Current Fellows Program Cohort

The 2017-2018 World Affairs Council Fellows Program cohort is comprised of 31 impressive Seattle leaders representing diverse fields. The Fellows convene once a month for breakfast discussions with carefully selected high-caliber international experts who offer unparalleled insight into current global issues, in addition to meeting throughout the year for additional WAC events and networking opportunities. 

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2017-2018 Breakfast Discussion Speakers and Topics:



Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, Undersecretary for North America, Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs

 “The U.S.–Mexico Relationship”


Stephen Cook, Council on Foreign Relations Enri Enrico Mattei senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa studies

 “Erdoğan’s Turkey”


Kristi Kauppi, Finnish Ambassador to the United States

“The Future of European Security”


Gerry Simpson, Associate Director of Refugee Rights at Human Rights Watch

“Refugee Rights: Protecting the Vulnerable”



Kemal Kirişci, The TÜSİAD senior fellow, and director of the Center on the United States and Europe’s Turkey Project at The Brookings Institution.

“Turkey and the West”


Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, Co-Founders and Presidents of the Center on Climate and Security

“Climate Change and Global Security”


Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, USN (Ret), Former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) from 2012-2015

“Geopolitics of the Pacific Ocean”



2017-2018 Fellows Program Cohort:

Kathleen Allen
Associate Director, Global Business Center

Kathleen is the Associate Director at the UW Foster School of Business’ Global Business Center (GBC). She has worked at GBC for nine years and absolutely loves her job! She works closely with the Director on Center-wide strategic planning, fundraising, and advisory board engagement. Kathleen is also responsible for overseeing all undergraduate global programs, including three international case competitions and all business study abroad programs. She is a graduate of the UW Foster School of Business with a BA in Business Administration and Spanish. While attending the UW, she also received a Certificate of International Studies in Business and interned at the Consulate of México. She also holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the UW Evans School of Public Affairs. Kathleen has worked, studied or traveled independently in over 30 countries, and speaks Spanish fluently.


Lisa Anderson
President, Moccasin Lake Foundation

Lisa has over two decades of hands-on and executive leadership experience in volunteer work, charitable foundations and NGOs. Her efforts range from local causes, developing countries needs and those that have a global impact.

During the last 10 years, Lisa has been an active partner, advisor, and contributor to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Conservation International (CI), the American Leprosy Mission (ALM), The Int’l Leadership Academy of Ethiopia and Shared Hope Int’l.  She sits on the Leadership Council of CI. Lisa is the current President of the Moccasin Lake Foundation and a trustee of the Norcliffe Foundation, both grant-making foundations located in Seattle. Lisa’s work has had a tremendous impact on issues across the NW, ranging from social services, health, education, and the environment. Lisa has also served as a trustee of the board for two different independent Seattle area schools as well as being the founding chair of a Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild dedicated to raising funds for uncompensated care.

Lisa’s passion is to improve maternal and women’s health in developing regions, and combatting sex trafficking both at home and abroad. Other interests include scuba diving and adventure travel photography. She lives in Seattle with her husband and 4 children.


Drew Arenth
Strategy and Business Development, Macro-Eyes

Drew leads strategy and business development for Macro-Eyes, a machine learning technology company for global healthcare operations and clinical predictive analytics. He also serves on the board of One by One, a Seattle based non-profit working to end obstetric fistula in East Africa. Previously he was Principal with Strategic Leadership Services at Providence St. Joseph Health; Director of International Business Development for a privately-held global logistics organization; research consultant for Global Good/Intellectual Ventures; and co-founder of Biokick, a startup web-based platform focused on attracting private funding to mid-stage life-sciences research.

Drew earned his MBA and Global Business Certificate from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, International Crisis Negotiations Certificate from the Jackson School of International Studies and U.S. Army War College, and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Portland where he played on the top 20 nationally-ranked soccer team. In his free time, Drew enjoys traveling, taking photos, skiing, riding his horse, fly fishing, woodworking, mountain biking, music, trail running, bouldering, and working on his family’s farm.


Shauna Bassett
Regional Director, Market Analysis, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Shauna has been with the Boeing Company for 15 years where she has supported many different programs and business divisions. She currently works in the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Market Analysis group leading the process to track near-term business environment indicators. Additionally, she supports the Product Forecasting group focusing on China. Previously, she supported the Europe, Russia/CIS and Northeast Asia forecasts.  Prior to that, Shauna worked as a Business Analyst for Boeing Helicopters in Philadelphia, where she supported the V22 Osprey and Chinook programs.  She also worked in cost analysis on the Joint Strike Fighter program and for Boeing Commercial Airplanes Single Aisle Delivery Center.

Shauna has also worked in the Airline industry in a variety of roles. She worked for Frontier Airlines as a Senior Revenue Management Analyst, Alaska Airlines as a Marketing and Planning Analyst, Airborne Express as a lead in their customer service center, and Delta Airlines in various customer service roles.

Shauna has a Master’s of Science in Finance from Seattle University and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration – International Business from the University of Alaska.


Marc Berger
Senior Director, Executive Communications, Nyhus Communications

Marc Berger is a communications specialist who focuses on executive communications, thought leadership, and crisis management. He currently serves as senior director at Nyhus Communications, a strategic consulting firm based in Seattle. Marc has over a decade of experience living in, studying, and engaging professionally with China. He oversees the agency’s China Practice, where he devises strategies and enhances engagement for Chinese companies looking to successfully expand their businesses in the U.S. market, and American firms seeking greater connections with the People’s Republic. Prior to joining Nyhus, Marc spent five years at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the nation’s foremost organization promoting constructive Sino-American relations. Marc received his master’s degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University, where he focused on Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, and Chinese media. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and has studied at Tsinghua, Beijing, and Zhejiang Universities in China.


Avik Bhattacharya
Director, International Strategy and BD, Boeing

Avik Bhattacharya is director of International Strategy & Business Development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, which is based in Seattle. Avik leads a team responsible for developing strategic partnerships, industrial participation strategies and other business collaboration opportunities in leading markets that include India, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Australia.

Previously, Avik served as Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ director of Business Development and Strategy, in Boeing’s office in New Delhi. In that role, he was responsible for developing and growing Boeing’s in-country industrial collaboration with several Indian private-sector companies, such as Tata Group, Bharat Forge, the AV Birla Group and information technology firms, and also worked with Indian government entities.

Prior to joining Boeing, Avik has worked in mergers and acquisitions, strategy consulting and business development roles in China, Indonesia, Germany, France and India. Avik speaks multiple Indian languages and makes do in Mandarin and French. Avik has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from Indian universities. Avik and his wife Haimanti live in Seattle.


Jeff Blair
Faculty, The Northwest School

Jeff is the faculty advisor for the NWS’s student-led Environment Interest Group and a proactive member on the faculty Environmental Sustainability Committee. He was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching to do educational research in South Africa in 2010, and selected to participate in the Fulbright Japan Exchange for Sustainable Development in 2014. Jeff’s passion for realizing our collective human potential has taken him to NWS’s partner school International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia, where, in the summer, he has served as a volunteer teacher and program coordinator. Currently, Jeff is working on a project, “The Globe Reads,” to link students at Northwest with peers in classrooms around the world to discuss shared readings.


Nicholas Gregg Brown
Senior Director, Corporate Standards Group, Microsoft

Gregg Brown has 22 years of experience working with enterprise-level information technology, including leading venture funded startups and eight years with IBM. He is currently a Senior Director, Strategy for the Microsoft Corporate Standards Group where he leads a team focused on technology and process standards for privacy, security, transparency, and compliance for cloud technology and mobile devices. Gregg focuses on the interaction of new technology, policy and regulation, with recent attention to GDPR, de-identification technology, and machine learning.

Gregg has led teams to provide technology policy and strategy guidance to Microsoft’s worldwide team of Government Affairs professionals, and to advise Microsoft product teams on cross-company use of emerging standards. Gregg joined the Interoperability Group from the Microsoft Windows team where he was the Lead Program Manager in the Digital Document group where he was responsible for the definition and delivery of all Windows technologies relating to the XPS and Open Packaging Conventions Standards. He first joined Microsoft in 2003 to work on electronic publishing. Prior to that, Gregg led the Document Server program at Adobe Systems and managed the relationship between Adobe and SAP. Gregg has a degree in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.


Lisa Chang
Puget Sound Intergovernmental Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Lisa was raised and schooled in New England, gravitating to English and environmental science – in both cases, drawn by the ability to understand human experience through each field’s tools and craft. Lisa made her way to the southeast of the U.S. and mid-Atlantic where she earned her master’s and Ph.D. in environmental science, meeting and working with many amazing scientists, teachers, and students. Lisa began her government career with the U.S. EPA in Washington, D.C., helping develop and implement national regulations under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Now, in EPA’s Pacific Northwest regional office, Lisa is a member of EPA’s Puget Sound National Estuary Program team – our program that supports a complex, multi-party, and transboundary effort to protect and restore the Puget Sound and broader Salish Sea ecosystem. Her family is deeply rooted in east Asia; Lisa’s parents are Korean immigrants who have maintained strong family ties and shared their passionate engagement in Korean and Asian thought and culture. Lisa is raising a second grader in Seattle and is intent on contributing to a healthy, open, globally conscious community, and to create positive and healthy connections between the Pacific Northwest and the rest of the world.


Janelle Choi
Program Officer, Marguerite Casey Foundation

Ms. Choi has been supporting grassroots organizations in the philanthropic sector for the past nine years. After graduating with a master’s degree in education from Seattle University, she set up a foundation called the Slingshot Development Fund, which works in a post-conflict area of eastern Myanmar. During her seven years with the fund, she formed strategic partnerships, mentored civil society organizations and leaders, and built the mechanisms for a strong funding organization that supports local initiatives. She is excited to be back in the United States to help strengthen grassroots organizations and initiatives across America at the Marguerite Casey Foundation where she supports grantees in the National portfolio as well as the Midwest, Upper South, and Central Appalachian regions.


Glenn Coates
Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley

Glenn Coates is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley where he focuses on comprehensive, goal-based financial planning with an emphasis on retirement for clients. He advises his clients through a collaborative process that is designed to help them adapt to changing circumstances and achieve their financial goals. Glenn is also deeply committed to providing his clients with the highest level of service and ease as they navigate their financial lives. Glenn began his financial services career in 2007 in Scottsdale, Arizona with JP Morgan Chase. In 2012, he relocated to Seattle to run the Chase Private Client group in Madison Park and concentrate on the investment needs of high net worth clients. Glenn joined Morgan Stanley in 2016.

Glenn is a Wisconsin native and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BS in Communications. He is an active Rotarian with the University District club and is involved in the Scholarship and International Services committees, as well as currently serving as acting Treasurer. In his free time Glenn enjoys traveling, golfing, mountain biking and fly-fishing. He is also an avid Wisconsin sports fan and single-share owner of the Green Bay Packers. Glenn is married to Lauren Coates and they have a son, Truman and a daughter, Roxy. They live in the Port Madison neighborhood on Bainbridge Island.


David Echodu
Chair, Pilgrim Africa

David is the founder and executive partner of a number of non-profit and for-profit entities involved in economic development, public health, education, and policy. Some of David’s involvement includes his work as the Founder of Pilgrim Africa, an organization that focuses on public health and education; the Council for African Policy; and Earthwise ventures, which seeks to restore the ferry system in Lake Victoria, East Africa. David is also involved with Tango, a consulting firm that works on research, policy, and advocacy in East and Central Africa.

Through the above institutions, David has gained firsthand experience working with the governments of numerous East and Central African countries as well as American and European partners including the Global Fund, President’s Malaria Initiative with USAID, European Union, DFID, DANIDA, and Gates Foundation.


Lindsey Gehrig Golden
Nonproliferation Policy Specialist, PNNL

Lindsey Gehrig joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in September 2015 as a Nonproliferation Policy Analyst in the Global Security Technology and Policy Group. After working abroad for organizations in London and China, Lindsey moved to Washington, DC to complete her Master’s Degree in International Affairs. Upon completion of her degree she was accepted into the Nonproliferation Graduate Fellowship Program where she worked for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA). During her Fellowship year and for the following six years she worked for different programs in NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control (NA-24) including the International Nuclear Security Program and International Nuclear Safeguards Engagement Program; she also led the Biological Weapons Convention portfolio.

Since joining PNNL, Lindsey continues to focus on nonproliferation policy and support NNSA programs. Her primary areas of responsibility include developing the procedures, programs, systems, and expertise necessary to sustainably implement effective nuclear safeguards and multilateral supplier regimes. Most recently Lindsey has been engaged in nuclear fuel cycle policy and cyber security projects.


Jerrol Golden
Deputy Director, International Public Relations, Holland America Line

Global travel has been in Jerrol’s DNA since she was a child. Jerrol joined the travel sector in 1999 after a long and successful stint in the food and packaging industries where she was involved in recipe development, marketing services, and sales. Since 2010 she has served as Deputy Director of International Public Relations for Holland America Line. 

Outside of work Jerrol enjoys cooking, hiking, yoga, and rowing.  Jerrol often organizes exotic trips for her family and friends to Ethiopia, Namibia, Bhutan, Japan, remotes parts of India, and more. One of the most exotic trips she planned was to a music festival called Essakane in the Malian desert, where more Tuaregs arrived by camel than those who arrived by car!


Steven Griemann
Interim CEO, Northwest Region – American Red Cross

Steven Greimann is currently the interim Northwest Region CEO for the American Red Cross. For the past three years Steven has led fundraising for Red Cross in Washington State and North Idaho across seven different chapters. He has held leadership roles internationally and domestically with USAID in Afghanistan as well as United Way Hungary and United Way of King County. He holds a master’s degree from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at UW and is a former Peace Corps volunteer (Estonia).


Ellen Haberle
Senior Specialist, Government Relations and Public Affairs, Zillow Group

Ellen Haberle is a Senior Specialist for Government Relations and Public Affairs at Zillow Group. There, she helps drive Zillow Group’s thought leadership efforts, evangelize Zillow’s economic research, and support business interest advocacy at the national level. Prior to Zillow, Ellen spent nearly 10 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, serving primarily as an Economic Analyst on Latin America and the Caribbean. She also spent time as a Research Analyst at Redfin. Ellen holds an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Finance and International Business from Texas A&M University.


Lynn Heinisch
Director of Public Health Communications, PATH

Lynn Heinisch is PATH’s Director of Public Health Communications. She oversees the communications portfolio for public health programs in more than 70 countries, including malaria, HIV, maternal and child health, nutrition innovation, global health security, noncommunicable diseases, and other programs.

Ms. Heinisch has nearly 20 years of experience in international development, holding a variety of senior positions. PATH initially hired her to establish its first-ever executive and internal communications practice. In this role, Lynn led the development of the executive visibility and employee communications strategy and teams. Prior to PATH, she worked at CARE, where she served as director of executive and internal communications; press officer for Africa, based in Johannesburg, where she helped to drive media coverage and influence policy; and head of media relations in New York. Ms. Heinisch’s field experience includes seven years working in Africa and assignments in two dozen countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Heinisch worked as a journalist in Colorado and California and as a media relations officer for Intel Corporation. Later, as a communications consultant, she worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the International Center for Research on Women, and the CDC Foundation. Ms. Heinisch earned her BA in English at Duke University and her MA in international relations at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.


Jocelyn Huang
Attorney, Stoel Rives LLP

Jocelyn is an attorney with Stoel Rives LLP whose practice is focused on the development and financing of renewable energy projects. Before moving to Seattle, she was an attorney with Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York where she represented investment banks, multilateral financial institutions, U.S. agencies and foreign export-import banks in connection with energy and infrastructure projects in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.

Jocelyn is particularly interested in topics of sustainable development and alternative financing options for the developing world. Her JD studies were concentrated on international development finance, with an emphasis on Latin America. She has additional experience in the area of human rights, including a partnership with a Haitian human rights organization to help implement outreach programs in northern Haiti. She also previously served as a research assistant to the Latin America representative to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.


Pamela Jensen
Realtor, Windermere Real Estate

Pamela was born and raised in the Midwest by a single mother who owned an Italian restaurant. Her first career upon graduating from the University of Utah with a BFA in Theater and Dance was as an actress, primarily with regional theatres (Broadway, off Broadway, and the Goodman Theatre, among others). Following her retirement from acting, she became a real estate agent. She is a successful real estate agent with more than 30 years’ experience in the Seattle marketplace. Pamela is involved in her community in many ways, from hosting students from Brazil and the UK to participating in Windermere and other community support events. Her daughter is in college, and her son has just started his first year at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.


Amanda Loveless
Attorney, Aero Law Group PC

Amanda Loveless joined the Aero Law Group in 2017. Her practice includes representing clients in the sale, lease and exchange of business and commercial aircraft. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Loveless was a bailiff/law clerk to the Honorable Judge Douglass A. North at King County Superior Court. Ms. Loveless developed her passion for aviation while working at Papillon Airways, Inc. for ten years in the accounting department.

Ms. Loveless received a Juris Doctor degree from Seattle University School of Law, graduating cum laude, a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Seattle University, and a Bachelor’s degree in both History and Political Science from the University of Washington. Ms. Loveless is a member of the state bar of Washington. In her free time, Ms. Loveless enjoys to travel, read books, and spend time with family.


Jenner Mandel
Senior Program Manager, Global Readiness Team, Microsoft

Jenner is a Senior Program Manager on Microsoft’s Global Readiness Team, which provides leadership company-wide. Jenner monitors geopolitical and cultural trends and advises Microsoft teams about risk, and risk avoidance. She recently completed a year-long special project, piloting uses of Microsoft language-related technologies for humanitarian purposes. As part of the project, she created a phrase book that will ship with Microsoft Translator, providing a tool for first responders, and others, to communicate during emergencies. Jenner brings to her role broad experience, not just in the technology industry, but also in international public health, education, and government service.

Previously, Jenner managed web sites for software companies, ensuring that content was relevant for international audiences. As an independent consultant, she worked with non-profit organizations to create training and job aids for health care professionals in low-resource countries, and to develop planning materials for a global health organization. Jenner holds a BA in English from Earlham College and an MA in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


Ryan Nichols
Attorney, Aero Law Group PC

Ryan Nichols joined the Aero Law Group in 2017. His practice includes representing clients in the purchase, sale, lease, and exchange of business and commercial aircraft. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Nichols was Corporate Counsel and principal transactional attorney for Rightside Group, Ltd. and lead attorney responsible for the second largest domain name registrar business in the world. He also served as Corporate Counsel and principal transactional attorney for Demand Media, Inc. (now known as Leaf Group Ltd.) and lead attorney responsible for two leading Software as a Service (SaaS) products. Mr. Nichols was also integral in the tax-free spin-off of Demand Media’s domain name services business.

Mr. Nichols holds a Juris Doctor degree from Seattle University School of Law and Bachelor’s degrees in both Economics and Political Science from the University of Washington. He is a member of the state bar of Washington. In his free time, Mr. Nichols enjoys mountaineering, running, golfing, and spending time with friends and family.


Allegra Johnson Roukema
Corporate Attorney, Law Offices of Daniel C. Edmundson

Allegra Johnson Roukema is an attorney specializing in corporate law.  She advises both U.S. and global businesses on legal issues including mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and compliance with U.S. Department of Defense and securities regulations.  Previously, Allegra worked as a corporate associate in the New York City office of Troutman Sanders LLP and served on the defense team of a former Yugoslavian political leader at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia.  Her pro bono work has included assisting Central American refugee children through Kids in Need of Defense.  Prior to practicing law, Allegra spent several years teaching English to professionals and developing curricula and business strategies in locally owned language schools in Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Vietnam.

Born and raised in Seattle, Allegra graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a focus on International Relations.  She then earned a Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School and studied international law at Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris and Peking University Law School in Beijing.  Allegra currently lives in Seattle with her husband, baby daughter, and cat.  Her hobbies include travel, photography, and scuba diving.


Captain Alan Schrader
Commanding Officer, Naval Base Kitsap

Capt. Alan Schrader graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics.  Additionally, he holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado in Electrical Engineering. A career submariner, he has served on three different platforms including on USS Kentucky as Executive Officer and as Commanding Officer of USS Nevada, both homeported in Naval Base Kitsap (NBK).  CAPT Schrader most recently served as Operations, Evaluation, and Training Branch Head for Strategic Systems Programs. In Sept. 2016, Capt. Schrader returned to Washington State to assume command of Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), which encompasses nearly 11,000 acres in Washington, Alaska and a site in British Columbia.  Locally, NBK’s installations include Bangor, Bremerton, Jackson Park, Keyport, and Manchester.


Brian Screnar
Chief of Staff to Founder and CEO, Intellectual Ventures

Brian Screnar is a respected community leader with extensive career experiences in national politics, public policy and the private sector, and is recognized for his expertise in managing complex and multifaceted strategic operations and communications. Currently, Brian serves as chief of staff to Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, Founder & CEO of Intellectual Ventures. In this role, Brian coordinates key business operations across the firm’s investment funds and start-up companies, and manages strategic communications and priority initiatives for Dr. Myhrvold. Previously, Brian served as state director for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, where he oversaw all aspects of the Senator’s federal operations in Washington State. Prior to his position with Senator Cantwell, Brian served on Secretary Ken Salazar’s senior leadership team at the U.S. Department of the Interior. During his tenure, Brian oversaw the Secretary’s organizational and political appointment structure, and coordinated executive management operations and Obama Administration policy initiatives, including daily crisis management for the Deepwater Horizon Incident.

Prior to his tenure at the Department of the Interior, Brian served as finance director for the 2009 Obama Presidential Inaugural Committee and as deputy finance director for President Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign, where he oversaw daily fundraising operations and strategic finance development. Brian is a graduate of Tulane University and a native of Bozeman, MT.


Chance Sims
Upper School Director, The Northwest School

Chance holds a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University, and two master’s degrees, one from DePaul University and another from the University of Washington. Chance is originally from the Pacific Northwest, but most recently he was the upper school assistant principal and director of global travel at the Trinity School in New York City. He built the Trinity School’s travel program from the ground up, and helped create partnerships with five schools while overseeing student trips to locations all over the globe. In his cover letter for his current position at the Northwest School, Chance shared: “I’m attracted to The Northwest School because it stands as a model for how independent schools can play a part in the rethinking of schooling in the United States and abroad. The contemporary moment requires that schools promote the development of new social imaginations with which we might create a different, more just, equitable, and sustainable world.”


Robert Stadler
Senior Commercial Relationship Manager, The Commerce Bank of Washington

Robert began his banking career in the early 2000s at the Federal Reserve. After working at the Boston and San Francisco Federal Reserve Banks as a financial analyst, Robert moved to the wealth management industry to work as a private banker for several large banks, providing lending advisory services to business owners as well as high net worth individuals and their families.  Robert joined Commerce Bank in 2017 to help local companies and business owners flourish and grow.

Robert earned B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California and an M.A. in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University. Active within the community, Robert sits on the Board of Directors for Communities in Schools of Washington and Sound Mental Health, and is also an engaged member of Seattle Rotary and the Finance Committee of the Washington Athletic Club.


Shana Tarbell
Deputy Director of Risk and Threat Analysis, Global Security, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Shana Tarbell joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in May 2015 as Deputy Director, Risk & Threat Analysis in the Global Security Team (GST).  Her team assesses security developments that might impact foundation travelers and local offices as well as the risk posed by individuals or groups of interest who have demonstrated a potentially threatening interest in or attitude toward the foundation and its personnel. 

Prior to joining the foundation, Shana had an 18-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency where she was a member of the Senior Intelligence Service working on a broad range of global issues.  In her last position as the Director of the Office of Russian and European Analysis, she supervised several hundred analysts and drove analytic support to policymakers during several regional crises. Prior to that, Shana was the Chief of Staff of the CIA’s Information Operations Center, which was responsible for the CIA’s response to cyber threats and its offensive cyber operations. In 2010 and 2011, Shana served as Deputy Chief of Staff to then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, focusing primarily on issues related to terrorism, instability in the Middle East, and dynamics in South Asia. While on the Director of National Intelligence’s National Intelligence Council in 2008 and 2009, she served as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Economics and led the Intelligence Community in assessing the 2008 oil price shock and the global financial crisis, as well as authoring a National Intelligence Assessment on the long-term prospects for global energy.  Before serving as a manager of increasingly larger units, Shana served as an analyst on political, economic, and security developments in the former Soviet Union and energy security issues in Eurasia and Africa.

In recognition of her sustained excellence in public service at the senior executive level, Shana was awarded the federal government’s Meritorious Presidential Rank Award in 2015, an honor given to no more than five percent of federal career senior executives. While at the CIA she also received the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and a Director’s Award in recognition of significant support to the Director. Shana received her M.A. from George Washington University in Security Policy and a B.A. from George Mason University in Russian Studies and International Affairs.


Sean Whitsitt
Vice President, J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Sean Whitsitt is a Vice President Banker with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank in Seattle.  Sean’s primary job is to source and develop relationships with affluent families and individuals in the Pacific Northwest.  He advises clients on all financial needs including banking, lending, philanthropy, wealth planning, and investments. Prior to his employment at J.P. Morgan, Sean was a proprietary equities trader with Merus Global Investments in New York City.  With a focus on international equities and special situations/event-driven trading, Sean managed a multi-million dollar long/short portfolio from 2009-2017 and consistently distinguished himself as one of the top revenue producers. Before working on Wall Street, Sean graduated from Harvard in 2009, where he was a four-year starter on the varsity lacrosse team.  At the Lakeside School, Sean excelled as a three-sport captain in football, basketball, and lacrosse, earning the distinction of Seattle Times Prep Athlete of the year in 2004-2005.  Sean returned to Seattle in July 2016 and coached the Lakeside JV Basketball Team for the 2016-2017 season.

When the weather is nice you can find him working in the vegetable garden or trying to finagle his way onto a Golf Digest Top 100 course (he aspires to play them all).  During the dormant winter months, Sean and his wife enjoy skiing, snow shoeing with their dog Kona, and traveling to warmer waters for scuba diving and spearfishing.

Alicia Vermaele
Senior Manager, Global Social Impact, Starbucks 

Alicia Vermaele is a senior manager on the Starbucks Global Social Impact team. In her role, she supports Starbucks markets outside of the U.S. on the strategy and implementation of their social impact initiatives. Alicia also lead Starbucks global campaign to hire 10,000 refugees by 2022. Prior to relocating to Seattle, Alicia was a Deputy Director at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) where she planned and implemented CGI Latin America and CGI Middle East & Africa, convenings that engaged leaders from the private, public, and civil society sectors to enable social change. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and lives in West Seattle with her husband Dan and their daughter Chloe.

Elisabeth Wright
Senior Research Associate, The RAND Corporation

Elisabeth Wright holds an adjunct faculty position with The Rand Corporation in Washington D.C. She has a significant background in international governance and defense institution building as an educator and Department of Defense consultant. Elisabeth is an internationally recognized expert in defense acquisition and program execution; educator and speaker at international conferences; and published author in the field of defense acquisition and risk management. She leads teams in long term engagements in over 50 countries focusing on institutional reform, transparency, and ethics. Elisabeth is a White House Fellow with a Doctorate in Public Administration from University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy.