Owner, ProBrilliance Leadership Institute
Machen began his financial services career with The Mutual of New York in 1989 in the San Francisco Bay Area. He pioneered performance and accountability coaching within the company before establishing the ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in 2003. Machen, a best-selling author of books on peak performance, writes a weekly column for The Union newspaper. He is a past president of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and the International Coaches Federation – Sacramento.
“Watching young women and men of Bright Futures for Youth find their way to greater confidence, growing self-efficacy and persevering resourcefulness is pure goodness in action.”
Counselor, Sierra College
Allie is a Counselor at Sierra College where she teaches Career Planning and offers personal, academic, career and crisis counseling to students. Allie works within the Extended Opportunities and Services Programs program and serves students who are disadvantaged educationally and financially. Allie previously worked as a Counselor at the One-Stop career center. She moved to Grass Valley in 2008.
“I am passionate about this organization because young people get support through every aspect of their lives from staff and positive influences from men and women volunteers to help them learn, grow, fulfill their potential and become contributing members of our community.”
Retired Assistant Superintendent, Nevada Joint Union High School District
Karen is a native Californian and has made her home in Nevada County for more than 25 years. After a 35-year career in California school district finance administration, Karen retired from the Nevada Joint Union High School District where she served as the Assistant Superintendent – Business Services for 15 years. Karen currently volunteers for several local organizations focused on helping children and young adults. Karen served as treasurer for the NEO organization.
Retired Graphic Design Services Manager, Cisco Systems
Nanci is one of the first 200 employees at Cisco Systems, where she worked for 11 years. She was promoted five times and her last position was Corporate Identity Manager. Nanci relocated to Grass Valley in 1995 and telecommuted for Cisco before retiring in 2000 to build a house, work with horses and volunteer in the community. Prior to Cisco, Nanci operated a graphic design firm and won several awards while working for advertising agencies. Nanci, a fourth-generation Californian, began volunteering with The Friendship Club in 2006 – from creating art and teaching cooking classes to serving as a mentor. She was named Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and 2019.
“The Friendship Club’s level of professionalism is impressive and their heartfelt commitment to the girls is what compelled me to get involved. I knew there was magic happening right here, bringing positive change through education, resources, kindness and growth for youth.”
Strategy and Sustainability Consultant
Cliff provides consulting services to corporate and private-equity clients on issues of strategy and sustainability. His clientele has included Credit Suisse, Nestle and Clorox. Cliff worked as an engineer in the Silicon Valley before becoming a consultant. He relocated to Grass Valley in 2003 and his community service has focused on many youth and education-related activities, including coaching youth soccer and softball. He also volunteers with the Nevada County Sheriff Search and Rescue team and serves on the Board of the Sacramento Stanford Association. Cliff served as vice president of the NEO Board of Directors.
“I dedicate my time and admire this organization’s success in providing a safe and positive environment for youth to thrive and develop into independent, productive citizens with its unique ‘of the youth, by the youth, for the youth’ approach. I am inspired to do my part to rally this community behind a united effort to develop a comprehensive youth and community center.”
Realtor, Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty
Greg is a Real Estate Broker who has lived in Nevada County since 2010, when he and his wife, Dee, relocated from Sierra County to open their Grass Valley office. In 1990, Greg and Dee moved from the Bay Area to Downieville and started Sierra County Realty. Greg serves on the City of Grass Valley Planning Commission. He volunteers with the Music in the Mountains Alliance and Gold Country Celtic Society and is Uncle Sam in the Marching Presidents society. Greg is past state director of the California Association of Realtors and past president of the Nevada County Association of Realtors.
“This program makes a huge difference in the precious lives of young girls and boys who have so much untapped potential. They learn many skills and form healthy relationships in a non-threatening environment, and build the foundation to be successful and achieve their dreams.”
Chief of Police, Grass Valley Police Department
Chief Gammelgard is a native of Grass Valley who joined the Grass Valley police department in 2005 as a patrol officer. He rose through the ranks, including serving as a detective, sergeant, lieutenant and president of the Police Officers’ Association before becoming Chief of Police in 2016. Chief Gammelgard has developed successful partnerships with citizens, organizations, school districts and the business community and has a track record of progressive community policing and innovative initiatives to build community trust.
“There is no more proactive service to the community than the work of Bright Futures for Youth. Instilling confidence, respect, love and purpose in young people will pay dividends to them and our community as they grow up to be ambassadors of those characteristics in our community and in the lives of others.”
School social worker and child/family psychotherapist,
Nevada Joint Union School District
Mark Heine has more than 15 years of experience in social work. Before joining the Nevada Joint Union High School District, Mark worked with Nevada County Children’s Behavioral Health Department, the Grass Valley School District and with nonprofit organizations. Mark has hiked the entire 2,658 miles Pacific Crest Trail and is married to Judith Kautz, a clinical social worker with Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital whom he met hiking the trail. They have two children. A native of Chicago, Mark moved from the Bay Area in 2013 to Nevada County, where his twin brother, Scott Mikal-Heine, also lives and works for Nevada Joint Union. Mark earned a Master’s degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.
“Growing up in a working-class family in south Chicago provided me with a clear view of the hardships youth of all stripes often face. Youth in rural California also deal with many issues. Fortunately, I also discovered a vibrant ecosystem of public agencies collaborating with youth-centered nonprofits in Nevada County. After working for years with Friendship Club girls and NEO-connected youth, I am truly honored to be on the Board of Bright Futures for Youth in making a difference for the young people of Nevada County.”
Wealth Management Advisor, Northwestern Mutual
Rick started his career with Northwestern Mutual in San Francisco in 1983. Rick, a Wealth Management advisor with clients throughout the United States, moved to Nevada County in 1992. Rick serves on the Board of Directors for Hospice of the Foothills and is a member of the 49er Rotary Club and Gold Country Estate Planning Council. He is the founder of the Big Brothers Nevada City Mountain Endurance ride that occurred for 20 years.
“I volunteer because of my long-term commitment to give back to my community. I really like how Friendship Club helps young women achieve their goals and dreams. This will pay big dividends to our community long term.”
Retired Senior Vice President, Savings Bank, Mendocino Co.
Marty was born and raised in San Francisco. He started his career with Bank of America in the Commercial Lending department. Marty worked for more than 40 years for the Savings Bank of Mendocino County in Ukiah, a commercial community bank, before retiring as Senior Vice President. During his career, he served on banking and community boards, including as Chairman of Mendocino County’s Workforce Investment Board, President of the Ukiah Educational Foundation, Board President of the Community Bankers of California, as a Ukiah Valley Chamber of Commerce board director, and board member of the Northern California Red Cross. Marty and his wife, Kathleen, retired to Grass Valley in 2013. His board service includes Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, Anew Day and Nevada County Italian Cultural Foundation. Marty also is a mentor at Nevada Union High School. Marty served as president of the NEO Board of Directors.
“I volunteer because we provide incredible support, encouragement and love while young people are finding their way. It’s an opportunity for me to quietly connect resources with need.”
Sheriff, County of Nevada
Sheriff Shannan Moon has served as Nevada County Sheriff since January 2019. During her more than 30 years with the Sheriff’s Office, she has served numerous positions, including as a Correctional Officer, Major Crimes Detective, Narcotics Detective, Crisis Incident Negotiations Team member and Commander, and Deputy Sheriff.
Sheriff Moon is a lifelong resident of Nevada County whose father had a longtime law enforcement career. She has a track record in her everyday commitment to increasing the quality of services provided to the community at the Sheriff’s office.
Owner, Brooke’s Books (bookkeeping)
Jennifer, who grew up in Nevada County, started her career as a tutor, substitute teacher and math instructor at Downieville junior and senior high schools in Sierra County. She made a career shift to bookkeeping, working for accounting firm Business Matters Partners. In 2009, Jennifer started her own bookkeeping firm, Brooke’s Books, serving small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the region.
“This program offers a space for young women to develop and grow in a safe, supportive environment by giving them life-changing opportunities. In 1994-95, I volunteered in high school as a PAL in the program led by Mary Collier before she founded The Friendship Club. This experience gave me confidence to go away to college and ignited a passion to serve my community.”
Assistant Principal, Nevada Union High School
Tim is an assistant principal at Nevada Union High School and teaches agriculture business at Sierra College. His career in education includes teaching agriculture at Bear River High School, where he helped lead its three-pronged agriculture education program: directing more than 40 Supervising Agricultural Education (SAE) projects exhibited at the Nevada County Fair, serving as co-advisor for FFA and teaching more than 150 students in agriculture mechanics. Tim previously worked as a Quality Control Inspector for Markon, a produce company in the Salinas Valley. He is president of Nevada County Livestock Producers, involved in many community organizations and runs a commercial cow/calf operation. Tim served as secretary of the NEO Board of Directors.
“I really want students to find their calling. I see students every day struggle with acceptance and belonging. This organization helps them find their calling and sense of belonging, making them feel safe and our community better every day.”
Administrator of Operations, Professional Services, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Erin has served at the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing for nearly 20 years in numerous positions, including communications, legislation/policy and accreditation. Erin’s commitment to supporting women and children in need is evidenced by her membership and service on the Board of Directors of Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O) International and as Board President of Capitol Network, Sacramento. A California native, Erin settled in Nevada County in 2014 to return to her grandfather’s roots.
“As a girl, I experienced firsthand what it is like to struggle with making the right choices. By providing a healthy and supportive space, we give girls a chance to breathe, build relationships by giving and receiving friendship, and imagine a broader future for themselves. By building strong girls, we are helping to build a strong community.”
Retired Public Relations executive, technology field
For nearly a decade, Barbara served as Public Relations and Human Relations Director for a San Francisco-based public relations agency, facilitating the firm’s work in introducing the Internet to the public. Previously, Barbara worked as Public Relations Manager for Trimble Navigation, a Sunnyvale-based technology services software company. She started her career in the nonprofit sector for Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, located at Stanford University, as Director of Development. In her early years, she was inspired to help young women by mentoring a group who decided to take a gap year before going to college. Since moving to Nevada County in 2005, Barbara has served on several boards, including the Center for the Arts, including as Board President, InConcert Sierra and the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. In addition, she has served as Board President of The Friendship Club.
“This organization makes it possible for me to fulfill my long-term commitment to help young women achieve their highest potential and goals. Serving on the Board is rewarding. It’s a gift to work with the Board and this amazing staff.”