Project Quest, Inc.

Meet the Team

We are Team Quest

“We’re a lifeline for the people in our community who are ready to change their lives.”

Project QUEST is what it is today due to the group of hard working individuals whose passion fuels the program and inspires those around them. Each person has a unique role that attributes to the success of those who complete the program.

Invest in your future.

Lelani Mercado

is the Chief Program Officer for Project QUEST, Inc. She develops organizational goals, operating plans, policies, short and long-range objectives for the operations of the organization and oversees the Program Experience team. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of the Incarnate Word with a focus on Child Development. Lelani has a strong devotion to the transformation of lives through opportunities in education for youth and adults and has worked with such distinguished organizations as the YWCA and Communities in Schools before starting with QUEST.

Mary Ester Rodriguez

is the Director of Accounting and Finance, brings 30+ years’ experience in Accounting, Non-profit and Auditing. She received her Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Our Lady of the Lake University. She received her Certified Fraud Examiner’s License in 2010. She enjoys fishing and photography.

Francisco Martinez

is the Director of Community Partnership for Project QUEST. He is responsible for overseeing all facets of business development including grant administration, donor engagement, community outreach, marketing, communications and special events. Francisco has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles. Francisco has over 20 years of combined experience providing community outreach and engagement, connecting community members to social services, and nonprofit leadership.  He is the son of immigrants, the first in his family to pursue an education beyond high school and can attest to the life changing impact access to a quality education can play for generations to follow. Francisco and his wife have two daughters, a freshman at UTSA and an 8th grader.  He is a very proud Girl Dad.

Hugo Hernandez

is Program Manager for Intake Services, has over 20 years of workforce development experience, having worked with youth and adults. Mr. Hernandez earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word. Mr. Hernandez loves traveling and watching horror movies with his family.  

Ruby Garcia Siddle

joined Project QUEST Inc. in 2010 as a Public Ally through the AmeriCorps program after graduating Cum Laude from St. Mary’s University. She then began as a career advisor with Project QUEST in 2012 and served under various career tracks, to include Nursing and Information Technology. Ruby is currently serving as a Program Manager.  Ruby’s passion is to thrive within an organization that values community, leadership, and the empowerment of individuals that works towards making a substantial change within the community. One of Ruby’s hobbies is music, and loves going to concerts.

Naomi C. Mandujano

is a passionate advocate for continued education and helping underserved populations obtain living-wage careers. Naomi entered the nonprofit field upon receiving her Bachelor of Sociology from The University of Texas at San Antonio and later obtained a Master of Science degree from Our Lady of The Lake University. Naomi has served in the nonprofit sector for almost a decade and is currently in the role of Workforce Planning Analyst. Free time for includes time with family, cooking, continuous learning, travel, art, and getting outdoors with her dogs. 

Maria Salazar

has been working for Project Quest for 27 years.  She has been a Career Coach for 20 years. Being a Coach has been the best part of Maria’s job.  She loves to give academic guidance to all those in need. Maria works with the San Antonio College Registered Nurses and those in prerequisites. Born and raised in the heart of the Westside of San Antonio, she graduated from Lanier High School, attended St Mary’s University, where her major was in Public Justice. Maria’s  hobbies are going to her son’s baseball games, camping, listening to music and dancing.      

Terry Salazar

has worked at Project QUEST for 23 years this April 2021.  She has held many positions since starting at Project QUEST to include Case Aide, Receptionist, Testing Administrator, Intake Worker, Eligibility Specialist, Assessment Specialist and currently Certification Specialist.  As a Certification Specialist, her main role is to determine funding eligibility for applicants.  She loves what she does and feels great satisfaction in knowing that she has certified someone who will potentially be earning a living wage and will be able to support their family.  When not working, Terry spends her time with her family and enjoys watching Netflix and Hulu movies.     

Yolanda Williams

is a Career Coach who has been with Project QUEST for twenty-one years and counting. She partners with Alamo Colleges to provide career guidance and financial assistance to participants with navigating program services, needs-related resource connections and entry into employment in targeted sectors to reach their career goals. Many of her students have graduated and went on to become successful in the medical and technical industries. Yolanda is certified under The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals. She also participates in The St. Phillips College Advisory Board and has been doing so for over 5 years. Ms. Williams volunteers regularly with The San Antonio Food Bank as well as with smaller local community programs. She is a native San Antonian and her hobbies include gardening, interior decorating, and spending time with her family.

Jessica Gomez

was born and raised in the San Antonio area. She attended the University of Texas at Austin for a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in organizational communication. For over 10 years she has enjoyed guiding QUEST participants as they find success during and after training. In her spare time she loves to spend time with her family and being outdoors.  

Amanda Poplawsky

is the Candidate Outreach Coordinator, has been with Project QUEST for 5 years. She cares deeply about the opportunity to get the word out about Project QUEST in the San Antonio community. Amanda earned her BA in Sociology and Anthropology at University of Texas at San Antonio. She is certified as a Master Advisor through the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. Amanda ran an art gallery for 7 years as part of the Second Saturday art walk. She is a lifelong learner who loves to read, explore, and support local artists.

Adrienne Skrobarczyk

is the Marketing Communications Coordinator, and brings 15+ years’ experience in Marketing & Business Operations Management. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing at The University of Texas Permian Basin. Adrienne has a passion working with small businesses to find their niche, sharing a 360-degree view of company-wide operations. She loves reading, painting, rescuing/fostering dogs, spending time with friends, and traveling. 

Kelly Blake

is our Career Coach overseeing the Trades program. He has been at Project QUEST for four years. He brings a diverse background which includes working in the corporate industry, ministry, retail and social services. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master’s Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been very active in church work and volunteering in the community. He enjoys spending time with his family, being outdoors, running, traveling and baseball.

Covell Lindstrom

is a Grants and Donor Relations Coordinator and helps coordinate the vast landscape of grants
and develops relationships with those who support Project QUEST participants. He received his Bachelor
of Arts in Non-profit Management and Leadership from Westminster College- Fulton, Missouri. Covell
has a passion for giving back to his community, which is what drew him to fundraising and Project
QUEST. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, being outdoors, and traveling.

Laura Torres

Laura Torres currently serves as the Career Coach for Codeup and Dynamic Advancement. Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Texas Lutheran University and a Master of Science in Applied Sociology from Texas State University. Laura has a passion for nonprofit organizations and she enjoys engaging her participants to achieve their personal and professional goals. Laura loves to laugh, listen to podcasts, and visit parks with her family’s dog, Hinto and Dwolfg.

Isidra Rodriguez

is a Candidate Care Specialist for Sourcing, she was born in San Antonio and raised in South Florida.  Fourteen years ago Isidra relocated back to her roots where she enjoyed spending the last twelve years with her grandmother. Isidra has 20 plus years in the administrative field, she has worked as an independent contractor thorough out the City of San Antonio the past 10 years. Isidra is pursuing her associates degree in Criminal Justice at St. Philips. Project QUEST is the first nonprofit organization she has ever worked for and she has truly made it her mission to follow the mission that Project QUEST strives for to serve the community. Isidra enjoys reading books, outdoor trails, exploring coffee shops and spedning time traveling to different beaches with her husband and three children. 

Felipe Mata

has been working with Project QUEST as an Accountant since May 2021. His key role involves processing payments on behalf of the participants of Project QUEST. He joined the organization because he believes everyone deserves a chance in education. As one of the first to graduate from his family, Felipe graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Western Governors University-Texas and possess a strong background in consumer finance. In his spare time, Felipe enjoys Marvel Comic Universe movies, solving Sudoku puzzles, and spending time with his spouse and two miniature schnauzers.

Casandra Rodriguez

is a Candidate Care Specialist who joined QUEST February 2021. She was born and raised in McAllen, TX. Before her career at QUEST, Casandra was a recruiter for 13 years and loved helping employees get back on their feet. Casandra has helped in many different departments within her time at QUEST and enjoys helping wherever she is needed. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, dancing and spending time with her family. 

Felicia Godley

is an Associate Career Coach,  and brings over 10 years of serving the San Antonio working for non-profits. She also served for over 10 years in the U.S. Air Force as a weather observer then forecaster. She received her Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Master of Health Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her passion for helping others has guided her during her entire life and hopes to continue doing so as a career coach. 

Reynaldo Marroquin

is an Assessment Specialist who strives to give applicants the best experience. He graduated from the University of Texas of San Antonio with a BA in History. Reynaldo has worked as a recruiter and this experience has served him well when interviewing potential Project QUEST candidates. His south side of San Antonio upbringing has made him passionate about giving back to the community. Through his dedication to Project QUEST’s mission he was able to enroll the first three participants in the city into the Ready to work initiative. Reynaldo leans on the strong connections he has made within the organization and is always looking to better himself. He enjoys spending time downtown and traveling to new cities. 

Denise Rincones-James

is the Senior Accountant for Project QUEST. With her 20 years of accounting and a Bachelors of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, she assists the Director of Accounting and Finance and manages the payroll of Project QUEST employees. When Denise is not analyzing general ledges, she enjoys walks with her pups, cycling, and traveling. 

Nohemi Acosta

is a Career Coach dedicated to serving diverse individuals, families, and communities. She is passionate about empowering individuals to break down barriers that result in intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. Nohemi received her Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Mexican American Studies with a concentration in Sociology from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work. Nohemi enjoys collecting every type of device imaginable to make coffee, word searches, and reality TV.

Diana Negrete

is Participant Services Assistant with over 15 years of customer service experience. She is working towards her first college degree in Business Management (first in her family too!) and she cites fellow Project QUEST staff as great motivators of this educational goal. She keeps the office laughing, and greets each applicant with a smile and warm welcome. Diana loves to travel, spend time with her children, and read. 

Kayla Patton

is an assessment Specialist who has four years of excellent customer service and team leadership. She received her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice in 2021 from St. Mary’s University which sparked her passion for assisting the community of San Antonio. Kayla’s goal is to provide the tools and guidance necessary to help the underserved population flourish in living wage careers. In her free time, she enjoys game nights with her friends, reading and spending time with her family. 

Jessica Ward

is an Employment Coordinator who joined QUEST February 2022. She was born and raised right here in San Antonio, she is a proud Huskie, and a graduate of Holmes High School. Jessica’s passion in life is to bring joy to people’s lives through service. She carries on in life with one thing in mind, “How can I help someone and make them feel loved today?” Before her career here at QUEST, Jessica was in the dental field for eight years and loved helping her patients. Jessica’s nerdiest fact is nothing puts a smile on her face like talking about dental health. QUEST has allowed her to develop new relationships with participants, employers and community partners to achieve the Mission to Empower Participants with quality employment through skills training. She is looking forward to continuing her education to serve the team and participants. 

Kaiulani Namauu

is a Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) who is passionate about bettering the community through education, development, learning, and awareness. Kaiulani is dedicated to the mission of Project QUEST and aims to help in providing Hope, Dignity, and Empowerment to all that come to Project QUEST. She loves dancing hula, playing tennis and spending time with her family. 

Latisha Pean

is a Career Coach dedicated to serving her community. Latisha brings perspective from both the non-profit sector and service industry with her, and intends to provide a vision of resiliency among those seeking positive change in both personal and professional aspects of their lives. Latisha received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her loved ones, powerlifting, and personal development. 

Gilbert Martinez Jr.

currently serves as an Assessment Specialist at Project QUEST. He is a native San Antonian and first-generation college graduate earning a bachelor’s of Social Work from St. Edward University. A proud product of the San Antonio non-profit’s such as Project Stay, ASKEW & Say Si, he now ism to give back to the community which empowered and supported him. In his spare time he enjoys tennis, supporting local artists and the LGBTQ+ community and being there for his friends and family. 

Chelby Mueller

was born and raised in San Antonio. She graduated from Texas A& M University with a psychology degree. After graduating, she entered into management. She quickly prospered based off her understanding of training and creating relationships with her teams throughout Texas, California, and Colorado. Five years later, she started her MBA at Texas Women’s University in Denton. Upon her graduation, she connected with an employment agency. While working there, she learned there was such a huge need and disparity throughout our community. As a Career Coach, she is adamant about creating awareness, training, assisting, and facilitating the Project QUEST participants into their careers. Chelby and her husband enjoy family outings with their fur babies, playing golf, going to the river/lake, and visiting the local music scene. 

Julio Fuentes

started his education journey in 2012 when he enrolled at St. Phillip’s College to be an Aviation Technician. With the help of Project QUEST, he was able to obtain his associate degree and certificates. After graduation he went into the nonprofit sector with the goal of continuing his education. He attended the University of the Incarnate Word, graduating in May of 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science and a minor in Human Resources. As a QUESTer he strongly believes that education is important and that everyone and anyone should have the opportunity to better their lives and the communities they live in. He strives to be an example that anything in life is obtainable no matter your background, culture, or education level. 

Steven Juarez

Check back soon….

Ricardo Verdugo

is an Employment Coordinator who joined QUEST in January 2023. He was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and has been in San Antonio since 2017.  Ricardo is a certified fitness professional and a certified human resources analyst. He is passionate and driven by helping others achieve their goals. Before his career here at QUEST, Ricardo was in Hospitality Management for ten years, most recently with Marriott. He volunteers on Sundays at church with the first impression team. Ricardo enjoys spending time with his family, friends. He enjoys outdoor and sports activities. 

Victoria Arriaga

is an Outreach Coordinator with Project QUEST and is passionate about promoting initiatives that proffer solutions. She was born and raised in West Texas and received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Texas State University in 2020. She enjoys playing sports, walking nature trails, and spending time with her pet kiddos. Victoria believes that “the service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth”-Mohammed Ali

Annalicia Dominguez

is an Assessment Specialist with Project QUEST since May 2023. Originally from Austin, TX she attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Austin Community College where she received her Associates Degree in Psychology. With over 12 years of experience in education and nonprofits she has made it her passion to help people in at-risk communities pursue their BIGGER GOALS in life! She recently decided to explore new opportunities to add to her career goals and received her Barber License and her Eyelash Technician Certification. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her family, making music with her spouse and children, traveling, and dancing. 

Annette James

is a Career Coach with over 10 years of experience working with nonprofits and helping individuals overcome obstacles that are holding them back from living their best lives. With a degree in Human Services and additional certifications in emotional and childhood trauma, Annette’s coaching is rooted in empathy, authenticity, and collaboration. Her passion for helping others has driven her to be a lifelong learner and seek out new knowledges, tools, and strategies to empower those she works with. She believes that everyone has the potential to heal and grow, and her role is to provide a supportive, non-judgmental space to help those she works with overcome their challenges and achieve their goals.