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Materials for the 2023

California Tribal Nations Conference

February 6, 2023


Presenter Biographies

Revitalizing Local Economies Through Culture

Chairman Andrew Alejandre was elected Chairman of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians in September 2016. Prior to being elected Chairman, he served as Tribal Secretary starting in April 2014. Alejandre grew up in nearby Williams and moved to Corning when the Tribe opened Rolling Hills Casino in 2001. He graduated from Corning Union High School and earned a degree in graphic design from the Art Institute in Sacramento. Alejandre brings a background rich in entrepreneurialism and business operations to his role as Tribal Secretary.

Chairman Joe James (Yurok) is from the village of Sregon along the Klamath River in Northern California. Chairman James has worked for tribal governments for the last 24 years in the areas of fisheries, water policy and law, infrastructure, protection of cultural resources, economic development and leadership. He has served as the Yurok Tribe’s Transportation Manager, East District Councilmember, elected as the Chairman in October 2018 and Yurok Economic Development Board President and recently reelected to his second term as Chairman in October 2021.

Chairman Reid D. Milanovich was sworn in as Chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians on April 5, 2022. He served as Vice Chairman of the Tribal Council for nearly two and a half years after being sworn in on Nov. 5, 2019 to fulfill the remaining two-year term for the late Larry N. Olinger, Vice Chairman who passed away in July 2019. Mr. Milanovich was first elected to the Tribal Council in April 2014 and served five consecutive terms as a Tribal Council Member.

Director Armando Quintero was named director for the California Department of Parks and Recreation on Aug. 18, 2020. An experienced parks professional with expertise in park operations, outdoor education, equity and access, and diversity and inclusion in hiring and retention, Quintero is an environmental scientist by training. Since 2015, he has been executive director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at the University of California, Merced, where he was also director of development from 2008 to 2014. He has also served as a member of the California Water Commission since 2014.

President Caroline Beteta serves as president & CEO of the industry-led Visit California, a nonprofit organization created to market California as a premier travel destination to increase the state’s share of tourism-related revenues. She simultaneously serves as a strategic advisor for the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz). Beteta is responsible for implementing Visit California’s global marketing program on behalf of the organization’s 21,000 investors and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s travel industry. In her tenure, she has overseen a decade of growth for California’s travel industry, peaking in 2019 with a record $144.9 billion in economic benefit to the state.

Developing a Tribal Workforce for a Self-Determined Future

Chairman Joe Davis was elected Chairman for the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Spring of 2021. A long time volunteer for youth programs on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, Davis, a college graduate, has served as the Tribe’s Recreation Director, Planning Director and as a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council.

Chairman Bo Mazzetti is Tribal Chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians.  Following his father’s footsteps, Bo Mazzetti was elected Rincon Tribal Chairman since 2007. He served previous terms as Vice Chairman and Council Member. Chairman Mazzetti currently serves as President of the San Luis Rey Water Indian Water Authority.  A founder and active member of the Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association (SCTCA), Chairman Mazzetti has been working with Chairpersons in Northern and Central California to recreate a revitalized California Tribal Chairpersons Association.

Secretary Amy Tong was appointed Secretary of Government Operations by Governor Gavin Newsom in March of 2022, elevated from her previous role as the State’s Chief Information Officer and Director of the California Department of Technology. Prior to becoming Secretary, Tong led critical round-the-clock technology projects during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide information and data, including systems for monitoring hospital capacity, public health reporting, remote learning, telework, vaccination and wildfire response. As the Secretary of Government Operations, Tong is focused on transforming state government through innovation.


Director Josh Fryday serves as California’s Chief Service Officer within the Office of  Governor Gavin Newsom to lead service, volunteer, and civic engagement efforts throughout California. As a member of the Governor’s Cabinet, Fryday led the COVID-19 Task Force to support food insecure communities and food banks across the state. Since appointed, California Volunteers has launched the nation’s first statewide Climate Action Corps, #CaliforniansForAll volunteer initiative, a statewide Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign, and the #CaliforniansForAll College Program to help thousands of Californians who commit to serving for a year pay for college.

Restoring Balance to Ancestral Ecosystems

Chairman Serrell Smokey of the Washoe Tribewas elected to office in 2018. He was nominated as the President of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada in 2019. He is a graduate of the University of
Nevada, Reno. He has an educational background in Psychology, Business, and Tribal Law. Chairman Smokey serves many functions, such as: working towards better economic
development opportunities, stable administrative functions, and giving Tribes a bigger voice in the Federal Government. “For too long have Tribes been left out, and the government neglected
their trust responsibilities”. Chairman Smokey has also played an integral part in the fight against local racism, with the name change of “sq***” valley resort and fighting the Minden, NV
sundowner siren.

Secretary Wade Crowfoot became California’s Natural Resources Secretary in January 2019, appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Secretary Crowfoot oversees an agency of 21,000 employees who protect and manage California’s natural environment. This includes stewarding the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, and coast and ocean, protecting fish and wildlife, and overseeing energy development. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises Governor Newsom on natural resources and environmental issues.

Secretary Yana Garcia was appointed California Secretary for Environmental Protection by Governor Gavin Newsom in August 2022. As Secretary, Yana oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, she advises the Governor on environmental policy. Yana is nationally recognized as a groundbreaking environmental leader who has worked hard to uplift the voices of those from disadvantaged communities.

Director Charlton “Chuck” Bonham was appointed as Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, effective September 6, 2011. Prior to his appointment as Director of Fish and Wildlife, Mr. Bonham served in a number of roles for Trout Unlimited over ten years, including since 2004 as the organization’s California director. Mr. Bonham was responsible for developing, managing, and implementing TU’s programs in California. These programs include the California Water Project, Sportsmen’s Conservation Project, and restoration and watershed projects in both northern and Southern California. In addition, Mr. Bonham was a senior attorney for the organization.


Nurturing Tribal Families

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is the First Partner of California, an award-winning filmmaker, and an influential advocate and thought leader on gender equality. As First Partner, Jennifer is a voice and partner to working moms and families throughout the state and committed to creating a California for ALL Women and California for ALL Kids. Through her California for ALL Kids campaign, she champions initiatives to support children’s mental and physical health, as well as provide families with the tools to build a solid learning foundation. And through her California for ALL Women campaign she’s making strides to build economic equity, equal representation, and advance a family-first agenda. Jennifer serves as honorary chair of the California Volunteers Commission and co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being.

Chairperson Meryl Picard was elected Chairperson for the Bishop Paiute tribe in August 2022. Chairperson Picard received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana and she has over ten years of professional experience working with indigenous communities. Her goal is to work with and help better the lives of those who are disenfranchised and disempowered, especially the young people in indigenous communities.

Councilmember Liz Zendejas currently serves as the Treasurer of the Fort Bidwell Indian Community Council, which she has served on as a Councilmember since 2017. She is active within the local and tribal community, with a long-term goal of creating a pathway for youn  ger generations to succeed.

Director Season Goodpasture is a marriage and family therapist and is Maidu and Paiute and a member of the Susanville Indian Rancheria in Northern California. Season’s passion has been to serve tribal families and communities through infrastructure and capacity building and programmatic development in areas of child welfare, education, mental health, and tribal court. Prior to founding Acorns to Oak Trees, Season served as the director of social services for the Pala Band of Mission Indians for almost 10 years.

Supplemental Materials

Coming soon.


Tishmall Turner, Tribal Champion

Harley’s Hope Project


Yurok Redwood Canoe Tours

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Spa

Climate Action Corps

Chah-pekw O’ Ket’-toh “Stone Lagoon Visitor Center

Reexamining Our Past Initiative

Acorns to Oak Trees