Leslie David, Executive Director

Phone: (831) 801-1356

Leslie David is a founding board member and is currently BenitoLink executive director. She is a Bay Area independent reporter/producer and has produced for radio, television, newspaper and magazines in both California and Wyoming. She was with KRON-TV News in San Francisco as camera-woman, editor and field producer, where she and Linda Yee won the Commonwealth Club Thomas Storke Award for their series on the Aids Epidemic and England’s needle exchange program. Leslie started as a small market news reporter/photographer at KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara, Ca. in the days of 16mm film. Leslie lives on a ranch with her family in San Benito County.

Noe Magaña, Content Manager/ Staff Reporter

Phone: (831) 801-5846

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate’s Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school’s newspaper. In addition, he was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State’s Spartan Daily.

Mo Ismail, Marketing/Development Coordinator

Phone: 408-659-4999

Mo Ismail is a marketer and a designer. He strongly believes in community engagement, and that marketing outreach and design are the first step in bringing the community together. He previously volunteered for several non profit organizations. He also has several years of work experience in the marketing field. Mo has a vast knowledge of design, with additional interests in photography and illustration. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in design from the University of San Francisco.

Liz Smith, Bookkeeper


Liz Recalde Smith was raised in Panoche Valley in the rural, south-eastern part of San Benito County. She is a bookkeeper and also a great reference for what is authentic San Benito County.

Mireya Leon, Freelance Web Developer


Mireya Leon obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from California State University, Monterey Bay. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her interests lie in web development and mobile applications. In addition to technology, her passions include tutoring, nature, and drawing.

Reporter / photographer

Jenny Mendolla Arbizu, Reporter


Jenny is a Hollister native who resides in her hometown with her husband and son. She attended Hollister schools, graduated from San Benito High School, and earned her bachelor’s degree in literature from UC Santa Cruz and master’s degree in education from San Jose State University. Jenny has written for the Hollister Freelance, South Valley and San Benito magazines, and enjoys spotlighting the people and businesses in San Benito County. When not writing, she can be found on the theatrical stage, singing with the Hollister VFW or doing the occasional CrossFit WOD.

Kirti Bassendine, Reporter/Photographer


Kirti Bassendine is a photographer, storyteller and journalist. She graduated with BA Honors in Fine Art Photography from Derby University, England. Following several exhibitions focusing on cultural identity that toured the United Kingdom, she settled in the United States and spent 30+ years combining professional photography with fine art projects. Over the last six years, her artwork has focused on cultural storytelling through still photography and videography. As an artist she has always been intrigued by human relationships and how they interweave within social and cultural contexts – especially women’s sense of identity and belonging within their culture and the wider world; how homelessness and nomadic ways of life are perceived; and how its subcultures integrate or conflict with modern society.

Carmel de Bertaut, Reporter


Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018.

Robert Eliason, Reporter / Photographer


I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot. The editors at BenitoLink approached me as a photographer and have since encouraged me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well. BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.

Monserrat Solis, Reporter


Monserrat Solis covers the San Benito County for BenitoLink as part of the California Local News Fellowship with UC Berkeley. A San Fernando Valley native, she’s written for the Southern California News Group, San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol newspaper and L.A. Taco. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from California State University, Northridge.


Alexis Castro Juarez, Reporter Intern


Alexis Juarez Castro is a reporter intern for BenitoLink. He was born in Mexico and raised in Hollister. Alexis is currently a student at Gavilan College, where is pursuing a degree in Communications. He plans to attend a four-year University and major in Journalism. In his spare time, he likes to watch sports and spend time with family and friends.

Vivian Guadalupe Sierra, Marketing Intern


Vivian Guadalupe Sierra is a marketing and communications intern with an academic background in Communication Studies, including public communication and media. As a lifelong resident of San Benito County, Vivian hopes to not only expand her knowledge in marketing/reporting and apply her academic knowledge in a practical setting but also be of service to her community. In her spare time, Vivian enjoys traveling to the coast and appreciating nature alongside her family and friends.