Ananda Valenzuela, Interim Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ananda grew up in Puerto Rico and has slowly made their way across the continental United States, finally landing in Seattle to pursue his passion of doing capacity-building and leadership development with social impact organizations.
Before RVC, Ananda worked at Third Sector New England, a nonprofit capacity-building firm, where she managed a consulting program and developed a fellowship program. Ananda has also held a variety of consultant, governance and activist roles within the nonprofit sector. Ananda has a B.A. in organizational development and institutional ethnography from Hampshire College, and currently serves on the board of Change Elemental (formerly Management Assistance Group).
Fun Fact: Outside of work, Ananda can usually be found playing intense board games or reading a book cover-to-cover.
Jojo Gaon, Operations Support Program Director, email@example.com
JoJo Gaon is a long time community organizer and activist who has worked in the non-profit world for most of his career with his most recent work as the Finance and Operations Director for the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbians and Gay Survivors of Abuse. A dedicated youth mentor and community builder, he helped launch two local young artist movements: Isangmahal, and Seattle Youth Speaks.
JoJo was also a co-founder of Grryo, formerly We Are Juxt, which is an international collective of photographers. JoJo (aka Brad Puet on all social platforms) is a successful self-taught artist in spoken word and photography, his award winning work has exhibited in Tehran, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Jalisco, New York and Los Angeles. He regularly contributes to: Huffington Post, and LifeWire; and has been published in the Washington Post, Photo Magazine, VICE, Slate magazine, and The Guardian-UK.
JoJo loves his family – hella! He’s been on tour with Justin Timberlake as a photographer, was on an all API team for ultimate frisbee that won 2 city championships, loves playing hold ’em poker and he’s pretty proud of his Pokemon Go pokedex collection. Gotta catch em all!
April Nishimura, Director of Capacity Building, firstname.lastname@example.org
April has deep experience in non-profit management and community engagement. Prior to joining RVC, April was the founder and assistant director of a grassroots non-profit in South Seattle that developed the leadership of LGBTQ communities of color. She has a proven history of successfully supporting community based organizations, engaging regional and national networks and developing non-profits boards.
April holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management and a M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, as well as a B.A. in International Studies from University of Washington.
Feeling connected to the Japanese American diaspora, April does taiko, the Japanese form of percussion and loves cooking her own version of Japanese dishes. In between workblocks, April loves walking meetings and wears ankles weights.
Chris Rhodes, Development Director, email@example.com
Originally from Seattle, Chris was first exposed to the non-profit community as a counselor for the Variety Boys & Girls Club. He continued his community involvement working with King County Executive Ron Sims as the Youth Board Member of the King County Youth and Family Commission. While attending Clark Atlanta University, he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and of The Prince Hall Masonic Order.
Both organizations allowed for Chris to serve his new community of Atlanta where his service was specifically directed towards raising funds to support the disadvantaged areas of the city. He then relocated to Chicago, where he worked with city and state government to address various educational and environmental issues plaguing the city.
Chris is an avid fan of both Lord of the Rings and his hometown favorites, Seahawks and Mariners. He spends his spare time with his family and enjoys taking advantage of all to see in the great Northwest.
Sandra Amolo, Capacity Building Lead, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandra was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and immigrated to the U.S. 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 received her BA in Business Administration from Seattle University in 2011. She is motivated to work in spaces that focus on intergenerational healing to address the trauma of racism, displacement, and the military industrial complex.
Sandra loves videos of babies, cats, and other cute living things. She spends her free time hiking and reading or listening to audiobooks on the bus. She is a hip hop nerd and knows all the lyrics to Tribe Called Quest’s “People’s Instinctive Travels Through the Paths of Funk and Rhythm.”
Michel Banos Garcia, Operations Support Program Coordinator, email@example.com
Michel was born in Mexico City, but has spent most of her life in the United States raised in a home deeply tied to her Mexican roots, thanks to her mom.
She has over 7 years of experience as a community organizer where her work has focused on race and equity, immigration, higher education access, and shifting towards an intersectional mindset. Michel deeply believes in collective power and our community’s ability to heal and create the lives we are fully deserving of.
Fun fact: A Sagittarius, Michel loves adventure! Whether its exploring a new city/town, going to a new restaurant, or trying a new activity, she is DOWN.
Saida Bulhan, Communications Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saida was born and raised in Somalia and moved to the United States in her mid-teens. She is a writer currently at work on an autobiographical young-adult novel and finds her personal experiences to be instrumental in exploring life and the realities of being a refugee and Muslim in America.
She has previously worked in linguistic and healthcare access in various capacities, and she’s a current RVC Community Impact Fellow based at RVC where she will manage communications.
One of Saida’s favorite quotes is Nelson Mandela’s, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Regina Dove, Capacity Building Associate, email@example.com
Regina was born in SoCal, raised in Kent, and has lived in the Central District/Rainier Valley for over a decade now. Regina’s first paid gig was at the daycare at the Meredith Matthews YMCA in the Central District back in high school. Since then, she’s worked in a variety of positions at local nonprofits, from administrative assistant, to mentoring, to program manager and director.
Her soul work draws her to connecting with people at the individual level to process the impacts of trauma and systemic oppression, as it manifests in our bodies and hearts. In addition to joining the Capacity Building Team at RVC, she is also a recently certified doula and seeks to provide support to BIPOC and LGBTQ families.
Regina loves interpreting dreams people had the night before, going to music shows, and letting her cat
Amanda Mancenido, Organizational Learning Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
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. In her work, she hopes to amplify the voices of community and help tell their stories of resilience.
Amanda loves good food and taking long walks, and will happily geek out with you about women’s soccer, music, and board games.
Kristine Maramot, Operations Support Program Manager, email@example.com
Kristine is an islander with Filipino roots, born and raised on the islands of Guam and Singapore. A Third Culture Kid at heart, she eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend the University of Washington where she earned a B.A in American Ethnic Studies and a minor in Diversity. She was previously in the RVC’s first cohort, placed at Filipino Community of Seattle and later at East African Community Services.
She believes in fostering leadership especially within young Filipino and Filipino Americans. Serving the community has always played a role in her life.
In her spare time, she loves to go on food adventures and collects Starbucks mugs and Funko Pop! Vinyl Figures.
Osca Opoku, Operations Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 also passionate about supporting communities in clarifying and achieving their goals for themselves.
Having recently regained access to a functional kitchen, she is trying to make up for the lost years of dorm-living with regular culinary experimentation.
Miko Pugal, Operations Support Program Manager, email@example.com
Miko was born and raised in the South End, 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. He’s a firm believer in the effectiveness of movement building, change work, and liberation work when young people are allowed to be apart of that process. Miko has been doing youth work for 4 years all throughout the South End primarily focusing on the intersection of sports, race, class, and sex. When he’s not breaking down the doors of systemic oppression, you can catch him in the South End coaching Ultimate Frisbee.
Roshni Sampath, Capacity Building Lead, firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally from South India, Roshni immigrated to the United States from Nigeria. She has lived in all four time zones in the continental United States, and has worked with nonprofits for the last 13 years in areas of fundraising, communications, human resources, and program development and delivery.
Before RVC, Roshni worked at Statewide Poverty Action Network doing communications and development to change state-level laws that perpetuate poverty in communities of color. Roshni is excited to bring her commitment to equity, capacity building, and supporting the brilliant work done by communities of color to her role at RVC.
Roshni also loves novels, good pop culture think pieces, dance parties, swimming, car karaoke, board games, and daydreaming by a sunny window.
Anbar Mahar Sheikh, Capacity Building Lead, email@example.com
Anbar has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and activism and has a deep passion for capacity building for nonprofits. Throughout her career, she focused on nonprofit management and capacity building for the American Muslim community by working with the Council on American-Islamic Relations – California, which is the largest civil rights organization for the American Muslim community, and Whitestone Foundation.
Immediately prior to joining RVC, Anbar worked as a research analyst and project manager at The Giving Practice. She is a consultant for Roadmap Consulting. Anbar holds a Masters in Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of California, San Diego.
Anbar also loves scrapbooking and hiking.
Florence Sum, Green Pathways Fellowship Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Florence (also goes by Flo) was born and raised on Duwamish ancestral lands, Seattle. Their background primarily involves working with youth specifically around higher education access and retention (not limited to 4-year institutions), social service navigation, and leadership development. Her experience in small and large nonprofit organizations led them to their graduate education and to this fellowship as a nonprofit capacity builder. Florence graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in American Ethnic Studies and Communications as well as an MA in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management and education policy.
Florence has a deep commitment to liberation work at the individual, grassroots, and institutional level. They believe in shared leadership, racial equity, building cross-cultural, cross-generational, and cross-issue movements, and tapping into the power and agencies of communities of color.
When she is not immersed in combating systemic injustice, 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, Community Impact Fellowship Program Manager, email@example.com
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.
Deeply committed to the power and agency of youth and communities of color, they envision a world of shifted power where black, indigenous, and brown folks live in dignity, connection, abundance and in right relationship with land. 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.
YJV’s long-term vision is to build a radical childcare center for and with families of color.
They also have an affinity for tattoos, reconnecting with ancestral medicine, and dancing.