MNPL Showcases Outstanding Alumni at 20th Anniversary Event

Written by Laura Paskin
May 28, 2014

During the past 20 years, the Master of Nonprofit Leadership (MNPL) has prepared individuals for leadership positions in the nonprofit sector. At its standing-room only anniversary celebration on May 21, 2014, the program presented awards to three alumni who continue to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children and adults.

Cheryl Sesnon, MNPL 2001, received the LEAD award, for outstanding leadership in her current position as the executive director at Jubilee Women’s Center, a program for women transitioning out of homelessness, and for her prior roles as the Executive Director of Washington CASH (Community Alliance for Self-Help), a microfinance and microenterprise training organization, and Executive Director of FareStart, a job training program for homeless men and women – and Jubilee partner.

“Cheryl exemplifies the program’s mission, as well as that of the university, of fostering leadership for a more just and humane world,” said Professor Maureen Emerson Feit, MNPL director. “Her leadership is courageous and focused on helping people experiencing poverty to build stable and fulfilling futures."

Ray Li, MNPL 2001, received the LEARN award for his dedication to education and professional development. He was the director Strategic Initiatives for Neighborhood House, a King County social service agency serving low-income, refugee, and immigrant communities, and Assistant Director of Development for the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Red Cross.  Most recently, he developed a new program for international giving at the University of Washington and now serves as Director for International Advancement. The former president of the Northwest Development Officers Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Washington, Li was recognized in 2010 with the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award.   

“Ray has demonstrated his dedication to engaging and educating the next generation of fundraising professionals,” said Feit. “He continues to serve as a mentor who encourages students to be curious, persistent, and innovative in service of their ambitious goals to change the world.”

Diane Narasaki, MNPL 1998,received the CHANGE award for her demonstrated passion for social justice by addressing the underlying causes of inequity and injustice.  As the Executive Director of Asian Counseling & Referral Service, she engages diverse communities to collaborate and mobilize to take action for a more just and humane world. This past spring, President Obama appointed Narasaki to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In 2012, she received the ACLU of Washington William O. Douglas Award for her outstanding, consistent, and sustained contributions to the cause of civil liberties over the last 30 years.  She currently co-chairs the Seattle Community Police Commission.

The Master of Nonprofit Leadership in the College of Arts and Sciences provides working professionals with the leadership skills to meet the ongoing challenges facing the nonprofit sector.