Staff

Photo of Hilary Flanagan

Hilary Flanagan

Executive Director

Phone: (206) 220-6088

Building/Room: PAVL 110E

Undergraduate alma mater: United States Coast Guard Academy

Graduate alma mater: University of Maine

Favorite place in the city: Hugging the shoreline swimming Lake Washington between Leschi and Madison Beach

Hobbies and interests: Triathlon, Travel, Outdoor Adventures, Board/Card Games, and Reading

Collegiate internship and job after graduation:  US Coast Guard Capitol Hill Intern; Weapons Officer on board a USCG Medium Endurance Cutter

Best piece of career advice I received: You work for them - not the other way around

How I lead a life of purpose and impact: Bringing my authentic self into every interaction; putting a strong value/priority on time for family, fun, sleep, fitness, nutrition, and professional development; striving to bring out the best in those around me as a renewable source of inspiration; and laughing 

My social justice areas of focus:  Serving Veterans, Literacy, Well-being, and Animal Welfare

My pronouns:  She, Her, Hers

Photo of Carol Lwali

Carol Lwali

M.B.A, M.A.

Associate Director of External Relations

Phone: 206.296.6177

Undergraduate alma mater: Drury University

Graduate alma mater: Webster University

Favorite place in the city: Is it sunlit? ✔ And does it have a beach or view of a large body of water? ✔

Hobbies and interests: Travel, reading, event curation, and volunteering

First internship or job: Food Service: Cafeteria/catering/banquet attendant

Best piece of career advice I received: I’ve two that ring true to me - As you navigate through the rest of your life, surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life. And the other is that there will be failures, roadblocks, and detours in our careers, but do not be discouraged. Instead, be persistent and resilient.

How I lead a life of purpose and impact: I try to live by this quote – “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. - Nelson Mandela

My social justice area of focus: Human Rights, diversity, equity, and inclusion – particularly when it concerns immigrants, refugees, asylees and international persons. These communities are extremely vulnerable and frequently marginalized and excluded from realizing their full value.

My pronouns: She, her, hers or they, them, theirs

Photo of Leezel Ramos

Leezel Ramos

M.Ed.

Associate Director of Career Education

Phone: 206.296.6085

Undergraduate alma mater: California State University, Fullerton
Graduate alma mater: Seattle University
Favorite place in the city: International District/Chinatown
Hobbies and interests: Food, traveling, and hanging out with my Greyhound dog
First internship or job: I was a barista at a hospital coffee shop
Best piece of career advice I received: "Your degree makes you qualified, but it's your experience that will set you apart from others. Start exploring, experiencing, and engaging now." And, "sometimes, social justice is most needed in 'non-traditional' social justice spaces."
How I lead a life of purpose and impact: Mentoring and community organizing
My social justice area of focus: Civic engagement, leadership development
My pronouns: She, her, herself

Photo of Christian Russell

Christian Russell

B.A.

Assistant Director of Career Engagement

Phone: 206.296.6080

Favorite place in the city:  Madison Park Beach; swimming with endless views of Rainier and the Cascades

Hobbies and interests: Hiking, National Parks, exploring around the city, and everything Georgia. Usually found eating and drinking coffee.

First internship or job: Legislative Aide, Georgia House of Representatives

Best piece of career advice I received: Networking, networking, networking! I met my first boss by walking into their office and asked for an informational coffee meeting. I was hired two days later. 

How I lead a life of purpose and impact: Reminding myself of what kind of citizen I want to be. My favorite book, Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times, reminds me my efforts can do more for others and ourselves-than we may ever imagine, we don’t have to wait for the perfect situation to take action, change happens little by little - step by step, we should savor the journey of engagement-even if our ultimate goal is unknown, and the impact of our individual and collective effectiveness will often ripple outward in ways we can’t predict.

My social justice area of focus: Equitable access to resilient and sustainable communities, civic engagement, and social enterprise.

My pronouns: He, Him, His

Photo of Melissa Minato

Melissa Minato

B.A.

Assistant Director of Career Education

Phone: 206.296.8473

Building/Room: PAVL 110

Undergraduate alma mater: Santa Clara University

Graduate alma mater: Seattle University, Master of Nonprofit Leadership ’20

Favorite place in the city: Fremont or Discovery Park

Hobbies and interests: Trying new restaurants, drinking coffee, spending time with friends, camping, letter writing, volunteering, Netflix binging

First internship or job: Catering Attendant (Food Service)

Best piece of career advice I received: Do not resist or shy away from discomfort. The projects that stretch you are often the projects that will enable you to grow the most.

How I lead a life of purpose and impact: I lead a life of purpose and impact by reflecting on my experiences, values, and gifts and applying this knowledge through intentional decision making. I strive to serve in work or volunteer positions that I know will create a positive impact on the community. This has led me through incredible experiences that range from Ameri Corps service, working with the YMCA, to serving on the YNPN Seattle board. In my personal time, I recharge by spending time with the people I love.

My social justice area of focus: Leadership development and civic engagement education for young adults, access to education for all, and family services

My pronouns: she, her, hers

Photo of Patrick Okocha

Patrick Okocha

B.A.

Assistant Director of External Relations

Phone: 206-296-6082

Building/Room: PAVL 110

Undergraduate alma mater:  University of Washington

Favorite place in the city:  Gasworks Park

Hobbies and interests: Coaching, athletics, photography, music, and fashion.

First internship or job: Sports News Assistant, The Seattle Times

Best piece of career advice I received: The best career advice that I’ve received is to treat your personal brand like you would treat a piggy bank. Value every experience as an opportunity for growth, to expand your network and be introspective (professionally and personally). And while you may represent an institution, company or organization, always be aware that you are also representing yourself and what you stand for.  

How I lead a life of purpose and impact: I lead a life of purpose by challenging preconceived notions through engagement. By suspending judgment prior to any interaction and seeking to learn. Every individual with an opinion possess a unique set of experiences that results in a particular viewpoint. Difference should not be divisive, but rather unifying. The greatest impact that I’ve experienced have been in conversations that challenge my thinking, not validate it. The goal is never to change a person, but rather to widen their scope.

My social justice area of focus: College access and career placement. With a strong correlation between education and socially mobility, it is imperative that academic resources are distributed equitability across all populations, especially those in underserved communities. Also, representation in the workforce matters and signifies possibility. By empowering underrepresented groups to challenge societal norms through impactful programming and dialogue can serve as a catalyst for change. 

My pronouns: He, Him, His

Photo of Johnny Wang

Johnny Wang

B.A.

Career Engagement Specialist

Phone: (206) 296-6081

Building/Room: PAVL 110

Undergraduate alma mater: San Diego State University

Favorite place in the city: on a kayak around the Arboretum 

Hobbies and interests: basketball, music, clothing, playing with my husky, cooking & eating out

First internship or job: Student Assistant at Student Disability Services, San Diego State University

Best piece of career advice I received: Not exactly advice that I received, but was course material I was given when I was a Course Instructor at the University of Vermont that I incorporated into a lesson plan and loved which is Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset. Look at obstacles and barriers as opportunities for growth, learning, and creativity. Don’t avoid a certain job or class because one piece of the responsibilities scare you away (for me that was always public speaking), but instead challenge yourself to take these as chances to become a more well-rounded individual and professional. In these situations the only person telling you that you can’t do something is yourself!

How I lead a life of purpose and impact: I lead a life of purpose and impact by recognizing and reflecting on my privilege and how they affect my experience as a person. I am also always challenging myself to be aware of the assumptions that I make and where they come from in order to dismantle my own socialized beliefs and ways of thinking. At the same time, making sure to take care of myself and allow rest to reduce stress and prevent burnout.

My social justice area of focus: Making knowledge and resources relevant, accessible, and digestible for folks who need it most.

My pronouns: he/him