Friends Fellows

 Verna Liza Caba is a University of California at Davis Cal Aggie Alumni with a degree in History and a minor in  Sociology - Organizational Studies.  Until  recently, she  was a full time volunteer and served as Auction Chair and PTA  Fundraising  Director at  Rooftop  Alternative  School. Verna Liza is a proud mother of Sydney, age 15, and Connor, age 12.  She is excited to work with Friends to help highlight services and opportunities available to San Francisco girls and young  women.

 Verna Liza joined Friends as a Fellow in August 2015.

Trish Tinitigan is a dynamic professional with a degree in finance and management from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and 10 years work experience in banking and business administration. A recent San Francisco transplant, Trish is currently exploring the Bay Area one hike at a time!  

Trish provided administrative and technical support for CEDAW 2015 from August to October 2015.

 Natalie Macias is a graduate from the University of San Francisco with her Masters in Behavioral Health. She  is  also a returned US Peace Corps volunteer who brings her passion of social justice and advocacy in the hopes of  providing equal opportunities for women and girls.  

 Natalie provided administrative and marketing support for CEDAW  2015 and served as Friends Fellow from August to  December 2015.

Ryah Belford

Ryah Belford is originally from Boston and graduated from Ithaca College in May 2011 with a BA in Culture and Communication and two minors in Sociology and Spanish. She then moved to San Francisco where she interned with Asylum Access, an organization that works to realize refugee rights worldwide. As such, she did administrative, grant, individual donor and event coordination work.

Ryah started her year-long fellowship with the Friends of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women in June 2012. She enjoys administration, development and event planning for non-profits. She is impassioned about human trafficking abolition and refugee/immigrant rights, especially when intersected with women's rights. In the future, she aspires to do program or policy work for an organization focused on one or a combination of these issues.

Florence Corteza

Florence Corteza is the Friends Fellow for 2011-2012. Originating from San Francisco and the Bay Area, she moved to Texas and received her degree in Child Learning and Development with an emphasis in teaching from the University of Texas at Dallas.  She is also an intern for Hydra Mendoza, Education and Family Services Advisor to Mayor Edwin Lee, and a paraprofessional at Presidio Early Education School. 

Her passion for helping students achieve academic success in the classroom and being involved in education issues in City Hall has led Florence to want a better understanding of issues that may affect the lives of students, especially girls, outside of the classroom.

Lillian Mirzabagi has over ten years of experience in the non-profit and private sector. Since 2008 she has been a freelance immigration consultant and interpreter/translator. Prior to her freelance work, she was a paralegal with a small San Francisco boutique law firm. She is a certified domestic violence counselor and has worked with nonprofits in the Bay Area as an advocate for women. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she earned a degree in Political Science. In her free time, Ms. Mirzabagi serves on the board of the USC Alumni Association of San Francisco.

Lillian worked closely with the Friends Board of Directors to increase the visibility of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In addition, she provided logistical, research and outreach support for Friends. Lillian served as the Friends Fellow from April to October 2011.

Mariya TaherMariya Taher, a MSW graduate from San Francisco State University was a Fellow for the Friends of the Commission on the Status of Women from Sept 2010 to March 2011. While in graduate school, Mariya interned with Mentoring For Success, a school-based mentoring program providing at-risk youth with caring adult mentors, as well as with the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women.  After graduation she became the Department’s first Gender Equality Principles Fellow, working to bring gender equality into corporate social responsibility practices.

Currently, she works for WOMAN, Inc., an agency working to end domestic violence, as the Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center, a collaborative project of the Bay Area Domestic Violence community of agencies to create an online, interactive database of resource information that strengthens services given to Domestic Violence Survivors.

She also volunteers for the Asian Women’s Shelter, Inc., is a member of the Career Development Committee for the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and regularly contributes articles on social issues concerning women to  She received her B.A. from the University of California Santa Barbara,                                        where she majored in Religious Studies and double-minored in Global, Peace, and Security & Socio-cultural Linguistics.

Diana Smith was born and raised in San Francisco. She received her BA in English and Political Science from UC Berkeley. She moved to New York a few years ago and is active in the arts scene in New York. She hopes to some day get an MFA in Poetry. Diana has traveled most of Western Europe and has studied abroad in Lyon, France.

Stacey Hoang Stacey Hoang is a Development and Marketing Officer at Eden I&R, a nonprofit information and referral services agency based in Alameda County. Prior to receiving her graduate degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon, she served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer for a provincial and the national chamber of commerce in Mongolia. Born in Vietnam to Chinese parents, she grew up in Sacramento and currently resides in San Francisco. She is an avid outdoorswoman and enjoys hiking.

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