Staff

Kyra Kazantzis - Chief Executive Officer

Kyra Kazantzis has been a nonprofit professional, community leader, and public servant in our Silicon Valley community for over 25 years. Her most recent role has been as a Senior Policy Advisor to San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, focused on solving San José’s housing and homelessness crisis. There, Kyra led the Mayor’s housing initiatives which, for example, marshaled a department-wide housing crisis work-plan and homelessness response plan; established a housing catalyst team; made land use changes to accommodate thousands of new homes; and launched the bridge housing program for people who are unhoused.

 

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 2012, was listed as a woman of influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Kyra is a proud member of ALF’s Urbanism Class XXXVI, and lives in downtown San José with her husband Eric, teen-aged daughter Kassia, and rescue dog Leila.

kyrak@svcn.org

Wendy Ho, MPA - Chief Strategy and Policy Officer

Wendy Ho is a community advocate and civic leader with over 10 years of experience working on behalf of students and underserved communities at the local, state, and federal level.

 

Currently, Wendy is Chief Strategy and Policy Officer for the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, after serving as its Senior Policy Director for over three years. Wendy was formerly the Advocacy & Public Policy Program Manager at United Way Silicon Valley, where she worked to improve the quality of life of Silicon Valley residents through advocacy and public policy change in the areas of education, financial stability, and health. Prior to United Way, Wendy served as the research and policy analyst for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a national health justice organization that influences policy and mobilizes communities to improve the health of Asian  Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Wendy’s policy experience also includes serving as a legislative fellow for Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) where she managed the Congressman’s Homeland Security, language access, and Asian American and Pacific Islander issue portfolio.

 

Committed to public service, Wendy serves on the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees. Born and raised in San Jose, Wendy is a proud product of public schools and has championed student success and equity during her tenure on the Board.

 

Wendy holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from Indiana University and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Japanese Studies from the University of California, San Diego.

Jennifer Torai - Director of Learning and Member Engagement

Jennifer brings more than 10 years of experience of serving communities throughout the Bay Area, most recently as the Community Programs Manager for Stanford Health Care’s Government and Community Relations Team, providing opportunities for community leaders and public officials to build meaningful and engaged relationships with the Stanford Health Care community. 

Jennifer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has worked with the Regional Center of the East Bay, as well as with the YWCA of Silicon Valley, Future Families, and the Seneca Family of Agencies. She has also been an adjunct professor at San Jose State University, teaching Social Work Policy for the MSW program. 

She previously served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter as Vice President of Professional Development.  She was also a member of the Regional Advisory Committee for the State Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Bay Area office and is a past Co-Chair of the Asian/Pacific Islander Social Work Council of Northern California.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and Master’s degrees in both Urban and Regional Planning and Social Work from San Jose State University. 

jennt@svcn.org

Alexa Nolder - Operations Manager

Alexa Nolder joined SVCN with nearly a decade of retail and office management experience, most recently as Office Manager for Unity Care Group. Alexa has mastered the ability to multi-task and provide quality work while also building new relationships with the community. With SVCN she partners with our CEO and Executive team to keep the organization on track.

 

Alexa’s love for helping others better themselves and those around them is what brought her to SVCN. She loves to empower those she meets to recognize and be proud of their strengths and weaknesses, as these are what makes them so unique. Alexa brings positivity to any situation and helps others to see the beauty in times of adversity.

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