Our founding members
BOARD DIRECTOR, SECRETARY
Mr. Patrick Gihana is the original inspirational founder as one of three Cofounders of the California Immigrants Resources Center and serves as CIRC Board Director and the Secretary of CIRC. He is the owner of the Law Offices of Patrick Gihana. He focuses his practice on Immigration Law, with an emphasis on removal defense, family immigration, and consular processing.
Mr. Gihana has first-hand experience as an immigrant. He was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a son of refugee parents who fled ethnic violence in their home country of Rwanda. Later, Mr. Gihana also lived as an international student pursuing his legal education, first in Brussels, Belgium where he graduated from the “Universite Libre de Brussels,” then continuing his education in Sacramento, California where he graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Transnational Business Law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
After seeing the plight of refugees, migrant workers, and many other migration crises throughout the world, such as the Syrian refugees and unaccompanied minors from Central America, Mr. Gihana was deeply affected and decided to practice immigration law with the goal of helping people find stability in their new life.
Mr. Gihana is a fierce advocate for immigrants and works with various local nonprofit organizations to ensure legal access for unrepresented immigrants in deportation proceedings. In addition, Mr. Gihana also enjoys promoting cross-cultural exchange and diversity as a member of the Steering Committee of the World Affairs Council, Sacramento Chapter.
Mr. Gihana speaks French and other African languages such as Swahili, Lingala, and Kinyarwanda
BOARD DIRECTOR, CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER
Mr. Frank Tawil, is one of the Cofounders, CIRC Board Director, and Chief Financial Officer of the California Immigrants Resources Center.
Mr. Tawil is a Business Owner, Technology Executive with over 25 years of experience driving technology strategy and cloud operations for prestigious companies such as Snap, Nuance, Robert Half International, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Sun Microsystems.
Currently, Mr. Tawil provides executive consultancy in technology for many Silicon Valley companies such Taos Mountain, and other Unicorn startups. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of VerCloud LLC, an Information Technology services company focused on agnostic Cloud solutions.
Aside from his extensive technology and business leadership and experience, Mr. Tawil always believed in providing opportunities for others and giving back to the community. While working at Sun Microsystems, he developed an internship program and pathway to recruit students and recent graduates from Mission College and San Jose State University.
Mr. Tawil is also a volunteer of the Career Services team of the CISE Security Program at Merritt College in Oakland, California. The team works with students on getting them ready for internships and full-time employment. Additionally, Mr. Tawil serves as the Chief Technology Officer of the Lideranca Group. a business and workforce acceleration firm that focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion as one of their pillars to developing people, improving behaviors, and changing workplaces.
Mr. Tawil completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Purdue University.
CHAIR, BOARD DIRECTOR, CEO, ED
Mr. Robert Gonzalez is one of the cofounders of the California Immigrants Resources Center (CIRC) (www.CIRCenter.org). He serves as the Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director, and Chair of the CIRC Board of Directors.
Mr. Gonzalez’s career included public service positions for forty years covering 20 years in the federal government and 20 years in the California State Government. He completed various assignments in financial management and administration, program and policy assignments and operational program areas. He worked on proposals to develop or improve social services programs for vulnerable children and adult populations in the state of California. Mr. Gonzalez served 20 years in military service including as a commissioned officer of the U.S. Coast Guard. He holds Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from University College, University of Maryland, a Master of Arts in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, DC, and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, City University in New York.