Staff


CicLAvia’s passionate team works to open streets across Los Angeles, turning them into public parks for people to play, learn, and connect.

CicLAvia Staff

Romel Pascual

Romel Pascual – Executive Director

Romel has been a key figure at CicLAvia from the start. As Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment during the administration of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, his leadership at the city helped the organization and the event gain traction within the city in CicLAvia’s fledgling years. Romel successfully merged the mayor’s vision and CicLAvia’s mission to help create what is now a city institution that transforms communities throughout the region.

Prior to being named executive director in 2015, Romel served on the CicLAvia board and was actively involved in the expansion of the organization.

Romel has a master’s degree in urban planning and has a long history championing environmental causes, energy, sustainability, and social justice issues in both the non-profit and public sector. He was the first Assistant Secretary of Environmental Justice under former California Governor Gray Davis. He led the environmental justice program at the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 (Pacific Southwest). Find Romel on Twitter @romelpascual_la


Alex Merlino

Alex Merlino – Director of Finance

Alex oversees all financial aspects of the organization and leads development of branded merchandise. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Alex is an entrepreneur and nonprofit executive with more than 15 years of experience growing small businesses and nonprofit enterprises. She has launched and managed organizations and businesses focused on sustainability, economic development, consumer products, and community. Follow Alex on Twitter @tereskids


Rachel Burke

Rachel Burke – Director of Production

Rachel has spent over a decade activating public space with cultural programming and events throughout Los Angeles County. In her previous job with Community Arts Resources, she produced multiple festivals and pop-ups including GLOW for the City of Santa Monica, Little Tokyo Design Week, Chinatown Summer Nights, Friday Night Concerts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Family Weekends at The Broad. As CicLAvia's Director of Production, Rachel leads all event logistics from start to finish. She works closely with the city and the local community to ensure that each CicLAvia is fun, safe, and successful. A native Angeleno and UC Berkeley graduate, Rachel is always happy to share her tips on the best spots to dine and drink around LA.


Tafarai Bayne

Tafarai Bayne – Chief Strategist

Tafarai is a Los Angeles native with extensive experience in communications, promotion and outreach, constituency building, stakeholder education, project management, program development, marketing, and event production. He is considered a leader in strategic planning and community organizing and has worked on development and urban planning issues for more than 15 years with an emphasis on the dynamics impacting working class communities. He has extensive organizational development experience having served on the board of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy during a critical executive transition. He also recently served on CicLAvia’s board, helping to spearhead expansion efforts into South Los Angeles. He currently serves as CicLAvia’s Chief Strategist. In 2014 he was appointed as a commissioner to the City of Los Angeles Transportation Commission. Tafarai is also the founder of EMH Creative Group, a consulting firm focused on strategic planning, communications, and event production. Follow him on Twitter @tafarai


Meisha Rainman

Meisha Rainman – Director of Development

Meisha is a proud Angeleno, deeply committed to strengthening local communities, both in her professional and volunteer work. She has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector, including as a key leader in the evolution of the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (SIJCC) to a thriving center for arts, education, and culture on Los Angeles’ Eastside. Meisha served on SIJCC’s Board of Directors from 2008–2015, acting as Board Chair from 2012–14. Born and raised in New York, Meisha is a graduate of the Olin School of Business at Washington University. She now lives in Silver Lake with her husband and two children and is honored to support the incredible team at CicLAvia as Director of Development, overseeing institutional and individual giving, strategic partnerships, and communications.


Shawn Dhanak

Shawn Dhanak – Press Secretary

Shawn is a Michigan expat who is proud to call Los Angeles home. He fell in love with the city when he experienced CicLAvia as a participant just after arriving. Since his days studying at Michigan State University, Shawn has dedicated his career to civic engagement, centering most recently on communications strategy for advocacy organizations such as The Sierra Club and Enroll America. As CicLAvia’s Press Secretary, he shares the story of how the region is positively touched by CicLAvia, new chapters for which are written with each event. He is passionate about hiking, biking, and inspiring more people-centered public spaces. Follow Shawn on Twitter @shawndhanak.


Brittany Saake

Brittany Saake – Digital Communications Manager

Brittany has dedicated her career to promoting public places and is thrilled to champion CicLAvia’s change-making mission. A skilled digital marketer, content creator, and social media manager, Brittany has championed the efforts of arts, culture, and community organizations throughout Southern California, working in marketing and communications capacities for The Broad (2017–18), The Autry (2015–17), and The San Diego Museum of Art (2012–15), while also serving as the Digital Marketing co-chair for SoCal Museums (2017–18). A San Diego native and proud Angeleno, Brittany has a degree in fine art and history from UC Santa Barbara. 


Aerienne Russell

Aerienne Russell – Outreach Lead

Aerienne first joined CicLAvia in April 2018 as the new Outreach Lead. She is responsible for mitigation and community relation efforts leading up to an event. With a background in environmental science, outdoor equity, and community events, Aerienne is very happy to help shape the landscape of Los Angeles with CicLAvia!


Jennifer Woon

Jennifer Woon – Accounting Assistant

Jennifer assists on all financial duties with the organization. She’s a graduate of UC Riverside where she studied biology and is passionate about public health issues. She’s an explorer of the city, where she enjoys walking and discovering LA’s urban landscape. Her favorite places to bike and walk in LA are Koreatown and DTLA.