Age Friendly Cities

Project Manager, Grants, and Finance

Cynthia Nakayama, CPG

Cynthia NakayamaCynthia Nakayama understands that on a global level, our aging population is increasing at a massive rate and that the need for supportive infrastructures has escalated. They are critical to our well-being.

Throughout our lives we build life experiences, skills, and activity preferences. When we become older, this continues. We do not become one generic group. We need environments that support both our need for continued intellectual and emotional growth and our physical change.

Cynthia’s experiences in overseeing her father’s care has furthered her awareness of how important it is to acknowledge and maintain those activities that bring brightness into his days.

Her work with the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence (CAFÉ) has strengthened further her belief in the development of age-friendly cities that support all generations, including the aging.

Cynthia is a Credentialed Professional Gerontologist and a CPA in California (inactive). Her corporate experience has included technology, telecommunications, finance, and biometric security. Working in the ethnogeriatrics area with Stanford Geriatric Education Center broadened her exposure to the healthcare issues of diverse elders. Volunteer contributions have been in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, heart health, and educational programs.

CAFÉ Advancing WHO Age-Friendly Cities
World Health OrganizationThe Center for Age-Friendly Excellence (CAFÉ) is the technical assistant partner joining a coalition of aging services professionals, elected officials and community leaders to assist all cities within the County, and Santa Clara County itself in embarking on an exciting initiative to become age-friendly and join the WHO network.

Los Altos and Los Altos Hill are the first cities in California to become age-friendly. The two-year initiative will continue and expand the mission, bringing best practices of senior-led task forces to collaborate toward the objectives of community organizing, assessment of needs through focus groups, and evidence-based project development resulting in 13 individualized applications to WHO in Geneva to join the Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Network.

CAFÉ is working with a CORE team of Santa Clara County senior staff, The Los Altos Community Foundation, County elected political leaders, PRx Digital, a generous gift by Mr. Michael Fox, and colleagues at San Jose State and San Francisco State Universities. CAFÉ is delighted to lead and participate in this exciting project.

Photos of our Silicon Valley cities

Attorney, Gerontologist

Althea T. Kippes

Althea T. KippesAlthea T. Kippes is a real estate broker, attorney, and gerontologist who helps her clients and investors buy, sell, or develop real estate, using multi-generational marketing to target older adults and Millennials.  As an experienced attorney, Althea focuses on the legal aspects of the real estate transaction, both in avoiding liability and negotiating the best terms for her clients.

Althea was raised with real estate in Santa Clara County, helping her family with the properties they purchased, renovated, and rented or sold.  She began her professional career in the legal field where she was a federal court litigator at a small boutique law firm in San Francisco.  She handled a number of high profile cases involving complex contract disputes, employment law, products liability, wrongful death, consumer matters, and animal law.

Having been a licensed real estate broker since 1997, Althea eventually left the law and returned to real estate full-time in 2009.  After obtaining a Master’s Degree in Gerontology, Althea focused her real estate practice on meeting unique real estate needs of older adults and their families.  As a Gerontologist, Certified Senior Advisor® and Seniors Real Estate Specialist® Althea understands the real estate challenges facing older adults and creates comprehensive solutions.  In 2015, Althea became a Graduate, Realtor® Institute (GRI) for completing nearly 100 hours of additional instruction in the technical aspects of real estate.

Ms. Kippes frequently speaks before business, community, real estate, and legal associations.  Her articles have been published in a variety of national and state periodicals and she have also been featured on local, state, and national media, including CNN, the BBC, Good Morning America, and All Things Considered.

Policy and Research

Marsha Nye Adler, PhD

Marsha Nye Adler, PhDMarsha Adler is a member of the Core Group coordinating Age-Friendly Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose. She also serves on the Leadership Council of the Aging Services Collaborative (ASC), the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits/ ASC, and the Santa Clara County Seniors’ Agenda Policy and Funding Work Group.

Marsha holds a Ph.D. in political science and has served in the U. S. House of Representatives, the U. S. Senate, and on the staff of California’s Lieutenant Governor, and as staff aide to Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss. She also has held posts in national and regional associations, nonprofits, and higher education institutions.




Regional Development and Strategic Alliances
Pauline Martinez,  MA

Pauline Martinez

Pauline Martinez has been involved with the Age Friendly Initiative since 2011, and most recently has been spearheading Santa Clara County’s nomination as one of eight pilot sites for the ‘Dementia Friendly America’ initiative.  In addition to her work with CAFÉ, she serves as the Education Services Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association, Northern California, Northern Nevada Chapter.  In this role, she oversees education for various audiences including the general public, corporations, family caregivers, and professionals in assisted living, home care, police, fire, government, healthcare settings and more, as well as plans two large annual conferences which draw 300-550 attendees. 

Pauline was recognized with the ‘2012 Archstone Foundation Award for Excellence in Program Innovation’ for her work on ‘Healthy Steps in Silicon Valley,’ a grant-funded program that included engaging senior leadership at 260 organizations, leading 180 train the trainers, and engaging 90 volunteers in reaching out to 28,000 adults 50 and older to provide health education and connect seniors with home and community based services.

Mrs. Martinez’ experience also includes teaching, launching an intergenerational TimeBank, initiating and securing grant-funding for a program providing emergency volunteer services to seniors, and helping to organize two annual summit meetings to raise awareness about elder abuse and neglect in faith communities.  

Mrs. Martinez holds a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a Masters in Gerontology from SFSU.  She completed her thesis on the ‘Physiological Effects of Stress in Caregivers’ within UCSF’s Health Psychology department. 

For more information, you can reach Mrs. Martinez at or 408-372-9951.

Community Health Specialist

Vaishali ("Shali") Sirkay, MPH

Vaishali Sirkay

Vaishali (“Shali”) Sirkay comes to CAFÉ from a public health background in Community Health and Program Development. She believes that health decision-making behavior does not exist in a vacuum, so taking a multi-generational, systems-level approach to improving health outcomes is critical for lasting behavioral change from the individual through community levels. Her passion for empowering communities has translated into working on diverse projects, including those looking at the Social Determinants of Health, and using Media Literacy as a public health tool. She started a national non-profit organization, the Action Coalition for Media Education, to address the need for a non-partisan media literacy organization. Her experience working in the non-profit public health sector complemented her later role in Corporate Philanthropy, which she found to be a powerful way of using resources within the community to address unmet need. Shali is sensitive to the ways in which philanthropy impacts the donors as much as it impacts the recipients.

As an active member of her community, Shali currently serves as Co-Chair of the Los Altos Community Coalition, sits on the Executive Board of the Los Altos Mountain View Council PTA (which serves three local school districts), and has been a Girl Scout Troop Leader since 2009. She has co-chaired campaigns that led to the successful passage of a bond and parcel tax in the November 2014 and 2016 General Elections.

Shali received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Barnard College at Columbia University, and her Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

San Francisco Lead

Jenny Jin-Young Lee, MA

Jenny Jin-Young Lee, MAJenny Lee has a passion for helping enhance the quality of life for minority elders by promoting improved health and access to social services. Jenny grew up in South Korea and moved to the U.S. nine years ago, when her beliefs and perspectives were already deeply ingrained based on the ethnic cultural values and norms of Korean society. As a first-generation, minority immigrant, who moved to a new country where the culture, language, and context are completely different, she experienced many of the challenges that all immigrants face and saw how these challenges could impact both their physical and mental health. This experience motivated her to go back to school to gain a deeper understanding of how to help immigrants live a better quality of life through improved social support structures.

Jenny has a Masters of Arts in Gerontology and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, both from San Francisco State University (SFSU). She is bilingual in English and Korean, serves as a Research Associate with SFSU, volunteers with On Lok’s 30th Street Senior Center, and is a Certified Shelter Volunteer helping survivors of human trafficking.

CAFÉ Associates

Ayesha Charagulla

Ayesha CharagullaAyesha Charagulla realizes a growing population needs to lead healthy and happy lives. It is extremely important for cities and communities to become age friendly. She believes that “as it takes a village to raise a child, making a community more livable and age-friendly takes, a village too..!” As a community member and social worker, she is excited to join CAFÉ to work towards developing age friendly cities that supports all generations.

Ayesha is an Information Technology consultant. She has a Master’s degree in IT-Management from Golden Gate University. She is a co-founder of, a non-profit organization for underprivileged children. She is mother of two. She works with children and youth in a variety of volunteering projects locally and internationally to empower youth & children to give back to the community early in life by volunteering.


Becky LaBree 

Becky LaBree Becky LaBree has thirteen years of experience working with individuals with disabilities, including in-home care, advocating to various government agencies, community education, ADA-compliance, and so on. Becky is a fierce advocate who earned the “Most Passionate” award through her previous agency. She graduated from UCSB, and is a current master's candidate through University of Southern California's School of Social Work.

Becky's professional experience directly translates to her position with the Center for Age Friendly Excellence, as seniors face many of the same issues that affect the daily life of individuals with disabilities, including transportation, housing, accessibility, etc. Becky's passion for clients and her keen interest in program development and policy advocacy brought her to CAFE, where she assists Dr. Pelham in bringing the eight domains designated for age-friendly cities by the World Health Organization to the cities of Santa Clara County, and eventually to cities throughout California.


Carol Naranjo 

Carol NaranjoCarol Naranjo is a San Jose State University undergraduate studying Health Science concentrating in Health Services Administration. Currently, she is in her senior year and is serving as an intern for CAFE.  She is looking forward to this profound opportunity to help make communities as age friendly as possible.  During her free time, she serves as a blood drive coordinator/volunteer for the American Red Cross with a mission to make a difference in the lives of those who are in critical need. 




Judith Taksa Webb, MA, CPG

Judith Taksa Webb, MA, CPG

Judith Taksa Webb, MA, CPG and retired Avenidas Manager of Lifelong Learning & Wellness, holds a MA Degree in Gerontology from San Francisco State University with a focus on fitness and aging, as well as Personal Fitness Trainer and Adaptive Fitness certifications. She is a credentialed professional gerontologist.

Judith is founder and director of Vintage Athletic Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the encouragement and promotion of fitness/athletic activities for older adults. She taught Lifelong Fitness exercise classes at Canada College and instructed adaptive exercise for the Cardiac Therapy Foundation of the Mid-Peninsula. Judith practices what she preaches – a chronic exerciser, she is particularly fond of marathon running, and good food and wine.



Kevin McKay

Kevin McKay

Kevin McKay was born in the Bay Area and has spent his life as part of the local community. He recently graduated from San Jose State in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.

Kevin has had various volunteer work in the community, most recently as a social media manager with local non-profit Good Karma Bikes. In his spare time, Kevin likes to watch and critique movies, play video games and creatively write.







 Krystel Malimban 

Krystel MalimbanKrystel Malimban is a recent graduate from the University of San Francisco. She received her bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies.

Krystel has taken on great interest in city planning thanks to her major in Environmental Studies and minor in Architecture and Community Design. Her focus will be working to make cities more livable. Livable cities represent a win for both the environment and people of all ages.

Currently working for city governments, Krystel looks forward to using her experience by effectively organizing and communicating strategies to achieve Age Friendly requirements.


Leeann Higgins

Leeann HigginsLeeann Higgins is a mother of two and a specialized personal trainer at the OFJCC. She has a degree in microbiology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and previously worked in biotech. Her passions including helping all ages and abilities of clients enjoy feeling strong and able to enjoy their daily activities. In her spare time she is a sessional runner, triathlete, and adventure seeker.

Leeann has lived in this community for over 15 years and plans to retire here. She is excited to join the CAFE team and help make measurable steps in age friendly communities in the Santa Clara County.




Silvia Sobral

Silvia SobralSilvia’s Brazilian origin and family values reflect her admiration and profound respect for elders. She considers her volunteer work at Meals on Wheels of San Francisco (MOWSF) Friendly Visitor Volunteer program, which is a homebound senior program, an opportunity of invaluable life experience. She is eager to serve in a meaningful way to help our seniors. She is confident that she will be of great assistance and support by joining CAFÉ.

Silvia is currently a 2nd year Gerontology grad student at SFSU where she received in 2010 her BA in Psychology and BS in Marketing. In 2015 she completed a Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) administrator certification. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

In her spare time, Silvia likes to ride bike with her family, do complex jigsaw puzzles and watch soccer games. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Ed; her children, Isabela 23 and Leah 12; and her maltipoo dog, Xuxu.

Susan Lewis

Susan LewisSusan Lewis loves helping older adults achieve optimum health and wellness within the bounds of both their desires and personal abilities. She believes older adults have a unique and important place in the community where their vast experiences can help the whole community be creative, positive and successful with intergenerational goals for health and wellness.

Currently Susan is engaged in many volunteer experiences, including being a volunteer Ombudsman for Santa Clara County, a committee member for the Cancer CAREpoint Garden Party fundraiser, a facilitator for a small church-based caregiver support group, and the Sustainer chair for National Charity League, Heritage Oaks chapter.

As a proud UC Davis Aggie, Susan earned her undergraduate Sociology degree from UC Davis . Additionally, she has an AA in Adaptive Fitness Therapy, has career certificates in both Adaptive Aquatics and Gerontology, and has completed a health and wellness coach training program.

Tammy Harvey

Tammy Harvey Tammy, a mother of two, raised her rambunctious daughters in Sunnyvale. Their desire for independent activity as kids made Tammy wary; Sunnyvale’s infrastructure did not support young children to move safely though the city on their own.  When Tammy’s father moved into the Sunnyvale house in 2007, a similar problem was illuminated, on the opposite extreme. Her father had given up driving and had become isolated. Simple errands such as running to the post office, grabbing groceries at the store, visiting the senior center, or just taking a walk across El Camino proved difficult for his aging body and were unsupported by the city’s infrastructure.

These experiences led Tammy to believe cities should be thriving metropolises that can house and celebrate people of all ages and abilities.  It is this belief that has brought her to CAFÉ.

Tammy has an undergraduate degree in finance from San Francisco State and in currently enrolled in the Interior Design program at West Valley College, which has further sparked her interest in universal design.  She has been a volunteer in the local schools and community throughout her life and is excited for this next chapter in collaborating with CAFÉ. She looks forward to engaging with passionate individuals whose aim is to reimagine cities as healthy, inclusive communities for all ages.

CAFE Photographer

Shong-Na Yang

Shong-Na YangShong-Na Yang was born in Stockton, CA. His family is of Hmong descent and were refugees that fled from Thailand to America in the wake of the Vietnam War in the late 1970s.

Yang's family later moved to the state of Georgia where he attended Jackson County Comprehensive High School. His parents divorced while he was in the tenth grade. After graduating in 2010, he eventually matriculated at Lansing Community College in Lansing, MI as a Violin Performance major before finally transferring to Boston University on a scholarship.

While at BU, Yang majored in Sociology and minored in Chinese studies. The majority of his two years studying in Boston was spent studying particularly the topic of Mind, Modernity and Madness with renowned BU professor Liah Greenfeld, Ph.D. He interned in Shanghai, China for his last semester of college at a migrant school while also enrolled at the prestigious Fudan University. Yang graduated from BU in December 2014.

Yang picked up the violin at the age of 11 and is also a pianist, singer, and erhuist. He enjoys traveling and shooting landscape and street photography. He is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Hmong.

Yang currently resides in Monterey, CA.