Meet our team
Lauren comes to College Possible Washington with more than 10 years of leadership in the education and nonprofit sectors. Her experience as a first-generation college graduate and Americorps member guide her focus on college access and success. Lauren recently served as the interim executive director of City Year Seattle/King County where she continued to build strong partnerships in Seattle Public Schools and promote a return to in-person service. Servant and adaptive leadership coupled with a community-centered approach, drives the work culture Lauren builds.
Her experiences include strategic planning, donor cultivation, staff learning and development, race and equity programming, and building transformational partnerships. Lauren attended Gonzaga University for her undergraduate studies and holds an M.Ed. in school counseling from Louisiana State University. In her free time Lauren enjoys traveling with her partner, staying active through volleyball, rowing or yoga and spending time with her two cats and pug at home in West Seattle.
Senior Development Director
Asha has spent over 20 years in secondary education, foster care and crisis work. Through collaborative partnerships, she identified barriers for historically marginalized students and created pathways for college completion. At College Possible Washington, Asha works with community partners to support the mission and vision of the organization. She launched her education at Bellevue College, has a BS in Counseling Psychology and a MS in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Asha enjoys summer days, cooking and assisting other nonprofits through board service.
Senior Program Director
Lisa has worked in college access and success spaces for over 30 years – in secondary and post-secondary institutions-- as a guidance specialist in high school, for the Washington state community college system, and universities across four states. She started her career as one of the first Diversity Admissions Counselors in the state of Washington, recruiting students of color; the very high schools that we serve at College Possible Washington were some of the first schools in her portfolio. She engages in various volunteer efforts, such as being a scholarship reviewer for the GBSA Scholarship fund, an alumni interviewer for Harvard University, and in serving her local Federal Way community. She earned her Master’s in Higher Education (Ed.M) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA in Choral Music Education from Washington State University.
Lisa is responsible for the oversight, strategic direction and effectiveness of College Possible Access and Success programming. She oversees the development and nurturing of high school and college partnerships, is responsible for filling AmeriCorps placement slots and for members' satisfaction, development and retention. When she’s not working, she loves spending time with her husband of 31 years, Brian; her two sons, Zach and Devin; and enjoying good music and food with friends. She loves music and has sung in symphony chorales and community groups over the years and is currently enjoying singing on her church’s worship team.
Contact Lisa at LGarciaHanson@CollegePossible.org.
Anna attended Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington during high school as part of the Running Start program, where they received their Associate of Arts. They then attended University of Washington Seattle (UW Seattle), where they graduated with a BA in gender, women, and sexuality studies. Anna also minored in law, societies and justice, as well as disability studies. During their time at UW Seattle, Anna participated as a mentor in the UW Dream Project, where they supported senior students at Foster High School in Tukwila, Washington, through the college application and financial aid process.
As a College Access Program Manager, Anna works with our high school coaches and high school partners. Their role is to ensure that coaches have the resources they need so that their students can receive the support they deserve from our programming. Anna enjoys reading fantasy novels, playing cozy video games, and embroidery in their free time.
Lauren joins our Washington Leadership Team all the way from Upstate New York as a College Access Program Manager. She has worked in the education-based nonprofit sector for three years, and she previously served as an AmeriCorps Vista in South Seattle. She has cultivated a passion for creating equitable and accessible programming for underserved youth and for providing support to current AmeriCorps members as they complete their year of service.
Her goal as a College Access Program Manager is to ensure that every high school coach receives the support they need to serve their students successfully. Lauren received a bachelor's degree in anthropology from SUNY Albany. A fun fact about Lauren is that she used to be an archeologist, has worked on several dig sites, and was even an archeology intern for the New York State Museum.
AmeriCorps Recruitment Manager
For Jennifer, having been a first-generation college student of color from an underserved population, College Possible’s mission really resonated with her. She doesn’t think she would have been able to attend college without the help of her older sister, who was like her personal college access coach, so she feels like she’s giving back by helping other students get the resources and support they need. Before joining College Possible, Jennifer was searching for a new position that was more closely aligned with her interests and background. Her sister (again) helped her and led her to the AmeriCorps Recruitment Manager position.
When asked what she is looking forward to adding to the College Possible Washington team, Jennifer commented that she would like to believe she brings positive energy and enthusiasm! She also has knowledge and experience in recruitment and engagement, so she will be able to apply her skills to her role to accomplish our goals. However, Jennifer knows there is always more to learn, and she’s looking forward to seeing how she can best support others, be as successful as possible within her own role, and grow both professionally and personally.
Outside of work, Jennifer spends her time playing games (video, board, tabletop, etc.), doing archery (recurve), and watching TV/movies/birds.
Kayoko comes to us from Seattle Central College, where she was the Assistant Director for Academic Planning and Career Services. She has dedicated most of her career to working with underserved populations in Washington state. She has over ten years of experience in student advising and planning, and strong supervisory skills. Under Kayoko's leadership, her department was repeatedly recognized for providing exemplary student services and training star academic advisors. Her work in the community college system, experience in the K-12 space, as well as her passion for serving our students, make her a welcome addition to our team. She holds an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Policy from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Anthropology from Western Washington University.
As Assistant Director of College Access, Kayoko directs the high school program at College Possible. She helps the team recruit students, deliver program and curriculum details, distribute college resources and troubleshoot any issues. She also ensures everyone gets the support they need for their role and is having fun while they serve! She spent her formative years in Tokyo, Japan and visits her mother there as often as she can. Kayoko currently resides in South Seattle with her partner, daughter and their goofy young pup. A fun fact about Kayoko is her daughter is just starting to learn to walk– “It’s really fun to be her mom!”
College Access Program Manager
Maria Peterson grew up in the Tacoma area but went to college at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where they studied Psychology with minors in Education, Statistics and Race & Ethnic Studies. Afterwards, they moved to Chicago, where they served as a Senior Coach with College Possible Chicago, followed by a year as an Access Advisor at Bottom Line. They love reading, being outdoors as much as possible, doing things like hiking and wake surfing, and spending time with their family. As a family, they frequently play games, and things get very competitive. Recently, they decided to move back to Washington to be closer to home and be closer to Washington nature. Now they’re excited to be back at College Possible as a College Access Program Manager and continuing to work towards educational equity with a data driven mindset.
Heather is excited to be a part of the College Possible Washington team. She loves the organization’s mission and wanted to join a team that could have a profound impact on someone’s future. After finishing her master’s degree in teaching English as a second language, she taught English in Seoul, South Korea. Upon her return to the United States, she found AmeriCorps and had an amazing year working with first-generation and historically disinvested college students in the TRiO program and Lewis Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. It was an unforgettable opportunity and further solidified her commitment to education. Heather moved to the Seattle area immediately after completing her year in AmeriCorps, where she has worked primarily in independent schools throughout Seattle and King County in admission, administration, and development. She is excited to bring her experience working in development, along with her passion for education, to College Possible and looks forward to working with the College Possible Washington team!
Outside of work, Heather spends her time with her husband, Jason, their son, Reed, and their dogs, Buddy and Boomer. They like to explore the area, introduce Reed to new activities, and spend time in their own backyard.
Austin Dahl worked in the software industry for about 25 years as a software engineer and manager before he retired in 2018. His longest professional tenure was at Tableau Software in Seattle, where he was a Director of Engineering. Austin was an early employee at Tableau and served as a founding member of the Tableau Software Foundation's Employee Workgroup, the company's philanthropic entity. Austin has a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Carleton College and a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington and 9 patents in his name. Away from work, Austin plays volleyball and tennis and enjoys photography. Austin lives in Seattle with his wife, Pam Kraus, their two sons, Soren and Jorre, and a Golden Retriever named Luna.
Board Member since: January 2018
A University of Washington graduate, Norm worked in the finance and investment community for 20 years, most recently serving as the Chief Operating Officer of BlackRock’s alternative investments group. Today, Norm is an active impact investor, advises several local businesses, oversees a family office, and volunteers in the Seattle community, primarily as an engaged partner of Social Venture Partners, and Chair of the College Possible Washington board.
With a Bachelor's degree (Computer Science) and two Master's degrees (Physics and Computer Science), and a career in technology spanning nearly 20 years, Vijay has experienced first-hand the benefits of attending college and the leg-up that it provides in the industry. He has held various engineering leadership roles at Microsoft, Tableau, WeWork, and Flexport and has spent several years hiring top college talent as well as coaching and growing junior employees. Outside of his main profession, Vijay runs a real-estate investing company together with his wife, Leka. He lives in Redmond with his wife and two boys, Rohin and Kian. His passions include fitness, travel, food and photography.
As a former first-generation college student, Manmeet understands how hard it can be to navigate the college admissions process alone. She was fortunate enough to receive support through the Gates Millennium Scholars program, which connected her with the tools, resources and people she needed to be successful. Manmeet graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in international studies, education, and diversity. Following college, she taught sixth grade reading in Houston, Texas as a Teach for America corps member. She returned to Seattle in 2013 to serve as a policy and advocacy fellow for the Democrats for Education Reform and to attend law school at the University of Washington. She currently works as a corporate lawyer. Board member since: July 2018
Serves as the Director of College Counseling and Student Services at University Prep. Kelly has worked to improve college access throughout his career and founded and directed Camp College, an early intervention/access program for Native Americans. He was the recipient of NACAC’s rising star award and the John B. Muir Editor’s Award and also received the Counselors That Change Lives (CTCL) Award. Board member since: October 2020
Damariz Ibáñez joined the Undergraduate Diversity Services team at the Foster School of Business as the Young Executives Of Color (YEOC) Program Manager in 2017 and is now going into her sixth year with the program. She is a proud first-generation student from a family of immigrant farmworkers from the Yakima Valley. Her involvement as an Achiever Scholar in the College Success Foundation opened the door to the University of Washington for her degrees in medical anthropology and global health and Spanish, along with a minor in diversity. These degrees allowed her to further understand the systemic barriers that students face at every stage of the college application process and throughout their life as scholars and professionals.
These studies and lived experiences inspired her work in supporting first-generation, BIPOC students in gaining access to higher education. Her passion for supporting students through the YEOC program has only continued to grow as students' barriers have evolved and expanded through societal changes such as the COVID-19 pandemic, shifts in political leadership, and the emergence of new challenges in academics. With these changes, it is always students from underrepresented and underserved communities who are overlooked and undervalued, leaving them to develop an unmatched level of resilience that isn't expected of their counterparts.
Damariz is grateful for the opportunity to help guide students in harnessing this strength and energy into collaborative growth that fosters community-oriented practices and solutions. This diversity work has taught her to stay hopeful every day, because through small changes, like access to education, comes life-changing possibilities that impact students and their families. She believes that there is nothing better than shaping the future of our communities by looking after BIPOC students and encouraging them to never forget their roots, while also continuing to lift the next generation as they rise.
Lisa spent the first 15 years of her professional career in juvenile justice and the next 25 years in education policy and politics. Her first job out of college was working as a VISTA volunteer in a maximum-security correctional facility, and she finished up as the WA state Director of Democrats for Education Reform. In between, Lisa staffed cross country wagon trains and wilderness camps for adjudicated youth, worked as a juvenile court public defender, trained AmeriCorps volunteers, co-founded education advocacy organizations, sponsored statewide education initiatives, and worked on numerous city and state education campaigns. Happily retired, Lisa volunteers on Georgia’s Voter Protection Hotline, and she spends as much time as possible outside with friends and family hiking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing.
Rick worked in the software and hardware industry for over two decades. He has held various technical and leadership roles at Microsoft, Tableau and Salesforce, and holds a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Oregon. Rick now owns and operates a small business making fine musical instruments, and spends his free time traveling the Pacific Northwest.
Chief Finance Officer, YMCA of Greater Seattle
Darrell comes to College Possible Washington with more than 30 years of experience in finance and business, having held several leadership positions as an executive, business owner and entrepreneur. He is currently the Chief Finance Officer at YMCA of Greater Seattle. He was previously the Chief Finance and Administrative Officer at College Success Foundation and the Chief Operating Officer at United Way of King County. Darrell is a CPA, and holds a BA in accounting from Tennessee University and a MBA in Finance from Harvard Graduate School of Business. He currently serves as the Board Member for College Success Foundation and he is a member of College Possible Washington's Finance & Audit Committee.
Board Member since: September 2015
Dean of STEM, Rainer Prep
Tim is the Dean of STEM at Rainier Prep. Tim brings a decade of experience working in Title 1 schools and is currently a school administrator in the South Seattle community. He was previously the Director of Student Support at a public charter school in Houston, Texas and also worked in schools through the University of Washington’s Dream Project, which fueled his passion for college access work. Board member since: October 2020
Group Engineering Manager, Microsoft
Ronnie Yates has worked in the software industry for over 22 years as a software engineer, engineering manager, and engineering director. Currently, he is a Group Engineering Manager at Microsoft. Ronnie holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Loyola University of New Orleans and holds five patents in his name. Ronnie has also co-authored two books. One in the realm of technology and the other in the realm of professional leadership. Away from work, Ronnie is a total fitness junkie. He enjoys cycling, cross-training, and basketball. Ronnie also runs, but he does not enjoy it. When not involved in fitness, Ronnie loves traveling in his RV with his wife, Moya Hines-Yates, and their three children, Reagan, Ronnie III, and Ramona.
Vice President, Amazon
With Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington and an MBA from Louisiana State University, Dave has worked in manufacturing, product development, sales, and marketing for several large companies, a start-up, and a small family-owned business. Today, Dave is a Vice President at Amazon Advertising and also leads several of their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. Away from work, Dave enjoys playing pickleball, hiking, biking, golfing, skiing, and traveling with his wife, Karen.