Staff

Our Motivated and Passionate Team

Duane Bay

Executive Director

As EPACANDO’s Executive Director, Duane Bay returns to intensely place-based projects after five years of regional focus on housing, hazard resilience and equitable land use with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

For eight years prior, Duane led San Mateo County’s Department of Housing and Housing Authority.  In this and previous positions, Duane focused on building institution capacity for collaborative sub-regional problem-solving:  a 21-jurisdiction housing policy collaborative, housing trust fund, housing advocacy coalition and community land trust.

These projects built on Duane’s local experience as a 44-year East Palo Alto resident, former city council member and mayor during a period of rapid development, resident displacement and cultural transition; and on capacities accumulated as a hurdler, winger, day care worker, middle school teacher, and early-stage executive in two tech start-ups.

 

 

Gabriela Anguiano

Administrative Assistant

Gabriela Anguiano grew up in a household of 7, with two brothers and three sisters. She was born in 1988 and was raised in East Palo Alto. She graduated from Redwood High School in 2006.  She completed a training course and obtained a certification in Office Skills at Job Train, Menlo Park in 2012. Upon completion of her education and before starting her management career, Gabriela spent 2 years as an Office Administrator for a small family-owned cleaning-service company in Redwood City, California. After a successful career in Maid Brigade, in 2016 she decided she enjoys assisting others, and joined EPA CAN DO, where she can work and receive satisfaction from helping families find comfort.

Gaby is the Property Manager for the EPA CAN DO property located on Clarke Avenue. She also helps people access housing and provides guidance in achieving that goal. With 14 years of experience in customer service, she derives satisfaction every month from seeing that clients benefit from her efforts.

Gabriela enjoys family life with her two daughters and husband , helping them through the rigors of today’s world . She likes reading and writing poetry in her spare time.

Mele Heimuli

Outreach

Mele is a long time native of East Palo Alto, and a graduate of the Ravenswood School District, with a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame de Namur University in Business Administration & Communication.  Before joining EPACANDO, Mele had 25 years of experience in customer-service-relations for the construction industry, with specific interest in community development and housing. 

Her focus at EPACANDO is empowering individuals towards self-reliance, and facilitating opportunities for our residents to thrive.

When she’s not working, Mele loves to spend time with her family and friends, meditating, and is an explorer at heart.

Iliana Nicholas

ADU program

Iliana came to EPACANDO shortly after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from San José State University. She previously worked in the field of environmental justice in East Palo Alto around climate resilience and adaptation planning. She holds a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), also known as the art of storytelling through maps.

Iliana is a Program Associate at EPACANDO for the CANDO ADU program, a project aimed to assist East Palo Alto homeowners to get accessory dwelling units in their backyards. Iliana lives in East Palo Alto, and aspires to continue to be of service to her community.

In her spare time, she volunteers as a youth mentor, empowering youth to pursue higher education, engage in civic participation, and become agents of social change.

 

Jane Jones

BMR and ADU programs

After serving 4 years on EPACANDO’s board of directors as Secretary, Jane Jones joins the CAN DO staff as programs associate for the affordable housing Below-Market-Rate (BMR) and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) programs.

Jane is a resident of East Palo Alto raised in the Gardens neighborhood, a product of Brentwood elementary school and a graduate of the defunct Ravenswood High school. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University  Social Science), and studied real estate practice and procedures at West Los Angeles City college.

Jane has a passion for real estate. Her career began in Southern California as an escrow assistant.  Next, she worked as a loan processor and later obtained a real estate license.  Jane worked four years at Coldwell Banker Realty Palo Alto, and has been affiliated with Keller Williams Realty-Palo Alto an additional five years, providing her with over 15 years of real estate knowledge.

In addition to her earlier years on the EPACANDO Board, her volunteer and community service includes

  • Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Board of Trustees secretary.
  • Executive committee member. East Palo Alto Community Emergency Response Team (CERT),rEPAct.
  • Freelance writer, El Ravenswood Magazine.

Vanessa Smith

Palo Mobile Estates Preservation Project

After living in East Palo Alto many years ago, Vanessa moved back to East Palo Alto after earning a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from San Diego State University and a M.A. in History from the University of Leeds.
 
Prior to joining EPACANDO, she worked with the Public Defender’s Office in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County. She’s also worked at Stanford Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic as a Program Fellow, visiting detention centers to develop class action lawsuits. Her background is in case management, specializing in immigration and criminal law.
 
Vanessa is a Program Associate at EPACANDO for the Palo Mobile Estates (PME) Preservation Project. This project’s purpose is to preserve residents’ rights to remain and preserve PME as an affordable housing community. Vanessa has dedicated her career to public service and is exceptionally passionate at serving her community.
 
When Vanessa is not serving as an alternate seat for the Rent Stabilization Board, she enjoys practicing yoga, photography, traveling and studying critical race theory.