Lisa McNaney – Executive Director
Lisa is the Founder and Executive Director of Culinary Angels which grew out of many family and personal experiences with cancer. Lisa has always been a passionate cook who wholeheartedly believes that organic, nutritious foods can fortify a person’s body, especially during a difficult health challenge. As a cancer survivor, Lisa became intimately aware of the value of proper nutrition in the role of fighting cancer. She whole-heartedly believes that “food is medicine.”
“Culinary Angels was created to not only provide hope, health and wellness, but the opportunity to exemplify nutritional education to its recipients. Our service visually represents a healthy, healing meal, as well as providing critical ingredients that promote fortification at a time in a person’s life where they can experience the benefits,“ she says.
Lisa has been a part of many community efforts involving health awareness, education, meals and cooking practices for the past 15 years. Prior to Culinary Angels, Lisa had a marketing and graphic design business for 24 years where she created marketing collateral for local businesses throughout the Bay Area. Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from SF State. She was raised in Southern California before moving to Livermore in 2002. In addition to cooking, Lisa enjoys hiking and trying to find the lighter side in life.
Claudia Castillo Holley – Chef
Along with top nourishing ingredients, Claudia brings to the kitchen deep love and respect for honest, clean food made beautiful and exciting. She taps into her creative nature and knowledge to combine colors, flavors and textures to produce enticing meals that are not only appealing to the eye, but greatly support and fortify the body’s innate healing energy.
Born in Venezuela, she relocated to the Bay Area 19 years ago. Overcoming serious health challenges while being a mom and the owner/manager of 2 fitness studios, made her determined to learn all she could about the power of foods for optimal health. She studied Diet Consulting and Nutrition Education at Bauman College, and has specialized in Therapeutic Personal Chef and Wellness Mentorship. Today she can be found behind kitchen counters creating nutrient-dense edible art, in nature connecting with the plants and taking pictures, or behind the computer developing seasonal and local menus, recipes and cooking experiences. She is a best-selling co-author of Super Charge Your Success, a musician, artist and a writer.
Lynn Monica – Board Chair
Lynn had a 35+ year career in executive management in mobile technology operations, product development, and market strategy, domestic and international. Lynn worked 20yrs for Motorola in Chicago/London and several years at smaller mobile companies in the SF Bay Area. Lynn also has 11+ years of non-profit board experience, including SF Museum of Craft & Folk Art, Sunflower Hill as an original board member, 1 yr as VP and 4 yrs Gardens Dir, and at Culinary Angels since Dec 2018. She attended Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard Academy in 2014, inspiring her to co-found the SFH Gardens, which provides programs for special needs adults and donates produce to Culinary Angels and other local organizations. Lynn worked with Las Positas College to develop an Adaptive Horticulture Certificate Program and is a Horticulture Advisory Board Member. Lynn has a BS in Electrical Engineering from UNH and an Executive MBA from Kellogg, Northwestern. Lynn lives in Livermore with her husband and has two adult step-children, one with special needs. She enjoys filmmaking, photography, weaving, cycling, cooking, gardening and creativity.
April Vaughn Shabazz
April Vaughn Shabazz has been a wellness advocate and health practitioner for past 20+ years. She is the owner of IMN Wellness and the Herbal Releaf Apothecary. Her practice consists of functional health and nutrition education to clients as well as practitioner training in alternative methods of healing for common and uncommon health problems. She holds a PhD in Natural Health Sciences in addition to several other training and certifications in environmental health, biochemistry, herbalism, food science, the psychology of food, and lifestyle coaching. In tandem with her career in the wellness industry, she received her BA in Sociology with a Minor in Nutrition as well as an Executive Master’s in public administration. She has worked in public service for over 16 years in Workforce Development and Labor standards; as well as consulted nonprofits in grant writing, strategic and program planning and participate on several committees and boards. She was introduced to Culinary Angels a few years ago and instantly became excited about the mission and potential of the organization. It fit well within her wheel house and passion to assist people in improving their lives holistically as well as advancing wellness education within families and across communities.
April was a resident of Pleasanton for over 12 years with her family and still practices in the area but recently moved to Oakland area. She loves to spend time with her teenagers, read, spend time in nature, travel and shop for unique items.
Sue Bayer – Secretary
Sue has a 32-year career in education, holding a BS degree in English/Education from the University of South Dakota. She found that board service was meaningful to her and helpful to others when she joined her first non-profit board as a Teacher Representative for Valley Montessori School in 2002, where she served two terms. Sue joined the Wiesner Fund board in 2011, a local non-profit which supports seniors in need, where she currently serves as Secretary. In 2013 she was elected to the National Board of Directors for the American Montessori Society, where she has served for 6 years. Sue was excited to join the Culinary Angels Board in January of 2019 because she knew and supported the entire McNaney family as a teacher and friend, as well as because other parents and teachers were working with and supporting the organization. Sue’s husband and four children are all very supportive of her work, knowing the importance of being involved and participating in meaningful work in the community.
Candace Plevyak – Treasurer
Candace has a 30+ year career in accounting and tax services. She obtained her CPA license during her five-year tenure at Arthur Andersen before transitioning to tax services at Intel Corporation. After her first child was born, she decided to bring her work home and has been a sole proprietor for the last 20+ years focusing mainly on personal tax returns and small business accounting. Candace’s interest in Culinary Angels grew out of her wish to help those struggling with cancer. Her personal loss of her mother due to cancer has contributed to this desire. Candace joined Culinary Angels first as a buyer and food preparer before transitioning into inventory and finally taking on the bookkeeping and treasurer responsibilities. Candace lives with her husband, Skip Wise, and a band of animals, rurally in the north Livermore foothills.
TJ is recently retired from a 28 year as a Sales and Operations executive in the hospitality industry. She has managed operations and sales teams across the United States and throughout Asia and Europe. Prior to her corporate post she was a park ranger and co-managed a catering company. TJ has a BS in Recreation & Outdoor Education from Indiana University and a Masters in Senior Leadership from Kellogg at Northwestern. TJ has lived in several cities and came to Livermore in 2016. Her passion in retirement has been her family, friends, new puppy, and giving back. TJ learned about Culinary Angels through her gym mid 2019 and has been volunteering in a variety of positions since. Being a cancer survivor as well, Culinary Angels is a great fit for TJ since she knows the power of healing through helping hands.
Marie grew up in Ireland and graduated from University College Dublin with a BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics. Her professional career included roles as Software Engineer, Senior Engineering Manager, Project Manager and Senior Marketing Manager working in high tech companies such as Euristix Ltd, Motorola, Stratacom and Cisco Systems. Marie also has 15+ years of experience with non-profits as both a volunteer, board member and board president, including Tri-Valley YMCA, PTA and Futures Explored. Marie has also founded and established a 501c3 for music education. Marie is passionate about giving back to the community and supporting the schools and sports teams that her kids play on. Marie lives in Pleasanton with her husband and her three children. She loves to play tennis, read, cook, hike, watch her kids play soccer, and travel with her family.
Chef Alison Negrin is the founder/owner of Chef Alison Negrin and Associates. Alison specializes in recipe and product development with a focus on health and nutritional healing. She has been a Chef at such noted Bay Area restaurants as Chez Panisse, Mesa and Ginger Island, and founding chef of Bridges Restaurant. She was also executive chef for John Muir Health System (JMH). Alison had the honor of accepting 2 awards at 2012 HCWH Food Med conference for JMH’s accomplishments with reducing greenhouse gases through sustainable purchasing and overall increased sustainable purchasing. Alison was the recipient of the Women Who Inspire 2013 Community Service award. Alison graduated from UC Berkeley with a BFA in fine arts, California Culinary Academy as a professional chef, and the Bauman Institute of Holistic Nutrition with a certificate in nutrition consulting. She is a lifelong learner and has finished various certificate programs to include Cornell University and the Culinary Institute.
Charles (Chuck) Deckert
Chuck Deckert grew up in Pleasanton and has spent most his life in service locally. An experienced community leader, Chuck has served on nonprofit boards for over 15 years, including being currently on the Open Heart Kitchen Board serving on the Audit, Development and Governance Committee’s. Chuck also holds key coordinator roles such as the annual Pleasanton Hometown Holiday Celebration (22 YRS), Red Cross Blood Drives (12 YRS), and a Vincentian with St Vincent de Paul (17 YRS). He has also served on the City of Pleasanton Human Services Commission, and currently serves on Parks and Recreation Commissioner. Chuck has been recognized for his community efforts as the recipient of several local volunteer awards. Chuck has recently retired and now concentrating his efforts on the non-profits which concentrate feeding those in crises or sheltered due to illness in their home. He uses his photography talents to shoot events for 9 non-profits in the Tri Valley, and for the Pleasanton Weekly and the City of Pleasanton. He also enjoys his Friday P7 route driving and delivering meals for Spectrum Meals on Wheels.