We are a small but highly effective, engaged and energetic team dedicated to enriching our communities through the cultural arts. Our programs are goverened by our board, managed by volunteer staff, and implemented by local partner artists.
Catherine is the founder of Pleasanton-based Cheza Nami Foundation, Inc. Her childhood in a rural village in Kenya was enriched by an emphasis on family and culture. It was the birth of her twins in 2007 and the lack of accessible educational resources that made her wish to share her African heritage, not only with her children but also with others.
Ciiku has dual and divergent passions. She holds a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology, started her career in drug development in 2000, and is currently a leader in strategic planning and portfolio management at a global pharmaceutical company. She also has a great passion to create programs that foster interconnections between people. Her message is that music, dance, and an open mind are essential ingredients for a beautiful life and joyful common ground. Ciiku has been featured in local newspapers and magazines and has received awards and recognition for her contributions to the community. She has delivered keynote addresses and participated in panel discussions to share her message on cultural diversity and global citizenship.
Her work in creating cultural awareness programs has appeared in the local CBS news, TEDx Livermore, the Oakland Magazine, Contra Costa Newspapers, and several other local newspapers.
Tarisai Garande is a Senior Consultant at ERM, a global environmental consulting firm, based in Walnut Creek, California. She provides strategic and tactical environmental consulting services to a range of clients including high technology, retail, oil and gas industries, and government. Prior to her current role at ERM, Miss Garande worked for the UK Environment Agency on a special project (TE2100) providing long-term flood risk management plan for London and the Thames estuary.
She also worked on pan-European flood risk management partner project with the Environment Ministries of Belgium, Netherlands and Germany with the aim of influencing future European flood risk policy. She also has international work experience in Asia and South America. She also serves as part of the Executive Team of The African Network, a global non-profit organization with the sole mandate of fostering entrepreneurship among people of African descent. In 2010, she led sponsorship efforts for the TANCon 2010; TAN’s annual conference in Silicon Valley, California.
Financial Services Consultant Massanda D’Johns, CPA, provides tailored accounting, tax, and assurance services to help individuals, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations manage and maximize their financial goals and opportunities. She works with clients and stakeholders to successfully achieve varied and intricate financial accounting and reporting requirements effectively and efficiently. She delivers professional services with passion, guiding her clients to achieve their personal and business financial priorities continuously.
Massanda earned her degree in Business Economics with Accounting emphasis from the University of California – Santa Barbara. She has 17 years of providing public accounting and external and internal auditing services for public and private organizations that vary in size, maturity levels, operating systems, and business sectors, including consumer markets, manufacturing, nonprofit, and government. Massanda is equipped and ready to explore your financial journey and what lies ahead.
In addition to serving clients, Massanda also gives her time and talent through philanthropy, having served on the San Francisco Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) for several years and giving to other nonprofit organizations across the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
Mina Mangewala is the Visual and Performing Arts Teacher on Special Assignment (VAPA TOSA) for the Hayward Unified School District. Prior to working as a VAPA TOSA, Mina was an elementary classroom teacher for 19 years. Her primary focus as the Visual and Performing Arts TOSA is working towards creating equitable arts education opportunities for ALL of Hayward Unified students.
She was part of the initial planning team for the Visual & Performing Arts Master Plan and continues to coordinate the progress of the plan goals. Mina has successfully partnered with outside organizations to bring teaching artists to schools and professional development opportunities for visual and performing arts educators. She is also a faculty member of Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program and utilizes the program foundations of social justice and equity in her work as a VAPA TOSA.
She is passionate about all things dance, especially dances and music of the African Diaspora, and for many years performed and taught dance and capoeira to adults and children. She brings this passion into her work as an educator and leader for arts education.
John Case has sales, marketing and training expertise in the pharmaceutical industry for the past 22 years. He is an active youth sports coach and community member with a graduate degree in business/marketing.
Following his marriage to Catherine in 2003 and the birth of their twins in 2007, he has immersed himself in the the role of cultural awareness and education and embraced the role of promoting the primary vision of Cheza Nami, which is to enable cultural diversity in communities and promote global citizenship.
Ann M. Kariuki has extensive experience participating in all phases of civil litigation, including discovery, mediation, and trial. Her diverse experience includes representing plaintiffs and defendants, including Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.
She has a unique perspective because of this experience that allows her to tailor her clients’ claims to obtain successful outcomes. Ms. Kariuki earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2005. She received her Juris Doctor from University of San Francisco, School of Law in 2011.
Ms. Kariuki believes in giving back to the community that has supported her. She has devoted her time to pro-bono legal services at the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach-Immigration Legal Clinic, the San Francisco Superior Court’s Small Claims (Mediation) Clinic, the Bay Area Legal Aid Domestic Violence Prevention Project, and the San Francisco Bar Association JDC Eviction Defense Project both during and after law school.
Ms. Kariuki is admitted to the California Bar and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She is an active member of the Alameda County Bar Association, Bar Association of San Francisco, Alameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association, and the Charles Houston Bar Association.