President and CEO
Joel Sjostrom ext. 202
President and CEO since 2019
Joel comes to the Food Bank with decades of leadership experience in which he has demonstrated a record of success delivering consistent revenue growth, building team collaboration, and developing strong teams. With a deep personal commitment to strengthening communities, Joel has long been an avid volunteer, held leadership positions, and helped fundraise for a variety of nonprofit organizations including the Greater Richmond Interfaith Project (GRIP), Hope Lutheran Preschool, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, Trinity Church Brown Bag Program in NYC, Haitian Foster Home Project, Second Harvest Silicon Valley, and the American Heart Association.
Joel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management and Marketing from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. A Minnesota native, Joel is a long-term resident of Contra Costa County and resides in El Sobrante, CA with his wife Sherry.
Joel takes over from long-time Executive Director Larry Sly who is retiring after dedicating his entire career to helping people in need.
VP of Development and Communications
Kim Castaneda, CFRE ext. 265
VP of Development & Communications since 2017
With more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Kim brings expertise and energy to her role as VP of Development & Communications. Kim’s team creates strategies and builds relationships that advance all aspects of the Food Bank’s fundraising efforts, including private donations and corporate partnerships. Kim is passionate about giving back to her community, and through development, she sees opportunities to inspire and enable others to give back as well.
Kim is a graduate of San Jose State University, where she studied Hospitality Management and Business, and received the Diversity Enhancement Award. She is a member of the Rotary Club, and a graduate of Leadership San Jose, class of 2017, and holds a certificate from the University of Norte Dame-Mendoza College of Business Executive Leadership Program.
Diana Brennan ext. 206
Communications Director since 2021
Diana and her team set and deliver the strategy for all external communications and public relations content to consistently articulate and advance the Food Bank’s mission. Diana joined the Food Bank after a 20-year career in Communications and Marketing at Sonoma Raceway, and she is a long-time personal supporter of the Food Bank. One of her initiatives at the raceway was starting and hosting an annual food drive at the raceway for more than 15 years.
Diana lives in Benicia with her husband and son. She is a graduate of University of the Pacific in Stockton with a degree in Communications.
HuLynne Besharatpour ext. 212
Finance Director since 2013
HuLynne has over 8 years of nonprofit accounting and grants experience. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector she worked for over 10 years in the corporate world as a Business and HR Management professional. The industries she has worked have ranged from the High Tech industry to the Manufacturing industry. The last 7 years she worked as Accounting Manager at a nonprofit healthcare provider. The agency that she worked for had service area and revenue growth close to 100% during her time with the agency. She currently serves on two Bay Area Youth Sports organization boards and is currently working on her MBA.
Human Resources Director
Holly Neu, MS HRM ext. 203
Human Resources Director since 2014
As Human Resources Director, Holly provides strategic leadership in all areas of people and culture management. She joined the Food Bank in 2014 with a diverse background in the legal, higher education, and construction sectors.
At a young age, Holly learned that we have a responsibility to serve our community and those in need. Throughout her childhood, Holly spent countless hours in her grandparent’s garden harvesting fruits and vegetables for donation to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. It’s a tradition she continues to this day in the same garden with her own two children. And as a Food Bank staff member, Holly is able to give back on a daily basis and is always inspired by the passionate and caring individuals around her.
Holly holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from California State University, Chico and a Master’s of Science in Human Resources Management from Golden Gate University. Outside of work, you can find Holly running the local trails and cheering for her children at their various sporting events.
Photos by: Katheri Neelyse Photography
Other Staff Members
Hisham Hamdy ext. 258 (Concord) 294 (Fairfield)
Operations Director since 2013
Hisham has spent the past 15 years developing and maintaining programs to feed the hungry in California. One of those programs collected 12 million pounds of food a year from growers and packing houses throughout California. He has also established and coordinated tailgate food distributions across rural California. Hisham also keeps active in the local Bay Area community by coaching youth basketball, soccer, and softball. In the future, Hisham plans to go back to school for his MBA.
Nora Nicholson ext. 204
Program Director since 2020
Nora oversees the programs and services that ensure everyone in our community has access to the nutritious food they need to thrive. She is passionate about making a positive impact in the community.
Nora began her career working in retail, eCommerce, and consumer products including roles at Gap, Inc., Banana Republic and Macy’s. Nora transitioned into non-profit 7 years ago when she assumed the role of Program Director for Help a Mother Out, a non-profit diaper bank in the Bay Area and a Food Bank Partner.
Nora lives in Contra Costa County with her husband and two daughters and is an avid community volunteer. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration at San Francisco State.
Food Drive Administrator
Neil Zarchin ext. 208
Sharon Zeppegno ext. 209
For help with a monetary donation by mail or online
Brandon Baldwin ext.210
John Calender ext. 218
Institutional Giving Officer
Lindsay Drakeley ext. 236
Media and Education
Lisa Sherrill ext. 206
Patty McDowell ext. 243
Cassidie Bates ext. 261
Agency Relations Manager
Amy Faletti ext. 232
Babak Mehryar ext. 242
Child Programs and Extra Helpings Administrator
Anna Gorman ext. 249
Food For Children/Food Assistance Coordinator
Julie Redmond ext. 207
Senior Food Coordinator
Community Produce Program and Mobile Food Pharmacy Administrator
Matthew Durkin ext. 232