With a Kennesaw State University public and social services degree fresh in hand, a very green John Helton began his career as a DFCS child protective services investigator, ultimately learning the ins and outs of human services by serving in progressive roles managing childcare, volunteer, and community development programs before being appointed deputy director of Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services. Discovering his passion for helping create opportunities for people, John then spent 19 years as the founding president and CEO of CobbWorks, Inc. and WorkSource Cobb, the local workforce development board, until assuming leadership of CareerRise, Inc. in June 2019. John has served on boards of numerous workforce development and civic organizations at the local, state, and national levels including president of the Southeastern Employment & Training Association (SETA). John currently serves as chair of the Metro Atlanta eXchange (MAX) for Workforce Solutions as well as president of his neighborhood association in the historic Summerhill neighborhood of Atlanta. John is an avid traveler, but when home, he enjoys cooking a good meal for family and friends and caretaking his often neurotic and frequently aggressive rescue poodle, Duncan.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a creative writer of anything other than policy memos.”
Sheri Blight, a dynamic professional passionate about fostering individual success, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Art and a Master of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University. With a career rooted in marketing and event roles, she served as the Assistant Director of Career Events and Outreach at Kennesaw State University, dedicated to creating impactful opportunities that contribute to students’ success.
In her ongoing commitment to meaningful connections, Sheri has transitioned to the role of Industry Partnerships Manager at CareerRise, utilizing her creative approaches and strategic thinking to drive workforce development. Beyond her professional endeavors, Sheri enjoys outdoor activities with family and friends, showcasing her avid love for travel through paintings and drawings that bring the culture and history of new places to life.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was an ancient history teacher. I am fascinated by ancient cultures and my favorite part of traveling to a new place is learning about the unique or mysterious myths and histories.”
Keren Cadet started her educational track at the University of Florida in 2000 completing her undergraduate degree in Sociology. In 2005, Keren’s career in social service started as the Children’s Advocate for Partnership Against Domestic Violence and continued working with families as a constant community advocate. Prior to joining the CareerRise team, Keren worked with opportunity youth in Metro Atlanta but also supported adults with skill development through program development/implementation with a 2Gen perspective. Keren holds her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Georgia and continues to develop her passion to advocate and empower the underrepresented community.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a famous artist like Basquiat, Van Ghoh, or even in words, like Maya Angelou.”
Allison serves as the Communications Manager at CareerRise. In this position, she oversees the organization’s internal and external communications as well as coordinates overall operations including providing support for meetings, events, programs, and staff to further the vision for workforce development. She brings a wealth of experience in program and event management, operations management, and administrative functions. Prior to joining CareerRise in December 2019, she worked in various operations positions at charter schools in New York and Georgia with a focus on providing quality education to all children. Allison holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Georgia State University.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was an R&B singer selling out arenas worldwide.”
Chanell Davis serves as a workforce development professional with over 15 years of human services and workforce development experience. Chanell has dedicated the last 6 years of her work to managing grant funded programs that served adults and youth with overcoming barriers to employment through training, up-skilling and professional development. Equipped with the ability to motivate and inspire, her primary focus is to continue to serve her community by ensuring they have access to the necessary resources to enhance their overall quality of life. As a natural born leader, one of her major accomplishments has been serving as one of the leads that designed and implemented a regional process that has aligned the intake process for residents to apply & enroll in WIOA services. Using the human-centered design approach, her goal in this role is to manage & recruit partner services that offer quality workforce solutions to the residents of Westside Atlanta. As a change agent, she is committed to building a culture where underserved communities have full access to services and resources that assist them with successfully re-entering the workforce. Her “staying power” and ability to connect has created an impressive imprint as a valuable contributor to improving the disparities in our community.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a Superwoman trying to save the world from itself!”
Nate Futrell graduated from Murray State University with a Bachelor’s of Social Work and a concentration in public child welfare. While living in Cincinnati for 10 years, Nate’s professional experience included working with opportunity youth, promoting health education and access for senior citizens, and leading teams in healthcare workforce management. Nate served as the Workforce Initiatives Manager for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, leading initiatives to develop sector strategies and build synergistic relationships between the K-12 education system and the business community. As CareerRise’s Industry Partnerships Director, Nate oversees the Industry Partnerships team’s work in facilitating Metro Atlanta’s workforce ecosystem alignment, stakeholder engagement, and equitable access to high-quality jobs for the region’s residents.
“In another life, I was the owner, head chef, and mixologist of a really cool restaurant.”
Rom Ghannam Special Initiatives Manager, Westside Works
Guided by his lifelong motto of “paying-it forward”, Rom Ghannam is a proud Lebanese-American professional who fell in love with workforce related nonprofits with missions to help others be set up for economic prosperity. Being blessed of having many career mentors and coaches contribute to his diverse career success, Rom is passionate in investing in people’s development and personal growth. As the Special Initiatives Manager at Westside Works, Rom supports and maintains the development of community resources, job opportunity listings, partner engagement, volunteer management and event planning and operations.
With 25+ years of combined experience within corporate and nonprofit space and in senior-level cross-functional roles, Rom is a certified Telcom/Wireless Technology Educator, Solution Sales Instructor/Consultant, Project Manager and a Dale Carnegie Graduate and coach. Multi-level certifications were achieved while attending Sprint University of Excellence, AT&T University and at Western Connecticut State University. In 2020, Rom transitioned his career pathing from independent corporate consulting to supporting nonprofit organization CORA GA in offering urgent COVID relief services directly to vulnerable and marginalized communities across Georgia. A truly humbling and rewarding front-line work experience, Rom lead and managed CORE GA nonprofit COVID-19 mobile testing and vaccination deployment teams across many metro Atlanta sites. Vaccinating up to 6K people daily at MBS.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a professional Hip Hop dance choreographer and a professional belly dancer.”
Brittany Jenkins-Morrow Industry Partnerships Manager
Brittany Jenkins-Morrow graduated from Brenau University with a Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management and Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Arizona. Brittany is originally from South Georgia and started her professional career in Southeast Georgia. She began in workforce development with WIOA at Worksource Coastal as a Career Development Specialist. She later went on to work at the State Office of Workforce Development. Currently at Atlanta CareerRise, she focuses on leveraging her experience in workforce development to engage the industry and workforce network with developmental sustainable regional workforce strategies.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was an actress. I think I do well with improvising and showing a range of emotions.”
Jacque Joyce earned a master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Louisville and a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Kennesaw State University. Since 2014, she has worked in the workforce development sector as a Data Analyst, Program Manager and Director. Her work focuses on supporting regional workforce development strategies by cultivating relationships across sectors, building leadership skills, and creating innovative strategies to support the operations of the CareerRise team!
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a cookie taste tester.”
Daniel Kolawole Operations Manager, Westside Works
Daniel Kolawole is an experienced operations executive and technologist who has managed all aspects of strategizing, implementing systems, and project lifecycle. Daniel has spent the last 15+ years developing his servant leadership, project management, and cross-functioning lead. He is a lifelong learner and has a genuine interest in others. Outgoing and friendly, Daniel enjoys working with others and volunteering at local community events.
“In another life, I am pretty sure I was a drummer touring the world.”
Rudi Pangad, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, serves as the Director of Equity@Work. Rudi worked in education and youth development for ten years before transitioning to the nonprofit sector. His work as a community impact manager for a tech-based non-profit helped to secure digital equity for several underserved communities in the metro Atlanta area. This rewarding experience fuels his mission driven work as he strives to ensure equal opportunities for all.
Rudi is a proud HBCU graduate of South Carolina State University, and also received a masters from Southern New Hampshire University. He is a Fall 2014 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity incorporated, and remains active with Nu Mu Lambda (DeKalb Alphas). With roots in DeKalb County, he is passionate about the growth and sustainability for the community that poured into him growing up.
“In another life, I was a veterinarian. I love all animals. If I see a fur baby, I am going to spoil them like they are my child.”
Debra Pickett currently serves as the Grants Manager for CareerRise, Inc. Debra’s professional career is rooted in social work and education and for more than twenty years, she provided comprehensive service support, including case management, program management, and grants management to underrepresented populations in urban communities. Honing her professional expertise as a Development Consultant, Debra later provided organizational development, program management, and grants services to community and faith-based non-profit organizations in the Chicago area. Highlights in her career include creating and managing a youth-based literacy program for the famed ’85 Chicago Bear Super Bowl Champion, Otis Wilson and his Charitable Association; providing personal and leadership development coaching through Women In the ‘Hood, an organization she created for women 18+ in marginalized communities throughout the Chicagoland area; and, after transitioning to Georgia nearly five years ago, having the opportunity to develop and launch a community-based youth focused club sponsored by Shaquille O’Neal as a fulfillment of his longtime dream. Debra’s immersion in Georgia’s nonprofit community has allowed her to secure and manage more than $5 million dollars in private and public funding support to advance children, youth, and families experiencing economic instability throughout Metro Atlanta.
As a published author, Debra empowers others to acquire the endurance for and embrace the value of purpose-filled living in, TO NEVER GIVE UP! A Single Mother’s Courageous Stand to Triumph Over Tragedy (Xulon Press). When she’s not sipping coffee while engrossed in a good book, Debra enjoys long walks on scenic paths, attending theatre productions, writing, supporting the spiritual growth and development of others, and baking.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a concert pianist and philanthropist.”
Denise Rogers has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, development, fundraising, and community relations. She worked in sectors such as Affordable Housing, Community Based Healthcare, and Social Services in Georgia and Massachusetts. Denise has worked for and with notable nonprofits, including Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, Whitefoord Community Program, Codman Square Health Center, and the New England Aquarium.
Before serving as CareerRise’s Director of Resource Development, Denise was a Nonprofit Solutions Consultant at Giveffect, where she helped nonprofit leaders take control of their technology to unify their organizations and raise more money. Denise studied communications at Northeastern University and holds a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.
When Denise is not working or spending quality time with her husband and family, she dedicates herself to community service through volunteering. She is an active and engaged member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Top Ladies of Distinction.
Brooke Stall unwittingly started her 26-year Hospitality career as a high school student working part-time one summer in the industry. Moving into management, she found her passion for helping individuals achieve their career goals. She had the privilege to formally give back to others through donating her time with training programs and ultimately accepting a position of Director of Learning & Development in 2020.
Prior to joining CareerRise as an Industry Partnerships Manager, Brooke led the workforce development strategy for Forsyth County as the Director of Workforce Development for Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce. Her dual role with Forsyth County Schools aided in alignment between industry sectors and CTAE pathway programs.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a stay-at-home dog mom.”
Quasandria “Q” Turner is responsible for the management of operations at Westside Works; leading a network of partners committed to offering high-quality workforce, education, and employment services within Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods. She has extensive experience as a Workforce and Counseling professional supporting individuals with barriers to navigate community resources and training pathways to successful careers. Q acquired a master’s degree in Community Counseling from Argosy University and earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Albany State University. Q’s breadth of experience includes working with the following populations: alcohol and drugs, HIV/Aids, diversion programs, and youth in residential treatment.
Tiffany Webster is a proud alumnus of YearUp New York Class 10, where she majored in Financial Operations. Tiffany kickstarted her career in investment banking with an internship at UBS, while also studying Economics and English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Once her internship was complete, she stayed with UBS for 2 years as a Business Analyst consultant. Driven by an insatiable appetite for growth, Tiffany ventured into the realms of Executive Administration, Project Management, and Account Supervision, leaving a trail of successful endeavors and honed expertise in her wake.
During the challenging phase of the pandemic, Tiffany harnessed her passion for empowering others, collaborating with a cohort of inspiring female entrepreneurs. Through creative strategies and a keen eye for digital prowess, she helped amplify multiple businesses and foster vibrant social media presences. Tiffany’s infectious enthusiasm and unwavering dedication to helping others, particularly in the Workforce Development sector, landed her at CareerRise. She brings a wealth of experience and passion to her role as Administrative Coordinator.
“In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a full-time traveler. I love to travel and make memories in new places!”
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