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2023 Leadership Fellows

2023 Leadership Fellows 5

Rachid Erekaini is a product analyst at Meta and is passionate about giving back to his community. He is a first-generation immigrant and proud graduate of LWSD public schools. Outside of working in tech, Rachid serves as a Human Services Commissioner for the City of Redmond. In this role, he works with other commissioners to advise the Redmond Mayor and City Council on issues related to human services, as well as make specific funding recommendations for the city’s multi-million-dollar human services budget. Additionally, he also currently serves on the Executive Board of the Young Democrats of Washington and has worked on successful electoral campaigns at the local and state legislative levels. Previously, Rachid interned in Governor Inslee’s Policy Office and worked as an aide in the State Senate in Olympia. He holds a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Economics from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Rachid is an avid traveler and history geek. The highlight of his travels so far was spending five months studying abroad in Istanbul, Turkey during college. When not traveling or working, Rachid can be found enjoying some of East King County’s many scenic trails and hikes.

Zachary Freeman is a research analyst at the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC), a non-partisan agency dedicated making state government more effective and accountable. At JLARC, Zack leads studies on a wide range of topics, including state budgeting, regional transportation, and paid family leave. Zack was born and raised in Seattle and earned his Master of International Public Policy from Stanford University. He enjoys spending time with his kids, running throughout Seattle, and, despite it all, watching the Mariners.

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Max Gasteen

Max is currently Senior Program Officer Leadership Advising, helping to shape the advocacy and policy priorities of Melinda French Gates in her role as Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, Max was the Director of Partnerships and Business Development at Global Access Diagnostics (GADx), a social enterprise dedicated to increasing access to diagnostics for neglected health issues and for underserved populations. Max has also spent a number of years as a grant maker in the Global Policy and Advocacy division of BMGF, responsible for securing political and financial support for foundation priorities, including eradicating polio and eliminating neglected tropical diseases. Prior to that, he worked for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on improving the use of evidence across global development programs and as a policy officer on the UK’s largest bilateral aid program to Pakistan. Max loves to be outside in all seasons and is grateful for the amazing natural beauty that surrounds us in our region. Originally from the UK and with roots in France, Max now lives in Seattle with his wife, two kids and growing menagerie of pets that includes a rabbit, a dog and snake. At the time of writing, no pets had eaten each other.

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Shea Hamilton will return to state government next month (September 2022) as the Senior Budget Advisor for Education at the Office of Financial Management. Prior to this role, she served as the Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Independent Colleges of Washington and, prior to that, as the Assistant Director of Research at the Washington Student Achievement Council. Shea earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in educational psychology from The Ohio State University and completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at DePaul University. She has over 15 years educational advocacy and research experience and is proud to serve on the Washington Women in Need (WWIN) Board of Directors. In her spare time, Shea enjoys knitting, video games, and exploring Seattle with her spouse, Charles.

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Sydney Holman is a K-12 educational consultant with a focus on family & community engagement practices, as well as a mother to two hilarious kids. Prior to her independent work, she most recently was the program manager for Family Partnerships & Engagement at the Seattle Public School District, and before that worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in both the global health and domestic education divisions. She believes systems-level change can only occur by centering and following the expertise and cultural wealth of our communities and seeks work that challenges institutional dynamics of power and inequity, leading to solidarities grounded in trust and reciprocity. She holds a Masters degree in Education Policy & Management and finds her favorite way to learn is in community. Sydney has lived in Seattle for 18 years and in her free time eats dim sum in Seattle’s CID and loses at backgammon to her seven-year-old daughter.

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Penny Lipsou  is a social worker who serves as the Government Relations Manager for King County’s Department of Community and Human Services.  Her experiences in direct service and community organizing inform her approaches to policy and systems change. Previously, she served as the Washington State Director for the American Heart Association and as a legislative assistant in the Washington State House of Representatives. She works closely on affordable housing and homelessness policies, behavioral health and health care. Penny is passionate about equitable access and opportunity – she regularly gives presentations, facilitates workshops, and speaks on panels about the legislative process and ways to advocate effectively.  For her work in public health policy, she received S.E. Seattle’s Prevention, Education and Action for Community Empowerment Coalition’s 206 Rising Award for ‘Excellence in Prevention’.  In her spare time, she likes to bake desserts, go on long walks with her two dogs, and share space with loved ones.

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Christina McHugh is the Housing and Adult Services Evaluation Manager at King County’s Department of Community and Human Services. As a social science researcher, she is dedicated to undoing inequities and helping communities thrive by improving social programs. In her current role, Christina leads performance measurement and evaluation teams supporting King County’s Housing, Homelessness, and Community Development Division and start-up of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, King County’s Adult Services Division including implementation of the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy, as well as federally funded COVID-19 response programs including the Eviction Prevention & Rental Assistance Program. She has more than a decade of experience conducting mixed methods evaluations of social programs. Prior to joining King County, she studied cash, food, and child care assistance programs at the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. As a consultant with ICF, she led evaluations of workforce development programs funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and various non-profit organizations and foundations. Christina holds a Master of Public Policy and Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Marina Sebright is the Data & Analytics Manager for King County’s Department of Executive Services, where she works to infuse strategic and operational priorities with a data-informed perspective. While she began her career in private sector financial services, Marina has worked in the public sector for the last 6 years. Her roles and specializations have varied but include performance metrics and management, process improvement, consulting for state and local government and higher education, business analysis, and data visualization. Channeling creativity and optimism into a passion for public administration, Marina envisions a pragmatic, values-based, and stewardship-oriented future that has a positive impact on the community’s day-to-day interactions with government. Born and raised in King County, she holds a dual degree in Economics-Accounting and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Claremont McKenna College. Marina enjoys playing tennis at her local Seattle Parks facilities as well as board games with her husband, family, and friends. She is a proud owner of the world’s most energetic golden retriever, Barley. 

2023 Leadership Fellows

Douglas Wagoner served Washington State as Director of Communications for U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02), Deputy Press Secretary/Digital Media Manager for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Communications Lead for the Washington State Department of Health’s Office of Healthy and Safe Communities. Before returning home to Seattle, Douglas also worked as a Field Organizer for the Los Angeles LGBT Center and on a campaign to stop a statewide ban on same sex marriage in Minnesota. Today, Douglas lives in West Seattle and serves as Deputy Director of Communications for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and a Commissioner on Seattle’s Community Police Commission, roles in which he advances his passion of improving outcomes and decreasing harm in the criminal justice system. In June of 2022, Douglas graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington, and he remains active in his local community, including serving on the Board of Directors of the West Seattle Food Bank.