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Brenda has been the Director, Compensation, Benefits, HRIS at Columbia Bank since 2014. She has worked in human resources for more than 25 years, spanning different industries that include manufacturing, health care, banking, and insurance. Her various roles in these companies are extensive and allow her to be able to think strategically and in a broad sense regarding human resources.
Outside of her work environment, Brenda is an avid reader, follows professional baseball closely (specifically the Seattle Mariners) and in the off-season is a college basketball fan.
Brenda and her spouse have been married for more than 23 years. She has a daughter attending Washington State University and a son who is a senior in high school - still trying to decide where to go to college. Their family includes two Labrador Retrievers named Solo and Leia.
Bruce Bouyer was appointed to Assistant Chief for the Tacoma fire Department in April 2019. He brings more the 21 years of experience in the many disciplines of firefighting and personnel management.
He is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Fire Prevention Bureau, Training Division, and the Vehicle Maintenance shop and facilities maintenance. Prior to his appointment to Assistant Chief, Bruce served as the Training Chief and was responsible for department wide training to include training new hires.
Bruce and his spouse, Sabrina, have been married for more than 25 years and have three children ages 24, 19, and 14. When not at work, Bruce enjoys spending time with his family traveling and attending sporting events. Bruce also enjoys serving in the community as a basketball coach and mentor.
Lorenzo is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since 1998, he has been involved in many aspects of HIV prevention work, such as outreach in bathhouses while working at the LGBTQ Center of San Diego, and creating HIV prevention programming specifically for gay and bisexual men here at PCAF. Currently Lorenzo is the Director of Prevention where he oversees many programs focused on stopping the spread of HIV in our community. Lorenzo’s commitment to the cause keeps growing stronger as HIV continues to disproportionately affect gay, bi, trans men, trans women, and communities of color. He also loves to watch kitten videos.
Jacques Colon was appointed as 2025 Strategic Manager for the City of Tacoma in January 2019. As Strategic Manager, he is responsible for the implementation of the City's strategic plan, Tacoma 2025, and leading strategic dross-departmental initiatives such as the Affordable Housing Action Strategy.
Prior to this position, he served as the Health Equity Coordinator for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Before moving to the region, he worked as a climate change policy analyst in Washington, D.C. and a middle school science teacher in his childhood hometown of Miami.
Jacques and his wife met while in Teach for America as 22-year-old teachers in 2005 and have since gotten married and had three children, Noah (8), Judah (5), and River (Brand New). In addition to the never-ending responsibilities of parenthood, they spend their free time listening to and learning how to play music, travelling and exploring the NW, enjoying sports together, and spending time with his parents.
Tafona Ervin is an advocate for equitable education. With nearly 10 years of service in education and several years of experience traveling nationally, Tafona has learned from and applied successfully strategies to realize a more equitable system.
Serving as the Executive Director for the Foundation for Tacoma Students, Tafona partners with more than 270 community partners to align a commonly shared vision and goal for its community, while equitably aligning resources to advance the community’s work. She has become a champion in her community advocating for STEAM education for under-represented populations. Tafona also serves on a state-wide equity roundtable task force, is an Advisory Council Member to Kaiser Permanente WA, recently inducted as a 40 under 40 honoree, honored for a KCTS Golden Apple Moment, and is in her last year as a doctoral student with Washington State University.
Most of Tafona’s career has been in higher education – student affairs and enrollment services. She believes that when children succeed in school and life, the benefits for the broader community are great. Furthermore, when a city is able to rely on the skills and talents of its citizens, everyone thrives. Tafona is supported by her husband who is also invested in education, her two young sons, and new baby girl.
Lauren Flemister is the Community Planning Manager for the City of Seattle, Office of Planning, and Community Development. Her overall approach has been about how cities change and function over time through the lens of development and infrastructure. As an urban planner and designer, her work has focused on community building, the intersection between transit and development, and policy development on issues including affordable housing and design standards.
She has significant experience in the Pacific Northwest as a Senior Planner in long range planning at the City of Tacoma and as an Urban Design Planner with the City of Auburn. Prior to her work in the Pacific Northwest, Lauren worked for HOK, United Nations-Habitat, the City of Austin, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Lauren has her Masters of Architecture, Masters of Urban Planning, and Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, and her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Princeton University. She enjoys traveling, ceramics, music, and hanging out with friends and family.
Rachael Gray is the Chief Program Officer for HopeSparks Family Services. Rachael joined HopeSparks in April 2014 as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the Children’s Developmental Services Program. Rachael was the Director of Children’s Developmental Services for HopeSparks from 2015-2017. As the Chief Program Officer, Rachael oversees the core programs and services at HopeSparks including Behavioral Health, Children’s Developmental Services, Family Support Services, Pediatric Healthcare Integration, and Relatives Raising Children.
Prior to joining HopeSparks, Rachael’s passion for working with individuals with disabilities drove her to open a private Speech-Language Pathology practice in California providing integrated services to children and adolescents with autism in collaboration with Occupational Therapists and Behavioral Therapists.
Rachael and her husband, Allen, moved from Southern California to Gig Harbor in 2014 to be closer to Rachael’s parents and to get away from the heat. They have two daughters and a lovable dog named Sherlock. In her free time, Rachael enjoys running, camping, and baking.
Dr. Ivan L. Harrell II., was appointed President of Tacoma Community College in May 2018. He brings more than 15 years of experience in administration of colleges and universities, specifically community and technical colleges.
In this role, Ivan is responsible for providing leadership and direction of all college operations. Prior to his appointment, he worked at five other community and technical colleges across the country, with increasing leadership responsibilities.
In his spare time, Ivan loves to travel, spend time relaxing at home, and most importantly, spending time with family and friends.
Katie Johnston was appointed Budget Officer for the City of Tacoma in June 2017. She is responsible for producing the City’s $3 billion budget. Her office is responsible for revenue forecasting, financial and policy analysis, data analysis and program evaluation, capital planning, and labor analysis.
She has worked for the City of Tacoma since 2011. Prior to her appointment, she has led data and performance management efforts, fiscal and policy analysis, community engagement, financial planning and launching the Continuous Improvement Initiative at the City of Tacoma. She has worked on strategic planning, data analysis and research, emergency response, and environmental policy efforts for a variety of government and non-profit entities.
Katie and her husband, Chuck Johnston, have been living in the Puget Sound region since 2008. Katie and Chuck enjoy any chance to spend time with their two children, Gus, 6, and Ada, 4. Their weekends are filled with trips to the zoo, bike rides, hikes, swimming, and soccer. They also have a lively 2-year-old dog, Hamilton.
A lifelong South Sound resident, Anne graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2000 with a Communication degree. Starting in 2004, she worked alongside her parents as a Project Manager in their construction company. Her primary responsibility was coordinating the production schedule for presale homes and communicating changes to stakeholders, as well as assisting with the design and permitting process.
That experience prepared Anne well for a career in real estate, and she got her license in the Spring of 2008, just as the Pierce County market dove into a deep recession. In the years that followed, she built a top-producing real estate business by focusing on client advocacy and emerging opportunities in digital marketing.
In December of 2017, Anne and her husband Dave opened Windermere Abode, a specialized real estate office in North Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood. As the firm’s Designated Broker, Anne’s focus is providing their team of 22 Realtors with the resources they need to best serve their communities.
When she’s not working, Anne enjoys long runs in the rain, snapping photos of Tacoma’s most beautiful homes and scenery and dreaming up ideas for her and Dave's midcentury home. They have two boys (Wilson and Taylor) and two dogs which makes for just the right amount of chaos and fun.
Halley Knigge is a writer, editor, and communications professional in University Place. By day, she leads a 5 person external communications team for REI Co-op. By night, she’s a freelance writer, volunteer, half-marathon runner, mom to a toddler, gynecological cancer survivor, and organizer of the local community group Tacoma Against Nazis.
She has degrees from the University of Washington and L’institut des etudes politiques de Paris, and just completed a four-year term on the Tacoma Arts Commission. Past roles include public relations professional and blog editor at Alaska Airlines, social media for MultiCare Health System, marketing at Seabury School, and daily newspaper reporter.
She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her artist husband, toddler, and two dogs.
Kathryn McCarthy has worked as a communications professional for nearly 20 years. Today, she is the Strategic Communications and Marketing Manager for Tacoma Public Schools. Her day to day work can vary greatly, from communication strategy to graphic and web design, crisis communications, and event planning. This variety, along with her love for kids and education, makes this job the most fun she has ever had.
Before Tacoma Public Schools, Kathryn was the Director of Donor Communications for United Way of Pierce County. She has also run her own marketing and consulting firm, worked as a marketing manager for Russell Investments, and Product Manager for a men’s clothing line.
She is currently the Vice President of the Pierce County Library Foundation Board and a board member for the YWCA of Pierce County. And, she squeezes in a few volunteer hours as an art docent for elementary kids.
She lives in Tacoma with her husband Conor, son Emery, age 11, son Michael, age eight, and her dog Pippi. She is a Tacoma transplant, growing up in Missouri, Wyoming, and Montana. She came to Seattle for college, fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and her husband, and never left.
Jefferson currently serves as the Development and Communications Strategist for the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, which he joined in July of 2019. He brings over 12 years of non-profit and non-governmental organization experience as an international aid worker, immigration rights advocate, journalist, radio host, and photographer. He aims to apply diverse professional skills and life experiences to elevate voices and projects that can advance social change. He is especially passionate about facilitation and communication methods that can enhance cooperation across borders, lines, and differences.
Jefferson emigrated from Hong Kong to the U.S. when he was seven. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and in French from Grinnell College in Iowa and Master’s degrees in International Affairs and in Journalism from Columbia University in New York. He currently serves as Chair of the City of Tacoma's Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, to which he offers his perspectives from living and working in parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Mo is the CFO for the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF). He brings over 25 years of experience in financial management, HR, operations, IT and investments. Mo joined GTCF in March 2016. Prior to GTCF, he spent over nine years working for a Seattle venture capital firm. He began his career with Arthur Andersen & Co. as a Senior Auditor.
Mo is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and hold an MBA in Accountancy from Kansas State University. A former professional soccer player, he enjoys coaching soccer, tennis, travel, and cooking Middle Eastern food. Oh, he love whistling, too.
He’s been married to a gorgeous lady, Iman Khatib, since July 1997. She is a Special Education teacher at Edison Elementary school in Tacoma. They have three kids; a daughter attending UWT (Junior) and two sons; a 17 year old attending Wilson HS and a 12 year old attending Truman MS. Both are soccer players on Tacoma select teams.
Joel Odimba was appointed Regional Administrator for the Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families in September 2007. He brings more than 28 years of experience in public child welfare.
He is responsible for directing child welfare operations in Region 5 (Pierce and Kitsap Counties.) Prior to his current appointment, Joel managed three other regions located in the remaining 17 counties in western Washington State. Some of his past community experience includes serving as co-chair of the King County Coalition on Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare; co-chair of King County Systems Integration; Board Member, Tacoma Urban Network; Member, Advisory Committee - University of Washington School of Social Work Tacoma; and Board Member, R. Merle Palmer Minority Scholarship Foundation, to mention a few. Joel is an active participant in the Pierce County community.
Joel and his spouse have been married for more than 20 years. Together they raised adult children who are contributing members of society.
Jordan Rash is a Senior Project Manager for Sound Transit, working to utilize lands surplus to ST for housing and other community benefits. Prior to joining Sound Transit, he led Forterra's conservation and community development transactions from Snohomish County to Grays Harbor. Jordan is a graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he met his wife Sonja, who brought him to Tacoma following graduation in 2006.
Jordan and Sonja are the proud parents to Owen and Colette, who attend St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Tacoma. Jordan serves on the Board at Downtown on the Go, where he served two years as Board Chair, as well as on the Board of the Willamette University Alumni Association. In his free time, Jordan enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking with his family.
Dr. Jamilia Sherls-Jones is the Director of Health Equity at MultiCare Health System. She oversees cultural diversity education, health equity initiatives, community health needs assessments, and interpreter services for the system. Dr. Sherls-Jones has over ten years of experience in chronic disease prevention and management, community partnership development, pediatric and school nursing, health equity and addressing health disparities.
Dr. Sherls-Jones enjoys mentoring aspiring nurses and performing health screenings in the community. She participates in the following boards and organizations: University of Puget Sound Board of Trustees, Independent Colleges of Washington Board, WSNA Professional Nursing and Health Care Council, and the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization. Dr. Sherls-Jones also volunteers her time supporting the Elizabeth Wesley Youth Merit Incentive Award Programs.
In her spare time, Jamilia enjoys spending quality time with her spouse, Arthur Jones, and family; playing clarinet in the Tacoma Community College Symphonic Band; traveling; reading and genealogy.
Maureen Sorenson is the Chief Community Officer at Amara. She has been working with children in foster care for 18 years. She is responsible for overseeing Amara’s Pierce County Programs and the development and implementation of Amara’s multi service 29-acre campus for children and families in Pierce County. Prior to this role Maureen was instrumental in the Safe Babies Court Team Project at Pierce County Juvenile Court and was a Medical Social Worker in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit at Tacoma General Hospital. Additionally, Maureen is an Affiliate Instructor at the University of Washington Tacoma School of Social Work.
Maureen has been married to her husband Steve for 34 years. They have two adult children. They love spending time with family and friends at their cabin on Mason Lake.
Andrew Strobel was born in Tacoma, WA and raised in Puyallup, WA where he graduated from Puyallup High School. He is a son, a brother, an uncle, and regular family tech support. He graduated with his bachelors from the University of Puget Sound in Economics and International Political Economy and his masters at Syracuse University in Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management.
After brief travels to California and Oregon, Andrew returned home where he is now currently employed as the Director of Planning and Land Use for the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Andrew is Tlingit of the Wooshkeetaan Clan, where he serves as an elected delegate to the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida’s Tribal Assembly. He volunteers his time as a City of Tacoma Planning Commissioner, is an avid hiker, and aspires to visit every national park.
Renee Trueblood brings more than 25 years of legal experience to Tacoma Public Schools. Renee has served as General Counsel for Tacoma Public Schools since 2017. Reporting to Superintendent Carla Santorno, Renee advises the elected Board of Directors as well as District Administrators. Renee specializes in helping large organizations mitigate and manage legal risks, having previously advised Interstate Distributor (a Saltchuk company), Starbucks Coffee and Labor Ready/TrueBlue.
Renee loves being a groupie for her husband Joel and daughter Josie’s rock bands as well as being the debate coach for her daughter Anne-Marie at SAMI. Renee also enjoys paddle boarding and yoga. Renee and Joel fell under Tacoma’s spell in 1991 and a few years later, they married in the Java Jive.
Erika Tucci joined the Ben B. Cheney Foundation as Senior Program Officer in 2019 following 12 years at Tacoma Public Utilities implementing and growing their corporate social responsibility programming. Though an economist by education, Erika’s career has been a unique mix of human service and communications work over two decades in Pierce County.
New to the Cheney Foundation, Erika hopes to bring her deep knowledge of Pierce County human services and experience in government systems to help influence meaningful change for members of the communities the Foundation serves.
Erika is from Oregon (go Ducks!), but calls Tacoma home. Erika and Pat have been married for more than 15 years, and live in the west end of Tacoma with Bandit the cat after successfully launching Pat’s son, Patrick, into the real world. Pat and Erika love to travel near and far. They spend sunny days on a motorcycle, and snowy days in the mountains.
Paul Weed, was appointed as the Chief Administrative Officer at Metro Parks Tacoma in August 2017. He has a dozen years of experience in administrative leadership positions as the Director of Finance and Administration at both Washington State University and University of Washington.
He was exposed to athletics and the arts from a young age and believes in the impact active and passive recreation can have in both individual and community development. As a native Tacoma and Pierce County resident, he is excited to continue developing equitable youth and adult opportunities as well as the staff culture at Metro Parks Tacoma where he will lead the agency’s Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness that align with the agency’s mission and service.
Paul and his wife, Tatum, have been married for 12 years and enjoy family gatherings with their 4 children; Isabelle, Cooper, Blakely, and Teigan. He is active in coaching basketball, baseball and softball year-round, as well serving as the Director of the Sumner Basketball Academy, University of Washington Tacoma VIBE Board, and Treasurer of his homeowner’s association.
Ryan Wheaton is Executive Director of Planning and Community Development for Pierce Transit in and around Tacoma, Washington. He is responsible for service planning, long range and capital planning, marketing, community outreach, business accounts, and vanpool. Ryan also maintains the grants program, and a portfolio of innovative projects.
Ryan is originally from Washington State, and has degrees from Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado, and Pacific Lutheran University. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan, and an AmeriCorps volunteer in south King County. For seven years, Ryan worked in education as a teacher, researcher, and administrator.
In 2014, Ryan became Business Partnership Coordinator for Pierce Transit. In that role, he managed innovative projects, organized community partnerships, and led the agency’s Community Transportation Advisory Group. Ryan spent his second year at Pierce Transit as Specialized Transportation Manager, with responsibility for paratransit eligibility, paratransit operations, and vanpool. Ryan left Pierce Transit to become City Manager in his hometown. After 18 months in that role, he returned to Pierce Transit in his current position.
Ryan has been married to Nikki for over 17 years. They have three sons (Adam-9, Jake-7, and Samuel-5) who love to travel, especially when a road trip is involved.
Desiree Wilkins-Finch was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. As a graduate of The Ohio State University, she earned a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences. During her stay at OSU, she developed a love for travel and for community. She firmly believes that we have all been given the task of caring for each other; we should open our hands to our brothers and sisters, to those in need and to the poor.
As a firm believer in the collectivism of faith and community, Desiree has spent 15 years as an organizer spreading a message of hope, action, and change. This set of beliefs led Desiree to pursue a MA in Leadership with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Desiree is dedicated to helping communities transform as they access their own strength, converting it into power and taking action. Her coaching is centered on the idea that leaders drive values, values drive behaviors and behaviors drive a community. Only then are communities strengthened to take action; which is power.
Desiree is a Board member of Symphony Tacoma, Citizens for a Healthy Bay, Tacoma Roots, and Planned Parenthood Votes. In her spare time, she is a flautist and enjoys spending time with her family, and traveling with her son.
LaTasha Wortham was appointed Regional Relations Manager for Tacoma Public Utilities in May 2019. She brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit, federal, state, and local government.
She is responsible for liaising with local government elected officials within Tacoma Public Utilities’ serve area including the Cities of Tacoma, Fife, Fircrest, University Place, Lakewood, Fife; and with Pierce County among others. Prior to her appointment, she was Chief of Staff to Washington State’s Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib, District Director to Congressman Denny Heck, and Office Manager to Congressman Norm Dicks. In these positions, she was responsible for staffing elected officials, managing people and budgets, and most importantly serving constituents.
LaTasha and her spouse married in 2018 and reside in the great City of Tacoma where they were born and raised. LaTasha is the oldest of four children, and is the proud Auntie of four nieces and nephews.