KLA Class 2023
Gabriel Adame serves as the Executive Director for Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation. Since 2017, Gabriel has been a part of the nonprofit sector, being a part of multiple nonprofit organizations. Before joining Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation, Gabriel served as the Director of Marketing and Development for United Way of Kern County. He is currently a board member of the CSUB Hispanic Excellence Scholarship Fund and in 2023, received the “Rising Star” award from the Kern Alliance of Nonprofits. Gabriel looks forward to developing the future leaders of the Kern County community.
Jacqueline Aguilar has resided in Bakersfield for most of her life and is currently the Community Relations Associate at Providence Strategic Consulting. As a first-generation college graduate, she holds both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master’s in public administration from California State University, Bakersfield. With her educational foundation and a commitment to effective communication, she is dedicated to fostering meaningful connections and making a lasting impact in the realm of public affairs. Her advocacy experience includes political campaigning and managing projects to advance business initiatives and economic development. Jacqueline is deeply passionate about empowering the youth by connecting them with the resources and guidance they need to foster motivation and prepare them for future leadership roles. Her passion for creating connections and driving positive change fuels her role in building bridges and amplifying voices within the community.
Malicka Almansoob, known by everyone as Mo Ali, is Bakersfield native. Seeking new experiences and opportunities, Mo moved to Washington, DC and resided there for 10 years working in hospitality management. During her time in DC, Mo’s commitment to helping the underserved continued to grow inspiring her to becoming an advocate for civil rights. Mo’s passion for advocacy work continued when she returned to Bakersfield, which lead her to founding the nonprofit, Thee Next Steps. Through her successful organization, she provided multiple services to the East Bakersfield community, and the memorial mural of Bakersfield’s Daughter, located in Downtown Bakersfield. Mo has participated in the Bakersfield Police Citizens Committee, the FBI Citizens Academy, and the Bakersfield Police Citizens Academy to give a voice to her community on issues related to public safety and community revitalization. Mo is currently working on her certification in Alcohol and Drug Counseling at CSUB, and is currently a Mentoring Specialist/Case Manager and Victim Advocate at Garden Pathways. Mo continues her passion in serving her community; believing that we must be the change we want locally and globally.
Joe Arriola is a Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst for the County of Kern where the County fulfills its mission of enhancing the quality of life for Kern residents, model excellence in operations, and grow the local economy. Joe serves as the Vice President of the Kern County Management Council, a non-profit foundation whose purpose is to work for the continued improvement of County management and government. A fourth-generation resident of Bakersfield, California, Joe graduated from Garces Memorial High School and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science from California State University, Bakersfield in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. In his free time, he can be found on a home improvement project, golfing, or enjoying a good meal with friends, family, and his dog.
Brandon Billings is a professional with a diverse background and a passion for finance and his community. Based in Bakersfield since 2010, he originally hails from Oxnard, CA. Brandon embarked on his career journey in Bakersfield, working alongside the oil, agriculture, and manufacturing communities before making the transition to the financial industry in 2018. In 2018, Brandon achieved his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of La Verne, also earning an MBA in 2023. Brandon also carries numerous financial licenses and professional designations. For the past year, Brandon has been a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch, utilizing his expertise to guide clients toward their financial goals. Outside of work, Brandon enjoys the amazing beaches and mountains of California with his beautiful wife of 12 years and their 8-month-old baby boy.
Marianna Buoni is a Bakersfield/Kern County native. She attended public schools Lakeside Elementary and Bakersfield High School. Marianna graduated from the University of Southern California and California State University, Bakersfield with a bachelor’s degree in biological science, a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and an MBA. She is the General Manager of Clean Harbors Buttonwillow LLC.
John Frick is an attorney at the law firm of Klein DeNatale Goldner. The son of two immigrants, John was raised in an unusual blend of cultures, growing up on a Texas cattle ranch and learning English as his second language. Before becoming an attorney, John helped communities around the world, doing development work in Moldova, working with refugees in Liechtenstein, serving as an advisor to a United Nations delegation, and developing a program to help farmers in the Southwestern US. John looks to use his unique background and experiences to find creative solutions for clients and the community. Since moving to Bakersfield, being involved in and helping the community has been his top priority, serving on the board of several nonprofits and local organizations and facilitating partnerships between those looking to improve Kern County. Looking ahead, John hopes to help promote economic growth and eliminate poverty in Kern County.”
Hernan Hernandez is the Deputy Director of Government Relations and Strategic Development for Kern Health Systems. In his current role, Hernan provides legislative and regulatory assistance to the largest healthcare system in Kern County. Before joining Kern Health Systems, Hernan served as the Executive Director of the California Farmworker Foundation, where he oversaw the operations of a statewide non-profit organization. A native of Richgrove, California, Hernan experienced first-hand the challenges faced by Farmworker families, as he and his siblings worked in the fields of the Central Valley from a young age to support their family. The first in his family to attend and graduate from college, Hernan started his career at Bakersfield College and then graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, M.A., and M.P.A., from California State University, Bakersfield. Before his role at the California Farmworker Foundation, Hernan worked for government institutions, non-profit organizations, and political campaigns.
Gurtar Kaur, a first-generation immigrant to the United States, represents a spirit of determination and progress. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Gurtar’s journey has been marked by her commitment to engineering excellence and community betterment. With a decade of experience in the construction industry, Gurtar has contributed her expertise to major projects such as the Las Vegas Convention Center and Henderson Hospital. Her ability to handle complex challenges is evident from her successful track record. Currently, she is working as a construction engineer at Atlas, where she plays a vital part in the transformative California High-Speed Rail project.
Beyond her professional achievements, Gurtar’s heart lies in community development. Her involvement with the Bakersfield Planning Commission underscores her belief that planning and development are pathways to enriching residents’ lives. She champions accessibility and equity, striving to ensure that all residents have equal access to the opportunities our city has to offer. Her journey is a testament to the power of determination, engineering expertise, and a commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.
With 18 years in the Real Estate business, Jenny Magana brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the home buying and selling experience. She started her career in escrow for First American Title and later became a Transaction Coordinator/Office Manager for two busy Realtors before getting licensed and moving on independently. Jenny is a member of several local and broad-reaching professional networks. She also works closely with a real estate coach for professional growth. Jenny is on the Leadership Team at the Bakersfield Association of Realtors, moving into the President-Elect role in 2024 and serving as a Director for the California Association of Realtors. She has served as the past Chairman of the Young Professionals Network, immediate Past President of the Women’s Council of Realtors, and Ambassador for the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. Miramar International (my previous brokerage) has awarded Jenny several times for outstanding sales performance, including Agent & Producer of the Year, and consistently ranks in the Top 1% of all Kern County Agents. In 2021 Jenny left her home at Miramar International and opened her own brokerage Posh Properties of California, a local boutique brokerage servicing all of California.