Meet Our Counselors

Education Fund Career Counselors are available throughout the regions where we work. View bios and contact information below, organized by region.

Northern California

Jennifer Frost, San Jose

Career Counselor, San Jose
Tel: 408.287.3425

Jennifer has been with the Education Fund since 2007 and is located in the San Jose area. She earned her Master’s Degree from Santa Clara University in Counseling/Psychology. Jennifer has over 25 years of experience working as a counselor in various settings, including working with at-risk youth and young adults. Jennifer brings to the Education Fund extensive experience in vocational education, case management, social services, and facilitation experience. She enjoys being able to provide counseling and coaching support to help members achieve their goals, as well as establishing and growing connections with members through their Education Fund journeys. She encourages members working with the Ed Fund to be open to exploration, be open to new ideas, and learn how to navigate changes within the ever-changing realms of healthcare and education.

Kareim McKnight, Bay Area

Career Counselor, Bay Area
Tel: 510.250.6851

Kareim is a Career Counselor for the Bay Area who works with members from initial career exploration counseling through participation in educational programs that will advance members’ careers. Kareim has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley. They come from a social service background and have experience in career counseling, job coaching and case management. Additionally, Kareim has worked in the field of Education for the last 15 years, first as a course facilitator at their university and later creating and presenting community relevant workshops.

“I believe everyone has the right to work towards a better life for themselves and their communities. Talking to a career counselor can be the first step towards realizing your career goals.”

Lisa M. Ramos, Sacramento

Career Counselor, Sacramento
Tel: 916.444.6427

Lisa is an Education Fund Career Counselor serving the members in the greater Sacramento Region. She earned her Master of Science degree in Counseling, with a Career Counseling specialization, at Sacramento State University. Lisa’s professional background includes working in the areas of academic advising, recruitment, and human resources. Lisa has been with the Education Fund since 2005 and looks forward to continuing her work of assisting eligible members with their academic and career goals.

Clara Tao, Bay Area

Career Counselor, Oakland
Tel: 510.250.6866

Clara has been a Career Counselor with the Education Fund since 2016 and works out of the Oakland Office. Clara has her master degree in Business Administration from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working in the corporate world in the global market analysis field for 8 years, Clara decided to pursue a career which she is passionate about. She got a Career Development Practitioner certificate, and became a career counselor. Clara has worked in China, Canada and the US in both private sector and social service sector. She is passionate about helping students to live out the best version of themselves, stay motivated to find ones’ inner calling and advance their careers. Clara has facilitated workshops on How to Motivate Yourself and Get That Job, Career Exploration, Active listening, and Academic Success.

Southern California

Shawn W. Hardeman

Career Counselor, Los Angeles
Tel: 213.401.3027

Shawn is a Career Counselor serving the members in our Southern California Region. She is an advanced counselor with an extensive background in various aspects of vocational interests, social services and conflict resolution; with over 15+ years of experience assisting individuals in various counseling roles. Shawn obtained her Master’s degree from University of Houston – Clear Lake in Behavioral Science. She has worked as a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (QVRC) for the State of Texas and has experience in assisting individuals with disabilities and social barriers in obtaining employment and self-sufficiency; she is also certified in Mediation (General and Divorce & Family). Shawn has a working knowledge of assessment and diagnostic tools and is familiar with motivational interviewing models and various forms of consumer advocacy.

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth”
~ Muhammad Ali

Monica Lond-LeBlanc

Career Counselor, Los Angeles
Tel: 213.401.3010

Monica Lond-LeBlanc is a Career Counselor in Los Angeles working with members to help them achieve their career goals. Prior to joining the Education Fund staff, Monica worked at Jewish Vocational Services as a Career Counselor helping clients, informing career choices and providing job search assistance and support. She also provided career and job search information to clients at three local food pantries. As a Career Counselor for 13 years at Mount St. Mary’s College, she provided academic and career counseling to students; created a variety of career workshops and events; developed and taught career planning courses and coordinated a weeklong job-shadowing program. Monica has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Master of Science Degree in Counseling Psychology from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”
~ Buddha

Amanda Reza

Career Counselor, Los Angeles
Tel: 213.401.3017

Amanda has been a Career Counselor for the Education Fund since 2007. Before joining the Education Fund, Amanda worked as a Job Developer for Rio Hondo College. This provided her with a desire to assist not only young students, but adults, especially minority women. Her newfound passion led to a position as a Bilingual Career Counselor at a well-known Career and Job Resource Center in Pasadena. After five years, she was promoted to Director of the Latina Career Counseling Program, where she provided workshop design and facilitation, vocational education, case management, and social services. Amanda majored in Psychology and is a Certified Career Development Facilitator, and Certified Bilingual (Spanish) by L.A. County. She has volunteered as an English/Spanish Career Workshop facilitator/ presenter at the Annual Adelante Mujer Latina Conference. She has also presented her workshops at the Annual California Hispanic Women’s Conference. Acknowledged by Telemundo and Channel 34, Amanda was highlighted on segments highlighting prominent Latinas making a difference in the community. If you have a secret longing to go back to school, accomplish a career goal, or change careers, allow me to provide tools, action steps to be your partner in this journey! Dreams do come true.

¡Si ud tiene deseo de regresar a la escuela, o deseo de una carera, o carera nueva, llámeme para ayudarle ser sus suenos realidad!

Julio Cesar Ybarra

Career Counselor, Los Angeles
Tel: 213.401.3004

Julio joined the Education Fund in 2021 and is based in the Southern California area. In his role as a Career Counselor, he enjoys sharing program information that will help members get a better idea of the education process. He gets satisfaction from assisting members, guiding them on next steps and painting the whole picture of what they can expect during their time working with the Education Fund. He wants members to know that he will always do his best to collaborate with them, while guiding them towards the healthcare career of their dreams. In his free time, he enjoys cycling and working out.

Carol Enriquez

Career Counselor, Los Angeles
Tel: 213.491.3024

Carol has been with the Education Fund since early-2022 and is based in the Southern California area. She obtained her B.A in Psychology at UC Santa Barbara in 2019, and her M.Ed in Educational Counseling at USC in 2021. Her favorite part about supporting learners is seeing individuals demonstrate self-awareness, agency, and commitment to their goals and she is grateful to be part of their academic/career journey. She understands that seeking help can be a hard first step and wants learners working with her to remember “you don’t have to be somewhere to start, but you have to start somewhere”. Her goal is to collaborate with members on identifying their strengths, skills, values, and goals in order to help them determine the academic program or healthcare career that is right for them. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, reading, and going to the beach to soak up some sun or bask in the moonlight.

Vanesa Marquez

Career Counselor, Los Angeles
Tel: 213.401.3019

Vanesa has been with the Education Fund since 2022 and is located in the Southern California area. She earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) and Minor in Sociology focused in Rehabilitation Services from California State University-Los Angeles. She has a strong community and social services background, previously working with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) compliances. She was involved as a Site Coordinator Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, along with serving 1 year with Americorps Inner City. In her work with the Education Fund, Vanesa is most excited about seeing people grow in their careers and assisting students during a very important and critical time of transformation. In April 2023 she was awarded the InsideTrack coaching certification for her knowledge and proficiency in the use of InsideTrack Coaching methodology in support of Ed Fund member success. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her pets and watching animated movies.

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”
~ Marian Wright Edelman

Central California

Ed Ballesteros, Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton & Central Coast

Regional Coordinator, Fresno
Tel: 559.241.6520

Ed is the Education Fund’s Program Coordinator in the Central Valley. Ed worked at the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center for 16 years prior to joining the Education Fund in 2003. He has more than 10 years of workshop and training facilitation experience, initially as a Labor Management Partnership Master Trainer and now in various workshops under the Education Fund’s offerings. Ed has vast experience in program development/coordination, career counseling and case management, and has been instrumental in the successful completion of two Nurse Workforce Initiative Grants, which added more than 100 RN’s to the Central Valley workforce. Ed enjoys being a part of his client’s lives and helping them to achieve their personal and educational goals. Ed’s undergraduate work at Fresno State University was in Biology, with an emphasis in Physiology and a minor in Math, and he is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Counseling with an option in Counseling and Student Services – Higher Education Specialization.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
~ Henry David Thoreau


Alicia Baker

Regional Coordinator, Nevada
Office: 702.547.6400  |  Phone/Text: 323.363.4632

As the Education Fund’s Regional Coordinator, Alicia Baker is responsible for member services in the Nevada region. She is a 25-year veteran in employment services, workforce development, and career planning, and counseling. Alicia earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Strayer University of Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in Human Resources. Alicia has taught courses on Career Development and has facilitated workshops on Career Exploration, Career Transition, and Job Search Strategies. Alicia is experienced in working with all cultural backgrounds, races, and military statuses, and she has a passion for supporting the growth and career exploration of individuals at all levels.

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream; not only plan but also believe.
~ Anatole France

Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada

Desery Montenegro

Regional Coordinator, Colorado
Tel: 510.988.3297

Desery serves the Education Fund as our Regional Coordinator in Colorado. She is working with represented Local 105 members from our participating employers Kaiser Permanente Colorado and Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains (New Mexico and Nevada), and is dedicated to supporting learners in their academic and career journey. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of Arts in Leadership in Educational Organizations from the University of Colorado, Denver. Before joining the Education Fund, she worked in higher education providing culturally responsive programming for a diverse population of students. Because of her love for adventure and desire to learn a new culture, Desery lived internationally for six years where she worked as a career coach. She is passionate about equity in education & employment and committed to developing the next generation of leaders.

Oregon & Washington

Zeny Ehrlich

Regional Coordinator, Portland
Tel: 503.238.5945

Zeny Ehrlich is a Regional Coordinator in the Portland office. As a Career Coach for the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, she oversaw the NW Promise Grant for Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Providence Health and Services. She brings to the Education Fund skills and experience specialized in providing education and career planning to incumbent workers of immigrant and refugee backgrounds. She also liaised with stakeholders and coordinated cohort trainings to meet specific needs of other underserved populations. Zeny obtained a bachelor degree from the University of the Philippines and a master degree from the University of London. Previously, as a teacher at Thailand’s top university, she worked with diverse populations while living abroad with her journalist husband. Zeny believes that education is a key that opens many doors. Her passion is to recognize and help lift up the lives of those who otherwise lack the channels for greater opportunities.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
~ Plutarch

Adrian Stokes

Regional Coordinator, Portland
Tel: 510.250.6857

Adrian joined the Education Fund team in 2022 and is based in the Portland area. She has previous experience as an Employment Specialist providing case management and job readiness assistance to over 200 individuals with barriers to the workforce. She has also assisted with organizing in-house job fairs, building relationships with community partners, and mentoring staff on advancing case management and career coaching abilities. In her role with the Education Fund she enjoys being able to support and act as a source of guidance for learners while they take the steps to advancing their education and healthcare careers. In 2020, Adrian obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Administration concentration criminal justice with a minor in communications from CSU Dominguez Hills University, and she obtained her Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in non-profit management from CSU Northridge in Summer 2023.