The Wellness City Challenge is all about people. Our non-profit organization is run by an experienced and dedicated Board of Directors including medical professionals, chefs, entrepreneurs, financial advisers and one very enthusiastic and knowledgeable spokeswoman. If you have any questions regarding a member of our Board of Directors, click on their listing for more information about how they add to the Wellness City Challenge.
Lance Gershen MD, FAAP (Chair)
Lance Gershen M.D.,F.A.A.P has been a pediatrician in Contra Costa County since 1974. He has offices in Concord, Antioch and Brentwood. Dr. Gershen graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He did his pediatric internship and residency at Los Angeles Childrens Hospital. Dr. Gershen is the former President of the East Bay Pediatric Society. He also served as Chairman of Medical Education and Chairman of Pediatrics at John Muir Health Concord campus and was the Chairman of Pediatrics at Sutter Delta Medical Center. Dr. Gershen is married to Cindy Gershen and together have 8 children and presently 9 grandchildren and 2 on the way.
Cindy Gershen (Founder & Vice Chair)
Cindy Gershen is a well-known and respected advocate for healthy living. Cindy opened the Sunrise Cafe & Bakery in 1981, serving comfort food ‘like Mom used to make.” The cafe quickly outgrew its location and Cindy opened the Sunrise Bistro as a full service sit-down restaurant to compliment the successful cafe. Sunrise is about giving the customer what they want, from healthy and wholesome menu options to smart recipes without added sugar and salt. After having a stroke in 2001, Cindy lost and has kept off over 90 pounds. She is passionate about sharing the lessons of healthy diet and exercise she has learned and condenses that information into simple, practical solutions that people can use everyday. She often speaks and demonstrates cooking with local businesses and organizations to share her tips for healthy eating and its effects on productivity in the workplace and school environment. Cindy spearheaded the Walnut Creek Wellness City Challenge in 2005. Cindy Gershen is married to Dr Lance Gershen and together have 8 children and presently 9 grandchildren and 2 on the way.
Jeff Porter (Treasurer)
Partner at Porter & Yee CPAs
Jeff Porter grew up in Oakland and attended University of California at Berkeley. He formed his own accounting firm, Porter & Yee CPAs, in 1993 with his business partner Wesley Yee. Jeff and his wife Marci have three children. Their daughter Michelle works as a Speech Pathologist, their son Spencer works for Ernst & Young and their youngest daughter Rachel attends High School.
Pam Deane (Secretary)
Teacher, Mt Diablo High School, Concord
Pam Deane is an English teacher at Mt. Diablo High School, working alongside Cindy Gershen in the healthy eating culinary pathway. Pam grew up in the Bay Area, graduating from San Jose State with a BS in Accounting/Economics. She has had an interest in nutrition and education for many years. After a career in corporate America, volunteering in her community and owning her own small business, she returned to school to get her Masters degree and works with an extraordinary group of educators committed to educating students in improving their health through nutrition education and culinary skills.
Pamela Singh (Executive Director)
CEO/President of Planting for the Future Foundation
After a 25 year career in the banking industry in multiple positions, Pamela is on a journey to work with the non-profit sector to build synergy in order to support the consumer. By joining resources whether its information sharing, individuals and/or monetary, her goal is to build synergy via “best practices” that can be leveraged as needed. With prior experience of taking visions to a state of action/implementation through passion for what she believes in, it is her intent to create a support system which begins at the local level.
Law Offices of Ari J. Lauer
Ari J. Lauer is an attorney practicing in Walnut Creek. His practice focuses on business, employment and real estate law. He is also a licensed real estate broker. His interests include music, sports, and he is a long-suffering Cal fan.
Chef Alison Negrin and Associates
Professional Chef, Sustainable Food Consultant, Farm to Institution Advocacy
Chef Negrin is the sole proprietor of Chef Alison Negrin an and Associates; a consulting company specializing in transforming institutions into heal thy food zones by connecting them with local sustainable food sources and educating about the power of nutrition and healthy eating in menu development and training.
Executive chef at such noted Bay Area restaurants as Chez Panisse, Bridges and Ginger Island, Alison Negrin has seen some of the summits of the commercial foodservice world. As executive chef for John Muir Health System (JMH’s), Negrin was responsible for writing both patient and cafeteria menus for the three hospital campuses, as well as developing the dishes and menus for the various upscale catered events hosted by the hospital system.
Alison had the honor of accepting 2 awards at the 2012 HCWH Food Med conference for JMH’s accomplishments with reducing greenhouse gases through sustainable purchasing and overall increased sustainable purchasing. Alison was the recipient of the Women Who Inspire 2013 Community Service Award from the national organization of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs recognized for her work in bringing healthy and sustainably sourced food to healthcare.
Retired Foreign Service Officer U.S. Department of State
Ann Flynn now volunteers her time to make a difference in central Contra Costa County, where she raised a family that benefited from a community focused on the well being of its people. Ann retired from the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer, with foreign posts in Mexico and Nigeria. Returning to Walnut Creek gives her an opportunity to bring her prior business and consensus building experience to serve others, especially youth. In the past, she served on the Walnut Creek School Board, held professional marketing management positions, is an active member of the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley, and is a former Girl Scout leader. Ann is married, has two grown daughters and the perfect new grandchild.
Robert Lustig, MD, (Honorary Board Member)
Pediatric Endocrinologist and Professor at UCSF
Robert H. Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. He practices in the field of neuroendocrinology, with an emphasis on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. He also has a special interest in childhood obesity.
Lustig came to public attention through his efforts to establish that fructose can have serious deleterious effects on human (especially children’s) health if consumed in too large amounts. On May 26, 2009, he delivered a lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” which was posted on YouTube the following July and “went viral” with some 3.47 million viewings (as of Apr 28, 2013). In his lecture, Lustig calls fructose a “poison” and equates its metabolic effects with those of ethanol.