Jeffery T.D. Wallace is a keen, innovative strategist with over a decade of experience in non-profit executive management, community and economic development and proven success in fundraising and designing youth focused initiatives. As the founding Executive Director and current President and CEO of LeadersUp, he is charged with being both a visionary and architect – establishing the strategic framework for LeadersUp to fulfill its mission to create employer-led solutions for the national youth unemployment and opportunity-divide challenge that yield successful outcomes for both businesses and communities.
Previously, Jeffery served as a Senior Program Officer for the Los Angeles Urban League where he led the human capital, programmatic architecture and policy agenda of the League’s comprehensive community change initiative in South Los Angeles. His leadership resulted in increased delivery of vital education, public safety, public health and community development services to over 10,000 residents and stakeholders.
Jeffery’s acumen for designing and monitoring operational efficiencies and strategic planning resulted in him serving as the lead staff liaison to a diverse group of business and community leaders serving on the Board of Directors, cultivating essential local and national stakeholder partnerships and implementing studies specific to the economic vitality of communities throughout Los Angeles.
As a dedicated community advocate Jeffery continues to lead effective initiatives that are not only process-driven, but people oriented. In 2009, Jeffery became the Western Region Executive Director of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. where he serves a membership base of over 5,000 college educated and professional African American men, spearheads the distribution of over $150,000 in annual scholarships, and help empowers over 2,500 young men through effective leadership development programs.
Jeffery has the honor of serving as a fellow for the Presidio Institute and being a Metropolitan Non-Resident Fellow for the Brookings Institute. Jeffery is a native of Richmond, California and proud graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, where he received both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters of Science degree in Education, and the University of California Berkeley where he received his masters of Science degree in Organizational Development. Jeffery currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Suzanne Soto is a systematizing organizational management professional with over 21 years of extensive experience in the entertainment, retail, recruiting, government and nonprofit industries. She has expertise in scheduling, event planning, board management, vendor management, fund development, as well as expense and budget management and serves as Special Assistant to the President for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, Suzanne also handles office operations and facilities management.
Prior to LeadersUp, Suzanne was an entrepreneur in high fashion retail, a production assistant for Robert Townsend’s production company, an executive recruiter for Top Performers, and a held a number of positions at the Los Angeles Urban League. Suzanne attended California College of Art in Oakland California where she earned a B.F.A in General Fine Art. Soto’s foremost passion is reading and spurring others to read on a regular basis, something she’s tried to promote in her years in nonprofit organizations. She is a rare native of Los Angeles and currently resides in South Pasadena, CA with her son Zachary.
Helen Han, National Director of Development & Operations
Helen Han, National Director of Development & Operations
Helen Han serves as the National Director of Development & Operations at LeadersUp where she is part of the core leadership team that formulates, develops and implements operational systems and sustainable strategies that takes the organization to its next level of success. She is a seasoned and effective organizational development expert with a proven track record of delivering extraordinary results that bring about long-term growth at every organization that she serves.
Prior to LeadersUp, Helen served more than a decade in nonprofit executive roles that included President & CEO of the LA Junior Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and CEO of the NAWBO-Los Angeles Chapter. Previously, Helen served as a leader of an interdisciplinary service, research and training team at the Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management where she ran executive education programs for business and nonprofit leaders. Throughout her professional life, Helen has been dedicated to finding ways to forge the connection between the economic, social and political spheres of influence to create a better future for the next generation. Helen is a first generation immigrant from South Korea and a product of the Los Angeles public school system. She received her degree in Business Management with concentrations in Organizational Development and Marketing from the California State University, Northridge.
Corey Matthews is a nonprofit management and public policy professional with a decade of experience in leading, designing and evaluating community-based programs. He has experience in several areas of social policy including education and criminal justice, and currently serves as the National Director of Impact for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, he manages the LeadersUp impact, programs and advancement departments responsible for employer-led initiatives in all markets. He also provides strategy analysis to inform broader organizational management and partnership goals.
Prior to LeadersUp, Corey worked as a consultant for the City of Oakland where he developed their strategic plan for violence reduction. Professionally, he has a breadth of experience in leading collaborative working groups to advance education and criminal justice reform, and has worked in think tanks, shaped state and local policy advocacy initiatives, and managed programs to respond to social issues.
A native of South Los Angeles, Corey is interested in public policy, impact, and community development and uses his experiences in management and research to solve some of society’s most urgent issues. He holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Urban Education from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Andrew Vidales is a dedicated and passionate community development professional with expertise in labor relations, community service, and program management. He serves as the Deputy Director of Impact for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, he works closely with the Director of Impact in interdepartmental project management of three key departments: Impact, Communications and Programs. He also provides management of project plans and production schedule.
Prior to LeadersUp, Andrew Vidales worked as a consultant on a $6.2 billion construction project for the Los Angeles Community College District. He graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in media and cultural studies and anthropology, where his research focused on the effects of mass media in economically disadvantaged markets. Currently, Andrew Vidales is pursuing a master’s degree in leadership and organizational studies from Azusa Pacific University. A native of Los Angeles, Andrew is extremely interested in public policy and community economic development and hopes that the experiences he has in community service, workforce development and outreach continue to fuel his passion for serving at-risk individuals in underserved communities.
Crissy Chung is a researcher with an expertise on data analytics, public health, and education. She serves as an Impact Manager for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, she works closely with the Director of Impact in obtaining and managing data on various projects involving local partners and populations.
Crissy graduated from UCLA with a focus on policy research and quantitative/qualitative methods, where she earned a Master of Public Policy. Prior to UCLA, Crissy completed her BA in Sociology and Political Science at UC Berkeley. As a native of Southern California, she hopes to continually learn about the city’s changing dynamics, especially with respect to at-risk youth and the local economy. Crissy is passionate about providing social context and history to communicate data in a socially responsible way.
Nicole Caviris is a research and data analyst with expertise in economics, labor issues, and the relationship between education and the labor market and serves as an Impact Manager for LeadersUp. In this capacity, she works closely with the Director of Impact and the rest of the Impact team in managing pilot programs and helps oversee the work of the graduate fellows. She also provides analytical support for the organization through the analysis of pilot program processes and outcomes and through research as it relates to different markets and the general landscape in which LeadersUp operates.
Prior to LeadersUp, Nicole graduated from Iowa State University with a MA in economics, where her research focused on the connection between college major choice and the gender wage gap. For her undergraduate studies, Nicole attended Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA where she earned dual BA degrees in Economics and International Studies. A native of New Hampshire, Nicole is extremely interested in economic development and labor issues and hopes that the experiences she has in both management and research continue to fuel her passion for helping young people maximize their potential while being effective contributors to their communities.
John Roberson, III Innovation & Digital Platforms Administrator
John Roberson, III is a nonprofit management and policy professional with half a decade of experience in leading and designing communication, branding and digital media strategies for non-profits, elected officials, philanthropic initiatives and celebrity clients. He has expertise in communication design, brand management, social media growth and analysis, information architecture, collective impact design and serves as the Innovation & Digital Platforms Administrator for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity he manages the communication and digital infrastructures that amplifies, promotes, standardizes, tracks, and measures engagement, influence, and performance of target audiences across all LeadersUp markets. He also works across teams to develop organizational position on key issues within LeadersUp advocacy portfolio and provides direction into sustained stakeholder engagement.
Prior to LeadersUp, John worked at Reinvent Communications, a social impact firm in Los Angeles where he implemented communication and collective impact strategies to reduce recidivism rates among black male youth in South LA, designed interactive experiences and key messaging for state-wide philanthropic funded initiatives focused on Boys and Men of Color, and provided brand and communication management for elected officials and celebrity clients. Additionally, John's interest in community development has led him to conduct research, landscape analysis, and policy reform focused on opportunity, reentry and transition youth through his experiences at the Coalition for Responsible Community Development and the Los Angeles County Education Foundation. John attended the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California where he received a Master's in Public Policy and a certificate in Public Management. A native of Atlanta, GA, John completed his BA from Emory University in Environmental Science. At 10 years old, John first realized opportunities were limited in his neighborhood because of his zip, which fuels his dedication to building great cities so that “better” becomes “standard” for all zip codes.
Aida Morrow, Corporate and Strategic Partnerships Manager
Aida Morrow is a marketing professional with over a decade of experience in account management, strategic planning and relationship development. She serves as the Corporate and Strategic Partnerships Manager for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, Aida works closely with the President/CEO and Corporate and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator to develop marketing strategies and employer partner relationships, while managing the satisfaction and success of all employer partnerships.
Prior to LeadersUp, Aida served as the primary account and activations manager for numerous corporate partners at the LA Clippers. She also served as a key marketing and community outreach lead during her time in UCLA’s Athletic Department. Aida graduated from California State University, Long Beach where she earned a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. A native of Los Angeles, she is passionate about using sports and entertainment to bridge social change in the community.
Stephen Wawryk, Corporate and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator
Stephen Wawryk is a marketing and sales consulting professional with expertise in client relationship development and strategic planning. He serves as the Corporate and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, he works closely with the Corporate and Strategic Partnerships Manager in managing the success of new employer partnership initiatives. He also provides key research to recognize trends within the industry and provide our partners with expertise advice in their fields.
Prior to LeadersUp, Stephen Wawryk worked in both the creative and marketing software industry, along with Account Management in the CPG industry. Prior to his experience, he graduated from W.P. Carey School of Business, with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Arizona State University, where he focused on research and campaign development. A native of New York, Stephen is interested in social justice and environmental services and hopes that the experiences he has with LeadersUp continue to fuel his passion for connecting young adults with growing career opportunities.
Lenée Richards, Associate Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Lenée Richards has nearly a decade of strategic communication and stakeholder engagement experience. As the Associate Director of Communications & Public Affairs for LeadersUp, she leverages her marketing and community mobilization skills towards helping to amplify and implement national initiatives and partnerships.
Prior to joining LeadersUp, Lenée served as a Community Engagement Specialist for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA), where she organized grass-root campaigns helping to reach over 300,000 Angelenos. After graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from Virginia State University, Lenée joined Fenton Communications in Washington, D.C. This awarded her the opportunity to strengthen the impact of a diverse range of non-profit organizations through powerful storytelling and movement building.
Nikki Pressley is a creative professional with nearly a decade of experience working in visual communication. Nikki has worked with a variety of organizations from ad agencies, real estate and healthcare corporations before joining LeadersUp. She brings a diverse skill set in design technologies as well as a passion for creative problem solving. Nikki oversees the creative arm of LeadersUp, ensuring brand alignment, in addition to supporting all departments with creative solutions and collateral. Nikki is also an educator and artist dedicated to enhancing and supporting the dialogue around visual culture. She is a native of Greenville, South Carolina and a graduate of Furman University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Design. Nikki is also a proud alumnus of California Institute of the Arts where she received a Masters of Fine Art in Studio Art.
Cynthia Lezama, Digital Media & Communications Manager
Cynthia Lezama is a bilingual communications professional with experience driving multicultural PR initiatives and social media conversations and serves as the Digital Media & Communications Manager for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity she supports the overall implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of digital and PR campaigns.
Prior to joining LeadersUp, Cynthia worked on a number of campaigns for the social and private sector, spanning from St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, got milk?, Nike, Domino’s Pizza and Verizon Wireless among others. A native and current resident of South Los Angeles, Cynthia is dedicated to securing long-term equitable opportunities in her community and is invested in creating workforce development solutions for young adults nationwide. Cynthia is a graduate of California State University, Northridge where she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Journalism.
Devon Miner, National Program Manager of Partnership & Advancement
Devon Miner proudly serves as the National Program Manager of Partnership in our Advancement unit. In this capacity, Devon works diligently to build and manage partnerships with post-secondary institutions, community based organizations and employers across the nation to facilitate the process of getting opportunity youth from entry-level positions into employer’s mission critical roles. Devon serves as a strategic intermediate with our partners, encouraging opportunity youth to utilize their employer’s tuition benefits while earning stackable credits/credentials for career advancement. In addition, Devon provides guidance on the curriculum and implementation design of promoting career advancement for opportunity youth.
Devon leverages his education, training and transferrable skills to successfully execute the duties and responsibilities in his role. Prior to joining LeadersUp, Devon worked in the field of education policy, leading campaigns that have resulted in legislative and budget wins for underserved students in California and Pennsylvania. Devon also has an extensive research and practical background in higher education, with a particular emphasis on the factors that help Black & Latino males succeed in school. Devon received his Master’s of Science degree in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania and his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). A native from Inglewood, CA, Devon is extremely passionate for eradicating the barriers that impede upon the upward mobility of historically disenfranchised communities.
Miles Goodloe, National Program Manager of Instruction & Advancement
Miles Goodloe is an educator and instructional programmer with expertise in higher education, retention, and program development. He serves as the National Program Manager of Instruction & Advancement for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, he works closely with the Program Manager of Partnership & Advancement in managing new and existing community partner relationships. He also provides curriculum development and implementation for current programming and leads instruction for professional empowerment.
Prior to LeadersUp, Miles worked as an advisor in the Honors College at Drexel University, which prides itself on college to career preparation by requiring work experience to graduate. He became the youngest adjunct faculty member at 24 years old. Prior to working at Drexel University, Miles served the greater Los Angeles and Pasadena communities while attending UCLA to assist in closing the achievement gap. A native of Oakland, California, Miles is extremely interested in higher education and career advancement. He hopes that the experiences he has in college retention and professional development continue to fuel his passion for creating economic sovereignty. He currently leads multimedia efforts as a motivational speaker focused on college to career success for people facing challenging times.
Ronnie Versher Jr., MBA, Associate Director of Programs – SF Bay Area
Ronnie Versher is a marketing and business development professional with experience and expertise in developing, growing and, effectuating market penetration and activation strategies. A native of San Francisco, Ronnie attended Lowell High School and completed his undergraduate degrees in Marketing and Finance at the University of San Francisco (USF).
Prior to pursuing his MBA in the U.K. at the University of Birmingham, Ronnie completed his tenure as the Associate Director of Marketing at his alma mater, USF. Currently he works as the Manager of Special Projects providing support and leadership to LeadersUp on two fronts in the Bay Area – cultivating & managing relationships with community based organizations (talent development partners) and as a business development professional tasked with identifying synergies between LeadersUp and organization performing in the private sector to build pipelines for employment pathways for the 200,000+ opportunity youth in the Bay Area.
Joanna Martinez, Senior Manager of Programs and Training – SF Bay Area
Joanna Martinez is an intuitive leader and a youth professional developer at heart, with expertise in trauma-responsive pedagogy and non-profit leadership. Joanna, a first generation college graduate and daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother, obtained her Bachelors degree in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Organizational Leadership at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education.
Joanna serves as the Senior Manager of Programs and Training- San Francisco Bay Area, for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, she works closely with the Associate Director of Programs and National Director of Impact in managing the development of engaging programming and training to opportunity youth (youth ages 18-24 who are not working and not in school) across the greater San Francisco/Bay Area to connect them to career pathways with various employer partners. Joanna also champions employer engagement, supporting a community of practice model for employer feedback, talent intermediation and pilot design functions with the National Director of Impact. She also facilitates strategic partnerships with government, private and non-government systems and providers and maintains key relationships.
Prior to joining the LeadersUp team, Joanna served as the Program Manager for Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency’s (BOSS) Career Training and Employment Center (CTEC). In her time at BOSS, Joanna oversaw three major workforce development county and city contracts focusing on formerly incarcerated adults and high-risk young adults; designed and facilitated work readiness trainings for 600 individuals annually; introduced and operationalized the Sanctuary Model rooted in Trauma-Responsive Care; trained her team on leveraging available technology to improve tracking/reporting methodology and build team efficiency; brokered relationships with various businesses to fulfill hiring needs; created CBO partnerships to enhance programming and leverage shared resources; and built a secondary education model (Career Pathways) intentionally embedded within the programmatic structure of CTEC in partnership with adult-serving educational institutions and the Peralta Community College District.
Joanna is passionate about leveraging education as a means for liberation and advancement in communities of color. She plans to obtain her Doctorate degree and continue her private practice in educational consultation in the Bay Area to facilitate the development of healthy and wealthy communities by enhancing educational practices both in the classroom and in people-serving institutions at large.
Jayvond Jeffries-Brown, Program Coordinator – SF Bay Area
Jayvond Jeffries-Brown is the Program Coordinator in the SF Bay Area market at LeadersUp. Jayvond’s expertise is in urban youth development, community outreach and mentoring through workforce development. This allows him to serve the program participants of LeadersUp by effectively engaging and assisting them to unlock their various passions and talents to thrive in the workplace. Jayvond is passionate about working with the underrepresented youth to help empower them to fully embrace who they are and actualize their potential. Jayvond has 5+ years of experience working in the community as an activist and advocate.
Prior to joining LeadersUp, he served as an Outreach Coordinator for Project Connect at San Francisco State University. Jayvond holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Africana Studies from San Francisco State University.
Suzanne Brown, Associate Director of Program – Los Angeles
Suzanne Brown is an enthusiastic non-profit social services professional with over 9 years of experience in family engagement, community outreach and expertise in the design and implementation of social programs. Suzanne serves as the Associate Director of Program - Los Angeles for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, Suzanne is responsible for working to advance program initiatives within each market and interfaces with the impact, communications and executive teams to direct programs and public affairs representation against market-specific goals. S/he leads regional programs team to source opportunity youth from workforce providers and nonprofit organizations, train them against employer demand for specific career pathways, and galvanize resources to support their success upon employment.
Prior to joining LeadersUp Suzanne was the Director, Parent Engagement and Parent Academy at the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL). In her role at LAUL, Suzanne oversaw the first Parent Engagement initiative of LAUL, a two-year pilot with the mission of raising parent engagement among African American and other minority parents, while empowering them to demand the most cutting edge opportunities for their children’s education in partnership with local Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) and schools across the Los Angeles County.
Suzanne began her career in the Non-profit sector working as a Family Services Worker (FSW) within the Head Start and State Preschool program at LAUL She specialized in developing family service plans to address the needs of parents and children. Other responsibilities included, counseling and serving as a parent advocate while assessing services and working with other agencies such as mental health providers, courts and schools. Suzanne went on to become an Administrative Coordinator before transitioning to the role of Project Manager, where she managed a portfolio of 6 projects at a time. In this role, Suzanne was responsible for the planning, execution and implementation of various workforce projects while serving as a thought partner and strategist to the Workforce leadership team and other LAUL program disciplines in the areas of early education, public health, and public safety.
Suzanne states her recipe for success is “not taking myself too seriously, because life is a gift, so live it.” During her free time, Suzanne works with family and friends facilitating what she calls her “Career Café,” which provides assistance with resume building and brand development for individual employment searches.
Suzanne holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in African American Studies from California State University, Northridge and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach.
Katherine Casado-Jaquez, Program Coordinator – Los Angeles
Katherine Casado-Jaquez is a passionate human services non-profit professional with expertise in youth development, community outreach, and strategic planning. With experience in program design and youth advocacy, she serves as the Program Coordinator - Los Angeles at the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, she recruits and connects young adults to career pathways, develops strong partnerships with youth-serving organizations, and empowers young people to nurture their leadership, maximize their potential, and create community impact. She also provides administrative and volunteer outreach support.
Katherine received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the State University of New York – Purchase College, where her research focused on the complexities and beauty within the lived experiences of women of color. Prior to migrating to Los Angeles from the South Bronx, Katherine was dedicated to creating safe spaces and providing a continuum of care for LGBTQ youth and young women experiencing homelessness and healing from trauma. A native of New York City, Katherine is committed to social justice and public service, and aims to open the doors of access and opportunity for those in greatest need. She hopes that the experiences she has in connecting young adults to employment opportunities and building a network of community partners continue to fuel her passion for urban youth empowerment, community economic development, and the liberation of marginalized and underserved communities.
DeMario McGhee is a social justice professional with experience in constructing, leading and adding intrinsic value to political, economic, educational and philanthropic institutions. He has expertise in youth impact and development and serves as the Project Coordinator for the West for the LeadersUp Organization. In this capacity, DeMario provides administrative, logistical and innovative support in program planning, young adult consultation, and mentorship and advising.
Prior to LeadersUp, DeMario received his degree in both African American studies and Film and Television from the University of California, Los Angeles. Additionally, DeMario served as a mobile Junior College counselor and peer mentor for Los Angeles South West College and Los Angeles City Harbor College, and he has been a part of numerous grassroots organizations, charitable events, and frequently volunteered his services. As a student of Dr. Claud Anderson, a member of the Harvest Institute, DeMario’s interest continues to remain in the social, political, economic, educational advancement and expansion of the vulnerable and voiceless in our global community.
Jonathan Edmonson, Educational Liaison Fellow – Los Angeles
Jonathan Edmonson, Educational Liaison Fellow – Los Angeles
Jonathan Edmonson is the Education Liaison at LeadersUp for the Los Angeles market. Jonathan’s experience within the community college arena and expertise with professional advancement allows LeadersUp to effectively assist our associates with earning stackable credentials at a postsecondary institution while working towards their career goals.Jonathan’s 10 years of customer service, public speaking and leadership experience within the fast paced restaurant industry, while completing school, is truly representative of the P.O.W.E.R skills and efficacy we wish to promote among our LeadersUp Associates.Prior to joining LeadersUp, Jonathan was a stand out volunteer at LeadersUp’s inaugural Career Club at Locke High School. Jonathan also interned at the district office of Congressmember Karen Bass, where he was inspired to take a more active role with positively impacting the lives of young people in his community. Jonathan has a BA in Public Policy with a concentration in Ethnic studies from the University of California Riverside.
Ashley Salas is a Program Intern at LeadersUp based in Los Angeles. In this capacity, she works closely with the Program Department where she conceptualizes innovative strategies to engage young adults. In this role she brings her ability to adapt effortlessly, communicate effectively, and learn quickly.
Ashley comes to the LeadersUp team with seven years of customer service experience and is passionate about helping young adults succeed. Currently, Ashley is employed with Chipotle where she was recruited through the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Hiring Fair Powered by LeadersUp in October 2016.
A native of the City of Gardena, Ashley is passionate about developing creative ways to build a business that combines her love for cooking. She is currently a student at Los Angeles Harbor College and is looking forward to obtaining an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and Communication. Ashley is resilient, gritty, and confident that she has the capacity to achieve everything she sets her powerful mind to. All of these strengths will also support her in achieving her long-term goal: becoming a social entrepreneur.
Emmanuel Kashimbiri is a Program Intern at LeadersUp based in Los Angeles. In this capacity his work entails working closely with the Program Department and liaising with other departments in order to help streamline youth engagement.
Emmanuel’s previous work history includes reconstructing analog camera equipment and working as a semi-professional photographer. Currently, he is employed at Nodrstom’s Rack where he was recruited through the collaborative LeadersUp hiring initiative with Southwest College in May 2016.
Emmanuel is a proud native of the South Los Angeles. He is a 5-year member of Toastmasters International, where he continues to cultivate his public speaking and leadership skills. In his spare time, he creates living history through his photography, by “capturing the moments we forget.” Emmanuel loves to travel and has visited four continents, twelve countries, and eighteen states. His passion for reading has led to his aspiration of becoming a librarian specializing in photographic archival storage, blending his interests into a career for the ages.
Lisa Hampton, Associate Director of Programming and Public Affairs – Midwest
Lisa Hampton is an employment and workforce professional with nearly three decades of experience providing direct services and designing programs. She has expertise in reentry, transitional, and youth employment and education and serves as Associate Director of Programming and Public Affairs for the Midwest for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, she utilizes her policy and program expertise to build relationships with government, education leaders, employers and other key stakeholders to advance opportunities for youth through talent development and training opportunities.
Prior to LeadersUp, Lisa’s former roles includes eight years with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and Illinois Department of Corrections as a Senior Program Service Administrator working on employment and education opportunities for offenders and five years as a Senior Policy Associate at the Chicago Jobs Council focusing on workforce development issues such as race and hiring practices and employment barriers for ex-offenders. Ms. Hampton holds a BS in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Master's from the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration.
Lisa believes the two major keys to success for youth are building relationships and power of effective communication. She believes that effective communication between employers and youth can lead to widen opportunities for youth to see themselves as value add to an employer as well as address any racial, ethnic and sexual bias or stereotypes that youth and employers often times bring to the workplace. What makes her excited about working for LeadersUp is the ability to see change immediately with youth and how that impacts their communities and families. To give youth tools to change their lives, build habits and self-confidence is the key to changing the outcomes for youth across the nation.
Katy Butler is a passionate social justice professional and seasoned activist with expertise in anti-bullying, LGBT, diversity education and leadership development. She serves as the Program Coordinator for the Midwest of the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, Katy focuses on recruiting cohorts for the LeadersUp Future at Work: Winning in the Workplace trainings, building relationships with employer partners and implementing curriculum for opportunity youth to prepare for future employment.
Katy graduated from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. with a Bachelors in Sociology and a Bachelors in Women’s Studies. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois where she is concentrating in Diversity and Equity Education. Prior to LeadersUp Katy worked with a youth community group in Detroit where she developed and implemented her original diversity education program. Katy spent time working for Congressman Michael Honda in Washington D.C. where she focused on anti-bullying legislation. She has also won multiple online LGBT and anti-bullying campaigns.
Katy grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently resides in Chicago. For fun, Katy loves listening to and making music and playing rugby! She is extremely passionate about creating social change and making the world a better place; the work she does at LeadersUp continues to fuel her passion for social progress.
Dywaine Betts, Jr. is an urban youth development specialist with nearly a decade of experience in mentoring and instructing youth in post-secondary education and workforce development. He has experience in curriculum and program design, community outreach and serves as the Program Coordinator for the Midwest for the LeadersUp organization. In this capacity, he recruits cohorts of talented youth for the Future at Work: Winning in the Workplace trainings, implements customized employer designed curriculums, mentors, and prepares youth for interviews. Additionally, Dywaine manages the day-to-day engagement with employer-partners across the Chicago market.
Prior to LeadersUp, Dywaine worked with a network of workforce development agencies in Chicago, helping justice-involved youth gain education and employment. Dywaine developed a network of social service providers in Chicago, which continues to help many young men gain employment and services throughout the city today. Dywaine attended Michigan State University, where he obtained a BA in Family and Community Services with a concentration in Youth Development. A native of Flint, MI, Dywaine remains dedicated to helping young adults discover their talent and potential to further better themselves. Being, “Positive energy made flesh”, Dywaine takes any situation and uses his knowledge and skills to advance towards outcomes.
Miki Grace is the Education Liaison Fellow at LeadersUp. Miki’s strong commitment to helping young adults navigate post-secondary institutions, coupled with her natural ability to inspire leadership allows LeadersUp to successfully connect young adults to continued learning opportunities that amplify their capacity to transition from an entry level position to a mid skill position in the workplace.
Prior to joining LeadersUp, Miki worked in Student Affairs, enhancing the quality of student life by identifying and establishing sustainable relationships between students, university administrators and service providers at Northern Illinois University. Miki has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and a minor in black studies and community leadership & Civic Engagement.