Executive Director

Steve Gerhardt is a versatile urban and environmental planner with over 30 years of experience in development entitlement, environmental impact analysis, and urban revitalization as both a planning consultant and public-sector planner. Project experience ranges from the preparation of General Plans for entire communities to Specific Plans for targeted neighborhoods and in-fill development projects, creation and amendment of Redevelopment Project Areas, transportation master plans, bicycle master plans and traffic impact studies, mitigation and management of cultural resources including historic structures, revision of zoning codes and other related municipal ordinances, and management and preparation of Environmental Impact Reports for projects ranging from hillside subdivisions to large office, entertainment, and retail complexes, from plan amendments to new towns, and from infrastructure renovation to downtown revitalization.


Advisory Board Members

Walk Long Beach, as a fiscally sponsored organization, is required to have an advisory board by our fiscal sponsor, Community Partners. The advisory board is made up of walking enthusiasts and advocates from all over Long Beach, bringing energy and providing advise and support for our activities. Current advisory board members are:

Hayley Miller has been a Long Beach resident the past 20 years. She and her family actively walks, runs, and bikes all over the city.  Hayley is a development professional at CSULB and is actively involved in numerous councils and organizations around the great city of Long Beach.  As a parent and a citizen, she wants to improve the safety and walkability of Long Beach neighborhoods for children and families. She has a BA in Women's Studies from CSULB, an MA in Nonprofit Business AJU, and is passionate about equity, sustainability, and safety.

Connor Lock is an accomplished strategy and management professional, focusing in relationship building and narrative creation, and serving as a Legislative Assistant to Long Beach Councilman Dee Andrews. Connor studied International Political Economics at Georgetown University and Ludwig Maximilians in Munich, and is currently pursuing an MPA at California State University Long Beach and serving the community through Leadership Long Beach. Connor is an active leader and engaged community advocate, cyclist, meanderer, and relationship-builder looking to help create a tighter-knit community.

Joy Contreras, a Long Beach native, graduated from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business with her Masters of Science in Management and Leadership where she learned to  lead and empower employees, managers, and organizations to reach their true potential. Her passion lies in  innovating organizational systems and processes and integrating communities to work smarter and better together. She  recently discovered her new found passion of bike riding and enjoys discovering all of what the great city of Long Beach has to offer. 

Tasha Hunter is a writer and educator, and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Uptown Business Improvement District in Long Beach.  She takes pride in working with local youth to bring their dreams to fruition, and also by helping to support the revitalization movement in North Long Beach. She works with property owners, small businesses, and engages the local community to help evolve ideas into completed visions. Hunter also serves as a Cultural Heritage Commissioner and President of the Arts Council of Long Beach. She resides in Long Beach with her daughter Asia, and her sons Mosiah and Kai.

Mark Magdaleno is a founder of Brainstormers, with his greatest passions being a community concierge and volunteer coordinator. Background include legislative aide for Long Beach City Council member Tonia Reyes Uranga; field deputy for Long Beach City Council member/Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal; provided insight into the Long Beach parking app Pied Parker; City of Long Beach liaison for “Beach Streets University”; Music Taste Good community liaison; MC/host LGBT Circuit party at the Queen Mary; past president Lamda Democratic Club; current chair for Long Beach Pedestrian Safety Advisory Commission; and member for the inaugural board for Walk Long Beach. Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication-Advertising, California State University Fullerton. 

Sam Dragga is Professor Emeritus of Technical Communication (Texas Tech University) and editor of the quarterly research journal of the Society for Technical Communication (  A downtown resident, he conducts monthly walking tours for Long Beach Heritage ( of the city’s historic and architecturally significant buildings.

Maureen Neeley- Born and raised walking the hills of San Francisco, Maureen Neeley is passionate about the health, cultural, social and economic benefits of activating her environment by walking it. As a librarian and architectural history consultant, she promotes biking, walking and public transit through her work with historic preservation (through her business [HouStories], and her leadership roles with Long Beach Heritage and the Historical Society of Long Beach), community outreach (President of the Belmont Heights Community Association), and as an on-call Librarian for the City of Long Beach.

Debbie Vardi A formerly avid hiker and now Bixby Knolls Stroller and recreational walker, Debbie moved with her husband to Bixby Knolls almost two years ago for closer proximity to their daughters and grandchildren.  Debbie has been instrumental in building several companies and looks forward to semi-retirement in the near future.

Tony Mendoza A native and resident of Long Beach, California, Tony has a BA in Public Administration with an emphasis in City Planning from San Diego State University. He brings a wealth of experience in transit planning, and in building partnerships and consensus for complex and contentious projects. Tony is an award-winning transportation planner with an emphasis on high-capacity transit projects, transit system planning and operations, and transit-oriented development.

Doris Felix is a world traveling walking advocate. In 2017, Doris walked part of the Camino de Santiago, where she crossed the Pyrenees from France into Spain. She says it was an incredible experience and notes that walking in Long Beach is equally as important. Doris has been walking with the Bixby Knolls Strollers for the past 10 years, participated in the Inaugural Ranchos Walk, and looks forward to future walking events.

LaShonda Bagley is the leader in front of Uptown Movement LLC, a walking and wellness organization. She is an avid runner, certified running coach, accountant and community advocate that is passionate about cultivating a healthy community.  She strives to educate, inspire and motivate my community to prioritize their mind, body and soul.

Hilda Gaytan is an immigrant from Mexico City. At the age of 47 she returned to school. She graduated from Compton College and studied Sociology with a minor in Urban Planning and Design at UCI. She has a certificate in sustainability from UCI and is a UC Master Gardener. She is a 2018-19 ARTS for LA Activate fellow, serves as a commissioner for the City of Long Beach Sustainable City Commission and is a board member for UPLAN, Urban Agricultural Council, and Puente LA. For the last 10 years Hilda has been a community activist and organizer advocating for sustainable practices, public health, and the arts as a way of acquiring social equity.