Team & Board
Tracey Williams, Founder & Executive Director
Tracey Williams, is the Founder and Executive Director of urban university (uu), and is responsible for all phases of the organization to include program and business development, partnership building, and team leadership. Williams has over 30 years of experience in the profit and non-profit sectors and is passionate about the empowerment of women and single mothers. Williams is focused on scaling urban university’s ecosystem in partnership with team members, volunteers, board of directors and supporters. A native of Harlem, Williams completed the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2018 and completed coursework in Human Development & Women’s Studies at California State University East Bay. Williams is most proud however of the life education she gained growing up with an incarcerated mother, as a single mother of two children and founding a grassroots organization that stands as a beacon of light for the community.
Elsa Cardona, Social Enterprise Manager
Elsa Cardona, is the Social Enterprise Manager of urban furniture & boutique and is responsible for all phases of managing the enterprise to include enterprise development, operations, leadership, supervision and training of single mothers participating in our Single Moms at Work Program. Elsa brings an amazing body of knowledge to the table including corporate retail, administrative and management skills. Elsa holds a B.A. in Film Studies & Spanish from U.C. Berkeley and is a single mom of a 5 year old.
Board of Directors
Sean Lindy (President)
Sean Lindy grew up in an economically challenged section of Peoria, IL. As the only child of a single working mom, he attributes his success to the determined will of his mother and the family and community support she received. Sean received an MBA from the University of Illinois and worked for Whirlpool Corporation in Benton Harbor, MI. During his time in Benton Harbor, Sean was involved with several social impact programs. He was transferred to Brazil with Whirlpool, where he later helped create the award-winning ACE accelerator in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A recent transplant to the Bay Area, Sean brings these skills and experiences to uu in recognition of his mother and the belief that a well-timed helping hand can permanently change the trajectory of a family.
Candice Uyloan (Secretary)
Candice Uyloan and her family emigrated from the Philippines in search of new opportunities in Southern California. With the support of her community, Candice went on to earn her B.A. in Marketing which has led to a fun and fulfilling career in entertainment marketing.
Currently, Candice leads the product marketing and social media teams at VIZ Media, the largest distributor of Japanese comics and animation in English-speaking territories around the globe. She has called Oakland home since 2015 and seeks to use her free time and skills to connect with and support the local community through the work of urban university.
Kara Oberg was first introduced to urban university when she moved to Oakland in 2014 and popped into the store to shop for furniture. Moved by the mission, Kara became a volunteer at the store in various capacities. As a member of the board, Kara brings her marketing, fundraising and advocacy background gained while working for the small-Boston-based nonprofit, LivableStreets Alliance. She also brings policy, program management and coalition building expertise from her current role as a Transportation Planner at Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s transportation and housing planning organization. She holds a masters degree in city planning from Boston University and a B.A in Environmental Studies from Ithaca College. As a new mom, the urban university mission hits closer to her heart these days.
Teresa Goodwin lives in Oakland with her husband and daughter. She is a Regional Director for HPA Architecture and manages the Oakland office for the firm that specializes in the design of industrial buildings. Teresa attended the University of Nevada Reno and holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering. She is a licensed professional engineer and architect in California.
She brings to uu previous board experience including serving as Past President for the East Bay chapter of CREW, Commercial Real Estate Women and as a current board member of NAIOP, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.
Teresa will leverage her detail orientation and leadership experience on the uu board while staying focused on her personal mission to create opportunities to learn and grow.
Melissa Bookin, a California native, grew up in a small village in the San Joaquin Valley. One of three daughters of two loving parents, Melissa and her family experienced severe economic challenges in her youth. Her father, a Sergeant in the U.S. army and beneficiary of the Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program, worked and attended college simultaneously. Her mother worked as a childcare provider to an additional five children to assist the family financially. Living in such a small, close knit community, Melissa witnessed firsthand the power of community cooperation in overcoming even the greatest of obstacles. After achieving her degree in Business Administration, Corporate Management, she spent several years working in the semiconductor industry before she decided to change career paths entirely and focus her efforts on building a new career in the nonprofit sector. A resident and fierce advocate of Oakland, determined to make a difference in her own community, Melissa came to urban university as a volunteer in October of 2019, after being inspired by a social media post made by UU founder, Tracey Williams. As a board member, Melissa is excited to bring her fundraising, event planning, donor relations and community outreach skills to assist single mothers working to improve their socio-economic status here in Oakland.
Board Advisory Team
Kimberley Yant, Retail Advisor
Kimberley is urban university’s retail guru. Armed with over 20 years’ experience in retail merchandising working in the buying offices at Macy’s West and Pottery Barn. For the past 15 years she has worked for Cost Plus World Market as the Vice-President of Home Merchandising, responsible for the leadership of merchandise development and procurement of furniture, lighting and storage. At a young age in Sacramento, Kimberley watched her sister and friends struggle through teenage pregnancy, poverty and domestic abuse. She saw that these young women would never find a way out of the poverty cycle based on current public assistance programs. They needed a program that could interrupt the cycle and provide them a new path. Many years later, walking down Grand Avenue Kimberley came across the newly opened Urban Furniture store. She began volunteering at Urban Furniture and helped to open Urban Boutique bringing her knowledge of business and retail operations to the organization. She is a proud advisor to the urban university Board of Directors.
Brian Rice Jr., Advisor
Rice leads the board of directors in consensus building, strategic planning, board development and fund development. Committed to urban university’s legacy to create an inclusive workforce by preparing low-income communities for gainful employment through employability training and wrap-around services, Rice opens his network and resources to strengthen the full potential of urban university’s mission and vision.
Rice is a Human Resource Manager with Google Inc., with a strong background in Technology, Aerospace & Defense. He is experienced with multiple people and performance management strategies, compensation administration, and employee relations. Brian brings a wealth of value to urban university as the organization positions itself for growth and increased impact. Brian earned his M.A. Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and his Bachelors of Art Degree in Psychology & Sociology from Fisk University.
Mark Elo, Advisor
Mark Elo is an executive in the technology sector and currently holds the position Vice President of Marketing – he is also the product of a single parent family and was the sole parent throughout his children’s teenage years. Originally a British citizen, he grew up and was educated in England and holds an Honors Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Salford, Manchester, England and an MBA from Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He began his profession career in Hewlett-Packard’s and has since held various senior management positions at large public companies such as HP, Agilent Technologies, Keithley instruments and Giga-tronics Inc as well as being involved in a number of eCommerce tech start-ups in the Bay Area. Mark has more than 25 years specializing in product realization, operations and life-cycle management. He has also held a number of technical chair positions, participated in international standards committees and has published multiple papers. Mark’s goal is to bring together his business and single parent family experience to be able to help single mothers to succeed professionally and personally – while also creating a solid foundation for their children to grow and achieve their dreams
Ed Mosley, Advisor
Ed Mosley serves as an advisor to the urban university board and operations team. In this role, he provides advice and support towards the achievement of the organization’s strategic priorities, ensuring that each single mom reaches her full potential. Ed is an attorney who also brings thirty years of management and consulting experience to his role as Advisor.
Hou Chia K., Advisor
Hou Chia K is passionate about using technology and entrepreneurship to empower disadvantaged communities. Hou is currently a software engineer-in-training. He previously worked as an analyst at a California-based health care policy consulting firm, where he worked on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Hou has a degree in Religion and Global Health & Health Policy from Princeton University.