Born and raised on a dairy farm in Burlington, WA, Emma earned a BA in accounting from Western Washington University.
She has held many diverse jobs in several industries, both in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Right after college she worked at the Mobil Oil Refinery in Ferndale, WA. Her most memorable nonprofit job was being the sole accountant for the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. After a former Microsoft executive purchased it in 1993, Emma served as their accountant for several years, witnessing up-close the $32 million renovation that happened from 1994 to 1995.
Emma was first exposed to the world of nonprofits when her youngest sister was born with Down Syndrome. Her parents became very involved with volunteering for WARC. Her father changed careers and became the first Executive Director of New Leaf, a sheltered workshop. He was a strong proponent of “normalization” for people with disabilities. He was a big proponent of and instrumental in setting up some of the first group homes in Washington State. When the way cleared for the children to attend local schools, her parents and other parents started SPARC (Skagit Preschool & Resource Center). Watching her parents work with various nonprofits and seeing how much impact their work had on many lives inspired Emma to pursue work that makes conditions better for those who need assistance.
She approaches her work by not thinking about the nonprofits she works with as "clients." Rather, she is more about assisting them in fulfilling the mission they have set out to accomplish. She feels that those in need through no fault of their own deserve “a hand up” to help them live their best lives.
Fun Fact: Emma considers herself a part-time “nomad," similar to the characters portrayed in the book and film “Nomadland." Thankfully, in her case, it is not because she's a grieving widow, but because she loves to travel and follow the sun. She spends a large part of the year in her 25 ft. Winnebago Class A motorhome.