We at CoFusion Group believe that change happens when individuals realize their agency. The power of community resides in reimagining the possibilities while exploring avenues of resolutions that affect meaningful change.

Maha Jacobs, Ed.D.

Empowerment Director: Chief Empowerment Officer
My leadership philosophy is “to empower others in their quest to recognize and fully realize their potential, however they define it.” As an immigrant, Black, Muslim, female, professor, and parent, I uphold my philosophy in the classroom as I facilitate the learning journeys of undergraduates at California State University, East Bay, and Ohlone College. I completed my undergraduate and Master in Communication at Campbell University, and California State University East Bay, respectively. I have a doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from California State University, East Bay.
I combine my academic knowledge, life experiences, and intersectional insights and identities in serving within the university community and volunteering in various communities. My academic research focuses on identity representation and negotiation of marginalized communities, ethnic and religious discrimination, extremism, and Islamophobia, but my passion is developing leaders who affect meaningful change.
A perpetual student at heart, I seek “Aha” moments – a new insight in the familiar, reflections in still moments, writing poetry, and a long walk by the beach. My joy and inspiration are my three children, in seeking ways to help them thrive, and holding myself accountable to a higher standard in all I say and do.

Julie Rems-Smario, Ed.D.

Empowerment Director: Chief Financial Officer
My lightbulb moment is that “I was born Deaf. I grew up Deaf. I spent my adulthood Deaf, and now I am enduring mid-life Deaf, and I will die Deaf. So, who is the expert on being Deaf, the audiologist, doctor, or me?” As the Early Language and Education Programs Consultant, I work at the California School for the Deaf with the CORE Division. My work includes distributing SB 210 Deaf children’s language milestones, assessing young Deaf children’s ASL skills, supporting families of Deaf infants and young children, and training Early Start professionals (Part C). I have two master’s degrees, the first one from California State University, Northridge, and the second one from San Francisco State University. In 2020, I successfully defended my dissertation at the California State University, East Bay.

During my free time, I volunteer as a Public Relations Director for the national campaign Language Equality, and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K). I also have an instrumental role in the establishment of California’s LEAD-K Family Services. To invest in social justice work, I am involved with the following organizations: DeafHope, Deaf Plus Adult Center, NorCal Services for the Deaf, California Association of the Deaf, and Cal-Ed. At home, I like gardening and spending my time with my family including my spouse, children, grandchildren, and three chihuahuas.