|Mark Thomas – Board chair|
|Mark Thomas was born in Brazil and has lived in Seattle since 1996. He has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a concentration in arts from Hamilton College and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Hartford. He is currently the general manager of the real estate group Pompe Demour Holdings, LLC. Mark and his wife first got involved with WestSide Baby 10 years ago when he began donating extra children’s clothes, and Mark joined the Board of Directors in January 2015 to continue helping children and babies improve their quality of life. “It’s nice having that safety net WestSide Baby provides.”|
|Becky Bicknell – Board Treasurer|
|Becky is a mom of two and works as a Real Estate Development Program Manager at the local nonprofit Bellwether Housing. She has done a tour of the west coast, hailing from Denver, CO with an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University and Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Colorado. She has lived in Seattle for 13 years and loves raising a family in West Seattle. Becky says: “After becoming a parent, I realized how challenging it is to manage all the needs of babies and children, and was excited to donate my time to West Side Baby to support struggling families around King County.”|
|Shannon Braddock grew up in Bellingham, Washington and has been a resident of Seattle for 18 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Evan’s School at the University of Washington. She currently works as King County Councilmember Joe McDermott’s Chief of Staff. She provides policy analysis, serves as lead staff for Budget – Councilmember McDermott serves as Chair of the Budget Committee – she coordinates and manages the legislative agenda for District 8, manages policy and administrative staff, and directs constituent relations. She has been involved with WestSide Baby as a donor for several years and joined the Board of Directors in January 2015. She learned of the work of WestSide Baby when she was on the Board of Directors of the West Seattle Food Bank. As a mother of three children, she understands the challenges of raising babies and young children. She has a wonderful support network, and the realities of what it would be like to face being a parent without even the most basic of items like diapers and car seats is so daunting. “I am proud of the work WestSide Baby does to provide our neighbors the support they need by getting children essential items such as diapers. No parent should have to choose between food or rent and clean diapers or a safe car seat for their child. I am thankful that WestSide Baby does the work to fill this gap for families.”|
|Melissa Garcia was born and raised in Bellevue, Washington. She is mom to Olivia (3 1/2) and has been married to her husband Kemp for almost 6 years, they currently reside in Burien. After spending 15 years in healthcare she wanted to try something new and found herself working in software/technology and hasn’t looked back. Currently she works at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the IT team and loves giving back and supporting the mission of the Foundation, “All Lives have equal value”. Melissa was introduced to WestSide Baby through some friends 8 years ago and has been a supporter and volunteer since then. When Kemp and Melissa’s daughter was born 2 months early and spent 6 weeks in the hospital, they saw first hand the struggles some of the other mothers had to endure to find the basic necessities for their babies. They weren’t able to visit the NICU daily because they needed to work to put food on the table and purchase a car seat to be able to take their baby home. Melissa was honored and excited to join the board in January of 2017. In her spare time Melissa is active in Olivia’s parents association at her preschool, enjoys crafting, entertaining friends and family and is a foodie at heart.|
|Chip Hellar is a principal at Lake Partners Strategy Consultants, a boutique strategy consulting firm in downtown Seattle. He has direct experience in a number of industries including High Tech, Financial Services, Biotech & Health Care focusing on sales, marketing & operational improvements. Chip graduated cum laude from Harvard College, with a concentration in political science and economics. Staying in the Boston area after college, Chip became a Principal at Treacy & Company, a consulting and venture capital firm. He then moved on to become a member of the executive team at BDC Financial, a start-up in the private equity space which was later acquired by Bear Sterns. In 2002, Chip made the move back to his native Washington, where he enjoys the winter ski season and spending time with his two daughters, Marisol and Paloma. Chip has been a supporter and volunteer for WestSide Baby’s outreach programs and Diaper Drives since 2006, serves on the Growing Up, Reaching Out Capital Campaign, and has provided pro-bono consulting services to the organization. Chip is proud to continue to offer his time and services to the board.|
|Amy Nelson is the co-founder and CEO of The Riveter, collaborative spaces for women, work and wellness on the West Coast. Amy is also the mother to two adventurous daughters, Sloane and Reese. Prior to founding The Riveter, Amy worked on strengthening democratic processes in Latin America and Ethiopia with The Carter Center, practiced corporate litigation for over a decade in New York City and Seattle, competed in marathons and triathlons, and helped to build Gen44, a national political fundraising organization for young Americans to support Barack Obama from the ground up. She earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in International Studies at Emory University and a Juris Doctorate from the New York University School of Law.|
Phyllis was born and raised in Petoskey, Michigan and then moved to Seattle in 1991. Upon graduating from Grand Valley State University, Phyllis started her career in public accounting, working for BDO Seidman and Deloitte for ten years performing financial statement audits and providing consulting services. Phyllis has spent the last twelve years in various leadership roles at several local banks. She currently serves as Fund Controller for Kosmos Management in downtown Seattle. Wanting to help make a lasting impact for families in our community, Phyllis joined the WestSide Baby Finance Committee in June 2009 and the Board of Directors in September 2011. Since 1996, Phyllis and her husband, Jeff, have called West Seattle home.
|Liz Overland is currently a stay at home mom with three kids: Sam, 2, Grace, 4 and Jack, 6. Until last year she worked first as a classroom teacher and then later as a teaching coach and educational consultant. She owns her own business, which she has put on hold indefinitely. Once she had Sam she realized she couldn’t swing working and raising her kids the way she wanted to.She joined the WestSide Baby Board because she strongly believes that all babies deserve the very best. Her first son was born 2 months early and she spent 14 hours a day in the NICU for almost eight weeks. She was witness to some very sad situations- babies with no parents, drug-addicted babies, mothers who could barely make it to visit their newborns because they worked two jobs and lived miles from the hospital with no car. These babies were victims. Many of these families were as well.”I believe that what we do at WestSide Baby makes a difference in the lives of babies and families like those I got to know in the NICU. In our city, where there is so much economic inequality, she believes WestSide Baby’s mission is essential. I am proud to be a part of it.”|
|Jodi Ryznar -Vice Chair|
|Jodi is the Director of Human Resources at Valley Cities Behavioral Health, one of WestSide Baby’s partner agencies that offers mental health options primarily to those living at or near the poverty line. Mental health challenges often contribute to economic instability, and Jodi feels fortunate to be involved in two agencies that partner together to make a huge difference in someone’s life. She is PHR certified and earned her master’s degree in Human Resource Management in 2005, and she has called West Seattle home since 1998! After having her son in 2010, Jodi joined the Board of Directors to be more active in her community by partnering with an agency that makes a difference in the lives of youth and families. “It’s hard raising a baby and it’s even harder if you have difficulty getting the basics you need. I am constantly in awe of what WestSide Baby does for families in need!”|
|Joined in July 2014
(biographical information coming soon)
|Katie Ryan Strimban|
|Katie Ryan Strimban was born and raised in Charleston, SC and lived up and down the I-95 corridor before getting the call from Starbucks, where she has been ecstatic to call herself a Starbucks Partner working in marketing and business development since 2010. In addition to falling for Starbucks, Katie and her family fell in love with Seattle. Katie was looking to give back to the community they now consider home where she feels fortunate to raise her daughter Ella (8) with her husband of 15 years, Michael.
During last year’s Communitea, Katie was both gratified and impressed by the discipline and vision that Nancy and the team shared. Thru research and deeper understanding that WSB’s focus is without doubt paying off to serve those most vulnerable in King County, Katie was honored to join the Board in the Summer of 2016 to assist in achieving the mission.
|Beth Wright – Secretary
|Beth Wright has lived in the Seattle area since 1992 and in West Seattle since 2003. She was immediately drawn to WestSide Baby as an organization that provides critical supplies to local children with generous help from other local families, amazing volunteers and supportive business partners. Beth joined the WestSide Baby board in 2013 and looks forward to helping the organization grow and thrive to provide necessities for even more families across King County. Beth spends her days at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she is a manager on the Human Resources team. She led compensation, benefits and human resources operations functions at Washington Mutual and REI prior to returning to Towers Watson. Beth earned a B.A. in Government from Pomona College and an M.S. in Finance from Seattle University. Beth also volunteers with the Youth Tutoring Program, Admiral Neighborhood Association, and Pomona College.|