Student Success Agency © 2021
Kanoe Montaño is Product Designer, tasked with researching and designing the experience of the Winbox for agents, educators, students, and administrators. Prior to joining SSA, Kanoe served as the Coordinator and Graphic Designer for the Office of Violence Prevention at Carroll University, and she also served as a graphic designer for the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education office during her graduate program at Marquette University. Kanoe is passionate about the way that digital experiences can support larger social justice movements, especially in education. Kanoe has been recognized in her field as a Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocate through the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault and as an anti-colonial educator winning “Best Of WACADA” for her 2019 presentation on “Decolonizing Higher Education”. She graduated from Lake Forest College with her Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art and Psychology and then went on to complete her Masters in Educational Policy and Leadership degree through Marquette University’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program. Want to connect? Find Kanoe at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kanoemontano/, View her UX/UI Portfolio https://uxfol.io/c5d9bec3 ,check out her art instagram https://www.instagram.com/colormekanoe, or email Kanoe at email@example.com.
Omar Lozada is software engineer tasked with the engineering and development of the software for the Winbox for agents, educators, students, and administrators. Prior to joining SSA, Omar served as a Software engineer and collaborate with Startups and agencies based in the USA and Europe. Omar is passionate about building digital products that made life easier because with the technology and devices of the current era we can go beyond, solve and improve our day by day. Omar has been recognized in their field for hack space as a professional instructor for web development courses. He graduated from UNPRG. Want to connect? Find Omar on linkedin, twitter, instagram.
EJ Carrion is the Chief Executive Officer at Student Success Agency. His responsibilities include managing the overall health of the organization and developing an environment for our operations, product, and partnership teams to thrive. EJ was a part of the original core team who launched the Student Success Agency. His main contribution was and is to cast a vision for the company's strategy, inspire collaborators, and identify early market fit for the organization’s growth. EJ is passionate about the work SSA gets to do because it aligns with the challenges he faced as a first-generation college student. EJ was on the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Education and, as a high school senior, was the first and only student from his small town to win the prestigious Bill and Melinda Gates Millenium Scholarship. He graduated debt-free from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.
Michael Benko is SSA’s Co-Founder/Chief Operating Officer and is tasked with organizational excellence and growth. Michael started SSA with EJ while in college after the two of them dreamed of a world where students could get the support they needed anytime, anywhere. Since starting SSA, Michael has been featured as a TEDx speaker, was awarded Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education in 2018, and named Forbes best employers to work for in 2020. Want to connect? Find Michael on LinkedIn, Instagram, or connect on email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. LeAnna Wilson is Vice President of Partner Success leading SSA towards creating an excellent customer experience through cultivating partner relationships to improve and expand our visibility and digital services across the country. LeAnna joined SSA with vast experience in K-12/undergraduate/graduate teaching, online teaching and administration, evaluative leadership, data analysis, instructional consulting, strategic implementation and relationship building. Prior to working for SSA, she served in various positions including 16 years as a public-school teacher and 9 years in various positions at Pearson working with their partner schools, leadership teams, executive directors and cross-collaborative service providers to provide administrative coaching, large scale project planning, and customized support including developing revolutionary models for virtual Professional Learning Communities and pedagogical student engagement best practices for teachers across the country. LeAnna was recognized in her field, awarded the BESSIE Award for K-2 Best Educational Software writing curriculum in partnership with Connections Education and The Juilliard School of Music. Having served as the North America Director and Co-Chair of national conferences for the 21st Century Academic Forum, she published and presented her doctoral research twice at Harvard University during her established career in education. LeAnna holds a Business Administration certificate from Ivy Tech Community College, bachelor’s degree in Education from Asbury University, master’s degree in Piano Performance & Pedagogy from Ball State University, and a doctorate degree in Higher Education from Argosy University. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.
Caroline “Inspires” Bennett is SSA’s Head of Student Empowerment and will be responsible for inspiring and uplifting students across the country as a speaker to take ownership of their futures while also engaging with educators and school leaders. She will also lead, recruit, and coach SSA’s first Speaker Team alongside EJ! Prior to joining SSA Caroline has unapologetically transformed the spaces of non-profit organizations, correctional institutions, news stations, TEDx stages, primary and secondary schools, higher education institutions, and corporations across the nation. As a 2x TEDx Speaker with more than 10 years of experience in youth and community outreach, CarolineINSPIRES has captured and transformed the lives of over 22,000 youth across more than 15 states using her gift of gab and artistic genius to Captivate, Create, and Connect with all who she comes in contact with.
Caroline “Inspires” Bennett is SSA’s Head of Student Empowerment and will be responsible for inspiring and uplifting students across the country as a speaker to take ownership of their futures while also engaging with educators and school leaders. She will also lead, recruit, and coach SSA’s first Speaker Team alongside EJ! Prior to joining SSA Caroline has unapologetically transformed the spaces of non-profit organizations, correctional institutions, news stations, TEDx stages, primary and secondary schools, higher education institutions, and corporations across the nation. As a 2x TEDx Speaker with more than 10 years of experience in youth and community outreach, CarolineINSPIRES has captured and transformed the lives of over 22,000 youth across more than 15 states using her gift of gab and artistic genius to Captivate, Create, and Connect with all who she comes in contact with. As her face was featured on shirts for the international retail corporation, Abercrombie & Fitch, For Justice For Joy Mural Tee, CarolineINSPIRES is a highly regarded multifaceted cross cultural influencer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, artist, speaker, author, and educator. A native of North Tulsa, Oklahoma, Caroline, often tells people, “my environment was not an excuse to quit but rather it was a reason to keep going!” A two-time loan and debt-free first generation college and master’s degree school graduate having received a Bachelor’s degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, and a Master’s degree in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality studies from The Ohio State University, she has been intentional about her work inside and outside of academic spaces. Her work is rooted in the community, driven by love, and sustained by faith, creativity, and purpose. CarolineINSPIRES prides herself in advocating for those who come from communities that mirror the one she grew up in. She has inspired and served over 5,000+ youth and more than 1k+ families. Her imprint of inspiration, through her educational and community endeavors, has procured over $32,000 of donations and other essential needs for youth and their families such as food, utilities, furniture, and health services. In her first curated documentary, This Girl! That Smile. Her Spirit, and in her forthcoming books, she endeavors to document the journeys of youth while empowering them to re-write their narrative. Through her artistic gifts, CarolineINSPIRES has left her mark sharing the stage with award winning artists such as Eric Roberson, The Hamiltones, Zacardi Cortez, Big Daddy Kane, Da Brat, Musiq Soulchild, and Sa-Roc. Continuing to use her gifts in exponential ways, she has also achieved the titles of Miss Black OK US Ambassador 2015, Miss Black US Ambassador 1st Runner-Up 2015, and Miss Black Ohio 2019 (resigned). In addition to those achievements, CarolineINSPIRES has also been awarded the 2019 Future History Makers Award and the 2020 Next Up Columbus Award presented by CityPulse Columbus. Currently, she resides in Columbus, Ohio, where you can find her imprint throughout the city and beyond. Further embodied in her #BE #YOUR#MARK Collection, an apparel line that combines her invigorating inspiration and colorful legacy.
Rubi Franco Quiroz is SSA’s Head of Impact. She is tasked with ensuring SSA excels in providing an impactful experience to all SSA students while maintaining student safety through our digital support services. Rubi leads our Academic and Professional Specialists team to empower students via unique and intentional learning experiences. She utilizes her Master of Social work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) to lead SSA’s safety protocol initiatives. She joined SSA in 2016 with a Bachelors in Communication spec. in Interpersonal Relations and Organization, and with a double minor in French and Hispanic studies from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is a certified interpreter in both languages. As a first generation college student, Rubi is a passionate advocate for educational accessibility. Rubi is a compassionate leader and a recipient of The Martin Luther King Jr. Award for her commitment to social justice, equity and diversity. She also received the Frank Porter Graham Award for her contributions to the realization of the human ideals of equality, dignity and community.
Justin Cyrus joined SSA in 2014 and currently serves as SSA’s Head of Agent Success. In this role, he manages and leads Agents to support their students. Justin holds a BS in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University. Prior to SSA, he worked for a contract manufacturing company in the biomanufacturing industry and implements many of the engineering skills he learned there into the day to day operations of SSA. Justin is passionate about his work at SSA because of the opportunity to provide equitable change to underserved and underrepresented populations.
Thomas Thielen is SSA’s Safety Specialist tasked with resolving safety concerns and case report management . Thomas is passionate about mental health access and higher education because as a latino man in higher education pursuing mental health equity, his experience has demonstrated a need for a more diverse pool of role models for young adults entering the professional world. Thomas has been recognized in their field for supporting minorities and advocating for equity across the board. Thomas graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Want to connect? Find Thomas Thiele at: (LinkedIn hyperlink), (Twitter hyperlink), (Instagram hyperlink), etc.
Summer Salinas is SSA’s Head of Student Experience. She is tasked with ensuring every student within SSA has a seamless sign up process and stellar experience throughout their SSA journey, planning and executing improvements within our student onboarding process, and overseeing our Student Activation Team who is responsible for hand-picking Agents for students based on interests and career goals. Prior to joining SSA, Summer served as a Medical Assistant. She discontinued her work in the medical field after having her son, Calvin, and in doing so she discovered a new path to fulfilling her passion for service. Starting as an SSA Agent just a short time ago, Summer has quickly established herself as a recognized, valued, integral force within the company as she has found her true passion of serving and positively impacting students' lives through her leadership positions. Now she is able to support students not only on the front lines as an Agent, but behind the scenes as well. Summer believes whole-heartedly that every student should have access to the help and support they need and loves being a large part of that support system for all of the students at SSA. Want to connect? www.linkedin.com/in/summerdsalinas.
Lisa Brady Gill serves on the SSA Advisory Board. As an initial member, she provides strategic leadership advice, direction and collaborates with the executive team. Her commitment to SSA’s mission began with witnessing impactful interactions, testimonies and outcomes from students and educators engaged with the organization and resulted in a consultancy in the areas of external partnerships and growth in 2018.
Prior to forming a consulting business, Ms. Gill led national education policy, marketing and workforce development teams with organizations such Texas Instruments and ACT, Inc. While at TI…..(mathforward, etc) At ACT, (SHRM,
Passionate about (growing & empowering leaders, encouraging and supporting learners, social justice,
Entire career focused on supporting learners of any age, circumstance
Boards - NCCEP, HTHHs, SIIA, RISD & PISD Foundation boards, honors, education
Fred is our Head of Content, or as he sometimes refers to himself, our Resident Timekeeper.
On the frontline, you'll find Fred with his camera and notepad, documenting the action, and following the SSA story. But at home base, Fred pioneers advancements in digital media technology as it relates to photo, video, live stream, storytelling, creative ideation, thought systems, artificial intelligence networks, digital asset management and procedure building for scaled production.
"In school, I struggled with remembering history in the same detail as my peers, I then found fascination with tools that helped me digest information at the speed I was experiencing it. So naturally, I found myself drawn to the role of historian and storyteller. And while I can't change my history, I can in fact strengthen my weaknesses."
"I remind us where we've been, so we can remember where we're going."
Becky Pincince is SSA’s Head of Implementation, tasked with onboarding new accounts and scheduling kickoffs. She is passionate about supporting the whole student and helping them be successful in their personal lives, not just in their academic and work lives. Becky attended the Community College of Rhode Island, during which time she also established herself as a top-rated freelance writer. She then transferred to Rhode Island College, where she majored in English, minored in business, was awarded honors for her senior thesis, and received the Jean Garrigue Creative Writing Award. Becky started at SSA as an Agent in 2017 before working her way up to a full-time admin team member. She is local to Rhode Island and enjoys playing board games with her loved ones, hiking, and reading. The best way to reach Becky is by emailing her at email@example.com.
Héctor García De León is SSA’s Content and Social Media Manager tasked with producing graphics and social videos, managing content across all social media platforms and developing creative ways to visually tell impactful stories of our students, Agents and company. Prior to joining SSA, Héctor interned with NBCUniversal, The Television Academy, and USA TODAY. Héctor is passionate about journalism and social media because he loves the opportunity to tell stories visually and find new ways to capture a digital audience. Héctor graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Want to connect? Find Héctor on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Hannan Yahya is SSA’s Specialist Operations Manager tasked with overseeing the Specialist department, managing our Specialist team and platform, and communicating between Agents, students and Educators about Specialist services. Hannan is passionate about Education Technology and Digital Support systems because she knows and understands the value that one individual can have on a student, and the need for support that students across the country have today. She is a first generation college student and is a strong advocate of educational accessibility. Hannan has been awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship in 2016 and graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Biomedical Engineering conc. Electrical Engineering. Want to connect? Find Hannan at: LinkedIn, Instagram
Anna is the Sr Product Designer tasked with management and creation of SSA’s product design systems. Prior to joining SSA, Anna served as a Visual Designer at Brightbytes for 8 years. Anna is passionate about design because empathy is the first step in the design-thinking process, and understanding everyone in the student’s journey to success is what drives her best work. Anna has been recognized for her extensive work at Brightbytes and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communications from San Francisco State University. Want to connect? Find Anna on Linkedin
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