Is Sierra Forward.
think global. act local.
The Sierra Forward Leadership
Today, across America, citizens of all stripes, civic and community leaders, businesspeople, workers, friends and neighbors, students and teachers, are disgusted with the current state of our political environment. But rather than turning away in despair, they are working to turn their aspirations for the future into action.
This spirit of activism and engagement is evident in the Northern California counties that include the Siskiyou and Sierra Mountain ranges, adjacent foothills, and their nearby valley communities.
Sierra Forward is an expression of that renewed spirit.
Sierra Forward is reaching out to, engaging with and involving voters from across the region, and from across the political spectrum—left, center and center-right. We believe common ground can be found through conversations among those with open minds.
Believing that no elected official, and no one seeking to become an elected official, should be immune from listening, responding, representing and ultimately reflecting the values and needs of their constituents, Sierra Forward’s leadership team is working to inform, register, engage, motivate and turnout voters who share our concerns and our commitment to makes ours “a more perfect Union.”
Corley Phillips is the founder of American River Ventures, a $100M venture capital fund investing in early stage information technology companies. He founded the firm in 2000 and retired as Managing Director in 2008. From 1993 to the founding of ARV, he was an active private stage investor in Northern California start-up companies.
Prior to his activities as an investor, Mr. Phillips had a distinguished entrepreneurial career. From 1990 until its successful merger with a public company at the end of 1994, he served as President and CEO of Manzanita Software Systems, an accounting software company based in Roseville, CA. From 1984 to 1990, he was President and co-founder of Grafpoint, a communications software company based in San Jose, California. He previously held various sales and marketing positions with Envision Technology and Hewlett-Packard.
Mr. Phillips has done much to expand the entrepreneurial activity in this region. In addition to his investing activities, he has been a Guest Lecturer at the University of California, Davis, where he co-taught the Business Development Clinic course in the Graduate School of Management. He is also Past President and current Director of the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy, a non-profit with a mission to educate, mentor, and nurture entrepreneurs in local community.
Mr. Phillips retired so he could fish and sing more. He fishes all over the world, and sings with a local barbershop chorus, the Voices of California, and the Four Love or Money quartet. He and his wife Patricia have lived in Granite Bay since 1996.
Mary is a native Northern Californian, whose father grew up in San Francisco, married and bought a home in Marin County. She grew up in the Bay Area at a time when citizens felt empowered to create Open Spaces and preserve the historical nature of their small towns. The purchase of land on the Point Reyes Peninsula for its transition to National Seashore status again demonstrated what a few people with a vision can achieve.
Mary moved to to El Dorado County in 1975, taught at a local elementary school for 38 years, raised a family, and engaged in local politics. Involved in everything from Recreation Advisory committees to Area Plans, her proudest achievement to date has been the organization of Trails Now, a citizen group that worked with El Dorado County and the City of Placerville to create The El Dorado Trail, a hiking, biking and equestrian trail. When Trump was elected she was drawn back into the political world, knowing that, if our democracy were to survive, it would take all of us working together to be a force for resistance. Sierra Forward, with its unique approach and strong Team, was a natural place for her energies.
Tomas is a native Californian. He is the son of immigrant parents and grew up in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. He graduated from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California where he earned a B.S. on Physics along with a minor in Chemistry.
After a stint in the US Navy as a Surface Warefare Officer, Tomas worked for several years in the field of analytical chemistry in California’s central valley. The years spent managing an agricultural testing laboratory allowed Tomas to gain an insider’s view of the water issues as they relate to the agricultural industry in California.
Tomas’ career change to computer programming eventually led him to Placer County where he has been an active member of the Democratic Central Committee. He also serves the California Democratic Party (CDP) as a ADEM delegate and is a member of the CDP Voter Services standing committee.
His focus on voter registration and engagement activities has led him to Sierra Forward where he hopes to bring about change in California’s 4th Congressional District and beyond.
A resident of Camino, CA (El Dorado County), Les brings a wealth of political and policy experience to the leadership of Sierra Forward, of which he was a co-founder (with Jim Hermann) in 2017.
A native Californian and product of the state’s public education system (Kindergarten through graduate school), Francis cut his political teeth in Santa Clara County. A protégé of the late former San Jose Mayor, Congressman and Cabinet Secretary, Norman Y. Mineta, in the late 1960s and early 70s, Francis was one of the national organizers of the 18-year-old-vote campaign, and the eventual successful passage and ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution.
During his career and at various times, Francis has been a Congressional chief of staff, a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy White House Chief of Staff (Jimmy Carter), and Executive Director of both the DNC and DCCC. He has managed and/or consulted on campaigns for every office from City Hall to the White House, and literally dozens of ballot measure campaigns in every region of the country. Among other activities, Les is a national leader in the current bi-partisan drive to expand and enhance civic learning in our public schools.
Kathleen is a clinical social worker whose career spanned four decades of direct services to families and public health policy and program development. A 37 year resident of El Dorado county, she continues her life of public service by working on a variety of political campaigns and local issues. When not campaigning, Kathleen can often be found on a sailboat or snowshoeing in the Sierras.