Hosts and Speakers

Prior to his election to the State Senate, Darrell Steinberg served three terms representing the 9th District of the State Assembly, which includes most of the capital city of Sacramento.

His hard work and dedication in the Assembly brought him an array of public recognition. In 2000, during his first term in office, Steinberg was a nearly unanimous choice for the magazine’s “Rookie of the Year” award. Steinberg was twice named Legislator of the Year by the California Psychiatric Association. Other Legislator of the Year awards include the California School Boards Association; California Federation of Teachers; Californians for Disability Rights; Girl Scout Councils of California; and the California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association. Mr. Steinberg also received the outstanding Public Service Award from the California School Employees Association and the Phillip S. Tow Government Award (Clean Air Award) from the American Lung Association.

Darrell Steinberg now acts as the chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. He also serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Health Committee, the Environmental Quality Committee, the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources. Steinberg also chairs the Senate Select Committee on High School Graduation.

Mr. Steinberg was born in San Francisco. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from UCLA and a law degree from UC Davis. Mr. Steinberg and his wife Julie have two children—daughter Jordana, and son, Ari.


Bishop Sherwood C. Carthen is the senior pastor of Bayside of South Sacramento and the founder and director of the Our Family Community Foundation, a para-church ministry specializing in wellness, wholeness and faith. He is also chair of stakeholder for the National African American Tobacco Education Network. He currently serves as president of the National Black Clergy for Substance Abuse Prevention; and chairperson of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Worship Celebration Committee for the Sacramento Community. In addition, he is chaplain for the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings.

Bishop Carthen received degrees and honors in the professional world including: Associate Arts Degree in Business Administration from Sacramento City College; as well as a Bachelor’s Degree of Theology; and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree in the field of Interdenominational Service from the Mount Zion Institute and Bible Seminary. He was employed with the Department of Motor Vehicles, State of California for eleven years and ended his career as a Manager III of the Network Control Center User Help Desk. He also served as the president of the Black Employees United for Equality, which was designed to assist African Americans and minorities with upward mobility. He previously served two years as the vice president of the Board of Directors for Interfaith Service Bureau. He is a strong advocate of worshipping with others. Due to his strong charismatic presence and dedication to the Lord, Bishop Carthen receives numerous requests to share in devotion with other churches in their special worship services or blessed occasions. He also takes the opportunity to invite and encourage other churches of all denominations to share with his church family.

Jeff vonKaenel is the president and chief executive officer of the News & Review. He has worked with alternative newspapers for over 30 years. Since September 11, 2001, Jeff has spent time getting to know the many religious organizations throughout the Sacramento area while putting together the annual A Call for Unity events. The faith groups participating in A Call for Unity have been inspired to build upon Sacramento’s long tradition of interfaith cooperation by creating an interfaith service endeavor—Building Unity. Jeff serves on the executive board of Building Unity, a coalition of diverse religious organizations, neighborhood groups and Sacramento-area nonprofits working to repair seniors’ homes, build new homes and work with landlords and the city of Sacramento to create better, safer neighborhoods.

KEN CROSS, speaker
Ken Cross is the chief executive officer for Sacramento Habitat for Humanity (SHfH). Born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1974 with a degree in civil engineering. Ken served stateside and overseas as a United States Army armor officer for ten years from 1974 to 1984. He was a self-employed financial planner, sales manager and corporate sales and management trainer serving career military service members for the following ten years. Since 1995, he has volunteered and worked in the nonprofit arena with the Red Cross, UC Davis Med Center Hospice, and the Spiritual Life Center. He has over 30 years service in government, business and nonprofit organizations helping to make a difference in local communities. Ken joined SHfH as the operations officer in November 2003 and became the chief executive officer October 1, 2005.