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Meet our 2014 Volunteer Manager Corps Members!

In 2014, twenty King County organizations participating in United Way’s Volunteer Impact Partnership Manager Corps program received a Volunteer Manager Corps (VMC) Member to help develop the basic tools and systems needed to more effectively engage with volunteers and community members. Together, these participating organizations and VMC Members identified volunteer program needs, implemented projects, tracked results, and ensured that volunteer program improvements are sustained long-term.

Below are the short biographies of the VMC Members who participated in the 2014 VIP Manager Corps cohort.
Click here to learn more about the VIP Manager Corps program and how you can get involved.

VMC Member Zach Grossnickle & Tsegaye Gebru, Executive Director - Horn of Africa Services speak about the successes achieved during the 2014 VIP Manager Corps program.
VMC Member Zach Grossnickle and Executive Director of Horn of Africa Services Tsegaye Gebru
speak about the successes achieved during the 2014 VIP Manager Corps program.

2014 Volunteer Manager Corps Member Biographies

Adrian WielandElizabeth Gregory Home

Since 2011, Adrian has held the position of Program and Volunteer Manager at East Cooper Meals on Wheels, a nationally recognized nonprofit service organization based in coastal South Carolina, working on building scalable programs and solutions for growing community needs. Since 2009, Adrian has consulted with a number of local and regional non-profits, providing program evaluation, operational planning, and change management guidance.

Adrian recently relocated back home to Seattle after 20 years in the Deep South. She has served on the board of the Rensing Center for the Arts, in Pickens, SC and helped launch the Trans*Love Fund, a transgendered youth program in Charleston, SC.  Adrian excited to be able to lend her non-profit expertise to 501Commons’ VIP Program.

Adrian holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the College of Charleston and a triple bachelor’s degree in Art History, Theater Design, and French, also from the College of Charleston.

Alex GrampsRainier Scholars

Alex is a graduate student at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs, working toward her MPA and a certificate in Nonprofit Management. She is currently working as the Interim Volunteer Coordinator for the Greenwood Senior Center, a program of the Phinney Neighborhood Association.

Alex’s passion for volunteering began when she spent a few weeks working at a shelter in India at the age of 17. She graduated from Smith College in 2009 with a BA in Comparative Literature and spent 4 years working at for-profit firms in Seattle while volunteering at the Phinney Neighborhood Association as a cook, receptionist, daycare teacher and event helper.

When she finishes her MPA in December, Alex hopes to make a career helping nonprofit organizations build successful and sustainable programs for their participants, volunteers and staff.

Asiya Bari Ethiopian Community in Seattle

Asiya is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology.  Upon graduating from college in 2005, Asiya began her career in Chicago with Accenture, a technology consulting company.  Asiya spent eight years consulting on and leading various projects with Fortune 500 companies across the United States, developing skills and expertise in several domains, including knowledge management, supply chain, and retail innovation and operations.  Several of Asiya's projects involved developing requirements for, implementing, and training clients to use new technology systems.

Asiya also worked in Accenture's retail innovation center, where she facilitated dozens of half- and full-day workshops with retail executives and developed a passion for group facilitation and creating and delivering presentations.  Asiya was most recently a Manager with Accenture's Management Consulting practice, with a specialization in the retail industry.  Through her job at Accenture, Asiya volunteered as a tutor, fundraiser, and resume and job interview coach.  Asiya has many interests which she pursues in her free time, including cooking, yoga, kayaking, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

In December 2013, Asiya left Accenture after deciding to move to Seattle.  After settling into her new location, she is looking for employment as well as volunteer opportunities that can leverage her skills.  Asiya is looking forward to applying her experience, knowledge, and love for organizing to projects with 501 Commons.  Her interest in non-profits stems from a desire to work with people whose passion and motivations go beyond increasing the bottom line.  She hopes to work with people who have a sincere willingness to give of themselves to make the world a better place, people who want to incite innovation, deliver change, and further a cause for which they feel passionate.  Asiya hopes to enable and embrace these passions and work with non-profits to achieve the success they desire.

Budi Mulyo – Filipino Community in Seattle

Budi is co-founder and COO of RaaSIO, Inc., a startup A.I. and Robotics company founded in March, 2012. A STEAM Lab student/youth mentoring program founded in February 2013 is the jewel of the company increasing underserved youth’s STEAM knowledge base creating lasting motivation and improvement through guidance towards opportunities for students to shine.

Budi is also one of the board members of Jigsaw Renaissance, a learning and making organization whose vision is to inspire and empower people to create. Jigsaw Renaissance's mission is to provide a safe, fun, and engaging space for people of similar and diverse views and with shared and different backgrounds to come together and make things.

Budi currently serves as both a United Way of King County Volunteer Impact Partnership (VIP) Manager Corps as a Volunteer Manager Corps member and consultant to the Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS), a non profit promoting cultural diversity, ethnic pride, unity, and educational and socio-economic empowerment among Filipino Americans in the Pacific Northwest. As a non-profit consultant, Budi helps FCS build their capacity to more effectively engage volunteers in the delivery of their mission. Budi helps local nonprofit organizations develop and sustain effective volunteer engagement practices and procedures by structuring point of entry and database collections of volunteers and maximizing volunteers’ strength by proper placement in the overall organizational needs.

Budi holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Washington in Industrial Engineering.

Debarati Nag – 4C Coalition

Debarati Nag is a Human Resource Professional.  Prior to coming to USA, she worked with an Australian multinational company based in India as an HR Generalist. She has about 2 years of experience working with for-profit organizations in India and about 1 and a half years of experience in volunteering for non-profits in USA.

Debarati served both as community volunteer and volunteer consultant to the non-profit community. She is currently volunteering with Seattle Humane Society where she is playing an instrumental role in streamlining their existing volunteer management strategies and capacity building.

Debarati holds a master’s degree in management from Indian Institute of Planning and Management, India and also completed her bachelor’s degree in B Tech Biotechnology from India.

The opportunity to join VIP Manager Corps is exciting to Debarati because she feels this is an ideal way of integrating her human resource background with the developmental works at non–profits for the betterment of community as a whole.

Deborah Williams – Birthday Dreams

Deborah is a Life Transitions/Retirement Coach and sole-proprietor of Retirement Style. As a certified retirement coach, she assists career-oriented professionals transition to a successful retirement. Prior to starting her own business, Deborah was a Human Resources Manager with Columbia Sportswear in Portland, Oregon. During her career, she has held a variety of management roles in both human resources and finance.

Deborah is a trustee with ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery in West Seattle. She is also a tutor with the Youth Tutoring Program, an educational program sponsored by Catholic Community Services. Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University in Merchandising Management and an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing from Golden Gate University.

A desire to help organizations and their people reach their full potential is Deborah’s motivation for serving as a VMC Member.

Kathleen Mongrain – South Park Senior Center

Kathleen currently works for the YMCA of Greater Seattle at the Concord Learning Center at Concord Elementary, located in South Park. The Learning Center is an achievement gap closing initiative that serves students after school every day with academic, social, emotional, health and wellness education. Kathleen is lead instructor for the 4th grade class and is focusing on getting her kids to enjoy math while mastering it.

Kathleen has previously worked in IT operations for Safeco Insurance. She served on the Board of Directors for Arbor Heights Cooperative Preschool, one of the parent cooperative preschools under South Seattle Community College. She also served on the Concord PTA Board of Directors for several years. At both Arbor Heights and the Concord PTA she has enjoyed building community and outreach to the families.

The opportunity to serve as a VMC member is an exciting opportunity for Kathleen because she will bring her previous management experience to serve her community.

Leah Gustitus - Path with Art

Leah was the Volunteer Manager for ROOTS Young Adult shelter, a local shelter for young adults ages 18-25 experiencing homelessness primarily staffed by volunteers. Prior to working at ROOTS Leah worked with youth programs in Seattle and Chicago focused on educational planning and college readiness.

Leah currently works and volunteers with organizations serving the young adult homeless community in Seattle. She has organized volunteer groups for short-term camps, one time events and on-going positions. Leah has experience in program management, strategic planning, and staff/volunteer supervision.

Leah holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in Family Community Services and is currently enrolled in the Non-Profit Management Certificate Program at University of Washington.

Lena Lee – United Negro College Fund

Lena is excited to be a part of the VIP Manager Corps Program and contribute as a VMC Member because of her enthusiasm and support for diversity and education. Previously at the Asian Business Association, San Diego and Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL, San Diego Chapter), Lena has experience in event planning, volunteer management, donor relations, and marketing strategy.

She currently is an Event Manager at West Coast Entertainment. Lena enjoys giving back to the community by volunteering at the Seattle International Film Festival and Kids & Art. She has also volunteered at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative University, March of Dimes, Alzheimer’s Association, San Diego Diversity Council, San Diego Regional Minority Supplier Development Council, Girl Scouts of America, and as an FBLA-PBL Alumni.

Originally from California, Lena received her B.A. at the University of California, San Diego and has certification for “Content Strategy: How to Engage Audiences for Your Organization” from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Lily Hong – El Centro de la Raza

Lily is employed with Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), a national leader in providing affordable housing to more than 28,000 people. Lily has worked with non-profit organizations in many capacities during her tenure at SHA. Lily is currently on the Section 8 Project-based program team overseeing a caseload of non-profit housing partners serving about 900+ low income families, individuals, and elderly and challenged populations. She develops important training materials and provides guidance and support to housing partners and monitors their compliance per Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Washington State Tax Credit and SHA obligations.

Lily helped coordinate the HOPE VI High Point Revitalization Plan and HUD Land Disposition redevelopment activities and real estate transactions for the NewHolly Phase II mixed-financed community. Lily has volunteered with the United Way Tax Campaign at the El Centro de la Raza site, and previously at the Seattle Public Library and Yesler Terrace sites.

Lily also served as past President and Board Chair of The Evergreen State College Alumni Association. Where she helped update the By-Laws and helped develop a 5 year Strategic Plan, awarded scholarships, and raised funds through alumni and campus enrichment activities. Lily holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Seattle University.

Lorri Engbaum – Sno-Valley Senior Center

Lorri was a Manufacturing Supervisor working for Honeywell Inc. for 29 years. During this time she was responsible for the day-to-day manufacturing operations of 20 to 50 employees across 10 production areas.

She retired in 2009 than was asked to return to work as a Principal Demand and Asset Planner for 2 years responsible for scheduling and planning of production orders, verifying material availability and driving pull ins of material shortages.

Lorri currently is enjoying retirement and volunteering in the local community at the Sno-Valley Senior Center as a receptionist.

Matt Ali - Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets

Matt recently completed a term of AmeriCorps at Neighborhood House. His position, the Technology and Economic Opportunity AmeriCorps, included class instruction for different age groups and volunteer management. Matt plans on pursuing volunteer management and coordination as a future career, which is what brought him to apply to serve as a VMC Member.

After the conclusion of his AmeriCorps term, Matt resumed working at Recycled Cycles and started a temporary interim volunteer coordinator role at Feet First, which focused on utilizing a database for volunteer recruitment and tracking.

Matt earned a BA in Anthropology at the University of Washington and is planning on attending graduate school in the near future, possibly focusing on either education or nonprofit management.

Michele KahrsAthletes for Kids

Michele Kahrs comes to the VMC program with ten years of professional experience in marketing and project management. Prior to joining VMC, Michele worked as a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Electronic Arts, a leader in the global interactive entertainment software industry. She is a collaborative leader and an efficient wrangler of projects, programs and tasks.

Michele also currently works as Public Affairs volunteer with the American Red Cross and as a Corporate Relations volunteer with Forterra. Michele’s previous volunteer career includes several organizations across Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle in primarily skill-based positions across marketing, events, corporate social responsibility partner engagement and grant allocation.

Michele graduated from the University of Southern California in 2005 with a BA in American Studies and a Minor in Cinema Television. She will be working towards a certificate in Nonprofit Management through the University of Washington beginning in fall 2014.

Nidhi Jain – Sound Child Care Solutions

Nidhi is a fun-loving and cheerful person, at least for most parts of the day. She is obsessed with food & cooking and you'll always find a food blog open in her browser tabs. Few years back life brought her to Pittsburgh where she pursued a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She spent half a year working as a Civil Engineer at R.T. Patterson Co. Inc., Pittsburgh before moving back to India to help out her friend with managing a newly started Cafe.

During her undergrad, Nidhi spent most of her time volunteering for student organizations that were involved with organizing festivals for differently abled individuals. She also played a pivotal role in organizing the flagship technology and engineering festival at her university.

Having always been passionate towards helping people and being part of volunteer programs, Nidhi describes Volunteer Manager Corps to be a perfect to channelize her energies.

Ruth Pappas – Jubilee Reach

Ruth’s first career was as a pediatric physical therapist. She worked extensively with children who had physical challenges and developmental delays. For eight years she worked as a team member of the Neuromuscular Developmental Clinic at Madigan Army Medical Center working with physicians and staff to formulate care plans for military families with children who had special needs.

After her youngest daughter was born she shifted her focus from physical therapy to spending more time with family. She then became involved in multiple volunteer positions, starting with her daughters’ co-op preschools. Ruth served as a board member at View Ridge Elementary School. She served on and chaired multiple diverse committees including leading the school’s Annual Appeal Campaign. She created the school’s Community Giving Committee, which developed opportunities to facilitate community giving for students and their families.

Ruth has also coordinated a monthly volunteer group to serve at Food Lifeline for the past 5 years. She has been an active volunteer at her church. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Eastern Washington University.

Skye Stiles - Luther's Table

Skye is a writer who is constantly chasing her Irish muse. She has experience in both the financial world and in the military. Her passions lie in writing and in giving back to the community. She has worked with various animal shelters and wildlife centers on the east coast creating charity drives, public relations, marketing, and taking care of the health and well-being of all those in need.

Skye is excited to be a part of Luther’s Table and help them succeed in fulfilling their dreams. The 501 Commons VIP MC program embodies her beliefs which are helping others and creating a better environment that not only uplifts the community but supports one another in love and peace.

Tabitha Manalu – YouthCare

Tabitha is a senior undergraduate at the University of Washington. She is majoring in Community, Environment and Planning (CEP). She has focused her study around community involvement and mentoring. Coming from a culturally diverse background, she holds fascination for people and their social behavior. By the same token, she is dedicated to creating a harmonious and collaborative living and learning environment.

Her motivation to serve as a VMC Member is seeing nonprofit organizations in King County achieve their best-ever year as catalysts for compassionate community.

Zach Grossnickle – Horn of Africa Services

Zach is currently a master's degree candidate in Public Administration at the University of Washington. He has a concentration in nonprofit management, primarily in youth concentrated organizations. In 2013, Zach graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with two bachelor degrees in Political Science and International Affairs. While in Colorado, he co-founded and was the head graphic designer of mobile app company called Sketch-a-Song for Kids, which was a tool to help guide children’s interest to the arts and music creation through a unique medium.

Since moving to Seattle, Zach has been working as a Youth Programs Intern at SOS Outreach, a youth development nonprofit that uses adventure sports to engage with underserved youth. He also recently joined as an Ambassador Board Member at Friends of the Children, who have a unique model that uses an intensive and long-term mentors to support youth of Seattle.

Zach also works as Programs Intern with Green Plate Special to help show the value of nutrition and healthy eating habits to urban middle school youth. Zach is continually looking for opportunities to work and grow within nonprofit community and is excited to learn how to build and sustain a volunteer network in a nonprofit organization.