Staff & Board

Staff

Jennifer Werdell, Executive Director

Jennifer 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 Leadership Development Committee, the Washington Race Equity and Justice Initiative, and Equal Justice Works’ National Advisory Committee. She has also served as a board member for Project FAIR, Powerful Voices, and Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington and volunteered with Legal Voice and the United Way of King County. Jennifer previously participated in JustLead WA’s Leadership Academy as a Fellow and Faculty Member.

Ada Shen-Jaffe, Senior Education Consultant

Ada has served as an equity & justice organizational leader, teacher, trainer and coach throughout her career.  She currently serves as lead faculty and mentor for JustLead WA’s Leadership Academy, as a national trainer and coach for the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law’s Racial Justice Training Institute, and as a race equity & leadership consultant, coach and trainer for advocacy teams around the country, using powerful frameworks for anti-oppression work, multi-dimensional and multi-forum approaches to advocacy, community-engagement, and leadership skills. Ada also serves 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, equity & justice organizations providing civil legal representation for the state’s poorest and most marginalized communities
  • Key developer and architect of mission-based statewide equity & justice delivery system
  • 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)

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.

Laurie Carlsson came to JustLead as a 2015 Leadership Academy Fellow, while working at the University of Washington School of Law in equity and inclusion. Her background in LGBTQ rights, gender justice, and racial justice has led her toward an interest in helping to develop a more intersectional lens in social justice movements. Laurie is currently doing thesis work focused on improving anti-oppression curriculum in higher education environments. Along with her work with JustLead, Laurie volunteers with the community foundation Social Justice Fund Northwest and the Angel Band Project, which raises funds to support survivors of sexual violence. She is also on the selections committees of the QLaw Foundation’s Sher Kung Fellowship and the University of Washington School of Law’s Gates Public Service Scholarship.

Aline Carton-Listfjeld is a leadership and management educator, professional and leadership development coach, public interest lawyer and former community organizer with an abiding commitment to equity and social justice, with over 20 years experience working for community empowerment and civic engagement. She started her career in the early 1990s working on various social justice and human rights issues as an organizer and activist focusing on issues of violence against women, education equity, LBGT rights, housing justice for low-income communities and anti-oppression education. Since graduating from Seattle University School of Law in 2004, her local, national and international work has ranged from human rights, civil legal aid, non-profit management to philanthropy/ development. She is also a nationally sought after trainer on secondary trauma and compassion fatigue for legal advocates.

Aline is Director of the W.H. Gates Public Service Law Program at the University of Washington School of Law and teaches leadership and management for social justice entrepreneurs. Aline is a proud cohort II graduate of the Leadership Academy and serves as faculty.

Elizabeth Fry

Terra Nevitt (Treasurer) is the Director of Advancement at the Washington State Bar Association and previously staffed the Washington State Access to Justice Board. A graduate of the George Washington University Law School, Terra had been working for equity and justice for more than 12 years. She previously served as the Executive Director of a volunteer lawyer program in Whatcom County, Director of Immigration Services for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, and as a consultant with ECPAT International, an organization fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Jodi Nishioka (President) 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.

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 develop 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.