Shahnaz Mazandarani founded A Better Way, Inc. in 1996, fusing her background in social work and her commitment to the well-being of children. Shahnaz was the first woman in her family to emigrate to the United States from Iran, and she completed a Master of Social Work degree at San Francisco State University as a single mother of two young boys. After launching her career as a social worker and program director in San Francisco and Oakland, she decided to venture out on her own and start a Foster Family Agency in Berkeley, with a focus on high quality services to foster families. Under Shahnaz’s leadership and vision, A Better Way has grown from its humble beginnings and a staff of 2 in 1996, into a full service agency with 70+ professional staff, an eight-person board of directors, and 3 office locations. Currently, the agency serves over 450 clients per year, with a budget of nearly $7M.
David Channer Chief Operating Officer
After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from UC Santa Cruz in 1993, David Channer began working with at-risk youth in upstate New York. Soon after this he returned to school, and in 1997 he earned a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work. David has focused his career on working with vulnerable and under-served children, youth and families. His primary interest has been in the development and improvement of services that occur at the intersection of Social Services and Mental Health Treatment. David provided mental health services to families at risk in a variety of home-based, clinic-based and residential programs over the years before becoming a Clinical Supervisor in 2005. When he joined A Better Way as Mental Health Program Director in January 2006 he immediately felt that he’d arrived home. In 2008 David became Clinical Director overseeing operation of all services at A Better Way.