Jannet Matthew is a Long Beach resident with a passion for human rights and cultural heritage. Jannet is a native Spanish speaker and First-Generation American. Jannet recently graduated in 2017 from Southwestern Law School with her Juris Doctorate. She is currently preparing to take the Bar exam and plans to pursue a career in corporate or immigration law.
Jannet started her journey with We Are the Next in 2014 as a student intern, worked as part-time staff, and then became President of the Board. She is well-versed in our operations and programs, and works with our Youth Advisory Council. Her leadership on our board has been critical in shaping our programs for first-generation youth in the Long Beach region.
Fernando Navarrete, Treasurer
Fernando Navarrete is a Wilmington resident and community organizer, bringing his in-depth experience in the South Bay region to We Are the Next as Treasurer. Fernando was brought to the United States as a child, and recently received protections through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Fernando managed accounts receivable for companies doing business in the Port of Los Angeles for four years, until dedicating himself to civil service. Until recently, Fernando served as Community Organizer for the South Bay Center for Counseling’s I Heart Wilmington program. Today, he serves the community as Wilmington Field Deputy for the City of Los Angeles 15th Council District Office under the leadership of City Councilmember Joe Buscaino.
Rita Cofield, Secretary
Rita Cofield is a resident of Watts with valuable experience in community-based projects. Her career began in stage building for theater groups and architectural construction, but shifted as she discovered her love of historic places. Rita is now in the process of earning a Master’s in Historic Preservation from the University of Southern California, and hopes to use her construction background to help young adults learn the history of their communities through hands-on restoration project at local historic sites.
Alexandra Escobar, Board Member
Alexandra Escobar currently works in the Office of Congressional Relations at Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, DC and serves on the Board of Directors of Hostelling International USA in addition to that of We Are the Next.
Alexandra previously held positions in the Office of the President at Long Beach City College and the Third District Council Office in the City of Long Beach. She served in the Peace Corps teaching University English in Guizhou, China from 2012 to 2013. Alex is the co-founder two social start-up organizations: Roar Into College, a website that motivated Latino students to apply to college, and Project Long Beach, an interactive web application that connected community members and encouraged civic engagement.
In 2013, California State Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal named Alexandra to her 30 Women Under 30 list. In 2014, she received Peace Corps’ Franklin H. Williams award for exemplary commitment to service.
Alexandra attended Long Beach City College followed by Loyola Marymount University, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. She is a graduate of the School of Government’s inaugural Latino Leadership Initiative and is an alumni of Leadership Long Beach.