Chief Executive Officer
Jenni Luke is CEO of Step Up, a nonprofit membership organization inspiring women to inspire girls. In this role, she leads one of the nation's most sought-after women's groups in its second decade of service.
Overseeing Step Up's offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, Jenni directs the organization's objective of propelling girls from under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential. Under her leadership, Step Up empowers girls to become confident, college-bound, career-focused and ready to join the next generation of professional women.
Jenni and Step Up have been featured in numerous media outlets, including Inc., InStyle, Marie Claire, Real Simple, W, CBS Moneywatch, Yahoo! Hot Jobs, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan and Our Kitchen Table, the e-zine of the California Women's Conference. She has also served as a regular workplace contributor to MariaShriver.com, TCWmag.com (the website of Today's Chicago Woman magazine) and Women & Co., Citi's financial lifestyle website.
She sits on the advisory board for the National Conference on Girls' Education, and frequently speaks on various topics affecting women and girls.
Jenni came to Step Up from within the nonprofit sector, having worked with The Alliance for Children's Rights and the ACLU of Southern California.
She began her career in law and focused on social justice issues. Jenni holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law and a BA from UC San Diego.
Alissa Zito, director, marketing & communications
Alissa Zito is director of marketing and communications for Step Up Women's Network. Based in the organization's national office in Los Angeles, Alissa joined the nonprofit in 2009 to build and execute strategy for the marketing and communications efforts of all of regional offices and the organization as a whole.
Alissa handles all media requests, as well as Step Up's relationships in Hollywood. Through her efforts, the organization has enjoyed coverage in outlets including Good Morning America, People, InStyle, Marie Claire, Real Simple, Entertainment Tonight, The New York Daily News, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Nonprofit Times and others.
Alissa came to Step Up with public relations and marketing experience in both the agency and higher education arenas. She holds a BA and MBA from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Alissa currently sits on the advisory boards for LMU Magazine, the print publication of her alma mater, and for the campus' chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority.
Angie Franchino, director, corporate relations
Angie Franchino serves on the national team of Step Up Women's Network. Angie has served Step Up previously as the managing director for both Step Up Los Angeles and Step Up New York.
In 2011, eHow named Angie to its list of 100 Women of Shift, recognizing women who live their passions, embrace their interests and overcome obstacles by discovering the expert within.
Angie came to Step Up after having held membership and marketing roles at UCLA, at both the UCLA Alumni Association and the UCLA Anderson School of Management. There, Angie was responsible for generating $1.5 million in revenue annually through memberships at the alumni association and supervising all marketing, data and online services efforts at UCLA Anderson, in addition to executing the annual Alumni Weekend Leadership Conference.
Prior to UCLA, Angie served in membership and meeting planning roles for the American Staffing Association, a nonprofit trade association located in Washington, DC.
Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 2003, Angie joined Step Up as a member and became an active volunteer before becoming part of the staff in 2008. Angie received her B.S. in journalism from Boston University.
Amanda Pesqueira, Executive Assistant
Amanda Pesqueira serves as the executive assistant in the national office of Step Up. In this role, she assists the CEO and works on various marketing and public relations efforts for the nonprofit, including execution of Step Up's e-communications and social media.
Amanda graduated cum laude from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor's degree in communication studies. While on campus, she served as the social justice assistant in the office of Campus Ministry, sparking her passion for service and love of social justice. She also developed leadership skills through involvement with organizations including Delta Zeta Sorority, Christian Life Communities, LMU Choir, Order of Omega Greek Honor Society and Fraternal Values Society.
National Board of Directors
Megan Wolfe, Chair
chair, National Board of Directors
Megan Wolfe is a senior manager in the Sales, Marketing and Business Development group at Deloitte and leads the regional marketing team for Deloitte's Financial Services practice. For the past eleven years she has provided marketing strategy and programs to Deloitte's industry and functional practices including asset management, insurance, tax, and technology, media and telecommunication. Megan is a former co-chair of Deloitte's Midwest Shared Services Women's Initiative Committee (WIN), a role she held for five years, and continues to serve as a resource for the team. Her participation in WIN dates back to 2004 when she was selected to lead the Midwest Marketing WIN committee.
Prior to Deloitte, Megan held national marketing roles at technology consulting companies and public relations firms in Chicago and Boston. She has 15 years' experience delivering marketing strategy and programs to both large and small professional services organizations. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Communication from Emerson College in Boston and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Michigan State University.
Megan serves as the Board Chair for Step Up Women's Network.
Linda Descano, Vice Chair
vice chair, National Board of Directors
Linda Descano serves as a managing director and head of digital partnerships, content and social for North America Marketing at Citi. In this role, she is responsible for creating and delivering competitively differentiating consumer engagement experiences in digital and social channels to drive brand health and business goals.
In addition to her marketing role – which she took on in 2012 – Linda is also president and CEO of Women & Co., a service of Citi that brings women relevant financial content and thoughtful commentary to get them thinking and talking about money. Linda joined Women & Co. in 2003.
Throughout her career, Linda has been recognized for "propelling with purpose," helping countless organizations and individuals move from information to action by distilling disparate, complex information into clear, compelling and relevant communications that deliver measurable business results.
Previously, Linda was a director and portfolio manager in Citi's Private Portfolio Group, where she co-managed customized investment portfolios for individuals and institutions and oversaw the firm's socially responsible investment program from 1999 to 2002. Before that, Linda served as senior vice president and director of environmental affairs for Citi predecessor company, Salomon Inc., which she joined in 1994. Prior to embarking on a career in finance, Linda spent several years working in environmental consulting.
An accomplished speaker, Linda has spoken at hundreds of conferences on an array of personal finance, content marketing, and leadership topics. She is regularly sought out by the media for her expertise, and has been quoted in: Smart Money Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Business News Daily, MORE Magazine, American Banker, Digiday, The Daily Rap on the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, The Washington Post, Yahoo Shine, MSN Money, Forbes Woman and many more. Linda is also a featured contributor on womenandco.com and Manilla.com, for which she serves as their Women and Money expert; and has contributed to countless newspapers and websites including: The Huffington Post, Working Mother, The Herald Star, and The Maryland Guide.
From 1997 through 1999, Linda chaired the steering committee of the United Nationals Financial Institutions Initiative on the Environment. Linda also has served on the Environmental Financial Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as the boards of the René© Dubos Center for Human Health and the Environment and Recycled Paper Coalition, among others.
Passionate about education and science, Linda recently endowed the National Organization of Italian American Women with the Nina Anna Scholarship, in honor of her grandmothers, Nina Gaspari Pennachietti and Anna Fortunato Descano, which is a needs-based scholarship awarded to an Italian-American woman pursuing higher education. She also supports the Prudy Astrella Legacy Scholarship in honor of her inspirational fifth-grade teacher, Ms. Astrella; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian; and the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Among her many accomplishments, Linda was the New York recipient of the 2009 Corporate w2wlink Ascendancy Award for her career achievements and her dedication to mentoring women. She was recognized as a Wise Woman by the National Organization of Italian American Women in 2008. She received a Human Rights Leadership Award from Church Women United in 1999 and an Environmental Leadership Award from the United Nations Environment Programme – North America in 1997.
A native of Philadelphia, Linda attended Temple University and graduated with a bachelor of arts in geology. She holds a Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.
Kaye Popofsky Kramer
Founder, Step Up Women's Network
Kaye Popofsky Kramer
Kaye Popofsky Kramer is the founder of the nonprofit Step Up Women's Network, which ignites women and girls to fulfill their potential. As a member of its national board of directors, Popofsky Kramer leads the organization in its second decade of service providing after-school mentorship programs for teen girls from under-resourced communities.
Popofsky Kramer began her career as a talent agent at United Talent Agency, working with talent such as Renee Zellweger, Jim Carey and Joe Pantoliano. She segued into production as an executive with Interscope Pictures, serving as associate producer on the award-winning film "Kissing Jessica Stein."
During this time, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Popofsky Kramer was motivated to find a way to make a lasting difference in her community and beyond. She gathered approximately 30 women colleagues and created the concept of a philanthropic network – and Step Up Women's Network was born in her living room in 1998. The first Step Up office opened in Los Angeles, followed by offices and partner high schools in New York and then Chicago. Today, Step Up Women's Network is 50,000 supporters strong and has become one of the most sought-after women's groups in the nation under Popofsky Kramer's leadership.
Continuing to work full-time while growing the Step Up network, Popofsky Kramer later worked as head of new business development for Kaufman Patricof Enterprises, and as vice president of marketing and new business development at Load Media Network, Inc. As the vice president of online research for Nielsen's NRG, Popofsky Kramer launched and supervised the growth of NRG's online research competency.
She added entrepreneur to her impressive resume in 2004, when she co-founded Nurseryworks, a Los Angeles-based furnishings firm that celebrates the younger generation and design-savvy parents with modern furniture, bedding, and accessories. In five short years, she grew distribution to 300 domestic stores and 12 countries.
In 2010, Kaye sold Nurseryworks to Million Dollar Baby.
Just two years later, things came full circle for Popofsky Kramer when she became a breast cancer survivor herself.
Popofsky Kramer earned her bachelor's degree from Tufts University. She now resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Jeremy, and their three children.
Board of Directors
Megan Wolfe (chair), industry marketing director, Grant Thornton LLP
Linda Descano (vice chair), managing director and head, digital partnerships, content & social, North America Marketing; President & CEO, Women & Co., Citibank
Leslie E. DeHoff (treasurer), partner, Ernst & Young LLP
Melanie Barr-Levey, CEO, Barr Insurance Services; vice president, Millennium Corporate Solutions, Inc.
Christine Beauchamp, fashion and beauty industry executive
Angela Elbert, partner, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP
Diane Holland, global chief financial officer, Possible Worldwide
Kaye Popofsky Kramer, founder, Step Up Women's Network
Stacy London, co-host, "What Not to Wear"; co-founder, Style For Hire; New York Times best-selling author
Jenni Luke, CEO, Step Up Women's Network
Wendi Sturgis, EVP, sales and services, Yext
Jess Weiner, chief creative officer, Talk to Jess, LLC