Staff & Board


Omid Bagheri Garakani, Director of Equity & Community Partnership

Omid (pronouns he/him) is committed to addressing structural racism and oppression affecting communities by changing unjust laws and policies. Omid’s background is in public health with a focus on equity, system change, and health policy, which allows for a holistic understanding of the overall health and well-being of our communities. Omid believes we must address root causes of health inequities, taking an ‘upstream’ approach that both acknowledges structural oppression and organizes action. His work is guided by words such as these from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that states, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Omid brings to JustLead his experience in community-based public health, anti-racist policy development, and health equity organizational consulting. He holds a faculty appointment at the University of Washington School of Public Health where he teaches why anti-racism practice is critical for public health practitioners and organizes to shift public health dialogue on criminal justice reform as a public health issue with a structural oppression focus. Through the American Public Health Association (APHA), Omid sat on an APHA policy workgroup focused on strategies to address law enforcement violence and recently helped secure the adoption of a policy resolution from the APHA to address law enforcement violence as a critical public health issue. He is a steering committee member of Public Health Awakened, a national group of public health professionals organizing for health, equity, and justice, and also a Board member of the Iranian-American Community Alliance based locally in Seattle, WA. Omid received his BA from the University of Washington in Medical Anthropology and Global Health and Master in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Washington School of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice.  Omid was born in Iran and has lived in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years.

Chandler Lewis, Operations Manager

Chandler (pronouns he/his) has a long history of working with organizations that serve communities most in need, specifically with work that focuses on homelessness, addiction and mental health. Chandler brings with him over 10 years’ experience in family law, start-ups, nonprofit management, and public health policy. He is a former small business owner and owned a youth sports franchise with programming in over 60 local public and private schools in Washington State. His experience has given him a unique perspective on some of the root causes of systemic inequalities that exist in the justice, education, and child welfare systems.

Chandler has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Washington and a Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership from The Johns Hopkins University. He has served as the Outreach and Advocacy Manager and Executive Board Member for the National Youth Advisory Board for The National Domestic Violence Hotline and Loveisrespect as well as a CASA/GAL for King County Dependency CASA program. Chandler also continues to be a leader in the community through his continued involvement as the Executive Board President for Circle of Friends for Mental Health, an organization that provides arts-based programming throughout the Puget Sound, with programming that seeks to serve as a source of growth and recovery for those living with addiction and homelessness. In his free time, Chandler is a professional tennis instructor and loves to travel, cook, and explore the outdoors.

Ada Shen-Jaffe, Lead Coach

Ada (pronouns she/her) has served as an equity & justice organizational leader, teacher, trainer and coach throughout her career, using powerful frameworks for furthering anti-oppression work, multi-dimensional and multi-forum approaches to advocacy, community-engagement, and leadership skills.  She currently serves as lead faculty and mentor for JustLead’s Leadership Academy, as a national trainer and coach for the Shriver Center on Poverty Law’s Racial Justice Institute, and as a race equity & leadership consultant, coach and trainer for advocacy teams around the country. Ada has also served as faculty for the Shriver Center’s Supervising for Quality & Impact courses, as a Commissioner for the ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, and as a member of the Washington State Race Equity & Justice Initiative.

From 2005-2014, she served as Distinguished Practitioner from Practice and Professor from Practice at the Seattle University School of Law where she taught Lawyering for a Just & Humane World, Poverty Law, and Advanced Lawyering: Equal Justice Leadership & Advocacy. Previous key roles from 1986 to 2005 include:

  • Statewide Director, Columbia Legal Services and Evergreen Legal Services
  • Legislative advocacy to secure state funding for civil legal aid for the state’s poorest and most disadvantaged, marginalized populations
  • Creation of Legal Aid for Washington Fund, now the Campaign for Equal Justice, and establishment of the Washington Endowment for Equal Justice
  • Key promoter and developer of the WA Supreme Court-created Access to Justice (ATJ) Board, Alliance for Equal Justice, Leadership Academy, and Washington State Race Equity & Justice Initiative (REJI)

KJ Williams, Leadership & Equity Consultant

KJ Williams (no pronouns) is Owner and Founder of RISE with KJ, LLC (Radical, Insightful, Solutions to Create Equity). The work of RISE is grounded in the belief that working from the inside first develops the infrastructure necessary for change, sustainability, and growth. While working as the Diversity Program Manager for the Washington State Bar Association KJ originated this “Inside – Out” philosophy for the inaugural diversity and inclusion plan and served as an internal consultant to the WSBA Board of Governors as well as an external consultant, educator, speaker and facilitator to law schools, legal organizations, law firms, student groups and individuals.

KJ holds a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Washington and an MPA from Seattle University. KJ has served as member of the City of Seattle LGBT Commission, University of Washington School of Law Diversity Committee, Board of Directors for the Initiative for Diversity, and the University of Washington School of Law Gates Scholarship Committee. KJ is also an alum and faculty for the Leadership Academy.  In 2015 KJ received the Community Service Award from the Loren Miller Bar Association, dedicated to addressing disparities in the African American community. KJ has written for Black Women’s Blueprint, For Harriet, NWLawyer and NWSidebar.

Jennifer Werdell, Executive Director

Jennifer (pronouns she/her) is passionate about helping advocates, community leaders, and community organizations increase their capacity for doing good. Prior to joining JustLead Jennifer served as the Associate Director of Seattle University School of Law’s Access to Justice Institute (ATJI), where she collaborated with community partners to develop pro bono and social justice opportunities for law students and advised students engaging in public interest and pro bono work.

Jennifer received her BA from Amherst College and her JD from New York University. After clerking for a federal magistrate judge she was honored to serve as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and legal services attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group, addressing public benefits and economic justice issues. She also served as the inaugural Director of Advocacy for Project FAIR, a pro bono project providing legal information to low-income and homeless individuals.

Jennifer brings a breadth of nonprofit management, community engagement, and leadership development experience to her work with JustLead WA. Between Project FAIR and ATJI she managed network-wide initiatives for NPower, corporate volunteer programs for Microsoft, and fellowship programs at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. Jennifer also stays engaged with the equity and justice community through participation with the Washington Access to Justice Board’s Delivery System Committee and the Washington Race Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI). She has also served as a board member for Project FAIR, Powerful Voices, and Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington and as a volunteer with Equal Justice Works’ National Advisory Committee, Legal Voice, and the United Way of King County. Jennifer previously participated in JustLead’s Leadership Academy as a Fellow and Faculty Member.

Board Members

Francis Adewale (Vice President) has served as Assistant Public Defender for the City of Spokane, Office of the Public Defender since May 2001. In addition to his work as city public defender, Francis also serves on several community based board and activities in Spokane. He is currently the Co-Chair of Spokane Homeless Coalition and a member of the Spokane County Regional Law & Justice Council’s Racial Equity Disparity Subcommittee. Francis is a 2009 fellow of Washington State Bar Association Leadership Institute (WLI) and 2015 fellow of our Leadership Academy.

Francis is a George Frederickson Honors Graduate of Eastern Washington University. He is one of the attorneys that helped establish Spokane Community Court. Francis is a recipient of City of Spokane Human Rights Award as well as the Spokane County Bar Association Smithmoore P. Myers Professionalism Award.

Judy Andrews is an attorney and consultant focusing on nonprofit corporation law, tax-exempt organizations and public finance. For more than 20 years, she has represented nonprofit organizations on corporate and tax exemption issues including incorporation and determination of tax-exempt status, legal obligations of directors, organizational structure and roles of board and staff, conversion, merger and affiliation issues, and federal tax-exemption issues. In addition, she has worked as bond counsel and underwriter’s counsel on many special fund revenue bond and nonrecourse revenue bond financing. Many of these bond issues have involved nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations.

Judy is a recognized leader and frequent speaker on nonprofit corporate and federal tax topics. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law, she gives workshops on the formation and maintenance of 501(c)(3) organizations for the Nonprofit Assistance Center and Wayfind. In 1992, Judy spearheaded the writing, editing and publishing of the handbook “How to Form a Non-Profit Corporation in Washington State,” as chair of the Community Involvement Committee of the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Division. Before becoming a lawyer, Judy worked in nonprofit organizations, most recently as Executive Director of Legal Voice, formerly the Northwest Women’s Law Center in Seattle, Washington.

Ayanna Colman works with the Washington State Office of Financial Management as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Innovations Manager. Ayanna received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and her JD  from Gonzaga University School of Law. She has worked for state government for the last seven years, beginning her state service with the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Child Support, where she gained experience enforcing child support orders, representing the Division administratively in hearings, and writing policy for the Division. In 2017, she joined the Office of the Governor with an agency known as Results Washington, where she focused on performance management. Over the past year, Ayanna has worked closely with practitioners and partners throughout the enterprise in efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion work. In June 2019, she transitioned to the Office of Financial Management, into State Human Resources, to become the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Innovations Manager.

Nicole Jenkins-Rosenkrantz (President) has worked for Spokane Public School District as the Community Partnerships Manager since April 2018. Prior to this position she worked at Spokane County Juvenile Court for seventeen years in various roles: Juvenile Corrections Officer, Guardian ad Litem, Truancy Case Manager, Probation Counselor, Diversion Unit Supervisor, Racial and Ethnic Disparity Site Coordinator, and Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Co-Coordinator. Nicole is passionately engaged in on-going efforts to disrupt the school to prison pipeline and reduce the disparities experienced by marginalized families and youth of color. She believes that her work in the juvenile justice system and public school system gives her a unique perspective and connections that can lead to positive collaborations for systemic change. Nicole views championing the creation of just and equitable outcomes for marginalized communities as not just a hope and a wish but a necessity. In her spare time she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach at East Central Community Center and the Racial & Social Justice Committee at the YWCA. Nicole is a 2018 Leadership Academy graduate.

Jodi Nishioka has worked for over 20 years on behalf of low-income communities, particularly women, children and immigrant/refugee communities. She started her career as an attorney advocating for immigrant domestic violence survivors and single mothers fighting for child support in legal aid organizations in Boston and Honolulu. Jodi continued her work on behalf of disenfranchised communities within state and city governments in Hawaii and Seattle and later with grassroots nonprofit organizations. Currently, Jodi is the Executive Director of Wayfind, where she combines her legal skills with her dedication to improving the status of low-income communities.  Wayfind provides pro bono legal services to community organizations.

Kurtis S Robinson is an active community leader in Spokane, serving as the current Spokane NAACP President, NAACP Alaska Oregon Washington State Area Conference Criminal Justice Chair, and as a Smart Justice Spokane Executive Committee member. He also serves as a Behavioral Health Advisory Board Member, Public Safety Assessment (PSA) implementation team member, Revive Center For Returning Citizen’s Board member, Community Court Advisory Board Member, Re-entry Task Force member, and a member of the Spokane Regional Law & Justice Committee and Racial Equity Subcommittee.

Mr. Robinson has been a Wildland Fire Fighter for 10 years and has a worked for the Department of Natural Resources and for Spokane County Fire District 10. After a period of incarceration from 1984 to 1987 Mr. Robinson has participated in I Did The Time and has served as a Certified Recovery Coach, Veterans Recovery Coach and Reentry Specialist, with 15 years concurrent abstinence from drugs and alcohol. He is a 2018 graduate of JustLead’s Leadership Academy.

Diana Singleton (Secretary) is the Access to Justice Board Manager at the Washington State Bar Association. She previously served for several years as the Director of Seattle University School of Law’s Access to Justice Institute (ATJI), which serves as a bridge between the law school and larger equal justice community.  Through ATJI’s work, Diana and her team developed social justice opportunities for law students and graduates. Prior to joining ATJI, Diana was an attorney with the Northwest Justice Project for almost ten years, practicing in the areas of consumer, family, low-wage worker, and public benefits law.

Diana also serves on the Board of Wayfind which offers transactional pro bono assistance to nonprofit organizations and low-income microentrepreneurs.   She is a volunteer attorney with Open Door Legal Services where she provides free legal advice to people who are homeless.  She is a proud alumna of Seattle University School of Law, Westmont College, and the Leadership Academy.

Nick Straley (Treasurer) is a Staff Attorney with the Institutions Project of  Columbia Legal Services in Seattle, working for communities to dismantle our racialized criminal justice system. Since 1997 Nick has served in a range of capacities supporting Columbia Legal Services’ work. Nick is a graduate of Oberlin College, Cornell Law School, and the Leadership Academy. His volunteer activities include prior board service with Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, supporting the Washington Race Equity & Justice Initiative (REJI), and serving as the volunteer president of Washington Legal Workers, a union of attorneys and other legal professionals employed by Columbia Legal Services.