MEET OUR BOARD!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Here is our current board leadership team:
chair of the board
Rashelle is a member of Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs group and is the director of integrity & compliance learning for the Culture, Learning & Compliance team.
Vice chair of the board
Gina is the current Executive Director of Uplift Northwest.
Shomari is currently the Director of Equity & Strategic Engagement for the Bellevue School district.
George is currently a retired CPA.
BOARD CHAIR EMERITUS
Jon is currently Co-CEO & General Counsel for Ben Bridge Jewelers.
BOARD CHAIR EMERITUS
Nate is the current Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for Eli Lilly and Company.
IMMEDIATE PAST BOARD CHAIR
Leesa is the Chief of Staff for the King County Prosecuting Attorney.
Here our current 2019-2021 board roster:
George currently serves as the Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca Cola North America.
Jawan is the current acting President of the Seattle Urban League Young Professionals (SULYP).
The Bright group
Cindi currently serves as the President of The Bright Group.
Dr. Tony Byers
Tony is a Global Diversity & Inclusion Expert and published author.
Juan is currently the Director of Social Impact for Bloodworks. He also serves on the board of Sound Mental Health.
Dr. Sasha Rabkin
Sasha is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for Equal Opportunity Schools.
Kia C. Franklin
Kia is currently the Chief Programs Officer for Equal Opportunity Schools.
G3 & Associates
Kalila is the current Outreach Specialist for G3 & Associates.
United parcel service
Aaron is currently the Director of Maintenance & Engineering for the United Parcel Service Northwest District.
Dr. Travis McPhail
Travis is currently a Staff Software Engineer and leader of the Google Maps STK teams at Google.
Nicole is the Vice President – Community Affairs Manager WA/ID for U.S. Bank.
Kwesi "Oti" Peprah
Oti is a Senior Procurement Engagement Manager with Microsoft’s procurement organization.
James F. Williams
PERKINS COIE LAW FIRM
James is the Seattle Office Managing Partner for Perkins Coie law firm.
Karinda works as the Senior Community Relations Manager at Vulcan Inc.
Midori is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.
Rashelle is a member of Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs group and is the director of integrity & compliance learning for the Culture, Learning & Compliance team.Her scope includes creatingMicrosoft’s award-winning annual Standards of Business Conduct course with innovative and popular delivery methods uniquely designed for retention by Microsoft’s140,000 company and subsidiary employees and Board of Directors.
Rashelle is also an affiliate faculty member of the Seattle University School of Law. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2016, Rashelle was General Counsel for CRISTA for more than 12 years where she implemented an organization-wide compliance program for the2000+ employee international non-profit and also served in the dual function as Chief Compliance Officer. Her responsibilities included corporate and board governance, legal affairs, and compliance in the areas of long-term care, international relief and development, media broadcasting and education.
Before joining CRISTA, Rashelle began her legal career at Williams Kastner as a litigator with the labor &employment practice group for nearly six years. Rashelle serves on the board of trustees for theUrban League of Metropolitan Seattle(Chair)and the Seattle Repertory Theater. She also serves on an advisory boards for Meredith Mathews YMCA (local), and Momentum A.C.E.S. (national) which explores the intersections of anti-bribery, anti-corruption, international trade and sanctions compliance challenges on a global regulatory scale.
Rashelle also serves as Judicial EvaluationCo-Chair for the Loren Miller Bar Association. Rashelle is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow 2012, Seattle University Law School, and HowardUniversity.She is licensed to practice law in Washington State and has been sworn-in and admitted to practice by the United States Supreme Court.
Hall is a South Seattle native with years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Most recently, she served as Vice President, Community and Donor Relations at Seattle Goodwill where she fostered a culture of philanthropy and created the annual Glitter Gala, Seattle Goodwill’s flagship fundraising event that raised over half a million dollars in 2019. Prior to her 13 years of service at Seattle Goodwill, Hall served as Resource and Community Development Director at Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association.
No stranger to hard work or overcoming barriers, Hall is the oldest of three siblings and daughter of two African American Louisiana-born parents who fled the institutionalized racism and oppression of the Jim Crow laws in the South. Hall’s parents each worked multiple jobs, and they often supported extended family members in their home. Thanks to her parents as role models and the greater opportunities afforded to BIPOC men and women in the Pacific Northwest, Hall now lives with the understanding that all human beings, no matter their background, want many of the same things, like a decent job, to take care of their families, and to do well by themselves.
As of November 2020, Hall becomes the first African American woman Executive Director at Uplift Northwest, and she intends to prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all work moving forward. She believes it is a privilege to serve those who have been underrepresented, and says, “We need to build one unified voice that recognizes the value of what diversity brings to our community.”
Shomari Jones grew up 2,000 miles and a world away from Bellevue, Wash., where he now oversees the school district’s work to ensure that its low-income, nonwhite students have the same opportunities to succeed as their more privileged peers. Raised in the predominately black community of Gary, Ind., and a graduate of Tuskegee University in Alabama, Jones took a winding path to become the director of equity and graduation success in Bellevue—a district whose students are primarily white, Asian, and affluent. But Jones’ upbringing and education—which he describes as deeply affirming—informs his work daily to support and lift up the black, Latino, and Native American students who persistently fall behind in Bellevue.
During his nearly five-year tenure at Bellevue, Jones has developed a multitude of initiatives aimed at closing stubborn achievement gaps—from empowering students to advise district leaders on bias in the history curriculum to educating teachers about how to recognize and address their unacknowledged prejudices. Jones has also led the development of several initiatives to help Bellevue’s majority-white teaching and administrative staff understand the systemic barriers minority students face in their academic and family lives. He launched a voluntary evening speaker series for district and school staff that features speakers from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
Jones later went on to become the chief operating officer of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, where he now serves on the board, before making the transition to district administration.
Nicole is the Vice President–Community Affairs Manager WA/ID for U.S. Bank. In this role, Nicole focuses on the banks compliance with the federally mandated Community Reinvestment ACT (CRA) and the banks corporate social responsibility in the Pacific Northwest which includes the banks philanthropic work and community engagement and support. Nicole has worked in the banking/financial services industry for 25+ years.
Nicole is a native of Seattle, WA and is an alumnus of Garfield High School. She received her undergraduate degree in marketing from the University of Washington and her MBA with a focus on community development from the University of Phoenix. Nicole is also a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow 2017.
As a Seattle native Nicole’s work, both on the personal and professional level, has focused on the financial health and wellness of the black community, particularly in housing. She is the Owner/Designated Broker of Bascomb Real Estate Group where she provides primarily residential real estate sales and housing education to the community. In addition, she serves on the executive board of the National Black MBA Association–Seattle Chapter, as the VP of Programming; board member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers–Seattle Chapter as the Treasurer; and a member of DeltaSigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Nicole is married to Michael Green and has three beautiful daughters, Niaya, Sanyh, and Symirah with two of the three girls currently in college
Juan Cotto is the Director of Social Impact at Bloodworks NW Western Washington’s blood health, blood research and blood bank institute. In his position Mr.Cotto develops and maintains relationships with minority and underrepresented communities to raise awareness about the mission and to encourage participation in blood drives.
Prior to joining Bloodworks Mr. Cotto spent 12 years at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, in three different administrative divisions, where he worked to increase awareness of cancer research in minority communities. Mr. Cotto was also Chair of the Fred Hutch Diversity Council and coordinated numerous programs to keep the conversation about Diversity relevant on the Fred Hutch scientific and research campuses. Mr. Cotto is a lifelong Seattleite who grew up in the Beacon Hill neighborhoods of South Seattle.
Mr.Cotto attended 12 years of Catholic school and graduated from O’dea High School. Mr. Cotto attendedWestern Oregon State College where he graduated with a Degree in Social Science and has completed his course work at the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Public Administration. A sports enthusiast Mr. Cotto played baseball in college and has spent the last 25 years coaching a variety of sports in the Seattle area. Mr. Cotto has served as Head Football Coach at Highline HS in Burien, WA for five years and developed a program which produced 3 Division I players and 2 HeadCoaches. Mr. Cotto spent the 2014 season at Franklin HS as the Head Coach and for 6 years was an assistant at Nathan Hale HS in Seattle.
Mr. Cotto serves on numerous non for profit boards including Sound Mental Health, the Children’sCampaign Fund, the Workforce Development Council, the Seattle Urban League, and Seattle PonyLeagueBaseball. Mc Cotto currently serves on the Board of El Centro De La Raza where he was thePresident of the Board from 2016 through 2018.Mr. Cotto is married to Sara Cotto who is a independent therapist working with adolescent and teenagekids dealing with anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and video game addiction. Mr. and Mrs. Cotto live in theLeschi neighborhood of South Seattle with their two children Clemente and Araceli.
Born and raised in Seattle’s South End, Jawan Harris joined the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle Young Professionals in winter 2019. Soon after joining, Jawan became the Social & Cultural Chair, and then President in January of 2020. Jawan’s drive to modernize and strengthen the chapter’s programming and processes derives from his decade in business management, where he maximized sales revenue and customer conversion. Harris also brings forth automated logistics and personnel management from his service in the U.S. Army Reserves. Jawan attributes his emphatic love for Black culture and people as well as civic obligation to his grandmother, Carol Harris, who sat and governed on the boards of some of the largest labor unions in the country.
Being a vocal champion for the “Soufend”, Jawan hopes to continue to identify opportunities for SULYP to sincerely meet the civic needs of the local Black population, address/attack the racial wealth gap, and continue to foster development in the underserved communities of Seattle.
Aside from being an entrepreneur in the minority business consulting space, Jawan is the Teen Program Director for Boys and Girls Club Skyway/Renton, in the same underrepresented community he came of age in, as well as a graduate of American Military University’s Retail Management program.
Karinda Harris works as the Senior Community Relations Manager at Vulcan Inc., where she is responsible for local community relations and leads the corporate social responsibility initiatives. Most recently, she worked in community relations and external affairs roles for New Seasons Market and the City of Seattle.
Karinda is Seattle native, growing in the Beacon Hill and Madrona neighborhoods, and most proud of her community involvement. She is an active member of the Seattle Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., serves on the Board of Trustees for Neighborhood House, volunteers on the Advisory Council for Garfield Community Center, and recently served on the Policy Leadership Group at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
She is a connecter, and her passion is the intersection of social capital, strategy, and social impact. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Howard University, and a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University.
Travis McPhail, PhD. is a Staff Software Engineer and Engineering Lead-Manager at Google who works with Google Maps.
He was hired to help rebuild the technical infrastructure for Google Maps on Android around the time that Apple launched Apple Maps. Travis has worked on Google Maps and Google Earth on multiple platforms and is currently a lead for rendering maps in Google’s Maps across Android, Web, 3rd-party APIs, Car dashboards as well as lead rendering for Streetview on Android/iOS.
Travis also focuses on Google’s engagement with Black and Brown communities. He champions expanding access to computer science education and partners with Google in fostering tech talent at HBCUs. Earlier this year Travis unveiled his interactive at National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) that allows visitors to explore artifacts managed by the Smithsonian but not shown within the museum. Travis joined the board of the Urban League in Seattle where he desires to establish more partnerships between the Urban League and tech companies to work on challenges facing our communities.
Travis was born in Dallas, TX and later attended Rice University in Houston, TX to double major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. He would later complete his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Rice contributing research to the specials effect, biomedical, gaming communities.
He would later work with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Schlumberger, and IHS before moving to California and joining Google.
Sasha brings a strong background in diverse education settings including program management in a cross section of schools and districts.
For over eleven years, Sasha served as Director of School and Family Programs at the Institute for Community Leadership where he managed community based social justice leadership interventions with schools and families. Prior to this, Sasha spent three years at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions where he managed statewide youth leadership and service learning programs.
Sasha has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Redlands, where he also served as student body president. He recently completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA.
Prominent trial and complex business litigation attorney James Williams serves as the Seattle Office Managing Partner. In more than 30 years of courtroom victories, arbitrations, mediations and litigation management, James has continually prevailed for his clients and eliminated or reduced the risks triggered by lawsuits. He handles sophisticated allegations for plaintiffs and defendants related to breach of contract, fraud, product liability, corporate plaintiff asset recovery, consultant liability, consumer protection and unfair business practices, trade secrets, bankruptcy court adversary actions, Washington Public Records Act, and federal and state agency litigation.
Skilled at early case evaluation, value-driven pre-litigation resolutions and litigation management, James is as effective before a courtroom judge and jury as he is in settlement negotiations, arbitrations, mediations and other alternative dispute resolution forums. James focuses on the most influential case elements and measures to resolve disputes. These can include the development of compelling case themes and theories and strategic venue selection or the use of litigation tools such as videotaped depositions. James also has extensive experience in responding to subpoenas, preparing witnesses for depositions and preparing Rule 30(b)(6) witnesses as corporate representatives.
The strength and substance of James’ litigation style are evident in several dispute outcomes he has achieved. For example, in Stalwart Capital, LLC v. iCap Pacific Northwest Opportunity and Income Fund, LLC, et al., a matter involving federal court allegations of business fraud and deception by the entity and its owner, James turned around an unfavorable case and obtained a unanimous defense verdict after less than two hours of jury deliberations. In Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, 989 F.Supp.2d 1122 (2013), James achieved major change within the criminal judicial system in his successful representation in a “civil Gideon,” Section 1983 class action on behalf of indigent misdemeanor defendants seeking enforcement of their Sixth Amendment right to counsel. His other notable trial successes include Associated Grocers Inc. v. Alexander & Alexander of California Inc. (federal court jury verdict), Intermec, Inc. v. IBM Corporation (federal court jury verdict), and Campbell v. Abney Mills Corporation/Honeywell (state court jury verdict).
Midori is originally from Okinawa, Japan and spent 12 years as a federal employee for Morale, Welfare, and Recreation at MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan and USAG Kwajalein-Atoll, Marshall Islands before joining the Seattle Seahawks. Midori is currently the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.