V2: Advisory Board First Meeting & Introduction

Advisory Board First Meeting & Introduction

The UC DRN Advisory Board had its first meeting earlier this year in Santa Barbara. At this meeting, members of the Board discussed the next steps for DRN. This included a climate action and resiliency workshop, fundraising proposals, and an online systemwide course entitled Confronting California’s Concurrent and Cascading Crises. 

The next meeting will be held in June 2022 in Northern California, showcasing the scope of UC DRN across all campuses.

Learn more about the role of the Advisory Board here

Meet the Members

Omar Abou-Samra, Director of Preparedness, American Red Cross Omar Abou-Samra is the Director of Preparedness for the American Red Cross and also leads the Global Disaster Preparedness Center, a partnership between the American Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Since 2012, Omar has led the development of innovative activities and programs including the Universal App Program, the WhatNow Service, and the Business Preparedness Initiative. He has also been instrumental in the development of important partnerships with Airbnb, Google, UPS and the Walt Disney Company as well as a leader in the wider Red Cross and Red Crescent network in areas of early warning and the use of new disaster preparedness technologies. Previously, Omar worked closely with American Red Cross chapters, volunteers and staff to implement key programs and initiatives related to disaster service delivery in addition to the responsibilities of leading disaster response on large relief operations including the Superstorm Sandy response. Omar holds a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.

Richard “Dick” Beahrs, Co-founder, UC Berkeley Environmental Leadership Program Richard Beahrs (U.C. Berkeley ‘68) is the co-founder of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program at Berkeley.   Since its founding in 2001, this initiative has provided three weeks of intensive training on different aspects of sustainable development to 740 participants from 114 countries. He also served on the UN Hunger Task Force as part of the Millennium Development Goals Initiative. Beahrs also was the head of New Business Development at Sports Illustrated and HBO and was the President of two cable networks. Beahrs is one of the inaugural donors to UC Disaster Resilience Network.

Abby Browning, CA Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Abby Browning is the Chief of the Office of Private Sector/ Non-Governmental Organization Coordination at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Abby is responsible for developing and maintaining CalOES’s relationships with business, associations, companies, and universities, as well as nonprofit, nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations. Prior to joining CalOES, Abby was the Special Advisor for International Trade in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. She was an essential member of the Brown Administration’s international team, working on trade missions to China and Mexico, as well as fostering countless other international business connections for California. Abby has also worked with the California Chamber of Commerce in the International Affairs and Corporate Relations departments, as well as the California Seismic Safety Commission. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from West Virginia University and she earned an M.A. from the School of Government at California State University, Sacramento.

Dr. Raquel Izumi, COO & President, Vincerx Raquel Izumi, PhD, has been the Chief Operations Officer and President of Vincerx and a member of the Vincerx board of directors since March 2019. Before that, Dr Izumi co-founded Acerta Pharma and served as its executive vice president of clinical development from February 2013 to May 2020.  Dr Izumi also co-founded Aspire Therapeutics LLC and served as its chief scientific officer from June 2011 to February 2013. Before founding Aspire Therapeutics, Dr Izumi served as senior director of clinical development at Pharmacyclics LLC, a biopharmaceutical company, where she worked on designing and implementing seven clinical studies across various hematologic malignancies (including three studies that garnered breakthrough therapy designation) for the first BTK inhibitor (IMBRUVICA®) to enter clinical trials.  She began her research career at Amgen, where she held positions of increasing responsibility and participated in a successful BLA filing and approval for ARANESP®.   Dr Izumi was a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow at the UCLA where she obtained a PhD in microbiology and immunology. She received honors and distinction for her BA in biological sciences from the UCSB. 

Michael Mantell, President, Resources Legacy Fund Michael Mantell is President of Resources Legacy Fund, which he founded to help design and implement initiatives for philanthropic foundations and individuals that result in significant conservation achievements. He also is president of the independent, affiliated Fund for a Better Future. Since the late 1990s, he has designed and participated in programs and projects that broadened the leadership and constituency for natural resources protection, with increasing focus on ensuring equity and engaging historically underserved communities, while achieving extensive conservation outcomes for land, park, water, and ocean resources and renewable energy. Mr. Mantell helped lead the 2010 campaign that prevented a rollback of California’s landmark climate change legislation. In the past decade, he has chaired campaigns resulting in voters approving over $8 billion of investments in water, land, park, and ocean conservation. Previously, as Undersecretary for Resources for the State of California, he oversaw the $2.8 billion budget of the Resources Agency. Prior to that, he was General Counsel for the World Wildlife Fund and a Deputy City Attorney in Los Angeles. Mr. Mantell is author and co-author of several books and articles, the recipient of several national conservation awards, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and on the Governing Council of The Wilderness Society.

Mark Bertelsen, Senior Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Mark Bertelsen is a senior partner in Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s corporate practice. Mark joined the firm in 1972 and has played a major role in the development and growth of the firm. He was managing partner from 1990 to 1996 and previously served on the firm’s Executive Committee and Policy Committee. Mark is a business lawyer. He regularly advises senior management and boards of directors on matters relating to corporate governance, corporate finance and securities, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic alliances. Mark has advised and represented companies that have transformed their industry in computer hardware, software, telecommunications, semiconductors, and clean energy. He has also served as director of leading public software companies Software Publishing Corporation (1988-96), a leader in PC software; Autodesk (1992-2009), the world leader in 2D and 3D design software; Taleo Corporation (2000-07), a leading talent management company acquired by Oracle for $2 billion in 2012; and Informatica Corporation (1992-present), the leading data integration company. Mark has lectured and served on numerous panels at UC Berkeley School of Law, The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, and continuing legal education programs on corporate and securities law, corporate governance, and legal ethics. Prior to joining the firm, he served two years as an officer in the U.S. Army.  He holds a BA from UC Santa Barbara and a JD from UC Berkeley.

Mark Bertelsen has recently offered to take on a leadership position on the board. He shared insights on the strategic goals of the Advisory Board. He spoke on UC DRN’s interests and goals with one of UC DRN’s Dean Fellows.

“DRN mobilizes/maximizes the scale, scope, and talents of UC’s system assets and unites them under one umbrella in order to respond to disasters, whether natural or human.”

– Bertelsen 

Q_ What are the main goals you are hoping the Advisory Board achieves? 

Public service is key to the university’s mission — teaching the public the common good through research and work involvement. DRN is a system-wide concept that makes it unique, it demonstrates the importance of universities to maximize all the assets of the campuses and have them be more in sync and collaborative. I think UC wide — needs to demonstrate these activities that are tangible, to those most impacted and least equipped to deal with and thus are the most at risk. There is power in scale and scope that DRN has which can be very effective.

“DRN addresses the planning for and response to disasters that impact society, particularly those elements at the highest risk to ensure the safety and security of all.”

– Bertelsen

Q_What is the ceiling for UC DRN across the UC?  

DRN has to realize its potential through commitment at the campuses but also financial support to help support this work. When presented with an idea, people will often quickly say yes, but making it a reality will take 1) money, and 2) the efforts of people at the various campuses to make it successful. Right now the current efforts are working on; 

  • an expertise portal to show where talent resides 
  • research incubation 
  • service-learning opportunities 
  • coordinating with existing agencies

“DRN is part of the public mission to address society’s great challenges, consistent with our founding as California’s land grant university and with state and federal support that has contributed to UC’s success.”

– Bertelsen