national leadership

national leadership

Jenni Luke
Chief Executive Officer

Jenni Luke
Jenni Luke

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, (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, VP, communications

Alissa Zito
Alissa Zito

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, VP, operations & fundraising strategy

Angie Grabski
Angie Franchino

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
Amanda Pesqueira

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

Angela Elbert, Chair

Chair, National board of Directors

Angela Elbert
Angela Elbert

Angela R. Elbert is a lawyer counseling her clients on complex risk management and insurance issues and helping them obtain the maximum recovery possible when claims arise. She focuses her practice on advising entities and boards of directors on a wide variety of risk management issues, including indemnification agreements, obtaining insurance with the most favorable terms available in the marketplace, financial insolvency concerns and insurance aspects of corporate transactions and other business contracts. She has significant experience in handling complex insurance coverage litigation, other commercial litigation, mediations and arbitrations, with an emphasis on representing policyholders in insurance coverage disputes nationwide involving virtually every line of insurance. Based upon interviews with her clients and peers, Angela has been described as "fantastic" and a "leading light" whose "breadth of knowledge is matched only by her commendable work ethic," reports Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business. Angela writes and speaks often on various insurance topics.

Angela has received numerous honors and awards, including: Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, recommended in Insurance, since 2008; The Best Lawyers in America, recommended in Insurance, since 2011; Illinois Super Lawyer, 2012; Inspiration Award (Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law), 2012; 100 Women Making a Difference (Today's Chicago Woman), 2011; "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" (Law Bulletin Publishing Company), 2010; Alta May Hulett Award 2010 (Chicago Bar Association award recognizing lawyer practicing law for less than 15 years who demonstrates promotion of positive change to advancement of women in legal profession).

In addition to chairing the Chicago Board of Step Up since 2012, she is also involved in the community in the following ways: Art Institute of Chicago Auxiliary Board, Board Member (2010-present), Executive Committee Member (2010-present), Chair Development Committee (2012-present), Co-chair Treasure Hunt Charity Event (2010-2011); American Bar Association, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee ("ICLC"), Policyholder Vice-chair ICLC (2012-present), Co-chair, Women Insurance Network CLE Conference (2012), Managing editor Coverage (2003-2010), Co-chair ICLC Annual Seminar (2008); Coalition of Women's Initiative in Law, Board member (2009-2012), Treasurer (2010-11), Co-chair Community Outreach Committee (2008-2010); NGE Women's Network, Co-chair Women's Network's leadership team (2006-2011); and Chicago Bar Association, Chair CBA Insurance Committee (2009-2010).

Angela lives in Evanston, Illinois with her husband Marc (a partner with the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP) and her two young sons Robert (6) and Eric (4.5), but traces her roots back to Louisville, Kentucky where her entire family still lives. She moved to Chicago following her graduation from law school at Indiana University in Bloomington in 1996.

Diane Holland, Co-Vice Chair

Co-Vice Chair, National Board of Directors

Diane Holland
Diane Holland

Diane Holland is Global Chief Financial Officer at Possible Worldwide. At Possible, Diane is responsible for the agency's global financial management, planning and growth. She is leading the agency's strategic efforts including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic partnerships. Before Possible, she was CFO of digital firm Schematic, and played a critical role in managing Schematic's acquisition by the WPP Group in 2007. Diane previously held positions of Director of Finance at Fox Television Stations in Los Angeles and of Internal Auditor and Financial Analyst at EMI Group, in New York and London respectively. Diane is on the New York board of Step Up, a non-profit organization that mentors teen girls, growing their confidence and helping them become college-ready.

Wendi Sturgis, Co-Vice Chair

Co-Vice Chair, National Board of Directors

Wendi Sturgis
Wendi Sturgis

Wendi serves as Yext's EVP of sales & services. Prior to Yext, she was VP of account management at Yahoo!, responsible for their 600-person North American region team. Wendi joined Yahoo! as a member of the Right Media Leadership team. Wendi has also held executive leadership roles at Gartner, Scient and Price Waterhouse's Media and Entertainment practice. She has a B.S. in Industrial Management and Operations Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology and also serves on their board.

Kaye Popofsky Kramer

Founder, Step Up

Kaye Popofsky Kramer
Kaye Popofsky Kramer

Kaye Popofsky Kramer is the founder of the nonprofit Step Up, 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 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 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

Angela Elbert (chair), partner, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP

Diane Holland (co- vice chair), global chief financial officer, Possible Worldwide

Wendi Sturgis (co- vice chair), EVP, sales and services, Yext

Leslie E. DeHoff (treasurer), partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Christine Beauchamp, fashion and beauty industry executive

Shayna Cook, attorney & partner, Goldman Ismail LLP

Tanya Hekimian, president, Duchess of Television

Sara Holoubek, CEO, Luminary Labs

Kaye Popofsky Kramer, founder, Step Up

Stacy London, co-host, "What Not to Wear"; co-founder, Style For Hire; New York Times best-selling author

Jenni Luke, CEO, Step Up

Jess Weiner, chief creative officer, Talk to Jess, LLC

Megan Wolfe, industry marketing director, Grant Thornton LLP

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