Steering Committee

PROVIDING strategic direction

Leading the future

The Steering Committee is a key part of the Equitable Recovery and Reconciliation Alliance’s decision-making process. The committee is made up of community leaders, experts, and representatives from various organizations who work together to guide the Alliance’s overall strategy and direction. Members of the committee bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to the table, helping to ensure that the Alliance’s policies and initiatives are responsive to the needs and priorities of the communities they serve. The Steering Committee also plays an important role in engaging with stakeholders and promoting the Alliance’s mission and values.

Steering Committee

Andrea Caupain Sanderson


BIPOC ED Coalition

For more than two decades, Andrea has worked to promote economic mobility and racial equity for people across Washington state. Andrea is the co-founder and co-executive director of the BIPOC Executive Directors Coalition. She’s also instrumental in designing initiatives that focus attention on the adverse impacts of racism and advocating for policy and systemic change. Previously, Andrea served as the CEO of Byrd Barr Place since 2008 where she led the organization in its efforts to build an equitable Washington through innovative programs and services that nurture people’s health and well-being. 

Colleen Echohawk



Colleen Echohawk is a born organizer, change-maker, and leader with over twenty years of experience championing Seattle’s Native and at-risk populations. Her experiences as an Indigenous woman, small business owner, community organizer, and executive leader inform her efforts in building a community of justice and reconciliation.

An enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake, Colleen is proud to have called Seattle home for over two decades. She is a champion for change, igniting successful coalitions to bring about positive shifts in Seattle’s housing, homelessness, racial justice, sustainability, and public safety issues.

Colleen is committed to serving the most vulnerable people living in the Greater Seattle community. As the Executive Director at the Chief Seattle Club, Colleen led the effort to create nearly $100 million in new affordable housing in Seattle and oversaw the best rapid rehousing success program in the county. At the Seattle Community Police Commission, Colleen worked hand-in-hand with neighbors to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system and to create progress in how Seattle rethinks public safety. As the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness, Colleen continues to passionately advocate for homeless Indigenous people in urban centers.

In her latest role as the CEO of Native lifestyle brand Eighth Generation, Colleen is using her connections and business acumen to take the small business global. Through an artist-centric approach and positive outlook, the brand is poised under Colleen’s leadership to share authentic, Native-designed art and home goods with an international audience eager for ethically made cultural products.

Theresa Fujiwara



Theresa is a life-long resident of Southeast Seattle. The daughter and granddaughter of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II, she has been committed to race and social justice throughout her career.

Theresa formerly served as the Site Director for the Annie E. Casey Foundation Making Connections Initiative. She was responsible for the design, leadership, and oversight of the foundation’s 10-year community change initiative aimed at improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families living in White Center, particularly from immigrant and refugee communities. Prior to becoming the Site Director in 2000, Theresa served as Special Assistant for Health and Human Services for Mayor Paul Schell and Regional Government Relations Coordinator for Mayor Norman Rice. From 1974 – 1993, she also was a founding member and executive director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service, a nonprofit human services organization that serves the Asian and Pacific Islander communities of King County.

Theresa recently left United Way of King County where she served as Associate Vice President.

Theresa has served on a variety of boards and commissions including: The Seattle Public Library, Got Green, Nonprofit Assistance Center (now Communities Rise), United Way of King County, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Interim, Japanese American Citizens League, Minority Executive Directors Coalition, Mayor’s Housing Levy Oversight Committee, and the Children’s Alliance.

A native of Seattle, Theresa received her Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Washington. She also received a fellowship to study at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

Amanda Sandoval

Amanda Sandoval

United Way of King County

Amanda Sandoval is the Senior Public Policy Impact Manager at United Way of King County, where she helps establish partnerships with local coalitions, advocacy groups, and government stakeholders. Amanda Sandoval is an ally and advocates for immigrant and refugee rights. Her background in community organizing with community, non-profits, government agencies, and various stakeholders. Her own immigrant background gives her firsthand experiences of the hardships many immigrants and refugees face. In her current research role, she has been interviewing refugees throughout King County, asking them about their experience resettling, and giving them an opportunity to be heard. Making sure that they know people are listening to them, their voices are heard, and that they are a vital group in our communities

Estela Ortega


El Centro de la Raza

Estela Ortega is the Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of all Races), a nonprofit whose mission is to build unity across racial and economic lines, and to organize, empower, and defend our most vulnerable populations. She’s dedicated the last 50 years helping build El Centro into a civil rights organization, a hub for all who want to engage in civic action through community empowerment, providing human, education, housing, economic development, cultural and advocacy programs. El Centro as a BIPOC organization has taken the lead on key issues facing our region through efforts such building Plaza Roberto Maestas –a mixed use  affordable  housing community in Beacon Hill and expanding it’s physical presence into South County.

Estela’s unwavering commitment to building community and advocating for those most marginalized has earned recognition from the Seattle Seahawks, the National Education Association,  to being named  one of Seattle Times 13 most influential People of the Decade. 

Ginger Kwan



Ginger Kwan is the Executive Director of Open Doors for Multicultural Families (ODMF), a nonprofit, grass root family support organization. Open Doors envision that “All culturally and linguistically diverse individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities, and their families thrive in an inclusive society of their design.” Ginger is also a parent of three children, one of which is a happy young adult with autism. She is a Chinese immigrant from Taiwan, fluent in both spoken and written Taiwanese, Mandarin, and English. Ginger Kwan has 20+ years’ progressive working experiences in the field of developmental disabilities as a helping parent, ethnic outreach specialist, project coordinator, program developer, cultural competence trainer and the Executive Director of ODMF. She dedicates both her professional work and personal life to serve diverse families of children with developmental/intellectual disabilities and advocate for equity and social justice. Ginger believes that systems have responsibilities to be culturally and linguistically responsive to the needs of communities. Through family engagement, and partnership with CBOs, together we can transform lives for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. 

Helen Shor-Wong

Helen Shor-Wong

White Center Community Development Association

Jodi Nishioka

Jodi Nishioka

BIPOC ED Coalition

Jodi Nishioka (she/her) has worked for over 25 years on behalf of BIPOC and 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 women and children within state and city governments in Hawaii and Seattle and later with grassroots nonprofit organizations.


Jodi is currently a Co-Director at the BIPOC ED Coalition of Washington and recently left her position as Executive Director of Communities Rise which she led for twelve years. In both these roles, she combines her legal and nonprofit management skills with her dedication to building power in communities of color and low-income communities.

Jodi has also been on the Board of Directors of JustLead Washington for the last six years and was the founding Board President.

Kimora Lee

Business Owner

Kimora Lee

Business Owner

Kimora Lee is a mother of two and a BIPOC Small Business Owner currently of a Kids Salon for over 4 years. She has owned other businesses for 10+ years in the beauty and salon industry. Other things of importance to her is that she is a member of the West Seattle Chamber, also a proud Board Member at the West Seattle YMCA and new to the ERRA Steering Committee. She believes it takes more than just running a business in a community to be successful and make a difference, but to engage and support areas that may be needing help. She grew up in Seattle in the CD, Beacon Hill and rainier valley area with parents that immigrated here from Nicaragua and China. She is of Afro Caribbean, Latin and Asian descent which she believes organically gears her focus towards culture and sharing culture of priority.

Marie Kurose



Marie calls on decades of policy expertise, collaboration, and strategic partnerships across government, community, and philanthropy.

Prior to joining the WDC, Marie developed and led the Port of Seattle’s workforce development initiatives designed to increase equitable access and career opportunities in construction, maritime, aviation, and other port-related industries. Her previous experience includes the City of Seattle and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, where she led initiatives focused on equity in workforce, organizational change, and sector-based workforce development strategies, and nearly ten years working with diverse populations in community-based employment and training programs.

Throughout her career, Marie has worked to bring the voices of diverse community stakeholders to address issues related to racial equity and social justice.

Michael Byun



Michael Byun is Executive Director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), a leading social justice organization in Washington state, and has worked for nearly 25 years on health disparities, social justice, and immigrant and refugee issues, with a focus on AA&NHPI (Asian Americans & Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders) and other underserved communities.

Before his ACRS appointment in December 2018, Mr. Byun spent 15 years leading Asian Services in Action (ASIA), Inc., the largest health and social services agency in Ohio focused on empowering AA&NHPI, immigrants, and refugees. As Executive Director and then CEO, he led key initiatives and coalition-based statewide civic engagement campaigns that expanded workforce and job training programs, established annual Ohio AA&NHPI Legislative Days, and opened the first-ever federally qualified health center in Ohio for AA&NHPI immigrant and refugee communities.

Mr. Byun has also served on several state and national boards and advisories within the AA&NHPI community. Previously, he was appointed by Ohio Governor John Kasich as chair of the Ohio AAPI Advisory Council, and in 2014 was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Mr. Byun served as board co-chair for the National Coalition of Asian Pacific American Community Development and is a founding member for the national AIM for Equity.

Mr. Byun earned his MPA from the University of Washington and is a German Marshall Fund Fellow and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow.

Michelle Merriweather



Michelle Y. Merriweather joined the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle team in August of 2015 as the Vice President. Her passion is combining her extensive sales, fund development, event planning and marketing background to better the communities in which she serves. As a Los Angeles native, her dedication for the Los Angeles community and for being a voice for the voiceless, led her to volunteer for the Los Angeles Urban League. Her role grew from volunteer, to the first woman President of the Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals and an active member of their board of directors. Prior to changing her career to follow her passion in advocating for African Americans and underserved communities she had a successful career in sales and marketing with major organizations such as Starbucks, Heinz, and Coca Cola.

In February 2018, Michelle became the 13th President of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. “I am not anxious to be the loudest voice or the most popular, but I would like to think that at a crucial moment, I was an effective voice for the voiceless, and effective hope for the hopeless” a quote by civil rights leader Whitney M. Young is Michelle’s mantra as she leads the organization towards its 90th anniversary. Michelle is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.

Paola Maranan

ArcBend Consulting



Paola is a Seattle native who lives on Beacon Hill with her husband, daughter, and one very pink fish. She helps leaders and organizations move forward their commitment to racial equity.

A seasoned non-profit leader, she most recently completed 16 years of service as Executive Director of Children’s Alliance where she helped build a racial equity-focused public policy practice that secured health care coverage for every child, historic investments in early learning, and more food to feed hungry kids and families. Her work also included integrating racial equity into every facet of the organization – from staff development to board governance to operations.

Paola’s support for hardwiring racial equity into child advocacy organizations across the country was recognized by her peers in 2019 with the Florette Angel Award from The Partnership for America’s Children. She continues to support organizations through her practice, ArcBend Consulting.

Paola’s previous work to move justice for communities includes United Way of King County, Washington State Family Policy Initiative, Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, Alabama Prison Project, and the Civil Liberties Union of Alabama.

Paola holds a degree in Political Science from Harvard University.

Sili Savusa



Sili Savusa has more than 20 years of experience in leadership and community service positions involving policy development, cross-cultural coalition building and community organizing for social justice issues. She is currently the executive director of the White Center Community Development Association, which promotes the development of White Center through leadership opportunities and community-led, neighborhood initiatives.

Sili is in her second term as a member of the Board of Trustees at Highline College. She also serves on the Governor’s Commission on Closing the Achievement Gap, the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs committee and Community Center for Education Results steering committee. Previously, Savusa served on the Highline School Board until 2011 and has served as the Family Center Coordinator for Southwest Youth and Family Services. She is also the founder of the first Samoan/Pacific Islander Parent Teacher Student Association in the nation, which works to address education issues impacting Pacific Islander students and their families.

Savusa earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Washington and her associate degree from Seattle Central Community College

Trish Millines-Dziko



Trish Millines Dziko is the co-founder and executive director of the Seattle-based Technology  Access Foundation (TAF), a nonprofit that creates access to transformative systems of learning  for students and teachers of color to eliminate race-based disparities in our increasingly diverse  society. TAF provides an equitable public school STEM education for underserved students and  support for educators of color.  

Trish has a background in Computer Science, and after 15 years as a programmer, changed her  career to become a senior diversity administrator for Microsoft, traveling the country to recruit  college-level, technically-trained people of color and finding that the pool of people she had to  

choose from was very small. Her findings, in addition to her personal experience being  discriminated against for her race and gender in the work world, inspired her to leave Microsoft  to start TAF to ensure students of color had opportunities in the booming tech fields.  

Through Trish’s leadership, TAF transitioned from out of school programs to become a  statewide leader in public education, creating 2 co-managed public schools, partnering with  public schools to transform them to promote the highest level of student learning,  increasing/retaining the number of teachers of color, developing education leaders of color and  giving white education leaders to tools to create supportive environments.  

Trish is a committed, proactive leader serving on boards of organizations that focus on children  and education.

W. Tali Hairston

Equitable Development LLC



Tali Hairston PhD is principal lead of Equitable Development LLC, an education and community research and development firm. Hairston has 17 years experience in higher education in diversity, equity, and inclusion administration and directed experiential learning programs. Currently, Hairston serves on the Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees and Leadership Tomorrow. He is a native Rainier Valley resident, a graduate of Ingraham High School and the University of Washington where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history, and has a PhD in education.