As the Equinox Center's Executive Director, Lani Lutar is responsible for directing policy research and advocacy, growing the organization’s Leaders 2020 civic engagement program, leading fundraising efforts and increasing the overall visibility of the organization. Prior to joining the Equinox Center, Lutar served for seven years as President & CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA). In line with the strategic goals of Equinox Center, Lutar helped SDCTA develop a program around promoting smart water policies and drought-proof water supplies. Before joining SDCTA, Lutar was executive director of the Asian Business Association of San Diego (ABA). From 1999 to 2004, Lutar served in leadership roles on several non-partisan San Diego city council candidate campaigns. In 2005, she served as advisor to then-mayoral candidate, Jerry Sanders, as a member of his City Hall Reorganization Group. Lutar earned a Master of Pacific International Affairs degree from the University of California, San Diego and graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University with a BA in Psychology. She was also a Next Generation Project Fellow of the American Assembly at Columbia University. Lutar resides in Point Loma with her husband Dan and son, Xander.
CHRIS KATO - POLICY ANALYST
Chris Kato is the newest addition to Equinox Center. Chris conducts public policy research and analysis and serves as the staff liaison to Leaders 2020. Before joining Equinox Center, Chris worked as an analyst at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association for nearly two years. In this role, he conducted in-depth research and analysis of issues related to the region’s water districts and public pension systems, as well as local and state ballot measures. An avid golfer, Chris is a volunteer for the nonprofit organizations, Pro Kids Golf Academy in City Heights and The First Tee of San Jose. Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.
MICHAEL BIEDIGER - POLICY & MARKET RESEARCH
Michael Biediger is a 2013 Equinox Center Fellow. He recently earned a Master of Pacific International Affairs degree from the School of International Relations & Pacific Studies at UC San Diego. While at UC San Diego, Michael took courses in environmental policy, international trade and economics, as well as corporate finance and project management. A course in Chinese Energy and Environmental Policy, which analyzed local and national government incentives for creating and enforcing sustainable policies towards water resources and carbon emissions, was particularly influential. Additionally, Michael interned as a policy analyst for the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, where he conducted policy research and quantitative analysis of the California State Teachers' Retirement System.
MARK THORSEN - PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
Mark Thorsen is a 2013 Fellow at the Equinox Center. His focus is on developing a program that increases civic engagement within the young professional community by connecting them with the managing boards of nonprofit organizations. In addition to Equinox, Mark also works at the Center for Peace & Commerce at the University of San Diego, where he is co-designing their 2014 Idea Labs - a series of workshops that teach social innovation through entrepreneurship. Prior to working at Equinox, Mark spent 2 years running his own entrepreneurial endeavor, and 5 years in finance working for JPMorgan, HSBC and State Street Investments. Mark enjoys surfing and reading, and has a B.A. in Economics from UC San Diego.
MEGIA CHOU - EVENT PLANNING
Megia Chou coordinates and produces special events, social occasions, and non-profit as well as corporate events. In college, she served as President and co-chair of two student organizations at UC San Diego that focused on philanthropic work with a global reach, primarily focusing on Africa and Asia. Since 2008, she has coordinated and executed corporate and social events with some of San Diego’s most celebrated leaders in politics, business, and community service. Her talent complements fellow associates and together they bring unparalleled service, experience and positivity to their work with brides, families and businesses. Megia is a graduate of Revelle College at UC San Diego, where she completed an International Studies degree with an emphasis in Economics and a minor in Communications. In her free time she enjoys running, yoga, and taking her two dogs to Windansea Beach.
LEE FORRESTER - CPA
Mr. Forrester is a licensed CPA providing accounting, advisory and tax services to clients in San Diego County for the past 30 years. The majority of his practice relates to non-profit organizations. He frequently makes presentations at board of director and committee meetings regarding budgets, cash flows, fund raising and the financial health of his client organizations. He has a working understanding of FASB Statements 116 and 117 as well as GAAP for not for profit organizations to insure compliance with all relevant accounting standards for non-profit organizations. In addition to his CPA license, Mr. Forrester has a master’s degree in finance from Los Angeles State University.
ANTHONY GEORGE MANOLATOS - COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES
A communications expert with more than a dozen years of experience in news media and media relations, Anthony Manolatos provides public and government affairs consultation. He specializes in strategic communications and through his own By George Strategies, which he started in 2011, implements successful communications and public policy plans that promote businesses and non-profits in San Diego. Formerly, Tony served as a spokesman for City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer in his role as the Councilmember’s Communications Director and Deputy Chief. His previous professional experiences also include his time as an award-winning journalist at The Detroit News and The San Diego Union-Tribune.
JOHN C. O'NEILL - LEGAL COUNSEL
John C. O'Neill's practice emphasizes business transactions, commercial contracts, corporate/venture formations, mergers and acquisitions, private equity offerings, financing, equity compensation, corporate governance and commercial leasing. His clients include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, e-commerce business, non-profit corporations and service businesses. Mr. O'Neill provides pro bono legal services to a number of non-profit organizations including the San Diego Humane Society and S.P.C.A., the Alzheimer’s Foundation, the Poway Unified School District, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and the National Conflict Resolution Center. He received his LLM and JD from the University of San Diego School of Law.
ROZANNA ZANE - EVENT PLANNING
Rozanna Zane is the lead Event planner of Affairz Event Consulting. Rozanna launched Affairz Event Consulting in 2003 in San Diego, under the parent company PAC Management and Consulting, inc., serving all of Southern California and has since expanded the business to include coast to coast service. Prior to starting Affairz Event Consulting, Rozanna was the Supply Chain Manager for Carttronics, LLC. (San Diego), Warehouse Manager for Pioneer Van and Storage (El Centro) and a dispatcher for Mayflower Moving Company (San Diego). Rozanna is a graduate of Cal State University San Marcos, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/ High Tech Management. Rozanna, a native Californian, lives in Rancho Penasquitos with her husband and two sons.