Our Team

We are committed tobacco control junkies with a penchant for helping others. All of us have a sincere belief that policy is the solution, and that we can help others pass those policies. We bring skills and experiences from many aspects of policy and community organizing and apply it to tobacco control.

Vanessa Marvin

Since putting on a smokestack costume in college to protest a polluting power plant, Vanessa has been hooked on community organizing and loves helping others engage their communities in passing policies. As part of the American Lung Association in California Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing for the past 10 years, Vanessa has traveled many of the back roads of California working with local advocates on their tobacco control campaigns. Now as the State Director for the past 2 years she leads statewide efforts to promote tobacco policy change. Prior to joining the Lung Association Vanessa worked as a community organizer for the Alaska Wilderness League, PennPIRG and Connecticut Voices for Children. To get herself ready for a big day of community organizing Vanessa loves to do a crossfit workout and bake (& taste) paleo cupcakes.

Lindsey Freitas

Lindsey has always been drawn in by the ability of the political process and well drafted policy to institute needed change and protections for those most vulnerable. As Senior Director for Tobacco Control & Lung Health for the American Lung Association in California Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing, she is able to put this passion to work on policies all over California and provides regular updates about tobacco related policies at all levels of government. Prior to joining the team at the Center, Lindsey utilized her policy skills first at the federal level through an internship with Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo, and then at the state level working in the Legislative Department with the California Professional Firefighters, tracking bills and assisting in implementing their legislative strategy. When not culling through bills and ordinances, Lindsey can almost always be found enjoying a beach somewhere, her favorites are Tahoe and Santa Cruz.

John Yi

John has focused much of his work in advocacy and community organizing, helping to represent communities often battling against larger special interests. As the current Advocacy Director for the American Lung Association in California, he is leading the organization’s advocacy and policy efforts in Los Angeles and Orange County. Before the Lung Association, he served as the Interim National Director for Parent Revolution, an education and social justice non-profit. John has also lived abroad, working in Moscow, Russia as a Fellow for the Alfa Fellowship Program and in Seoul for a South Korean Congressman. John enjoys cooking, watching television, and learning new languages. He speaks Korean and Russian.

Theodros Gashaw

Theodros joined the American Lung Association as Director of Grassroots and Patient Advocacy in 2018. He comes from a long background of organizing and advocacy in grassroots, labor and politics. Born in Los Banos, CA and an alumnus of UC Davis, Theodros is a longtime resident of Sacramento and doesn’t appreciate people referring to Sacramento as “SacTo”. After college, Theodros had the pleasure of serving as a Great Valley Fellow with the Great Valley Center. Most recently Theodros was responsible for organizing the first private sector bargaining units of physicians and medical practitioners in the history of the state of Washington. Theodros is perhaps most proud of his status as an ex officio member of the Wu-Tang Clan. He thanks you for reading.

Alyssa Stratton

As Legislative Assistant for the Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, Alyssa brings knowledge of state and local politics that allows her to focus in on specific community needs. Prior to working with the American Lung Association, her passion for social justice led to her work with disadvantaged youth with Pacific Gas & Electric Co., in political campaigns around Sacramento, and as a Teaching Assistant for Government students. Outside the office, Alyssa can be found off the ground, training various forms of aerial arts.

Emma Maron

Emma has always had a passion for politics and the implementation of policies that can help to provide change for communities, ever since her days working on a Congressional campaign.  As the Policy Coordinator for Tobacco Control and Lung Health for the American Lung Association in California, Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, she is able to put that passion to good use and assist in providing policy expertise to tobacco control advocates.  Prior to joining the Center team, Emma started at the Federal level through internships with Congresswoman Doris Matsui, later moving to the Board of Equalization as a press assistant for Vice Chair Diane Harkey, and then to the Foundation for California Community Colleges to assist in providing support and guidance for faculty/staff and students in the system.  When not reading through tobacco policy or the State of Tobacco Control Report, you can find Emma hanging out at home, enjoying time with friends, and her dog or watching Netflix.

Stephanie Frazier

Stephanie has always had a love affair with the history of the United States and its political system. As Advocacy Manager for the Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing in Northern California, Stephanie brings her passion for policy and love for rural communities together to advocate for strong tobacco control policies that protect our youth. Prior to working with the American Lung Association, Stephanie lived in Missoula, Montana, and loves traveling through Northern California in the course of her duties with the Center, as it reminds her of home. When she’s not working, Stephanie can be found skiing, fly fishing, or outdoors with her partner and beagle.

Amanda Gutzwiller

In 2010, Amanda dove into community organizing with Environment California and CALPIRG. She encouraged local residents and students to protect California’s clean energy regulations by voting no on Prop 23. Since then, she has organized thousands of community members and has fundraised millions of dollars for environmental and public health issues. Amanda truly enjoys empowering others to take action. In 2016 she fought to increase the tobacco tax through Prop 56. Amanda is at home in her current role as an Advocacy Manager with the American Lung Association. She is passionate about standing up to powerful special interests, like the tobacco industry. In her free time, Amanda loves to explore nature and the local art scene.

Karina Camacho

As the Policy Specialist for the Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, Karina brings a nuanced and social justice oriented perspective to tobacco policy. Her passions lie in creating a more equitable and healthy society for all people, especially those from marginalized communities. Karina understands the urgent need for strong policy to protect our most vulnerable populations and victims of the tobacco industry. When not reading through local ordinances, Karina can be spotted cruising around on her bike or playing with her yo-yo around the office.

Michael Duarte

As the Central Valley Advocacy Manager for the Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, Michael brings knowledge of multiple community based initiatives in projects that have helped diverse resident communities build on their leadership skills, and improve quality of life for families in the Central Valley. He has worked with diverse organizations in programs around the development and implementation of advocacy campaigns aimed at the high-level policy efforts with various organizations. Outside the office, Michael can be found spending time with his wife and kids.

Juliette Linzer

Juliette has worked on policy issues and promoted democratic processes around the globe — focusing on health policy issues on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, working with the uninsured in Boston, and assisting new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and South America. Since 1999, when she founded Linzer and Associates, Juliette has focused her efforts on program evaluation and management consulting. She serves as the Evaluation Consultant for the Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing, and has worked on program evaluations, grants management, and other consulting projects in the areas of smokefree housing, tobacco divestment, nutrition and fitness, asthma, childcare, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, breast cancer, and health care administration. Juliette also serves on the board of Global Health Research Foundation. When not working, Juliette is busy researching exotic vacation spots. Favorites so far have been backpacking on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, trekking in Uganda to see the silverback gorillas, and hiking to Tiger’s Nest Temple in Bhutan.