Esther Malkin, Founder & Executive Director
Political Advocacy and Community Engagement
In an effort to prevent adding to the existing homelessness crisis in Monterey County, Esther Malkin tirelessly works to protect renters' rights. In this vein, she founded, and currently directs, Monterey County Renters United—MCRU. Esther has consulted at the local, county, and federal levels on a variety of housing initiatives including the construction of affordable housing units.
Esther continues to influence cities on the creation of 100% affordable housing projects by analyzing their own underused properties for conversion. A key area of her focus is consulting with municipalities and counties to create renter protection guidelines. Included in this significant work has been consulting with cities on the creation and implementation of COVID Emergency Renter Assistance Programs. In 2021, United Way Montery County awarded her the 2021 Live United Awards naming her "Champion for Housing Solutions."
She holds a BA in business & marketing from Florida State University and has directed her lifelong career in corporate sales, marketing, training & public relations to shine a spotlight on social issues that are important to her. Esther is open minded, is constantly learning from those around her, and approaches challenges with creativity and passion. She sits on the Board of the Housing Center of Monterey County and was elected to the California Democratic Renters Council.
Lisa Berkley, PhD, Policy & Research Director
Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity; Ethics and Technology
Dr. Lisa Berkley is the director and founder of the Institute of Inner Economy and Compassionate Governance. Having lived and worked on three continents, she consults in the governmental, nonprofit, and private sectors and is internationally recognized as a visionary leader and innovative problem solver.
Dr. Berkley's life's work revolves around the relationship between the individual and society and how we do Tikkun Olam—the repairing of the world. As a result, her work and research have been focused on the intersection of social, economic, and environmental justice, leadership, governance and compassionate city building, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Her unique background as a peace facilitator and activist stems from more than 25 years of experience in wholistic health and education, Stress Management, Mediation, and Interpersonal Conflict Resolution. Dedicated to furthering peace and security in the world, she integrates psychological understanding, emotional, spiritual, somatic, cultural, and creative intelligences into the public, private and not-for-profit sectors of society.
Dr. Berkley serves as a Councilmember for the City of Marina and teaches at UC Santa Cruz, Crown College. She serves on a number of boards and organizations including Women In International Security’s U.S. West Coast Chapter (WIISWest), Charter for Compassion’s Peace Sector, Compassionate California, and The Housing Resource Center of Montery County. Dr. Berkley is a strong advocate for housing—it is her conviction that housing and safe shelter are a human right.