Paulina Gonzalez-Brito

Paulina Gonzalez-Brito

Chief Executive Officer

Paulina Gonzalez-Brito (She/They) is the Chief Executive Officer of Rise Economy. Paulina identifies as Xicane, Purepecha, Mestize. Their great-grandparents were Mexican Arizona copper miners who took part in the historic Metcalf-Greenlee strikes in the early 1900s and whose father was an immigrant union hotel worker. Paulina has dedicated more than 20 years of their life to leading economic justice organizing campaigns to expand worker rights, immigrant rights, and the rights of low-income and underrepresented communities of color.

Under their leadership, Rise Economy has expanded its work to directly challenge systemic and structural racism within the U.S. financial system and to focus Rise Economy’s work on building collective political and organizing power amongst and with frontline communities to close the racial wealth gap.

Paulina has testified before the U.S. House, Senate and California Legislature on the need for greater oversight and accountability in the banking sector to prevent financial actors from extracting wealth from Black and Brown communities. They are frequently called upon to speak as an expert in the fields of Wall Street accountability, discrimination in lending, equitable reinvestment by financial institutions, racial and economic justice, and democratizing finance through alternative and community-owned financial models, and has been profiled/quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The L.A. Times, NPR, Univision, La Opinion and other national media outlets.

Paulina currently serves on the CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission and on the board of Community Change, a national advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.They previously served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders as well as on the Community Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Bank Feasibility Task Force, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board.

Contact: pgonzalezbrito@rise-economy.org

Kevin Stein

Chief of Legal and Strategy

As the Chief of Legal and Strategy at Rise Economy, Kevin leads corporate and policy campaigns, advocates for regulatory and legislative change, works in partnership with local community organizations and conducts action research.

Before joining Rise Economy, formerly CRC, Kevin was the Supervising Attorney at the East Palo Alto Community Law Project and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School. Kevin is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, and Stanford University.

Kevin sits on the board of directors of the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Contact: kstein@rise-economy.org

Brian Maxey

Brian M. Maxey

Chief of Communications

Brian M. Maxey (he/him) is the Chief of Communications at Rise Economy, where he oversees the organization’s storytelling, media relations, marketing and external communications work.

Brian brings more than a decade of journalism, public affairs, and communications strategy experience to the organization. He’s previously held positions at California Polytechnic State University, UC Berkeley, and UC Hastings College of the Law. His areas of expertise include media relations, branding, and audience engagement. He began his career as a journalist, having worked as a reporter, editor, and producer.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism from California State University, Fresno. When not working toward a more fair and just society, he enjoys cooking, playing basketball, and exploring the Bay Area’s food scene.

Contact: bmaxey@rise-economy.org

Jyotswaroop Kaur Bawa

Chief of Organizing and Campaigns

Jyotswaroop Bawa is the Chief of Organizing and Campaigns at Rise Economy, where she leads the strategic development of state policy campaigns and statewide power-building with member organizations. Additionally, she leads the team supporting corporate accountability campaigns and conducts education and lobbying with banking industry regulators and key decision-makers.

Jyotswaroop’s passion for winning justice for BIPOC communities is fueled by her immigration story and her experience as a Sikh in India during the 80s and 90s when the Indian government persecuted Sikhs.

Prior to joining Rise Economy, formerly CRC, Jyotswaroop was the Deputy Director at the California Immigrant Policy Center where she led the policy, government affairs, and organizing teams to win Statewide policy. At a time when immigrants faced unprecedented hate, Jyotswaroop led the CIPC team to build their capacity to organize one of the largest lobby days in Sacramento with over 1000 attendees holding nearly 100 meetings with members of the State legislature to advocate for protection against detention and deportation, and an inclusive social safety net. Jyotswaroop expanded the organization’s worker’s rights agenda into a broader economic justice portfolio and drove the vision for its burgeoning organizational brand and profile at large. During her tenure, as the organization doubled in size, Jyotswaroop led the team to develop systems and processes for inter-team communication, collaboration and continued learning.

Previously, Jyotswaroop led influential tenant rights campaigns, politicized and organized Sikh youth, and fought for economic justice for immigrant domestic violence survivors.

Jyotswaroop holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Nonprofit Management and Policy from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of California Irvine. She lives with her partner and son in Los Angeles.

Contact: jbawa@rise-economy.org

Aliyah Shaheed

Bay Area California Organizer

Born and raised in Stockton, Calif., Aliyah has always had a passion for helping and advocating for others. During her undergraduate studies at San Francisco State, she worked as a Peer Health Educator who advocated for comprehensive sexual health education on campus. She continued her advocacy work as a nationally competitive policy debater and coach where she engaged with issues surrounding climate justice and social justice. Now she is excited to bring that passion to Rise Economy as the Bay Area Organizer.

When she is not hard at work, she is a big proponent of self-care. Cooking, traveling, being out in nature, listening to music, and spending time with loved ones are some of her favorite things to do.

Contact: ashaheed@rise-economy.org

Doni Tadesse

Southern California Organizer

Prior to joining Rise Economy, Doni worked as a capacity builder with the Los Angeles LGBT Center where he trained and developed the capacity of professionals and organizations providing care to LGBTQ+ foster youth. In addition to facilitating hundreds of hours of cultural preparedness training sessions, he worked to build relationships and common cause with systems change advocates, organizational leaders, and local government officials to advance the interests of queer youth in foster care, particularly Black, Indigenous and youth of color.

Doni holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from UC San Diego where he actively participated in student government, cultural affinity groups, and local political campaigns. During his undergraduate studies, Doni worked as a legislative intern in the U.S. House of Representatives where he completed policy research on a variety of topics including immigration reform, housing, and early childhood development.

Doni traces his passion for social and economic justice to his lived experience as well as the lived experience of those he has been fortunate enough to be in community with. He dreams and works towards the liberation of all marginalized folks, particularly Black, Indigenous and people of color.

In his free time, Doni enjoys tending to his many plants, nerding out over pop and r&b music, and making the best oat milk lattes in LA.

Contact: dtadesse@rise-economy.org

Madison D'Ornelas

Madison D'Ornellas

Digital Communications Associate

Madison D’Ornellas is Rise Economy’s Digital Communications Associate and resident DJ. Informed by nearly 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Madison writes, edits and creates digital content for Rise Economy’s website and social media channels.

An award-winning editor and former union organizer at SEIU, Madison is driven by abolitionist storytelling and reporting that uncovers the barriers marginalized communities face in building generational wealth. They hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach.

Contact: mdornellas@rise-economy.org

Jamie Buell

Research Analyst

Jamie serves as Rise Economy’s Research Analyst. Before joining the organization, Jamie served as Racial Economic Equity Coordinator for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), wherein she utilized original data analysis and secondary sources to illuminate race and class disparities among income, homeownership, workforce, and other socioeconomic factors. Jamie’s research and writing informed NCRC’s advocacy, policymaking, capacity building, training, and organizing of its 600+ members and allies. Jamie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Community Engagement and Social Change from the University of California, Los Angeles. Jamie’s work is motivated by exploring resolutions to the racial wealth divide, the systemic roots and perpetuation of economic inequality, and approaches to a redistribution of wealth and resources.

Aside from her work, Jamie is interested in poststructuralism, postcolonialism and critical theory. She enjoys reading fiction and nonfiction alike. On the weekends she can be found on a hiking trail, swimming in the ocean or catching a screening at the local movie theater with her friends.

Contact: jbuell@rise-economy.org

José Olivas

Chief Financial and Operating Officer

José (he/him/his) is a native Californian, born in Los Angeles to working class immigrant parents from Mexico. José has witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of gentrification and displacement on low-income immigrant communities. Through his service as Board Treasurer of La Raza Centro Legal in San Francisco, José works to protect the Mission District’s most vulnerable residents from deportation, eviction, and workplace discrimination. José previously worked as Operations and Finance Specialist at Power California, organizing young people of color to have a greater voice in California’s future through the electoral process.

Prior to that, José worked as the Finance and Operations Manager at Neighborhood Funders Group, a philanthropic membership association of foundations committed to advancing social justice and community change. José also worked as the West Coast Program Coordinator and Operations Manager for Alliance for Justice, working to provide technical assistance to nonprofit organizations engaging in lobbying and civic engagement work. José was the first in his family to graduate from college earning a BA from UC Berkeley in Mass Communications. José spends his free time planning his next travel adventure having visited over 30 cities in 10 different countries.

Contact: jolivas@rise-economy.org

John Hoffman

Chief Development Officer

A passionate advocate for economic and social justice, John Hoffman has led nonprofit fundraising and marketing campaigns for more than 15 years. Before joining Rise Economy, formerly CRC, John was the Development Director at Social Venture Network and at ZeroDivide.

Prior to entering the social sector, he was a Senior Marketing Manager at Sun Microsystems, and a Branch Manager for US Bank. He holds an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and certificates in Banking and Sustainable Finance from the University of Zurich and the Frankfurt School – United Nations Environmental Programme (FS-UNEP).

Contact: jhoffman@rise-economy.org

Yehwroe S. Martyn

Program Director, Resilience Loan Fund

Yehwroe Martyn is Rise Economy’s Resilience Loan Fund Program Director. Prior to joining Rise Economy, she worked for several advocacy organizations including the NAACP, Prosperity Now and the Columbus Urban League. She has experience providing strategic guidance and oversight on the design and development of funds and other vehicles for the deployment of blended investment capital to address needs and opportunities in BIPOC communities.

Yehwroe is a wife and mom of two toddler boys. She is also a part-time graduate student at USC’s Marshall School of Business. In her spare time, Yehwroe enjoys listening to R&B Classics.

Contact: ymartyn@rise-economy.org

Adrienne Suzio

Assistant to the CEO & Special Projects

Adrienne Suzio (she/they) is Assistant to the CEO & Special Projects at Rise Economy. With more than a decade of administrative nonprofit experience, Adrienne is the point of contact for the ED and the Rise Economy Board of Directors, is responsible for the organization’s calendar, oversees the CRM software, and works closely with the development, finance, and operations team to maximize efficiency.

Before joining the organization, Adrienne organized the Mills College Summer Institute for Book & Print Technologies, puppeteered at Children’s Fairyland, shipped miniature mail internationally for The World’s Smallest Post Service, and ran their own residential organizing service. Outside of work, Adrienne is a letterpress artist and marionette performer for the annual Halloween puppet show Driveway Follies.

Adrienne graduated with honors from Mills College in Oakland, where they still reside with their partner, cat, and 25+ houseplants. They are grateful to contribute to an organization committed to dismantling white supremacist culture and advancing a fair and inclusive economy in California.

Contact: asuzio@rise-economy.org

Henrieta Igwe

Henrieta Igwe

Development and Operations Associate

Henrieta Igwe (she/her) is the Development and Operations Associate of Rise Economy. Born and raised in California by two immigrant parents from West Africa, she saw the barriers immigrant and BIPOC communities have to building wealth and creating stability. This sparked her interest in economic and social development and Henrieta now holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of San Francisco. She is now grateful and excited to be a part of the CRC team.

Henrieta enjoys spending time with her friends in her spare time, finding new hobbies and listening to R&B and Afrobeats music.

Contact: higwe@crise-economy.org

Julia Ornelas

Julia Ornelas

Economic Wellness Program Manager

Julia Ornelas is Rise Economy’s Small Business Promotora Program Coordinator. She has 19 years of nonprofit experience, specifically relating to the development of programs that help shape and support personal growth and community development. Julia is passionate about mentorship, community training, resource, community advocacy and the structure of a positive mindset. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human service and a master’s degree in leadership organizational studies. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in education in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne.

In her free time, Julia enjoys connecting with others and karaoke, performing songs from Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and Selena.

Contact: jornelas@rise-economy.org

Sabrina Oshseri

Economic Wellness Promoter

Sabrina conducts training in Compton and Inglewood in partnership with affordable housing providers and other non-profit organizations. In addition to her work with Rise Economy, Sabrina has worked with K-12 students through UCLA Unicamp, Think Together and Fit Kids America.

Born and raised In Inglewood, Sabrina has an associate’s degree in fine arts and she is a certified nurse assistant. Outside of work, she is an artist, taking part in dance, including Capoeira, painting and poetry. 

Contact: sabrina@rise-economy.org

Delmis Lorenzo

Economic Wellness Promoter

Delmis canvasses San Fernando Valley street vendor corridors. She provides one-on-one coaching to families and leads trainings in Spanish. She trained as a community promoter in South Los Angeles with Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and is invested in supporting families’ economic resiliency via financial education.  

Delmis is a second-generation community educator. Her mother is a community health promoter in South Los Angeles. Delmis has spent decades caring for and supporting immigrant communities to understand how to find resources in Los Angeles and thrive. 

Delmis immigrated from Cuba in the 90s. She is married with two beautiful boys. She is currently pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in child development from California State University Northridge. 

Contact: delmis@rise-economy.org

Javier Castellanos

Economic Wellness Promoter

Javier supports personal and community growth and transformation through training and popular education-modeled financial education workshops in Spanish. Javier canvasses East and South Los Angeles street vendor corridors providing information about resources available to vendors including financial education and referrals for technical assistance for access to capital and legal issues.

Javier trained as a promoter at Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and the Institute of Vision and Commitment Promoters. Prior to joining Rise Economy, Javier worked as a chemical engineer for a brewing corporation in Columbia doing consumer and environmental protection work.

Javier is married and has two children. He volunteers in his community and for his children’s school. He likes spending time with his loved ones and reading.

Amy Frias

Economic Wellness Promoter

Amy is an entrepreneur with a passion for sharing her culture and building community as a Chicana. She started her current business, a boutique in East Los Angeles, in 2019. Her boutique features handmade treasures from Oaxaca, particularly the rich textiles she loves and shops for herself on various trips to Mexico.

At Rise Economy, Amy works with entrepreneurs from Los Angeles, building on her 14 years of work with families from the Los Angeles and San Bernardino school districts connecting them to financial resources for fundamental family economic security. Amy conducts workshops in English and Spanish. 

Lisa Rocha

Economic Wellness Promoter

Lisa is a coach and trainer at Rise Economy, bringing more than 25 years of experience in arts advocacy and community organizing to our team. 

A jewelry maker since 1999, Lisa’s work has been sold in boutiques across the globe,  it has been featured in magazines such as InStyle, Latina, Teen Vogueand Bust, and her work has been sold in museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Indian Museum. Lisa takes pride in supporting women entrepreneurs and has helped co-create several women’s groups in Los Angeles such as Mujeres de Maize, Goddess Mercado, and most recently The Monarca Collective in Pasadena.

Lisa is an Alumni of Pasadena City College with an AA in Art & Alumni of USC Bridges to Business Cohort and a Bella Entrepreneurs Emprendedoras grant recipient. 

Rise Economy Board of Directors

Chancela Al-Mansour

Chair

Elba Serrano

Vice Chair

Vanessa Carter Fahnestock

Secretary

Jillian Spindle

Treasurer

Eric Payne

CENTRAL VALLEY URBAN INSTITUTE

Joe Ridout

KNIGHT LAW GROUP

Kendra Noel Lewis

Stephanie Carrol

PUBLIC COUNSEL LAW CENTER