Meet UP Partnership's Finance and Operations team
UP Partnership’s Finance and Operations team works to advance the organization’s finance, technology, human resources and operational systems, to ensure sustainable organizational operations as the organization aims to achieve its mission of ensuring all young people in Bexar County are ready for the future.
The team shares responsibility for the internal systems needed for organizational operation so all of the team is rooted in UP Partnership’s values, engaged in as a team in our collective work and have the capacity needed to drive impact.The team spearheading finance and operations consists of Brandon Henson, Director of Finance and Operations, J’Shcarla Adkins, Senior Manager of Finance and Operations, Patrick Farris, Manager of Development and Grants. Rodnekka Hall, Human Resources Manager of Training and Development, and Kristen Kitler, Human Resources Manager of Team Success.
Get to know the K12 & Postsecondary Team
Brandon Henson is originally from central Illinois before moving to southwest Missouri to attend college. He enjoyed an early, successful career as a “sideman” musician — a musician who steps in and performs with other musicians when needed. He moved to San Antonio in 2012 to join the team at Youth Orchestras of San Antonio. It was here that he met his wife and they have a three-year-old son and newborn baby boy. As he says, “While I’m not a native Texan, I married one, and I am raising one.”
As the most recent member of UP Partnership’s Finance and Operations team, the ability to build equitable community transformation is what drew Brandon to the work. In his role, he will provide support to the UP Partnership team through financial management and efficient operational strategies.
His advice to all is simply “Be kind.”
J’Shcarla Adkins loves, encourages and uplifts her family and friends. She has been married for 25 years (and counting) and shares three pretty cool adult kids with her husband, she said. While she was born in New York, and lived in California and Nebraska, she has enjoyed her time in Texas the most.
She was drawn to the work of UP Partnership because she wanted to be part of an organization that works to encourage, uplift and provide opportunities for the youth in San Antonio. In her position, she oversees the operations of the organization, as well as managing budgeted expenses and activities. She reports to Brandon Henson and works with Kimberly Sama, Chief Finance and Operations Officer, to ensure financial sustainability for the organization.
Her advice to all is to not “be afraid to ask questions because the more you know; the more you grow!”
Patrick Farris is originally from Houston, but has lived in San Antonio for fifteen years. He spends his free time reading, gardening and being outdoors. He tries to fix things around his house but admits it isn’t always successful or timely. He enjoys good conversations, slow songs, spending time with close friends and thinking deeply about his life and the world.
With a diverse professional background, including an English educator for a refugee resettlement program, leading student volunteer teams and facilitating student leadership development at universities, he was drawn to UP Partnership’s work at the systems level that is building a citywide ecosystem that supports impact. In his position, he seeks funding opportunities for UP Partnership such as grants, and he communicates the impact of UP Partnership’s work in the community through our three systems change networks, our three collaboratives, and, when relevant, the work of our partnership institutions.
His advice to all is to “stay curious.”
Rodnekka Hall is a mom and motivator. She joined UP Partnership in 2016 to help launch our systems change network, My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio, but has since grown into a variety of positions within the company, such as Community Engagement and Capacity Building Manager, Project Coordinator, Human Resources Coordinator, and Special Projects and Process Development Manager.
In her current position she leads and designs continuous learning and professional development systems including training, coaching and supervision, onboarding and re-boarding staff, facilitating training and teambuilding opportunities and is a coach in UP Partnership’s Excel Academy, which is anchored in our system change network Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio.
Her advice to all is to “never give up.”
Kristen Kitler was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and joined the Navy in 2014. As she started to serve our country, she ended up in the state of Washington for eight years where she developed a passion for hiking and the outdoors. The military provided her with many opportunities to volunteer within the community she was stationed in, as well as internally while on deployment.
It was those volunteer opportunities that she found the most enjoyable and is grateful for the opportunity to work at UP Partnership and continue to help those in her community. In her position she oversees the organization’s recruitment, interviewing, selection and hiring process, while administering employee-related services such as benefits and payroll.
Her advice to all is “life is short; find your happiness.”
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