We are a group of diverse professionals volunteering our time to assist those that need a little extra support entering or advancing in the workplace. We are passionate about helping others.

This is an attempt to support those who may have been impacted by COVID, were not granted the same opportunities as others, or need extra support in pursuing their career goals.

We know that barriers to employment disproportionately affect some communities more than others. This is also our way of trying to balance the scales.

Scroll down and get to know us a bit more!

Sukh Chugh

  • Role: Chief Dreamer
  • Professional Life: President of XL-Lead Staffing and Consulting. We are a full-service staffing firm assisting our clients with contractor placement and permanent hiring.
  • Personal Tidbits: I’m big on running and meditation. Since the COVID stay-at-home guidance, I’ve built a hiking trail on the hill by my house, taken advantage of my pool table, and brushed up on my table tennis skills.
  • Why Rise Up? As a result of the staffing firm I started 5 years ago, we’ve gotten really good at reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. In the quest to find the best talent for our clients, we’ve discovered what it takes to enter and advance in the workplace. Why not pass these skills on to those who need them? Not everyone has had the same opportunities in life – some are disadvantaged because of the social economic conditions they were born into, others because of mistakes they may have had in the past, some because of COVID, and others because of changing conditions in the workplace. Whatever the case, helping someone advance in their life is a gift we actually give ourselves. In the words of Robert Ingersoll: “We rise when we lift others”.  

Gunita Singh

  • Role: Legal Counsel
  • Professional Life: California Attorney 
  • Personal Tidbits: In my free time I like to bike to the beach, oil paint, hang out with my dog, Mojo, at the park, meditate/yoga, go hiking/camping, and read self help books. 
  • Why Rise Up? I am excited to be a part of the Rise Up Project because there are particularities in resume/cover letter drafting and interview etiquette that are not always intuitive. They must be taught in order for one to gain a competitive advantage. I am proud to contribute to this organization because I believe it is an invaluable resource for those who are navigating the job market during this economic recession.

Alissa Santolo

  • Role: Website Coordinator
  • Professional Life: Financial Consultant for a mid-sized Consulting Firm
  • Personal Tidbits: I really enjoy cooking, reading and running.
  • Why Rise Up? I joined RUP after recently participating in programs like this while I was in college. I wanted to continue mentoring in order to help people find opportunities for a successful career.

Michelle Camden 

  • Role: Coach and Mentor
  • Professional Life: Learning & Development Specialist 
  • Personal Tidbits: For fun, I love to travel, volunteer, read, spend time with friends
  • Why Rise Up? I joined RUP because I want to help people build skills and confidence to lead to successful job opportunities. I also want to connect with others in this time of social distancing. 

Kimberly Capehart

  • Role: Curriculum Development and Logistics 
  • Professional Life: Office Manager
  • Personal Tidbits: In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing video games, and gardening.
  • Why Rise Up? Help motivated people have a leg up on the job market, especially under-resourced populations.

Robert Holzinger

  • Role: Coach and Mentor
  • Personal Life: Paralegal, real estate investor, securities trader
  • Personal Tidbits: I enjoy martial arts, salsa, reading, quality time with my wife
  • Why Rise Up? I joined the Rise Up Project because it serves a big and growing need for persons economically displaced by the pandemic. These shifting times are scary, but also filled with new opportunities if you stay focused and maintain an abundance mindset. The Rise Up Project is a tool to help others do just that.

Ronak Parik

  • Role: Curriculum Development
  • Professional Life: Project Manager
  • Personal Tidbits: Enjoys playing Ping Pong and Board Games
  • Why Rise Up? To contribute for the good.

Ally Tan

  • Role: Outreach, Coach and Mentor
  • Professional Life: Human Resources
  • Personal Tidbits: I love film photography, true crime podcasts and hanging with my dog
  • Why Rise Up? I am a first-generation college graduate that came from a low-income family and I want to ensure that marginalized communities have access to these resources without having to worry about financial or educational limitations.

Ali Torabi

  • Role: Curriculum Development
  • Professional Life: Strategy Consulting Pricipal
  • Personal Tidbits: I enjoy reading and traveling
  • Why Rise Up? I have always enjoyed hearing about people’s stories and aspirations. This was an opportunity to give back to those that might not have access in their communities to the resources to support their career goals.

Sajal Jain

  • Role: Curriculum Development and Powerpoint Support 
  • Professional Life: Electrical Engineer
  • Personal Tidbits: Love watching movies, playing ping pong, hiking and reading about history and philosophy 
  • Why Rise Up?: To help people to find the starting point of the big race in life, so they can run, rise and fly to achieve their dreams. Also to meet like minded awesome volunteer, make friends and learn new skills. 

Jill Irish

  • Role: Outreach 
  • Professional Life: Nutrition Consultant & Non-Profit Management
  • Personal Tidbits: Runner, grower of veggies and all things green, Trekkie and aspiring world traveler. 
  • Why Rise Up?: I joined Rise Up to give back and connect with a diverse community of individuals and organizations.  

Gail Robinson

  • Role: Outreach Coordinator
  • Professional Life: Customer Service Associate
  • Personal Tidbits: I enjoy writing Yelp reviews and posting pictures including attending their events as well. I also love listening to live music and watching movies. 
  • Why Rise Up?: I completed the Rise Up Bootcamp in 2020 and wanted to give back.

Samantha Davis

  • Role: Coach
  • Professional Life: Samantha is a remote Talent Acquisition Manager at a government contractor company based in Arlington, VA. Currently, Samantha lives in Orlando, FL. She has a Master’s Degree from the University of Florida.
  • Personal Tidbits: Samantha enjoys photography, hiking, cooking, and traveling. Samantha was formerly a competitive swimmer and D1 athlete.
  • Why Rise Up?: Samantha loves all things recruitment including interviewing and reviewing resumes and cover letters, and looks forward to meeting new job seekers. 

Noelle Rivera

  • Role: Coach, Social Media Content Creator
  • Professional Life: Data Analyst at Beck Technology
  • Personal Tidbits: I love independent films and playing the ukulele!
  • Why Rise Up?:  My college did a great job helping me learn the skills for job applications and I wanted to pass it forward!

Dessiree Castillo Mora

  • Role: Advanced Curriculum Lead
  • Professional Life: Project Manager for a medical device company
  • Personal Tidbits: I enjoy cooking vegetarian meals, yoga, meditation and running. I have two dogs that I spoil too much and also enjoy traveling, new experiences, meeting new places 
  • Why Rise Up?:  I joined RUP because I recently went through the process of getting my first job here in the United States, which is such a competitive job market. Having resources and people willing to support you in that process was a big blessing. I joined this organization to contribute and help those who need to gain confidence and empowerment to get that dream job opportunity

Jeff Young

  • Role: Coach, Outreach
  • Professional Life: 21 Years as an Army Officer, Executive for 20 Years in Business and  Technology, Graduate Level Teaching, Elementary school teacher, Masters Educational Psychology, Motivational Speaker – Spirit 2 Win
  • Personal Tidbits: Hiking, riding motorcycles, reading
  • Why Rise Up?: I am working with RiseUpLiftUp because I want to give back to the youth of America what America has given to me.  I want to share my experience and diverse knowledge to help others reach their full potential.

Cindy Novak

  • Role: Advanced Curriculum
  • Professional Life: I have worked in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industries for over 20 years.  I started in Quality and moved to IT after about 10 years.  I have participated in deployment of large, enterprise systems as well as small, localized systems.  I have participated in all aspects of projects from scoping, through deployment and support and retirement.  I am currently based in Lake Stevens, WA and work for Bristol Myers Squibb as the Sr Manager for Lab Computing Systems in the greater Seattle area. 
  • Personal Tidbits: I am a native Californian, but have lived in many parts of the country.  When I’m not working, I enjoy exercising (preferably outdoors), reading and spending time with my family.  I’m also a private pilot and learned to ride a motorcycle at the young age of 47.  I have been a volunteer with Planes of Fame Air Museum in Southern CA for 30 years and am extremely excited to have joined the Rise Up family!
  • Why Rise Up?: I have benefited greatly over the years from my many mentors and I enjoy being able to use my experience to help others.  When I heard about Rise Up, I felt strongly that I could contribute to the mission. I look forward to expanding my contributions to the team and helping others succeed.