Retired Psychiatrist, School Mental Health, Los Angeles Unified School District
Retired Partner, Deloitte & Touche
Thomas F. Trott, M.D., Ph.D.
A Medical Corporation, rtd.
Charlene Dimas-Peinado, L.C.S.W., E.M.L.
President and CEO
Wellnest Emotional Health & Wellness
Charlene Dimas-Peinado joined Wellnest in 2016 as its new President and CEO, to lead the nationally recognized trauma informed behavioral health organization in Los Angeles into its next phase. Throughout her career, Charlene has been inspired by the communities and people she serves. “Every child and family have a story and their stories have meaning and, like a ripple of water, they affect our community,” she has said. “Our objective is to make a positive impact on those we serve — one that improves a life, improves our community.”
Charlene combines the big-picture perspective of a visionary, hands-on executive, and the insights of an experienced licensed psychotherapist in her quest to help children, young adults and families lead emotionally healthy lives. She calls upon 30 years of experience in behavioral health and non-profit organizations. She is the first Latina President & CEO of Wellnest since its founding in 1924 and provides overall leadership and strategic direction as it approaches one hundred years of community service.
She has broadened the organization’s financial health – current annual budget of $32M – with her expertise in public and private contracts to expand best-in-class, compassionate, trauma informed care to children, youth, and families. Under her leadership, the organization created a new brand identity – Wellnest; completed construction for the State-of-the-Art Avis & Mark Ridley-Thomas Life Learning Center; expanded core services to include transitional and permanent supportive housing for transition age youth; completed Wellnest’s first Permanent Supportive Housing Development project – The Nest on Florence (July, 2022); and, is completing its second housing development, The Nest on Jefferson (Fall 2026).
As Wellnest’s fiduciary leader, and translator of its mission and vision, she ensures the organization is financially, politically, and operationally strong, as it provides best-in-class behavioral health and housing services while addressing the changing needs of its communities. She has experience in obtaining and providing direct oversight to multi-million-dollar contracts (county, state & federal) targeting mental health and housing services with expertise in non-profit governance, audit and compliance, and regulatory matters. Additionally, she has spearheaded multiple fundraising and capital campaigns, which have raised millions of dollars, forged new partnerships, and leveraged the impact of donations from donors to provide critically needed services in underserved communities.
Charlene holds a Master of Leadership from University of Southern California, and a Master of Social Work from California State University, Long Beach. In 2015, she was appointed to the Board of Governors for the Natural History Museum by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. She was recently appointed to the California Interagency Council on Homelessness’ (Cal ICH) Advisory Committee by the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez and California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. Additionally, she serves on multiple boards including the Quality Comp Inc.; Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Rotary LA5 and City Club LA.
Lisa Hirsch Marin, L.C.S.W., M.S.O.D.
Chief Operating Officer
Lisa Hirsch Marin is a bilingual/bicultural Mental Health-Child Welfare-Community Strengthening leader with more than 25 years of experience developing therapeutic systems and programs serving the most vulnerable children, youth and families in Los Angeles County. She specializes in prevention and intervention strategies that transform children and family experiences from trauma living with community violence and poverty, abuse and neglect, systemic inequity, historical racism, homelessness, and mental health issues, to healthy, thriving lives. As Chief Operating Officer at Wellnest, Emotional Health & Wellness, she leads crisis, intensive programming, evidence-based, clinical prevention and intervention programs that ensure positive, measurable outcomes for children and youth 0-25. In addition, she leads the Psychiatry department, Professional Development and Training, Total Quality Management, Transition Age Youth Housing programs, and Technology Innovation. Lisa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has double Master’s Degrees, a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and Social Welfare, and a Master of Science in Organization Development and Leadership (MSOD) from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University. She lived in Central America and Mexico alongside psychologists and social workers working with children, youth and families healing from war trauma, gang warfare and the effects of immigration. Lisa has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women as Woman of the Year award recipient.
Margaret Lopez, CPA, MAcc
Chief Financial Officer
In her position as chief financial officer at Wellnest,, Margaret Lopez, a certified public accountant, oversees all agency business matters including banking, finance, registrations and filings, tax returns and investments. She supervises two staffs at Wellnest: financial operation and government contract billing. In addition, among her many duties, she is playing a significant role in the agency’s $5.3 million capital improvement project of the Life Learning Center.
Margaret brings more than two decades of professional experience in the nonprofit sector. Before coming to Wellnest, Margaret served for eleven years as controller, director of financial services and senior director of financial services for Hillsides, a residential children’s mental health agency located in Pasadena. Margaret received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Accounting from University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Paco Retana, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Vice President of Programs
Paco Retana’s passion is serving underserved and marginalized communities. As Vice President of Programs at Wellnest, he is responsible for all clinical services, including program evaluation and training. He also oversees Wellnest’s Division Directors in areas of outpatient, early intervention, intensive services, and life learning/transition-age youth services. Previous roles Paco has held include: Clinical Supervisor at Green Dot Public Schools, Regional Director of Community Mental Health Services at Children’s Institute, Inc., Director of Outpatient Services at Wellnest, Co-founder of the Youth Development Project of St. John’s Health Center, and Clinical Coordinator of the Child and Family Development Center at DiDi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center.
Paco is the co-chair of the Latino Underserved Cultural Communities for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH) and was a voting member of the System Leadership Team and former co-chair of the Service Area Advisory Committee for South Los Angeles. Paco is a Board of Director for the UCLA Alumni Association and serves as the co-chair for its Diversity Advisory Committee. As an expert in Boys and Men of Color work, he is invited to conferences and forums as a panelist, speaker, and mental health expert.
Paco is the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice, and an Honoree of NAMI Urban Los Angeles. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Masters in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Laura Alvarez, PHR, SHRM-CP
Vice President of Human Resources
Laura Alvarez is the Vice President of Human Resources at Wellnest. Ms. Alvarez is responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction to support the Clinic’s objective to recruit, develop and retain the best talent to advance their mission. She oversees the areas of benefits administration, compensation, compliance, employee relations, performance management, recruitment, training, and development.
Prior to joining Wellnest, Ms. Alvarez served as the Vice President of Human Resources for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, the largest charter school network in Los Angeles. During her tenure at Alliance, she led the development and implementation of the organization’s HR policies, procedures, and programs to support the organization’s rapid growth in their first decade. Prior to that, Ms. Alvarez served as a Certificated Personnel Specialist & Credential Analyst for Soledad Enrichment Action, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-risk youth with tailored educational services and a variety of wrap-around and support services. There, she supported the restructure of the organization’s HR department, which helped her gain the foundational knowledge and skills to excel as an HR professional. Ms. Alvarez has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Southern California. In 2014, she obtained a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Cal State University, Long Beach and obtained her PHR and SHRM-CP certifications.
Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs
As Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs for Wellnest, Andrea Salazar is responsible for overseeing all development activities for the organization in addition to raising awareness for Wellnest’s innovative initiatives and programs throughout Los Angeles County. A highly creative, results-driven, professional, Andrea has over 18 years’ experience in development and is skilled in cultivating strategic partnerships to secure funding for some of Los Angeles’ leading non-profit organizations. Before coming to Wellnest, Andrea held key leadership positions in fundraising and development for Olive Crest, the Whole Child, Boy Scouts of America, and Good Shepard Center for Homeless Women and Children. Andrea’s drive and passion for service comes from a desire to use her skills, personal experience, and influence to make a difference in the lives of underserved communities – in particular at-risk youth and children who have been in foster care.
Andrea received her Bachelor of Science in Business with an Emphasis on Organizational Management, from the University of La Verne. She also received a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Center of Nonprofit. She also serves on the Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Los Angeles and serves on the Figueroa Corridor Board.