Staff & Board

Staff

Michaela Brown

 Michaela (pronouns she/her; Spokane) is a deeply curious, over thinking, heart in hand lover of people and history. Her background in collective impact organizing and commitment to advancing a world where everyone belongs has led her to serve in many community capacities focused on advancing individual and collective learning around diversity, equity, and inclusion (which includes her role as the Director of Community Learning for Excelerate Success, an education equity partnership, and in her roles as a race equity facilitator). Her formal education in history and leadership studies combined with her passion for multi-cultural education, identity development, and community healing has brought her to the JustLead Team ready to grow with and cheer on change makers across Washington state.

As a multi-racial woman, Michaela finds power in the ability to hold the complexities of our interconnected lives and leans on the mantra by adrienne maree brown: “Where we are born into privilege we are charged to unlearn any myth of supremacy, where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming or dignity, joy and liberation.” Emboldened by the brilliance of our ancestors as well as modern revolutionaries, Michaela in her wholeness seeks to cultivate learning spaces that are relational and transformative.

paige hardy

paige (pronouns they/them; Seattle) is a bipolar, mixed race (Korean and white) person, self-described troublemaker, and occasional attorney. paige is deeply invested in imagining a world where justice means that people are able to thrive, participate according to their ability, and have their needs fully met, where accountability does not replicate carceral systems, and white supremacy is dismantled. paige believes this work necessitates both an individual and collective response and invites everyone to be part of that work.

paige has worked as a staff attorney with the King County Bar Association’s Volunteer Legal Services program, helping low-income King County residents vacate criminal convictions and defend against consumer debt issues. Immediately prior to joining JustLead, paige worked at the Washington State Bar Association working with various stakeholders on public service, pro bono, and DEI matters. 

Nicole Keenan

Nicole (pronouns she/her/siya; Seattle) creates spaces of sanctuary for people and teams to heal, celebrate, connect, acknowledge truths, grieve, rejuvenate, make decisions, and plan.

Nicole toured the world as a musician from 2007-2008 and moved to Seattle in 2008 to work as a program assistant teaching Seattle’s civil rights history through conversation, film, music, art, and dance. Grounded in community arts work and a liberation framework, she went on to play several key roles in passing policies and implementing programs that improved working conditions for millions of workers, supported and co-founded several coalitions committed to passing policy grounded in community priorities and racial equity, supported hundreds of people of color and women in their leadership development, and advanced environmental justice principles.

Nicole was recognized by the City of Seattle for her work to advance civil rights and was named one of the 15 people should run Seattle by the Seattle Met. Nicole occasionally lectures at the University of Washington and Seattle University in their public policy and social work programs. Originally from New York City, Nicole also calls Virginia and Seattle home.

Talisa (“Tali”) Lavarry

Tali (pronouns she/her; Seattle) is passionate about teaching individuals and organizations the importance and value of being anti-racist. With aspirations of being viewed as a beloved ancestor, every decision that she makes is based on the equitable country and world that she is helping to create.

Having authored Confessions From Your Token Black Colleague , part memoir and part blueprint for change, Tali has been candid about her firsthand experiences and understanding of the plights and complexities that Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) face in the workplace and beyond. Tali is a Forbes Contributor and Harvard Business Review Expert. Her work has also been featured in New York Mag, Puget Sound Business Journal and King 5 Seattle to name a few. With a fervid intent and willingness to share, learn, be wrong, pologize, and grow—her pursuit to show up as her whole self while offering up her gifts, has led her to becoming a part of the JustLead team.

In addition to coaching, teaching, speaking, and writing, Tali serves as an Advisory Board member for CEO Action for Racial Equity as well as a founding member and collaborator for Black Owned Business Excellence WA.

Ada Shen-Jaffe

Ada (pronouns she/her; Seattle) 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 . 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)

Jennifer Werdell

Jennifer (pronouns she/her; Seattle) is passionate about helping legal and community leaders increase their capacity for doing good. She is grateful every day to have landed at JustLead, supporting a team whose commitment to building an anti-racist, equitable future is unwavering.

After clerking for a federal magistrate judge Jennifer kickstarted her (brief) legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and then legal services attorney and Project FAIR Director of Advocacy at the New York Legal Assistance Group, addressing public benefits and economic justice issues. Jennifer then transitioned to nonprofit management and leadership development work, managing network-wide initiatives for NPower, corporate volunteer programs for Microsoft, and fellowship programs at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

Immediately prior to joining JustLead Jennifer served as the Associate Director of Seattle University School of Law’s Access to Justice Institute (ATJI), where she learned about, participated in, and ultimately coordinated and helped build a home for what are now called the Leadership Academy and the Washington Race Equity & Justice Initiative (REJI). Jennifer also stays engaged with the equity & justice community through participation with the Washington State Access to Justice Board’s Delivery System Committee and as an occasional coach and presenter for the Shriver Center on Poverty Law’s Racial Justice Institute.

Jamie Wiggins

Jamie (pronouns she/her; Spokane) is a white mom of two, baker and lover of all things crafty. She’s a self-identified travel enthusiast, Etsy shop owner, and, at times, a sailor-mouthed strategist who wishes to hold space for others as a co-conspirator with attention and intention.

Her formal education in social work combined with her background in corrections, academia, organizational leadership, public health, philanthropy, and social justice all lead Jamie to her true passion of supporting organizations to become anti-racist and create systemic change. Roles prior to joining JustLead include Senior Program Manager for Equity and Engagement with Better Health Together, Social Work Director of Field Education and Training with Eastern Washington University, Manager of the CARES Team with the Spokane Fire Department, and Manager of Strategy, Quality and Training with the Cook County Jail.


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 (Secretary) 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 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.