Our Staff


Larry OlmsteadLarry Olmstead

President & CEO

Larry Olmstead joined United Way of Northern California as President & CEO in February 2016. Previously, Larry was an executive at United Way Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA, responsible for operations, human resources and the 2-1-1 helpline.

Over the years, Larry has worked as a journalist, media executive and human resources executive. He held significant newsroom management posts at the Detroit Free Press, New York Times and Miami Herald, where he was managing editor. Larry was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Times and was a Pulitzer finalist at the Free Press for reporting from South Africa. Larry studied journalism and political science at George Washington University.

Larry has served on and chaired numerous non-profit and industry boards. He is active in tennis, currently serving as a Board member for the United States Tennis Association’s Northern California Section, and as a national USTA committee member. Larry and his wife Michele have two grown children.

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Kalie BrisbonKalie Brisbon

Senior Director of Programs

Kalie Brisbon is a community and social services professional who specializes in nonprofit organizations, youth development, early childhood education, and leadership. Before joining United Way of Northern California in January 2019, she worked with Planned Parenthood Northern California as a health educator and reproductive health specialist. She also served as a program specialist for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, a youth activities counselor for Disney Cruise Line, and facility manager for Open Line Group Home.

Kalie holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Simpson University. In her free time, she is a dedicated volunteer and skater with Shasta Roller Derby, enjoys exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her 10 nieces and nephews. She is committed to increasing the awareness of support resources and building a community of collaboration through all of her projects.

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Melody ProebstelMelody Proebstel

Director of Equity and Public Advocacy

Melody has worked in health and human services in Butte County for 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in multicultural and gender studies and a Master of Social Work from California State University, Chico. Prior to joining United Way of Northern California, she coordinated community education for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services and taught courses at Chico State, including multicultural health and social work research methods. With a strong passion for volunteering and community activism, Melody has been involved with planning and volunteering for Stonewall Chico Pride for many years, and coordinated volunteers for the Chico Women’s March in 2018.

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Shelly NelsonShelly Nelson

Financial Operations Manager

Shelly Nelson has worked with United Way of Northern California since 2011. She has resided in Shasta County for over 25 years, working for the county in various legal positions and departments for 15 years. She also owned and operated a restaurant in Redding for the same time period.

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Cherish PadroCherish Padro

Senior Program Manager

Cherish joined United Way of Northern California in 2019 and manages community outreach and emergency preparedness grant efforts. Cherish is an NYC native but moved to beautiful Northern CA in 2008. She has worked in a variety of different non-profit sectors and education.

Cherish holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications (Nyack College) and a Master’s degree in Leadership (A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary - Simpson University). She is a lover of learning, enjoys helping others and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Counseling Psychology (National University) to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Cherish actively volunteers in her community and speaks about the importance of mental health through Stand Against Stigma/Brave Faces. In her free time she enjoys traveling, spending time with her fur-babies, gardening, listening to music, enjoying the outdoors with friends, learning new trades to complete DIY home projects and dancing as a Zumba Instructor.

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Matt PlotkinMatt Plotkin

Disaster Services Manager

Matt Plotkin joined United Way of Northern California in December 2020 as the Disaster Services Manager. He is excited to bring to the organization two decades of extensive director and managerial experience in the nonprofit sector, as well as disaster recovery knowledge. Previously, Matt served as the Executive Director of the Camp Fire Collaborative, the Long Term Recovery Group for the 2018 Camp Fire.

Matt grew up in a Southern California beach town, then spent ten years in the East Bay area before relocating to Northern California in 2015 to be the Director of Youth Ministry at Chico, California's Bidwell Presbyterian Church. Matt and his family enjoy exploring the many creeks, rivers, and trails this region provides, as well as tending to their small flock of Nigerian Dwarf Goats, two barn cats, and their beloved dog Samson!

Contact Matt