Jessica Barragan Carmona

Program Specialist, FutureProfits

Bio

Jessica Barragan Carmona has called the Central Valley home since 1998 and has roots tracing back to La Costa Grande of Guerrero, Mexico. Originally introduced to social injustices after entering community college, it is in college where Jessica began her passion for organizing by teaching and empowering Central Valley communities to make social change a reality. An immigrant herself Jessica has witnessed first-hand the impact empowerment can have in individuals and within communities.

Jessica has been working along-side a wide range of Central Valley communities while grassroots organizing around multiple social justice issues such as immigrant rights, union organizing and defending civil liberties. With two Associates of Arts degrees in Social Behavior and Sociology and five years of experience working around social change, Jessica has gained multiple skills including creating intersectional social justice oriented curriculum. As well as training directly impacted communities and allies around policy advocacy regionally and statewide. 

Jessica is working towards obtaining a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Social Science. In Stockton, Jessica is part of the ICE out of Stockton coalition and a board member of Xicana Collective. In her spare time Jessica likes to catch up on the latest true crime tv shows, socializing with her husband Jose, friends and family or creating a new playlist. Contact Jessica.

Sushil Chacko

Director of Finance

Maria Cortez

Managing Director, Central Valley

Bio

For more than 15 years, Maria has dedicated her career to serving youth and the community. She has successfully managed and led diverse teams and proven her ability to connect with stakeholders, youth and teammates of various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. During her time at the Urban Youth Workers Institue, Maria served as the Conference Director of the annual national conference with over 1,300 attendees, helped shape the Youth Ministry Certification Program, and eventually became the Vice President of Strategy and Execution. Maria is a California native with deep roots in the Central Valley and a love of fast motorcycles. Contact Maria.

Priscilla Contreras

Program Specialist, LiveAble

Bio

Priscilla Contreras born and raised in Redwood City, CA. She is a young mother to a 14 year old daughter who is not only her pride and joy but her mini best friend. Priscilla obtained her BA in Sociology at CSUEB. Statistically only 2% of teenage mothers receive their BA by the age of 30. She is the 2%! Priscilla has previously worked for the RCSD for over 8 years supporting children with disabilities reach their full potential. She has worked as a case worker supporting families for over 4 years. She previously worked with Able Works leading and coaching a LiveAble cohort before obtaining her degree. She was recently invited back on the team to support families through the pandemic. Priscilla is passionate about social and systematic justice as well as supporting individuals to thrive and reach their full potential.

Rocsana Enriquez

Program Specialist, LiveAble

Bio

Rocsana Enriquez is a passionate, working mother of two with diverse expertise. She born and raised in Redwood City. A yoga instructor with The Art of Yoga Project, teaching trauma-informed yoga to incarcerated youth. Rocsana has been practicing yoga for 17 years and is committed to making a difference in her community. She is a community organizer, activist, and a resilient leader in the Bay Area. She has a BA in Justice Studies and a minor in Public Policy and Public Administration from San Jose State University. She has a passion for wellness and loves designing her home during mommy time.

Adriana Garcia

Project Coordinator, Central Valley

Bio

My name is Adriana Garcia, I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco. I immigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old. I have lived in Stanislaus County for the majority of my life. I am the current owner of Garcia Insurance Agency. We specialize in business, personal, life, and health insurance. I am also co-chair of the Ambassador Program and Chairwoman of the Modesto Advisory Board for the Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I’m a recent graduate of the Latino Leadership Initiative. I’ve always had an understanding and passion to help the community. I look forward to advancing my involvement with different boards and continuing to help, develop, and empower my community.

Elizabeth Garcia

FutureProfits Program Manager, Central Valley

Bio

Elizabeth has lived in the Central Valley all of her life, loves to cook, travel and enjoys the outdoors. For the past 5 years she has worked directly with the school districts and understands the high needs many families have. During her time in the public school setting, she has worked alongside various community agencies such as Center for Human Services, Sierra Vista, El Concilio and Healthy Start. Elizabeth is passionate about being a mentor and adviser to those that are going through educational or financial hardships, and be that someone that empowers them. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s Degree from CSU Stanislaus and is currently in the M.A in Education, Counselor program. Contact Elizabeth.

sue-bio-pic1 copy

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.

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.

blanca_2016 for web copy

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

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.

Linda Rascon

Executive Assistant & Office Coordinator

Bio

Linda was born and raised in East Palo Alto Ca., into a family with 4 older siblings and immigrant parents. Linda knows first hand the trauma and long lasting effects poverty can have on an individual. Linda considers herself a life learner.  Even becoming a young single parent, she never stopped learning and working for a better path. Life hardships propelled her to teach others self advocacy skills, the cultivation of a growth mindset, the importance of searching and accepting resources around you.

She previously worked as an Instructional Associate for the Special Education department at Redwood High School. She then went on to work at EPA Made, a nonprofit social enterprise that focuses on job skills training for single mothers living in poverty.

Linda hopes to encourage other mothers to keep striving for more, and in doing so, set higher expectations for future generations. Contact Linda.

Umeeka Sheena

AchieveAble Program Manager

Bio

In 2013, Umeeka completed her Bachelors in Psychology at the University of California: Merced. She has since continued in the path of Psychology and recently finished her Masters from Northcentral University, which is an online graduate program. After earning her Bachelor’s degree, she became a Teaching Fellow at Ronald McNair Middle School in East Palo Alto, which happens to be her hometown. To be able to give back to her community in a positive manner was truly rewarding for Umeeka. She has also worked with children with autism, in the medical field as an administrative assistant and most recently, as the program coordinator for a before and after school care program. Umeeka is excited and proud to be part of a team that emphasizes the importance of community and collaboration. Contact Umeeka

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.

Antonio Tharp

Communications Specialist

Bio

Antonio Tharp is an open-minded artist from East Palo Alto. In 2019, Antonio completed his Bachelor’s degree from Whitman College in Washington state. He utilizes photography, text, and designs to speak about the issues he cares about. These topics include mental health, the uplifting of Black people, and enjoying the little things. Being able to give back to his community and amplify the voices of those that look like him has always been a passion for Antonio. Antonio has also worked for the King Institute at Stanford as a graphic designer.