Nitzan Pelman is a three time social impact entrepreneur. She founded Climb Hire in 2019 as a way to create economic opportunity and mobility for people earning below livable wage. Climb Hire’s program model is based on Nitzan’s first hand research as an Entrepreneur in Residence at LinkedIn on the powerful role that social networks can play in securing living wage jobs. Nitzan is an Ascend Fellow with the Aspen Institute and is an official “LinkedIn Influencer.” Nitzan was the founding CEO of an Entangled Ventures company called ReUp Education that focuses on re-enrolling students who have dropped out of college (acquired in 2022 by Sterling). Nitzan also founded the New York region of Citizen Schools, a middle school initiative for low income students. Early in her career she worked at the Department of Education in New York City, KIPP, and Teach for America. Nitzan holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University and a BA from Stern College for Women.
Sorbrique "Sorby" Grant
Sorbrique “Sorby” Grant joined Climb Hire as its inaugural Chief Program & People Officer. Sorby launched her career in 2007 as a Teach for America Corps Member in the South Bronx. Following her stint in the classroom, she landed at Citizen Schools as the Managing Director of Program for the NYC region, where she served thousands of students through Expanded Learning Time partnership programs. Interestingly enough, this is where she would first cross paths with Climb Hire’s CEO, Nitzan Pelman, who was Citizen Schools NY’s founding ED. Following Citizen Schools, Sorby transitioned into the field of Leadership and Talent Development, and worked as the Director of Principal Preparation at Achievement First (AF), supporting and coaching aspiring school principals. Soon after, she was recruited to be the turnaround principal of Achievement First Hartford Academy Middle School. Having achieved incredible results with AF, Sorby then briefly served as Head of School for KIPP New Orleans. Seeing the need for a more comprehensive response to the challenges facing New Orleans youth, she left KIPP and became the Chief Program Officer in 2019 for the Center for Resilience, Louisiana’s only therapeutic day program for children with behavioral health and autism spectrum diagnoses. Sorby brings to Climb Hire deep experience in Program & Curriculum design, Talent Management & Development, and Human Resources Management. Sorby holds a Masters of Teaching from Pace University, a Master of Public Policy & Urban Planning from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and American Studies from Cornell University. In her free time, she enjoys running marathons, traveling, jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with her fur babies (cats: Phoebe, Josephine Baker, and James Baldwin and dog: Enid). In 2023, she is training for an upcoming triathlon.
Kate comes to Climb Hire with years of experience in sales and talent acquisition running the full gamut from executive search to corporate partnership development and internal recruiting. Most recently, Kate served as Global Talent Lead for Public.com, a venture-backed high-growth retail investment startup based in New York. This is actually Kate’s second stint at Climb Hire – from 2019-2022 she built Climb Hire’s employer partnerships function from scratch, having built 60+ partnerships with companies like Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, Discord, IBM, Gusto, and more. Prior to Climb Hire, she was an Associate Partner with Arete Partners, a boutique SF-based executive search firm, where she ran VP+ level searches in Engineering, Product Marketing, Product Management, and more for Seed-Series A startups globally. Previously, Kate held leadership roles in sales & recruiting at Frederickson Partners in Menlo Park, where she oversaw business development, co-led the consulting & contracting practice, and ran C-level HR searches for marquee companies nationwide. Kate holds an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion from Yale University and a B.A. in French from the University of Redlands. She’s thrilled to continue pushing the envelope on systems-level change with Climb Hire, helping companies think more broadly and creatively about entry-level hiring.
Stephen Colon’s first job was teaching swim lessons, and since then, he’s hasn’t stopped helping people face their fears, dive into the deep end, and go further than they ever dreamed possible. He’s a nonprofit leader who cares a whole lot about helping working people get the most out of their careers. Stephen grew up in Los Angeles, studied organizational theory at Pitzer College, then did one semester of teaching school before learning middle schoolers were not his calling. He’s spent time as a research assistant, training developer, program manager, fundraiser, consultant, and preacher. Most recently, Stephen was Director of Customer Experience for the San Diego Workforce Partnership. Stephen also spent a couple months as a regional leader for the Registrar of Voters during the 2020 election—so don’t try any nonsense with him. If you do try something, you can always win his heart back with recommendations for sparkly nail polish from cute little independent brands.
Shaté is a creative at the intersection of education and production. Before joining Climb Hire, she spent 5+ years leading a high volume career content and programs team at a market leading edtech company that supports tens of thousands of learners. Before that, she spent 12+ years fulfilling her dreams as a professional dancer, choreographer, and dance educator. She’s all about people and performance, with a BA in Psychology from Spelman College and a MFA in Dance from Sam Houston State University. When Shaté’s not working, she contributes to career panels and national publications; co-hosts The Love Haze, a podcast that empowers the wellbeing of the Black community; and serves her local community through her chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Through it all, you’ll find her listening to her favorite tunes, dancing her snacks off, or caught up in the stories of a good book, documentary, or show.
Michelle grew up with dreams of becoming a nutritionist. As a kid (and adult) with an extreme sweet tooth, it’s still baffling to her that she set her heart on this at a young age. Fast forward to college, and after a semester of biology and chemistry, she realized she liked words more than molecules and set her sights on marketing. Over the last decade, Michelle has helped high-growth startups nail their brand, codify their positioning, and unlock their customers. She has built award-winning teams and helped grow companies 10X. Michelle has a strong love for customers and a knack for creating human connections between brands and their audiences. At ezCater, she built the brand function where she led PR, events, social media, internal comms, and creative. At Owl Labs, she spearheaded the development of their first Customer Experience organization, strengthening the company’s focus on customers and implementing new metrics for customer effort and word-of-mouth. Most recently, she was the Head of Marketing at Noteable, where she led the go-to-market efforts and launched the public beta. Michelle holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and an M.S. in Organizational Communication from Northeastern University.
Kristen is a seasoned nonprofit, workforce development leader and strategist known for advancing economic equity and systems change for our most vulnerable community members. Areas of focus have included job quality and talent equity, government subsidized employment and training programs, and program capacity building. Her work has also included implementing job centers in correctional facilities, revenue generation via all levels of government funds, and leading policy advocacy for workforce development. In her free time, you will find Kristen at one of the many stunning parks in Colorado playing hide-and-seek with her daughter and husband.
Tjwana is committed to providing essential tools and resources to help students and alumni grow their capabilities. Her work history expands over 14 years in higher education and not for profit industries. Tjwana has previously served as a Director of Education, Campus President as well as a Director of Career Development. Previous roles focused on data-driven initiatives focused on assisting graduates with entry level employment, student retention as well professional development. Tjwana graduated from American InterContinental University, where she earned a master’s degree in Business Administration specializing in Management and Marketing. Her favorite quote: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Jacey moved to the west coast for college and never looked back, graduating with a BA in Theatre and Marketing from San Diego State University. It’s a lovely juxtaposition to be natured within the wildly artistic Nashville scene and nurtured by the adventurous heartbeat of San Diego. This dichotomy of traits has lent itself well to her professional growth. Jacey comes to Climb Hire with over seven years experience as a marketer in various fields, most recently as the Digital Marketing and Partnerships Manager at La Jolla Playhouse, the Tony-Winning regional theatre known for its innovative, immersive and bold productions. With extensive knowledge in marketing for not-for-profits and executing campaigns from the ground up, Jacey is motivated by a love of sharing experiences and products with a community who will love them too. The human connection makes it all worth it. In her free time, Jacey loves getting outside with her pup, nurturing mindful and creative relationships, getting lost in live music, painting on the cliffs of Ocean Beach or snuggling up on the couch with her weighted blanket and a good book.
Originally from New York City, New York, Janey received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. Following her undergraduate studies, Janey worked as a retail sales representative for Nestlé Inc. Following her tenure with Nestlé, Janey joined Teach for America as a 5th grade educator in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while also performing part-time administrative duties with the organization. After concluding her time with TFA, Janey worked as an instructional mentor with Tulsa Public Schools, managing and advising first-year teachers as they entered into the career. In addition to her professional experiences, Janey started a business, Coin Coach LLC, aiming to aid minority adults increase their financial literacy. Through her efforts, Janey has developed key relationship-building and coaching skills which she looks forward to contributing to the team!
Lauren comes to Climb Hire with a strong background in program management, communications, and career coaching. Most recently, she was the Student Leadership & Engagement Program Manager at Tulane University’s Newcomb Institute, where she managed and scaled multiple engagement initiatives serving hundreds of students. She has also worked as a freelance writer for national outlets and is a certified career coach. Originally from the Saint Louis metropolitan area, Lauren moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane, where she earned a B.A. in English and Spanish and an M.A. in English. Outside of work, she is the co-captain of a local running crew; co-hosts ‘Reclaiming Jane,’ a Jane Austen podcast for fans on the margins; serves on the board of Youth Run NOLA; and is working on a novel. She is an avid fan of all things pop culture and can often be found with her nose in a book.
Nancy Flores Rodriguez
Nancy Flores Rodriguez has dedicated her career to addressing pressing social issues affecting underserved communities. With a passion for education and workforce development, she has worked as a tutor, AmeriCorps member, training specialist, and program coordinator in various nonprofit and local government organizations. She is committed to creating positive change and making a difference in people’s lives. Born and raised in Miami, FL, she has lived in several cities, including Washington D.C, San Diego, CA, Orlando, FL, and now resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and two dogs (Rowdy and Bailey). Nancy enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling.
Lou was born and raised in Los Angeles and is proud to call the San Diego/Tijuana region home. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of San Diego where he was also grateful to compete as an NCAA Division I athlete. Lou is the child of immigrants, a first-generation college student, and developed a passion for social justice while at USD. After working in engineering he moved to the Bay Area to begin his career in public education as a Math and Physics teacher. Lou also has a Master’s in Education from Alliant International University and has taught 6-12th graders Math and Science for over a decade across classrooms in California like East Palo Alto, Escondido, San Diego and San Ysidro. He also has a high level of expertise in financial literacy and building bridges for first-generation college students as an upward-bound instructor. Lou continues to serve his community as the Vice President of the South Bay Union School District School Board.
Loretta Bonifacio is a second-generation Filipino American born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She’s interested in using technology to improve and connect local communities. In pursuit of an equitable future, Loretta is motivated to contribute to collaborative, inclusive spaces that encourage growth and creative problem solving. Loretta is a Climb Hire alumna who participated in the Fellowship program twice as a session facilitator, and served as the Alumni Community Coordinator. Previously, Loretta worked at Gap Inc. Headquarters in the corporate archives, the University of California, Davis in various recruitment and peer retention spaces, the City College of San Francisco in the English Lab and Journalism Department, and at Better in the Sales division. Loretta earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication and Film Studies from UC Davis. Loretta is a dog person who enjoys movies, sports, walking, and talking.
Born and raised in California, Sarah has utilized the independent spirit of Oakland, her home for the last 13 years, on her path of personal growth. Sarah started her journey in education as a preschool teacher, where she fell in love with the power of education, community building, and creative development. Sarah initially joined Climb Hire as a member of the Salesforce Learning Track, Cohort 3. Upon completing the program, she successfully transitioned from preschool teaching to an entry-level Salesforce consultant at a firm specializing in white glove service in the SMB space. Sarah successfully designed and deployed custom cloud solutions for her clients across various clouds, including Sales, Service, and Experience Cloud. She brings her experience as a teacher and a past Climber to the Salesforce Administration Track at Climb Hire. Currently, Sarah is working to incorporate Salesforce’s latest Administrator Certification standards, ensuring program quality for future Climbers as they transition into the Salesforce ecosystem. Sarah enjoys the outdoors, reading the news, and fire spinning in her free time.
Rangsiwan’s career has been driven by data and managing data systems. Prior to joining Climb Hire, she was the Associate Director of Program Data Systems at Summer Search, and oversaw the development and maintenance of their Salesforce instance and related technologies. She also served as the Community Information Officer at the United Way of the Bay Area. Rangsiwan brings over 10 years of experience in managing and implementing data and technology systems to Climb Hire and is recognized by her colleagues as a trusted partner in developing technology solutions to meet program needs. Rangsiwan holds a BA in Economics with a minor in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside and an MA in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Emelene is a 2021 Alumna from Climb Hire’s first Colorado Cohort. Growing up as a first generation in Southern California, Emelene lived the benefits of having a strong and diverse community. With years of experience in the hospitality industry, a results oriented focus, and passion to empower those from underrepresented communities she’s excited to use her expertise to help Climb Hire’s vision become a reality.
Born and raised in Miami, FL Alexandra received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida International University. After graduating she realized she had a passion for higher education and has been working in Admissions helping students reach their full potential. Alexandra is Venezuelan and Spanish and loves to celebrate her hispanic culture. Outside of work she spends time practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Rugby.
As a Climber in the Salesforce learning track for Cohort 3 in 2020 and Fellow Alumni in the Salesforce learning track’s fourth cohort, Victoria couldn’t be more proud to be on the team as a Salesforce Administrator. She truly understands that Climb Hire is not a class, it is a community! After cohort Victoria entered the Salesforce ecosystem consulting for Salesforce Partner firms, most recently as a Solutions Architect and Program Director, helping businesses reach new heights through Salesforce. She has a passion for equality and diversity in the tech industry and is passionate about those we serve. In her free time, she enjoys painting, traveling, and giving back to her local Bay Area community.
Valeria, who is the eldest daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, was raised in the heart of Los Angeles California. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree at the University of California Davis as a double major in Sociology and Spanish. Valeria’s passion for education began during her role as a middle school tutor for the Davis Unified School District. Through this experience, she realized education is where her passion lay. During her time in college, she also interned for the Alder Graduate School of Education where she worked as a recruiter and helped students further pursue a degree in teaching. Upon graduation, she then began her role as a financial aid planner at American Career college where she aimed to help students understand the complexities behind their financial aid offers. Valeria’s passion for education stems from her own experiences as a first-generation Latinx student. Her goal is to help other students navigate the complexities behind higher education.
Phoebe was born in Shanghai, China. When her parents immigrated to the United States, she found a new home in Texas. She graduated with a B.A. at the University of Texas at Dallas. She comes from a background in the electronics recycling industry. She helped to build a startup who hires mainly Chinese immigrants who are in need of an environment that can help to integrate them into American society. Throughout her life and career, she began to deeply value the importance of empathy and exposure to diversity in gaining a deeper understanding of those around her. Upon joining Climb Hire, she was ecstatic to join a team who shares her values, and hopes to help fight for equal opportunity. As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, she wishes to do her part in building a future where everyone can step into the workplace feeling valued and accepted.