Staff

Janelle Orsi - Executive Director & SELC Co-FounderJanelle Orsi, Attorney at Law, SELC Co-Founder

Janelle is SELC's head Eagle, continually developing ideas, visions, and strategies for stronger, more resilient economies. She provides guidance and support to each program circle, and leads the Legal Profession in the New Economy program. She is also the Cartoonist-in-Chief, and her works can be found all over the SELC website, our Youtube Channel, and in highly coveted copies of her book, Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy (ABA Books 2012).  

SELC Program Areas

  • Lead: Legal Profession in the New Economy
  • Lead: Community Enterprise
  • Support: Food
  • Support: Work in the New Economy
  • Support: Cooperatives
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: Housing
  • Support: City Policies
  • Support: Community Currencies Program

 

 

SELC Operations Areas:                                    

  • Support: Grants 
  • Support: Operations
  • Support: Internal Resilience 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Janelle: theselc.org/janelle_orsi


Neil Thapar - Staff Attorney

Neil Thapar, Staff Attorney

Neil leads SELC’s Farmland Program and the Work in the New Economy Program, and he co-leads SELC’s Food Program. He is passionate about building collective power to recreate a healthy, just, and resilient food system. Neil’s definition of happiness is watching the sun rise over the city from a surfboard in the Pacific Ocean.

SELC Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Farmland
  • Lead: Work in the New Economy
  • Co-Lead: Food
  • Support: Legal Profession in the New Economy
 

 

SELC Operations Areas:

  • Support: Nonprofit Administration
  • Support: Internal Resilience 

 

 

 

 

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Contact Neil at neil@theselc.org

More about Neil: theselc.org/neil_thapar 


Christina Oatfield - Policy Director  

Christina Oatfield, Policy Director, Legal Apprentice

Christina is a leader of SELC’s Food Program and she supports the Grassroots Finance Program. She also leads California state legislative campaigns in a variety of issue areas. While she is not yet licensed to practice law, her areas of expertise include food safety laws, agricultural laws, securities laws, and cooperative and nonprofit corporations.

SELC Program Areas:

  • Lead: Food
  • Support: Grassroots Finance
 

 

 

 

Contact Christina at Christina@theSELC.org 

More about Christina: theselc.org/christina_oatfield

 


Cameron Rhudy - Staff Attorney

Meet our newest member! Rhudy! Rhudy! Rhudy! CAMERON RHUDY!Cameron leads SELC’s Fellowship Program, which supports lawyers building resilient local economies. She also provides legal support to the Grassroots Finance Program and the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe Program.

SELC Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Fellowship Program
  • Support: Grassroots Finance
  • Support: Legal Cafe
 

 

SELC Operations Areas:

  • Support: Nonprofit Administration

 

 

 

 

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Contact Cameron at cameron@theselc.org 


Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, Legal Apprentice, City Policies Director, Community Currencies Program DirectorYassi Eskandari-Qajar - City & Regional Policies Director

Yassi leads SELC’s City Policies program, identifying municipal-level barriers to SELC’s work and producing policy solutions that support community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. Working closely with partner organizations, stakeholders, and a number of other SELC programs, the City Policies program helps clear the path for sustainable, community-driven sources of housing, food, energy, transportation, and jobs.

SELC Program Areas: 

  • Lead: City Policies Program
  • Support: Community Renewable Energy
  • Support: Housing
  • Support: Food
  • Support: Legal Profession in the New Economy

 

 

 

  SELC Operations Areas:

  • Support: Organizational Abundance

 

 

 

 

Contact Yassi at  yassi@theselc.org 

More about Yassi: theselc.org/yassi_eskandari 


Ricardo Samir Nuñez - Director of Economic Democracy

Ricardo Samir Nuñez, Cooperatives Program Director, Legal Apprentice

Ricardo coordinates SELC’s education, research, advocacy, and advice for equitable, democratic enterprises as SELC's Cooperatives Program Director. Programs and projects include the Worker Coop Academy, Co-opLaw.org, policy advocacy at the regional and state level, building a cooperative support ecosystem, and much more! Previously, Ricardo worked for the Peace Corps in Zambia and then with Our Place Housing Solutions coordinating homeless rehousing and eviction prevention services in southern Los Angeles county. Ricardo enjoys bodyboarding, cycling, traveling, and the ocean breeze. He is deeply committed to family, friends, and community.

SELC Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Cooperatives
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: Legal Profession in the New Economy
  • Support: Work in the New Economy
 

 

SELC Operations Areas:

  • Support: Communications
  • Support: Organizational Abundance
  • Support: Internal Resilience

 

 

 

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Contact Ricardo at ricardo@theselc.org

More about Ricardo: theselc.org/ricardo_nunez 


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Chris Tittle - Director of Organizational Resilience

Chris co-leads SELC’s Community Currencies and Land Programs, and coordinates SELC’s grant writing, grassroots fundraising, and internal governance. He is particularly focused on participatory governance structures for more just and resilient economies. He practices aikido and once traveled from Japan to West Africa by land and sea.

SELC Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Community Currencies Program
  • Co-lead: Land Program
  • Support: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: Housing Program
  • Support: Food Program
 
 

SELC Operations Areas:

  • Lead: Internal Resilience
  • Lead: Grants
  • Lead: Organizational Abundance
  • Support: Financial Accountability
  • Support: Communications

Contact Chris at chris@theselc.org

More about Chris: theselc.org/chris_tittle 


Eunice Kwon - Chief Operations Officer

Eunice Kwon - Chief Operations Officer

Eunice leads the internal operations of SELC and coordinates the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. She also leads the Communications circle and is working to communicate SELC’s work effectively to a broad audience. She loves a good tomato. 

SELC Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Resilient Communities Legal Cafe
  • Support: City Policies Program

 

 

SELC Operations Areas:

  • Lead: Operations
  • Lead: Communications
  • Lead: Financial Accountability
  • Support: Organizational Abundance
  • Support: Internal Resilience

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Contact Eunice at eunice@theselc.org

More about Eunice at: theSELC.org/eunice


Sara Stephens, Staff Attorney

Sara Stephens - Housing and Cooperatives Attorney

Sara leads SELC’s Housing Program and contributes legal support to the Cooperatives and City Policies programs. She is committed to supporting community-led solutions to housing and economic inequity. She also likes running and gluten-free baking.

SELC Program Areas: 

  • Lead: Housing Program
  • Support: Cooperatives Program
  • Support: City Policies Program
  • Support: Work in the New Economy

 

SELC Operations Areas:

  • Support: Financial Accountability
  • Support: Grants
  • Support: Operations



 Contact Sara at sara@theselc.org 

More about Sara at: theselc.org/sara_stephens


 Consultants


Elizabeth Burnett, Funding Development Consultant

Elizabeth Burnett

Funding Development Consultant  

In her role as a funding development consultant to SELC, Elizabeth Burnett is focused on developing and diversifying the current funding sources upon which SELC relies to launch and grow the programs that build community resilience and grow local sustainable economies. An employment lawyer by training, Elizabeth developed her commitment to building community resilience and local economies four years ago working in a blighted urban food desert in Philadelphia, transforming abandoned vacant lots into organic community food gardens. Upon returning to the East Bay in 2013, she became a volunteer attorney at the Legal Cafes hosted by SELC and opened a law practice to further support and grow a more just and sustainable economy by offering affordable employment law advice and assistance to cooperatives, non-profits, social enterprises, and small businesses who are operating in and growing the local, sustainable economy. A graduate of UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, Elizabeth has been practicing employment law in various settings for more than twenty years. She has worked at law firms, both large and small, as in-house counsel for a commercial start-up, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. In these roles Elizabeth has been advising human resource professionals, drafting employment policies, preventing, investigating, mediating, arbitrating and litigating employee claims and other disputes, and developing employee training programs. In 2015 she broadened her practice to include securities law, with a focus on Direct Public Offerings, as an attorney with Cutting Edge Counsel.  In her free time she loves to bike, hike, garden and support community gardens and local farmers.

 

Find out who is on SELC's Board of Directors here

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Discover the amazing group of individuals on SELC's Advisors Board here

SELC Interns

SELC interns bring new ideas and energy to our organization! During their time as SELC, we cultivate a deep sense of how the law can build resilient local economies. See some of SELC's current interns below!

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Carolyn Yvellez

2015 Summer Cooperatives Program Intern

Carolyn is an undergraduate studying Math and Political Science at Notre Dame University. Carolyn is the sustainability coordinator at Notre Dame, promoting Notre Dame's divestment from fossil fuel and carbon producing investments, installing solar panels on campus buildings, and advocating to replace a fast food chain on campus with a cooperative or other social-enterprise that provides healthy, locally-sourced food to the Notre Dame community. Her experience with public interest law began at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia where she coordinated the Law Center's Continuing Legal Education Program. This summer, she has been working with SELC on the campaign for the adoption of the Oakland City Ordinance for the Promotion of Worker Cooperatives and the national campaign to amend seed laws to save seed sharing practices. At SELC, she is learning various ways to help communities achieve social and economic sustainability.


Cyndi Malasky

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2015 Summer Cooperative Program Intern

Cyndi Malasky got her first taste of cooperative life as a part of the Oberlin Student Coop Association where she spent three years as a member of housing and dining cooperatives. There she learned the ins and outs of democratic decision making and lost the ability to cook bread for less than 50 people. After graduating she moved to Nicaragua and spent two years with an NGO called Witness for Peace where she worked to change U.S. policies, corporate and consumer practices that contribute to poverty and oppression in Nicaragua and Honduras. Cyndi is hoping to transition to working in cooperative development because she sees it as means for wealth building in communities often excluded from sustainable employment. She is excited to learn about the nuts and bolts of forming a cooperative with SELC this summer.


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Shanya Howitt

2015 Summer Cooperatives Program Intern 

Shayna is a senior at UC Berkeley, where she studies Political Economy with a concentration in Urban Economics. She loves Berkeley, where she lives in a student coop that taught her the value of living and working collectively. Shayna is interested in helping local and small communities empower themselves, and work together for a shared interest. Shayna is not sure what she’s going to do after graduating in December, but she’s excited to learn from everyone at SELC and help with the Worker Coop Academy.

 


Gregory Jackson

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2014-2015 Cooperatives Program Intern

Gregory is a 2L at Golden Gate University Law School and long time SELC intern. He has worked with community based organizations across the East Bay to increase opportunities for the creation of youth led cooperative enterprises. Gregory is leading research on creating a Marcora (Italian) inspired law for California that would enable individuals to band together and pool their unemployment insurance to start a cooperative business or buy out the business from their employer who is looking to retire.