Staff & Board

Staff

Omid Bagheri, 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 commitee 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 almost 20 years.

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 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. 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)

Ana Vazquez, Program Coordinator

Ana (pronouns she/her) is passionate about helping immigrant and diverse communities access information and resources and sparking conversations with those communities about innovation and leadership development. Ana works part-time supporting JustLead’s programs, events, and operations and also serves as a bilingual screener for the Northwest Justice Project’s CLEAR hotline screening low income families around Washington state for free legal aid. Prior to joining NJP and JustLead Ana worked with 21 Progress as a DACA program coordinator, at the South Park Information and Resource Center helping leadership development within the community by collaborating with programs such as Promotoras Communitarias to promote information within the community in different languages, and at South Seattle College helping and guiding Student Government leaders to spark change on campus.

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 financings. 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.

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 currently works as Diversity Policy Coordinator at the University of Washington’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, specializing in anti-oppression training curriculum in higher education. 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.

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.