Staff and Board

We’re a group of passionate individuals working to help build tomorrow’s workforce.

Briana Ford

Alumni Services Director

Briana joined Urban Alliance as a Program Coordinator in January 2019. Before joining Urban Alliance she worked as a finance associate in Atlanta, where she conducted market research in the banking sector. While in Atlanta she volunteered with several youth groups, where she helped students prepare for college and served as a coach and mentor for students transitioning to college.

Briana received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Howard University, and her Masters in Business Administration from Cornell University. She is a proud Chicagoan and a native of the Englewood community, who is deeply passionate about community revitalization and thoughtful mentoring.

Leah Grynheim

Program Coordinator

Leah Grynheim joined Urban Alliance in August 2021 as a Program Coordinator. Before joining Urban Alliance, Leah worked for two years at City Year Chicago where she tutored and mentored 4th Graders in West Englewood and led a team of 7 AmeriCorps Members working at an elementary school in the West Haven community. Leah also has experience working for nonprofits that focus on fighting climate change, encouraging political and civic engagement, and bringing art education to public schools.

Leah holds a B.S. in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Indiana University Bloomington.

Deldric Henderson

Program Manager - Obama Youth Jobs Corps

Deldric Henderson has over ten years of experience developing and advocating for young people across Chicago. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Deldric worked with the domestic violence nonprofit Between Friends to educate elementary and high school students on the importance of building and maintaining healthy relationships. He has also facilitated and developed curricula focused on life and work readiness skills, computer literacy, leadership development, restorative justice, and community engagement. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.

Taylor Mai

Program Coordinator

Taylor Mai joined Urban Alliance in August 2021 as a Program Coordinator. Taylor is an Urban Alliance Alum completing the program in 2015, and excited to be on board as a PC, after being an intern, volunteer, and Alumni Board Member. Before joining Urban Alliance, Taylor worked for two years at Integrity Educational Services in Michigan, as a teacher, coach, career adviser, and behavior interventionist. Taylor has been an active alum for Urban Alliance, striving to support, mentor, and advocate for the youth UA supports. Taylor found a passion for supporting the growth and success of students and is excited to do so with Urban Alliance.

Taylor studied Business at the University of Missouri- Columbia before joining the U.S. Navy.

Bethany McKay

Program Coordinator

Bethany joined Urban Alliance in October 2021 as a Program Coordinator. Before joining Urban Alliance, Bethany worked as a Resilience Coordinator, for a nonprofit organization in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood she grew up in. As a Resilience Coordinator, she taught high school students through after-school enrichment programming. In that role, she was determined to help decrease violence and encourage academic success amongst students from five different high schools on the Northwest side of Chicago.

Bethany graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Sociology. Outside of work Bethany enjoys traveling with her husband and taking her rescue dog on hikes.

Jamie Ricks

Program Director - Obama Youth Jobs Corps

Jamie joined Urban Alliance in July of 2021. Before joining Urban Alliance, she worked as a crisis therapist at the University of Chicago hospital. She has a background in higher education which includes managing federal TRIO programs and developing student programs and activities. Jamie also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA where she worked in the Office of the Mayor of Chicago to increase the capacity of nonprofits through volunteer engagement.

Jamie received her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from National Louis University. She is a former employee of Urban Alliance and is excited to return to the organization to continue working with Chicago youth.

Yezenia Sandoval

Program Coordinator

Yezenia Sandoval is originally from the Northwest side of Chicago and joined Urban Alliance as a Program Coordinator in August 2021. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Yezenia worked for the University of Michigan’s Center for Educational Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) as a Program Associate on the pilot of a youth sustainability fellowship, aimed at providing high school students in Midland, Michigan exposure to academic and professional opportunities to become sustainability leaders within their communities. At Michigan, Yezenia was also involved in several organizations aimed at providing academic support and professional development to
students from diverse backgrounds, including the Comprehensive Studies Program (CSP) as a Peer Academic Coach and Assisting Latinos to Maximize Achievement (ALMA) as a Coordinator.

Yezenia holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Yezenia is particularly interested in leveraging community engagement strategies to increase access to higher education for underrepresented communities and improve student outcomes.

Anna Urban

Program Director

Anna Urban joined Urban Alliance in October 2019 as a Program Coordinator for the Chicago region. Anna holds a master’s degree in Education Policy and Foundations from Marquette University. Before joining Urban Alliance she provided support for a 4th grade classroom in Chicago, and led a literacy intervention program. Most recently she served as an education and outreach coordinator for an environmental group where she developed and taught a conservation curriculum to students in Milwaukee.