Who We Are

Who We Are

THE NXTGOV LEADERSHIP TEAM

NxtGov is a professional network for all people working in California public sector and those who are interested in public service. Our values drive every project we pursue and opportunity we offer. We collaborate and learn with others, serve the community, and inspire people to enter into and thrive in the public sector.

BOARD

NxtGov’s Board is responsible for directing the administrative operations and guiding the programmatic actions of the organization To reach out to individual members of the board, please address them in an email to Collaborate@NxtGov.org.

President

Angelica (Angie) Quirarte

Vice President

Seth Yund

Secretary

Meagan Tokunaga

Membership Officer

Kelijo Boney

Treasurer

Christian Beltran

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

NxtGov’s Executive Council oversees and carries out the organizations programs, events, and services. To reach out to individual members of Executive Council, please send them in an email to their respective email address:

Director of Community Engagement

Kelly Joy

Director of Public Recruitment

Bjorn Shepard

Director of Professional Development

Samantha Blackwood

Deputy Director of Community Engagement

Nicole Enright

Deputy Director of Public Recruitment

Chioma Emezi

Director of Communications

Jessica Lopez

BOARD MEBMERS

President

Angelica (Angie) Quirarte

As the founder of NxtGov and President of its board, I work with our board members to support the operations and growth of our organization, which includes ensuring compliance with laws, executing our processes established by our bylaws, and building strong partnerships aligned with our organizational values. I also currently work at the Federal Partnerships Director of the Tech Talent Project where I help bring in tech executives into government. Before this, I was appointed by Governor Newsom to serve as the Assistant Secretary at the California Government Operations Agency.

Ask me about my adventures fixing the Department of Motor Vehicles or anything in the intersection of tech, policy, and operations! I have a Bachelor of Arts in History of Public Policy, and in my spare time I love to dance, walk, and travel.

Vice President

Seth Yund

As the Vice-President of NxtGov, I oversee the Executive Council and help direct and provide support for all our programmatic activities. I currently work as a Program Manager at the Institute for Local Government, a non-profit that empowers local governments to navigate complex issues, increase their capacity, and build trust in their communities. I have a Master of Public Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, and a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies, and in my spare time I enjoy aggressively consuming audiobooks and going on outdoor adventures.

Secretary

Meagan Tokunaga

As Secretary of the Board, I advise on NxtGov strategy and operations, and serve as Chair of the Elections Council. During my day job, I am a Housing Finance Specialist with the California Housing Partnership, where I help non-profit developers of low-income housing utilize federal, state, and local funding. Previously, I served in state government as Special Assistant to the State Controller and Staff Finance Budget Analyst at the California Department of Finance. I working to complete a Master of Business Administration, and in my free time I enjoy board-gaming, birdwatching, and babysitting.

Membership Officer

Kelijo Boney

My role as NxtGov’s Membership Officer is to build, engage, and manage the NxtGov membership base. I also oversee the Membership Council, which assists with providing membership oversight and program development to cultivate a diverse and engaged culture within NxtGov. Outside of NxtGov, I’m the Branch Chief of Career Development & Succession Planning at Caltrans. In this role, I lead a team that develops, implements, and maintains people-programs related to employee engagement, recognition, and career development. I have a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, and a minor in History, and when I’m not working, you can catch me hiking, watching scary movies, and gardening. I also love a good brunch spot and enjoy hosting games nights with my partner.

Treasurer

Christian Beltran

As the Treasurer of NxtGov, its my responsibility to guard the integrity of the organization’s tax-exempt status and securing resources to help fund our operations and programming. I also currently work at the Department of Finance as a Principal Program Budget Analyst, where I supervise professional budget staff in the development, organization, coordination, administration, and implementation of budget policies and procedures. I have a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics.

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS

Director of Community Engagement

Kelly Joy

As the Director of Community Engagement, I turn my passion for collaborating with others and making positive contributions to the community by organizing service opportunities in the Sacramento region. I also work as a Senior Research Specialist for the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, which is an extension of the State Treasurer’s Office. In this role, I conduct research and data analysis on a variety of municipal debt issuance and investment-related topics. I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and earned a Master of Arts Applied Economics from San Diego State University. I enjoy volunteering, playing board games, trivia and spending quality time with my husband and son.

Deputy Director of Community Engagement

Nicole Enright

As the Deputy Director of Community Engagement, I organize service opportunities in the Sacramento community that leverage the many strengths and talents of NxtGov members. I am also an Air Pollution Specialist at the California Air Resources Board where my team and I develop, implement, and coordinate policies for programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve public health, advance equity, and support the transition to a clean and just economy. Prior to this job, I worked for several nonprofits where I provided direct technical assistance and capacity building services to local governments. I also served two terms as an AmeriCorps member for the City of Flagstaff in Arizona where I supported implementation and tracking of the municipal sustainability plan. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management. In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my husband Nate and our two dogs.

Director of Public Recruitment

Bjorn Shepard

As the Director of Public Recruitment, I help inspire and equip individuals to enter a career in California’s public sector. My background is in staffing, education, and corporate recruitment, and three years ago I transitioned from the private sector to State service when I became a Talent Acquisition Specialist for the Department of General Services. I have a Bachelors in Business Administration and speak fluent Portuguese three years of working abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When I’m not sharing details about the exciting career opportunities with the public sector, I can be found watching Manchester United soccer games, playing tennis, and volunteering with NxtGov. I truly enjoy connecting with people and discussing the variety of opportunities available with the State of California.

Deputy Director of Public Recruitment

Chioma Emezi

As the Deputy Director of Public Recruitment for NxtGov, my role is to help individuals pursue jobs with the State of California by overseeing the implementation of processes that will equip and inspire individuals to enter public service. I currently work with the California Department of Housing & Community Development as a Lead Recruitment & Career Counseling Analyst where I guide and provide resources for individuals desirous of working for the State of California. I have a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Masters in International Law & Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.

I am a passionate about helping people in any way I can and always striving to add the human part in the resources. I live in Sacramento with my family, and I love traveling, reading and putting smiles on people’s faces.

Director of Professional Development

Samantha Blackwell

As the Director of Professional Development, I assist current and future civil servants in pursuing their personal and professional goals. I am also currently a Talent Manager with the Department of Water Resources. For over a decade I have worked in Human Resources with the State of California with the goal of making HR work for you. I have a degree in Biological Science from UC Davis and live in East Sacramento with my husband and son. On the weekends you can find me running, swimming, or hiking.

Director of Communications

Jessica Lopez

As the Director of Communications, I message NxtGov’s mission, events, and resources to those interested in learning more about public service, helping them connect with our network. I also work as the Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program Associate at the Strategic Growth Council. There, I help develop program guidelines, conduct outreach, and oversee the Technical Assistance providers for AHSC.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and a Master of Public Administration, and enjoy painting, listening to podcasts on crime and politics, hiking, re-watching TV shows, like the West Wing and Criminal Minds, and reading books on mystery and mythology.

DISCLAIMER: This is an unofficial organization that is not connected to any one government entity.