Compassion Ambassador


A Compassion Ambassador serves a district, a neighborhood, a school or an organization or group. They help build bridges of understanding, inspire collective action for the greater good and advocates for equity in all environments. An ambassador can serve their own community or serve a different part of the capital region. They work with community leaders, elected officials, residents and other stakeholders to help weave a new social fabric.


The Ambassadors who work with Sacramento's eight districts bring years of experience, wisdom and expertise. They work with the Council members and the district neighborhoods to raise the awareness of successful and help support struggling projects. They look for new ways to strengthen communication and collaboration between the council office and the district neighborhoods. Each Ambassador builds a district team with residents who love their community and want to share their voice, time and talent.


Compassion Ambassadors are local volunteers trained in this specific role. The ideal candidate should have a social mission heart and determination to help people align and move forward around common goals for social good. Tracks: For Your School — Youth and Adult programs
For Your Organization — Adult
For Your Neighborhood — Youth and Adult
For Your District — Adult and Youth Apprenticeship


If you are interested in being a Compassion Ambassador, please send us a message from our Contact Us page. We will connect with you to begin the conversation.

Meet Sacramento's District Compassion Ambassadors


District #1

Joan Marie is an artist and owner of Compassion Central - an educational sanctuary for peace in Carmichael. This venue's mission is to host and promote educational and cultural events and trainings including the Red Tent, that serve everyone in our community, especially veterans, women and girls.

Joan is co-founder of Compassionate Capital Region and has presented at the Parliament of the World Religions on our compassionate cities model. She is a Leadership Council Member of the Compassionate Arts Council and Co-Director for Compassionate Women & Girls. She is a Conscious Touch Educator and VP of Healing Hands Healing Hearts and Founder of The Alfred J Goularte Veterans Care program. As well, Joan is Director of A Therapeutic Alternative's Compassion Program and holds a certification in Indigenous Cultural Awareness.

Sonny Walebowa

District #2

Sonny was born in Botswana, then moved to the United States in 1997 on a scholarship. Sonny holds a BFA in Film and Television Production and a Masters in Human Services specializing in Executive Leadership. As a theater group facilitator, he engaged incarcerated creators and volunteers in a national award-winning 12 week art-therapy program.

Recently, he developed a program for Sacramento Urban League called "UBUNTU." Sonny is President of Vangoland Enterprises, a media company which focuses on storytelling and Botswana Tourism. In addition to writing fiction and screenplays for young readers, Sonny has written a biography on Nelson Mandela. He also speaks regularly at conferences on Storytelling and Technology.

Tynya Beverly

District #3

Tynya recently retired from being EDD's Chief Learning Officer of 14 years with a total of 27 years with the State of California and specializes in Organizational Development. She is an executive coach and trainer in the areas of change and performance management conflict resolution & Mediation, Training for Trainers, Diversity, Facilitation and leadership training.

She is a community leader and spiritual practitioner in both community well-being and youth development and is currently Community Chaplain with the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Sacramento.

Pauline Haynes

District #4

Pauline is an Emotional Emancipation and Cultural Awareness Facilitator currently volunteering with Safe Black Space. She is a transformational life coach, community organizer and former radio show host discussing taboo topics for the purpose of understanding.

Among her many certifications she completed training through A Community for Peace, a trauma-informed social justice crisis center for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She has also volunteered for the Sacramento AIDS Foundation Hand-to-Hand program and for My Sister's House. She is a former board member of Uptown Arts, as well as a past curator and promotor for visual and performing art shows with Phantom Gallery.

Melinda Penny-Washington

District #5

Melinda is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) working to improve understanding of health and wellness in her community. With a certificate in Transformational Leadership, Melinda helps others cultivate an understanding of indigenous wisdom and how cultural practices can positively impact health and wellbeing.

She is a facilitator, counselor and connector. Melinda works with Wellspace Health's Women's Health Clinics as a Gestational Diabetes Health Educator and CPSP Dietitian, with the Sacramento County Office of Education's Preschool Shine Program as a Health Coach, and with New Dawn Recovery Center as a Health and Wellness Educator. She lives with her husband and children in Oak Park.

Russell Johnigan

District #8

Russell is a trained facilitator with UCDavis' Racial Healing Circles through its Health Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. He is a Union Representative and Contract Negotiator with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), working with California State Department leaders, State Legislators and oversight agencies. He's held positions with the federal government including the Transportation Security Administration within the Department of Homeland Security.

Russell regularly attends Sacramento City Council meetings and has volunteered with the Arizona Veterans Stand Down Alliance while obtaining his law degree.

Laura Hansen

Sacramento Mayor's Office

Founder of Compassionate Capital Region, a Chill Sacramento social impact program for the seven-counties in and around Sacramento. As team lead for the Compassionate Sacramento initiative she recruits Compassion Ambassadors and professional services volunteers, identifies and builds community partnerships and develops program curriculum. She keeps the Mayor's office and city council members informed and engaged in the city-wide initiative

Laura grew up in West Sacramento, graduated from UCDavis and lives in Sacramento. Laura is a patented inventor, award-winning consumer product designer, best-selling author, artist and life-long volunteer. Her consulting business, GoldVision, LLC helps small to mid-sized for-and non-profit businesses build psychologically healthy workplace cultures and optimized operations for triple bottom line success.

Eliza Deed

Housing Advocacy

Eliza Deed is an international entertainer/singer turned community organizer against unfair housing and against housing discrimination by landlords. She advocates on tenants' rights to be respected. Through her own experience with unfair housing practices, she has gained a deep understanding that renters must take control of this issue and capture the attention of city leaders. Sacramento has a housing crisis and renters need to be heard or it will only get worse. To read more about how you can help and be involved, read more here.

Eliza also founded the Sacramento Community Choir to bring people, of all walks of life, together, to break the divide that our communities have created together, and what better way to do that, than through song.To learn more about the Choir:

Barbara Range

Oak Park

Barbara Range has been the Director and Curator of The Brickhouse Gallery and Art Complex since 2012. Social Justice through arts is the biggest voice that she knows how to use to serve in her purpose while modeling for others how to advocate and use their voices for themselves and their community. The Brickhouse is becoming the community art mecca of Oak Park.

She is the Co-Founder of Oak Park First Fridays with Broadway Coffee created to support businesses in the Oak Park community. Barbara is invested in building long-term relationships with community groups and non-profits, such as Help Portraits Sacramento, Black United Fund Sacramento Valley, Inc. ,Broadway Coffee, Unsung Heroes: Veterans Project, Sacramento Area Black Caucus, Sacramento Visual Arts Collaborative, Umi's Womb, African American Women's Health Legacy, Sisters Quilting Collective, WellSpring, Souletics, Women of Color Meet-Up, ACCES, Women's Wisdom, Sacramento Black Book Fair, Oak Park Day of the Dead, Underground Books, Women Civics Improvement Club, Oak Park Community Center and Fortune Schools.

Mariah Lichtenstern

At the intersection of technology, entertainment, and venture capital, Mariah Lichtenstern accelerates social, economic, and environmental impact through entrepreneurship. Mariah is the Founding Partner of DiverseCity Ventures and Managing Director of the Founder Institute, Sacramento Chapter. She is a member of UCLA Ventures, and serves as an advisor for CalSEED CleanTech Fund, Berkeley SkyDeck, and Village Capital Finance Forward US 2019.

A multi-faceted "connector," Mariah works with amazing people she feels incredibly fortunate to know and strives to build bridges between those with privilege and those with valuable but under-utilized perspectives. She is driven to empower founders and filmmakers of all backgrounds, inclusive of those underrepresented by virtue of "otherness," including (but not limited to) gender / identity, culture, geography, and socio-economic status. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley, USC, and UCLA.

Susan Rueppel

Susan Rueppel, as Professional Business Intuitive and Intentional Intuition Activist, Susan accesses the power of intuition to align and activate heart-based women entrepreneurs who want to make a bigger difference in the world with your purpose and passion.  She teaches how to tap into the Innate Intelligence of your business for the clarity, certainty and courage that accelerates the realization of your greatest potential.  She teaches how to shift from having intuitive insights be rare and random, to engaging "Intentional Intuition" in purposeful, practical, and powerful ways for greater business success.

WINtuition® Founder & Owner, Chief Intuition Officer®, Susan illuminates the unique genius of women entrepreneurs to make business easier, more profitable, and more fun.  She artfully and strategically blends 20+ years in Corporate America, with two decades as a professional intuitive, Personality Dynamics® trainer, author and speaker.

Tatiana Shevchenko

Tatiana brings her personal experience as a first-generation immigrant and community leader. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and came to Sacramento in 1992 with her family and four small children as a religious refugee. She had to start a new way of living without speaking English or having sustainable job skills. With her overcoming poverty and learning how to be the right example for her children, she slowly became a recognized leader and advocate for recent immigrants for the entire Sacramento community.

She has over 20 years of working with local communities, including low income families and individuals, mental health consumers, immigrants and refugees from former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Since 1994 she started her volunteer work as a contributor writer for local Russian newspapers, became radio talk show host, and is a well-known woman-advocate for Russian-speaking community in Greater Sacramento region.

Tatiana is a director of Russian Information & Support Services, the organization she created in 2012 to assist her fellow American social workers and other specialists that serve immigrant communities. Tatiana serves on several boards and participates in panels and conferences as an expert on the immigrant unreached and underserved communities.

We Accept


Copyright© 2018   All rights reserved.
Designed, Developed, Maintained & Hosted by MOSI