Nicole Hmielewski
Executive Director

Monette Leyva
Program Manager

Board of Directors

Nicole AndersonNicole Anderson – President

Nicole moved to San Diego in 2006 from Massachusetts. She earned her Masters degree in Social Work from San Diego State University and has since become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  She is a Program Director with a local non-profit agency, which serves homeless adults with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse issues.  Nicole’s expertise involves the training and development of staff and programs, as well as team management.  Her skills also include public speaking, community outreach and grant writing.  Nicole has worked with varied populations over the past decade, including child welfare services.  This has given her the clinical experience and knowledge of the needs of population the mentor program serves.  She served on the Board of Directors for the Big Sister League of San Diego, Inc. since 2009, supporting the development and execution of its mentor program. She twice served as a big sister.


sarah clarkeSarah Clarke – Vice President

Sarah has been a mentor in the Big Sister League since 2008, and leads the activities committee. Sarah volunteers as an advisor for the Scientific Advisory Council for the American Red Cross (CPR sub-council). She works as a nurse practitioner in interventional cardiology at Scripps Clinic and Green Hospital in La Jolla, CA. In her position, she focuses primarily on the care of patients with coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease. Sarah earned her BSN in 1990, and earned her MSN in Critical Care/Trauma Nursing in 1997 from the University of Cincinnati. Sarah participates in clinical research in her role and she is the sub-investigator and clinical coordinator for several clinical trials responsible for screening patients and coordinating research protocols.  In addition to her research endeavors, she acts on the Advisory Panels for the Health Care Industry.  She trains and mentors new and student nurse practitioners and collaborates with  Schools of Nursing throughout San Diego.


Christine Chacon – Treasurer

Christine Chacon joined the Board of Directors of Girls Rising in June, 2016.  Christine is passionate about serving the community, and concurrently serves as the Co-Chair of the Lawyers Club of San Diego Community Outreach Committee.  She believes in the importance of mentorship, acting as a mentor in the USD Alumni/Student Mentor Program.

Christine is an attorney practicing in the areas of probate and trust administration, estate planning, and business consulting at Walsh Law Firm, APC.  She is proud to work in a field of law that provides help and counsel to families that may otherwise be going through a difficult time after incapacity or loss of loved ones. She received her J.D. from the University of San Diego, School of Law in 2010 and was admitted to the State Bar of California that same year.  Prior to moving to San Diego in 2007, Christine worked in New York City for Kronos, Inc. after graduating college from the University of California, Irvine.  Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Christine now lives in Solana Beach with her husband.


lynnea-boardLynnea Fountain – Secretary

Lynnea Fountain joined the Board of Directors in May 2013 and serves as Secretary. She currently works as a supervisor for the victim advocacy program at the Fleet and Family Support Center, Naval Base Coronado.

Lynnea is admitted by the State Bar of California and received her J.D. from California Western School of Law in San Diego. While in law school, Lynnea interned with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program Domestic Violence Clinic, San Diego Juvenile Court, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

Lynnea grew up in a suburb of San Francisco, CA and attended college at University of Richmond in Richmond, VA. She remains an active member of the university’s Alumni Recruitment Committee – attending local college fairs and conducting alumni interviews in the San Diego area.


Meghan Hogrefe

Meghan joined the Board in February 2017.  Meghan had previously volunteered for several years with the San Diego Rescue Mission working to help the women return into the workforce. She has always remained a champion of volunteerism with an emphasis on helping girls and women achieve their goals.  In addition to volunteering, over the last 10 years Meghan has worked primarily in area of Human Resource outsourcing and staffing. She has specialty in helping companies operate stronger by working to find options to streamline resources as it relates to being an employer.

Originally from the North East, at the end of 2008 she was transferred to San Diego in her Branch Manager role within a large staffing firm. Most recently, at the end of 2016, Meghan and her husband started H2 Productions, LLC which focuses on multiple investment projects including Real Estate investments in Sandusky, Ohio as well as launching a clothing line.  Meghan grew up in a small town in Rhode Island and graduated from Harvard University. In her spare time she enjoys running, surfing and most importantly, spending time with her husband.


Melissa Glaze

Melissa moved to San Diego in 2012 from Virginia where she earned degrees in communications & graphic design.  In her time in San Diego, she has been involved in various non-profit organizations supporting them in marketing strategy and visual design.  She currently is the Creative Marketing Director and Community Manager for Hera Hub, a coworking space and community for female entrepreneurs.  She is passionate about design, social media storytelling and marketing strategy.  Her skills include brand design, digital marketing and content creation.  She began serving on the Board of Directors for Girls Rising in January 2017 and is the PR/Marketing Committee Chair. You’ll find Melissa facilitating various creative and entrepreneurial workshops throughout the San Diego area, working on her own business and sharing her story through photos and videos on Instagram and YouTube.  She loves supporting women in business and teaching young girls about entrepreneurship.