Our People

Board of Directors

Made up of 21 community leaders and professionals from Glendale, Burbank, West Hollywood and Los Angeles, our boards has a passion for working with the homeless, the ability to work collaboratively, and offer race, gender, geographic, age, and/or professional diversity.


Kim Guard

Board President


Express Employment Professionals

Karen Swan

Board Vice President

Retired Elementary Teacher

Glendale Unified School District

Kristine Nam


Communications Director

Glendale Unified School District

Sue Son

Treasurer/Finance Committee Chair

Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP

Committee Chairs

Bryan Longpre

Development Committee Chair


Assoc. VP – Financial Advisor

Morgan Stanley

David Bolstad

Governance Committee Chair


Safarian, Choi & Bolstad, LLP

John Sadd

Audit Committee Chair



The Accountancy

Deacon Ron Baker

Nominations Committee Chair


Director of Operations and Ministries

Holy Family Catholic Church


Andrea Amor



Arbella Azizian

Attorney of Counsel

Baker, Olson, LeCroy & Daielian

Bruce Gordon

Executive Mentor and Partner

Merryck & Co.

Grace Kang

Real Estate Analyst

Panda Restaurant Group

Isabel Reyes

Revelation Insurance Services

Jeff Ragusa

Battalion Chief

Glendale Fire Department

Anthony Rubio

Construction Coordinator

Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Daniel Valdez

Housing Acquisitions Manager

Brilliant Corners

Terry Walker

Director of Neurosciences and Community Engagement

Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

Paulette Ramsay Wood

Retired, Legal Department, Contracts

Schindler Elevator Corporation

Nicholas Lam


Vice President

Pacific BMW


It’s fantastic to see and be a part of a growing organization like Ascencia.

Richard WhiteDirector of Operations

Our Leadership Staff

Supported by our Case Management and Outreach teams, our Directorial staff leads the charge in accomplishing our mission to lift people out of homelessness, one person, one family at a time.

Laura E. Duncan, Ph.D.

Executive Director

For the past four years, Laura Duncan, as Director of Programs has been overseeing all of Ascencia’s program operations, building a cohesive team that has earned high reviews from clients and consistently meet or exceed contract standards.  Experience realms include clinical services, residential treatment, adjunct faculty, vocational rehabilitation, workforce investment, non-public education, Veteran services and homeless services.  Under her leadership at Goodwill Industries, programs grew from $9 million to $21 million within three years.  Laura holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Alliant University; her B.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Counseling degrees are from California State University, Fullerton.

Richard White

Director of Operations

Rick White comes to us with more than 20 years of nonprofit experience.  Most recently he worked as the Director of Operations at The Salvation Army in Glendale.  He has experience leading and training staff; program improvement and financial management and administration.  Rick and his wife Cindy live in La Verne and have 2 adult daughters.  When he’s not working, Rick enjoys mountain biking, reading and spending time with his family.

Anjalika Mathur Nigam

Director of Development

Anjalika Nigam joined Ascencia in October 2016. With a background in both nonprofit and entertainment, Ms. Nigam brings an eclectic mix of fundraising and administrative skills to the team.  As an entertainment professional since 1996, Anjalika has raised over $2 million for movies and produced films in the range of $2 million – $200 million.  In the nonprofit sector, Anjalika has raised near $1,000,000 for schools.  Since joining Ascencia, Anjalika has successfully executed numerous large fundraising events and campaigns exceeding the organization’s anticipated annual raise, developed new volunteer programs and expanded the current one, and developed a marketing and communications plan to expand its presence on digital platforms.  Anjalika sits on the Board of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and is a member of Rotary Noon of Glendale and Kiwanis Club of Glendale.

Marcell Mitchell

Director of Programs

Marcell Mitchell joined Ascencia in 2014 as the Coordinated Entry System (CES) Supervisor overseeing a case management and employment navigation team dedicated to permanent housing, job placement and benefits advocacy. He is also the HMIS Administrator (Homeless Management Information System) for Ascencia and served as Ascencia’s lead for the employment collaborative in Glendale. In July 2021, Marcell Mitchell was promoted to Director of Programs.

Marcell’s experience in human services dates back to 1999, serving first as a Shelter PlusCare Coordinator, Clinical Therapist and Community Support Team Supervisor in Chicago, then as a Gang Interventionist and Assistant Program Director, which included working with homeless U.S. military veterans, in Los Angeles. Mr. Mitchell holds a B.A. in History and a M.S. in Higher Education both from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is trained in trauma-informed care and motivational interviewing practices. He has also served as a consultant on multiple projects for the United Way and the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority.