This year's conference includes many expert speakers with a wide variety of backgrounds.


Tom Carter

Tom Carter leads as Vice President of Kaiser Permanente’s Workforce Health Consulting Group and Kaiser Permanente On-the-Job®.


Tom's background includes career positions with several healthcare organizations. He began his healthcare career in 1982 with Blue Cross of Northern California, and after seven years, accepted a position with US Behavioral Health as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, where he focused on working with large commercial carriers and Fortune 500 companies. In 1992, Tom became the Vice President with Lifeguard, a non-profit regional health plan in San Jose, where he led Sales, Marketing and Product Management. In 2004, he joined Kaiser Permanente to lead Sales and Advisor Relations statewide.


Amit Sangani

Amit Sangani is the Founder and President of Strive Well-Being, Inc., an 11-year old, nationwide company that deals with on-site fitness and wellness management. He is a certified and experienced population health management consultant with designations as WELCOA Faculty and CCWS and he has designed and implemented industry best-practice workplace wellness programs, that have been recognized by both the CDC and NIH.


With more than 12 years’ experience in the field of health promotions and population health management, Amit oversees the business development, marketing, and strategic planning of Strive Well-Being.  He is in his element when consulting Strives national key accounts on wellness and fitness initiatives. He works with Strive clients daily, developing creative, innovative ways of integrating fitness and wellness into workable habits, and into community centered programs. 


Amit holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance and Marketing with a minor in health sciences from San Diego State University. His professional aim is to enhance the culture of health and well-being for the organizations and populations that his company serves.


Merrie Kay Alzola

Northwest, transitioned to the California Market Access team in 2018 as a Regional Account Manager. She received the Novo Nordisk Award of Excellence in 2014 and has received numerous recognitions for her collaboration and account management. 


Graduating Washington State University with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, Merrie Kay began her career by focusing in community practice and association involvement.   She spent over two decades at Fred Meyer Pharmacy, a division of Kroger, holding positions of Pharmacist, Pharmacy Manager, Pharmacy Clinical Care Coordinator, Regional Supervisor and Director of Pharmacy Sales & Operations.    Her focus has always been around Diabetes Care and patient education being innovative in the early ’90’s around establishing a community diabetes program in the NW teamed with key thought leaders in the area.


She currently serves as Immediate Past President of the Oregon/SW Washington chapter of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), is the Chair of the Washington State University, College of Pharmacy-Deans Advisory Council, is the Treasurer of the Oregon Society of Health System Pharmacists, the Pharmacist Director for Clark College Pharmacy Technician Program, and on the Board of Directors for Gales Creek Camp for Children with Diabetes.


Christina Bernard

Christina Bernard is the Director for Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Workforce Health Consulting Group


Christina brings versatility and enthusiasm to her work, with experience ranging from sales operations to market research to community engagement. Christina has 15+ years of experience in healthcare and program development, focused on designing and operationalizing programs to meet organizational goals. She spent seven and a half years at UCSF, culminating in a role where she led the development and execution of a marketing communications campaign that resulted in an increase in patients, revenue, and donor funding to UCSF’s Integrative Medicine Center. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Christina was a Wellness Account Manager at Alliant, engaging employers to build and execute their workforce health strategy. In 2012, Christina joined Kaiser Permanente, where she helped to expand KP’s focus on the public sector market, including the adoption of Thriving Schools across California.


Gilbert Manzano

Gil Manzano is the Senior Vice President, Client Partnerships for ACI Specialty Benefits.  In this role, he is responsible for managing consultation services for ACI’s client portfolio on a range of HR issues including employee development and crisis management to positively impact productivity, retention and business performance.


Honored as a 2018 Stevie Award Winner as HR Executive of the Year, Manzano is adept at driving strategies in the areas of employee engagement, organizational change, benefit plan design, talent acquisition, health and wellness, IT process improvement, and social media marketing.


Ellen Alcalá

Ellen Alcalá is the Employee Benefits Manager for the California Schools Employee Benefits Association (“CSEBA”), a consortium of public educational agencies that pool together to purchase employee benefits. In her role, Ellen oversees the day to day operations of the employee benefits department and has oversight for 50 school districts that participate in the CSEBA JPA for benefits, including medical, dental, vision, life, disability, advocacy and wellness. Ellen is the outgoing Chair and current Vice Chair of the California Purchasers Health Care Coalition, a position she has held since 2014, and the current CPHCC Conference Chair. Ellen is the past President of her local Toastmasters Organization, and is passionate about engaging others through public speaking. With over 22 years of experience in the Employee Benefits field specifically as it relates to School Districts, Ellen is passionate about providing the right benefits at the right price for her clients . Ellen’s prior experience includes Senior Account Manager at Kaiser Permanente, and a Consultant for a Large National Brokerage Firm.


AnaLisa Luippold, MHA

AnaLisa Luippold serves as Senior Director, Payment Innovation for Blue Shield of California.  In her role on the Health Care and Community Health Transformation Team, AnaLisa is partnering with internal and external partners to design, build and test innovative ways to appropriately reward and incentivize providers to deliver care that is “worthy of our family and friends and is sustainably affordable.”


Prior to her current role, AnaLisa served as the Director of ACO Performance. She was responsible for the implementation and roll out of Blue Shield’s innovative ACO model with hospitals and medical groups across California. During her tenure, the ACO program evolved from a pilot program to a key corporate strategy.

AnaLisa’s experience includes previous positions at Sutter Health, Sutter Medical Foundation, Vision Service Plan and First Health.


Jessie Lee Williams

Holy Guacamole!

Executive Chef Jessie Lee Williams is inspired by the science behind the marriage of ingredients, and influenced by a long line of family chefs and cooking enthusiasts. He brings a lifetime of passion, enthusiasm and ancestral knowledge into his culinary creations, which take form in contemporary continental American cuisine. In his kitchen, a vast range of influences, techniques and flavors converge in a shared commitment to both quality and creativity. It is this commitment combined with Chef Jessie’s use of local ingredients and principles of sustainability that has allowed him to elevate the banquet experience at Paradise Point.


Chef Williams successfully owned and operated Silver Touch Catering in Garland, Texas, for seven years. He furthered his career to include fine dining in hospitality with Westin, Marriott and the world-renowned Hotel Del Coronado, where he joined many other great chefs as the Chef de Cuisine at the Prince of Wales fine dining restaurant.


With a childhood filled with family recipes and memories in the kitchen, education in the art of culinary mastery was a natural path. It is not surprising he has received special recognitions and awards for his skills and abilities for cooking, service and performance.


Pete Smith

For over 20 years, international speaker and coach Pete Smith has helped individuals, teams, and organizations improve their leadership and personal development. His experience, concepts, and tools have helped organizations improve their leadership effectiveness, elevate engagement at all levels, transform company cultures, and consistently perform at high levels.


He is the author of Dare to Matter, the #1 Best Seller in the Human Resources and Personnel Management Category, and the #2 Best Seller in the Business Motivation and Self-Improvement category.


Dr. Jeffrey Durmer

Dr. Jeffrey Durmer is a systems neuroscientist, neurologist and sleep medicine physician with particular expertise in technology enabled sleep-health delivery systems. He began his career at the University of Pennsylvania studying the neurophysiology of central nervous systems that generate sleep and circadian rhythms in animals. Currently, he is Chief Medical Officer of FusionHealth, an Atlanta-based sleep healthcare technology firm, and Nox Medical, an Icelandic-based sleep medical device technology company.


Dr. Durmer provides scientific and clinical guidance for multiple sleep-related organizations involved in the healthcare technology, pharmaceutical, and clinical science/practice arenas.


He has published multiple medical textbook chapters, original research papers and abstracts. His collaboration with international clinical research teams led to the development of medical criteria used to diagnose and treat Restless Legs Syndrome in adults and children. He serves as the Sleep Performance Director for the United States Olympic Weightlifting team and multiple other sports organizations including the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and the NCAA DIII Championship Emory University Swimming & Diving team. In addition, he is the appointed Sleep Medicine advisor to the Federal Aviation Administration.


Natalie Hartenbaum, MD

Natalie P. Hartenbaum, MD, MPH, FACOEM, obtained her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, completed her residency and internship for internal medicine at Abington Memorial Hospital and Tulane University School of Medicine, and finished her residency for occupational medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.  She is a certified medical examiner and board certified in internal and occupational medicine.


As the president and chief medical officer of Occumedix, Dr. Hartenbaum provides occupational health and safety consulting services to companies of various sizes, professional organizations, hospitals and clinics.  She offers expert medical review and litigation support on issues of the American with Disabilities Act and Fitness for Duty.


Dr. Hartenbaum is on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. She is Past-President of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the American Board of Preventive Medicine.


Faith Borges

Faith Borges is a Legislative Advocate with the firm California Advocates Inc, where she provides professional advocacy services before the legislature and regulatory agencies, focusing on the firm's insurance, public entity liability and workforce development clients. She has been in government affairs in the State Capitol since 2012. Serving for years in both houses of the Legislature, she is a policy and strategy expert. During her tenure as Legislative Director for Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, she sent many bills to the Governor’s desk, including bills on transportation, healthcare, and privacy, all of which were signed into law.


Mrs. Borges has been the recipient of numerous Legislative Resolutions in her honor including recognition by Senators Steinberg and Gaines and Assemblywoman Baker in appreciation of her exemplary work in public service. She is an active member of the California Chamber of Commerce’s’ Employer’s Coalition, the Public Employer Advocates Coalition, and the Institute of Governmental Advocates. Her legislative work within the health insurance industry has been recognized on a national level with the State Legislative Excellence award in 2018 from the National Association of Health Underwriters.


Faith earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California Santa Barbara and went on to become a California Senate Fellow earning her graduate certificate in Applied Policy and Government from Sacramento State University.


Cynthia K. Persico, CEAP, LMHC

Cynthia K. Persico (“Cindy”) is the Regional Vice President for EAP and Work/Life Services for Health Advocate. She is a member of the EAP Leadership Team, and key contributor to delivering continued first-class clinical services. Cindy has also worked to implement technology initiatives, develop creative promotional strategies, and provide exciting innovative opportunities for our clients.


Cynthia has used her expertise to present hundreds of trainings and presentations to diverse audiences on numerous topics such as "Maximizing EAP Effectiveness", "Best Practices for Handling High-Risk Employee Situations", and "The Secret Sauce: Building High-Performance Work Teams" to name a few. Her guidance brings out the best in their employees while reducing healthcare costs, lowering risks of troubled employees, and improving productivity.


Ms. Persico has a Masters of Health Science in Counseling and specializes in the development and growth of high quality employee assistance programs (EAP). She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional and has been involved in all areas of EAP management including training and supervision of clinical staff, evaluation of program effectiveness, and program integrity.


Rae Majors-Wildman

Rae graduated with honors with her degree in Counseling Psychology and has received certification and mentorship from some of the best business leaders in the United States. She has over 15,000 coaching hours and has successfully coached and trained businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. A few of the companies are Microsoft, T-Mobile, Wells Fargo and Re/Max. Rae is an award-winning business strategist, speaker and best-selling author.


Melissa Botello

Melissa Botello, Director at Dexcom, brings over 20 years of leadership expertise in the bio-tech and medical device industries. She is a seasoned executive with robust experience in Business Development, Operations and Customer Experience.


In addition, Melissa is an entrepreneur and her side hustles include: hosting a podcast, founder of a Floral Design business, angel investor and Women’s Heart Educator.  Melissa is a heart attack survivor and is passionate about brining awareness to women’s heart disease and is an advocate and speaker in her community.


Eric Price

Eric Price is a retire Classified Employee from Hartnell Community College where he worked as the IT Director.  Eric served as a long time Board Member for the Municipalities, Colleges and Schools Insurance Group and was President of the Board for the three year prior to retiring.