Meow Meow Foundation is proud to announce six members who will join Elena and me on this odyssey. They come from all walks of life. However, there is a common thread that binds us…


We must treat ALL children with the dignity they deserve if not desperately need. We must also understand that for every child, there is a parent, a guardian, a family, a community, a story that matters as much as a safe, healthy future.


Doug Forbes

Doug earned a BA in English/Creative Writing from Wittenberg University, voted One of America's Best 384 Colleges (Princeton Review 2019) and America's Top Colleges (Forbes 2018). He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Journalism through a specialized Harvard University program.

Doug worked in a variety of marketing communications management / executive management roles. He spent a decade consulting for global tech giants including Intel, Motorola, Avaya and Fortinet as well as regional tech dealers throughout the U.S. Doug also helped a variety of non-tech small business clients find their true brand voice, including hospitality and entertainment operations, social services nonprofits, educational institutions, retailers and municipal agencies.

His true passion is investigative reporting and writing. Doug has authored pieces on female and male perspectives on gender disparity in his hometown of Pasadena, California, the dearth of black journalists working in Los Angeles, a First and Second Amendment dustup at a local high school and dwindling enrollment and resources in the Pasadena Unified School District. Doug recently authored the most challenging article of his lifetime about the death of his beloved daughter.


Elena Matyas

Elena earned a BA in political science from Providence College and a JD from St. John’s University School of Law. Her early legal career was marked by terms at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Fried Frank, two of the nation’s leading real estate law practices. Clients included world-renowned developers, mortgage lenders and investment banks.

In 2006, Elena secured an in-house position at The Walt Disney Company, the world’s third largest media conglomerate. She is part of a team which manages the company’s worldwide real estate portfolio estimated at 30 million square feet.

On an entirely different track, Elena owned and operated a retail art gallery in the famed seaside distination of Asbury Park, NJ where she learned the essence of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. She has also spent a considerable amount of free time volunteering at San Rafael Spanish Immersion Elementary School where Roxie attended while also managing and attending to Roxie’s medical needs.

Elena was in college when she earned her lifeguard credential. She served as a beach guard in New Jersey’s bustling Ocean Beach tourist area. Since Roxie’s birth, she has also undertaken CPR training. Meow Meow Foundation will allow her to honor Roxie’s life by making the world and the water a better, safer place for children.


Liliana Coronado

Liliana is currently Vice President of Brimley Group, a government relations firm that navigates Washington D.C. with in-depth policy knowledge. Brimley has earned its reputation as one of the most effective boutique government affairs shops in Washington, D.C. working with nonprofits, businesses and state and local governments.

She previously served as the Supervising Deputy Federal Public Defender with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles.  She joined the Federal Public Defender's Office in 2003, after spending a year as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  As part of her responsibilities, Liliana served as one of the representatives in the Convictions and Sentence Alternatives Program (CASA), an innovative post-guilty plea diversion program that is the first of its kind in federal court.

Liliana re-joined the Federal Public Defender's Office after serving as counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. for two years.  

She graduated from Stanford Law School, and Mills College, where she studied government and ethnic studies.  Ms. Coronado was raised in Watsonville, California and is the daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers.


Charles Brown

Charles was born and raised in Pasadena, California, where he has lifelong community ties. He graduated from John Muir High School in 1986 and was a team captain on the school’s first CIF Championship football team. His parents were teachers and administrators in the Pasadena Unified School District.

Charles graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1991 with a degree in Political Science and International Relations. He received a law degree in 1994 from the University of Southern California.  He is also an alumnus of the Trial Lawyer’s College in Dubois, Wyoming.

For two decades, Charles has been a Deputy Federal Public Defender in the Central District of California.  A highly skilled advocate committed to social justice, he has litigated over 60 federal criminal trials

Charles was also a Red Cross Certified water safety instructor, lifeguard and pool manager for the City of Pasadena, experience that melds directly with the primary mission of this foundation.


Katherine Mattey

Katherine is Chief Merchandising Officer at UncommonGoods, a visionary online retailer that offers unique designs by independent makers while also being devoted to making a positive impact on both people and planet.

Katherine has more than 20 years in high-level roles leading omni-channel brands to their fullest sales and profit potential, designing and sourcing teams, implementing change management, building new brands and proprietary products from concept to delivery, managing P&L for large and small volume businesses and helping set trends.

She graduated from Providence College with supplemental education at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Katherine's first job at age 16 was a CIT at a camp in Maine where she received her lifeguarding certification. She worked at pools, lakes and beaches for the next 8 summers. As a parent of three young boys who attend day camps, she realizes the critical need for vigilance around all bodies of water.


Jim Wiggins

Jim graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in Communications / Public Relations. He was a Resident Assistant for 3 years and spent one semester studying in Lismore, Australia.

Jim’s storied 20-year sales career launched at Yellow Book USA where he received the President's Award for sales performance. He currently travels the world as a district rep for Brewers Supply Group, a brewing ingredients supplier with an unprecedented breadth and diversity of products from around the world.

Jim has also worked in the non-profit sector as an Employment Development Manager for Kaposia, Inc. Through advocacy, and job development, he secured meaningful and fair employment for people with disabilities. His incredibly rewarding work with Kaposia was an outgrowth of his own family’s longstanding status as a foster family for developmentally disabled children and adults.

Jim and his wife Hannah moved from Minnesota to Arcadia, California, to care for Hannah’s grandmother who was living in a nursing home. They briefly returned to Minnesota and then headed back to California where they care for two beautiful daughters, one of whom suffers from a rare health disorder.


Hannah Wiggins

Hannah graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a a B.S. in Elementary Education. She has a K-6 Teachin License and a 6-8 Science License. She also attended Hamline Graduate School where she earned a K-12 Readin License.

Hannah has since dedicated her entire life to improving the education, health and well-being of children. She has served as public school elementary teacher and reading intervention specialist for which she received a Teacher of the Year Nomination and Teaching Excellence Award. She also served as Education Coordinator for the renowned Descanso Gardens where she ran the Harvest Garden for high school students with special needs, piloted and directed the summer camp, taught public science classes and wrote the curriculum for school programs docent training.

Hannah is currently a full-time caregiver for her youngest daughter who was born with rare and severe congenital abnormalities. Since her daughter’s diagnosis, she has become an active advocate for children with medical disabilities and the incredible families who support them.

As parents of children with special medical circumstances, Doug, Elena, Hannah and Jim have not only become virtual family but also allies in their fight for meaningful health and safety outcomes.


Cristina Alvarado

Cristina was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. From an early age, she had an unbridled passion for all things water, including water animals. Cristina spent a year in Hawaii training and caring for Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and California Sea Lions.  She was equally interested in behavioral sciences and graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Psychology. 

For the past 13 years, Cristina has worked at all levels of the world-class Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, including customer service, lifeguard, swim instructor, swim department coordinator, and now as director of swim lessons. The Aquatics Center has become her second home and an arena where she further developed a particular interest in water safety. Cristina’s program teaches thousands of people on an annual basis. She has personally taught hundreds of children—including students in the Pasadena Unified School District—how to swim and was recently recognized by the Positive Coaching Alliance as a National Double-Goal Coach Award winner.

Her water safety advocacy not only helps children gain the swimming skills they need to stay safe but also ensures that every child has the opportunity to learn how to swim overall.