The BUILD program was first founded in the Bay Area in 1999.
As the flagship BUILD region, BUILD California showcases that dreaming big, working hard and persistence is in all of us.
The BUILD program was founded in the Bay Area in 1999, and now serves over 600 students throughout the state of California, equipping them for college and life success. BUILD partners directly with schools to help students develop and run their own small businesses, ultimately delivering content that enriches students’ high school experience in profound ways and prepares them for postsecondary education as well as the rapidly changing needs of the 21st century workforce. BUILD showcases that dreaming big, working hard and persistence is in all of us.
Through our 20+ year history, BUILD California has been dedicated to creating systemic change in the educational system. As we move forward, we will continue to inspire and empower under-resourced students across California to achieve their full potential and help build a brighter, more equitable and interconnected society.
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Anna is the Senior Program Manager for the Peninsula. She supports teachers with the implementation of curriculum and leads the planning of school and community-based student events. Anna brings a wealth of experience as an educator in varying cultural and country contexts. Prior to joining BUILD, Anna taught primary and secondary school students in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. She earned a BA in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University and a Master of Education Degree from the University of Hong Kong.
Anthony Walker is an entrepreneur from San Diego, CA. He is a Licensed Life Insurance Agent based in Oakland, CA and the founder of Finance Friday, a financial literacy platform. Anthony has been an educator, as well as the Founder and Director of National Elite LLC, an organization focused on summer football camps for youth in Oakland and San Diego. Anthony received a bachelor’s degree from Whittier College and a master’s from Saint Mary’s College in Sports Management.
Chelsey was born and raised in East Palo Alto in a blended working-class family. The first in her family to attend and graduate college, Chelsey attended San Francisco State University. Chelsey’s own life experiences led her to design programs and advocate for underrepresented youth as Program Director of the well-known non-profits in the Bay Area and in Austin Texas. As the BUILD Program Director for the Bay Area, Chelsey uses her leadership to guide the Oakland team in implementation of the BUILD program for highest impact. Chelsey is responsible for overseeing regional implementation of BUILD’s program, curriculum and events and developing and managing partnerships with district leaders and school administrators to ensure impact with BUILD target students.
Being a living testimony to what programs such as BUILD can do for a student’s life, Chelsey BUILD’s to continue provide other students like her, with the opportunity to be exposed to a world of endless opportunities!
Itzel is a first-generation Chicana who recently earned a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Merced. In recent years, Itzel have worked with youth in various roles. This is where she grew her passion for mentorship and community empowerment. Itzel believes that if we provide guidance and resources to empower our youth, it would better everyone’s future. Itzel’s at BUILD because she truly believes in keeping our students in the center. Itzel also spends her time being a dog mom, traveling, and creating.
Raised in East Oakland, Jasmine graduated high school from Lionel Wilson Prep as a BUILD student. Throughout high school Jasmine spent a lot of her time volunteering at a variety of organizations, such as OUSD and The Red Cross. Jasmine attended Holy Names University, where she received her Bachelor’s in Business marketing in 2018 and her Master’s in business administration in 2019. Throughout her college experience she continued volunteering with different organizations and often remembered about BUILD and the knowledge and benefits it brought her. Jasmine greatly believes in the BUILD program and the doors it can open for students, which is why she decided to come back to the organization and work with high school freshmen and sophomores. As the Bay Area Program Manager Jasmine is regularly visiting our partner schools. She attends class sessions to work directly with our 9th and 10th grade students preparing them for showcases and ensuring they are receiving the most from the BUILD program.
Jasmine strives to provide students with the same benefits BUILD provided for her. She loves to get to know our BUILD students closely and aspires to be a positive influence in their life.
Jessica, a graduate of Virginia Tech, has fifteen years of fundraising experience having worked for nonprofits in both California and Maryland and is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Prior to joining BUILD in February 2020, Jessica most recently worked for Family Giving Tree where she managed individual and corporate relationships. In her spare time, Jessica has a passion for mentorship and has served as a CASA to foster youth for the past five years.
Kim brings 15 years of experience in teaching and program development to BUILD. She taught high school English and journalism for over a decade in the Bay Area, and she also served as a teacher educator and graduate school instructor through the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She has experience leading teacher innovation and collaboration through The Education Trust-West and The Teachers Guild at IDEO. Kim earned a B.A. in English and Urban Studies and a M.A. in Education at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco.
With a degree in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, Mandy has dedicated her life to critiquing and challenging systemic inequalities. Mandy credits her mixed-race identity for fostering her understanding of institutional racism and marginalization and uses this understanding to develop deep connections with BUILD students. In a setting like the Bay Area which combines extreme diversity with extreme wealth imbalances, Mandy is determined to create a more just and equitable future for our E4 students and our communities as a whole. Mandy lives in Oakland, and in her free time, is committed to her art practice and running Lake Merritt.
Positioned at the intersection between family histories of immigration and farm labor, Mandy recognizes the weight of how access to education can impact a family’s economic mobility for subsequent generations. Her family’s love, support, and encouragement to pursue any educational dream is something Mandy strives to emulate with all BUILD students.
Maria Raftelis has more than a decade of fundraising experience in education. Before joining BUILD, Maria served as Associate Director of Foundation Relations at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. In this role, she oversaw fundraising for the Center of Radiological Research (CRR) and worked with medical faculty across the College to raise funds for research. Prior to Columbia University, Maria served as Grant Writer at the City College Fund, the fundraising organization of the City College of New York (CCNY). During my nine year tenure at the City College Fund, Maria expanded the College’s portfolio of institutional donors to double institutional giving.
Maria resides in the Bronx with her husband and son. A graduate of the New York City public school system, Maria believed every student should have access to an excellent education that inspires them to dream and achieve their full potential.
Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Individualized Studies from New York University and a Master’s degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago.
Mariana Lopez-Sutherland joins the BUILD Bay Area team with experience working in the education sector, primarily in economically disadvantaged communities. Through her work as a tutor and substitute teacher Mariana has helped several students reach their academic goals. As a first-generation immigrant from Venezuela, she is very passionate about social justice and education equity. She is excited to join BUILD Bay Area to start her career in the nonprofit sector, and to further her work helping the youth thrive. Mariana also loves arts and crafts, being a dog parent to a little Chiweenie called Maya, travelling, and finding new spots to eat. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Economics from UC San Diego.
Michael holds the Senior Program Manager role for the Los Angeles region. He brings with him over 15 years of experience working for nonprofit organizations dedicated to youth development. Having grown up in a Boys & Girls Club, he understands the importance of empowering young people through quality programs and engaging mentors. His personal mission is to support the creation of collaborative communities that generate opportunities for youth to thrive.
Born and raised in Southern California Michael is excited to expand BUILD’s programs in the Los Angeles area and to bring Spark Skills to the area’s diverse student population.
Racquel Carter graduated from Dominican University of California, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. She volunteered at various outreach youth development programs within the Bay Area then provided mental-health and behavioral health services to children and teens for eight years. Racquel was then led to mentor youth in preparation for college success and provide community-based resources. She joins BUILD Bay Area as a Program Data Associate and is excited to join the team!
Rodrigo Alfaro brings over a decade of experience in community outreach and nonprofit leadership from churches to college access orgs across the Bay Area. A true relationship builder, Rodrigo consistently seeks ways to unify diverse partners in service to equity for under-represented communities. As a native of El Salvador who moved to the Bay Area at a young age, Rodrigo brings a deeply personal perspective to his role. He experienced first-hand the challenges many immigrants face balancing diverse cultural identities, and the transformative power of entrepreneurship for families like his own.
Ryan Oliver serves as Regional Executive Director for BUILD Bay Area and Los Angeles, holding primary responsibility for leading growth initiatives and directing strategy. Ryan brings twenty years of experience as an innovative educator, leader, and program designer in urban schools, from Boston and Pittsburgh to Los Angeles and East Oakland. Previously, Ryan served as Founding Program Director for BUILD Boston. A Bay Area native, Ryan has lived, learned, and worked on both coasts. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in Education from California State University Monterey Bay, and Principal Certification from University of Pittsburgh.
Sarah earned her BA in psychology from San Francisco State University. After graduating school, Sarah went on to teach math to both children and college age students. Also, she has volunteered extensively in the community, working together with different organizations to provide healthcare services to the community. As a Bay Area native, Sarah is committed to empower young people. In addition, she is committed to facilitating the success and growth of the next generation while removing institutional barriers to access. Though education we can provide a more socially just and equitable future. Sarah is excited to join BUILD because of their commitment to education and developing modern day skills that are necessary to success in today’s economic climate.
Michael has over 15 years of experience building, running and scaling technology companies and organizations across a wide range of industries. Leading the organization of Neon One brings together Michael’s skills and experience in growing entrepreneurial technology companies with his passion of supporting non-profit organizations to increase their impact in the world. In addition to Neon, Michael serves as Board Chair for Build.org, a national education-based nonprofit that leverage entrepreneurship to empower students in underserved communities.
Michael has a Computer Science Degree from UPenn, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. After starting a career at Accenture where he built global technology systems in New York, London, Singapore, & Seoul, he co-founded CaptainU. Acting as President, he and his team scaled this sports technology platform to millions of customers and organizations. After CaptainU was acquired by Blue Star Sports, Michael joined the Blue Star team as Chief Revenue Office and GM of the Enterprise Software and Payments group, helping scale the organization and combining products to build a product suite for organizations to excel and flourish. Michael is now proud to leverage his background to help nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations drive impact and help them reach their goals more quickly.
400 Concar Drive
San Mateo, CA 94402
1624 Franklin St, Suite 818
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone (510) 271-8244
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