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Executive Administration

Photo of Diego Cartagena - President & CEO

Diego Cartagena

President & CEO
dcartagena@bettzedek.org

Diego Cartagena has focused his entire legal career on addressing issues of access to justice. As a former Equal Justice Works Fellow and Teen Advocate with The Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice’s Teen LA project, Diego helped give low-income teen mothers and fathers a voice in court by providing them with legal advocacy and outreach in the areas of family and immigration law. Diego then went on to serve as Pro Bono Director for The Alliance for Children’s Rights, while simultaneously serving as the agency’s Probate Legal Guardianship Program Director.

Diego joined Bet Tzedek in 2012 as Director of Pro Bono Programs and was promoted to Vice President Pro Bono in 2015. Under his leadership, Bet Tzedek increased clinic participation opportunities for both law firms and in-house legal department volunteers. He also guided the building of Bet Tzedek’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) program, capitalizing Bet Tzedek’s organizational expertise in guardianship law. After witnessing the need for comprehensive legal services for small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities, he launched the Small Business Legal Academies in 2016. In 2017, Diego became Bet Tzedek’s Vice President of Legal Programs. Under his leadership, Bet Tzedek launched a number of the organization’s flagship programs including Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project, Bet Tzedek’s Rapid Response: Family Preparedness program, the Harbor UCLA Medical-Legal Partnership, and the SSI Advocacy Project.

Diego is a “Double Bruin,” having received his BA in American Literature and Culture from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) and his J.D. from UCLA’s School of Law, where he concentrated on Critical Race Studies.

Diego currently serves as a board member of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Civil Council, and the Justice in Aging Board of Directors. He is also a member of the California Access to Justice Legal Aid Funding Committee. In 2019, he delivered the opening remarks at the 2019 Equal Justice Works annual fellowship convening and was a panelist at the USC Real Estate Law and Pro Bono Forum and served on numerous NLADA/Equal Justice Conference panels. In 2017, he delivered the keynote at O’Melveny & Myers Warren Christopher Scholarship Awards, a scholarship program that honors senior partner Warren Christopher by recognizing rising academic stars in low-income and minority communities with college scholarships.

Photo of Lakesh Baker - Vice President, Human Resources

Lakesh Baker

Vice President, Human Resources
lbaker@bettzedek.org

Lakesh’s Human Resources career spans over 23-years as she has represented several large organizations in various industries such Retail, Mortuary and Non-Profit Organizations. It is through the legal process that Lakesh has been able to impact minority workers and those who sit on the front lines. Lakesh is a strong advocate for fair workplace practices and has collaborated with a variety of worker unions to impact decisions regarding the collective bargaining agreement and the grievance process.

With a Master’s degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from California State University Dominguez Hills, coupled with her strong ties to the Human Resources Community via the Society of Human Resource Professionals and the American Society for Training and Development Lakesh successfully provides a fresh look into hiring and recruitment, employee relations, human resource management, retention and the process of conflict resolution coupled with the knowledge of consumer psychology and compliance.

Lakesh’s dedication to the practice and principles of Human Resources has expanded to the areas of small business consulting and third-party investigation. Lakesh possesses a strong business acumen as it relates to unionized working environments and strategy. As a current Law School Student Lakesh has advanced knowledge of Title VII, EEOC, negotiation and mediation skills including compliance and business ethics.

Photo of Vincent Cummings - Vice President, External Affairs

Vincent Cummings

Vice President, External Affairs
vcummings@bettzedek.org

In his first jobs out of college – first at Jones Day and then in the newly-opened west coast office of Lambda Legal – Vincent Cummings gained an appreciation of the influence that lawyers wield and the difference made when wielding that influence on behalf of marginalized individuals and communities. Those early jobs taught him both the technical enterprise of legal practice and the enormous potential that law, in service of a social justice mission, holds to combat inequality and to envision a more just world.  

Since then, he has spent over two decades working on – and managing – development and communications teams at a number of community-based and national organizations implementing every aspect of successful external relations program. As Deputy Director of External Affairs at the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture, he collaborated with one of the nation’s top institutional advancement teams as the university embarked on its $4.1B Centennial Campaign. Most recently, he served as Natural Resources Defense Council’s Regional Director of Development, designing and executing NRDC’s comprehensive major gift strategy for the Southern California region and expanding on existing relationships within L.A.’s traditional philanthropic and entertainment communities.

Photo of Tzung-lin (Lin) Fu - Vice President, Legal Services

Tzung-lin (Lin) Fu

Vice President, Legal Services
lfu@bettzedek.org

As Vice President of Legal Services, Tzung-lin (Lin) Fu directly oversees the delivery of legal services to Bet Tzedek’s clients, working closely with the CEO and Directing Attorneys to develop and manage each of the agency’s program initiatives and guide the agency’s policy agenda.

Prior to joining Bet Tzedek, Lin served as Director of Litigation and Policy Advocacy at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA), where she supervised a variety of their impact litigation cases and oversaw the professional development of NLSLA attorneys and staff. She was also a Senior Litigation Associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP practicing a range of legal areas including white collar criminal defense and investigations, data privacy, patent, copyright, trademark, antitrust, and securities litigation, with a particular focus on cross-border litigation matters involving China.

During her career, Lin has represented immigrants, women, and children in a wide variety of areas, including: immigration, family law, special education, employment law, civil rights, housing, and criminal re-sentencing and expungement.  In 2015, Lin was one of five individual attorneys in California to receive the Legal Services Corporation’s Pro Bono Service Award for her outstanding pro bono contributions.  In 2009 and 2010, Lin was twice honored with the Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Publico Award for her representation of fourteen Chinese restaurant workers in a federal wage and hour litigation.

Lin received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Robert McKay Scholar and a Senior Articles Editor for the Review of Law and Social Change.  Lin is admitted in California and New York, the Central District of California, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and before the Immigration Courts.

Photo of Laura Nelson - Chief Financial Officer

Laura Nelson

Chief Financial Officer
lnelson@bettzedek.org

Photo of Jen Petrovich - Chief Operating Officer

Jen Petrovich

Chief Operating Officer
jpetrovich@bettzedek.org

After six years serving as Bet Tzedek’s CFO, Jen Petrovich brings to her position as COO a deep understanding of the organization’s operational needs honed from years working in collaboration with the CEO – and strategizing with I.T., Human Resources, Facilities, External Affairs and Finance departments. Prior to Bet Tzedek, Jen worked with a variety of businesses across a wide spectrum of industries, both in staff positions and working for clients through her own advisory consultancies. She represented several nonprofit organizations in a finance capacity early in her career, and sharpened her talents and skills in the for-profit world for a specialty sports beverage company that began in a spare room of its founder’s home to become the third largest sports drink in the country within three years. Before that, she was the head of finance and operations in creative agencies that produced print advertising and trailers for feature films and television.

Jen’s skill set and approach to operations have been shaped by a career grounded in the social responsibilities advanced by the nonprofit world, and tempered by her more entrepreneurial endeavors both in her own practice and with start-up and small business clients and employers. She continues to imbue Bet Tzedek with the best of the spirit, attitude and practices learned in both worlds.

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