Board Chair Emeritus
Jim Lago graduated from DePaul University, Chicago with a BA, then completed his Masters of Social Work from the University of Illinois, Jane Addams School of Social Work as well as completing a Masters in Business Administration, Accounting from Loyola University.
Jim was the Executive Director for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Before that he was the Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He also served as the Executive Director for the Catholic Conference of Illinois.
His appointments include:
Child Welfare Advisory Council, Chairman – State of Illinois
Governor Edgar, election Transition Team Chariman
Multiple State, County and City of Chicago appointment to social services advisory groups.
Jimmy has been awarded several Papal Awards and honors as well as served under 3 Cardinals of Archdiocese of Chicago.
Belinda Smith has been a resident of Benicia and a member of Saint Dominic’s Parish since 1979. She is a member of St. Vincent de Paul Conference Benicia, past president of the League of Women Voters Benicia, and current president of the Benicia Historical Society.
Her work experience as a land use planner for over 20 years included managing the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program for Contra Costa County. This involved the granting of over four million dollars annually to programs serving low-income communities. She has also worked as an independent planning consultant providing services to governmental and non-profit organizations in both Contra Costa and Solano counties.
Prior to her retirement she worked for a Solano County Supervisor as a District Representative. Among other things this included responding to community issues and constituents. She feels her work experience has given her a unique perspective and experience in working with diverse groups of people that is well suited to the mission of Catholic Charities.
Catholic Charities Director
Director of Catholic Charities and Social Concerns for the Diocese of Sacramento. She served as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Yolo-Solano. She has a BS degree in Microbiology from UC Davis and a JD from John F. Kennedy University, College of Law. As an attorney, she focused on immigration defense and provided pro-bono services to victims of crime. She serves on the board for Radio Santisimo Sacramento. Miriam and her family are active members of their parish.
Dr. Matthew S. Symkowick
A Family Practice Specialist in Vallejo, California. He graduated with honors from Georgetown University School Of Medicine in 2000. Having more than 22 years of diverse experiences, especially in FAMILY PRACTICE, he affiliates with many hospitals including Kaiser Foundation Hospital And Rehab Center, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hosp & Trauma Ctr, cooperates with many other doctors and specialists in many medical groups including University Of California SFGH Medical Group, Permanente Medical Group Inc.
A retired special education teacher. Music Ministry and Lector (St Michael),Travis Airforce Base Access Adventure Board Member, 2017-18 Solano County Teacher of the Year. She has a BA in Theology from Trinity College Washington D.C. She is a Volunteer Chaplaincy Services for 10 yrs. in the North Bay and Vaca Valley Hospitals and 3 yrs. at David Grant Hospital.
Pastoral Ministry Certificate from Trinity College.
She also has 3 Kids and 6 Grandkids.
CCYS Executive Director
Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Yolo Solano, Inc. Prior to this role, John was the Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Sacramento. Mr. Watkins began his work at Catholic Charities at St. Joseph Family Shelter in San Francisco in 1997 and has held various posts inside of Catholic Charities & the Church since that time.
He received a BA in Political Science from UC Irvine in 1992 and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration degree from the University of San Francisco in 2002.
John is happily married with three children.
Throughout his more than 20-year career with a professional purpose of harnessing the power of humanistic potential and scientific possibilities to make positive and permanent differences in global public health, Minhthy has held leadership positions at major multinational and start-up companies with responsibilities for technical organizations and research centers in the United States and across the globe. He is a seasoned, multi-disciplined executive, versed in driving end-to-end introduction of product innovations into the global nutrition and health sector, with leadership experience ranging from front-end discovery research, product/package/process design and development, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, to business and strategy development, quality assurance, manufacturing and supply chain. Minhthy’s leadership responsibilities have also included the global Tech Centers in St. Louis, Missouri and Evansville, Indiana, and regional/local sites in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand.
Minhthy earned his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis and a doctorate from The Ohio State University in Food Science and Nutrition as a USDA Fellow and a Kenan Institute of Science, Engineering & Technology Fellow. He had also attended the Advance Management Program (AMP 195) at Harvard Business School in the Fall of 2016 while on sabbatical in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Minhthy has served on the Foundation Board of Saint Mary Hospital in Evansville, Indiana and Board of Advisors at The Ohio State University, Department of Food Science and the University of Evansville, School of Nursing. He currently chairs the Science and Technology Committee of the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute Board of Directors. He has also been executive sponsor of corporate scientific advisory boards at Dupont Nutrition and Health, Mead Johnson Nutrition/Reckitt and Evolve Biosystems.
Minhthy’s career journey comprises tenures with Nestlé in California, Ohio and Connecticut, Abbott Nutrition in Ohio, DuPont Nutrition and Health in Missouri, Mead Johnson Nutrition/Reckitt Nutrition in Indiana. In 2020, Minhthy joined Evolve Biosystems as Senior Vice President of R&D and Technical Operations in Davis, California and became Chief Operating Officer in 2021. Minhthy recently joined CJ CheilJedang as SVP, Global Science and Technology.
Minhthy and his wife of 24 years – Serena – currently reside in Woodland, California, a short distance from the Nestlé/Contadina tomato processing plant where his career in the food industry had started as a summer intern in 1991.
Deacon Casey Walker
Deacon Casey Walker serves at St. Basil’s the Great, Catholic Church in Vallejo California and is the Chairperson of the Diocese of Sacramento Intercultural Committee on Access, Integration and Mission (ICAIM). Casey was born and raised in New Jersey in a devout Baptist household where his father served as an elder in their church. Deacon Casey attended Howard University in Washington DC where he studied Electronical Engineering and after college joined the US Navy where he served as a nuclear reactor operator aboard fast attack submarines; he also was an instructor of nuclear reactor construction and physics.
Deacon Casey joined the Catholic Church in 2003 and was ordained in 2018. He and his wife Andrea have been married for 32 years and have 3 children. Along with serving on the Dioceses ICAIM, Deacon Casey also serves as an advisor for the diocese Black Catholic Ministry as well as an advisor for the growing Sr. Thea Bowman fellowship group. Deacon Casey has been numerous radio shows, locally and nationally, to discuss race, human dignity and the Church in today’s world. His work in these areas made him a finalist for the national Lumen Christi award.