Our Team

meet-yupro



Michelle Sims
Chief Executive Officer
Michelle is a dynamic executive who has led staffing and human resource teams nationally. Prior to taking on the role of CEO, Michelle served on the YUPRO Board of Directors and now is excited to bring together her passion for helping others and her industry experience. Michelle plans to continue building a sustainable future for the socially driven mission of YUPRO. Michelle’s experience includes leading the national operations for an after-school program for under-privileged youth as well as teaching and mentoring students when she was an instructor at Houston Community College for 17 years. Throughout her career Michelle has had direct impact in motivating opportunity youth. She has experienced firsthand the impact that a socially responsible organization can make in shaping children, families and a community. “YUPRO’s foundation and mission is grounded in Year Up; our goal is to build on this foundation and carry this mission nationally to markets and companies who seek a socially-responsible opportunity to hire top talent. We will create an opportunity youth placement movement in today’s workforce that matters to the future of our country.”
Wendy Nenoff
Managing Director of Corporate and Coaching Resources

As Managing Director of Corporate and Coaching Resources, Wendy works to serve our mission by developing long-term relationships with our partners focused on placement, talent retention and leading quality coaching programs. Encompassing more than 15 years of experience, Wendy has a diverse background in team management, recruiting, operations, education, business and talent development, and strategic account management. Her core motivation is to provide top notch service to both clients and candidates, while ensuring she is driving others to reach their highest potential.

Wendy thrives at YUPRO as she serves the mission through her passion of supporting others, both professionally and personally, as she connects with her employees through job placement, career transitions, and coaching. Wendy and her talented account management team are making a difference each day to close the Opportunity Divide.

“I believe in creating remarkable experiences for both my clients and employees. There is no greater reward than motivating and cultivating self-development in others to use their strengths as they build a career and a better life for themselves and their families.”

Margaret Walkup
Managing Director of Program and Partnerships

As Managing Director of Program and Partnerships, Margaret serves YUPRO’s mission by building and maintaining high-quality and collaborative relationships which meet clients’ diversity hiring needs. She works to ensure YUPRO is creative and nimble in expanding the reach of its placement services, while providing candidates and clients with consistently successful experiences throughout their engagement. Margaret possesses more than a decade of experience working to further pathways for Opportunity Talent and close the Opportunity Divide.

She has served this mission through non-profit direct service, foundations, and other philanthropic entities. Her experience includes building cross-sector partnerships, program development and management, teaching, and coaching.

Margaret shares, “My work is grounded in a deep belief in the capabilities of young people and my desire to build partnerships that meet market needs and create workplaces that mirror the diversity of our communities.”

Katie Breault
Managing Director of Corporate Engagement

As Managing Director of Corporate Engagement, Katie Breault helps forward-thinking companies overcome the challenges they face with accessing Opportunity Talent. With her extensive background in diversity hiring, advocacy, public policy, consulting, and organizational development, Katie is a recognized expert in developing creative solutions that meet business needs.

Katie discovered Year Up through a volunteer opportunity to mentor a young adult who exemplified the qualities she was seeking in hiring entry-level talent: grit, professionalism, and an enthusiasm to learn and grow. Through this relationship, Katie was inspired to devote her career to connecting this exceptional pipeline of talent to employers seeking these same qualities. With her mentee at the forefront of her mind, Katie is committed to providing her clients with access to this skilled and determined, yet often overlooked, source of talent.

“The Opportunity Divide is a reality that shaped my own career trajectory as a young person. Having served our mission since 2013 as a mentor, employer, and now as a strategic advisor, I am excited to partner with other forward-thinking employers seeking to enhance their own diversity hiring strategies.”

Jyotsna Sivan
Talent Acquisition Recruiting Manager

As our Talent Acquisition Recruiting Manager, Jyotsna spends her days seeking out better opportunities for our talented candidates while building a strong, diverse database of Opportunity Talent. With over a decade of recruiting and human resources experience in various industries, she is excited to leverage her extensive background to support YUPRO’s mission. Each day, Jyotsna seeks to make a worthy connection for both our partners and our employees, where her placements meet a deep purpose as our mission to close the Opportunity Divide drives her placement performance.

Jyotsna has a unique lens as she sees and feels the direct impact of meaningful employment on a person’s life when she makes a placement with our opportunity-friendly clients and their inclusive cultures. Our employees are grateful for their career ahead because of Jyotsna’s solid placement process and her ability to make the match!

“Every time our candidates are successfully placed with one of our hiring partners, I find great joy in knowing that I have played a role in helping our partners build their diverse workforce, while also satisfying the greater mission of closing the Opportunity Divide.”

Lauren Smith
Talent and Account Manager

Lauren’s enthusiasm for helping others is reflected in her commitment to YUPRO’s foundation and mission to develop and coach alum of Year Up. Lauren has many positive role models through her career and especially in her former non-profit experiences. She brings a keen interest in the development of opportunity talent and enhancing their skills, so they have a positive role model in her to look back upon. Lauren has over 9 years of industry experience that support her drive, vision, and personal mission of excellence each day.

Lauren has a love for nature and her personal values are enhanced as she balances work and life as an avid hiker and backpacker; she embraces the notion that you are as strong as you believe yourself to be.

Lauren shares, “I take pride in helping opportunity youth begin their career, while also developing their love for personal and professional growth for a great future.”

Jana Holley
Partnership Operations Manager

Jana comes to YUPRO with 20 years of administrative and operational experience in non-profit organizations and education. Her diverse background has honed her strengths in leadership, people development, and strategic project management, where today she can focus on issues of social justice, with a passion to make right what may be wrong in the world. This is a time in her career where making a difference converges with her passion, experience, and our YUPRO socially driven mission.

Working for YUPRO, Jana says, “This fits my passions 100% as we seek to close the Opportunity Divide, a gap that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Providing talented young adults with sustainable career pathways changes the lives of individuals, families and ultimately communities. I’m excited to work with YUPRO and be a small part of this important mission.”

Amber Bartz
Program Compliance Manager

Before joining the YUPRO family, Amber held positions within corporate recruitment and university admissions. Through these experiences, she found her love for both education and helping young adults, and those passions were merged when she had the opportunity to become a Resource Manager, and now a Program Manager, at YUPRO. Her work enables her to help bridge the opportunity divide by ensuring that the young adults of Year Up get the support they need to navigate their job search and careers successfully post program.

Her passion for recruitment and serving others stems from a time before entering the corporate world. Whether it was serving as an active member of her leadership team in high school or her service at university as a student ambassador; she loves to see others succeed at the things they are most excited about. Relating to others through shared experiences and stories gives her the drive to continue the work she does.

In Amber’s current role, she strives to provide an unforgettable customer experience for the alumni of Year Up through program development, and shares, “I know that there is no single one-size-fits-all approach when providing service, coaching, and guidance to young adults. I’m excited that my role allows me to find the best ways to better serve our talent and ensure that we’re adapting to their needs as we go.”

Alyssa Sweet
Talent and Account Manager

As a Talent and Account Manager for YUPRO, Alyssa motivates, coaches, and supports our amazing talent each day. Alyssa's passion for placement and talent coaching began while interviewing for a job at a staffing company. They immediately saw a spark in her, so they hired her on the spot to learn recruiting, and Alyssa was hooked! Her discernment skills and natural curiosity, along with her work ethic of ‘do what it takes’ fits well with YUPRO’s mission as Alyssa is a role model for her employees on assignment. Our talent respond well to Alyssa’s motivational tips, and she works well into the early evening hours providing encouragement and career tips to the talent we serve.

Alyssa shares, “Working towards a social mission not only continuously holds us accountable but allows us to do something very magical, and that is creating positive change in someone’s life.”

Elizabeth Durigan
Coaching and Curriculum Manager

Elizabeth comes to YUPRO from the University of Massachusetts’ Isenberg School of Business, where she coordinated outreach efforts for the Alumni and Corporate Relations team and acted as a teaching assistant for undergraduate and graduate classes while completing her Master’s in Business Administration. There, she learned the importance of relationships and the value of high-quality curriculum in professional development, which she strives to share with those she serves at YUPRO. Elizabeth is driven by a desire to make the workforce a better and more accessible place for everyone.

Elizabeth believes in the quote, “Many of the things that seem impossible now will become realities tomorrow.”