Our Community

We’re a community of leaders, businesses, educators, researchers, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and government officials working towards a brighter future for San Diego. As a community, we’ll welcome differing points of view and encourage people to embrace the diversity of thought we believe will move us forward.

We’re pleased to introduce you to our board, staff, and current partners.

Our Board


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Malin Burnham, Founder and Board Chairman

Malin has been the chairman of John Burnham & Company Insurance and Burnham Real Estate and has been involved in the business since 1949. In 2008, Burnham Real Estate was acquired by Cushman & Wakefield.

Malin is a native San Diegan who graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. In addition to his involvement with the Burnham Companies, he has been active as a board member of several major corporations and 16 firms. His present involvements include: Board Member of Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, UCSD Foundation, Rady School of Management, and the USS Midway Museum, and Chairman of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.

Mr. Burnham has chaired nine major nonprofits and has co-founded 14 organizations in his career, most providing direct benefit to San Diego. He’s also been a world-recognized sailor for five decades and has helped San Diego achieve prominence in both local and professional sports. At age 17, he became the youngest skipper to win a World Championship in the International Star Class. In 1987, he played a leading role in bringing the America’s Cup to San Diego. He is a former partner/owner of the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Sockers.

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Paula A. Cordeiro, Board Member

Paula is the Dammeyer Distinguished Professor of Global Leadership and Education in the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego (USD). From 1998-2015 she served as dean of USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences and then spent four years working internationally with two NGOs in training and research. In addition to teaching social innovation and entrepreneurship at USD, she is the VP for Education for Edify, an international NGO. Paula works in training, curriculum development, and research in sub-Saharan Africa and Central/South America with school leaders, government ministries, and NGOs. Dr. Cordeiro previously served as the coordinator of masters and doctoral programs in educational leadership at the University of Connecticut. Prior to being a professor, Paula was a teacher, principal, and school director in international schools in Venezuela and Spain. She is the author of three books and numerous articles. Her research interests include social innovation, school leadership, and philanthropy.

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Peter Ellsworth, Board Member

After growing up in Los Angeles, Peter received a BA and JD from Stanford University and served two years in the Army before coming to San Diego with his wife Doris. Once he settled in San Diego, Peter joined the law firm of Lindley, Lazar and Scales, which eventually evolved to become Ellsworth, Corbett, Seitman and McLeod, of which Peter was president. He left the law practice to become president and CEO of Sharp Health Care. Over his ten-year term in that role, he expanded the system from two hospitals to a group of seven hospitals and two medical groups that cared for one third of San Diegans and was the largest private employer in the city. After leaving Sharp, he refocused and reorganized a foundation established by a former law client and became its president and CEO. He ran the foundation in the new model for over 20 years until its final dissolution in July of 2020.

Over the years, Peter has served on numerous other boards and committees including the board of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the National Committee on primary care of the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C. He currently serves on the Strategic Roundtable of the San Diego Economic Development Council, the Advisory Boards of The Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, and the Accelerator program at the Engineering School at UCSD, among others.

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Lisette Islas, Board Member

Lisette is the Executive Vice President and Chief Impact Officer at MAAC, a nonprofit that, for more than five decades, has been providing programs and advocacy in the areas of health, education, workforce development, and housing throughout San Diego County. In this role, Lisette focuses on increasing the visibility, reach, and impact of MAAC’s work, including organizational development and advocacy. With more than twenty years of experience working in the fields of community development and philanthropy, Lisette is passionate about finding new and better ways to help disadvantaged communities be more prosperous and civically engaged.

Previously, Lisette was the vice president of Community Engagement and Programs at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. She also served as the Director of Learning and Programs at San Diego Grantmakers. Recognized for her exceptional ability to build strategies, forge relationship among diverse groups, and develop innovative and impactful programs, Lisette enjoys working with organizations seeking to engage hard-to-reach populations, build partnerships across sectors, and drive organizational change.

Lisette graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in ethnic studies.

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Jack McGrory, Board Member

Jack is CEO of La Jolla MJ Management, LLC, a real estate investment company. Prior to that, Jack worked for the City of San Diego for twenty-three years, including serving as city manager from March 1991 through August 1997. After his time with the city, he served as president and CEO of Price Enterprises, Inc., where he oversaw the sale of the company.

From 1999 to 2000, Jack was chief operating officer of the San Diego Padres and from 1999 to 2002 he was president of the subsidiary responsible for building Petco Park and the adjacent commercial development.

Jack has also served as chairman and CEO of Price Legacy Corporation, a real estate investment trust specializing in the acquisition and management of retail power centers, as manager of The Price Group, and as director and executive vice president of PriceSmart, Inc

Throughout his career, Jack has served on more than a dozen boards and committees and has been a lecturer at the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University and in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of California, San Diego.

Jack earned his B.A. at Colgate University, received his Masters in Public Administration from San Diego State University and his law degree from the University of San Diego. He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters from the CSU Board of Trustees.

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Vincent Mudd, Board Member

Vincent Mudd is the former Managing Partner and Principal of Carrier Johnson + CULTURE. Throughout his tenure at Carrier Johnson + CULTURE, Vincent led the firm to its most solid performance as a private company, leading to its “Top 14” ranking from Architecture Magazine’s “Architect 50” top firms of the year. Previously, Mr. Mudd was the Chief Executive Officer of San Diego Office Interiors.

Vincent is a champion of sustainability having completed several LEED Platinum, Gold and Net Zero projects. He was given the “Cool Californian” award by the California Air Resources Board for his work. As an instructor at SDSU CES, Vincent inspired the next generation of green business leaders through his Sustainable Design and Construction course.

Highly committed to civic engagement, Vincent is one of San Diego’s “Top 100 Influential Leaders,” and has served on a variety of civic and philanthropic boards and led turnarounds of troubled not-for-profit organizations. Mr. Mudd was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Board of State Compensation Insurance Fund. He served as Chairman of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and San Diego’s Citizen’s Sustainability Task Force. He is a former director of the San Diego County Water Authority, Metropolitan Water District and Sharp HealthCare – the largest private health care system in the San Diego region.

Our Staff


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Tad Seth Parzen, President and CEO

Tad has dedicated thirty years of his career to partnerships and innovation across a broad range of public and private sectors. Prior to joining the Burnham Center as its founding President and CEO, Tad headed Parzen Civic Solutions, providing strategic vision, management, and implementation services to philanthropy, government and non-profits—work that specialized in in cross-sector public-private collaboration to enhance communities and lives.

Formerly a partner at the San Diego law firm of Hillyer & Irwin, Tad pivoted to public service and philanthropy in 2000. Since then, he’s served as General Counsel for the San Diego Unified School District, Executive Vice President of Price Philanthropies, Founder and Executive Director of the City Heights Partnership for Children, co-architect and counsel to the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, education reform consultant to the Los Angeles Unified School District, and design-builder of the Oceanside Promise, among other positions and civic board and committee affiliations. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from UCLA and a J.D. from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

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Sam Avruch, Project Associate

Sam is a long-time Californian and proud San Diego resident. A graduate of Torrey Pines High School, he went on to study Agricultural Business and Resource Economics at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, where he received his B.A. in 2021. Sam believes that by putting sustainability and community development at the forefront of our vicinities' attention, the San Diego binational region will continue to be the place we all know and love.

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Angela Landsberg, Program Consultant

Angela Landsberg is the Executive Director of North Park Main Street and a private consultant. At North Park Main Street, Angela has served her community’s interests in the areas of business development, homeless outreach, maintenance and beautification and policy advocacy. She has collaborated with other non-profits, built relationships with policy makers and worked with stakeholders to advance the overall environment in North Park. Through her consulting firm, Angela provides community engagement, strategic planning and organizational effectiveness consulting services.

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Bill Ponder, Director of Programs and Engagement

Bill Ponder is a former University Vice President at Eastern Washington University. Bill is a native San Diegan with three decades of experience in higher education, including former membership in the Leadership Development Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has extensive experience in Urban planning as building commissioner, on planning commissions, and as faculty in the College of Urban and Regional Planning at Eastern. He has convened and reviewed grants for the National Science Foundation. Bill also served on the Citizens Independent Bond Oversight committee for the San Diego Unified School District and is currently the Chair of the Trustees Advisory Council for the San Diego Community College District. He also serves on the board of Groundwork San Diego.

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Natalie Royston Scoma, Administrative Associate

A lifelong San Diegan, Natalie has been working and volunteering in the non-profit sector for 17 years, including the San Diego Center for Children, The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and the San Diego New Children’s Museum, where she sat on the Board of Directors. Natalie graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is currently on the Alumni Board at the Bishops School in La Jolla.

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Sid Voorakkara, Strategies 360 Communications Consultant

Sid Voorakkara is a Senior Vice President at Strategies 360. His portfolio includes strategic planning, communications and public affairs for non-profits, government, universities and small businesses. Prior to consulting, Mr. Voorakkara served as the Deputy Director of External Affairs at the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Mr. Voorakkara was responsible for promoting California’s economy and advantages for start-ups and business expansion. He worked collaboratively with multiple State agency partners and the Legislature.

Before joining the Brown Administration, Mr. Voorakkara was a Program Manager at The California Endowment. In this capacity, he was The Endowment’s statewide officer on building pathways into high-wage, high-growth jobs. He worked closely with non-profits, businesses, foundations, and workforce investment boards across the state. Mr. Voorakkara spent nearly a decade prior to The California Endowment as a communication and media specialist in state and national campaigns and elections. He currently serves on the San Diego City Ethics Commission, where he served as Chair from 2017 to 2021, a joint appointment position of the San Diego City Council and Mayor.

Our Partners


Catalyst of San Diego and Imperial Counties

Data Science Alliance

Design Forward Alliance

Downtown San Diego Partnership

Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Jewish Community Foundation San Diego

Junior Achievement

Mission Driven Finance

National Conflict Resolution Center

RISE San Diego

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

San Diego County Taxpayers Association

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

San Diego Workforce Partnership

San Diego Regional EDC

UC San Diego Extension

University of San Diego Nonprofit Institute

Voice of San Diego

Voices of Our City Choir