LEADERSHIP TEAM

Meet our committed staff!

Brent Wakefield

President & CEO

A third generation San Diegan with a degree in Cultural Anthropology from UC San Diego, Brent studied both in Spain at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid for one year and at the Universita’ degli Studi di Bologna in Italy for a year. He began his career in Italy where he worked for over 12 years. Brent has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years building relationships and strengthening programs within our community.

“I was raised by my grandparents here in San Diego. Their vibrancy, wisdom, love, and attention were the best a kid could hope for. Being part of an organization that helps our elders live with dignity and independence is maybe my way of giving back what I was given. It’s what really matters to me.”

Antoinette Middleton

President of the Board of Trustees (Board Chair 2020-2021)

Attorney Antoinette Middleton joined the Meals on Wheels family in June 2017. She graduated from Syracuse University with honors and received a Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law in 2000. Antoinette practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Probate Law and is the Founder and Principal at The Law Offices of Antoinette Middleton.   Antoinette is a member of Lawyers with Purpose, National Care Planning, State Bar of California, California Association of Black Lawyers, and the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association.

“The opportunity to serve on the Meals on Wheels Board of Directors appealed to me for two reasons. First, as an Elder Law Attorney, I have an enormous amount of compassion for our senior citizens; and second, helping to provide nutritious meals to seniors brings pleasant memories to me of my mom who had a passion for cooking for homebound seniors at her church, family gatherings, parties for the family’s bar and grill, and other special occasions. Everyone who knew my mom remembers her special gift for cooking so I feel that my mom had a guiding hand in my appointment to the Board of Trustees at Meals on Wheels.”

Matthew Topper

Chief Financial Officer

Bio: Matt joined the Meals on Wheels team in 2007. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Northern Arizona University and is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 25 years in the nonprofit sector. He witnessed firsthand how his disabled and homebound mother benefited greatly from nutritious food and daily visits by a local Meals on Wheels program during the last several years of her life and strongly believes our services – so much more than just a meal – will be even more critical in the years ahead.

“Knowing we are helping to ensure all seniors, the fastest growing segment of our population, have the best quality of life possible during their golden years fuels my desire to work every day for this amazing organization.”

Amie Brown

Chief External Affairs Officer

Amie Brown came to Meals on Wheels in 2018 after working in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years, with a strong emphasis in healthcare for the underserved. She has extensive experience with growing nonprofit organizations, earned certificates in Non-Profit Management and Fundraising Management, and is a graduate of Blue Shield of California’s Clinic Leadership Institute. Amie grew up in San Diego and graduated from SDSU with a B.A in Sociology and a B.A. in Women’s Studies. She is the mother of two college-age daughters and is ready to dedicate all of her newly found free “empty-nester” time to improving lives of San Diego’s most vulnerable seniors.

“As troubling as food insecurity is for our seniors, it’s the loneliness and loss of connection that inspires me to work with donors and other funders to ensure that our clients continue to receive a daily meal and a smile.”

Patrick Zondler

Senior Project Director

After 28 years in retail, Patrick shifted gears and starting working in the non-profit arena. In 2009, Patrick joined Meals on Wheels where he found his niche. He gets satisfaction from finding a resolution to a challenge and solving problems. Patrick grew up camping and enjoys getting out of the city to be back in nature. He envisions a time when Meals on Wheels has a fleet of alternative energy vehicles.

“I enjoy working at Meals on Wheels where everyone has a passion for what we do…helping seniors.”

Carla Tooker

Payroll and Admin Director

Carla Tooker has been a proud team member of Meals on Wheels since 2002. Working to further the MOW mission by supporting the regional Service Centers and employees has been a rewarding and meaningful experience for her.  Carla, a San Diego resident since 1992, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and spent 17 years in the restaurant industry serving on a national training team focused on team-building and customer service. As the Administration and Human Resources Manager, she is in the unique position of having met every MOW employee and welcoming them to the team which has been instrumental to overall operations.

“I am grateful to be a part of our team and to be involved in a mission so critical to our community.”

Larry Sasser

Food Service Director

Larry Sasser, a Navy Veteran, came to Meals on Wheels in 2017 to run our Meal Center after a long and rewarding career in the restaurant industry, government contracting, military dining facilities, and as an executive training manager. Larry opened the first Allies Restaurant’s in San Diego, named after Bill Marriott’s Mother, and was the Area Director for Catalina Restaurant Group.

“I joined Meals on Wheels because I was looking for another challenging experience and to be a part of an organization with the mission of helping seniors receive daily nutritious meals.”

Ali Duarte

Grants Manager

Ali Duarte originally applied to be a meal delivery volunteer but jumped at the chance to become a Development Intern with Meals on Wheels in 2015. Ali moved on to become the Development Assistant in 2016, where she aided with aspects of grants, giving campaigns, digital marketing, events, and data management. In 2019 Ali was promoted to Development Manager – Grants. Ali holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies – Nutrition, Sociology, and Gerontology from San Diego State University and a Grant Writing Certificate from San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies. Ali enjoys advocating for seniors’ needs in the community through her grant writing.

“I love working for an organization that strives to help seniors have the best possible quality of life.”

Vivian Grifantini

Volunteer Manager

Vivian Grifantini joined Meals on Wheels in the winter of 2020 as an Executive Assistant to the executive team. Eight months later, Vivian was promoted to Volunteer Manager. She has worked with numerous nonprofits throughout her career and uses her experience in nonprofit management and project management to help develop and grow the organization’s volunteer program. Vivian holds a B.S. in psychology and sociology from Jacksonville University, where she graduated with magna cum laude and led as president of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. In her free time, she loves hiking, walking her cat, and reading novels.

“Our volunteers are the foundation of our organization and make our service to seniors possible.” 

Charlotte Fan

North County Service Center Director

Charlotte Fan joined Meals on Wheels in 1999 as a Counselor and was promoted to North County Service Manager in 2004. Charlotte holds Master’s Degrees in Community Psychology and in Education. Her educational experience inspired her to pursue a career in social services. Charlotte strongly supports Meals on Wheels’ mission and vision and enjoys every day at North County Service Center. Over the years with Meals on Wheels, Charlotte has watched the organization grow and improve in countless ways, always keeping in mind the needs of seniors. Charlotte continues to build precious memories each day at Meals on Wheels with her clients, colleagues, volunteers, and community partners.

“Working for Meals on Wheels matches my personal life mission to serve a diverse community in a meaningful way.”

Tim Ray

East County Service Center Director

Tim Ray joined Meals on Wheels as East County’s Service Center Manager in January 2020. Prior to that, Tim managed an assisted living community for over a decade and worked as an event planner in the hospitality industry. Tim received his B.S. in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Albany and is honored to be a part of the Meals on Wheels family, working with dedicated volunteers and colleagues to provide a much-needed service for our homebound seniors in the community.

“The service I have the good fortune to provide with Meals on Wheels feeds my soul.”

Chequita Falls

South County Service Center Director

Chequita Falls joined Meals on Wheels in 2006 and was promoted to South County Service Center Manager in 2008. Chequita holds a B. S. in Psychology from The University of Southern Colorado, Pueblo and a Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Alamosa State College in Alamosa, CO.

After leaving Big Brother Big Sister Colorado, Inc. in Pueblo as Community Coordinator, her love for humanity led her to Meals on Wheels San Diego County. She enjoys the daily challenges to ensure that seniors receive the best quality service in a timely manner.

“The dedication of our volunteers and staff motivate me to strive and reach higher goals. I have been blessed to come to work every day where miracles truly happen.”

Willy Gloria

Director of Advocacy and Metro Service Center

Willy Gloria arrived at Meals on Wheels San Diego County in 2017. Prior to MOWSDC, he was an AmeriCorps Program Director through the Corporation for National and Community Service. With over 10 years of non-profit management, he looks to contribute to MOWSDC’s goals and objectives through his experience in project management, advocacy, and working with diverse populations. Willy also worked in the music industry assisting various record labels in developing and marketing new artists. He received a B.A in Communications from Point Loma Nazarene. In his spare time Willy enjoys eating Capt’n Crunch Berries cereal and Gummy Bears with his two young sons.

“Food insecurity should not exist in this world. It’s important that we protect and advocate for Meals on Wheels. I want to do my part to make sure Meals on Wheels is around for my kids to reap the benefits.”

Tyyne Parakhen

Database Manager

Tyyne Parakhen joined Meals on Wheels in late 2020 as a Database Manager. She has built her career in nonprofit fundraising, communications, and marketing, and is passionate about leveraging data insights to help nonprofits. Tyyne holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree from King’s College London, and is working towards a certificate in Business Intelligence Analysis at UC San Diego Extension. She is the proud mom of an adorable toddler, and loves exploring San Diego, reading, and volunteering for environmental and climate causes.

“I am inspired every day by the stories of the seniors we help, as well as the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, donors, and staff.”

Becki Markle

Executive Assistant

Becki Markle joined Meals on Wheels in the summer of 2021 with a sincere desire to be a change agent for good in this world and a passion for ensuring no senior ever goes hungry. Becki witnessed firsthand how much of a lifeline our services are with her own grandparents that depended on Meals on Wheels every day not only for a hot, nutritious meal but for the kindness and care that the volunteers brought to their lives. Becki holds a Bachelor’s of Sociology and Environmental Science from the University of Michigan and comes with a unique blend of non-profit experience in project management, program implementation, event planning, and providing high-level admin support.

“If many little people, in many little places, do many little things, they can change the world.”

Jenna Snyder

Marketing and Events Coordinator

Jenna graduated San Diego State University with a Bachelors in Psychology in 2019. With a background in public relations and news media, she chose to pursue a career in nonprofits specializing in marketing. A few months after graduation, she found herself at Meals on Wheels working as a Development Assistant. Two short years later and she is now the Marketing and Events Coordinator. Meals on Wheels was special to her as she and her mother used to deliver meals together at the local Meals on Wheels in Wichita, KS, her hometown. In her spare time, Jenna is preparing to compete in a powerlifting competition!

“Seniors have always been close to my heart and it has been an honor to serve those in San Diego County!”

Alyssa Wong

Care Navigation Program Manager

Alyssa Wong joined the Meals on Wheels family in 2017 as an intern at the Metro Service Center. Alyssa moved on to become the Care Navigator in 2018 where she aided in the launch of our mobile app. In 2020, Alyssa was promoted to Senior Care Navigator and started to expand the Care Navigation program to offer more services to our clients. She was promoted to the Care Navigation Program Manager in 2021. Alyssa holds a B.A. in Gerontology and Health Sciences with an Emphasis in Public Health from San Diego State University where she graduated Cum Laude with Distinction in Gerontology. Her drive to serve seniors comes from the love she has for her grandmothers and family. In her free time, she enjoys eating out and traveling to see her family and friends in the Bay Area.

“I love working for Meals on Wheels because they focus on the well-being of seniors and define what it really means to be More than a Meal.”

 

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Antoinette Middleton

Board Chair
Law Offices of Antionette Middleton
Attorney at Law

Doug Garfield

Vice Chair
Finance Committee Member

Nancy Lazarski

Secretary
Marketing and RDC Committee Member  
Retired, Consultant

Rosemary C. Barnes

Board Development Chair

Leslie Bojorquez

Finance Committee Chair
Home Instead Senior Care
Owner, La Mesa

Kenneth Stauderman

Services Committee Chair
CalciMedica, Inc.
Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer

Andrew Schwarz

Marketing and RDC Committee Chair 
Torrey Pines Bank 
Vice President, Sr. Commercial Lender

Ryan Belmer

Audit Committee Chair

Aaron Franz

Finance Committee Member
San Diego Gas & Electric 
Customer Expereince Manager

Gary Gramling

Board Development Committee Member
In-Depth Real Estate Services Co.
President

Kevin McMahon

Audit Committee Member
McMahon Steel
Vice President/CFO

Peggy Strand

Finance Committee Member
Lawyer, Retired

Betty Torano

Board Development Committee Member
Realtor

Hon. Margie G. Woods

Marketing and RDC Committee Member
San Diego Superior Court
Judge

ALUMNI COUNCIL

Daralyne Baddour

Clara Browning-Baity

Retired, Registered Dietition 

Tyson Dethloff

Allenbrooke Insurance Services, Inc
Vice President

Bonnie Hage

Philanthropist

Gail Ives

Union Bank
Sr. Vice President

Noah Katsell

DLA Piper 
Partner

Jason Levin

Dos Gringos
Founder/President

Karen Morse

Retired Pharmacist

Tom North

North Properties
Owner/Realtor

Peter Pavao 

SDG&E
Technical Analysis Manager

Kristi Pieper

Five K Family Trust
Property Manager

Diana Ramirez

Healthways
VP Strategic Marketing

Cindi Stratton

Stratton & Green
Partner

Peter Thomas

Sandy Valone 

Pharmatek Labs
Director, Business Development

Christine Wichard

Jolene Marquez

Owner/Operator
Bay Park Flowers

Nanci Porter

Founder & Chief Talent Officer
TalentPort

Kevin Robertson

John Hermann

Trustee Emeritus

Join our awesome team!