The UCLA Alumni Association board of directors has elected eight members and four officers whose terms began July 1. The volunteer-led board is made up of 12 alumni who partner with alumni affairs staff to further the association’s mission of enriching the lives of alumni around the world and involving them in UCLA’s future.

The board’s new president, Paco Retana, has been serving vulnerable youth and marginalized communities in Los Angeles for nearly 35 years. A mental health expert and chief program officer at Wellnest, Retana is responsible for all clinical programs, including strategic planning, program evaluation and training in support of the organization’s mission through a holistic approach to emotional well-being. He has also served as a consultant for numerous community organizations, educational institutions and foundations throughout Los Angeles.

Retana, who has served on the board since 2018, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1987 and a master’s in social work in 2009, both from UCLA. He will serve as president for a two-year term; he succeeds Ann Wang, who will serve as alumni regent-designate on the UC Board of Regents.

The board’s new vice president, Cinthia Flores, serves on the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, having been appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020. She was formerly a staff attorney with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights and has a background in labor law, having represented private and public sector unions. Flores earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA in 2010 and has been an Alumni Association board member since 2020. She will serve as vice president for a one-year term.

The board’s new secretary, Cathy Choi, is senior director of programs at the Eisner Foundation, overseeing the planning, strategic development and distribution of $7 million in annual grants. Choi, who received a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA in 1996, has more than 20 years of diverse professional experience in philanthropy and the nonprofit and public sectors. Before joining the Eisner Foundation, she was a program officer at the California Community Foundation. A board member since 2018, she will serve as secretary for a two-year term.

The new treasurer is Ed Lew, who is assistant chief counsel at the Walt Disney Company, where he provides legal support for technology-related transactions and initiatives. He also co-chairs the Disney Lawyers of Color affinity group. Lew has also volunteered with several nonprofit organizations, including serving as president of Asian Pacific Alumni of UCLA, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, and OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Los Angeles. Lew earned a juris doctorate degree from UCLA School of Law in 1998 and has served on the board since 2018. He will serve as treasurer for a two-year term.

Three incumbent directors were reelected for another term and five directors were elected to new terms. The reelected and newly elected directors of the UCLA Alumni Association Board are:

  • Sonia Das, principal attorney at the Law Offices of Sonia Das, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA in 1990.
  • Stephanie Ellis-Smith, founder and CEO of Phīla Engaged Giving, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA in 1993.
  • Dean Florez, former California state senator and founder and CEO of Balance Public Relations, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA in 1987.
  • Manaf Mansure, nonprofit consultant and freelance project manager, earned a bachelor’s degree in theater from UCLA in 2008.
  • Joseph Pham, chairman and CEO of QSC, earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1992, a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1994 and a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1999 from UCLA.
  • Matt Saucedo, co-founder and head of product management and product marketing at Prism AI, earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UCLA in 2011.
  • Joseph Vardner, strategic counsel in the Office of the Chief Compliance Officer at Meta Platforms Inc., earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UCLA 2006.
  • Jenn Wells, director of equity and inclusion at the Marlborough School, earned a bachelor’s degree in American literature and culture from UCLA in 2007.