Registration for our 2024 RVC Block Party is open!!

Our Team

Group photo of RVC staff all wearing masks. They sit at a covered picnic table with a beautiful clear blue sky in the background.

Jojo Gaon (he/him)

Co-Executive Director, [email protected]

JoJo Gaon is a long-time community organizer, photographer, and activist who has worked in the nonprofit world for most of his career. JoJo was also a co-founder of Grryo, which is an international collective of photographers. He helped launch two local young artist movements: Isangmahal and Seattle Youth Speaks.

He regularly contributes to Huffington Post and LifeWire, and has been published in a variety of publications. 

He has been on tour with Justin Timberlake as a photographer, loves playing hold ’em poker, was on an all API team for ultimate frisbee, and is proud of his Pokemon Go pokedex collection. 

JoJo’s work in the non-profit sector also includes a long tenure of working in domestic violence and sexual assault. He is thankful for the mentorship that he has received from the founding mothers of API Chaya.

Contact JoJo if you want to talk about RVC’s operations support team, community partnerships, advocacy, legal & compliance.

Anbar Mahar (she/her)

Co-Executive Director, [email protected]

Certified Coach, Consultant, Facilitator, Advocate, and Community-oriented Leader, Anbar Mahar is on a lifelong mission to help organizations and communities through capacity-building and organizational development. She spent close to twenty years of her career orchestrating results in the nonprofit sector, specializing in the American Muslim Community. 

Anbar currently serves as a Co-Executive Director and Capacity Building Lead at RVC. In this capacity, she is responsible for executing internal organizational development, organization-wide coordination/budgeting, and financial accountability. Anbar holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. Whenever she’s not coaching or doing capacity building for nonprofits, she enjoys cooking, doing dancing classes online, or scrapbooking.

Contact Anbar if you want to talk about RVC’s internal organizational development, organization-wide coordination, organization-wide budgeting, and financial accountability.

Chris Rhodes (he/him)

Co-Executive Director, [email protected]

Chris has spent over 20 years working in the development field for various organizations across the nonprofit sector. Prior to RVC, Chris served on the development team for organizations in Seattle,  Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago including the 2016 Olympic Bid Committee and founding member of Science in the Second City Charitable Event in Chicago, IL. 

Throughout his travels, community has always been at the heart of his career aspirations. He began his service as a counselor for the Variety Boys & Girls Club , then as the Youth Board Member of the King County Youth and Family Commission. While attending Clark Atlanta University, he continued to serve his new community by raising funds to support the disadvantaged areas in The City of Atlanta. Post graduation, he relocated to Chicago and began his service as a Board Member for the Chicago Football Classic which serves as the largest historically black college football classic outside of the southern belt.

Chris is a fan of the Lord of the Rings and his local sports teams. He spends his time with family and enjoys experiencing what the Northwest offers.

Contact Chris if you want to talk about RVC’s fundraising and communications strategy, public relations, and donor stewardship.

Roshni Sampath (she/her)

Co-Executive Director, [email protected]

Originally from South India, Roshni immigrated to the United States from Nigeria. She has worked with nonprofits for the last 13 years in areas of fundraising, communications, human resources, and program development and delivery.

Roshni worked at Statewide Poverty Action Network doing communications and development to change state-level laws that perpetuate poverty in communities of color. 

Roshni also loves novels, good pop culture think pieces, dance parties, swimming, car karaoke, board games, and daydreaming by a sunny window.

Contact Roshni if you want to talk about RVC’s national relationship-building, thought leadership, evolutionary purpose, and conflict resolution.

Sandra Amolo (she/her)

Capacity Building Program Director, [email protected]

Sandra was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and immigrated to the United States when she was a teenager. She has spent over 10 years working in nonprofits, serving in communications, farming, youth advocacy and education, human rights observation, community organizing, and nonprofit management. Sandra earned her BA in Business Administration from Seattle University. 

Sandra loves videos of babies, cats, and other cute living things. She enjoys hiking, reading books, and listening to audiobooks. She is also a hip hop nerd.

Michel Baños García (she/her/ella)

Operations Support Program Manager, [email protected]

Michel Baños García unapologetically identifies as an undocumented queer latina woman from Tukwila, WA. Her introduction to social justice started as a teenager when she began advocating for higher education access and resources for undocumented students. Michel attended the University of Washington and graduated with her degree in American Ethnic Studies in 2018. 

Michel’s passion for serving marginalized communities and addressing systemic oppression has been a result of both her lived experience and the politicization she received from her peers in college. Over the last 10 years, she has actively worked with many local organizations that are both people-of-color led and serving including; 21 Progress, RVC Seattle, WAISN, and Alimentando al Pueblo. 

Returning to the RVC team as their new Operations Support Program Manager, Michel is excited to continue supporting community based organizations with their back end systems so that they can focus on fulfilling their missions and showing up for community. 

During her free time, you can catch Michel trying out a locally owned restaurant, a carefully brewed IPA, or hanging out at home with her two black cats!

Shalom Cook (she/her)

Capacity Building Lead, [email protected]

Shalom is an educator, life coach, healer, capacity builder, activist and artist with over 25 years experience in youth development, human services, social justice and community organizing.

Her highlights include a breadth and depth of work: founding member of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative; Co-founder of the Diversity & Equity YMCA leadership team; Trainer for the Cape Town, South Africa YMCA & Pollsmoor Prison staff in Alive & Free methodology; Member of the Emerging Leaders Initiative, selected by National Youth Leadership Council; Cultural Liaison Fellow at the University of Minnesota; Guest Speaker at 20th National Service-Learning Conference; Member of Alive & Free National Consortium; International Trainer in Violence Prevention.

Shalom believes indigenous wisdom is the salve for the world’s wounds. She is dedicated to holistic and transformative service that moves humanity in the direction of deep and abundant love that is rooted in equity and justice.

Juan Manuel Flores Jr. (he/him)

Operations Support Program Manager, [email protected]

Juan Manuel Flores Jr (he/him) was previously the Programs Director at Zeno, a Washington state non-profit that exists at the intersection of racial equity and math education centered on the lives of communities of color. His personal and professional goals are creating spaces and places that support collective liberation, healing, joy, and Ancestral re-remembering’s. 

Harshika Kara (she/her)

Capacity Building Lead, [email protected]

Harshika is a nonprofit professional who has dedicated her career to helping organizations develop and execute capacity building strategies that strengthen them for immediate and long-term sustainability. Her passion for helping nonprofits is driven by her commitment to social justice and the belief that all communities need to be given equitable, and inclusive opportunities for advancement. 

Before calling Seattle home she lived in New Zealand and Fiji. She’s a mother of two children who are currently in college. Outside of work Harshika loves to try new recipes, make custom jewelry, work in her garden, watch comedy-drama, and go for long walks with friends.

Rae Lee (they/them)

Communication & Graphic Design Manager, [email protected]

Rae is second generation Korean American who moved to greater Seattle, in occupied Duwamish & Coast Salish lands, during their adolescence. They earned their BA in Neuroscience & Fine Arts from Pomona College, and developed their communications portfolio through the Communication Leadership program at UW.

Prior to RVC, Rae worked on communications strategy and products at WEC/WCV. They were also a part of the organizing committee for Evergreen Workers Union, affiliated with CWA local 7800. They are excited to evolve their work to be more intersectional and transformational, examine systems of power, and deepen into liberatory praxis.

In their free time, they love to draw and paint, get real intense about beverages (Rae was a professional tea-tender & is now home mixologist), and is learning to slow down to see plants grow and Notice Birds.

Bo Leong, M.Ed. (he/him)

Capacity Building Lead, [email protected]

Bo was born in Rome, Italy to Chinese American parents and immigrated to Seattle, Washington at the age of 10.  Having navigated the intersectionality of immigration, race, culture, and identity Bo gained valuable skill sets as a third-culture kid.  

While working at Seattle Central College Bo earned an Associate of Arts degree and transferred to the University of Washington Seattle earning a literature degree with an emphasis on American Ethnic Studies.  

Bo completed his Master’s Degree in Education and Guidance Counseling from City University with a focus on multigenerational frameworks which he uses to close equity gaps for historically underrepresented communities.   

In his free time, Bo loves spending time with his twin toddler children and partner, breakdancing, learning to DJ, cooking, and practicing martial arts.  

Amanda Mancenido (she/they)

Learning & Evaluation Manager[email protected]

Amanda grew up in Texas, but moved to Seattle to pursue her Master of Public Health from the University of Washington. 

She’s most passionate about using her data and communication skills to advocate for the health and well-being of historically marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ folks and communities of color. She hopes to amplify the voices of the community and help tell their stories of resilience.

Amanda loves good food and going for walks, and will happily geek out about dungeons and dragons, music, and board games.

Kristine Maramot (she/her)

Operations Support Program Director, [email protected]

Kristine is an islander with Filipino roots, born and raised on Guam and Singapore. 

A Third Culture Kid at heart, she eventually moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where she earned a BA in American Ethnic Studies and a minor in Diversity. She was in RVC’s first cohort, placed at Filipino Community of Seattle and later at East African Community Services.

In her spare time, she loves to go on food adventures and collect Starbucks mugs and Funko Pop! Vinyl Figures.

Christian Moore (he/him)

Fellowship Program Coordinator, [email protected]

Christian was born & raised in New Jersey and spent time in Pittsburgh, PA before calling Seattle home.

He cares deeply about social justice and closing the opportunity gap for people of color. A skilled coach, facilitator, and connector – Christian has helped underrepresented leaders across the country get on pathways to higher education and careers that contribute to the common good.

He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Point Park University.

In his free time, Christian enjoys trying new restaurants, watching sports and anime, and going on random adventures with his lovely wife.

Osca Opoku (she/her)

Operations Support Program Manager, [email protected]

Osca is a recent graduate of Elon University, where she earned BAs in International & Global Studies and Anthropology.

She is passionate about issues of social justice and has performed undergraduate research on education as a catalyst for social change for refugees and families stuck in cycles of poverty. She is passionate about supporting communities in clarifying and achieving goals for themselves.

Having recently regained access to a functional kitchen, she is trying to make up for lost years of dorm-living with regular culinary experimentation.

Miko Pugal (he/him)

Operations Support Program Manager, [email protected]

Miko was born and raised in Seattle’s Southend, tracing his stomping grounds from Beacon Hill Park all the way to Othello Park. 

His commitment to his community is rooted in access to leadership for young folks. Miko has been doing youth work for four years all throughout the Southend, primarily focusing on the intersection of sports, race, class, and gender. 

When he’s not breaking down the doors of systemic oppression, you can catch him coaching Ultimate Frisbee.

Mandie Rice (she/her)

Development Events and Data Officer, [email protected]

Mandie is a first generation Filipina American originally from the golden coast of California. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting from North Central University (Minneapolis, MN) and a Master of Science degree in Business Management from Boston University. She credits her personal growth and cultural competency to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community who graciously shared their language.

As she continues work in the non-profit sector, Mandie is excited to be a part of fundraising work rooted in social justice and racial equity.

In her spare time, you can find Mandie curled up with a book or exploring a new hiking trail with her husband.

Deserea Romero (she/her)

Operations Support Program Manager, [email protected]

Deserea was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California and now lives on the occupied Duwamish ancestral lands of Seattle. She has a BS in Culture and Politics from Georgetown University and an MPA in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington. 

Deserea cares deeply about helping BIPOC-led organizations build their power and reach their fullest potential. Prior to joining RVC, Deserea worked at the Latino Community Fund of Washington State where she did human resources, operations, strategic planning and capacity building. She also serves as Board Vice Chair for HOBY California, a youth leadership organization she has volunteered with since she was 15 years old. 

In her free time, Deserea enjoys swimming, singing, eating, and snuggling up to crochet while re-watching her favorite TV shows.

Florence Sum (they/she)

Fellowship Program Manager, [email protected]

Florence (also goes by Flo) was born and raised on Duwamish ancestral lands in Seattle. Their experience in nonprofit organizations led them to their graduate education and to RVC’s fellowship. 

Florence graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in American Ethnic Studies and Communications, and an MA in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management and education policy.

Florence enjoys frolicking in the mountains, playing video games, eating their way around town, and training in Muay Thai and Krav Maga.

Yecelica “YJV” Valdivia (they/them)

Fellowship Program Strategy & Capacity Lead, [email protected]

YJV was born and raised in the Yakima Valley, occupied ancestral lands of the Yakama Nation. They moved to occupied Duwamish ancestral lands, Seattle, for college, and it’s been their political home ever since.

Much of their work has been at the intersections of personal and societal healing and transformation. They have a background in anti-racism, youth-centered political education, generative somatics and trauma-informed practices, and prevention work.

They also have an affinity for tattoos, reconnecting with ancestral medicine, and dancing.

Uyên Vũ (she/they)

General Operations Manager, [email protected]

Uyên was born in Cần Thơ, Vietnam and immigrated to Houston, TX. She moved to the occupied Duwamish ancestral lands of Seattle three years ago in hopes of building a community home and surrounding herself around the beauty of the PNW. 

Their experience in nonprofit work has been in operations and administration, where they get to nerd out about organizational policies, spreadsheets, and challenging traditional HR. Her desire for strengthening communities and supporting lasting social change stems from a deep commitment to lifelong learning of trauma-informed, culturally competent, anti-racist and pro-Black practices. 

Outside of their work, Uyen spends time learning with community-based organizations, snuggling their three cat children, gardening, discovering new shows, and indulging her Piscean affinity for water with swimming or paddle-boarding.