Raquel Pinderhughes, Ph.D., founder and Executive Director of Roots of Success, is a professor of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University. Her work focuses on improving quality of life for people from underserved communities. She conducted the landmark study “Green Collar Jobs for Individuals with Barriers to Employment” and co-authored the first report on “The Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System” for the Federal Department of Corrections. Her programmatic work on preparing people with barriers to employment for jobs in the green economy informed the creation of the Obama Administration’s “Pathways Out of Poverty” Program and the development of hundreds of green jobs training and environmental literacy programs in the United States.

Abby O’Brien is Deputy Director at Roots of Success. Prior, she worked at the SFS Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Atenas, Costa Rica. Abby holds a B.A. in Environmental Analysis with a focus in sustainability and the built environment from Scripps College. She is excited to work with our partners and help Roots of Success grow.


Douglas Pentland is Program Manager with Roots of Success. Before working with RoS, he worked as a community organizer in Los Angeles, a bilingual elementary school teacher in Dallas, TX and Seattle, WA, a family coordinator in New York City, and taught Horticulture courses in Rikers Island jail in NYC. He believes that where there are people there is power, and is excited to be a member of the Roots of Success team.


Florencia Diano Borghini is Director of the Roots of Success en Español team, working on Curriculum Development and as Video Editor. A photographer and filmmaker from Uruguay, she holds a degree in Social Communication with emphasis in Audiovisual Narrative and a Diploma in Editing. She works as a photographer, audiovisual producer, teacher, and graphic designer.


Grady Mitchell taught the Roots of Success course to hundreds of men incarcerated in Washington. In January 2021, Grady’s 37 year sentence was commuted and he was able to return home to his family and community. He is now teaching the Roots of Success course to youth in Washington.


Shruti Sreenath is Product Manager and Project Lead for Course Migration at Roots of Success where her work focuses on researching learning management systems, content migration, and improving user experience. She has a wide range of experience in Technology Management and Consulting with multiple industries. Shruti holds an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Management, Indore and a B.E degree from BITS Pilani. She is passionate about learning new technologies and their application in product management.

Tien Tran, Graphic Design Specialist at Roots of Success, is a graduate from San Jose State University with a major in Graphic Design. Her childhood love of art including movies, animations, and video games inspired her passion for graphic design. She enjoys creating a variety of works including posters, brochures, brand identity, and motion graphics.

Roots of Success Interns

Valerie Xiong
Anna Neubauer-Vickers
Elizaveta Kozlova


Board of Directors


Kay O’Neill, Board President Kay joined Roots of Success Advisory Board in 2010 while directing five Green Job Academies in California’s San Mateo county. Inspired by the enduring and transformative power of the Roots of Success teaching method, she continued to support Roots of Success as a Community College Workforce Director and Consultant to non-profit workforce and apprenticeship training programs. Kay became President of the Board of Directors in 2022 and is committed to expanding the reach of our 600+ programs across the country through fundraising and community-based partnerships.

An Bui, Vice President and Secretary An has worked in the nonprofit sector for close to 10 years, and has been involved with Roots since 2017. Currently, he is the Community Needs Assessment Coordinator for the nonprofit Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) in Portland, OR. He is passionate about equity, community empowerment, and data-informed decision making, and is immensely proud to be serving on the board.

Maurice Hampton, Directorbegan working with the Roots of Success Program in 2013, while serving a 4 year prison term in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) at the Pickaway Correctional Institution (PCI). Since 2016 he has been employed by Quality Control Inspection (QCI) as a Civil Engineering Inspector. He earned a Bachelor of Science Engineering Technology (BSET) in Civil Engineering from the Ohio State University (OSU). Maurice is also the President of Hampton Properties Reformed, LLC a Commercial and Residential Construction Company providing living wage employment for previously incarcerated men and women.

Chad Flores, Treasurer Chad is Director of Product Management at Cohesion. His expertise is in nonprofit organizational management and environmental policy. 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.

Cyril Walrond, Director Cyril was a Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer in Washington state prisons, where his immense talents, passion, wisdom, and leadership have changed the lives of countless men during his incarceration. After being incarcerated for nearly two decades, with two more on the books, Cyril was resentenced in June 2022 and was able to return home to his family and community. He is a dedicated community organizer, advocate, and ambassador for social change, transformative justice, and community empowerment.

Raquel Pinderhughes, Director Raquel is Executive Director of Roots of Success.


Traci Akers – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center 
Jaime Armour – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center
Jamie Brewster – Employment Programs Director, One Treasure Island
Matthew DelSesto – Inside-Out Program Coordinator and Teaching Fellow in Sociology, Boston College
David Duhaime – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Stafford Creek Correction Center
Karlyn Eklof – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center 

Van Jones – CNN political contributor, The Van Jones Show, The Redemption Project

Amy Kiser – Independent Consultant
Suzanne Hidekawa – Graphic Design Consultant
Shirley McLaughlin – Principal, Adler & Colvin
Grady Mitchell – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Washington Corrections Center; Corrections and Reentry Program Director, Roots of Success
Deborah Moore – Principal, Campaign Catalyst Solutions
Pedro Noguera – Dean of Education, University of Southern California (USC)
Dan Pacholke – Co-director, Segregation Solutions
Curtis Penn – Division Director of Justice Services, Felton Institute
Lisbeth Shepard – Independent Consultant
Lanelle Warner – Roots of Success Instructor, Coffee Creek Correctional Center
Eugene Youngblood – Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer, Monroe Correctional Complex; Facilitator and Community Engagement Specialist, The Freedom Project

Job opportunities

We may be hiring! Look for our postings on Idealist, or send an email to for more information. We also have a Handshake profile for student internships.

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