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Board of Directors

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Board Officers

Board Treasurer Maggie Melone-Echiburú

Maggie Melone-Echiburú


Maggie Melone-Echiburú is the Director of K-12 STEM Programs at Hartnell College. Maggie is honored to be part of a leading educational organization that has had the wisdom of making K-12 STEM education an important stepping stone for the youth in the community. Having one of nine NASA MAA programs in the country here in Salinas is such an honor and creating a pathway for young students to pursue careers in Computer Science through Coder Dojo Steinbeck County is an opportunity for all our community. Maggie is married to Brett Melone and together live with their three children, Caetano, Vinicius and Stella in Prunedale, CA.

Audrey Pierson

Vice President

Audrey Pierson is an Engineered Systems Sales Manager with First Alarm in Monterey, having been involved in electronic security for almost 30 years. She brings her expertise and love of sales, marketing, training and sales management to the MCRCC board. A previous MCRCC board member and president, she is our Together With Love Run/Walk emcee.  Audrey and her husband, Hugh, built an electronic security company, Pierson Security, (donating the Monterey office’s alarm to MCRCC), which they sold to First Alarm 11 years ago. Audrey served 12 years on the board of the Professional Women’s Network of Monterey, including two terms as president, and was named a Woman of the Year. She is also a member of the Salinas Valley Business Women’s Network. Audrey lives on the Carmel River in Carmel Valley with her husband, Hugh, and their three Australian Shepherds, whose favorite pastime is herding their two grandsons during their weekly sleepovers.

Board Secretary Kevin Cahill

Kevin Cahill


Kevin Cahill is the Director of the Communication Design program in the School of Computing and Design at California State University Monterey Bay. Kevin has a MFA degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art and has taught Graphic Design, Communication Criticism, Multimedia, Ethics and Current Issues in Communications Technology and Web Design. Most recently, he was the Art Director for CalStateTEACH, the California State University system's first statewide, online teacher credential program. Kevin was also a key instructor in the Imagine College Summer Institute where he taught multimedia and web design to at-risk high school students. Kevin lives in Salinas with his husband and Pacific Grove native, Chip Lenno.


Board Member Elizabeth Ramírez

Elizabeth Ramírez


Elizabeth L. Ramírez is a Spanish bilingual, bicultural family psychotherapist with a Marriage and Family Therapy license. She currently has a private practice offering counseling services to individuals, children and families. She has been providing counseling services in the Monterey County community for 16 years with various community agencies, and the most recent 9 years in private practice. She also focused on academic counseling at the Community College level, holding a position with the Educational Opportunity Programs & Services (EOPS) at Hartnell College. She has enjoyed creating a home in the Monterey Bay through professional activities and exploring the surrounding natural beauty. She has experienced the natural beauty while participating in a favorite pastime – running and training for races.

Ellen Hiserman

Advocate Representative

Ellen Hiserman has been an advocate for two years and is grateful to the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center for all the wonderful work that it offers the community. Personally, it has been enriching and rewarding. She is a registered nurse and has taught health/medically related courses at the postsecondary level. She has had extensive experience in the wide scope of nursing and emergency care. As a lifelong caregiver and crusader for the human right of healthcare, she energetically supports those around her with health advice and counseling.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and has had Private and Public Postsecondary teaching certificates in health related fields. 

She has served on many community and school-related boards and committees. Involvement in these situations revolved around her two children’s school and activities. She was very involved with Girl Scouts and was trained through that organization as a Conflict Resolution Mediator. 

She has organized and participated in numerous support groups which she finds essential to live life to the fullest. She is dedicated to contributing to peace and safety in our community. 


Board Members

Dennis J. Alexander

Dennis Alexander grew up in Milwaukee, WI and received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He moved to the Monterey area in 1990 to study at the Middlebury Institute of International Relations at Monterey, where he received his MBA. A resident of Seaside since 1996, he was elected to the Seaside City Council for two terms, ending in 2018.  Dennis is a retired teacher and reserve police officer. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Philippines, and his local community volunteer experience includes Rebuilding Together Monterey-Salinas, the American Red Cross, Monterey County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, Monterey County AIDS Project, and Monterey County Rape Crisis Center.

Lea Barber

Lea Barber is an Employment Litigation Paralegal with local firm Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss. Lea is a life-long learner and community advocate, having volunteered in youth sports and school administration programs. She has also spoken publicly at women’s classes, retreats, and conferences; specifically on the intrinsic value of women. She strongly encourages mentorship. Lea believes participating in mentorship both as a mentor or mentee, emboldens the sharing of experience, knowledge, community, and ideals; all in the pursuit of enduring success. Lea and her husband Jeff were born and raised here on the Central Coast. They understand the importance of giving to your community and being part of its success. Lea and Jeff live in Prunedale, California where they have raised three incredible young women and a son who proudly serves in the United States Marine Corps.

Karen Hagman

As a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones, Karen's professional mission is to uplift women and their families to own their financial future. Karen is a passionate advocate for community-centered movements and their power to change the world. Karen's passion for improving her community began at her first job at the YWCA Monterey County. Before joining the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, she served on the boards of IMPOWER, Hartnell College's Women's Education & Leadership Institute, and the Alzheimer's Association. When Karen is not busy helping others plan for retirement, she enjoys hiking with her two dogs and husband on California's central coast.

Vanessa Lopez-Littleton, Ph. D, RN

Dr. Vanessa Lopez-Littleton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Human Services, and Public Policy at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) where she teaches public administration, research methods, and capstone courses. Dr. Lopez-Littleton’s teaching and research interests include health inequities, the social determinants of health, and social equity. Dr. Lopez-Littleton graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Ph. D in Public Affairs with an emphasis in health services management. She is a U.S. Army veteran and registered nurse who enjoys dancing, comedy, and traveling.

Board Member Jeannine Pacioni

Jeannine Pacioni

Ms. Pacioni received her Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Arizona University. After receiving her Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of San Diego, School of Law in 1990, she became licensed to practice law in the states of California and Arizona. She worked as a Deputy District Attorney for the Kern County District Attorney’s Office in 1990 and joined the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office in 1992 as a Deputy District Attorney. She is now serving as Monterey County's District Attorney. Ms. Pacioni is involved in the Monterey County Bar Association, the California District Attorneys Association, Monterey County Peace Officers Association and currently serves as a member to the Board of Directors of the National Charity League, Monterey Bay, Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, Monterey County Children’s Council and the Child Abuse Prevention Council.

Marcia Parsons

Marcia Parsons is a retired Chief Probation Officer for Monterey County.  Prior to that, she was the Assistant Chief for 11 years. Marcia started her career in Probation in 1964 while attending San Jose State University.  Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an Emphasis in Corrections, she became a Deputy Probation Officer for the County of Santa Clara, moving shortly thereafter to Monterey County where she served as a Deputy Probation Officer until 1970.  Following a 20 year hiatus from the workplace, during which she played a lot of tennis, raised a beautiful daughter, and received her Juris Doctorate Degree from the Monterey College of Law, she returned to the field of Probation in Monterey County. Over the years, she worked her way up through the ranks to the position she holds today.

Marcia has always appreciated the very valuable work performed by the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center. She is looking to provide support in any way possible and will continue to enter the annual Together with Love Run.  As an avid runner, she runs many races every year but TWL is her absolute favorite!

Board President Maija West, Esq.

Maija West, Esq.

Immediate Past President

Maija West is a licensed attorney and the owner of the Law Office of Maija West and Moxie Lab Leadership. Professionally, she has a strong background in non-profit operations and board governance. Outside of her work, she is very involved in community issues, especially related to the issue of human trafficking. She is married and the mother of an entertaining middle school girl.