Karen’s role as Executive Director is to plan and execute the overall strategic and operational responsibility for ANEW’s staff, programs, expansion and execution of its mission. Karen comes to ANEW from Montana where she led programs and advocated for policies focused on building economic security for all. Karen is a dedicated servant leader and has a passion for social justice issues. Karen is committed to developing collaborative partnerships resulting in systemic change. Throughout her career, she has utilized her entrepreneurial spirit and skills to create and implement new and innovative programs aimed at moving people toward family wage jobs. Karen is also a published author and when not serving her community, Karen likes to spend time on the beach, and she counts her three children are her proudest accomplishments.
Kerstin Torrescano, Director of Operations
Kerstin comes to ANEW as a Seattle born native where she attended the University of Washington and received her BA in social work and then continued on to receive her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Kentucky. Kerstin likes working in non-profit because she has a devoted drive to provide opportunities for her students to learn and create pathways for them to change their lives. Kerstin says, “Celebrating ALL the successes students have, no matter what they are doing in programming, is the best part of my job and inspires me.” Coming from Seattle’s YouthBuild Program she brings experience in innovative program development and best practices for program quality. Kerstin was a local high school and college athlete who now enjoys coaching girls AAU basketball in the local area. In her spare time she likes to read, hike, play basketball, and listen to lots and lots of music!
Dee Jackson, Director of Programs
Dee has spent the last decade and a half working for the Seattle Public, an Independent School, and nonprofits that partnership with School Districts such as Community Learning Centers and YMCAs. Dee has worked as a Behavioral Specialist and Program Director for various nonprofits and the Public-School District. She was born and raised in Seattle and lived on the East Coast, while being a college athlete, where she earned a degree in Child Psychology. Dee also earned a Child Developments Associates and Extended Education Certificate from the University of Washington. Dee has 14 nieces and nephews with whom she loves to spend time and go on adventures.
Denise Nicole’ Johnson, Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Denise attended Highline College, receiving her Associate Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She completed Professional Education training in Race, Equity, and Leadership in Schools at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before joining ANEW, Denise worked in workforce development as the Career & Education Navigator for Port Jobs’ Airport Jobs and Airport University Programs. Her generosity to participants, contributions to institutional practices and reforms, and the ability to spearhead, sustain and cultivate community partnerships are unparalleled. She has the relentless drive as a former lead race and equity champion for the Annie E. Casey Funded Generation Work initiative.
Denise is a graduate of ANEW’s TRP Program and became a Cement Mason Apprentice with Local 528. She continued her education at Arcade Wayfinding, where she received a certificate in Project Management in Construction and found her way back to ANEW as the Apprenticeship Opportunities Project (AOP) Program Manager. Denise exhibits her strong academic, community-building, and workforce development skills. She is one of the rare professionals that enrich the lives of those who receive, manage, administer, and fund services and the institutions that exist to support these efforts.
Roxane Blevens, Operations Assistant
Roxane received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and has been with ANEW since 2017. Prior to joining the ANEW team, Roxane worked as the Operations Manager for a men’s clothing store for 7 years. Most recently, she worked in client collections for an IT solutions company because it brought her closer to home. However, she quickly realized that she missed working with such a variety of people every day and found what she missed when she came on board with ANEW. Roxane is married to a union painter and has a son and a daughter, both of whom keep her very busy! In her free time, she enjoys watching the Seahawks, trying new recipes, and exploring the Pacific Northwest.
David Watkins, Grant Writer
As the resident grant writer, David responds to funding solicitations from local businesses, family and corporate foundations, and government entities to support ANEW’s programming. Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, he earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 2012 before spending five years in Houston in various fundraising roles for non-profit organizations. In his off hours, David enjoys watching football and baseball (Go 49ers and SF Giants!), making people groan at his jokes, and taste-testing salsas that may cause him to blackout. Embodying many classic writer stereotypes, David avoids going outdoors and socializing whenever possible.
Bo Barrett, Lead Training Instructor
Bo was born and raised in Spanaway, Washington. He is a member of the Laborers Union Local 242 and worked for 5 years doing Demolition and Hazardous Waste removal. In his free time, Bo enjoys playing/watching sports as well as spending time with his best friend and daughter, Mia. Bo is excited to be a part of the ANEW team to help give others an opportunity to find their passion in the construction industry.
Ryan Rogers, Trades Rotation Program (TRP) Program Manager
Ryan graduated from St. Martins University with B.A. in Social Work in 2015. He previously worked for 3 years at Neighborhood House as a Lead Employment Specialist for the Resources to Initiate Successful Employment (RISE) Program and assisted high-barrier individuals whom needed soft skills/job readiness training, and support services to obtain successful employment. Before Neighborhood House, Ryan interned as a youth counselor for Haven House a 12-18 run-away at-risk youth shelter and the Boys and Girls club. Ryan is a former athlete and coaches High School basketball. When he’s not working, he has a 1-year old Bull Mastiff to take to dog parks and on truck rides. He also enjoys camping and floating rivers in the summers, reading, working out, working on house projects, traveling with friends, and listening to different podcasts on long commutes to/from work.
Grace Lindsley, Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Education (PACE) Program Manager
A Pacific Northwest native, Grace grew up in Olympia, WA. She attended Central Washington University to study linguists and writing. She went on to work in communications. In 2020, Grace joined the ANEW Trades Rotation Program as a pre-apprentice. The experience had a profound positive impact on her, despite her decision to not pursue a career in the trades. Not long after, Grace returned as a program manager to help new pre-apprentices find strength, confidence, and upward mobility. She wholeheartedly believes in the mission and life changing opportunities ANEW has to offer.
Michelle Layne, Instructor
Michelle is an Indiana-native and proud Navy Veteran. As a member of the Laborers Union Local 242, she has worked 6 years doing intensive laboring skills, as expected. Michelle is a mother of two children and has two grandchildren. She enjoys taking care of her farm animals and spending time with her family in her spare time. Michelle is ecstatic to be a part of the ANEW program to give her experiences, knowledge and passion as a woman in the construction industry.
Chris ‘CJ’ Cruz, Instructor
CJ was born in Long Beach, CA and raised in Spanaway, WA. He’s been apart of the Laborers Union Local 242 for 7 years. Also has been head coach for tackle football for 8 Years. He has a beautiful wife of 7 years, and 3 wonderful children. On CJ’s free time he likes to participate in outdoor activities (camping, fishing, lake/river days), traveling, group gatherings, projects around his house, coaching, watching professional sports, and watching his children compete in many sports. CJ is very excited to be part of the ANEW program to give youth and adults the chance and knowledge to be part of the construction world that he was blessed to be apart of.
Jasmine Maisonet, Marketing & Outreach Manager
Jasmine was born and raised in New York and received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a highly-creative, multi-faceted Designer with 10+ years of professional experience in digital and print design, as well as photography, marketing, and branding. Jasmine has a passion for building community, especially for those who have been marginalized, and is excited to dive into the non-profit world and join the ANEW team. In her free time, Jasmine runs a hiking group called QPOC Hikers, which exists to connect queer people of color with hiking and the outdoors by creating space to share stories and experiences, increasing visibility, representation, and awareness, and organizing opportunities for learning and growth. She loves spending time with her family and fur-babies.
DeAunte’ Damper, Outreach Specialist
Born in Seattle, WA, DeAunte’ has focused his work on bringing HIV awareness and LGBTQ-affirming education to marginalized communities throughout the City of Seattle. This started through his non-profit work at POCAAN as a Peer Navigator. Damper also partnered with the Department of Health to teach cultural humility classes to healthcare workers in the State of Washington and nationally. In 2019, Damper became a Transitional Specialist for the WA State Department of Corrections as well as Rainier Beach High School’s Black Student Union Advisor. Damper started a support group for young men of color called Blacks Recovering Overcoming Trauma Health and Awareness (B.R.O.T.H.A.). He is currently the VP of WA Therapy Fund, the Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Commissions office for the City of Seattle and newly appointed Chair of Black Lives Matter Seattle King County.
Venus Dean-Bullinger, Youth Exploration Program Coordinator
Venus has worked in Customer Service, Account Management, and health insurance brokerage for over 30 years. She has volunteered with many local non-profits to include Tacoma Peirce County Chamber of Commerce (Westend board member), HopeSparks, Tacoma’s Hilltop/Housing Authority Design The Hill and Tacoma Communities in Schools as a board member. With her passion for volunteerism and education, she also worked with the new SOAR Academy as their Enrollment Team Coordinator. She left the brokerage world 3 years ago and transitioned to her dream job as an Employment Case Manager with the Tacoma Training to Employment Program at Sound Outreach. As an Employment Case Manager, she worked with the pre-apprenticeship cohorts at Bates Tech to remove barriers so that they may successfully complete their courses and move into an apprenticeship program or a living wage position here in the Puget Sound.
Today she builds relationships between our local high school’s Vocational Rehabilitation departments to allowing students the ability to explore the building trades in hopes of preparing them for our pre-apprenticeship programs. She has been married for over 30 years and has two adult children. In her spare time, she and her family love cooking, entertaining, and taking trips to new and exciting places.
Halley Shriber, Apprenticeship Navigator (Western WA)
Halley has spent the past twenty years working alongside communities supporting advancement through collaborative engagement and person-centered care. Her intrigue with how macro-systems affect demographic populations led to a BA in Sociology and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. After spending much of her life in Massachusetts, she felt called to the west coast and set her sights on the lush Pacific Northwest. Her passion with civic engagement through the lens of social equity followed.
She Apprenticed with GROW Whidbey; learning how to support the community by growing food for their food bank and teaching garden education to K-12 students. She quickly fell in love with nature and the food sovereignty movement. As the Community Outreach Coordinator VISTA for Rainier Valley Food Bank, Halley grew her understanding of policies that shaped food systems. She leveraged the Food Bank’s role as a central hub to run programs, share community resources, collaborate with local schools and organizations as well as improve food security. With the community’s input, she created a proposal for RVFB’s first ever Advisory Council. Her advocacy led to her working as a Wraparound Care Coordinator in rural Oregon. She assisted youth and families with navigating multiple service providers through trauma informed care and strengths-based approaches. She is excited to join ANEW and continue to build resilience, expand compassion, and increase opportunities for youth. When not at work, Halley can be found dancing, playing with her four-legged companion, Kaia, hula hooping, cooking, and enjoying nature.
Faith Tindi, RISE Up Business Manager
Faith comes to ANEW as a Bcom graduate, with deep expertise in business strategy, people management and organization development. Tindi is a thought leader promoting diversity initiatives, and is responsible for designing programs to retain, develop, and advance diverse professionals. Tindi believes Family is the most important currency you can have and her biggest motivation comes from her son.
Simone Bullinger, Project Specialist
Simone comes to ANEW with 5 years of experience in WorkForce Development, most recently as an Employment Practitioner for Career Path Services, co-located at South King County DSHS. As a bi-racial woman who has served the populations in both Pierce and King County for over a decade, she founds her work upon the belief in empowering the disadvantaged and socially marginalized. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from the University of Washington and will soon complete her Masters in Counseling Psychology at Bastyr University. She has worked in social services on both the community and state levels. She is passionate about Women’s rights, queer and gender rights, and equity within the POC community. As a result of her rich cultural background she is committed to continuing to promote intersectionality and inclusion in her work. During her free-time she enjoys spending time with her family, particularly her nieces and nephews. She enjoys the ocean (when seasonally applicable of course) and is deeply passionate about travel.