Meet the Team

Julia Bechtolsheimer

Spending most of her childhood in the Middle East, Julia was educated at her mother’s school. From a young age, she grew to appreciate the empowering impact of a well-rounded education, and founded Rising Start because she feels strongly that investing in childhood education is the key to shaping future generations.

An avid triathlete and Ironman competitor, Julia is an entrepreneur developing a personalized, science-driven range of sports nutrition products and will be launching her company, Unit Nutrition LLC, in 2017.

Pato Paez

Pato is an Argentina born, New York based artist and curator. Pato believes art is for the many, not just the few. For this reason, he co-founded PotatoMike, an expanding network and platform for various artists to collaborate and grow the reach of their own work. Pato’s knack for outfitting business and retail spaces with the ideal pieces of art, as well as working with both residential and corporate interior designers, has earned him a distinguished position in the international art community.

Elizabeth Sadoff

Elizabeth founded Elizabeth Sadoff Art Advisory in 2009. Her mission is to connect the work of emerging and mid- career artists with prospective collectors unfamiliar with the acquisition process. Sadoff’s clientele are chiefly interior designers. Her clients include: Carrier and Company, James Rixner, Celerie Kemble, Alan Tanksley, Katie Lydon and Charles Pavarini. She is a member of ArtTable, Co-chair for Bailey House’s Annual Gala and Auction and an active member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Residential Forum Committee.

Rachna Jain

As a native New Yorker, Rachna loves the vibrancy and cosmopolitan culture of Manhattan, and is always looking for ways to give back to her local community. She is passionate about children’s education and believes a strong education at an early age is the primary building block for success.  Rachna has worked in finance for the last five years, covering global institutional clients. In her free time, she is an avid traveler and enjoys planning trips for others. She is excited to be a part of the Rising Start team!

Marie Berrodin Hall

Marie worked in advertising for eight years, specializing in media strategy for financial, retail and entertainment brands. She recently left advertising to pursue her interest in design, and is currently enrolled in Parsons’ interior design program. Marie is a strong believer in the power of education programs to help communities. While studying education and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, she worked in Head Start classrooms in low-income Philadelphia neighborhoods. She just had her first child, a baby boy, in April.

Andrea Dora Smith

Andrea has performed in and produced shows as well as events all over the world. Andrea is an actress and landed roles on Broadway/toured in shows such as RENT, Tarzan, Motown and many more. Andrea has also been in many commercials, TV shows and Films. The Band Method is an entertainment collective, which is produced under her company, Andora Productions. Andrea is truly passionate about making a difference! She is a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of NYC, speaking at many political rallies, lobbying in Washington DC and much more. @andreadora @thebandmethod @thehudsonprojectband

Ana Cristina Joseph

Ana Cristina Joseph is the founder of Deseo events, an event planning boutique that specializes in design and event logistics. Her past experience includes involvement in productions such as the NFL Pepsi Mash, Art Basel Miami and Food & Wine South Beach. Prior to moving to New York she was based in Chicago and contributed to events such as the American Heart Association’s Annual Heart Ball Gala. She is mother of two boys and believes strongly in education and the arts as a channel for growth and creativity.