CASA of Contra Costa County Board 

CASA of Contra Costa County Board Members have the responsibility to ensure that the program does the best work possible in pursuing its mission of recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system. Board Members are expected to govern CASA of Contra Costa County while judiciously providing support for programs and initiatives (in concert with management staff).

The Board of Directors is comprised of no fewer than 7 and no more that 15 voting members who assume governance and fiduciary responsibility for the organization. Board Members are elected to a term of 3 years and may serve no more than 3 consecutive terms.

CASA of Contra Costa County seeks motivated and dedicated Board Members who will serve as knowledgeable ambassadors of our mission, make informed decisions, and provide the necessary support to advance that mission. Commitment to this concept is as desirable as is a commitment to attendance and meaningful productivity.

Board Member Job Description
Board Application


Dr. Phillip W. McLeod, President Susan Burnett                 Mark Hughes
Mindy Murphy, Treasurer Dr. Judy Castro Vicki Hughes
John Witaschek, Secretary Kelly Connelly Robin Pearson
Dan Ashley Kristine Duffield Malcolm Sher


Dr. Phillip W. McLeod

Dr. Phillip W. McLeod is a retired consultant with over 30 years of experience in the areas of utility economics, economic damage assessments, and expert testimony. Dr. McLeod has advised clients on a wide range of market design issues in restructured energy markets. He has prepared expert reports and testified on a wide range of policy issues, developed complex damage models and testified in a number of civil litigation cases involving breach of contract in the energy markets, copyright infringement involving software developers, and anti-trust cases involving energy developers. Dr. McLeod has taught courses on managerial finance, economics and decision analysis at California State University at Hayward, and Saint Mary’s College. He was an original member of the California Power Exchange Board of Directors, a member of the World Affairs Council Board of Directors and the current Chairman of the Board of Diablo Black Men’s Group. Dr. McLeod holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Economic Systems and a Masters in Operations Research both from Stanford University and a B.E.E., cum laude from Pratt Institute. 

Mindy Murphy

Mindy is a non-practicing CPA who received her public accounting experience with Deloitte & Touche LLP, and worked in accounting and assistant controller positions at Xerox Financial Services and Veterinary Companies of America. She earned her B.S. in Accounting from Binghamton University in New York. Mindy’s prior board experience includes having served for many years on both the Board and Executive Board of the Contra Costa Jewish Community Center and Beth Chaim Congregation. Originally from New York, Mindy has lived in the East Bay with her husband and two daughters for the last 26 years. Her interests include yoga, traveling, reading and being with friends and family. 

John Witaschek

John is currently a Director at SanDisk where he manages strategic alliances on a worldwide basis. Prior to joining SanDisk he was a Director at Cisco, managing commercial distribution channels. John spent most of his career at Hewlett Packard, where he was Director of Sales and National Sales Manager for its Storage and Printing businesses. John has managed sales and marketing teams in the public, education, enterprise and small business sectors. He also has extensive experience managing in global theaters including, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. John holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University. He and his wife Yulia are avid golfers and skiers. John has three children, Johnnie, Olivia and Tyler. John has lived in the Bay Area for the past 20 years with ongoing commitment to community service.

Dan Ashley

Dan is an anchor of ABC7 News at 5, 6, 9 and 11 p.m. In his 30 years on television, Dan has reported on a wide-range of issues and events that affect our lives. As a journalist, Dan has covered stories all over the Bay Area, the country, and the world. Dan reported from Poland on the "March of the Living" with Bay Area holocaust survivors, and before that, reported from Marine Corp basic training at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. Other notable assignments include reporting live from New Hampshire and South Carolina for the state primaries and from Iowa for the state's caucus. As an active member of the community, Dan serves on the boards of directors of many other worthy organizations in addition to CASA including The Bay Area Red Cross, The California Symphony, The Contra Costa County Crisis Center, The First Tee, among others. Additionally, he hosts the annual "Dan Ashley's Friends of Camp Concord Golf Tournament" which raises money to send under-served youngsters to summer camp. Dan also created the non-profit "Rock the CASA Foundation" to raise money through an annual concert to benefit the CASA organization. Dan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina with degrees in English and Speech Communication.

Y'Anad Burrell

Y'Anad is the Founder/CEO of Glass House Communications, an agency she started 13 years ago that specializes in public relations, strategic communications, event planning, diversity, inclusion and equity consulting, crises management, brand marketing and board governance facilitation. For the last 5 years, Glass House has provided diversity consulting in the health and tech industries for companies who desire to be intentional about their footprint in leveling the playing field through an inclusive lens. Y’Anad is also the Founder/CEO of iHealth Innovation, a company whose mission is to develop and implement strategies that improve the health and wellness of diverse local and global communities through technology, innovation, collaboration, advocacy and the arts.

Health equity is very important to Y'Anad and she has a particular interest in communities of color who have a high footprint of mental illness. Y'Anad's current doctoral studies at Saybrook University involve research around the impact of the intersection or non-intersection of technology and mental health services and access to quality healthcare in communities of color.

Y’Anad serves on several boards and commissions: Commissioner, Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, City of Richmond Housing Advisory Commission, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) National Committee Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, PRSA San Francisco Chapter.

Education: BA Degree in Accounting (SFSU)  Master Public Administration (GGU), Master Healthcare Mgmt. (GGU). Current: Doctoral Candidate at Saybrook University, Transformative Social Change Program. Read more about Y'Anad.

Susan Burnett

Susan is a retired commercial real estate appraiser. Susan's 27-year career in appraisal included stints in the Alameda County Assessor's Office, banking and a partner in her own firm, which involved a specialty in valuing of, and market research for, low-income housing throughout California. She remains a member of the Appraisal Institute with a small review practice. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees are from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Her interests include travel, politics/history and learning. Susan served as Chair of the Finance Committee for BWA (Battered Women's Alternatives) and now is Chair of the Volunteer Recruitment Committee of the CASA Board. She and her husband Richard J. Elliott, a retired psychologist, live in Walnut Creek, having re-settled here in 2010 after 32 years in Oakland.

Dr. Judy Castro

Judy is a Leadership and Change Management Consultant. With over 25 years of demonstrated success in leading organizational teams to achieve their strategic objectives, Dr. Castro brings a diverse set of skills to any client engagement. Her experience in higher education, telecommunications, financial sector and bio-manufacturing are invaluable. Her core competencies include leadership development, strategic planning, team building, and conflict resolution. Dr. Castro is principal of the firm and her goal is to help organizations come to understand that leadership can also be developed by strengthening the connection between, and alignment of, the efforts of individual leaders and the systems through which they influence organizational operations. Her most recent assignments include engagements with PG&E’s Professional Academy supporting a company-wide Safety Initiative and curriculum review and development of the Supervisor Leadership Program. Dr. Castro has also done work for the Hispanic State Chambers of Commerce and the Center for Judicial Excellence. She has held various leadership positions in the public and private sectors, including the University of San Francisco, Alumni Board of Directors. She is presently the Vice-President of  the Board of Directors for CASA, State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center. She holds an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco and Certificates of Completion in the Purchasing Executive Program and in Management Development for Entrepreneurs from UCLA Anderson School of Management. Dr. Castro was born in El Salvador, Central America. She is a naturalized US Citizen and she is fluent in the Spanish language.

Kristine Duffield

Kristine most recently worked in corporate sales for Workday, Inc. Before that she was a school teacher in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, where she was recognized by the district superintendent as a "Rising Star in Education," and helped to pass a $46M school bond. Her volunteering includes work with children in Honduras and in a Russian orphanage. She has a BA from Point Loma Nazarene University.

Mark Hughes 

Mark has served the Phillips 66 San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo since 2006 as Manager of Public Relations, where he continues a long and distinguished career in government, media, and community relations. Over the past couple of decades, Mark has made community service and steady leadership a guiding principle of his career – and his life. He dedicated eight years to the Martinez Planning Commission; prior to that he was elected to the Martinez Unified School District’s Board of Trustees, where he served for five years. Mark is also a Past President of the East Bay Leadership Council. Currently, on behalf of the Leadership Council, Mark chairs the “Social Responsibility Task Force” whose mission it is to “strengthen the partnerships between for-profit and not-for-profit businesses.” While at the Phillips 66 San Francisco Refinery, Mark has developed many exceptional community outreach programs, including the annual “Walk of Honor for Our Veterans”, and the John Swett High School Careers Academy Charity Golf Tournament. Both events have raised well over one million dollars. So impressive are Mark’s leadership efforts that, for 2013, Phillips 66 is recognized as the East Bay’s “Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist”. Mark earned a BA in economics from UC Davis. He lives in Martinez with his wife, Cha-Cha and two children, Hunter and Marcella. 

Vicki Hughes

Vicki, a long standing supporter of CASA, re-joined its Board of Directors after a brief hiatus as Board Emeritus. She has enormous gratitude to share in CASA’s vision and hopes to continue to facilitate its growth and fulfill its mission in Contra Costa County. Vicki continues her work and involvement with a wide range of social issues particularly as they relate to children and cultural  diversity, She is also an advocate for public awareness relating to environmental changes both locally and nationally. Vicki also enjoys spending time with her extended family, traveling, skiing, playing tennis and hiking.

Robin Pearson

Robin is a founder and owner of Pearson & Schachter. She is an experienced trial lawyer effectively litigating cases involving a broad range of commercial matters including contracts, unfair business practices, real estate, insurance, employment, professional liability, construction disputes and creditors rights in federal bankruptcy. She is also an accomplished negotiator with extensive mediation experience. She has authored articles on real estate, employment and insurance issues. Robin has served as President of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA, the fifth woman and first person of color to hold this position), and has been Chair of the CCCBA Diversity Committee since 2002. She served as a member of the Board for Family Support Services of the Bay Area, and currently serves on the Board of the National Kidney Foundation (and is a kidney transplant recipient), and is the current Diversity Liaison to the State Bar Litigation Section Executive Committee. Robin is a Past President of Black Women Lawyers of Northern California and is currently Vice Chair of the State Bar Council Access & Fairness (COAF). Ms. Pearson received her BA from the University of Virginia and her JD from Boston College Law School.

Malcolm Sher

Malcolm has served on the Board of Directors of CASA for since 2001 and was its president for four years. He is passionate about the need for competent representation of foster children and youth in the juvenile justice system, and particularly those who have become “dependents”. Before joining the Board of Directors, Malcolm completed the entire CASA Volunteer Initial Training so he could fully appreciate the wonderful work done by the CASA volunteers extent to which the CASA volunteer, “independent” and separate from the lawyers and social workers, advocates only for that child or youth and is their “Voice in Court.” In 1998, the Contra Costa County Juvenile Justice-Delinquency Prevention Commission honored Malcolm with its Annual Juvenile Justice Award as “Outstanding Community Volunteer.” Born in Zimbabwe, (formerly Rhodesia) Malcolm obtained his law degree from London University in 1969 and practiced law in the U.K. before immigrating to California in 1975, where he litigated for thirty five years before becoming a full-time mediator. He has been married to his wife, Kathy for forty years, has two adult children and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.