Introducing Our New Board of Directors

In celebration of Women's History Month and our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are thrilled to introduce four remarkable women joining the Board of Directors at the YMCA of the East Bay. Each brings a wealth of experience and a unique perspective that will enrich our organization's leadership.

Anna Powell: With a background in Early Care and Education, Anna brings a passion for two major studies, the California Early Care and Education Workforce Study and the California Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care Study, focused on wage enhancements for childcare workers and data collection.

Alysson Do: An accomplished business executive leader, Alysson brings strategic expertise and a commitment to social impact.

Susan Russell: A founder of a firm specializing in the use of language in the marketplace, Susan brings strong skills in copywriting, brand management, and creative direction.

Virginia Stefan: With a communications background, Virginia brings strategic and internal communications expertise.

“We are excited to welcome these outstanding individuals to our Board of Directors and look forward to their invaluable contributions in advancing our mission to empower youth, advance health, and strengthen communities," said Fran Gallati, President and CEO of YMCA of the East Bay. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to our new board members as we continue our journey towards a more inclusive and vibrant community at the YMCA of the East Bay.

Read more about their backgrounds below!

Anna Powell

Anna Powell, Senior Research and Policy Associate at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley, focuses her research on early care and education (ECE) systems in California. She works on two major studies, the California Early Care and Education Workforce Study and the California Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care Study, and she leads evaluations of several wage enhancement pilots for child care workers. Anna also co-leads a community of practice focused on ECE workforce data for the National Early Care and Education Workforce Center. With a background as an early childhood teacher and nonprofit program manager in Washington, DC, Anna's journey to CSCCE reflects her commitment to improving workforce data collection and use in the field. She holds a Bachelor's degree in History from Princeton University and a Master of Public Policy degree from UC Berkeley, and she is currently based in San Francisco.

Alysson Do

Alysson's career spans over 2 decades living across 3 continents and working in over 40 countries building companies, big and small. She started her career in human capital management at Synopsys; acquiring and developing great global talent. She then founded a company in Burkina Faso, building ASD Technology SARL into one of the Top 10 private businesses in Burkina Faso servicing West Africa with offices in 3 international locations.

She has strong global experience in the US, Asia and the Emerging Markets with Yahoo, Nokia, Buddy Media and Pitney Bowes expanding businesses through startup, maturity and transition phases. 

Alysson now consults with startups in the global tech space. Her expertise is working with leaders and teams on talent strategy and operations, GTM, operational management, and investor relations. She leverages her extensive global experience with her expansive network to help companies grow.

Outside of this, Alysson sits on the advisory boards of several companies and also tutors high school students and volunteers her time in service of her communities. She loves to run which helps balance her love of chocolate chip cookies.

Virginia Stefan

Virginia is Vice President & Strategist at ROI, a Bay Area agency specializing in employee communication and engagement. She works with Fortune 500 clients across markets, developing communications strategies that align, engage and inspire employees to be their best and help their organizations succeed. She has deep expertise in research and analysis, strategic planning, employee engagement and change communications.

Prior to joining ROI, Virginia led the global executive and employee communications teams at technology organizations including Verisign and Xilinx, and she served as head of internal communications for Pacific Gas & Electric. She began her career in publishing with Miller Freeman, which included leading the company’s European marketing operations from the company’s Brussels, Belgium hub.

Virginia is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned degrees in English and political science. A lifelong devotee of the Y and its mission, she has participated in numerous Y fundraising efforts and volunteer projects and served on the organization’s Albany board of managers. She is an avid gardener and cook, and occasionally acts in community theatre.

Susan Russell

Susan Russell is the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s premier branding agencies, the Russell Mark Group, serving as CEO until her retirement in 2018. Her clients included Visa, Cisco, Hill-Rom, Procter and Gamble, Aramark, Blue Shield of California, and SAS Institute, among many others. She has created company names for a host of highly successful firms, including Workday, Tidemark, Gainsight, Altitude Software, and Acuity Financial Services.

Russell served as a naming consultant for many years to the Harvard- based Minor Planet Center, a division of the International Astronomical Union, the organization responsible for assigning names to celestial bodies. As a tribute to her work, the organization assigned the name Russell Mark to minor planet No. 3951. The citation reads: “To Russell Mark of Albany, California, in grateful appreciation for their work in editing citations for the Minor Planet Center.”

Russell entered the business world in 1991 after a 10-year career in nonprofit communications. As a senior staff associate at the Rockefeller Foundation (1987-1989), she created the foundation’s print communication plan and established the standards for the office. As director of publications at Princeton University (1984-1987), she was responsible each year for more than 100 major publications and a staff of four editors.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from Miami University, where she also began her communications career as creative director of publications for the university (1977-1984).

A classically trained singer, Russell has performed as a soloist and ensemble singer since 1984. As a chorus member of Princeton Pro Musica, she sang several times in Carnegie Hall. Today she sings with a women’s early music group and performs as a church soloist and chorister around the Bay Area.

Russell is active in Bay Area community service. Her board service includes the Berkeley-Albany YMCA Board of Advisors (2005-present; chair 2019-2023). She is a co-founder of the Black Wealth Builders Fund, a project that provides down payment assistance for first-time Black homebuyers. She is a Read-Aloud Volunteer with West Contra Costa School District (2009 to present) and was a volunteer at the South Berkeley Soup Kitchen from 2007 to 2011 and now serves as a volunteer sandwich-maker for GRIP (Greater Richmond Interfaith Program) through Arlington Community Church.

In 2011, Russell received a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language from University of California, Berkeley. She has taught as a volunteer with Canal Alliance in San Rafael, Las Mujeres Unidas in Oakland, and Richmond High School.

headshots of board members