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Jodi Nishioka, Executive Director
Jodi Nishioka (she/her) has worked for over 20 years on behalf of low-income communities, particularly women, children and immigrant/refugee communities. She started her career as an attorney advocating for immigrant domestic violence survivors and single mothers fighting for child support in legal aid organizations in Boston and Honolulu. Jodi continued her work on behalf of women and children within state and city governments in Hawaii and Seattle and later with grassroots nonprofit organizations. Jodi enjoys her work because it combines her legal skills with her dedication to building power in communities of color and low-income communities. Jodi is also on the Board of Directors of JustLead Washington and enjoys practicing yoga, golfing and spending time with her family.
Aimie Kawai, Operations & Fund Development Manager
Aimie Kawai (she/they) joined the team at the beginning of 2017. A Seattle native, Aimie brings a passion for local grassroots work and a background in youth development and nonprofit education. Aimie believes in the power of community, and that by investing in the strengths of our people, we can bring about a more just world. Aimie’s many years of work in nonprofit capacity-building has been strengthened by their experiences working with youth. Through coaching ultimate frisbee for ages ranging from six to eighteen, as well as time spent in middle school curriculum development, Aimie has learned to prioritize listening to the strengths of individuals and adapting the work to encourage leadership and opportunities for others.
Ms. Bridgette Hempstead, Capacity Building Coach
Ms. Bridgette Hempstead is the founder and Executive Director of Cierra Sisters. Bridgette’s personal, hand on coaching approach, has and is changing the lives of women across the country. Her determination to educate and empower others comes out of her own experience with breast cancer. Bridgette is a 24-year three-time breast cancer survivor and she received her diagnosis on her 35th birthday. At the time, she found no resources for African American women. Therefore, she became the solution, and Cierra Sisters, was born. Bridgette is published in several medical journal and the most recent co author in JAMA medical journal. Bridgette is an engaging and effective speaker, a songwriter, and a soul piercing singer. She is a proud mother of 3 beautiful daughters and a grandmother of 2.
Brenda Tausch Lapora, Attorney
Brenda Tausch Lapora (she/her) has a background in civil legal aid, veterans law, and assisting nonprofits with transactional matters. Brenda’s previous work includes launching the military Discharge Upgrade Clinic for the Urban Justice Center’s Veteran Advocacy Project in New York City, and representing veterans in veterans’ benefits and military discharge upgrade cases. She first started assisting low-income individuals and communities as an attorney on the Northwest Justice Project’s CLEAR legal hotline. Brenda also has experience teaching Ethiopian law students at Haramaya University, where she lived for six months. She has served on the Board of Directors of six nonprofits, and most recently served on the Seattle Globalist’s Board. Brenda is also a Senior Affiliate Instructor for the University of Washington’s Communication Leadership graduate program, and was a 2017 JustLead Washington Leadership Academy Fellow.
Brianna Jones, Capacity Building Program Coordinator
Brianna (they/them/theirs) is an organizer and creator out of Tacoma. Brianna brings a passion for liberation, true community building, and a desire to dismantle anti-Blackness to all of the work they do. In addition to the work they do here, they act as a consultant on LGBTQ+ policy development and education for multiple organizations in the Seattle/Tacoma area. They also co-organize with The People’s Assembly in Tacoma – a grassroots organization dedicated to empowering Black youth and combating anti-Blackness. Influenced by their positionality as a Queer/Trans Black person, Brianna is deeply passionate about creating affirming and empowering spaces for QTPOC to embrace themselves – while building a society that does the same. They are also passionate about music, chicken wings, and finding new ways to joke on their siblings.
Laura Rodriguez, Client Services Coordinator
Laura Rodriguez (she/her) is originally from Northern California and has a background in Humanities and Education. Laura has spent time teaching an age range that spans from young children to adults in a variety of settings and internationally. An avid traveler, Laura has spent time living in Mexico and France, and is trilingual. Laura is passionate about racial justice and upstream, systemic change. She sits on the committee of the Community Justice Program, which works locally to support youth in leadership development, understanding of structural oppression and supports their efforts to organize in their communities. Laura enjoys karaoke and can be found enjoying soup year round.
Maha Jafarey, Attorney
Maha Jafarey (she/her) has a background in commercial and intellectual property (copyrights and trademarks) related transactions. Her pro bono practice focuses on advising nonprofit organizations with respect to formation, corporate governance, federal and state compliance and representing juveniles seeking asylum in immigration court.
Mary Meng, Accountant
Mary Meng (she/her) has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, and over 10 years of non-profit accounting experiences. She is passionate about volunteering in local communities, whether that be through local elementary schools or non-profit organizations. When not working, Mary enjoys traveling, hiking, eating, and spending time with families and friends.
Sarah Baker, Program Manager
Sarah Baker (she/her) is a graduate of North Seattle College with a BA in international business, she is considering continuing her education in Seattle with an MPA. A native Seattleite, Sarah has a breadth of experience within the local nonprofit realm. Starting as a young volunteer for organizations like Team Survivor Northwest and Jet City Improv, her passion for social justice and community building have led her to continue pursuing a career in equity and advocacy. Sarah is a firm believer in supporting grassroots organizations, communities of color, and the disenfranchised. Sarah is also on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the United States’ oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization. She enjoys dancing, volunteering, and cats.
Y.M. Chan, Director of Financial Services
Yiu M. Chan (he/him) MBA, CPA, FCCA, is NAC’s Director of Financial Services joined the team in 2005. He has extensive accounting and auditing experience, including more than 20 years of serving nonprofit organizations in the local community. Mr. Chan received his MBA from Seattle University. He is a member of the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants and a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the United Kingdom.