Claremont Chamber Board of Directors 2021-2022
Executive Board Committee
Dr. Steve Gerali, Sanctuary Coffee (Chair)
Dr. Steve Gerali is the founder and CEO of Sanctuary Coffee in Claremont. Sanctuary Coffee is a non-profit artisan Coffee house dedicated to healing social concerns and reconciling social injustices. As a former tenured professor and University Dean, Gerali along with a handful of students envisioned taking the second largest traded commodity in the world and harnessing it for good. They also dreamed of making this coffeehouse a “safe place and a sacred space” where the community could gather and relationships flourish, thus Sanctuary was born. Gerali holds two earned doctorates, is an award winning author of 10 books and has international recognition and expertise on mentoring. He and his wife live in Rancho Cucamonga nearby their children and 5 grandchildren. Gerail hopes to sit in the back of Sanctuary Coffee and write book #11 someday - ask him how that’s going!
Andrew Behnke, Doubletree by Hilton Claremont (Chair-Elect)
Andrew Behnke is General Manager of the Doubletree By Hilton Claremont and also Vice President of their property management company since 2006. He has been a hospitality executive for over 24 years.
Andrew was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has lived in Georgia, Washington D.C. and Fairbanks, Alaska. He is a decorated veteran having served 9 years in the Army during the Gulf War Era and received his education from the University of Minnesota, Georgetown University and Wayland Baptist University. While in the Army he had the notable distinction of serving in the Presidential Honor Guard and Assistant to the President Escort Officer for the inauguration of President George HW Bush.
Andrew is a community and business advocate in the region and belongs to 4 different chambers of commerce. He has served two terms as Board Chair for the Claremont Chamber. Andrew is very active business advocate and has a firm belief that business has an obligation to make the community a better one for all.
His hobbies include Ice Hockey and fishing. He is married to his beautiful wife Sonja. Andrew currently resides in Upland.
Bruno Windegger, Saca’s Mediterranean Cuisine (Treasurer)
A resident of Claremont for 21 years, Bruno and Nathalie acquired Saca’s Mediterranean Cuisine in 2014 with the ambition to develop and grow the Saca’s brand. Prior to working in the food industry, Bruno worked for 25 years for a large Corporation in Consumer Goods, where he headed the International Division. In that role, he built and run a global network of professional distributors, set up and managed sales, marketing and logistics centers on all 5 continents. As Head of the Corporate Marketing Division, Bruno was also responsible for protecting and growing the brand globally through advertising, social media and public relations.
Stacey Caponigro, Smart Property Services Inc. (Member at Large)
Stacey began her career in the banking industry as a teller and quickly rose through the ranks holding a variety of positions including management of an office in the Inland Empire. A native of Southern California, her passion for real estate began at a young age observing her parents invest in real estate. In 2012, Stacey pursued her dream and joined her parents at their property management and real estate company, Smart Property Services, Inc. She brings a new perspective to the business, enjoys assisting clients with maintaining profitable investments, keeping a close eye on the real estate market, rehabbing properties, providing quick responses, and maintaining the highest quality of service. Further, Stacey is always current on new laws and changes in the real estate and property management industries through continuing education, and application of her knowledge. Stacey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of La Verne, is a licensed Realtor with the Citrus Valley Board of Realtors (CVAR), and a certified property manager through the California Apartment Association of the Greater Inland Empire (AAGIE). In addition to her career she also enjoys networking, volunteering in the community as well as traveling the world.
Brett Strauss, Southland Data Processing
Brett R. Strauss, Esq. is the Director of Compliance at Southland Data Processing (“SDP”) in Upland, CA. He has been with SDP since 2010 and specializes in consulting with employers to find cost effective solutions to comply with California and Federal employment regulations.
Mr. Strauss is a graduate of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and earned his J.D. from the University of La Verne College of Law. He is also a proud member of the Labor & Employment Section of the State Bar of California.
Mr. Strauss also serves on the Board of the West Inland Empire Employer Advisory Council and as the Assistant Regional Commissioner for Claremont AYSO. He and his wife Julie reside in Claremont, CA with their two children; Scarlett and Jameson.
Colin Tudor, The Claremont Colleges
Colin Tudor serves The Claremont Colleges (TCC) as Secretary to the TCC Board and Assistant Vice President of Community Relations. Colin provides executive management support and research assistance to the TCC Board of directors and Council of The Claremont Colleges. Through is community relations efforts Colin works to strengthen relationships and build partnerships within the city of Claremont, the broader Claremont community, and the local region.
Prior to joining TCCS, Colin held various roles with the City of Claremont including serving as the assistant city manager from 2012 through February of 2019. In this capacity, he was responsible for city-wide day to day operations, policy development and analysis for the city council, committees, and the city manager. Colin was directly responsible for the city’s administrative services department including personnel, city clerk, information technology, risk management, and public information. He has worked collaboratively with other regional organizations to collaborate on critical initiatives, including the Foothill Gold Line Extension, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Commission, and the Amgen Tour of California 2011 Stage 7 Start. Colin has also worked extensively with local community groups on a variety of initiatives. Colin grew up in Claremont and graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in philosophy and psychology. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of La Verne.
Ehmandah Ramsey, She Stories
Ehmandah Ramsey is the Founder of She Stories – 501c3, based out of Claremont. She is a driven, passionate, and charismatic force who is fueled by the success of those around her. With a long history of grooming spiritual growth and self-love in her community, Ehmandah has been successful at igniting motivation and inspiration. She’s been able to use her experience as a spiritual care provider at a residential treatment facility serving youth with trauma, behavioral, and conduct disorders. Ehmandah is also a Board Member of Homes of Promise/The Village Pomona, Co-Pastor of Emmanuel Church in Chino Hills, and Director of Startup Grind X – Claremont Chapter. She’s a life coach in her community, helping people of all walks of life ignite their spark and seize their full potential.
Floy Biggs, AgingNext
Floy Biggs, AgingNext CEO since 2006, has more than 40 years of experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, managing senior and long-term care programs. Floy is well-respected and integrated into the regional senior services community. She is a licensed skilled nursing facility administrator and earned both an undergraduate degree in gerontology and a Masters in health administration from USC. In addition to her agency leadership, Floy is actively engaged in the community and currently serves on the boards of the Claremont Committee on Aging, ParkTree Community Health Center and the leadership team for Village Movement California which is working to transform the experience of aging across California. Floy has a wonderful husband, three awesome kids and two grandchildren! She is excited to be back on the Chamber Board and she looks forward to sharing her expertise and passion for our aging community.
Gail Polk, Consultant
Gail Polk's was previously an experienced Community Outreach Coordinator for Children’s Foundation of America. During her time there, her mission was to match community partners, who possess a strong desire to help youth in foster care and underserved youth, to philanthropic opportunities, which directly benefitted and enriched the lives of sometimes abused, neglected, or abandoned youths. Gail’s experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds includes her years as a stockbroker. During this period, several of her clients were considered high-profile investors, many of whom were attained through cold calls. Because of her methodology, Gail was recognized by both John Hancock and Franklin Templeton for her level of managed money trades. Gail’s first position in a nonprofit was a Program Director for YWCA of San Diego County. Growing up in Riverside, Gail has always lived in Southern California. Most early mornings, you can now catch Gail on a sunrise hike with her pup. Gail loves forging new relationships, getting to know her community better, and figuring out ways to assist others in becoming more successful. For these reasons, she is eager to help her community as a board member of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce.
John Neiuber, Trinity Youth Services
John Neiuber is the Chief Executive Officer of Trinity Youth Services. He leads an agency of 350 employees that serves over 500 children and families daily through residential treatment services, mental health programs, a foster care agency and adoption services. John earned his BA and MA degrees from CSUSB. He is a veteran and received the Army Commendation Medal. John was a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and district office administrator in the public schools, and a management and leadership consultant to public agencies and private industry. He is the former CEO of Advanced Education Services, establishing and operating nonpublic and charter schools. He became the COO of Trinity in 2002 and CEO in 2005. John was recognized by the Center for Entrepreneurship as the winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016. He is an active volunteer in his community, serving on city and county commissions, and currently focuses his efforts on historic preservation and the arts.
Jonathan Brunasso, Powur Consultant
Jonathan Brunasso is a Solar Consultant with Powur as well as a Realtor with EXP Realty. Jonathan grew up in Claremont attending local schools since 1985 and as a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, he received a Bachelors Degree in 2007 as well as a Masters in Business Administration in 2011. Jonathan began a career in sales and management in 2003, has been involved buying/selling real estate since 2012 and has been involved in the solar energy industry since 2015. Jonathan loves to call Claremont his home being an active member of the community and always supporting the great events and activities that Claremont has to offer. Jonathan has been involved with the Claremont Chamber of Commerce for many years and took active role as the Chair of the Emerging Leaders (2018-2019) to ensure its continued success within the Chamber.
Jeffrey Wilson, Claremont Unified School District
Dr. Wilson’s career spans twenty-eight years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. He previously served as Superintendent of Schools in the San Marino Unified School District. Before assuming the role of Superintendent, Dr. Wilson led the Educational Services Department in Arcadia Unified School District as Assistant Superintendent for five years.
Rob Oliva, Stay Gold Barbershop
Rob Oliva is the owner of Stay Gold Barbershops. Stay Gold Barbershop-Claremont has been a member of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce since 2018. Rob has spent the last 15 years servicing his dedicated clients in the three Stay Gold Barbershop locations throughout Southern California, living his passion for barbering that was instilled in him from early youth by his paternal great-grandfather, also a barber. Supporting and servicing various organizations keeps Rob connected to our local communities.
Jed Leano, Mayor, City of Claremont
Jed Leano is serving his first term on the Claremont City Council (November 2018 - November 2022). In October 2019, he was named Democrat of the Year for the 41st Assembly District by the LA County Democratic Party.
Jed serves as chair of the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust Board, Vice Chair of Tri-City Mental Health Board, and Claremont’s representative to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGV COG) Homelessness Committee. He represents the SGV COG on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Community Economic and Human Development Committee (CEHD), charged with the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) methodology, and represents SCAG on the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), charged with overseeing programs to reduce motor vehicle air pollution. He serves as chair of the Claremont Lincoln University MPA program Advisory Council, Vice Chair of the Filipino American Democratic Caucus of the CA Democratic Party, and on the board of the San Gabriel Valley Immigration Resource Center.
Prior to his election to City Council, Jed served as the Vice Chair of the Community and Human Services Commission and was the founding Chair of Housing Claremont. Since 2011, he has served as lead attorney for the quarterly immigration and naturalization clinic at the United Methodist Church. He was founding board member and lead attorney of the Neighborhood Immigration Clinic in 2009, a state-wide pro-bono immigration law clinic, and served as Board Chair from 2012-2014. Prior to moving to Claremont, Jed resided in Pasadena, CA where he served as 80th President of the Pasadena Jaycees and National Legal Counsel for the United States Jaycees.
Jed works as an immigration attorney in private practice in Pasadena, CA. He was admitted to practice law by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2006. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law in 2005 and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kentucky in 2001. He and his wife Liz have one son, Welles.
Randy Lopez, Executive Director
Randy Lopez, Executive Director was the recent chair of the Chamber Board before taking over his current role as ED. Prior to that he was the Founder and "Chief Instigator" of The Jake Agency, an innovative full-service brand agency. Known as a creative thinker and brand visionary, he has held marketing executive leadership roles in brands such as TGI Friday’s, Arnold Palmer Golf Management, VP of Marketing for both Buca di Beppo and Del Taco. Additionally, he has developed brand strategies and led the advertising account teams for such clients as Toshiba Medical, Tommy Bahama, Robbins Bros., Coco's, Acapulco Restaurants, and Wolfgang Puck. As a brand and marketing strategist, Randy still speaks to national and local group audiences on brand building and best practices. A 20+ year Stage 4 Cancer survivor, he is also a board member of the Colon Cancer Coalition based in Minneapolis and has appeared as a national spokesperson for cancer awareness. Randy is a founding board member of Ophelia’s Jump as well a current member of the CTEC Hospitality/Culinary Advisory Committee.
Xochitl Nieves, Event Manager
Xochitl has a demonstrated history working in events, social media marketing, public relations, and communications for over six years. Xochitl has managed multi-level communications and marketing campaigns for various projects, government agencies, and brands simultaneously such as Metro, Metrolink, Riverside Transit Agency, City of Los Angeles, City of Long Beach, City of Pomona, City of El Monte, and etc. Xochitl has received a Professional Certificate in Meeting and Event Planning and a Bachelors Degree in Sociology.