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Paul Hepfer

Chief Executive Officer

In his role as CEO, Paul has been instrumental in continuing to leverage and expand Project Open Hand's relationships with government partners, health plans and providers, private funders, donors and volunteers. As an advocate for medical nutrition intervention, he furthers the mission of educating healthcare payers and providers on the role of medical nutrition in health outcomes. 

Paul brings more than 20 years of experience in community health and wellness services. He previously served as senior vice president of programs for The Health Trust in San Jose and Santa Clara County for 13 years. In that role, he provided vision and leadership for The Health Trust's entire portfolio of services, including HIV/AIDS programming, Meals on Wheels, the Jerry Larson Food Basket, community-based chronic disease prevention and management services, and a wide range of supportive housing programs.

Prior to joining The Health Trust, Paul was chief operating officer at Via Services for two years and executive director of Wellness and Education for the Pueblo of Sandia Native American Reservation in New Mexico for eight years. Hepfer holds a B.S. in Physical Education from Indiana State University and an M.S. in Park and Recreation Administration with a specialization in Therapeutic Recreation from Indiana University. 

Herbert Dong

Chief Administrative Officer

Herbert has nearly two decades of management experience and consistent success in achieving mission, revenue, cost, productivity and goals. He has a diversified career background in IT, government, NGO, start-up and multi-national companies. Herbert holds his BS degree in Automatic Control and EE. He also has an MBA degree with an established record of success in significant growing enterprise value.

Prior to joining POH, Herbert was the Associate Director at APA Family Support Services. He also worked at Siemens, Datacraft Asia, Net&Data Computer in various business management roles.


Ana Ayala

Ana Ayala

Vice President of Programs

San Fernando Valley native, Ana Ayala joins the Project Open Hand team as Vice President of Programs after ten years living in San Francisco and working at places including AIDS Walk San Francisco and Catholic Charities, where she held roles ranging from administrative to events, development, and fundraising. Prior to joining Project Open Hand, Ana worked in programs at Catholic Charities for five years. She speaks fondly of her role in Star Community Home, a shelter for women and children, which Ana helped implement within a three-week timespan. The project was intended to run for 18 months, but was so successful that it is still active today.


Alberto Cortés

Vice President of Fund Development and Community Affairs

A New York City born and raised Puerto Rican, Alberto has over 36 years of professional experience in the nonprofit sector, including efforts to address the impact of HIV/AIDS in the Latinx communities of San Diego County. Prior to joining Project Open Hand, he served for 21 years as CEO of Mama’s Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides medically tailored, home-delivered meals to people impacted by critical illnesses throughout San Diego County. Alberto is a veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Force. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration.


Onome Okulolo

Vice President, People and Culture

Onome Okulolo, born in Nigeria, West Africa, moved to the Bay Area as teenager, and would go on to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A in Political Science with emphasis in International Relations. Onome has over 16 years of experience in Human Resources and loves to balance the needs of the employer with those of the employees. She is a great believer that the HR department is the bridge connecting the employer with the employees, saying: “HR is here to make sure the employees have a happy tenure during their stay with the company/organization.”

Katie Jackson, M.S., R.D.

Chief Nutrition Officer

Katie comes to Project Open Hand after 16 years of hospital Food and Nutrition Services experience, with a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of WI-Madison and an M.S. in Dietetics from Mount Mary College. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Katie started her career at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Milwaukee, providing Medical Nutrition Therapy to veterans, and participating in data collection for the department’s Quality Assurance and Improvement plan.

Over the past 15 years, Katie has overseen clinical nutrition programs, as well as food service operations, production, and procurement. Prior to working at Project Open Hand, she was the Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Katie is a firm believer in the impact that Medical Nutrition Therapy with a Registered Dietitian can have on a person's life, and the impact that access to healthy, sustainable food has on improving overall health and wellbeing.   


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(510) 622-0221
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San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 447-2300
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