Sergio is the Founder & CEO of RISE, as well as the President of the Board of Directors. He is a bold, innovative, and recognized leader with more than 15 years of experience in the field of refugee and immigrant children’s services. In 2013, he founded RISE in response to a deepening commitment to improve conditions for unaccompanied migrant children worldwide, and to seize the tremendous opportunity to leverage technology to drive large scale impact.
Sergio's contribution to RISE is built upon the knowledge and experience he gained at other organizations where he served such as Catholic Charities, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Rescue Committee (IRC), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Sergio obtained his Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2001, his Bachelor of Arts from Rice University in 1998, and has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2007. He has worked internationally with unaccompanied refugee children in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, and across the U.S. with immigrant children who come to the U.S. alone. Sergio is fluent in Spanish and French, is originally from Texas, is of Mexican heritage, and now lives in San Francisco. Learn more about Sergio here.
Michael is the Co-founder & COO of RISE, where his big-picture vision, strong management skills, and laser-like attention to detail help guide the overall mission of the organization. He brings his years of experience working in high-end fundraising, designing and implementing donor engagement strategy for a leading global nonprofit. At RISE, Michael is responsible for stewarding our board of directors, and ensuring that we have proper governance structures in place. He is also charged with designing a world-class brand, and raising the funds necessary to meet our goals.
Michael has an MSW from Columbia University, and completed his undergraduate study at the School for International Training where he worked with unaccompanied and migrant children in South Asia, designing tools and delivery models to bring services to the environments where they live and work. When not busy laying the groundwork for RISE, Michael can be found exploring the natural environment around his home in San Francisco. Learn more about Michael here.
Sitar is a founding member of RISE. She brings her passion for strategy and execution to build a world-class organization that positively impacts the lives of unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children. Sitar has led strategy and programs for various NGOs and start-ups and has a bachelor's degree in political economy from UC Berkeley. When not focused on human rights and climate change, Sitar can be found spending time with her family in California. Learn more about Sitar here.
Max is an engineer and designer with over a decade of industry experience in mobile, search, and machine learning. At large companies like Microsoft and Amazon, as well as at a number of startups, Max has created influential consumer products, designed mission critical backend infrastructure, retooled internal processes and workflows, and built teams. Max received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from UC Berkeley and is a fanatical gardener. Learn more about Max here.
Joyce is a founding member of RISE. She brings with her 11 years of experience as a strategic thinker in human resources. Her roles in human capital metrics and project management at E*TRADE Financial and Nestle USA have enabled her to apply the methodology of the business world to our social enterprise. Joyce holds a masters of science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is a published author in ethnic minority mental health issues. She actively seeks out ways to create social change through her artistic pursuits, most recently by producing the feature-length film, EAT WITH ME, that addresses LGBTQ and Asian American family issues. Learn more about Joyce here.
Brittany graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 with a B.A. in International Relations. She is currently pursuing a joint J.D./M.A. with the George Washington University focusing on international law and immigration policy in the United States. Brittany previously interned with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s appellate counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the general counsel for the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Following graduation in May of 2017, Brittany will be working for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review as a law clerk for the Los Angeles Immigration Court.
Liliana is currently a second-year Master's candidate at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University with specializations in Middle East Studies and Conflict Resolution. She has spent the past eight years learning Arabic in university and in Oman, Jordan, Morocco, and Palestine. She has worked with the National Democratic Institute on their Middle East desk and as a reporter in the West Bank covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After graduation, Liliana hopes to use her Arabic skills working in the MENA region in youth development and conflict resolution.
Maen graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Political Science. After graduating, Maen spent 7 months working in the occupied Palestinian territories on development projects. While there, he also filmed a short documentary on Palestinian youth. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in International Affairs at the Elliot School of International Affairs, concentrating in International Law and Organizations. He previously interned with Human Rights Watch in their MENA department, UNHCR in their protection division, and also with American Near East Refugee Aid in Beirut, Lebanon, where he worked with Palestinian and Syrian refugees. After graduation, Maen intends to work in the Middle East doing substantive refugee work.
Theresa is an outspoken and tireless advocate for refugees and immigrants who has dedicated her 20 year career to promoting the rights of the forcibly displaced worldwide. She has held several roles with several migrant serving organizations, and currently, is Resettlement Manager at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Theresa is an active board member at Mercy Beyond Borders, a nonprofit organization that provides leadership programs, educational scholarships, and maternal and child health opportunities to displaced women in South Sudan, and to young low-income women in Haiti.
Theresa has a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Khartoum and a master's degree in human services administration from Springfield College in Massachusetts. Theresa is fluent in Arabic, is originally from South Sudan, and lives in Santa Clara. Learn more about Theresa here.
Archana has over 10 years of experience in managing finance at both nonprofit and business enterprises. She is currently a senior consultant at an auditing and accounting firm in Silicon Valley. Recently, Archana served in a senior leadership role of a full-service child welfare program for unaccompanied migrant children where she lead the effort to facilitate the transition and cultural adjustment of refugee and immigrant children from Africa, Asia, and Latin America to live in the U.S.
Archana is passionate about refugee and immigrant issues, and has dedicated most of her career to related nonprofit endeavors. Archana brings nonprofit expertise, and business acumen as Board Treasurer. Archana holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from San Jose State University, is a Project Management Professional, and is well on her way to becoming a Certified Public Accountant. Archana is fluent in Nepali, French, and Hindi, she is originally from Nepal, and resides in San Jose. Learn more about Archana here.
Jeremy is an accomplished leader in the field of Design and UX with over 15 years of experience leading award winning teams in digital, video and print design, specializing in editorial content. He is an expert in concept and strategy development, and is a hands-on talent inspiring teams to deliver superb creative work.
Jeremy led the product and creative teams focused on producing tablet experiences for personalized branded content at AOL. Previously, he ran AOL's mobile team where he innovated a custom publishing solution resulting in the birth of critically acclaimed HUFFINGTON and DISTRO tablet magazine, nominated for a combined seven SPD awards with DISTRO winning an APPY award for best tablet publication.
Prior to joining AOL, Jeremy was the Creative Director for the Lifestyle division of CBS Interactive. There he lead the popular foodie destination CHOW.com and won them multiple Webby, ASME, EDDIE, SDP and MAGGIE awards, culminating in a coveted James Beard award for best food website in 2010. As Art Director of WIRED magazine, he was part of leading the title to both Silver and Gold Medal Magazine of the Year wins as well as multiple ASME awards for general excellence. During his tenure at WIRED he also received numerous accolades from AIGA and SPD.
Jeremy studied graphic design and illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He lives and works in San Francisco. Learn more about Jeremy here.
Sara is the Project Director of Ready California, a statewide campaign led by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center which supports non-profit organizations to ensure that eligible Californians can access immigration relief while strengthening the statewide infrastructure to respond to future immigration reform.
Sara has two decades of experience serving and advocating for migrating populations in the United States and abroad, including direct service provision, research, policy advocacy, communications, and program management roles. Previously, Sara worked as a Policy Advisor with Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, where she conducted policy analysis and advocacy on behalf of refugees, human trafficking survivors, and unaccompanied children. Prior to working with MRS’ Policy Department, Sara coordinated and administered MRS programs that serve unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children throughout the United States.
Sara holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oregon, and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Learn more about Sara here.