Beyond Emancipation


Hugo Amaya

Transitions Manager

E: hamaya@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 408-444-6658

A former foster youth, I am a goal-oriented non-profit leader. I have worked with many agencies that aim to improve the social welfare of systems-impacted youth and adults. Some of those projects include working with national and state entities, such as the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR), Impact Justice, Project Rebound, Rising Scholars, and others, on agendas that aim to provide opportunities to systems-impacted populations. My mission is to inspire systems-impacted youth to visualize, persevere, and manifest the lives they have always dreamed of. 

Pamela Brown

Housing Voucher Program Coordinator

E: pbrown@beyondemancipation.org
P: 510-775-3109 

I discovered the transformative power of selflessness and the joy of giving to others while fostering children for ten years. Inspired by this experience, my academic journey reflects my dedication to understanding and aiding those in need. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and substance use, I delved deeper into the complexities of human behavior and the factors contributing to societal challenges. My professional experience spans the non-profit sector, where I’ve worked closely with the homeless population. 

Chontae Burks


E: chontae@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-667-7635 

I am at the heart of operations at B:E, up front as our receptionist. I am the first person most of our youth and visitors speak with when calling B:E’s front desk and to interact with when visiting us. I have been part of the team since June ‘23. I joined B:E because it aligns with my passion for assisting others and being a part of their journey to success.

Zion Cobbs

Education and Career Coach | Case Manager

E: zcobbs@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-951-0576 

Bio: Pending

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Kenya Davis

Housing Assistant Manager 

E: kdavis@beyondemancition.org 
P: 510-882-0547 

I’ve been at B:E since ’23. I am driven by the joy of seeing youth achieve their goals, whether big or small. What inspires me most is witnessing young people gain independence and secure permanent housing, which fuels my commitment to this work. I believe the system fails to adequately prepare foster youth for adulthood, leaving them at a critical juncture that can significantly impact their futures. I am dedicated to supporting as many youths as possible during this pivotal transitional period. Outside of work, I enjoy practicing MMA, exploring new cuisines, spending quality time with friends and family, and traveling.

Jenni Fick

Impact and Strategic Initiatives Director 

E: jfick@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-854-6293 

I came to B:E with 15+ years of experience working with at-risk youth. A previous educator, I hold an MA in Education with an emphasis on Equity & Social Justice in Instructional Design. Moving from direct service to management, I have spent the last 10 years using my experience in curriculum and program development, coupled with my enthusiasm for data and evaluation, to enhance youth programs. Outside of work, I am a new mom and enjoy nature, DIY crafts, and spending time with my family.

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Dina Gibson

Interim HR Director

E: dgibson@beyondemancipation.org

Bio: Pending

Deyanira Gutierrez

Development Associate

E: dgutierrez@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-241-7172 

I’m a dedicated professional, who is mission and purpose driven. I hold a Business Administration B.S. from Cal State East Bay. Advocating for underrepresented and vulnerable populations, both people and animals, is where my heart truly feels complete. I’ve always been drawn to non-profits that bridge essential resource gaps for these groups. Over the years, I have also volunteered at animal shelters and food pantries. I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of this organization that is of service to Oakland youth who have been impacted by the foster care and J.J system.  

Outside of my professional life? Me in a nutshell: I’m a dog lady through and through. Mom to a mini schnauzer. I love animals and wildlife. Give me an adrenaline action thriller to watch any day (Denzel Washington and John Wick are legendary). EDM/ Techno, and Reggaeton playlist please. I like simple foods, like grilled cheese and French fries 🙂

Teshika Hatch

Transitions Director

E: thatch@alamedacountyilp.org 
P: 510-545-2522 

Since receiving my BA in Sociology-Psychology from Skidmore College, I have held various roles within the nonprofit education sector working to find ways to level the playing field for all young people. My passion for advocating for young people to have equitable access to opportunities has spanned from my role as a diversity recruiter at Skidmore College, case manager and later program director at Juma Ventures, to partnership director at Equal Opportunity Schools. I attempted to permanently move back to my hometown, Seattle, but after completing my master’s in education policy, organizations, and leadership at the University of Washington, the sunshine, culture, community, and food of Oakland brought me back to the East Bay where I now enjoy hiking with my 2 dogs, exploring hidden food gems, being in community at arts and music events, and climbing at indoor boulders. 

Ebony Hebert

Executive Assistant

E: eherbert@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-650-5898

Hi, my name is Ebony HebertI am a first-generation college graduate with a BA in SociologyI came to B:E in 2021 as a Post-Secondary Education and Career Coach and now work as an Executive Assistant/Office Administrator. As an East Oakland native, I have always been inspired to empower those from my community and similar communitiesI believe it is important to serve our youth who are in and aging out of foster care because everyone deserves to have a healthy support system to help guide them towards their goals, success, dreams and desired future. Some things that I like to do for fun are hiking with my dog, going to the beach, travel and read. 

James Hernandez

Transitions Coach/ Case Manager

E: jhernandez@alamedacountyilp.org
P: 510-410-5869

I recently joined the B:E crew at the beginning of ‘24, and I couldn’t be happier I did! I bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the foster care system. As a former Youth Advocate in YAP (Youth Advocate Program), I strive to provide exceptional mentorship and support to youth. I continue that path now, as a Transitions Coach / Case Manager. I find it deeply important to help guide young people to find and establish stability, community belonging, and reaching a healthy high self-esteem. Outside of work I enjoy listening to music and skating!

Sheron Johnson

FYI Housing Coordinator

E: sjohnson@beyondemancipation.org
P: 510-407-2601

I joined the team in 2024. I am inspired by my upbringing in a household that always extended a helping hand, led by my mom’s example. What drives me is the belief that small acts of care can profoundly impact others’ futures. At B:E, I find fulfillment in supporting foster youth as they journey towards independence, showing them they’re not alone. Outside of work, I find joy and relaxation in cooking; it’s my way of creating meaningful connections and brightening someone’s day with a homemade meal.

James Keovilayphone

ILP Coaching Manager

E: jnguyen@alamedacountyilp.org
P: 513-494-6065

I’ve been with B:E since 2017. I am inspired by the privilege of supporting young people on their journeys. Watching them achieve small wins that transform into big victories motivates me every day. My goal is to empower foster youth, helping them feel confident and supported as they transition to independence. Building a strong community and network for them is essential. Outside of work, I enjoy basketball, football, and playing claw machine games—they’re my favorite ways to unwind and have fun.

Dave Leimsieder

Interim Executive Director

E: dleimsieder@beyondemancipation.org

Bio: Pending

Doris Lewis

Community Housing Coordinator 
E: dlewis@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-688-0761 

Hello, I am Doris Lewis, born and raised in Oakland, CA. With a passion for community engagement, I am a dedicated professional with a background in Business Administration. As a proud parent of three and a member of the executive board at Oakland Dynamites, I bring a unique blend of leadership, organizational skills, and a commitment to excellence. 

La’Cole Martin

Education & Career Manager

E: lcmartin@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-560-4502 

I joined B:E this year 2024. With 18 years of experience as an educator and as a first-generation college graduate, I’m inspired by my own journey and my mother’s 16 years as a foster parent during the crack cocaine epidemic. Education created many opportunities for me, and I understand the critical importance of life skills, education, and job readiness for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. I know how vital it is to have a strong support network and access to resources. In my leisure time, I love to travel, especially to the Caribbean islands.

La'Shea Martin

Intake Coordinator

E: lmartin@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-908-8757

Bio: Pending

Ixchel Mayorga

Education and Career Coach | Case Manager 

E: imayorga@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-213-4072 
I graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Child, Youth, and Family Studies in 2020. I have since dedicated my career to supporting youth in need. With experience in emergency shelter care and Independent Living Skills programs, I strive to bring empathy and knowledge to every single day of my work. In my spare time, I enjoy reading fiction, doing many kinds of crafts, and spending time with my dog. I am deeply committed to my role as an Education and Career Coach. 

Felicita Ocampo-Pedroza

Data and Evaluation Specialist

E: fpedroza@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-667-7696

Hi, I’m Felicita, and I’ve been with B:E since 2021. My inspiration comes from my own journey through the foster care system, entering at 7 and transitioning out at 23. Experiencing the system’s challenges ignited my passion for advocating support and resources for foster youth. I strive to improve programs, blending my personal insight with professional expertise. I emphasize being trauma-informed and inclusive, believing in the power of youth voices. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my two dogs, drumming, gardening, and occasional gaming on my PlayStation 5.

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Monica Peyton

ILP Coach/Case Manager

E: mpeyton@alamedacountyilp.org 
P: 510-775-3488

Bio: Pending

Kat Preston

Development Manager 

E: kpreston@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-667-7696 
I graduated in 2018 with a degree in psychology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (it took me over five years!). Ever since, I have pursued a career in fundraising for causes that center and uplift young people. Their ambition, resourcefulness, and resiliency give me hope for a brighter future. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing fantasy and horror stories, and playing tabletop games. 

Maida Quintero Medrano

Education and Career Coach | Case Manager

E: mmedrano@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-410-6170

Hi there! My name is Maida, I have been working at B:E for almost 3 years. During this time I’ve picked up how much patience, reflection, hope and advocacy is needed to do this work. I have a tender heart and care so much about being an emotionally safe place for youth impacted by systems. Vulnerability is a critical gateway to wellness and it can only be shown if we feel and have safety. I’m a life learner so I’m always working!

Eugenia Robinson

ILP Coach/Case Manager

E: erobinson@alamedacountyilp.org 
P: 510-736-6145

Bio: Pending

Martha Lopez Rosas

ILP Coach | Case Manager

E: mlopezrosas@alamedacountyilp.org 
P: 510-301-0786

Hello! My name is Martha Lopez Rosas, and I am an ILP Coach here at B:E. I was raised in Oakland once my family migrated to the US when I was only 2! But I am originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. I am a first-generation college graduate and obtained my BA in Multicultural and Gender Studies with a minor in Sociology. I’m a mom of two crazy cats! I enjoy doing arts and crafts, listening to music, and trying new foods.

Kelsey Sanchez

ILP Coordinator

E: ksanchez@alamedacountyilp.org 
P: 510-667-7696

I have been a part of B:E for over 8 years now. I am greatly inspired by the young people we serve and our internal and external B:E community who support foster and juvenile justice system youth every day. I am driven to assist foster/JJS youth by providing a plethora of resources and support to create a life filled with connection, community, and long-term wellness. Outside of work, I enjoy baking, exploring the outdoors, and picking up new hobbies.

Leila Sotto

Program Operations Coordinator

E: lsotto@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 650-600-1362

I began my journey at B:E back in 2020 as an Americorps Intern. During the 10 months I interned, I found that serving foster youth aging out of care was a purpose close and dear to my heart. I have always had a serving heart, and being in this field has filled my cup beyond my expectations. I studied Criminal Justice in college and knew I wanted to make a difference for underserved populations. My goal is to ensure that even though they don’t have all the answers, they feel confident enough to be equipped and independent. I want them to know that they can create positive change for themselves and others, and with our support, they are much more aware of that. Outside of work, I dance hula, enjoy painting, and consider myself a true bookworm.

Dwana Timms

Post-Secondary Education & Career Coach/Case Manager

E: dtimms@beyondemancipation.org 

I love working with youth, inspired by educators who made a significant impact on me as a young Black woman, teaching me to be a lifelong learner and to carry myself with confidence, self-respect, and pride. My goal is to touch as many young hearts and souls as I can, helping them to strive for greatness and achieve things they never thought possible. I enjoy writing poetry, exercising, and being around positive, uplifting people. Outside activities like going to the beach and skating at the Basin on hot days bring me joy. My favorite color is royal blue, and I aim to travel more and advance my business, “Too Dope Too Deep,” by publishing my poetry book and starting a podcast to empower women. My dog Blu fills my life with joy and keeps my heart pure with love.

Elizabeth Villagomez

ILP Coach | Case Manager

E: evillagomez@alamedacountyilp.org 

I am a Chabot and SFSU graduate. I pursued a BA in Psychology to support individuals overcome life challenges and strive for a meaningful life. I am a mother of a doggie and enjoy invading his space with love and cuddles. Exploring and venturing off in travels is my selfcare. I lived in Australia for a year and hoping to also live in Mexico. I enjoy different cultural cuisines/music and trying some things at least once. I live for helping others who want help. I’ll take the time to get to know you and share my good vibes.

Lakita Williams

Host Housing Coordinator

E: lwilliams@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-736-7181 
As an Oakland native, born and raised, I have seen firsthand how important it is to serve our community. I have spent the past 7 ½ years at B:E, dedicated to uplifting young adults, approaching my work by centering a holistic approach – ensuring that the unique physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of each youth are accounted for. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking and baking (you may have heard of my famous mac and cheese). 

Shaheda Wright

FUP Housing Coordinator 

E: swright@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-667-7637 
I am a proud West Oakland native! I attended College of Alameda and Delta College of Stockton. I’m a Certified Professional Life Coach. I worked as a group counselor and decided to support youth in a hands-on capacity. I became a foster parent and housed seven children in my home. Community is everything to me. My non-profit has served over 10,000 meals in the cities of Stockton and Oakland. I love writing. I wrote one book and published three. My passion is photography. I liken this work to photography. ALL youth should be seen and heard. 

Sema'J Wyatt

HNP Coordinator 

E: swyatt@beyondemancipation.org 
P: 510-882-3692

I have been with B:E since 2021. I am inspired by my own struggles with the foster care system and wishing to be the change and helping hand that I was seeking during my journey. In serving foster youth aging out of care, I believe it is important that the youth feel heard and that their goals and desires are what is leading the mission. Outside of work, I enjoy shopping and traveling.

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