Board of Directors
Kristin Elia, Chair, is the State Affiliate Political Organizer (SAPO) for AFT Washington. She is responsible for directing AFT's political advocacy program and working with members to engage in important education and labor issues. Prior to joining AFT Washington, Kristin was the Organizing Director at Fuse Washington where she helped to build and mobilize political activists around progressive issues.
Kristin is an East Coast native, growing up on the sandy shores of New Jersey and the rocky coast of Maine. After graduating college in 2005, with bright eyes and energy, she dove into environmental advocacy and community organizing work with New Jersey PIRG at Rutgers University and then Environment America in Washington, D.C. In 2010, Kristin answered the West's call and ventured to Seattle, where she fell in love with the rain, the coffee, and that very large mountain to the south. When Kristin isn't working hard for quality education, you can find her hiking or snowshoeing and rooting on the Boston Red Sox.
Adam Glickman, Vice-Chair, is Director of Public Affairs for SEIU Healthcare 775NW, the long-term care workers union representing 30,000 home care and nursing home workers in Washington and Montana. As director of Public Affairs he oversees SEIU Healthcare 775NW's political, legislative, community outreach, and media relations work. Adam grew up on the East Coast and became involved in labor and other social justice work while at Wesleyan University. After graduating, he worked in New York doing communications and political work, including as the Communications Director for New York's Working Families Party. He has two wonderful children - Micah and Asher.
Ruth Lipscomb, Secretary-Treasurer, is a community activist and volunteer. She grew up in Oregon and after college came to Washington to work as a software engineer. Ruth is a founding board member of the Progress Alliance of Washington and is a trustee of Sightline Institute. In her spare time she gardens, fosters kittens, travels and tries to find time to exercise and read.
Aiko Schaefer, At-Large Office, is a faculty member at the University of Washington graduate school of Social Work where she teaches public policy and non-profit management courses.
Aiko also brings varied expertise and experience together as a strategic consultant to non-profits, foundations, government programs and political campaigns. One of her more notable projects involved initiating and coordinating Front & Centered, a coalition of communities of color coming together to shape state climate change policies.
Aiko has run large-scale multi-state campaigns with deep roots in marginalized communities. Prior to Aiko's work in the Pacific NW, she worked across the US directing and developing state and national environmental campaigns and played leading roles on partisan campaigns at the state and congressional levels.
Suone Cotner, Secretary-Treasurer lived in Washington DC for ten years prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1983. Once here, Cotner served as President of the Mt. Baker Group, a fundraising and public affairs consulting company. As a consultant for 14 years, Cotner advised clients on fundraising strategy, and designed and supervised the implementation of both short term and long term fundraising plans to raise between $250,000 and $12 million. In 1997, she joined the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, now the Washington State Association for Justice, which represents attorneys and professionals in the legal field committed to champion the cause of those who deserve redress for injury to person, property or civil rights. As the Development Director and now Deputy Director, she is responsible for the organization's major donor and special project fundraising efforts.
Becky Lewis, is a grassroots volunteer, organizer and Democratic Party committeewoman, on the Eastside, primarily in the 48th Legislative District. She grew up in Indiana and New Mexico and then went on to college at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. At that time, 1968, she became active in national politics volunteering for several presidential campaigns. In the interim between the early 1970's and the 1990's, she studied for her Master's in early childhood education and became a preschool teacher/director in the Boston area. After she moved to Washington State with her family in 1998, she began again to work on political and issue campaigns, as well as directing a preschool program. Her other interests include hiking, camping, traveling and making ceramics at the Kirkland Arts Center.
Kurt Guenther has helped clients reach the audiences they want with the messages they need to get results for more than 20 years. Known for his enthusiasm and openness to new ideas, Kurt combines research with savvy about people in his broadcast, print, Internet, and overall strategy work. Health, education, conservation, women's rights, workers' rights, freedom of speech, national service, new sciences and world relief & development are among issues Kurt has worked with clients to promote, as well as Presidential, Senate and Gubernatorial candidates. Kurt is a founder of doingsomething, an all-volunteer network featured in the national media, two-term member of the Partner Board at his children's public school, chair of communications for the board of the Washington Environmental Council, and a baseball/swimming/soccer dad. Kurt attended Occidental College and Boston University, where he graduated summa cum laude from the School of Public Communication with graduate work in advocacy. He lives with his wife, two children and a nice dog named Ty in Seattle.
Jeff Hansen is a marketing professional and business strategist currently working for Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer where he leads the company's brand strategy function. In over 20 years at Microsoft Jeff has developed a deep and diverse set of skills across a range professions including human resources, advertising, brand and image management, market research, marketing communications, PR and crisis management, product management, and leading the company's "marketing profession excellence" function. Prior to rejoining the central marketing group, Jeff spent five years working for Microsoft's "Chief Software Architect", where he was focused on helping implement advanced technologies and computing scenarios that are critical to the company's long term success.
Jeff is a Seattle native. He had a decade long hiatus in Oregon during which he graduated from the University of Oregon with honors in Psychology and Sociology. Jeff returned to Seattle in 1991 having a short career in the legal profession before joining Microsoft later that year. Jeff currently resides in Bellevue with his wife and two boys. He is currently past President of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, a member of the U of O regional council, a Social Venture Partner, and a frequent guest speaker at various universities.
Candace Inagi brings over two decades of experience in elections, organizing, fundraising and lobbying on issues such as environment/environmental justice, labor, immigrant rights, and long term care issues. A Los Angeles native, she moved to Seattle in 2002 to join a core team organizing to win a new union, SEIU 775NW, now a union of 30,000 home care and nursing home workers. Since then, she has managed field and provided fundraising support for Dow Constantine for King County Executive, Bob Ferguson for KC Council, Mike McGinn for Mayor, and served as OneAmerica's Deputy Director helping to build a year round civic engagement and new citizen voter education campaign across immigrant communities. Most recently, she served as Senior Advisor for External Affairs for Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, and now works as Development Director for Asian Counseling and Referral Service.
She helped found CT League of Conservation Voters and served on the boards of LA Center for Law & Justice, Communities for a Better Environment, the Environmental Justice Resource Center, Liberty Hill Foundation Environmental Justice Fund, OneAmerica, JACL–Seattle, and Asian Pacific Americans for Civic Engagement (APACE).
Phyllis Izant is a former major gifts fundraiser in higher education. She moved to University Place, Washington in 2000 after a development career with Kent School in Kent, Connecticut and Purdue University. Since arriving in Washington State, she has volunteered her time with various local organizations with missions that match her progressive values, serving on the boards of the YWCA Pierce County, the Tacoma Art Museum, and Community Health Care. She also serves on the Board of Advocates for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. She is a member of the Tacoma Branch of AAUW and serves as Treasurer and College Relations liaison for the branch.
Adriane Leithauser is a lifelong Spokane resident, and holds a BA and MA in Philosophy along with an MBA from Gonzaga University. As a Professor of Business Ethics at Gonzaga University she enjoys developing future leaders who will shape and serve their communities. Adriane represents Fuse as the co-chair of the Spokane Alliance Public Safety Committee and the statewide planning team for the Building a Better Washington Campaign while also playing a lead role in our work on mental health and criminal justice reform and reforming the state budget and tax system.
Adriane loves to run and is a long time member of the Inland Empire Blues Society. She and her husband, Brian, are avid pool players and host an annual Kentucky Derby party fundraiser for race horse rescue.
Tom Miller is a retired professional software developer who worked at Digital Equipment Corporation and worked at Microsoft between 1989 until 2012. He is an expert in file systems and storage, and was a key developer of Microsoft Windows NT.
Mr. Miller enjoys skiing, sailing, hiking and traveling with his wife and two sons. He has been an avid supporter of Save the Children for about 30 years, and has visited programs in Azerbaijan and Georgia, Myanmar (Burma), Malawi, Bhutan and the United States. He has participated in a Jimmy Carter Habitat for the Humanities build in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and another Habitat build in Guatemala. His humanitarian priorities are the chief fuel for his passion for progressive politics!
Dean Nielsen is principal of Cerillion N4 Partners, a political consulting and government relations firm where he works for political, non-profit, union and corporate clients in Washington State, across the country and around the world. Formerly, he was National Political Director for Progressive Majority, where he and his staff recruited, trained and elected more than 1,000 progressive champions. Dean is a career politico, having worked in various capacities on more than 250 campaigns throughout the Western United States and Eastern Europe starting with Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. His lengthy client list includes Governor Gary Locke (WA), Solidarity Party (Poland), the Gore/Lieberman Campaign, as well as issue campaigns for groups such as EMILY's List, National Education Association, Wellstone Action!, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, SEIU, Harborview Hospital, PCCC and the Democratic Party in several states. In addition to campaigns, he helped build and expand a grassroots and grasstops lobbying program for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, conceived and launched the Institute for a Democratic Future, did qualitative research for several casinos in Las Vegas, managed a crisis communications project for a Fortune 500 company and does a variety of projects for several clean energy companies.
Lara Sanderson is the Co-founder and Principal at Sanderson Ventures. She has over fifteen years of experience in nonprofit organizations, private industry and political organizing. Lara has worked on a variety of issue initiatives and political campaigns in research, writing, communications, marketing, fund development, government relations and community affairs.
In 2006, Lara was identified as an emerging young American leader and awarded an American Marshall Memorial Fellowship. After working as a lobbyist for higher education, Lara left politics and government affairs to found Sanderson Ventures, an alternative venture capital company. She holds a BA in Political Science from Seattle University
Lily Wilson-Codega is the Political Director of Teamsters Joint Council 28, the parent body of twelve Teamster Locals representing approximately 56,000 Union members across Washington State, Alaska, and northern Idaho.Before joining Joint Council 28, Wilson-Codega was the Political Action Coordinator for Teamsters Local 117, where she organized statewide political action committees, mobilized thousands of Union members to attend lobbying events in Olympia, and coordinated the organization's political endorsement process. Wilson-Codega also worked on Seattle's paid sick leave ordinance at the Economic Opportunity Institute, and she coordinated the political program at the ML King County Labor Council for several years.