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June 30, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
King's Books, in partnership with PCAF and American Leadership Forum - Tacoma/Pierce County, welcome Robin DiAngelo to talk about her new book, White Fragility. In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo

ALF Video

Fellows Program


Presiding Elder Spencer Francis Barrett
Presiding Elder of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
Walker Chapel AME Church

The Reverend Spencer Francis Barrett began ministry in 1975 at the age of 17 when he shared with Dr. A. Lee Henderson that he was called to preach. He was licensed by the presiding Elder Jewel B. DeWitty and served at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal in Portland, Oregon where he taught Sunday school and worked in the youth department, usher board and the youth choir.

In 1980 Pastor Barrett completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Portland. He majored in Social Services. In 1981 he traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Turner Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center. There he served at the Historic Big Bethel AME Church. Spencer received an internship with the Greater New Orleans Council of Churches setting up religious committees for the World’s Fair. In 1984 he received a Master of Divinity Degree in Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Care.

Barrett received his ordinations at the hands of Bishop H. Hartford Brookins. He began his Pastoral career with the assignment to Bailey A.M.E. Church in Everett, Washington. In Everett met his wife, Mary and they have three children named Danielle, Nicholas and Rachael. Over his career Barrett has been the pastor of several different churches in different states.

Spencer believes that he was sent to both the church and the community. In Las Vegas, Pastor Barrett was president of the NAACP, and one of the founders of the Interfaith Worker Justice organization. He also founded an after school computer lab and food bank. In 1996 Pastor Barrett was initiated into the Kappa Alpha Psi, Las Vegas Alumni Chapter Inc. Since that time he has served in the Independence Alumni Chapter and is currently a member of the Tacoma Alumni Chapter. While at Bethel AME Church in Kansas City, Missouri, Barrett was funded through a HUD 202 grant to built sixty units of senior housing. He founded his second Interfaith Council for Worker Justice, and from that program launched “Building Bridges” a program designed to help low income urban youth to finish GED and enter the Union trades. Barrett also launched his second Cub Scout program (The first was in Las Vegas) and was involves in programs that helped youth. After six years of ministry in Kansas City, Missouri, Barrett was assigned to Allen AME Church, Washington.

Spencer was involved in many Tacoma/Pierce County community activities including Board Chair of Allen Renaissance, Vice President of the Hilltop Business Association, board member of Associated Ministries, Pierce A.I.D.S. Foundation, the affordable housing consortium, and Bread for the World. Pastor Barrett is also a member of the Tacoma Ministerial Alliance an active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. 

Pastor Barrett has received many awards and honors including a Leadership Award from the NAACP Las Vegas; Leadership Award from Las Vegas Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Founder’s Day Speaker Las Vegas Alumni Chapter Kappa Alpha Psi, and a Leadership Award American Ministers Association.

In November 2014 Rev. Barrett was assigned as Presiding Elder of the Pacific Northwest Conference. As such, he administrates eleven churches in Alaska, Washington, Montana and Oregon. Pastor Barrett’s vision for the Tacoma/Pierce County area and for the Pacific Northwest is to help rebuild the walls of education, economic empowerment and development, and to preach the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Amanda Figueroa
Director of Student Transition Programs
University of Washington Tacoma

Amanda grew up in Chicago, Illinois and Auburn, Washington watching nature documentaries and reading every book about the ocean she could get her hands on. Her parents always said education was the key to the future, and as a first-generation college student, two of her proudest accomplishments were earning her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the University of Washington. In Amanda’s nine years of adventures with fieldwork and lab science, she also became a passionate advocate for promoting equity in K-12 and higher education. This passion led to her current work leading an office at the University of Washington Tacoma that empowers diverse learners to connect personal and professional goals through education. In her free time, Amanda enjoys cooking ridiculous feasts with her soon-to-be husband, making messes on her dining room table while crafting, and marveling at the natural world.


Michael Chansavang
Program Director
Dream Music Project

Michael is a first-generation, Laotian-American. He grew up in East Tacoma, where he still lives now. Michael graduated from Lincoln High School in 2003. In 2007, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Whitworth University. Upon graduating, Michael returned home and worked many different jobs including canvasing, restaurant management and banking. After five years in banking, Michael decided to do something new. He studied Digital Media at Bates Technical College and recently finished his last quarter in the summer of 2015.

Michael currently directs a music project in Tacoma called, “Dream Music Project” where he helps young artists pursue their dreams in music and the arts. Michael also works with youth in finding their true identity in Christ through a program at his church called, True Identity Outreach. In addition, he is the instructor for Comcast Digital Connectors - a program through the Tacoma Urban League. Michael enjoys worshipping, hiking, music and the arts, and of course, good food.


Michael Curry (Mike)
Director of Operations
Catholic Community Services Southwest

Mike relocated to Tacoma last year with his wife Michelle, and their children Mike (12) and Kat (14) last year to assume a new role with Catholic Community Services (CCS). While he has been with CCS for 20 years managing the range of human services they provide, his role has primarily been outside of Pierce County prior to his current position. In addition to Mike’s duties with CCS, he has served as Affiliate Faculty at Regis University in Denver in the School of Business and Economics, teaching in the distance learning, Master of Nonprofit Management Program. Mike’s professional interests are varied, but center on human services. He enjoys the outdoors, particularly mountaineering, rock, and ice climbing, but also running, fishing, and a variety of other pursuits.


Toryono Green (Tory)
Deputy Fire Chief
Tacoma Fire Department

Born and raised in Tacoma, Tory attended McCarver Elementary, Jason Lee Jr. High, and Wilson High School. During his junior year of high school, Tory enlisted in the US Navy and left for boot camp in San Diego upon graduation the following year. After completing boot camp and a yearlong college prep program, Tory attended college at the University of Florida for two years under a Naval ROTC scholarship. Due to changes in circumstances, Tory returned to Tacoma in 1991 and, after spending a couple of years working in the tide flats, began working for Tacoma Fire Department in April of 1993. Tory is happily married to his best friend, Andrea, who works as a registered nurse at Tacoma General Hospital in the Emergency Department. Together, they are the proud parents of four children, Sean (25), Stephen (23), Zoe (9), and Hannah (7). Zoe and Hannah are both adopted from China.


Kathryn Hobbs (Kathy)
Executive Director
Washington State Parent Teacher Association

Kathy joined the US Navy after graduating from high school, completed a four year degree at night while working full-time, applied for a Naval Officer commission, was in command four times, lived in Europe, Southeast Asia, and multiple places within the U.S. and retired from active duty as a Navy Captain (2006). Additionally, she has two Master’s Degrees and doctoral work completed. After retirement, Kathy was a Senior Account Executive for a large nonprofit, an Executive Director for a veterans nonprofit organization, and she is currently an Executive Director of a state-wide nonprofit. Kathy is the past Chairman of the Washington State Governor’s Veterans Advisory Committee, has a position on a Washington State Board of Director Committee and she is a Board of Director for a county-wide nonprofit.


Kurt Kelly
Director of information Systems and Organizational Performance
Metropolitan Development Council

“Life is fascinating, full of new discoveries and ways of conceptualizing what we encounter.” Continual learning and the variety that new experiences offer energize Kurt. He takes the time to take in and contemplate new information, stretching his mind and growing.   He’s done this formally through a lot of schooling with degrees in diverse areas (Information Technology, International Studies, and Russian Language/Literature) and informally through a variety of methods and experiences (especially as he has tried to become a better person and role model for his two daughters).

Kurt strives to balance the physical with the mental side of life, as he believes that they enhance each other. Running and fitness activities bring joy to Kurt’s life through increased strength, endurance, and mental focus. Additionally, they often get him into the outdoors and nature, which enriches his soul.


Dr. Jennifer Kubista
Director, Student Life
Tacoma School District

For the past 13 years, Jennifer has had the opportunity to serve and work for the Tacoma School District. She is currently the Director of Student Life, where she is the district lead for the Whole Child Initiative. Jennifer is a product of Tacoma schools and alumni of Wilson High School (via Truman MS and Skyline Elementary). Jennifer’s values and passion continue to focus on the development and education of the Whole Child, ensuring each child has the opportunity to participate in a school community that is healthy, safe, engaged, and supportive and prepares students for success in the global community of the 21st century. She knows every child represented in the beautiful diversity of Tacoma has the capacity to learn and achieve at the highest level if given equitable opportunities.

Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University in 1997, where she earned her degree in Business Administration. Jennifer earned a full four-year athletic scholarship at Gonzaga, where she had the opportunity to continue to play with her identical twin sister, Christine (Kubista) Brandt. During her four years as an athlete, Jennifer was named to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team (1993), Honorable Mention Team (1995), All-Conference Second Team (1996) and as a Strength and Conditioning All-American (1995). In 1999 Jennifer earned her Masters of Arts degree in Education from the University of Connecticut. She also earned her Superintendent Certification from Seattle University in 2013. This past Fall Jennifer finalized her educational journey by earning her Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Seattle University (2015).

Jennifer currently serves in the Tacoma community as a Board of Director for the Pierce County AIDS Foundation and the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum. She is also an advisory Board Member with the OASIS Youth Center. Jennifer has also been recognized professionally by the Business Examiner as a “40 under Forty” honoree as an outstanding business and community leader (2009), the Washington Secondary Schools Athletic Administrators Association as the state’s Athletic Director of the Year (2011), the American Association of School Administrators for Educational Administration (2012), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development as an Emerging Leader (2014).


Joshua Knudson (Josh)
Vice Chancellor for Advancement
University of Washington Tacoma

Josh has been an advancement executive in higher education for the past 20 years. He currently serves as Vice Chancellor for Advancement at UW Tacoma, and has also served in senior advancement positions at the College of Santa Fe, Washington State University, The Oregon State University Foundation, and Arizona State University (ASU). Josh holds bachelor and master’s degrees in theatre from ASU and is a former professional actor and member of Actors Equity Association. In 2010, he published, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival: A History and an Analysis of a Growth Oriented Model for Institutional Advancement. Some of this research recently helped inform the Oregon Public Broadcasting production of “The Oregon Shakespeare Festival,” which aired on OPB stations on October 19, 2015.

Josh and his wife, Brianne, live in the North Slope Historic District of Tacoma with their seven and nine year old sons. The Knudson family produces award winning wines in their basement and are each musical in their spare time. Josh has also served as a member of the Tacoma Urban League Board of Directors and on several committees of the University of Washington.


Sue Little
Early Childhood Educator/Community Volunteer

Sue is a true northwestern, loving fleece, hot beverages and being outdoors!   She was born and raised in the unincorporated King County, which is now the Bellevue area and has lived in Washington all her life. She comes from a large family being the fourth of five children. Sue’s father was a minister at a large downtown Seattle Congregational Church. Because of this, many of her childhood activities were centered on the church and its mission. Seeking to help others continues to be a cornerstone of her daily life. Sue moved to Tacoma to attend University of Puget Sound and graduated with an Early Childhood/Elementary Education degree. While at UPS, Sue met her husband, Rick, and together they have two wonderful adult daughters Kristen and Kenna. Sue worked for 15 years at the YMCA and it continues to be an important part of her life. She has taught early childhood education and kindergarten in the public schools for 16 years and presently continues to substitute giving her more time to do what she loves most; volunteer locally and internationally.


Kathi Littmann
CEO and President
Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

Kathi is a follower of passions, not jobs (teacher, construction manager, education reformer, philanthropist). She is a social justice advocate as well as a believer in abundance and pronoia (suspicion that the universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings). She is the mom of Sara and Evan. Kathi loves tiny desk concerts, crowd cooking at home, bonfires in fall, chocolate labs, naps, sketching, smell of fresh ripped lumber, wandering around Ace Hardware, lazy lake fishing, cabin camping, and digging up the garden. Her best vacation was a month long retreat at a Buddhist monastery in France. Her next best vacations were impromptu road trips as a kid with her family of five in a 1963 Valiant. Kathi admits to occasional Netflix binge watching. She captures fife memories in her playlists. She won’t sing or do math in public. She is a compulsive book buyer who appreciates using a Kindle on planes. Kathi has Oklahoma roots, has lived in 23 cities with fond memories of each. At this moment, she is ramblin on down easy, to Tacoma home. Kathi is going to stay awhile. 


Amy McBride
Tacoma Arts Administrator
City of Tacoma

Amy has over 20 years experience as an art professional. Working with the Tacoma Arts Commission, she manages three funding programs for arts organizations and artists; implements public art projects, develops innovative and collaborative programming and formulates effective policy. Amy came to Tacoma in 1998 after coordinating the arts program for Bellevue College’s extension program. She has presented nationally on issues of public art, temporary art installations, and civic democracy through Americans for the Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado-Boulder in French and Art History with a year of focused study at L’Universite de Bordeaux. Post-graduate work includes a stint in the sculpture department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington. Amy earned a Master’s degree with a focus on Urban Arts from the University of Washington-Tacoma in 2010. She founded Spaceworks Tacoma in 2009 in partnership with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, sits on the IAS Advisory Board at UWT and Elements of Education. At some point, she will make art again.


Willie Charles Moncrease Jr. (Will)
Production Engineer
The Boeing Company

Will was raised on the Eastside of Tacoma for more than 20 years. His father, Willie, held him up to the sky and said, “The only one greater than thy self.” Will believes that was the beginning of a beautiful journey for him. Will attended Stadium High School but transferred to Lincoln his sophomore year and graduated early from Bates Technical College Running Start Program.

With a diploma in one hand and a newborn baby in the other Will vowed not to be a statistic. He joined the US Army as a M1A2 SEP Tank Crewman, graduating third in his class. Will’s only knowledge of the military at that time came from watching old reruns of M.A.S.H. He received an honorable discharge and went back to school getting his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Embry Riddle.

Currently, Will is a Production Engineer for The Boeing Company. He is married with five children between his wife and himself. Will enjoys volunteering at the Eastside Boys & Girls Club and is a current Board of Governors Member.


Stephanie M. Nicklaus

Vice President, Credit Administrator
Harborstone Credit Union

Stephanie made Tacoma her home in the summer of 2010 after moving north from Portland, Oregon. The Tacoma community quickly captured her heart. Stephanie is active in the business and local community, having served on various boards and service organizations. Her career in commercial banking began over 13 years ago after earning her degree from Washington State University. Stephanie lives in Tacoma with her husband, Dan and their two dogs, Jackson and Ollie. In their free time, they can be found cheering on the Sounders, catching a football game or spending time with family and friends.


Dona Ponepinto
President and CEO
United Way of Pierce County

Dona is currently the President and CEO for the United Way of Pierce County. She began her new role in January 2014. Dona brings 27 years of experience with the United Way network, most recently serving as Vice President of Community Investments at the United Way for Southeast Michigan, based in Detroit.

Prior to Detroit, Dona was in California where she served as Senior Vice President, Community Investments at Orange County’s United Way. Prior to Orange County, she worked at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles for over 10 years in a variety of positions including Director, Fund Distribution and Agency Relations and as a Community Development Manager, focusing on youth development.

She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in counseling from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She is an active community volunteer, sitting on numerous boards throughout the years including the City of Long Beach’s Human Relations Commission and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. She recently joined the Tacoma Pierce County Board of Directors and the KBTC Association Board.

She is also an active member of the Junior League of Tacoma. In addition, she is a member on the Board of Directors and Chair of the Governance Committee for the Association of Junior Leagues International.

She lives in Gig Harbor with her husband, Joe, and Henry, their coffee drinking dog.


Kellie Richardson
Community Volunteer
Founder, Brown Betty 253

Kellie served as a Special Projects Associate for Green Dot Washington. In her role, she establishes core systems for Washington to include operations, human resources and staff development, as well as board support. The first in her family to attend college, Kellie received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington State University. She found great reward in working in higher education to provide first generation students with guidance and support to access and complete college. After completing her Master’s in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington she shifted her work to the nonprofit realm. Kellie took on leadership positions at Northwest Leadership Foundation and also taught multicultural and sociocultural foundations of education at Pacific Lutheran University. A writer at heart, Kellie founded a blog, Brown Betty in 2012 to provide a platform to explore life in Tacoma as well as the intersections of race, gender, and power. She is a published poet and performs pieces locally. Kellie is a proud resident of the Hilltop neighborhood, where she lives with her two children, Jaeda and Zion.


Amanda Scott-Thomas
Director, Partnership Office
Tacoma Public Schools

Amanda is a proud graduate of the Evergreen State College-Tacoma campus and she holds a Bachelor's degree with an emphasis on public policy and law.  Service to community is a lifestyle for Amanda and her family. Professionally, she serves the students and families of Tacoma as Tacoma Public Schools' Director of Community Partnership Office. Amanda also serves on the Board of Directors for Schools Out Washington and Peace Community Center as well as youth ministry leader for her church and mentor to several young ladies in Kitsap and Pierce Counties. She comes from a long line of amazing women and she credits most of her best qualities as directly inherited from her mother! Amanda possesses a natural ability to connect with people, quick wit and a laugh that occasionally frightens small children and the elderly. Amanda loves life, people, learning, good music, good food and fabulous shoes.


Dr. James Martin Schafer (Marty)
President, School Board Director
Clover Park School District
Consultant/Office Depot

Marty has had many professional and personal expressions in his life of service to others. He has been a pastor, founder of a nonprofit focused on youth mentoring, and currently works as a consultant for Office Depot. He has also been a leader in his community his entire life, beginning with consistent elections to positions in student government throughout high school and college and reinforced currently by his election to the Board of the Clover Park School District for three consecutive terms, where he currently serves as Board President.

Dr. Schafer holds a bachelor's degree in Urban Planning from Western Washington University and a master’s and doctorate degree from Golden Gate Seminary in the field of Ministry and Leadership Studies. Marty has facilitated and participated in leadership development conferences for schools in the Philippines, for Indigenous groups in Alaska, as well as various venues in the United States. He has been a conference speaker at both educational and multicultural events. He is on the founding team of Everyday Mentoring, which develops a culture of leadership for high school athletes. He also provided direction and vision to expand educational opportunities with the military. Marty is a lifelong supporter of public education through developing people, curriculum and structures that increase the effectiveness of student and parent engagement.

On a personal note, Marty is married to a high school teacher and two of his three daughters are teachers as well. He loves his family, is an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys watersports as he lives on American Lake in Lakewood.


Dorian Waller

Y Tacoma

Dorian was born and initially raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since his father served in the military, Dorian spent the majority of his childhood living around the country and attending more than 10 schools. Though he has a large extended family, they (his parents and two siblings) were not as close to their family due to his dad's work. Nevertheless, Dorian’s parents had him in their teens and he learned early on how to take care of himself and look out for his younger siblings.

Dorian had no plans for life after high school, but he knew he wanted to improve his situation, so he enrolled and eventually obtained both his Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Public Administration from the Evergreen State College and started a consultant business where many of his clients are local municipalities and federally funded credit unions across the country.

Dorian has served on the Evergreen State College Board of Trustees and currently serves on the City of Tacoma’s Planning Commission, the Washington State African American Affairs Commission, as well as the State of Washington’s Small Business Roundtable. 

Dorian has accomplished more in his life at this point than he ever imagined, but realizes that growth is continual. He remains open to what life both brings and takes away whether it is individuals and/or opportunities.


Koree Wick
Director, Administrative Services/Finance
West Pierce Fire and Rescue

Koree is 43 and has lived in the Tacoma/Pierce County area since she was 14. She is twice divorced; which is awful to go through and even more awful to admit to strangers! She is a believer in things happening for a reason and would gladly go through it all again as the second marriage gave her 2-½ year old little boy named Finley (Finn), who is simply amazing. Koree’s parents, brother (and his family), as well as her sister (and her family) live in Puyallup. She is the outlier in the family, choosing Tacoma instead. She has worked for West Pierce Fire & Rescue since she was 23. They have supported her education and growth, truly being her family. She grew up in the fire service, her dad is a retired Fire Chief and low and behold his daughter, Koree, went to work in the fire service and her brother is a fire fighter and union leader in Tacoma. Koree graduated from EOU with a degree in Business (taking her a collective 17 years) and obtained her Masters in Public Administration from UW (she was speedy with this one, which was a 16-month program). She has been on the Board of Directors for the YWCA Pierce County for six years and feels honored to be a part of such an amazing organization. She loves to laugh and make others laugh, helping to truly and positively affect someone’s life makes her smile!


Laura Wulf
Assistant District Attorney
Office of the Attorney General

Laura was born in Lubbock, Texas, the youngest daughter in an Air Force family. Unlike her three siblings, she grew up in a single school district after her father retired and they settled in Puyallup. In junior high school, Laura loved volleyball. In high school, she loved debate. She learned French as an AFS student in Quebec, Canada.

Laura attended the University of Washington where she graduated with a degree in International Studies. She studied law at the University of Puget Sound School of Law. Laura learned how to be a lawyer as an Assistant Attorney General handling civil commitment cases at Western State Hospital. She currently serves as a labor and employment attorney with the Office of the Attorney General. Occasionally, she serves as a pro tem judge in municipal court.

Laura met her life partner, Laurie, now her wife, in law school. They have been together for over 25 years. Their son, Wulf, attends SOTA as a freshman. They love to travel, visit museums, and go to the movies together. Laura enjoys creating scrapbooks with family and friends. She also loves walking at Chambers Bay.


Dorene F. J. Young (Dori)
Vice President
Foundations of MultiCare

Dori grew up in a very small town of only 1200 people. Her street, Sunset Avenue, was two blocks long right off of Broadway! In a town of that size, and being part of a small community church, they all knew each other and supported one another. Her brother shared his vegetables with neighbors; her mom was often times buying an extra bag of groceries and delivering it to a family. Dori’s best friend’s mom was the librarian and wading pool “lifeguard” who was often the instant babysitter when her mom needed an extra hand.  

She remembers one year a newly married couple from Denmark with a tag-along brother stayed in her home for four days while their car was getting fixed. That was fun! They had a beautiful accent and showed her sister some simple pressure point treatment for pain. She was blessed. Her family lived community.

Dori believes that is what ALF is all about, just on a bigger scale. The world is less trusting but the needs for working together and looking out for each other are the same. Understanding her worldview and having the opportunity to understand another’s worldview is important in both community and in organizations. It’s her belief that people grow and strengthen a safety net when they care for one another.

Congratulations to you all.



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