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Board of Directors

Solid Ground Board of Directors, May 2014

Board President Cristin Kent Aragon 
Vice President  Justin Hellier
Treasurer
 Alain J. Dias

Secretary  Sean Green

Members
John Babauta ~ Thomas Bates ~ Jon Clarke 
D'Adre Cunningham
 ~ Heidi Eisenstein ~ Nathan Garnett  
Ajay Kamath ~ Anne Kysar ~
Lauren E. McGowan 
Janel Ostrem ~ Greg Proulx ~ Shannon Rae
Christopher M. Villiers ~ Wendy Werblin
~ Sherry Williams

Board Member Bios

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Cristin Kent Aragon

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 Cristin Kent, Solid Ground Board
Cristin Kent Aragon
 is an attorney at Yarmuth Wilsdon PLLC. Her practice focuses on civil litigation in a variety of legal areas, including employment, contract and business disputes. Before joining Yarmuth, Cristin was an attorney in the labor and employment group at K&L Gates LLP. Cristin has devoted much of her practice to pro bono work, including providing advice to nonprofit organizations, representing an individual seeking asylum, and representing individuals seeking redress for discriminatory treatment. Cristin earned a BA in Political Science from Western Washington University and a JD from Seattle University School of Law.

John Babauta

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 John Babauta, Solid Ground Board

John Babauta joined the Solid Ground Board of Directors in 2013 and works as a financial professional at the Crown Hill location of HomeStreet Bank. He currently holds FINRA series 6 and 63 registrations in addition to life/health insurance licenses in Washington. During his eight-year career at HomeStreet, he has held various positions from supervisory roles to investment services and retirement needs analysis. When he’s not working on client transactions, you’ll find him planting seeds and pulling weeds at the branch-sponsored community garden. He is passionate about serving his community with an emphasis on low- to moderate-income families and their needs. Outside of volunteering his time to local organizations, John enjoys the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest with his family and friends.

Thomas Bates

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Thomas Bates is a federal prosecutor, serving as the Executive Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington. He previously was Vice President for Civic Engagement at Rock the Vote, where he led voter registration and education, issues advocacy, and research efforts for the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter registration organization. Prior to joining Rock the Vote, Thomas was cofounder and Executive Director of Democrats Work, a national organization that connected grassroots Democrats with community service projects and built a service-based approach to politics. He has worked on Capitol Hill as a top aide to a Member of Congress, practiced law as a litigator at Cooley LLP, and served as a senior advisor on the reelection campaign of Governor Chris Gregoire. He is a graduate of Duke University and the New York University School of Law and currently serves as Commissioner on the Washington State Commission on National and Community Service.

Jon Clarke

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Jon Clarke, Solid Ground Board

 

Jon Clarke is a Senior Loan Officer with the Enterprise Community Loan Fund, which provides financing for affordable housing and community facilities. Jon previously served as a Senior Program Officer with Impact Capital and as a housing developer for Beacon Development Group, where he managed the development of multiple affordable housing projects for nonprofit and Housing Authority clients throughout Washington State. He also worked as an analyst for the Tax Credit Division of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Jon has a BA in Economics from Holy Cross and an MS in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin.

D'Adre Cunningham

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D'Adre Cunningham, Solid Ground Board

 

Ms. D'Adre Cunningham is the Dependency Supervisor at the King County Department of Public Defense – The Defender Association Division. A Cincinnati native, she spent her formative years in Atlanta, Georgia. She is an alumna of Emory University and the University of Washington School of Law and has been a public defender in Seattle since 2001. Her legal experience includes working as a Legal Clerk at the Federal Public Defenders in the Western District of Washington, defending indigent adults in Seattle Municipal and King County Superior Court criminal proceedings, defending  children in juvenile offender proceedings, representing parents and children in child abuse and neglect cases, and advocating for systemic reforms at The Racial Disparity Project.

Alain Dias

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 Alain Dias, Solid Ground Board

Alain Dias is CEO of Dragontail Capital Limited, a private investment firm focused on technology, media/entertainment and digital marketing. The firm specializes in majority buyouts and accretive buildups of software and services companies. Prior, Alain was Managing Partner and COO at Ascentium Corporation with responsibilities for sales and marketing, business operations and corporate development. A widely read authority on the subject of business transformation and coauthor of the seminal industry text “Technology Strategy: Pure & Simple,” Alain has assisted companies and government agencies worldwide in reinventing themselves through technology. Before Ascentium, Alain was a senior director at Interlink Group, where he managed the firm’s strategic consulting group focusing on emerging market trends and strategic technology opportunities for Fortune 500 clients. Alain is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris.

Heidi Eisenstein

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 Heidi Eisenstein, Solid Ground Board

Heidi Eisenstein is a Senior Partner Marketing Manager with Adobe, where she is responsible for developing and ensuring successful execution of annual co-marketing strategies and plans for global alliance partners. Prior to joining Adobe, Heidi spent six years with Microsoft across multiple marketing functions. Heidi also brings with her nearly a decade of service in the nonprofit sector covering a range of issues from education, to refugee justice, to food security. She holds a BA in Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. She lives just east of Seattle with her husband and two kids. 

Nathan Garnett

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Nathan Garnett, Solid Ground Board

 

Nathan Garnett joined the Solid Ground Board of Directors in 2011. His previous nonprofit experience includes service on the Board of the Unemployment Law Project, a legal aid organization that advocates for recently unemployed workers, where he served terms as Board Chair and Board Secretary. He also sat on the Board of the West Seattle Food Bank, where he served terms as Board Vice President and Board Secretary. In addition to board service, Nathan has volunteered in food distribution at the West Seattle Food Bank, as a pro bono legal advocate at the Unemployment Law Project, and as a pro bono legal counselor at the Washington C.A.S.H. low-income entrepreneurial clinic. He is currently Associate General Counsel of Blucora, Inc., where he focuses on business and technology law. He previously worked as an associate at Perkins Coie LLP and as Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at drugstore.com, inc. Nathan has a BA in History from the University of Washington and a JD from the University of Washington School of Law

Sean Green

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Sean Green, Solid Ground Board 

Sean Green is a Civil Engineer and data scientist interested in learning how citizens can work together with government to make inclusive cities that provide opportunities for all, including the poorest among us. Prior to working on urban development as a Program Officer for Special Initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations at the University of Washington. Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, he worked for many years in the IT industry as an e-Commerce developer and consultant before attending graduate school where his research focused on effective policies for addressing water and sanitation problems in developing countries. Sean holds a BSE in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as a PhD in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. In his spare time, Sean is a DJ.

Justin Hellier

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 Justin Hellier, Solid Ground Board

Justin Hellier is Corps Program Manager at EarthCorps, a Seattle nonprofit dedicated to developing leadership, building community and restoring ecosystems. In that role, he manages a service learning program that engages dozens of young people in a year of national service through AmeriCorps. In his first job out of college, he served as a Solid Ground MLK VISTA, providing technical assistance to community groups leading park improvement projects in the Rainier Valley, South Beacon Hill, the Central District and Yesler Terrace. In the years since, he has researched the cleanup of the Duwamish River as an intern in Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s office, evaluated the EPA’s community involvement planning as a National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellow in Washington, DC, and taught courses on sustainability at the University of Washington’s Program on the Environment. He holds Masters’ degrees from the UW’s Evans School of Public Affairs and School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and is excited to put his skills and passion to work on the Solid Ground Board.

Ajay Kamath

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 Ajay Kamath, Solid Ground Board

Ajay Kamath is the director of Program Management for Citigroup's Mortgage Holdings organization where he is responsible for developing and executing programs for customers in financial distress. He leads the consumer relief efforts under the National Mortgage Settlement and is responsible for effective program adoption across Citi's owned and serviced mortgage portfolios. Over the past 11 years with Citi, Ajay has managed a variety of responsibilities including leading the Pricing & Profitability functions and heading multiple Sales & Operations teams. Prior to Citi, Ajay was business consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP where he led consulting assignments in the rollout of financial systems for large companies. He moved to the US in 1998 after having worked in several IT consulting organizations in India. Ajay is a graduate of the University of Bombay and is an Associate Chartered & Cost Accountant from the Indian Institutes of Chartered & Cost Accountants – both highly recognized professional institutions in India. He has been based in Seattle for the past three years.

Anne Kysar

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 Anne Kysar, Solid Ground Board

Anne Kysar is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Benefits at Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender since 2003. Anne has represented disabled workers at all stages of the Social Security Administration appeal process. Anne frequently trains other lawyers how to practice disability law. Prior to joining Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender, Anne was a public defender and provided civil legal services to indigent youth. Anne received her law degree from New York University School of Law in 1997. Anne has received numerous awards for her community service work including the Harry S. Truman Public Service award and a New York University School of Law Community Service award. Anne was also a Root-Tilden-Snow Public Service Scholar at NYU Law School.

Lauren McGowan

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 Lauren McGowan, Solid Ground Board
Lauren McGowan is a dynamic Seattleite committed to ending hunger, homelessness and the cycle of poverty. She is the Associate Director of Ending Homelessness at United Way of King County in Seattle, Washington. She began her career at United Way as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2004 and was later hired to manage the Earned Income Tax Credit Campaign. Lauren has had the opportunity to lead United Way’s Asset Building Programs and the investment of $10 million in Housing and Homelessness grants. Most recently she led the development of United Way’s Response to Basic Needs, a strategic response to the economic downturn and the development of the Hunger Free King County Initiative. Lauren joined the Solid Ground Board in 2006 and has been Board President for three years. Lauren is also the Board President of Springwire, formerly Community Voice Mail National. She participated in the 2010 Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute and was a 2009 Institute for a Democratic Future fellow. Prior to joining United Way, Lauren worked in Boston on advocacy efforts with the Immigrant and Refugee Community and statewide political campaigns.

Janel Ostrem

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 Janel Ostrem, Solid Ground Board

Janel Ostrem earned a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences & Law and Women's Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Washington School of Law in 2006. Both before and during law school, Janel worked for several different nonprofit legal organizations in Seattle including the Unemployment Law Project, the King County Bar Association and the Innocence Project Northwest. While in law school, she also served as Co-President of the Public Interest Law Association. Janel currently represents individuals in family law matters as an attorney at Seattle Divorce Services in Ballard.

Greg Proulx

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Greg Proulx, Solid Ground Board 

Greg Proulx is a Practice Director with Bridge Partners Consulting, a regional business strategy and operations consulting firm, serving clients in the Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay Area and Chicago. In his current role, Greg provides Fortune 500 clients with business strategy and execution services and performs business development work for the firm as well. He has broad and deep expertise in enterprise sales and marketing with cross disciplinary experience in partner and channel development, business strategy and planning, and field operations. Prior to joining Bridge Partners, Greg spent 11 years at Microsoft Corporation in multiple sales and operations roles, including General Manager of the US Enterprise Partner business. He also spent 14 years at Oracle Corporation in a variety of sales, technical and product marketing roles, and three years at Hewlett-Packard Company in field readiness and enablement roles. He holds a BS degree in Computer Engineering from UCLA. 

Shannon Rae

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Shannon Rae, Solid Ground Board

Shannon Rae is the Emergency Shelter Program Manager at New Beginnings in Seattle, leading a team of advocates in providing direct service to domestic violence survivors seeking emergency confidential shelter. She came to the agency as their first mental health therapist, developing the program from its inception. Shannon has also served as an adjunct professor at Antioch University, teaching Ethics and Abusive Relationships courses to graduate students in the Mental Health and Counseling program. Prior to these positions, she was in private practice providing therapy to couples and children. Dedicated to social justice, ending oppression and helping to create a world that works for all, she actively sought a position on the Solid Ground Board of Directors to put her passion into action on a broader scope. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and received her Marriage and Family Therapy license in 1996. She currently resides on the eastside with her wife Amy, her two teenage sons, and their menagerie of pets.

Chris Villiers

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Chris Villiers, Solid Ground Board

Chris Villiers is a Director of Communications with The Boeing Company. He leads a team that provides communications counsel for a broad range of issues including environmental affairs, employee safety, protecting intellectual property, finance, human resources and R&D strategy. During the past 24 years, he has served in similar positions at Safeco Insurance and Rainier National Bank/Security Pacific Bank. A former newspaper reporter, Chris is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he studied journalism and creative writing. Chris lives in Bothell with his wife and daughter.

Wendy Werblin

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Wendy Werblin, Solid Ground Board

Wendy Werblin is a Senior Manager with ACME Business Consulting, a boutique strategy and implementation firm with offices in Seattle, Portland and San Diego. In her current role, Wendy serves as a leader, catalyst and coach, leading teams at Fortune 500 companies, major nonprofits and municipalities to drive and implement major marketing initiatives and significant organizational change. She has broad and deep experience in marketing, product management and communications, and spent nearly 10 years with Philips Healthcare developing markets and products and driving demand for Philips’ market-leading HeartStart defibrillators. Prior to Philips, Wendy spent time with a Silicon Valley healthcare technology start-up and as a healthcare consultant. She holds an MBA from the Fuqua School at Duke University and a BS from Cornell University.

Contact Us

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PHONE:
206.694.6704 (TTY: 7.1.1)

EMAIL:
marykayo@solid-ground.org

FAX:
206.694.6777

ADDRESS:
Board of Directors c/o Solid Ground
1501 North 45th Street
Seattle, WA 98103-6708

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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