We are a diverse team with a shared goal of championing young children and shaping the future of San Mateo County. Each staff member brings unique experience, knowledge and perspective to our work. We believe the future is in our collective hands, and we take that responsibility seriously.
Kitty Lopez, Executive Director
Kitty Lopez has served as the Executive Director of First 5 San Mateo County since 2012, focusing on policy, advocacy and communications development. She previously served as the Executive Director of Samaritan House, one of the leading safety-net nonprofit agencies serving low-income families and individuals in San Mateo County with food, shelter, clothing, health care, counseling, education classes, and holiday assistance from 2002 to 2012.
Kitty taught kindergarten, second grade, and high school in the Bay Area and in Santa Barbara, and was a consultant in schools with children who have autism and special needs. Additionally, Kitty worked in a residential substance abuse treatment center in San Francisco and psychiatric hospital in San Diego.
She attended University of California Santa Barbara earning a California Teaching Credential and B.A in Psychology. Kitty is active in her community serving on several community boards including HEART (Housing Endowment and Regional Trust of San Mateo County), STEP (Success Through Education Program), and Pat President and Current Member of the San Mateo Rotary Club.
Michelle Blakely, Program and Planning Director
Michelle currently serves as an early education consultant for a variety of projects including the Fatherhood Collaborative of San Mateo County and the Golden Gate Region Center. She is currently working with F5SMC to lead a collaborative process with over 15 organizations, government agencies and philanthropies for over $3 million in funding for special projects.
Khanh Chau, Fiscal Management Analyst
Myra Cruz, Administrative Secretary III
Myra received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration emphasis in Computer Information Systems at San Francisco State University. She loves to spend quality time with her husband and two kids.
Jenifer Clark, Evaluation Program Specialist
Karen Pisani, Family Support Program Specialist
Karen’s work value is to align her personal interests with her profession. This approach was the entrée to her work at The Center for Domestic Violence Prevention/CORA where she served as the Director of Development for 5 years and as Interim Executive Director during the organization’s merger with Sor Juana Inez Services for Battered Women. At CORA Karen volunteered on the 24-hour crisis line, became a State Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, successfully fundraised to establish the agency’s endowment, and was interviewed on live TV by Nancy Grace when the infamous Scott Peterson murder trial verdict came in.
Prior to her work at CORA, Karen served as the Membership Manager and Interim Director of Development at the Peninsula Humane Society, where she combined her love of animals with her fundraising skills and her interest in child development. At PHS Karen volunteered in the Second Chance Class, where shelter dogs are rehabilitated so they have a “leg up” on adoptions, and volunteered in the children’s summer camp with her 240 pound Mastiff, Dino, teaching young children about the proper care and handling of animals. Karen also worked in Stanford University’s Development Department for 5 years, serving as Assistant Director of Stewardship.
But Karen’s most notable and heart-felt role is that of mother to her son, Spencer. When it was time to become a mother Karen’s work value of aligning personal and professional interests brought her here to F5SMC in 2005. Karen gave birth to Spencer in July of 2006 and her role as solo parent and provider has been the impetus for walking her talk regarding practical and compassionate family support services.
Emily Roberts, Health Program Specialist
Emily graduated from Colorado College (undergrad-major Psychology) and UC Berkeley for both Social Work (MSW: Management and Planning concentration) and Public Health (MPH: Health and Social Behavior concentration) for grad school. She loves spending time at the beach or in the woods with her family, growing things to eat in her garden, and being a conscious and positive contributor in her various communities.
Emily is passionate about health equity, civic engagement, and the ROI of investing in young children.
Mai Le, Program Associate III
Mai has 10 years of experience working in nonprofit and public sectors on developing and implementing programs and policies related to improving the health and wellbeing of communities. She has trained hundreds of health and social providers on planning and delivering more culturally and linguistically responsive services to diverse communities. Mai is also a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor, and is passionate about promoting mental and emotional health in young people. She previously served as a Reach and Rise mentor and board member at the Peninsula Family YMCA.
Outside of her professional life, Mai finds joy in practicing her creativity, cooking and enjoying good food, spending time outdoors, and exploring new places with her partner and toddler.