ReWA is guided in fulfilling its mission by our accomplished and dedicated Board of Directors, comprised of individuals from a variety of professional and cultural backgrounds.
ReWA has a team of over 150 staff members with the capability of speaking over 50 languages and dialects. Most of our staff are refugees or immigrants, who work with program participants to deliver bilingual and bicultural services.
Board of Directors
Eileen M. Concannon, Chair
Attorney (retired) and Community Volunteer
Eileen has been a community activist and attorney since 1980. A commercial litigator by training, her volunteer and community work have focused on serving marginalized populations. She has served on the Washington State Supreme Court Commission on Gender and Justice; the Initiative for Diversity Governing Council; the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence; as President of the King County Bar Association; Chair of KCBA’s “Glass Ceiling Task Force”, Vice-President of Washington Women Lawyers, Trustee of the King County Bar Foundation, and Chair of the University of Washington Women’s Center. Her parents were Irish immigrants who taught their children that “success” comes with education, ambitious dreams, hard work and caring for others. Eileen’s passion for justice, the rule of law, and opportunities for all is what inspired her to join ReWA’s board.
Cynthia Chirot, Vice Chair
Chief Operating Officer (Retired) and Community Volunteer
A banking executive for much of her career, Cynthia served as chief operating officer at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. She later transitioned to nonprofit leadership roles at the American Red Cross of Western Washington, the Washington Women’s Foundation, and at several other nonprofits. She holds an MBA from the University of Washington, a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow. Cynthia’s other board service has included PeaceTrees Vietnam (board chair), Capitol Hill Housing (board chair), the Seattle Rotary Service Foundation, International District Rotary (president), City University of Seattle, the Group Health Foundation and the University of Washington Business and Economic Development Program Advisory Board.
Shevanthi Daniel-Rabkin, Secretary
Senior Director of Programs, Democracy at Work Institute
Shevanthi (Shev) is the Senior Director of Programs at the Democracy at Work Institute, a national nonprofit dedicated to building the field of worker-owned cooperatives through research, education and field-building. Her work ensures that the expansion of worker cooperative development in economically and socially marginalized communities is adequately supported, effective, and strategically directed. Shev immigrated from Sri Lanka with her family. Prior to moving to the United States, she lived in the hill-country tea plantations where she witnessed the challenges of civil war and poverty among the plantation workers. Those early experiences shaped her passion and commitment to equity and sustainable economic development. Shev has an MBA in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University and BA in History and Anthropology from University of Washington.
Teresa Cho, Treasurer
Chartered Professional Accountant, Camber Consulting
Teresa is a professional accountant and mother to two teens. She graduated from the University of British Columbia and holds a Chartered Professional Accountant designation. She has served a variety of finance and accounting positions over the past 20+ years both in public accounting and at various Fortune 100 companies and currently serves as a member of ReWA’s Finance Committee. When she was young, her parents left their professional jobs in Hong Kong, as well as their family and friends to immigrate to Canada in the hope of offering their children opportunities not available in Hong Kong. Although her immigrant journey was somewhat eased by the support of family, she understands the struggle faced by immigrants to adapt not only to a foreign language but also to a new culture. What drew her to join the ReWA board was the opportunity to contribute in a direct way to assist with integration of refugees and immigrants in the Seattle area.ity.
Shahzad Q. Qadri, Member
Partner, Wong Fleming
Shahzad is a partner in the law firm Wong Fleming, where he is chair of the Corporate & Immigration Law practice group. He previously served as deputy prosecuting attorney for the King County Prosecutors’ Office after earning a law degree from Seattle University. Shahzad was born in Pakistan. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, International Practice Section Executive Committee, Washington State Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association, King County Bar Association, and serves on the boards of Minority Business Action Committee and World Education Foundation.
Catherine Danigelis, Member
Senior Vice President, KeyBank
Cathy is the Western Region Manager for KeyBank and is based in Seattle, WA. She is responsible for a team of lenders financing affordable housing projects in WA, OR, ID, UT, AK, TX, CA and CO. She has been a real estate lender for over 30 years, specializing in affordable housing for the past 20 years with several institutions including US Bank and Bank of America. Cathy also had a successful entrepreneurial venture in sales and consulting for over five years. She currently serves on several non-profit boards and is a lifelong volunteer. Cathy obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University.
Tasleem Kachra, Member
Senior Program Officer, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Tasleem works in the Gates Foundation’s Global Development program on strategic planning, management and implementation, to advance global immunization. She has over a decade of experience in pharmaceutical management and global public health. She has worked in public health in both Uganda and Kenya with government rural clinics, and has conducted operational assessments for the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. Tasleem is from Kenya, where she lived and worked for 21 years before earning an undergraduate degree in Biology from Brandeis University, and an MBA (Strategic Management) and MPH (International Health) at Yale.
Usama Naseem, Member
Sr. Product Manager, Amazon
Usama works as a Senior Product Manager for Amazon. Prior to joining the ReWA board, he volunteered with The Citizens Foundation in Pakistan, a non-profit organization that operates schools in low income areas in the country. He joined ReWA’s board to support women’s empowerment and refugee integration in the United States. “As an immigrant, the difficulty I had in building a life here despite the privileges I enjoyed, drove me to join ReWA.” Usama has lived in Seattle for five years with his wife and daughter.
Kristin Bunce, Member
Education Policy Advisor (retired)
For more than a decade, Kristin worked in education policy serving as a senior policy advisor in the US Department of Education for the Clinton administration as well as Education Advisor to Washington state’s former Governor Gary Locke. Kristin received her BA from Wellesley College and completed an MA in government from the University of Texas at Austin and an MPP from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She currently serves on the executive committee of the Seattle Art Museum Supporters. Having lived in five different countries, Kristin brings a strong interest in supporting immigrant and refugee communities locally.
Carllene Placide-Edwards, Member
Current Leadership Position with The Boeing Company
Carllene serves in a leadership position with The Boeing Company, focusing on commercial aircraft contracts. She is the former Director of Safety & Operations at First Student Inc./First Group America and is a former Amazon Logistics Leader of the Global Expansion and Emerging Markets Team. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Seattle University School of Law and was partner at several national and international law firms before founding her own firm, Placide Law Group, P.S. where she practiced labor, employment and international business immigration law. Carllene was born and raised in Trinidad, West Indies and immigrated to the United States with her family. She studied ballet from a young age and is currently a competitive international ballroom dancer. Carllene serves on the board of the Suzuki Institute of Seattle, and formerly served on the boards of the Epiphany School, Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, The Pacific Northwest Ballet Association, Washington Lawyers for the Arts, and the Corporate Council for the Arts.
Rebecca Strabo, Member
Community Educator and Artist
Rebecca is a monotype artist and educator for several Puget Sound area non-profits. She has taught English to adult learners—mostly immigrants, refugees and international students—at ReWA, Casa Latina, Literacy Source, and Shoreline College. Rebecca grew up in the San Francisco Bay area where her father’s first job was teaching English to migrant farm workers. Both of her parents were passionate advocates for immigrants and literacy. Rebecca went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Marymount Manhattan college and Mercy College, respectively. In her early career, she developed her artistic skills at Tiffany’s in San Francisco and New York before starting her family with her husband, an immigrant from Denmark.
Dr. Marla Salmon, Member
Professor of Nursing and Global Health, University of Washington
Marla is a professor of Nursing and Global Health at the University of Washington. She received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and has a master’s degree in nursing as well as undergraduate degrees in nursing and political science from the University of Portland. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cologne in Germany and holds honorary degrees from University of Portland, University of Nebraska and University of Pennsylvania. Marla’s career focuses on global health workforce policy and capacity building, and emphasizes the empowerment of women by strengthening health systems and services through investment in nursing and midwifery enterprise. Marla has served on the White House Task Force on health care reform, presented at several national and international health related forms, published extensively and has served on several health-related boards and committees.
Kiran Dhillon, Member
Executive Director, Cancer Vaccine Institute at University of Washington
Kiran Dhillon immigrated to the US with her family from India at the age of 9. She is a scientist, artist, and community volunteer. She has a PhD in Genetics from the University of Washington and studied chemotherapy resistance in breast and ovarian cancer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center prior to joining the Rivkin Center as Director of Scientific Programs. She is currently the Executive Director of the UW Medicine’s Cancer Vaccine Institute where she directs the overall strategic program goals, philanthropic relations, and general administration of the institute in its quest to end cancer. Kiran is also actively engaged in the Seattle arts community. She was a film festival director with Tasveer, a South Asian film organization, and is the Vice President of the Board for Northwest Film Forum. In her free time, Kiran is passionate about honing her skills as a fluid acrylic artist.
Sheila Kelley Fernandez, Member
Business Development Finance, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Sheila works in Finance at AWS, managing customer incentive portfolios. Previously, she worked in nonprofit finance and operations. She holds a MS in Business Analytics from University of Washington, BAs in Global Development Studies and Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University, and graduated from Leadership Tomorrow. She is a founding member of employee Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and currently serves on Amazon’s Women in Finance committee focused on employee retention. Passionate about maximizing financial support for those in need, especially immigrant and refugee families, she is honored to serve on ReWA’s Finance Committee.
Caleb Stephens, Member
Senior Relationship Manager, KeyBank
Caleb is a community development professional and has dedicated his career to community service. Currently he is working on the Affordable Housing Finance team with KeyBank and is based in Seattle. Previously with Key he worked as their Corporate Responsibility Officer for the Northwest. Beyond these positions with KeyBank, he worked at Washington Federal as CRA Officer/Community Development Manager covering their CRA and community development work over their eight western state footprint. Prior to this he worked in non-profits in program management, program quality improvement, finance and economic development serving homeless and refugee populations. Internationally he has worked in humanitarian relief and community development including time in the Peace Corps in Namibia and humanitarian work in Lebanon serving in the Syrian refugee crisis. Caleb has his MBA from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.
Founding Partner, Corvid Law PLLC
Chris is a lawyer who advises clients on all manner of environmental disputes concerning hazardous substances. Before founding Corvid Law, Chris was a Partner at Perkins Coie LLP in Seattle, where he had practiced since completing a clerkship with the Honorable Ronald M. Gould, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In his pro bono practice, Chris has represented juvenile defendants in contested removal proceedings, including at the Ninth Circuit. Chris earned his J.D. from the Duke University School of Law, and holds a M.S. (Environmental Science) from Western Washington University and an A.B. (Environmental Studies) from the University of Chicago.
In addition to serving on REWA’s Board of Directors, Chris is the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rave Foundation, the charitable arm of Seattle Sounders FC. Chris previously served on the Board of Directors for the Rainier Valley Food Bank, the busiest food bank in Seattle, and is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow (2017).
Senior Structural Engineer, The Boeing Company
Samson is a Senior Structural Engineer at Boeing. His work focuses in the early stage design and analysis of Airplane Primary Structures. He has Master’s degrees in Software Engineering from Harvard University and in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington. He was born and raised in Ethiopia and migrated to the US from Eritrea. As is the case for many refugees, Samson had experienced displacement more than once; including deportation from his country of birth, forced military conscription, political persecution and imprisonment, and crossing international border in search of safety. Over the years, he has volunteered to help refugees and asylum seekers in his community resettle in the US by providing translation services, financial and legal assistance, educational and professional mentorship, and job placement by tapping into his network. He is excited to join ReWA’s board and help advance the organization’s mission which is life changing for many refugees.
Mahnaz K. Eshetu, Executive Director
Crisann Brooks, Senior Director, Family Empowerment Services
Gizachew Manahle, Manager, Family Empowerment Services
Carlin Yoophum, Director, Domestic Violence Program
Anne Pariseau, M. Sc., LMHC Director, Behavioral Health Program
Susan Lee, Director, Early Learning Centers Operations
Kimberly Lee, Youth Program Manager
Margarita Seeley, Director, Finance
Steve Rodgers, Human Resources Manager
Kari Dasher, CFRE, Chief Development Officer