Our Board Members

Jeremy DeConcini

Chairman of the Development Board

Jeremy has always had an interest in justice and policy issues starting with an internship on Capitol Hill in college and continuing on through his job as a Special Agent with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations in the years following 9/11, working primarily in undercover weapons smuggling and non-proliferation, as well as anti-terrorism and narcotics. Currently, he is one of the owners and operators of MotoSonora Brewing Company. Jeremy earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a law degree from Pepperdine University. Over the years, Jeremy has worked as a lawyer, university professor, ski patroller, surfboard shaper, and survey diver. He has also written three thrillers based loosely on his experiences working for Homeland Security.

Kate Lee Carey

Board Member

Katherine (Kate) Lee Carey serves as Special Counsel with Cooley LLP.  Kate began her career as a criminal defense litigator in 2000, and then transitioned into in-house roles with institutions of higher education, including as a Director of Regulatory Affairs, a Vice President of Compliance and General Counsel.  Kate’s practice with Cooley focuses on the legal, accreditation, administrative and regulatory aspects of regionally and nationally accredited higher education institutions, K-12 and public charter schools, and companies that provide services to the education industry, including education technology providers. She provides clients with interpretation and implementation guidance on legal and regulatory changes, including impact analysis and strategic plans to implement complex regulatory requirements and compliance structures.

Kate serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee to the California Bureau for Private Post-Secondary Schools, co-chair of the Equality and Action Committee of the Lawyers Club of San Diego, and as a member of the California Innocence Project board.  She is also a member of numerous education organizations such as the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the California Association of Private Post-Secondary Schools. Kate is passionate about protecting and furthering civil rights and is involved with the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign as well.

Kate loves to travel (over the years, working her way through Italy and the UK) and also has a (perhaps obsessive) love for her dogs including incessant picture taking and Instagram posting.  Kate’s husband Alex supports all of this because he is a saint.

John Christian

Board Member

John has a longstanding history in the field of international education spanning more than 25 years. He has been an active and contributing member of the international education industry including NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, and Forum on Education Abroad.

John first studied abroad in London in 1986. He began his international education career as a Foreign Student Advisor for the State University of New York at Oswego in the Office of International Education. John attended graduate school at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies where he completed a master’s degree in Area studies: China.
During this time, John was also the executive director of the SUNY Oswego London Center which led to the development of CAPA’s first program center in London.

As an entrepreneur and leader, John continues to evolve and support the field of international education. He strives for new and innovative ways to enhance the student experience in academics, personal and professional development and cultural exchange using state-of- the-art
technology to create globally collaborative communities across the CAPA network of programs. His entrepreneurial approach to learning takes students to places they never knew they could go and prepares them to function and compete in an increasingly interdependent globallandscape.

Currently, John sits on the Access Advisory Board for the Fund for Education Abroad, the Advisory Council for Diversity Abroad, the Best Buddies Challenge Executive Committee, and the Development Board of the California Innocence Project.

Marc Lipschitz

Board Member

Marc Lipschitz is a seasoned veteran of the San Diego real estate industry with over 28 years of experience. After earning a BA in Business Administration at the University of San Diego in 1989, Marc began his career at Voit Real Estate Services where he worked in commercial real estate for 21 years, earning the title of Senior Vice President. To date, Marc has leased and sold over three million square feet at a value that exceeds $1 billion. He continues to dominate the owner-user market in representing companies looking to acquire commercial buildings. As a native of La Jolla, Marc has been able to successfully leverage his extensive network and strong relationships within the community. Repeat clients and exemplary referrals drive a large portion of his business, reflecting his superior negotiating skills and excellent interpersonal relationships. He works tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for CIP by hosting events and garnering attention in his San Diego circles.

Aimee Halfpenny

Board Member

Aimee Halfpenny is a fund development professional with nearly twenty years of experience working for nonprofits throughout Southern California. As the Director of Development for Mama’s Kitchen she was responsible for generating over two million in revenue and oversaw four signature fundraising events annually.

She has a passion for supporting vulnerable populations, and in her most recent role, she fundraised for critical services to assist former foster youth who have transitioned from the child welfare system. Aimee participated in the Fieldstone Foundation’s Emerging Nonprofit Leaders program and is a former AFP San Diego Chamberlain Scholar.

Aimee believes CIP’s work is fundamental to reversing systematic poverty, racism and the injustices especially prevalent among impoverished communities. She is honored to help CIP further their great work to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and reform the criminal justice system.

Beth Keith

Board Member

Beth Keith is an automotive marketing professional turned music agent with a passion for reforming the criminal justice system. Possessing an extensive background in events and brand management, Beth’s natural talent lies in connecting the dots and generating opportunity, no matter the industry.

Beth joined the CIP team after co-hosting an event with friend of the project, Jason Flom, where she met a few of the CIP exonerees. From then on, she was eager to become an integral part of the California Innocence Project.

Allison Temnick

Board Member

After graduating from Baylor University with a marketing and management degree, Alli Temnick took on as many nonprofit jobs as possible to see how she could most effectively impact the world around her. After interning or working for Make-A-Wish, Compassion International, the Phoenix Rescue Mission, AmeriCorps, the Spanish Ministry of Education, and United Way, Alli decided to get her Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Right around that time, Alli read a book called Just Mercy, that opened her eyes to the injustices of the criminal justice system in a profound way. Reading Just Mercy caused her to evaluate what role she could play in improving that system, eventually leading her to volunteer and eventually join the Board of the California Innocence Project.

Laurie Kyser

Board Member

Laurie grew up in Tampa Florida gaining a BA in Economics from USF and an MBA in Marketing from Florida Institute of Technology, and soon after began a career in advertising. Arriving in SF 5.5 years ago to work at Google in Ads Tech, Laurie quickly realized that there were plentiful opportunities to help local Bay Area nonprofits in a variety of ways with technology, hands-on projects, and fundraising events such as Muttville Animal Rescue, YMCA Urban Development Program, and Glide Homeless Shelter. Laurie then took her volunteering internationally, always being interested in Geo-Political and Human Rights affairs – she began volunteering with nonprofits in India and Nepal to combat human trafficking; and in Greece to work on giving aid and tech resources to the Syrian Refugee camps. She is also a lead for Women @ SFO at Google, which focuses on providing connections, educational opportunities, and a community of women geared to empowering and advancing women in our communities at large.

Always being interested in political affairs and human rights, Laurie watched a remarkable movie on a flight from SFO to NYC one afternoon called Brian Banks and was so inspired by the great work of California Innocence Project that she decided right there to reach out to see how she could take part in the mission to improve justice reform and give every human equal rights as an American citizen under the 5th Amendment regardless of ethnicity, race, or socio-economic status – even if that meant just helping one person get their freedom back. Laurie soon joined as an attorney volunteer, already loving the work and people at CIP, she joined the Board of the California Innocence Project.

Richard Brooks

Board Member

Richard is a partner in the law firm Marcus Errico Emmer Brooks PC. In over three decades of representing condominium communities, Richard has been actively involved in the industry, both professionally and personally, as someone who believes in the common interest ownership concept and is committed to defending and advancing it.

Richard is probably best known in New England for his success in winning “equal rights” to municipal services for condominium communities. Less well-known but equally significant has been his work on the Massachusetts Legislative Action Committee and the CAI National Amicus Team to influence laws and litigation affecting condominium communities in New England and nationwide.

As an active Instagram user (@richardbrooks59), Richard can often be seen spending quality time with his family and supporting the efforts of the California Innocence Project. Fun fact: Richard was an extra in the Brian Banks film.

Michelle Rogers Alsari

Board Member

After graduating from the University of California San Diego, including studying one year abroad at the University of Barcelona, with a BA in Spanish Literature and History, Michelle wanted to do something to try to make a positive difference in the world but wasn’t sure how.  After spending 2 years managing an after-school daycare program, she enrolled at California Western School of Law.  And found her true passion in law school – indigent criminal defense.  She began as a law clerk at Appellate Defenders in 1997 and continued as an Appellate Defenders staff attorney upon graduation, a position she still holds. As an ADI staff attorney, she has represented hundreds of indigent criminal defendants in post-conviction proceedings over the past 22 years. Fortunately, one of these defendants was Kimberly Long, and because of Kimberly’s case, Michelle became involved with CIP.  As a criminal defense practitioner, Michelle understands how invaluable CIP’s work is to help free the wrongfully convicted and is honored to serve on the development board.

Emily Simpson

Board Member

Emily Simpson is new to CIP.  Emily Simpson is an attorney, wife, and mom to three small children.  She graduated from Miami University of Ohio and was a high school Spanish teacher for four years. Then she received her Juris Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.  She is a member of the California Bar, as well as the Utah Bar.  She has practiced in the areas of Family Law and Copyright law.  Emily is also a current cast member of The Real Housewives of Orange County.  She has a strong passion for criminal justice reform and is excited to be a part of the CIP team.  She is also excited to use her party planning skills to plan fundraising events for CIP.

Robin Werner

Board Member

Robin brings with her over 30 years of experience working with a broad range of non-profit organizations throughout San Diego.  She has been a long-time supporter of CIP and was instrumental in helping create a training manual for attorneys wishing to provide case reviews.  Robin believes it is imperative to remedy problems in our criminal justice system and protect our civil liberties.  A critical component of achieving these goals is ensuring the release of persons who have been wrongfully incarcerated! A graduate of Cornell University (economics) and Harvard Law School, Robin has worked as an attorney, educator, project manager, financial manager, and community volunteer.  She has a proven ability to roll up her sleeves and gets things done.  We are very happy to welcome her to CIP’s Development Board!

Amber Gardina-Quintanilla

Board Member

Amber is in-house employment counsel for Eastridge Workforce Solutions, an employee-owned company based in San Diego.  Eastridge provides full-service talent acquisition and management solutions for companies throughout the United States and across the globe.

Prior to transitioning to her in-house role, Amber worked as an employment litigator and advisor at Jackson Lewis and later, Procopio, Corey, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.  She was actively involved in the pro bono committees at both firms.  Shortly after learning about CIP through the Wrongfully Accused podcast, she was introduced to CIP’s Jasmin Harris.  Amber and Jasmin partnered together to launch an army of CIP volunteer attorneys at Procopio.

Amber also volunteers with Frosted Faces Foundation, an organization that promises family and quality veterinary care for senior animals whose love and lives are in jeopardy.  She has two wonderful dogs and she runs a lot (too much, according to her husband, who is also wonderful).

Yael Rakib

Board Member

After graduating cum laude from California Western School of Law, she worked in juvenile dependency representing parents accused of abuse and neglect. At this job she was exposed to the bad science behind the shaken baby syndrome hypothesis and saw it used to remove custodial rights from innocent parents. Working in this area was difficult; however, she was grateful for the rewards of such meaningful work. Today, she manages her own successful estate planning and probate practice in San Jose, California and when she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, weight lifting and indoor rock climbing.

Neil Strum

Board Member

Neil Strum is the Senior Vice President of US Business Affairs at Sony Pictures Television and was an Executive Producer of the Brian Banks movie. Neil was previously Executive VP of Business and Legal Affairs for Universal Television as well as held Senior VP Business Affairs positions at the William Morris Agency and The Family Channel/MTM Studios. Neil also spent time in the music business as a principal at Pyramid Records and the Tube Music Channel. Neil started his legal career as a criminal prosecutor for the City of San Diego

Neil became inspired to support the CIP when he was introduced to Brian Banks by Justin Brooks soon after Brian’s exoneration. Soon after that, Neil agreed to help Brian and Justin navigate the many opportunities presented to Brian in TV and Film soon; culminating in all three serving as executive producers on the Brian Banks film.