Chief Executive Officer, Rise-N-Step

Jane Beup is a relationship and community builder who leverages her diverse skill set, high energy, expertise, and creativity to get results and realize the missions of the organization. Beup co-founded the capacity-building consultancy, MotleyBeup Group in 2006 in Hartford, Connecticut. Working exclusively with nonprofit organizations, Beup quickly and effectively became one with the community of Hartford. She oversaw the firm’s entire scope of service and delivered superior fund development and project management, providing thoughtful and strategic counsel, and enthusiastic leadership. In 2011, Beup independently formed New World Strategy, a creative communications, marketing, and development vehicle serving the nonprofit, private, and municipal sectors in Connecticut, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Beup was the founder of Urth Farms, Connecticut’s only urban organic farm, through which she has helped promote urban agriculture and food security, becoming a valued voice on the economic impact of urban farming.

Beup has served on the Board of Directors for Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation, The Knox Foundation, and the Community Health Network Foundation. She also works to advance the Filipino village of Dulangan, her father’s birthplace, where she is committed to developing the community and protecting the environment.

Southeast Regional Director, Rise-N-Step

As the first Haitian woman elected the office of Mayor in the city of North Miami, Lucie has advocated her entire career for voiceless citizens. While living in New York City, Lucie volunteered to teach literacy at a Center for Haitian Workers (CTA) Centre des travailleurs Ayisyen). She then became a free-lance writer for the prestigious newspaper Tribune d ’Haiti moving on to build another media outlet by the name of Haiti-Progress.


After moving to Florida, Lucie developed an advocacy group that lobbied, protested, and advocated for the well-being of the Haitian community.

Senior Fellow, Research Institute for Incarceration Studies
Joseph Ligason LeDuc is a Filipino-American resident of Northeast Spokane, WA. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics & International Affairs at Wake Forest University and his Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University. Joseph has worked against mass-incarceration and mass-criminalization on multiple fronts such as community organizing, social services for reentry, prison/reentry ministry, and academic research.
Joseph has conducted strategic research for several campaigns including efforts to expand hospital access and provide medical debt relief for low income residents of Spokane, WA, private prison divestment, and national best practices on alternatives to incarceration and punitive interventions. This research included power mapping, tracking the flow of money between government and non-governmental institutions, and policy analysis. Joseph has also worked as an instructor and lecturer at Gonzaga University’s summer policy debate institute where he taught research and speech on public policy. Joseph has served as a research and argumentation consultant for college policy debate teams at institutions such as New York University, Wake Forest University, and the University of Minnesota.

Chief Operations Officer, Rise-N-Step

Jean D. Vernet, II is a long-time community activist and organizer who played a very visible and crucial role in mobilizing the Haitian American community in participating in the historic march of April 20, 1990 against the unscientific designation of Haitians as particularly susceptible to the HIV virus. Subsequently, Jean worked on issues of voter participation, civic education and was successful enough to be solicited to run for the city council of New York in 2001. His unsuccessful campaign was a high-water mark in the political participation of Haitian Americans in New York City.

He has a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a focus on the evolution of cultural Identity in both the diaspora and African literatures and a Master’s of Science in Community Economic Development from the Southern New Hampshire University.

Jean has an abiding interest in economic empowerment as key to community resiliency. He has worked in that field in New York City and Haiti, providing training in business skills, money management and assets acquisition to marginalized communities. He has also worked as a consultant to the Central Bank of Haiti, the Office of the President of Haiti and the Deputy Speaker Assembly of the State of New York.

Jean’s commitment to community empowerment has recently been focused exclusively on financial education which is a natural outgrow of his education. He is currently responsible for a Financial Literacy program in Brooklyn, New York while continuing to work as a consultant in the private sector.

Community Outreach Director, Rise-N-Step

Ms. Yolanda Cadet is a Master Level Social worker with certification in multi- disciplinary practice. Her approach & skills come from a range of modalities, from modern psychology, to life coaching, NLP, CBT and counseling. Her background is very diverse.

Her work experiences include mental health counselor, therapist, and more importantly for Rise-N-Step.Org she served as unit manager in the Prison System for over a decade. She has experience as a medical social worker, a policy and procedure developer, substance abuse trainer, life and business coach. She resides in North Port, Florida with her 15 years old daughter.

Founder and Chief Advisor Emeritus

The first foreign-born Managing Director, Chief Executive of the management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company from 1994 to 2003. Mr. Gupta obtained his bachelors degree from Indian Institute of Technology(ITT) and his MBA from Harvard business school. Rajat has served as a board member of several Fortune 500 corporations including Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, and American Airlines, as well as an advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Additionally, Mr. Gupta is the co-founder of the Indian School of Business, America India Foundation, New Silk Route, and Scandent Solutions.

Gupta has seen first hand the multitude of problems and impediments inmates face with community re-entry. Just like Jared Kushner, who was inspired to fight for the enactment of the First Step Act of 2018 after his father served time in federal prison, Gupta has similar inspiration to join Mr. Roy and other like-minded individuals to form Rise-N-Step based on his own personal experience.

As Co-Founder and Chief Advisor Emeritus, Gupta has unsurpassed experiences in the areas of philanthropy, corporate outreach, non-profit organizations and will leverage those experiences to assist the growth of Rise-N-Step both as an advocacy organization and as a criminal justice policy group with the long term national influences for many years to come. Mr. Gupta is married and resides in New York City.

Director of Philanthropy and Business Relations

Ms. Ballantyne brings an array of experience to Rise-N-Step. With a bachelor’s degree in nursing and graduate studies in Health Policy and Administration, Ms. Ballantyne has over three decades of healthcare and advocacy experience and is currently the COO of a large multistate specialty medical practice.

She spent a large portion of her career in the Biotech industry where among her many roles she was responsible for grant allocation for community organizations as well as healthcare outreach and program development for underserved populations including Federally Qualified Health Clinics and prisons. She has been a founder, board member and past president of several local and regional nonprofit organizations.

Renee’s interest in inmate advocacy grew from multiple sources. She has seen how incarceration affects even the strongest families. Most recently Renee’s passion for criminal justice reform advocacy was fueled as she witnessed the process firsthand. She quickly became a defacto advocate and mentor for family members and spouses of the justice involved.

Renee is a certified paralegal with experience at the state and federal level. She resides in Spokane, WA.


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