Joanna Cardenas

FutureProfits Program Specialist

Bio

Joanna grew up in Los Angeles and Jalisco, Mexico. She currently lives in Menlo Park with her husband, Jonathan, and seven-year-old daughter. However, Joanna is still an Angeleno at heart and knows where to grab the best ramen in LA. Joanna is passionate about making a difference in her community, and in particular, has a heart for working with children. She is currently finishing her general education and hopes to pursue her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Norte Dame du Namur University this year. She enjoys exploring nature, sketching and trying new things. Unfortunately, she is also a HUGE Raiders fan. Contact Joanna. Contact Joanna.

Yesenia Cruz

LiveAble Coach

Bio

Yesenia Cruz came from Managua, Nicaragua when she was 3 years old and since then she has grown up in Redwood City, North Fair Oaks District. Graduated from Canada College with an AA in Economics. Yesenia’s accidental career path led to Event Consulting and with a well-rounded set of skills in the event world, from any sized event production execution for corporate, Governmental, private parties, to partnering with vendors such as caters. Yesenia left the corporate world in 2015 and has now created her own company Meaningful Events, an event management company. She has a passion to create memorable events made from scratch. In the long run, she would like to be a bridge to new entrepreneurs, utilize their skill set and put them to work for their personal gain. Yesenia loves working within her community and has a passion for building dreams for others. In her spare time, she likes meditating, going to church and networking. Contact Yesenia.

Alicia Ponce Diaz

FutureProfits Program Manager

Bio

Alicia is an East Palo Alto native constantly searching for ways to enrich and fortify her community. As a first-generation American, Alicia has seen first-hand the financial struggles and instability in her own home and within minority and immigrant populations, not only in East Palo Alto but in the world as a whole. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies with an emphasis on political and economic development from Yale University, Alicia hopes that FutureProfits will allow for her to impact communities like her own through financial literacy. An eager learner, Alicia plans to use her passion for personal development to enrich the lives of the students she touches while hoping to gain as much and more from each person she touches through her efforts with FutureProfits. Contact Alicia.

Philip Durden

Vice President of Finance and Operations

Bio

Philip began his career in corporate finance with Ernst & Young and Deutsche Bank, then spent 12 years in private equity primarily with Lexington Partners.  Since 2010, Philip has actively invested in real estate opportunities, including single-family, multi-family residential, and hotel properties.  Philip served as board chairperson for 10 Thousand Windows, an organization offering economic empowerment services for survivors of violence and exploitation, and he has volunteered in various roles with several Bay Area non-profit organizations.  He loves seeing people gain control of their lives and begin to achieve their own life goals.  Philip received his bachelor’s degree in Economics at UC Santa Barbara and later received his MBA from UCLA Anderson.  He lives in Menlo Park, CA with his wife and three children.  Contact Philip.
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Sue Johnson

Vice President of Programs

Bio

Sue worked in the high tech industry for over 10 years, first as a management consultant with Accenture, then in Latin America business development for Apple. After becoming a mother, Sue devoted her time to raising her two children and volunteering in their schools and church. With a deep desire to make a positive impact in her local community,  Sue relaunched her career in 2010 with a focus on social justice.  She is passionate about helping others reach their full potential.  Sue holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Baylor University and an M.I.M. from Thunderbird School of Global Management.  Contact Sue.

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John Liotti

Co-Founder and CEO

Bio

In 2007, Rev. John Liotti co-founded Able Works with a passion to focus on the economic issues underlying the communities in Northern California. John, who has extensive community development experience, recognized a deep need in under-resourced communities for financial education, life skills, assets and connections to the larger community and economy of the region. John is passionate about connecting and harnessing the abundant resources of the Bay Area to shatter generational cycles of poverty and systematic oppression.

Under John’s leadership, Able Works has piloted several innovative programs, including FutureProfits, a curriculum for financial education and decision-making skills for youth; LiveAble, a cohort-based support, goal-setting and finance and career management program for single mothers ages 18 to 30; free foreclosure and credit counseling; and low-income housing.

At an early age, John dedicated his life to serving under-resourced youth and families in communities locally in California’s Central Valley and Bay Area, nationally in Los Angeles, Central Florida and New York City, as well as abroad in Northern Mexico. He has lived and worked in East Palo Alto for seventeen years.

In addition to his work at Able Works, John serves as a board member on the Christian Community Development Association, YCore and the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County. John has a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies with an emphasis in Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA and is a Chaplain for the East Palo Alto Police Department.

John is the lucky husband of Melissa (for about 56 million years) and proud father of son Samuel and his two rescue dogs, Jax and Clementine. Contact John.

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Blanca Medina

LiveAble Program Manager

Bio

Blanca attended Cañada College and holds an Associate’s Degree as a medical assistant. Blanca has lived in East Palo Alto most of her life and has worked alongside various community-based organizations such as JobTrain, One East Palo Alto, and New Creation Home Ministries. She is passionate about helping her community and making a positive impact on the lives of its citizens. Blanca is a certified housing counselor and uses her knowledge to help homeowners in south San Mateo County. Blanca resides in East Palo Alto with her daughter Jocelyn and son Jorge. Contact Blanca

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Angela Montes

Office Coordinator

Bio

An East Palo Alto native, Angela brings her positivity, strong sense of justice, efficiency, kindness and passion for her community to our team dynamic. In addition to keeping the Able Works office organized and well-managed, Angela works with community members who need credit counseling. Angela is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and her family is originally from México. Angela has attended San Jose State University and is (still) fiercely loyal to our Bay Area sports teams. She and her five-year-old son, Carlitos, enjoy talking about dinosaurs and space. Contact Angela.

Jane Su

Communications and Development Manager

Bio

Jane is a well-traveled, animal-loving, passionate advocate of social justice. Jane was born in Atlanta, Georgia but relocated to Hsinchu, Taiwan when she was seven. While in Taiwan, Jane witnessed economic injustice and poverty. After graduating from Smith College, Jane moved to Los Angeles to work for multiple nonprofit organizations including Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and spcaLA. When not working, Jane enjoys spending time with her baby daughter Amelia and nephew Joshua, knitting, and hiking. She also loves to travel.  Contact Jane.