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President: Rohit Sharma
Rohit joined the BenitoLink team in 2015, serving as Board President since 2016, the year BenitoLink was incorporated as a 501c(3). It was an opportunity of a lifetime, building upon what the founders envisioned–a hyperlocal news and information website serving San Benito County. What drives Rohit to serve is the dedication and passion of our team to deliver the kind of stories that matter to our county. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCSB and a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Global Management. As a real estate broker, he manages investments in a four county region. As a second-generation immigrant and having lived all over the globe, he has called San Benito County home since 1996.
Raul is a strategist, storyteller, and designer who thrives in community, culture, and nostalgia. He obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of California- Riverside in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. During his undergrad, he studied Global Emerging Markets at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Previously, he’s worked at the Community Foundation for San Benito County as a Digital Media Specialist. Currently, Raul is the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.
Treasurer: Ellen Fisher
Ellen Fisher is the current treasurer on the BenitoLink board. She has operated her bookkeeping service since 1985. Additionally, she has been involved in Christ Fellowship Church, Boy Scouts, Hollister Women’s Club and several political campaigns. Ellen was raised in King City, CA and has lived in Hollister, CA since 1982 with her husband John and three children. Raised in a journalistic family, Ellen appreciates the emphasis that BenitoLink has on local community news.
Secretary: Lois Locci
A Hollisterian since 1999 (and a Silicon Valley escapee), Dr. Locci taught English and Intercultural Communication at De Anza College in Cupertino for years before adding a second career as chair of the education department of UC Extension, providing professional training in four counties and three countries. Also at UC, Dr. Locci led the development of Advanced Placement® and honors courses for the University of California College Prep Online until retiring in 2012. She served a four-year term as Trustee for Gavilan Joint Community College District, residing in “Southside Valley” with her extended family.
Member: Dave Wright
Dave Wright has lived in San Benito County for 75 years and attended local schools, Sacred Heart Grammar School, San Benito High School, San Benito Junior College, and Gavilan College. Years later he came back to Gavilan College as a Welding instructor. He married a local girl named Patty Bravo, and they had three children, Michelle, Gina And Tom. After his first wive’s passing, Dave remarried Gerry Thompson who introduced him to the world of traveling. In addition to participating on several non-profit boards around the county Dave continues to operate his business Wright Bros Welding & Sheet Metal, Inc.
Member: Chang So
After attending UC Berkeley, Chang was curious about the internet and decided to join the technology industry. The startup that he was a part of was quickly acquired by Yahoo! and he spent 6+ years at Yahoo! in the design and usability group. Looking to slow down and raise his family he turned back to San Benito County and joined his father to operate the family business, Hollister Super. Chang So joined the board of Benito Link in late 2020. He found that the grassroots campaign to get local news out to the community to be fascinating and was honored to be asked to initially serve on one of the committees. Chang has served as a board member of various groups and organizations one of which is the Community Foundation of San Benito County. Chang believes, “Giving back is how we build a strong community.”
Member: Phil Esparza
Phil Esparza has over 50 years of experience in the performing arts as an actor, technical director, media production specialist and producer. He is a founding member of El Teatro Campesino and has worked closely with director/ playwright/ filmmaker, Luis Valdez. Phil retired after 25 years as the Operations Manager of California State University Monterey Bay World Theater. He serves on the Board of Directors of El Teatro Campesino and has served as a board member of the Western Alliance of Arts Administrators, the California Association of Local Arts Agencies, the California Theater Council and the Pacific Peoples Theater Festival. Phil has served on various grant making panels for local, state, national and international theater and film grant making agencies and foundations. He also serves as Board President of the Digital Media Foundation (Salinas, CA), Board Member of BenitoLink (San Benito County), California Presenters and Chairperson of the Access Committee of the San Juan Bautista Rotary.
The BenitoLink board meets monthly and strives to have a representative mix of members reflecting the variety and character of San Benito County. Please feel free to contact a BenitoLink team member or board member and learn more about contributing as a committee or board member.