Board of Directors

Please scroll down to see bios of board members.

Kristin Johnson

Kristin A. Johnson believes in the power of relationships, hard work and excellence to achieve goals and make an impact in her community. In her current role as an Assistant Project Manager at A Community of Friends (ACOF), she is responsible for supporting the work of the Housing Development Team and currently assists with five Affordable Housing Development projects including completing the close of construction loans, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and other funding applications over the last two years.

Prior to ACOF, she served as Founder and Event Director for Festive Flair Events, an event management firm that specialized in high-impact, cross-sectoral outreach and fundraising events. In this capacity, she enjoyed bringing visibility and resources to causes that matter, including notable events such as the inaugural City National Bank Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame and the Families in Schools Alliance Conference and Awards Luncheon. Before Festive Flair, Kristin’s passion for service and community empowerment led her to serve as a facilitator and mentor for the foster youth services nonprofit, Sanctuary of Hope, as a program coordinator the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.

She joined ACOF immediately after her internship through the LA LISC AmeriCorps Program where she was able to combine her dedication to community development with her skills and experience managing complex logistics as a project manager. Recognizing the importance of affordable housing in the empowerment of underserved communities, she has sought to address the L.A. housing crisis and has received a specialized training certification from the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate’s Howard and Irene Levine Affordable Housing Development Program.

In her spare time, she enjoys cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles with her husband, scrap-booking and collecting anything in her favorite hue, electric blue.

Robin Thorne, Founder

Robin S. Thorne,  ENV SP, has made outstanding achievements in her profession since receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University in 1997. She began her career as an Associate Foam Manufacturing Engineer for Foamex International in Pennsylvania, responsible for testing new formulations as well as trouble shooting to correct deficiencies in existing formulations. She transferred to California to oversee the full scale production of polyurethane foam and provide supervision to approximately 30 employees. Robin was given the opportunity to advance in her career and assumed the responsibilities of the Environmental, Health and Safety Manager. In this position, she was responsible for implementing and coordinating the health and safety programs for over 400 employees at four facilities.

Robin became a Risk Management Specialist for Poms & Associates Insurance Brokers, Inc. in Dec. 2005 working closely with their client, who manages property, liability, worker’s compensation health benefit programs for self insured districts. In addition to having responsibility for environmental, health and safety compliance, Robin had been responsible for developing emergency/disaster plans compliant with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of Emergency Services and the Office of Homeland Security.

 In 2009, Robin established CTI Environmental, Inc., (CTI) an environmental, construction and safety consulting firm and serves as CTI’s Chief Executive Officer. Robin and her team have been awarded contracts by Southern California Edison, California State University, Walsh-Shea Constructors, Kiewit Pacific, Legal Aid Foundation, International City Bank. In 2018, CTI began to compete in the federal market having been awarded projects with the Bureau of Prisons, and Department of Forestry. CTI was awarded a contract by the City of Los Angeles to provide debris removal services after  a catastrophic event. Robin is responsible for the daily operations, including directly consulting with clients, identifying potential opportunities and vendors to execute on projects, hiring talent, oversight on projects and ensuring CTI provides 1st in class services.

In addition to the advancements that Robin has made in her career, she has been actively involved in numerous community service projects. She served as Chair of the Sustainable City Commission of Long Beach, President of the American Society of Safety Engineers, board member of both the YMCA Community Development Branch and Soroptimist International of Long Beach. Robin enjoys reaching out to women in need and has organized and coordinated programs to help less fortunate families, shelter residents, and needy seniors. Robin’s created a presentation highlighting the accomplishments of minorities in engineering. This program is ideal for students at any level. Robin also has an interest in making a global impact and was afforded the opportunity to travel to S. Africa where she conducted a Vision Board Workshop for women in Durban and a Business Seminar for the Carletonville Miracle Center. She has conducted Vision Board Workshops in Brooklyn, NY as well as Carson and Long Beach, CA. Robin recently launched an initiative called ‘DemoChicks’ introducing young girls to nontraditional fields, including engineering and construction. The organization also empowers and uplifts those who are currently in the fields.

Robin has received numerous accolades over the years and is most proud of her induction into the Drexel University College of Engineering’s Circle of Distinction. It is the highest honor the college bestows upon alumni who have made significant contributions to the field of engineering and who have shown exemplary support for the College of Engineering and the University. Over the years, they each have forged a path of accomplishment that serves as an inspiration for all of us but particularly for our students, the individuals who will be the future problem solvers in our increasingly complex world. 

Robin is the proud mother of one son and recently established a scholarship in his name at the Community College she attended in Philadelphia, for students majoring in Engineering who have overcome various obstacles to succeed.  

Robin feels truly blessed that she has been able to accomplish so many things in her life and plans to continue looking for opportunities to grow, improve and serve others in her community.

 

Marcus Tyson

Marcus Tyson is a third Generation Long Beach resident. His professional career as a private investor include holdings in the industries of medical technology, oil & gas, hedge funds, private equity, and real estate. He is also a philanthropist and community volunteer who is committed to strengthening the community through shared knowledge, mentorship, and advocacy for equity.

Currently, Tyson serves on the boards of Demochicks, Mablean Ephriam Foundation, International City Theatre, Long Beach Mombasa Sister Cities Association, Cornell University-Weill Cornell Medical College Children’s Health Council, and the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach.

He is a proud founding donor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama which all three honor the significant sacrifices and contributions African Americans have made to American History.

Hannah Graykowski

Hannah Graykowski is a California State Long Beach graduate with a degree in Business Management and Supply Chain with a minor in Environmental Science and Policy. She is passionate about giving back to her community and empowering girls in non-traditional careers. Hannah started as a DemoChicks Intern and now is a Staff Member, the Secretary of the Board of Directors for DemoChicks, and a Program Committee Member.

Hannah works alongside Robin for DemoChicks and CTI Environmental, Inc. She assists with project management, office tasks, and marketing. Watching DemoChicks grow in numbers and visibility is something she grew very passionate about, and she is excited to see where the future leads.

Donna Skinner

Donna Skinner left her full-time career in social services after 22 years with Volunteers of America of Los Angeles to travel and to pursue her life-long interest in art. Since that time, she has worked and studied art and art history in the United States, Europe, South America and Scandinavia. She accepted her first commission in Como, Italy.

Donna supports her painting habit with gainful employment in the field of computer graphic arts including digital media arts for nonprofits and artists. She is a long-time member and past president of Soroptimist of Long Beach, volunteer service organization for professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls (where she met Chief DemoChick Robin Thorne). She lives in Huntington Beach with her husband, Frank, and their Golden Retriever, Sophie.

Donna has an MS from the University of Oklahoma and a BS from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. A believer in life-long learning, she has taken zillions of units in fine art and digital arts from the Coast Community Colleges.


Philip Nicolay
is a partner with Environmental Resources Management located in Irvine, California.  Mr. Nicolay is a Professional Geologist in California and Arizona.  He has extensive experience in managing large complex environmental and capital project programs for a variety of private sector, municipal, and federal clients.  He is experienced with technical and regulatory framework applicable to transit and electrical utility projects.  He has over 30 years of experience working in Southern California.  He lives in San Pedro and has coached youth sports and supported youth science programs.   Phil and his wife Michele have raised three children and been married for 35 years.   Phil loves to play golf, talk about geology and science, and hike to new locations in the west.