Board of Directors

Board Photos

Nikki Carelli Gabriel, LMFT

Nikki joined SFV-CAMFT in 2012 and began volunteering to assist as needed with the organization. Nikki participated on the Bylaws Committee and the Nominating Committee before being approached in 2015 to take over the administration of the website. Nikki joined the Board of Directors in 2017 as Secretary, and after two years as secretary accepted the president position in 2019. Nikki is serving a second term as president in 2022 with the goal of increasing volunteerism among the members and encouraging others to take on a leadership role.

Nikki has a BA in Psychology from the University of Montana, and a MS in Counseling from California State University Northridge. Nikki had a 17 year career working in nonprofit organizations before becoming licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Nikki is currently on maternity leave and experiencing being a parent for the first time. Nikki will be slowly returning to work in the second half of 2022 with a focus on career and couples issues, infertility and postpartum.  Nikki also serves on the nonprofit board for San Fernando Counseling Center

Mishka Clavijo Kimball, MS, LMFT, Coach
Past President

Mishka joined SFV-CAMFT in 2017 and quickly got involved with the chapter by taking on the roles of CEU Coordinator and Board Member at Large for the year 2018. She was VP of Membership in 2019 and President Elect in 2020. Mishka served as the first Latinx President of San Fernando Valley CAMFT.

As a therapist, Mishka specializes in working with highly sensitive adults going through life transitions, experiencing anxiety, depression and grief. As a Coach and Consultant, Mishka helps Latinx entrepreneurs and wellness professionals elevate themselves and their brand to the next level.

Mishka has a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology, with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is also a Certified Anger Management Counselor. She currently has a private practice in Woodland Hills and offers teletherapy to California residents. She looks forward to seeing clients in person again post-Covid.

Gina Balit, LMFT, ATR

Gina is honored to be stepping into the presidential role this year after a long run as VP of Marketing. Gina joined SFV-CAMFT in 2015 and immediately became involved in board meetings as a guest, as well as a volunteer for many marketing and advertising duties. She created the chapter's brochures as a mental health resource, translated them into Armenian, and began assisting in email blasts to the community. In 2016, she officially joined the Board and continued her mission to brand and give the chapter a voice — she created the annual, printed member directories and gave the chapter a new logo.

Gina Balit, MA, LMFT, ATR is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist. She works in a private practice setting in Woodland Hills, CA. Gina has a deep and life-long love for children and art. She specializes in working with young children of divorce and abuse/domestic violence helping them heal from fear of abandonment in particular. She is bilingual in Armenian (western and eastern dialects) and is passionate about helping her community. She has extensive experience in school-based settings, as well as agencies, shelters, transitional homes, and group practice settings. She has also worked with autistic children and has provided home-based Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). She has Domestic Violence and Grief and Loss certifications as well as trained in the Trauma Resiliency Model.

Gina is also a graphic designer and a "techie" who is passionate about providing freelance marketing/advertising and bookkeeping services. She values being in a leadership position and supporting other chapters such as LA-CAMFT. She holds a Bachelors degree from Cal State Northridge in Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Graphic Design and a Masters degree in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy/Art Therapy. She is a forever coffee, blue, and Disney lover.

Parshaw Barati-Marnani, LMFT

Parshaw attended UC Irvine, where she received a bachelors degree in both psychology and sociology. During her time at UCI and the time in between undergraduate and graduate studies, she pursued her interest in working with kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Harbor Area, starting off as the teen director and working her way toward youth development specialist and program director. It was while working at the boys and girls club that she realized her calling to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. For her graduate studies, Parshaw attended Chapman University and completed a year of traineeship at the on-site community clinic. At the Frances Smith Center for Individual & Family Therapy, Parshaw’s interest and passion for working with people with childhood abuse and domestic violence was sparked and grew. 

During the 6 years Parshaw interned at the Free Clinic of Simi Valley, she worked with children, teens, families, and individual adults. The clinic allowed Parshaw the opportunity to continue working with both populations and get further training and instruction in a trauma informed model, TRM, and play therapy. In addition, she ran both an ongoing widow/widower process group and parenting groups, and worked with depression, anxiety, cultural issues, divorce, adoption, borderline personality, relationship problems, aggressive behaviors, etc. Parshaw also worked briefly with an Afghani victim of the Taliban, Bibi Aisha on issues around acclimation, social skills, coping skills, and trauma.   

In her free time, Parshaw enjoys hiking, traveling, spending time with friends and family, reading, and sometimes Netflix bingeing.

Shawn LaRe' Brinkley, LMFT
VP Programs

Shawn LaRe' practices using traditional talk therapy, as well as non-traditional modalities. She is trained to use art, music, and movement as a healing tool, as she believes healing comes through many pathways. Further training includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); Narrative Therapy; Play Therapy, working with children; as well as Sandbox Therapy, working with children, adolescents, and adults. She is a certified Laughter Yoga Instructor, as it is a scientific fact that laughter has healing properties, whether real or simulated. What better way to find optimum health than by laughing your way there.

She works with adolescents, individually, in groups, and with families. In addition, Shawn LaRe' provides counseling for couples just starting out, (premarital) as well as those who have been together for years and are looking to keep the fires of friendship, romance, sexual desires burning. She also works with children, adults, and families with a variety of therapeutic and life situation-related needs.

Shari Manculich, LMFT 
VP of Membership

Shari Manculich holds a B.S. in Business, Marketing, from California State University, Northridge, and an M.S. in Counseling, Marriage and Family Child Therapy, from the University of Phoenix. Shari has a business background in Consumer Packaged Goods where she previously worked for a large Fortune 500 Corporation. Shari is currently a School Based Therapist with William S. Hart Union High School District working with K 6 Special Education students.

Additionally, Shari has a private practice with Association of Behavioral Health Specialists where she works with Victims of Crime and Kaiser mental health referrals. Additionally, Shari works as a Staff Clinician at Early Life Child Psychology and Education Center. Shari's modalities are primarily Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Family Systems Therapy. In her spare time, Shari enjoys training and competing in half marathons, Zumba dance fitness, and has recently started practicing Yoga. Shari resides in Porter Ranch with her husband Mark, daughter Sierra, son Montana, and their Golden Doodle Shadow, Pomeranian Poodle, Snowbell, and their domestic, short-haired tabby cat, Shiloh.

Jose Pablo Rodriguez, BA Marketing and Business
VP Marketing & Communication

Pablo joined SFV-CAMFT in 2022 and began volunteering to assist as the Vice President of Marketing and communications. Pablo has more than seven years of international experience working in the Mental Health and substance use field after graduating from Universidad Intercontinental in Mexico City with a Business and Marketing degree; Starting his service as an internship, developing various roles in the Mental Health community. Some of those roles are being the CEO of Gregory Consulting since 2017  consulting company for Mental Health facilities, Director of business development at Insight Treatment since 2019 IOP for teens and their families, as many other roles in the field like sober companion, transporter, case management, staff technician at a mental health facility, referral allocation, one to one 24-hour care and clinical outreach coordinator. Pablo has become passionate for carrying of individuals experiencing Mental Health disorders or struggling with SUD.

Rena Pollak, LMFT

Rena Pollak is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Encino. She works with individuals, couples and families, but holds a special passion for group therapy.  

She honed her group therapy skills through the Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles where she was a board member and the American Group Psychotherapy Association where she earned her Certification in Group Psychotherapy. She's led groups in a variety of settings including community counseling at Counseling West, adolescent counseling at El Camino High School, grief counseling with Our House Grief Support Center and cancer support with WeSpark Cancer Support Center in addition to her private practice. She uses many of the same interpersonal techniques used in group psychotherapy with her individual clients and has recently added EMDR to her toolkit for working with individuals. Her love of groups extends to the many groups in her life including her large family group, a writing group, a camping group, as a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteer and as a leader of her daughter's Girl Scout troop. The focus of her work is on self-actualization and self-expression in order to have satisfying relationships.

Stephanie Gonzalez, AMFT 
Pre-Licensed Rep

Stephanie Gonzalez graduated with her Bachelors in Psychology from Cal State LA and obtained her Masters in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University. Stephanie has worked with various populations including individuals, families and couples. She has facilitated multiple clinical and nonclinical support groups ranging from topics like parenting to domestic violence. Her most recent role was an ERP coach working with individuals with OCD. Stephanie is passionate about giving back to her community and has fulfilled multiple mentorship roles throughout her time as a student at Pepperdine. Becoming a therapist consists of numerous obstacles, Stephanie understands the importance of having a support team. Stephanie is committed to providing support and allyship to those on the pre-licensed journey. 

David Eshleman, LMFT 
Member at Large

David is our volunteer hiking special interest group chair and newly appointed Member at Large.  He became an active member of SFV-CAMFT in late 2017, drawn in by the amazing and supportive 3000 club, as well as the monthly hiking group. When David was offered the chance to become the new hiking leader, he was grateful to accept. David has continued to lead our members in monthly hikes, as well as offer unofficial hikes during the summer. As a member at large with a passion for nature, David is looking forward to exploring the possibility of helping the chapter to explore and possibly integrate more outdoors events this year.  

David Eshleman, MA., LMFT holds a Masters of Art in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University and is currently in private practice in Sherman Oaks. David has a level one certification in Emotion Focused Therapy as well as a keen interest in Jungian and Archetypal psychology. He is also a student of philosophy, spirituality and mindfulness. He focuses on helping his clients gain deeper awareness to reduce their anxiety, grow in relationship with self and others, explore values and purpose and to “Find Balance” in their lives.  

Jennifer Upham Saunders, LMFT
Member at Large   

Jennifer joined SFV-CAMFT in 2011 and, after attending workshops and trainings over the years, she joined the Board as a Member at Large in 2021.

Jennifer holds a B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz, which included spending her junior year abroad at Birmingham University in the U.K. After graduation, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sri Lanka for two years. Upon returning to the States, Jennifer earned her J.D. at UC Berkeley and embarked on her almost 20-year legal career as a corporate finance attorney in downtown Los Angeles. In 2010, she left the law, returned to school and earned an M.A. in Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, where she also earned her trainee and intern hours.

Jennifer is currently in private practice in Studio City, specializing in working with couples and with individuals at transitional points in their lives seeking balance and a better way of being and doing. She has a special passion for couples work because when our primary relationship is working well, life is all the sweeter. She has extensive training and advance certification in Imago Relationship Therapy, as well as training in other modalities (e.g., Gottman, Discernment Counseling). Jennifer also currently serves as President of THE MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation, dedicated to supporting and promoting the California Science Center’s education programs for youth, and as Treasurer of Imago Relationships North America. She eagerly looks forward to her next exotic vacation while waiting for any of her three adult children to visit her.

Virginia "Ginny" W. Lincoln, LMFT
Member at Large

Virginia joined SFV-CAMFT in 2005. After attending workshops and trainings for many years and being the web administrator since the fall of 2018, she decided to joined the Board as a Member at Large in 2022.

Virginia holds a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management System Analysis. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Business while working full time for Litton Industries / Northrup-Grumann as a Software Engineer.

However, my sojourn in software didn’t start with Litton. When I was the ripe old age of 19, I secured a full-time position with Rocketdyne as a ‘Data Reduction Clerk’; that is of course, after passing ‘the’ rigorous math test (at the time I didn’t know it was suppose to be a difficult test to pass). I ended up being part of the organization (at Rocketdyne) that would develop, test and deliver the Rocket engines that would ‘land Man on the Moon’.  

At first, when ‘data’ was collected, we would perform All ‘the’ calculations by ‘hand’ to report ‘the’ engine(s) performance. Then, in the mid 1960’s (Rocketdyne) acquired the second IBM 7094 to be produced and I was asked if I could ‘learn’ what a computer was and program it in ‘the’ language (assembly) of the computer. Again, I didn’t know I couldn’t learn ‘the’ machine and programmed many (as compared to today’s computers) computers  developing computer code and logic in the infancy of computers.

When I left Rocketdyne in the late 1960’s, I found employment with Litton Industries as a Programmer (that’s what Software Engineer’s were call at the time). I stayed with Litton / Northrup-Grumann until my retirement in 2006. I worked on many projects while at Litton / Northrup-Grumann. Some of the projects even took me to foreign countries.  I worked on a N.A.T.O. project which took me to Brussels, Belgium in 1989 and in 1999 I moved to Huntsville, Alabama (yes, I considered this a foreign country, too) working on a Missile defense contract. I returned to southern California in 2002 and worked on a project that took me to Egypt (yes, and visited the King Tut exhibit while I was there). Interesting note: while doing work on the military base in Egypt, I was ‘the only’ women that had ever breeched the All male environment of their military base.

In 2006, the thought occurred to me, . . . “what am I going to do for the rest of my life?” I decided to return to school and earned an M.A. in Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, where I did some my traineeship and intern hours.   Virginia also, completed some of her trainee and intern hours with the Valley Trauma Center (now called Strength United) and San Fernando Valley Counseling Center. While at the Valley Trauma Center, I specialized in caring for clients that had suffered Sexual Assault.  

After graduating from Phillips, I decided to continue my education and enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. I completed 2 years of their program and started my work on a Dissertation called “Born Soul Mates”  a project ‘looking at and analyzing’ what it means to be a ‘fraternal (dizygotic) twin’.

Virginia is currently in private practice in Granada Hills / Mission Hills specializing in recovery from Sexual Assault (of a women, children and men), any aspect of twining being raised by someone who is a twin, being a twin themselves or struggling with raising twins and lastly, elder counseling (either the senior themselves and / or the children very much bewildered by what to do with their senior and sometimes ailing parents). For elder counseling, I make house calls (that means going to the seniors home, convalescent care or rehabilitation facility.

Virginia’s other volunteer duties:

  • Senior Outreach Counselor for Providence Hospital.

  • V.I.T.A (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) / T.C.E. (Tax Counseling for the Elderly) Tax preparation, etc. for AARP Foundation.

  • V.I.T.A. / T.C.E. teacher, administrator and preparer at Pierce College.

Virginia looks forward to seeing her 2 grown children and any or All of her 6 Grand-children (1 20-year-old, 1 19-year-old, 3 17-years-old (yes, one set of fraternal twins) and 1 15-year-old).

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