The Cara Connects team hails from the hospitality, software sales, and education industries – all sharing a common tug towards mission-based work. Their goal? Build partnerships, not sell transactions, so that as relationships deepen, so does the opportunities for all Chicagoans to get back to work.
Sasha Ongtengco graduated from DePaul University with a business degree in Economics. Post-graduation, she devoted time to cross-cultural immersion and service abroad, followed by several years in hospitality sales. Starting off her nonprofit career as a member of Cara's Recruitment and Admissions Team in 2011, Sasha cultivated a rich network of resource, community, and company relationships that she continues to develop at Cara Connects. With a deep commitment to excellent customer service delivery while doing right by our workers and employers, Sasha's efforts and expertise have led to Cara Connects' most successful years of operation thus far. She continues to work diligently on making the best possible employment connections through strategic staffing development and strives to improve both daily operations and long-term goals for the company.
Sasha's first gig: "My first job was babysitting my neighbors’ kids."
After graduating from Northeastern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s in History, Anthony joined the nonprofit world at Search, working directly with adults with developmental disabilities. In 2015, he joined Whole Foods Market where he was able to cultivate a proficiency in sales, outstanding customer service, and the ability to motivate as an Associate Team Leader. Anthony was thrilled to bring these skills to Cara, where he began as an Individual Development Specialist, coaching employed individuals through their first year on the job. As Staffing Account Manager, he sources quality candidates and matches them with temporary and permanent jobs while fostering connections with referral and employment partners. Additionally, he brings a strong sense of community to Cara as chair of the Employee Relations Committee.
Anthony’s first gig: “I was an usher at the Pickwick Theatre, doing everything from selling tickets to making popcorn."
With customer service to our corporate clients as a top priority, Transitional Jobs Manager Tekorah Martin is responsible for providing coaching, feedback, and supportive services to Cara Connects workers while on assignment. It is because of her results-driven personality coupled with her ability to execute on action, Tekorah has been a leading contributor to the success of Cara for the past eight years. Tekorah considers herself to be a lifelong learner and a firm believer in service to others. As a skilled communicator, with the ability to maintain cultural sensitivity, establish rapport with members of diverse groups and backgrounds, and a strong ability to prioritize effectively, Tekorah also serves as Project Lead for the relationship between Cara and REDF, a national philanthropic organization that creates job opportunities and pathways to employment for the people with the greatest barriers to work.
Tekorah's first gig: “I worked the cash register at a local Popeyes.”
After six years of for-profit experience in supplemental education and sales, Joe began his nonprofit career in 2006 as a Corporate Account Manager at Cara, responsible for securing and building relationships with major employment partners such as ABM, Northwestern Medicine, and the CTA. He has served in various capacities and roles including leading Cara’s Admissions/Recruitment, Training, and Career Coaching divisions before settling into his role of Chief Business Development Officer. He currently focuses on the growth of strategic employment partnerships and Cara Connects, Cara’s alternative staffing firm. Under Joe’s leadership, Cara expanded its portals of entry allowing for quicker routes to services and employment, won a prestigious Chicago Innovation Award, and gained acceptance into the REDF National Portfolio of high-performing social enterprises. Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan.
Joe’s first gig: “I filed medical records for my mom’s pediatric patients at the old Resurrection Medical Center's Professional Building.”
Manager of Placement Services
Corporate Account Manager
Senior Corporate Account Manager
Business Development Director
Senior Corporate Account Manager
Business Development Manager