Staff & Advisory Board

Learn more about the team behind Roots of Success


Raquel Pinderhughes, Ph.D. is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University and the Founder and Executive Director of Roots of Success. An internationally recognized expert on green jobs, green jobs training and environmental literacy, Raquel has decades of experience working with incarcerated, low-literacy and first-time college populations. Her Green Job Training Model was used to form the Oakland Green Job Corps and inform the Obama Administration’s Pathways out of Poverty Initiative funded with ARRA funds. 

Chad Flores is the Deputy Director of Roots of Success. His expertise is in nonprofit organizational management and environmental policy. Chad’s leadership perspective is informed by studying environmental policy in Washington, DC, European Union policy approaches in Belgium and Ireland, as well as his international humanitarian aid service in Honduras and Vietnam. Previous to his work with Roots of Success, he worked for the online fundraising nonprofit Network for Good and the social innovation incubator Hub Bay Area. Chad holds a M.S. in Public Service Management from DePaul University’s School of Public Service and a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Marquette University. He is passionate about issues at the intersection of public health, economy, policy, and innovation.

200_IMG_4883Curtis Penn is a Corrections-Reentry Consultant with Roots of Success and is currently working towards a B.A. degree in Sociology at San Francisco State University. He is a San Francisco State, Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellow and works as an Intern with the San Francisco Reentry Division, Adult Probation Department where he evaluates risk/needs data to develop effective strategies to improve outcomes for homeless, mental health, and AB 109 probation clients. In addition, he works as a Case Manager with Options Recovery Services, which is a Transitional Housing Living facility for formerly incarcerated and/or homeless men and women who face challenges of drug and alcohol addiction.

Colin Smith headshotColin Smith is the Head Editor of Roots of Success. He holds a B.A. in History and American Studies from Kalamazoo College. Colin is interested in advocating for literacy and how culture, policies, and the economy have affected communities. He has previously interned under a sustainable farm in British Columbia, the environmental news organization Circle of Blue, and had enrolled in Sociology and Development courses for six months in Kenya. As a writer and editor, he works with Roots of Success‘s books and texts, including laying out the Green Jobs and Career Pathways Guidebook.

Janelly Nieves headshotJanelly Nieves is the Data Program Manager at Roots of Success. She graduated with an Associates in Arts, Bachelors in Science and a Masters in Public Administration. As the youngest child raised by a single mother, she has a passion for service and helping others find ways to succeed. Janelly’s professional interests include community development and improvement and human resources.

Advisory Board

Kay O’Neil

Director of Workforce Development, Canada College

Jamie Brewster

Program Manager,
Five Keys Charter School

Anne Boyd-Rabkin

Nonprofit Consultant in Health and Sustainability


Larry Cohen

Executive Director, Prevention Institute (co-chair)

Van Jones

Executive Director,
Rebuild the Dream

BC Broussard

Founder and CTO,
Flying Cranes

Pedro Noguera

Professor, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University

Sarah Shanley Hope

 Executive Director, Alliance for Climate Education

Tim Smith

Director of Programs,
Full Circle Fund

Trina Martynowiez

Cleantech Coordinator and Transportation Sector Lead, EPA

Mark Jacobstein

Technology Entrepreneur



Patrick Brown

Leadership Academy Manager, Greenlining Institute

Nwamaka Agbo

Director of Programs,

Kenji Kato

Visual Simulation Expert, NASA
at the Ames Research Center

Lisbeth Shepard

Executive Director,
Green City Force


Paul Cox

 Founder, Veterans Speakers Alliance

Employment Opportunities

We are hiring for ! See the post on Idealist, or send an email to for more information.

Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

If you are interested in Interning or Volunteering with Roots of Success please send your resume and a cover letter to