Irene joined Operation Jump Start in 2009. She received a dual Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology and International Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a Latina born and raised in an underserved community, she is indelibly passionate about the work done at Operation Jump Start. With over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector focused on serving families and children, her passion for the students OJS serves and the organization’s mission is second to none. She works closely with the agency’s Board of Directors to oversee all office operations including human resources management, technology, marketing, enrichment and academic programming, fundraising efforts as well as financial management systems. Irene has the proven skills as a manager and the vision as a leader to take OJS to new heights in achieving its mission.
Brittany King-Pleas joined OJS in 2013. In 2017, she was promoted to the post of Associate Director. In this leadership role, Brittany works closely with OJS graduates to ensure they are able to access on-campus resources and graduate from their respective universities—as well as stay connected to OJS. As a first-generation college student, Brittany is passionate about not only helping students get into college, but also encouraging them to be open to all of the opportunities a college-education can provide (study abroad, clubs, professional internships, intramural sports, etc.). Brittany identifies incoming College Success students; recruits guidance counselors (MSW interns) to serve as their mentors, and manages students’ academic progress to ensure high college retention rates. Brittany is a proud OJS alumna who become a Posse Scholar in 2009 and now holds a Bachelor degree from Kalamazoo College in Psychology and a concentration in Women, Gender and Sexuality and will soon earn a Masters degree in Social Work from Cal State University, Long Beach.
Director of Philanthropy
As Director of Philanthropy, Anthony oversees Operation Jump Start’s fundraising efforts including events and individual giving. Anthony has 18 years of non-profit experience, the majority of that time being spent in a managerial role. He has extensive experience in program design and strategic planning. Anthony previously worked with youth education and recreation programs in Long Beach and Bellflower. He worked to promote college preparedness and acclimation with the SummerBridge program at California State University, Long Beach, where he studied English Literature. Anthony would later branch out into the disability rights movement. He has worked extensively with the California State Department of Mental Health and California State Department of Rehabilitation to help spread mental health awareness and advance vocational opportunities for individuals with disabilities. In addition, Anthony has spent over a decade coordinating youth and adult recreation programs with supervisors and constituents from local cities including Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, Long Beach, Compton and Carson. Anthony is also a contributor to the Long Beach Gang Reduction Intervention and Prevention Program. A passionate youth advocate and a proud resident of Long Beach for over 20 years, Anthony is thrilled to play a role in the success of Long Beach youth through Operation Jump Start.
College Access Program Manager (Lead Case Manager)
Maria is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. She believes education is the foundation to build a better community. Maria herself is a first-generation college graduate who attributes her success to mentoring. As Operation Jump Start’s dedicated College Access Program Manager Maria oversees the academic progress of students 8th through 10th grade. Her roles include academic advising, records keeping, managing effective mentor-mentee matches and workshop facilitation. She is passionate about working with youth and believes a successful college experience exposes deserving students to high quality opportunities. In 2016, Maria became the agency’s lead case manager overseeing event quality assurance and evaluation of ongoing academic success across all agency programs.
College Success Program Manager
Cristina recently completed her graduate degree from Simmons College, School of Social Work, earning her MSW. Prior to this accomplishment, Cristina earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She always dreamed of a higher education which she made happen with perseverance and support from her family. As a first-generation college student, Cristina knew that a higher education would provide her with many great opportunities from traveling to being able to be a change agent. Cristina is passionate about building rapport with the students, meeting them where they are at, as well as with their parents. Her past work experience has been with children and families who live in underserved communities and from low-income households. Providing parents and children information or educating them about the importance of a higher education is another passion of Cristina. She believes that having a support system whether it is family, friends, community, etc. helps the students to thrive and fulfill the goal of graduating from a four-year university. As a College Success Program Manager, Cristina will have the opportunity to practice her skills and provide family crisis interventions as well as providing academic advising and empowering OJS students in grades 11th and 12th.
Learning Resource Center Coordinator
Lawrence oversees all aspects of Operation Jump Start’s successful on-site tutoring program known as the Learning Resource Center. He works closely with dedicated tutors, volunteers, OJS’ program managers and the executive team to ensure students receive extensive academic support. Under Lawrence’s guidance as event lead, students have participated in many firsts including the first-ever traveling college tour to Stanford University in Northern California and first-time snowboarding excursion to Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake. Additionally, Lawrence oversees the agency’s web-design and information technology systems. He is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach as well as a long-time OJS volunteer mentor.
Communications and Development Manager
Yanira joined Operation Jump Start in 2011 as a Program Assistant. Throughout the years, Yanira’s taken on roles of increasing responsibility and professionally blossomed. She is currently the agency’s Development and Communications Manager responsible for coordinating and executing fundraising events and leads all agency communication and marketing efforts. Yanira received her undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach. A proud alumna of OJS, she profoundly believes all youth deserve equal access to a college education.
Sandra started her tenure as a BSW intern in 2016. An internship that was supposed to last a period of 10 weeks ended up turning into a summer internship and eventually becoming an official position at OJS. She currently attends California State University, Long Beach where she is finishing her BA in Social Work and minor in Sociology. Sandra provides administrative and secretarial support to both Communications and Development Manager and Lead Case Manager. She coordinates effective tracking systems and maintains proper data entry. In addition, she is in charge of maintaining office supply budgets, tracking accounts payable, and assisting in daily operations.
2017 Board Members
Board Vice President
Recruiting Manager, MaxLinear, Inc.,
Mary Lou LaLonde
Retired CEO, LaLonde Equipment Company
Alexis “Al” Regnier
Retired, CEO Manufacturing
President & Founder, Hear and Play Music Group
Retired, City of Long Beach Administration/Finances
Retired, Disney Executive
Deputy District Director, CA State Legislature, AD 59
Diann and Walt Zenda
Retired CA Assemblymember
LA District Attorney
Pacific Life Insurance
Long Beach Police Department
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