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Team Bios

Our exceptional team of staff is laser-focused on the success of every Adie. See our Careers page for opportunities to join the Ada team.

Executive Team

Lauren Sato

Chief Executive Officer

Lauren is a seasoned cross-sector leader who began her career at Year Up, building an impactful program from the ground up and then scaling it through public-private partnerships. Following Year Up, Lauren was employee one at Canopy, an impact investing startup aimed at reducing the barriers for institutional investors to deploy capital to social good enterprises collaboratively. Her subsequent time at the technology startup RealSelf focused on growing from 100 to 300 employees and ultimately achieving a 60% female tech company, with 36% women in technical roles. Then, at The Riveter, Lauren focused on building collaborative spaces across the country for women to learn, grow, and start companies together. As CEO at Ada, Lauren is excited to use her expertise in scaling to make this proven model for getting women and gender nonconforming folks into software development careers available across the country.

Alexandra Holien

VP of Revenue and Strategy, Deputy Director

Alexandra graduated with her Masters in Cultural Studies in 2015 and married her passion for social justice work with her sales and recruiting experience. For the last 15 years, Alexandra’s work, both professional and personal, has centered on relationship and community building to create upward mobility pathways for marginalized people. As a Black woman in tech, Alexandra is passionate about bringing more underrepresented minorities into the industry and fiercely believes that diversity without equity is oppression.

Bethany Lindsey

VP of Education and Innovation

Bethany has 20 years of experience in program design and management. She has overseen the end-to-end student experience for part-time and full-time students, including marketing, admissions, instruction, career services, and alumni relations across various types of organizations and institutions. Her main goal is to ensure students’ success. Bethany thrives in a workspace that values non-traditional education.

Danielle Ishem

VP of Equity and Policy

Danielle was born and raised in the city of Seattle. She attended Howard University in Washington D.C. and received a master’s degree in public health and public administration from the University of Washington. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea-Conakry, her role in public health and community development was centered on nutrition and creating educational and financial opportunities for girls and women. Danielle comes with over a decade of experience working in equity, diversity and inclusion, specifically with regards to equity in healthcare and in diversifying the healthcare workforce. Danielle is committed to creating equitable opportunities for education and believes empowering women uplifts communities.

Alina Brunner

VP of Finance

Alina has 15 years of experience in finance and operations, working with a number of organizations ranging from technology startups to multinational corporations. During this time, she successfully created and rebuilt finance and operations functions by focusing on process improvement and ensuring regulatory compliance. Alina enjoys analyzing financial data and presenting it in ways that can engage everyone, providing a thorough view of the organization’s financial health and contributing to the overall strategy.

Lynn Hewitt

Associate General Counsel

Lynn has 14 years of experience working in public and private sectors, primarily in corporate governance, contract, and employment law. She received her B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the Florida State University College of Law. Lynn is a trusted legal advisor committed to upholding Ada’s mission while collaborating cross-functionally to explore meaningful and creative solutions. 

Charline Zavaleta

Chief of Staff

Charline has 10 years of experience in operations and administrative roles, having spent the 5 years before Ada at Seattle-based tech startups. She enjoys creating structure and efficiencies and being the point-person who can help make her colleagues’ work lives easier. As a woman of color who has worked in the tech industry, Charline is looking forward to being a part of the Ada community and contributing to improving people’s lives.

Executive Support Staff

Samantha Flores-Sherwood

Executive Assistant

Samantha has over a decade of experience in the world of operations and administration. As a former business co-owner in her home state of New York, she found a calling in building relationships and the hands-on work that supports company growth. She has previously worked with nonprofits, churches, and education. Samantha believes social equity is a human right. She is honored to now be part of a team working to include more underrepresented women and gender-expansive folks in the tech industry. In her free time, she enjoys singing along to dramatic pop ballads, practicing mindfulness and body neutrality, and spending time with her two sons – one of which is of the furry canine persuasion.

Simone Willynck

Executive Assistant

Simone (she/her) is a first-generation Seattleite with over 10 years of administrative, operations, and HR experience. She holds a B.A. in Communication and a Masters in Education from the University of Washington. She previously served at the University of Washington in the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, explicitly focusing on equitable recruitment and retention practices for faculty and staff. Simone is passionate about building an equitable and inclusive culture for staff. Simone enjoys upbeat music, sashimi, her three-legged cat, and spending time with family and friends.

Garnet Wong-Woo

Executive Assistant

Before her administrative career, Garnet’s profound interest in diversity and multiculturalism began while studying at Western Washington University and Highline Community College. Garnet looks forward to partnering her years of administrative knowledge with her passion for helping and uplifting underrepresented individuals. 

Outside of work, Garnet enjoys doing barre and yoga, exploring and discovering new places, cooking, and appeasing her inner foodie.

Kylee Arnold

Executive Assistant

Kylee is a Pacific Northwest native. As a bi-ethnic woman, she has navigated and understands the challenging landscape of inequitable access to education and career pathways. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Japanese Linguistics, Kylee spent six years living and working abroad in Japan and the Netherlands. After completing her master’s degree in International Education Management, Kylee managed full-cycle international exchange programs in the higher education and nonprofit sectors. Kylee values cultivating relationships across cultures. She anticipates using her intercultural communication, program management, and administrative skills to uplift systematically marginalized individuals as they pursue their academic and professional goals. When she is out of the office, Kylee loves to travel. She is an avid singer and karaoke extraordinaire, board game fanatic, foodie, and fantasy novel enthusiast.

Education Team Seattle

Sylvia Artiga Monreal

Program Director, Seattle

Sylvia is a mestiza nerd who loves the puzzle of learning, researching, and imagining better possibilities with others. Since graduating from Princeton University as a first-generation college student, she has worked in the education and nonprofit sectors, focusing on recruiting, training, and coaching individuals in career development, personal leadership, and team management. With experience at large organizations, scrappy nonprofits, and Millennial side-hustles, she’s passionate about studying work culture and helping folks find careers where they can thrive.

Jasmine Lopez

Instructor, Seattle

Jasmine has spent her career at the intersection of technology and education. She has a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and a Masters of Education. Before joining Ada, she worked as a software developer for an education technology research group and then as a developer for an instructional design group that created online modules for university courses. Teaching at Ada has allowed her to take her interests in a new direction, and she finds great joy in supporting students as they learn at Ada.

Auberon López

Instructor, Seattle

Auberon is delighted to be a part of the Ada team! They have a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering and have worked in the tech industry creating scalable data pipelines. They also have extensive experience as a technical interviewer. They are human and still make many mistakes when coding – just like everyone does! Auberon believes it’s important not to hide these mistakes away from students but instead to let them see that learning is a never-ending process and that failures help us grow.

Jerica Huang

Instructor, Seattle

Jerica’s journey in STEM was sparked by her passion for figure skating. After connecting the physics concepts behind every leap and turn, it was like uncovering a secret architecture of the universe. To this day, Jerica loves how the vast field of computer science can bring ideas to life in a way that is technical, artistic, impactful, and personally meaningful. Since being one of 2-3 girls in her high school computer science classes, Jerica knew that there was work to be done to make the tech industry inclusive for underrepresented minorities, whose voices and perspectives are needed to engineer a world where technology creators represent their diverse worldwide user base. She led her university’s Women in Computing chapter for all four years and, after graduating, led Diversity + Inclusion initiatives for her division at Microsoft. Now, she is excited to leverage her background to serve Adies as they chart their own paths in the tech industry.

Kendall Holmes

Instructor, Seattle

Kendall has been fascinated by technology and people their whole life, leading them to receive a B.A. in Computer Science with a minor in Sociology from the University of Virginia. After spending some years working in DevOps, they realized they didn’t want to just work in tech – they wanted to help change the culture of tech. So, they pivoted to education and found Ada. Kendall is thrilled to be joining the Ada team since they’re passionate about uplifting marginalized communities and finding ways to make education more accessible. If you happen to be looking for Kendall outside of work, you can usually find them out roller skating, making art, or hanging out with their cat.

Kaida Masaki

Associate Instructor, Seattle

Kaida is an associate instructor at Ada. She has been working at Ada since the start of Cohort 11 and before that worked in the tech industry and taught at an after-school program. She specializes in student support, especially in tackling tricky technical problems, and loves seeing that “aha” moment from a student.

Goeun Park

Associate Instructor, Seattle

Goeun has a B.A. in Psychology from Pomona College and DACA from the U.S. government. She first joined Ada in 2018 as a student in Cohort 10 and now as an associate instructor. In between, they worked in the GovTech industry as a software engineer. Goeun believes in the necessity of a supportive and brave learning environment for students to reach, fall safely, and inevitably succeed.

Nancy Harris

Associate Instructor, Seattle

Nancy has a B.A. in Psychology, a Graduate Certificate in Software Design and Development, and is working on her M.A. in Secondary Education. She spent several years in the tech industry and a year as a middle school Computer Science teacher. She has a passion for equity in education and is excited to be working at Ada! Outside work, she usually plays Pokemon Go or cuddles with her pets.

Sancha Elevado

Student Success Coach, Seattle

Sancha’s experiences as a low-income, first-generation immigrant, and first-generation U.S. college student inspired her to be an advocate for students, be a compassionate listener, and help students achieve their goals. Sancha has almost ten years of professional experience in higher education and held various roles, including advising, education abroad, event programming, orientation, and grants management. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in higher education.

Sancha enjoys traveling, baking, crafty activities, playing sports and guitar, spending time with family and friends, and binge-watching shows.

Education Team Digital

Emily Schifferling

Program Director, Digital

Emily loves a good mixed cassette tape and learning how the “university of life” shapes people’s thoughts, decisions, and behaviors. She has 17 years of experience in instruction and hands-on full-cycle educational program design and management, responsible for student and staff recruitment, success, and retention outcomes. Emily spent eight years working in “developing” and “developed” countries and still questions the definition of “development.” With a master’s degree in Global and International Education, she enjoys mapping and analyzing student journey data and thinking aloud with others to help uncover and realize greater potential. Managing a small startup tech recruiting team in Seattle laid bare to her the critical diversity gap that tech suffers and now drives her on the daily while working at its intersection with education and social justice.

Ansel Rognlie

Instructor, Digital

Ansel brings over a decade of industry experience ranging from bioinformatics to system-integrated application development, having built and maintained large-scale data analysis platforms focusing on rapid response to stakeholder needs. While still new to education, his goal is to provide the tools, support, and encouragement for each student to achieve their own personal success and instill in them the confidence to challenge the preconceptions of what others think they can achieve. Sharing in their journey is a privilege which he treasures.

Ashley Yang

Instructor, Digital

Ashley graduated from Reed College before teaching kindergarten for a few years and eventually went on to complete an immersive coding program at Dev Bootcamp. PBeforejoining Ada, she worked as a backend developer. She’s thrilled to be combining her passion for education with her technical skills at the Digital campus.

Claire Elliott

Instructor, Digital

Claire didn’t start in the tech industry. Far from it. She graduated with a degree in East Asian Studies, specializing in contemporary Japanese theater. After teaching English in Japan for almost four years, she rekindled a childhood passion for web design once she returned to Oklahoma. It was an easy transition from teaching one language to another—programming.

Mark Arciaga

Associate Instructor, Digital

Mark graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee with an M.A. in Philosophy. He taught at the college level before moving into software development. After 8+ years of working as a software engineer, Mark is very enthusiastic about returning to education while leveraging his industry experience to empower Ada students to change the face of tech. Outside of work, Mark’s interests include music-related artifacts and watching movies with average IMDb ratings of less than 5.

Adrian Prado

Associate Instructor, Digital

Adrian graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Theater and has spent the last seven years teaching high school computer science and cybersecurity in Texas. He’s super excited to join Ada and help guide students toward their goals. In his free time, you can catch Adrian exploring the outdoors or on stage at one of Austin’s improv theaters. He’s also an avid baker and is always taking suggestions for new recipes to make!

Jayce Mitchell

Associate Instructor, Digital

Jayce has long experience working in the software industry in test-oriented roles where she got to tell other devs their code was bad since she graduated from Caltech way back in 2004. As a digital instructor, she hopes to teach folks to write good code instead of bad code. Her hobbies include video games, making video games by foolishly trying to do everything herself, yelling at soccer players, and squeeing over cute things. She grew up all over the world, but her family is originally from North Carolina; she’s been in Seattle too long, so it takes some effort to get back into a southern accent.

Nat Bentley

Student Success Coach, Digital

Nat graduated with a B.A. in sociology from Pitzer College in 2018. He has experience in college admissions and academic coaching/tutoring. He’s excited to work for such a mission-oriented and values-driven organization; he’s passionate about building relationships with students and providing them individualized support. When he’s not working, Nat enjoys watching NBA basketball, playing with dogs, eating Vietnamese food, and going on runs/bike rides.

Education Team Accelerate

Trenisha Goslee

Program Director, Accelerate

Trenisha graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Technology Education. She came to Ada to merge her love for both coding and education. She was a middle school STEM educator and now teaches underrepresented youth how to code. Trenisha likes to collect mugs and is addicted to seaweed snacks.

Kelsey Steven

Instructor, Accelerate

Kelsey graduated from UW Bothell and has a long career as a mobile software engineer. After years of great experiences as an internship and industry mentor, they wanted to work with Ada students to be what they do, rather than a small slice of their job. Outside of tech, they are a fan of all kinds of crafting and cosplay!

Ilana Tasman

Instructor, Accelerate

After graduating from Brown University’s CS Department, Ilana combined her interests in science and computers through a career in the nonprofit basic science and medical research communities. Having also spent some time working with women- and minority-owned consultancies, Ilana had a chance to move into more management-oriented roles. Realizing that she had a passion for communication, sharing ideas, and teaching the concepts that motivate and excite her, she feels incredibly grateful to have found a career that lets her fully focus on what she loves the most, as an instructor at Ada Developers Academy. She is committed to principles of diversity, and hopes to be a positive part of helping to change the face of tech!

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Education Team Atlanta

Tara Merriweather

Program Director, Atlanta

Tara Merriweather is an experienced leader in educational and programmatic success. With a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Studies from Morris Brown College and a Master of Arts in Educational Studies from the University of Phoenix. Tara’s knowledge base expands throughout Workforce Development Programs and Professional Training.

For over ten years, Tara has successfully built organizational brands. Her key capabilities include program management, instructional training, coaching/mentoring, onboarding expertise, and digital marketing proficiency. Tara takes great pride in developing relationships and strengthening successful programs. She is devoted to merging the two
worlds of professional development and the pursuit of personal achievements.

It has been a life-long goal of Tara’s to matriculate throughout a career that is dedicated to the advancement of individuals, communities, and organizations. Tara poignantly recognizes the importance of ethics, authenticity, and inclusion as essential components in leadership.
Tara is a team player and an individual who believes in the potential and goodness of all people.

Audrey Andoy

Instructor, Atlanta

Audrey graduated with her Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems from Western Washington University and General Assembly’s web development immersive program. She has worked in the EduTech industry as a full-stack developer and has taught over 400 K-12 coding classes in various technologies such as Scratch, Python, Javascript, and C#. Audrey’s goal is to use her own experiences as a bootcamp grad and instructor to cultivate a creative, collaborative, empathetic class environment for Adie’s to thrive in.

Ghameerah McCullers

Instructor, Atlanta

Ghameerah graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a dual concentration in Finance from Central State University. After graduating from the illustrious HBCU, they entered restaurant management and began their journey of breaking into tech. They achieved their certificate of completion from Flatiron School’s Software Engineer Immersive course in 2021. They have worked in the tech industry as a full-stack developer using tools such as Ruby and JavaScript to build powerful things. Ghameerah was a collegiate athlete and has now shifted to corporate athleticism, where they hope to achieve great things by teaching and instructing incoming Software Engineers at Ada.

Mikelle Wade

Associate Instructor, Atlanta

Hailing from Atlanta, Mikelle is a non-binary black programmer with love for mathematics and music. After taking a number of courses at George Washington, they realized coding was a passion for them. This newfound interest served as fuel for their programming journey. Gaining experience in machine learning, engineering computation, consulting, and more along the way, Mikelle now looks to help women and gender-expansive folks break into the field with the Atlanta Team!

Education Team – Curriculum

Char Mays Headshot

Char Mays

Technical Curriculum Developer

Char has had a passion for technology from a young age. Their journey in computer science started in 11th grade when they took a Computer Science class in high school. They decided to continue their journey by pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science. After graduating from the University of Texas at Dallas, they moved to Seattle to begin their career in software engineering. When they moved, they also started their journey learning about anti-racism and community organizing. After six years of engineering software, Char decided to join Ada to share their expertise in software engineering with folx in their community with the hope of aiding in the diversification of tech!

Kyra Patton

Technical Curriculum Developer

Kyra Patton graduated from Cornell University, where they studied both history and computer science. Before joining Ada, they spent two years as a curriculum developer and instructor for K-12 computer science education organizations. They are excited to support Adies as they begin their journey into software engineering.

Admissions & Student Affairs

Brenda Martinez

Director of Admissions & Student Affairs

Brenda Martinez joins the Ada team as a Los Angeles native and First Generation college student. Brenda obtained her Bachelor’s degree from UC Davis and later moved to Seattle to obtain her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington. She credits her commitment to service, equity, and education to her parents, and has interwoven these values (among many others) in all her work and community service. Brenda recognizes that educational opportunities and resources are not equitable across racial demographics, so she strives to ensure all students, especially students of color and gender-expansive individuals, thrive in their educational journeys. For over six years, Brenda has supported students from diverse backgrounds and has created procedures and systems for students of color to feel well supported in the higher education sector. Brenda is excited to bring a relationship-centered approach to the Ada community that is centered around advocacy, mentorship, and social justice.

Rachel Palfini

Program Manager, Admissions and Student Services

Rachel joins Ada as the Program Manager for Admissions and Students Affairs. She has over 7 years of experience working in education, most recently at the University of Washington in student affairs. Prior to that, she developed and managed after-school programs for middle and high school students. She is passionate about expanding educational access and creating spaces where all students can thrive. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys knitting, reading, and spending time with her dogs, cats and foster kittens.

Camilla Mejia

Admissions Program Specialist

Camilla graduated with her degree in American Cultural Studies and a minor in Education and Social Justice; her studies were focused on the Latinx diaspora in the Pacific Northwest. Her love for her community has played an important part in both her life and work. At the heart of this is her belief otro mundo es posible, another world is possible. She has multiple years of experience in admissions and recruitment and is excited to continue this with Ada. Outside of work, Camilla enjoys taking trips to the Oregon coast, cooking, making art, and watching novelas.

Ra-tek Alston

Admissions Program Assistant

“Breathe life into others as you’d want them to do onto you” has been his
motto since graduating from the University of North Texas, and he plans to continue bringing this energy to those who haven’t yet experienced it. He takes his role as a source of passion and inspiration for others seriously –from taking care of his plants(kids), teaching Japanese, and advocating for those with disabilities in an educational setting. At Ada, Ratek hopes to be a resource students utilize to support their education and build a system that will work for their predecessors if they choose to go into the tech world. On the side, he also studies Korean, writes and draws manga, and loves to play volleyball.

Jacqueline McCrief

Volunteer Coordinator

Jacqueline is passionate about organizations combating systemic inequalities and believes in the power of volunteers to build relationships within communities. She has a B.A. in French and another in Journalism and Mass Communications from New Mexico State University. With experience in grassroots social justice organizing and cross-cultural communication, she loves to connect the dots. In her spare time, Jacqueline likes to go on hikes, study Russian and paint with watercolors.

Paulina Hernandez

Associate Instructor, Digital

Paulina is passionate about learning and technology. She has more than ten years of experience designing, developing, and delivering technology and computer science courses and training. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering and is a lifelong learner, always looking for new things to learn in tech. As a Latina in tech, she loves to contribute her work to empower minorities in tech. She loves playing chess, reading, creating digital art, and painting in her spare time.

Communications and Marketing

Marissa Rowell

Senior Director of Marketing and Outreach

Marissa has over 13 years of experience as a marketing leader and creative professional with expertise in communications, brand strategy, and design. Her work stretches across nonprofit and educational organizations, from the aviation world of Museum of Flight Seattle to higher education at the University of Washington. Originally from the Big Island of Hawai’i, Marissa is first-generation and the daughter of Filipino immigrants. One of the first in her family to go to college, Marissa has a B.A. in Communications and a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Hawai’i at Manōa. As a skilled communicator, collaborator, and visual storyteller, she is excited to tell Ada’s stories of meaningful impact.

Brenda Currie

Art Director

Brenda holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and has 11 years of experience in the digital marketing world. At the start of her career, she designed online advertising campaigns and optimized products for their storefront launch for an e-tailer with a charitable component. Two years later, she expanded to email campaigns, eventually becoming an email art director. 

As a creative director, she expanded from advertising campaigns and lifecycle emails to landing pages, social media, and product design. She designed to uplift marginalized communities and protect endangered species. Designing effectively for a good cause is now one of her goals. Brenda thrives in a creative work environment and is excited to bring her experience to Ada.

Rakia Wells

Marketing and Communication Manager

Rakia completed her Masters in Communication at the University of Washington in the CommLead Program. She has spent many years working with education nonprofits implementing outreach initiatives, and finding spaces to uplift communities of color. She will build strong networks for our stakeholders and bring the Ada experience to life for prospective students digitally.

Clarence Edmonds II

Ada Build Instructor

Clarence graduated from Norfolk State University with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and a Master’s in Electronics Engineering. He brings close to a decade of experience in various IT roles, including Business Analyst, System Administration, and over the last five years, Software/Tool/Automation Development. Upon completing his educational journey, his love for education combined with the experience gained, ignited his passion to advocate for students to pursue an interest in the tech space. Clarence loves DIY projects in woodworking and considers himself as an extreme hobbyist.

Allina Yang

Project Management Specialist

Allina brings over a decade of experience working with cross-functional project teams supporting tech products, sustainability and impact management programs, large commercial HVAC systems, and aeronautics systems tests. She shares with Ada a strong desire to create work environments that are more inclusive and equitable and uses her project and relationship management skills to bring this mission to life. Allina holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Aerospace Engineering from USC, and an MBA from Boston University. Allina finds inspiration in Seattle’s arts and dance community, where you may find her photographing choreographers and dancers in the studio and at performances.

Tanaia Broxton

Marketing Coordinator

Tanaia was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She has a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Trinity Washington University and an impending Master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from Catholic University. She has years of experience working with at-risk youth and the homeless population in Washington, D.C. as a youth engagement specialist, case manager, and outreach coordinator. She is excited to connect Ada with communities and corporations to create meaningful relationships.

Equity and Policy

Christine Newman

Director of Social Justice Training

Christine has over six years of experience in leading strategic programming, advocacy efforts and excels at bringing about transformational change related to equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts. She hopes to bring about meaningful support to Ada’s students related to social justice and anti-racist concepts. Christine graduated with her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance in 2016. She has a passion for higher education and community outreach and brings those passions to her work. Christine enjoys running, traveling, and engaging in the discussion of anything related to her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

Rafael Delgado

Director of Social Justice Curriculum and Content Development

Rafael has been educating and empowering individuals from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds for more than 15 years. With experience in social work, workforce training & development, and higher education, Rafael has focused his skills on assessing student learning needs, designing learner-centered DEI/Social Justice programming, and facilitating large and small groups. Rafael is passionate about empowering individuals with the education and skills needed to reach their potential while honoring their diverse identities. Outside of work, Rafael grew up in Northwest Indiana, where he earned his BA in Psychology and MA in Communications from Purdue University Northwest. Rafael enjoys live theater/music, game nights with his husband and friends, and marathon-viewing TV series with his dog Trixie.

Jasmine Soto

Program Manager, Facilitator & Strategist

Jasmine is the Program Manager, Facilitator & Strategist for the Corporate Partner Accountability team. She has over 8 years of experience in client-facing and team support roles. The most recent, an event coordination position for a local, women-focused educational and social organization in Seattle. Her goal is to help create a seamless and enjoyable experience for everyone who comes in the door. When she’s not at work, you can find her making a mean spam musubi, coordinating a virtual D&D campaign with friends, and checking out more books from the library than she can possibly read.

Sol Mendez

Sol Mendez

Senior Social Justice Facilitator & Trainer

Sol (She/They) has over 13 years of experience facilitating, training, and peacemaking in Seattle. They hold a B.A. in Psychology and Social Justice from The Evergreen State College, Tacoma Campus. Sol has been a Qualified Administrator with the Intercultural Development Inventory since 2015. She previously worked in higher education, supporting students, staff, and administrators in providing equitable and inclusive practices. Sol believes that facilitating social justice provides her with hope, understanding, and empathy to have the capacity to stand beside folx as they display vulnerability and transformation. They enjoy traveling, dancing, cooking, and being with their family and friends.

Tikka Sears

Senior Social Justice Facilitator & Trainer

Tikka brings 17 years of experience in higher education in various roles, creative facilitator, equity and inclusion facilitator/trainer, instructor, international studies outreach/community programmer, and faculty developer. She co-founded and directed Theater for Change at the University of Washington(UW), focusing on interactive theater to identify and practice interrupting bias and oppression, spark community dialogue, and imagine possibilities for positive change. Tikka was a Fulbright grantee in Indonesia, collaborating with the Black Umbrella social justice theater company. She has taught college courses exploring and amplifying stories from the Southeast Asian community in Seattle. Tikka’s work centers on collaboration, storytelling, and advocacy to empower students. Unpacking and dismantling systems of oppression is lifelong work, and Tikka feels hope when she sees folks gain confidence in interrupting racism, sexism, and other forms of injustice.

Alumni Services

Yolanda Eng

Program Director, Alum Services

Yolanda graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Diversity. Born and raised in Seattle, she has spent over ten years working with nonprofits committed to serving communities of color. She has extensive experience in youth leadership and mentorship programs, as well as organizing community events. She is excited to join the Ada team to continue building community and growing capacity for people from marginalized backgrounds. When Yolanda is not working, she’s probably binge-watching reality shows, working on her golf game, or trying to get through her long list of books she wants to read.

Internship and Career Services

Kaela Worrall

National Director, Internships and Career Services

In support of Black and brown Women triumphing in all things, Kaela (She/Her) is joining Ada, focusing on the internship experience and career readiness of Adies. With a career backed in creating access to systems dedicated to keeping folks/folx out, she is looking forward to supporting those who want to change the face of tech.

Le’Onna Lee

Career Services Manager

Le’Onna is a Seattle native with a passion for cultivating meaningful relationships. The majority of her career has been centered around eliminating barriers that create opportunity gaps and creating equitable access to opportunities through education. Before Ada, she worked for Seattle Colleges as their Embedded Career Specialist for Professional Technical programs. As a Career Specialist, Le’Onna led the internship process, provided career development, and job skill workshops to students and community members. Le’Onna values community and looks forward to supporting Ada students as they embark on their journey in tech.

Dawn Cheung

Career Services Manager

Dawn graduated with her Masters in Social Work (MSW) in 2018 and B.A. in Communications and Education in 2013 at the University of Washington. Coming from a nonprofit background, it is one of the reasons she is so excited to join Ada after working in higher education as a Career Coach and Program Manager. Her work focuses on the intersections of education, social work, and working with underrepresented students in hopes of empowering them as they navigate and define their professional goals. Born and raised in Seattle, Dawn loves to spend time with her rescue doggies Belle and Chester as well as travel as much as she can!

Daniel Chan

Career Services Manager

Daniel is a first-generation queer and trans advocate and storyteller of color. They are passionate about supporting students from underserved communities to achieve their self-determined career goals through empathetic and strengths-based coaching. Formerly, Daniel was a Career Advisor at the University of Washington and a Program Manager with education nonprofits College Access Now and College Possible. They hold a BA in Communications and Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College. Outside Ada, Daniel enjoys HIIT classes, live music, reading sci-fi/fantasy and poetry, and any excuse possible to go get boba.

Corporate Partnerships

Jenny Yann

Director of Corporate Partnerships

Jenny is a first-generation American and a first-generation college student. She graduated with her Masters in Industrial & Organizational Psychology (Seattle Pacific University) and Bachelors in Applied Psychology, minor: Business Administration (NC State University). Before joining Ada, Jenny worked on the partner side, building out the Ada Program at her previous company. Passionate about the DE&I space, she often combines research, theory, and practice with a DE&I lens. Jenny’s passions include AI Ethics, normalizing mental health & neurodiversity, college basketball (Go Wolfpack!), and fried chicken.

Gina Ruccione

Director of Business Development

Gina is an Italian American currently residing in Austin, Texas. She graduated from Oregon State University, where she studied Psychology and Economics. Before Ada, Gina spent the first part of her career in finance and the later part in business development, scaling startup companies in the food, beverage, and consumer goods space. Gina has taught marketing at the college level and transitioned to Ada to fulfill her dream of working in impact and education, channeling her would be hobbies and volunteer work into a full-time position. With over 18 years of sales experience and 10 years of management experience, she joins the Ada team with a deep commitment and enthusiasm for our mission. When she’s not working, she loves to play with her puppies, read, pin pictures of gardens on Pinterest, take pottery classes and cook.

Reggie Cason

Senior Director of Corporate Partnership Development

Reggie serves on the Corporate Partnerships team at Ada Developers Academy with responsibility for securing, developing, and growing strategic partnerships to support the organization’s mission. He has an extensive background and a proven track record in developing and growing business relationships through networking, consultative sales, account management, and solutions-oriented customer service. He is a leader and trainer who loves serving others and helping them to achieve their goals.

Before joining Ada Developers Academy, Cason most recently served as Associate Director of Corporate Engagement at Year Up, Inc. Reggie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Morehouse College and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from American InterContinental University. In his spare time, he is an avid music lover, multimedia technology specialist, and sports enthusiast. He is a servant leader in his community and an advocate for social change, community upliftment, and empowerment.

Shauntia Walker

Corporate Partnership Development Manager

Shauntia is an Atlanta native and currently serves on the Corporate Partnerships team at Ada Developers Academy. She earned her Bachelor’s in English Literature & Africana Studies (Agnes Scott College) and her Master’s in African American Studies (Georgia State University) and Business-Executive Leadership (Liberty University). As an education and business development specialist, her passion is to develop and cultivate employer relationships to increase talent pipeline diversity and to ensure equitable educational opportunities for underrepresented groups. Approaching each partnership from a DE&I lens is of major importance and value to her. Away from work, her passions include kickboxing, trying new restaurants, any and everything Disney, and jamming out to smooth 90s RnB.

Lexie Rodriguez

Corporate Partnership Development Manager

Born and raised in Hawaii, Lexie has called Seattle home for over ten years. She received a degree in Journalism and Spanish from Seattle University. Lexie continues to have a passion for communications and relationship-building that she brings into her professional world. As a business development expert, her experience spans corporate and nonprofit organizations like the Puget Sound Business Journal, Make-A-Wish, and Pike Place Market Foundation. Outside of Ada, you’ll find Lexie hanging out with family and friends, training her puppy, and planning her next adventure.

Theresa Mejia

Partnership Manager

Theresa is a first-generation Filipina American and first-generation college student. She graduated with her Master of Arts in Sociology and Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with a minor in Public Health from Lehigh University. Before joining Ada, Theresa worked at different nonprofit organizations focused on contributing to impactful efforts uplifting communities. Knowledgeable and skilled in sociological theories, analytical research, and community building, Theresa is excited to build meaningful community partnerships to ensure that Black, Latine, Indigenous Americans, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+, and low-income women and gender-expansive adults know that they are the face of tech.

Julie Loh

Program Manager, Internships

Julie is a former medical researcher, crisis counselor, and career coach passionate about utilizing data-driven and mental health focused practices to streamline processes and develop programming to support people in changing their careers. She is excited to create a thoughtful experience for students and company partners during their internship placement at Ada. At the University of Washington Information School, she coached and led programming to help undergraduate and graduate students find jobs in tech with an emphasis on helping students incorporate their past careers as strengths in their professional narrative. Outside of Ada, you can often find Julie painting, cuddling with her pups, planning her next foodie adventure, and running.

Development

Kaya David

Director of Development

Kaya’s professional background spans 10+ years of fundraising and program management across arts, higher education, and LGBTQ advocacy organizations. Raised in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York, they moved to Seattle in 2014 after falling in love with the region’s mountains and waters, which they like to explore through backpacking. They hold an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University and a BA in International Studies from Brown University.

Lauren Kastanas

Associate Director of Development

Lauren is a grant writer with a background in nonprofit fundraising. She worked in statewide environmental policy and political advocacy at Washington Environmental Council/Washington Conservation Voters and in direct community services at El Centro de la Raza. Lauren graduated from Seattle University with a B.A. in Public Administration and a passion for writing.

Finance and Operations

Siobahn Lawrence

Salesforce and Database Administrator

Siobahn has over ten years of experience working with various universities, where she developed a passion for software implementation and integration. Since graduating with a Master of Science in Information Technology from Middle Georgia State University, she has committed herself to learn different cloud solutions that allow her to merge her love of technology with her desire to uplift marginalized demographics. When she is away from work, she is most likely reviewing her kids’ homework, meticulously creating a playlist, or buying concert tickets.

I-Shan McMahan

Staff Accountant

I-Shan is from Taiwan. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Master of Science in Finance, with accounting experience in the legal and manufacturing industry. She came to Ada because she would like to be an advocate for gender equality in the workspace. In her free time, she likes to cook Taiwanese food, which makes her feel at home. She also likes to discover new restaurants with her friends and family.

Sheila Pinkham

Senior Manager of People Operations

Sheila has over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily in HR Manager and Generalist roles focused on employee relations, benefits administration, policy and process development, and talent acquisition. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University, HR Management Certificate from Bellevue College, and SHRM-CP credential. Sheila is committed to providing compassionate and equitable support to employees, managers, and leadership. She feels fortunate to be part of an agency dedicated to creating impactful and necessary change in our society. Outside of work, Sheila enjoys getting lost in bookstores and cuddle-time with her daughter.

Address
Ada Developers Academy
315 5th Ave S, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98104
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