advocate for low-income and immigrant communities.  In the Bay Area, he started his nonprofit career as a volunteer and then staff attorney for Asian Law Alliance where he provided low-cost and pro bono immigration services as well as run the firm’s civic engagement program.  The civic engagement program utilized the strength of several local nonprofits to register voters, ensure proper language access during elections, and notably, a successful lawsuit and campaign that changed the political representation of Asian Americans in the City of Santa Clara.  Most recently, Nick was the Program Manager for the County of Santa Clara’s Office of the Census where he led one of the most comprehensive and successful efforts to count individuals on the 2020 Census.  In the County program, Nick emphasized a community-led approach that engaged numerous stakeholders from nearly every sector and resulted in over a million dollars in funding to local nonprofits.

Nick earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Utah and later attended Willamette University to receive his JD.  He enjoys spending his free time tending to his new family and collaborating with a local, Japanese dance school, NDS.

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Loani Nguyen

Operations + Finance Director

Loani comes to SVCN with experience in business operations at both private and non-profit organizations. She previously worked with a non-profit organization which partnered with educational institutions across the United States and in other countries. In addition, she has worked at several local community colleges. One of her passions is supporting first generation and underrepresented college students. This work has included managing several federal grants at Hispanic Serving Institutions in the Bay Area. She is a certified online instructor and has managed a unique business and computer science learning center that served both youth and adults in the community. 


Loani has a Master of Business Administration degree from Southern New Hampshire University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University. She is a member of the SNHU chapter of the National Society for Leadership and Success. Membership in this group is based not only on academic achievement but also on the demonstration of leadership ability. 


Aside from empowering others, Loani enjoys traveling, hiking, SUPing, reading historical fictions and making people laugh. Since Loani was raised in the Monterey area, she loves everything related to surf and sand. On a typical weekend, she can be seen spending time with friends and family.

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Marissa Martinez

Communications + Fund Development Specialist

Marissa is a community organizer, arts advocate, and playwright born and raised in East San Jose. With over seven years of experience in communications and events, she is committed to sharing stories and uplifting underserved youth and communities. 

As a founding director of More Más Marami Arts, Marissa strives to develop new works, support local artists, and empower the community to use their voices. She teaches workshops for youth on storytelling, script-writing, poetry, and acting. Marissa has had the pleasure of working with Bay Area theatre companies like Bindlestiff Studio, the Playwrights’ Foundation, and TheatreWorks. She is also involved in LEAD Filipino as the Fly Pinays Program Director, bringing together Filipnxs and providing opportunities for personal and professional development. 
Marissa earned a B.A. in English and Theatre Arts from Santa Clara University. She has been featured as a genARTS panelist and a CONTENT magazine artist. When she isn't writing or teaching art with youth, Marissa enjoys ice cream, decorating her planner, and watching movies.

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Orlando Caballero

Policy Intern

Originally from Foster City, CA, Orlando is currently a rising senior at Santa Clara University pursuing a B.S. in Public Health and minor in Biology. 

Orlando has been heavily involved with the Santa Clara University community, previously holding roles as Vice President of Finn Residential Learning Community's Leadership Council, Executive Director of the Student Alumni Council and presented research at Yale’s Unite for Sight Global Health and Innovation Conference as a Research Team Member of the Engineering World Health lab. More recently, Orlando founded the Pre-Physician Assistant Club and has been selected to serve both as a Markkula Center of Applied Ethics Health Care Ethics Intern and Valeriote Goldman Public Health Leadership Fellow for the 2021-2022 Academic Year. 

In his free time, Orlando enjoys playing pickup basketball with friends and family, as well as volunteering as a Department Assistant at Stanford Health Care and eating any breakfast-related foods.