Meet the SDCOL Team

Jose Cruz
Chief Executive Officer

Jose Cruz is the chief executive officer for the San Diego Council on Literacy, a model urban literacy coalition. He has 31 years of experience in the literacy field and is known in the national literacy network for his leadership in organizing collaborative efforts for literacy. He is the recipient of the 2003 San Diego Union-Tribune, “Educator of the Year” award, and has served as president of the National Alliance of Urban Literacy Coalitions and the San Diego Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. In 2007, he was recognized by KPBS and Union Bank as a Hispanic Heritage Month “Local Hero,” in the Education category. In 2014, Jose received The San Diego Union-Tribune’s “Civic Leader of the Year” award as a Latino Champion. He currently serves on the board of directors of ProLiteracy, the largest literacy organization in the world. Jose is a native San Diegan, a graduate of the University of Southern California, and the proud product of the San Diego Community College District.

619-574-1641 ext. 103


Wendy Sacks

Wendy has been with the Council since 2012.  She has more than 20 years of accounting and business management and reporting experience and operates an accounting practice for small businesses and non-profit organizations.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional.  Wendy was born and raised in South Africa and enjoys the outdoors, San Diego’s arts and culture, and is a passionate Eat.Drink.Reader.

619-574-1641 ext. 101


Melanie Mashburn
Office Coordinator

Melanie Mashburn is currently attending San Diego State University obtaining her Masters in Social Work. She is a Pennsylvania State University graduate with a Bachelors in Psychology. At Pennsylvania State University, she was inducted into Psi Chi, The International Honors Society in Psychology. She has 10 years of experience working with children and is a huge supporter of promoting and advocating for literacy among youth and families in San Diego.

619-574- 1641 ext. 105


Laurie Bianchi
Marketing & Development Consultant

Laurie is principal of Marketing & Sponsorship Solutions, a consultancy that provides solutions for clients in need of marketing communications, fundraising and sponsorship development and oversight. She earned her B.S. in Marketing and her M.B.A. from San Diego State University, and most recently completed her professional certificate in project management at UC San Diego. She has served on several volunteer boards including serving as President and Vice President of Marketing on the SDSU Business Alumni Network board of directors. She is also currently the Marketing Chair for the San Diego Downtown Lions Club.