STAFF MEMBERS


Nicole Vallestero Keenan-Lai
Executive Director

nicole@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 13

Nicole is the Executive Director at Puget Sound Sage. She has more than a decade of experience in research, advocacy, civic engagement, racial justice organizing, social services, and community and business outreach.

Previously, Nicole was the executive director of the Fair Work Center, a hub for workers to better understand and exercise their legal rights, improve their working conditions and connect with community resources. Before launching the Fair Work Center, Nicole served as the Policy Director at Puget Sound Sage, where she led policy and analysis work on labor standards and environmental justice. Nicole began her career through community engagement and youth engagement roles at the Washington Environmental Council, El Centro de la Raza and the Washington Bus. 

Nicole has co-authored several publications on a variety of topics including financial capacity, income taxes, childcare, environmental justice and the economic impact of living wages. Her work has been featured in local, national and international media including the New York Times, BBC, The Guardian and Huffington Post. Nicole holds a Bachelors degree in Public Policy from The College of William and Mary, and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington. In 2014, Nicole received a 50th Anniversary Civil Rights Leadership Award the Seattle Office of Civil Rights and Women's Commission and in 2015 she was named as one of the 15 people Who Should Really Run Seattle by the Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.

Kimberly Powe
Deputy Director

kim@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 11

Kim is the Deputy Director at Puget Sound Sage. Kim has a true love of people and is a passionate champion for justice. She knows that success is not a zero sum game and that true sustainability is not achieved when it is at the expense of others. She has a passion for working where sustainability and economic development intersect, which is often where people of color and low-wage communities converge.

Kim brings 18 years of experience in public service and grassroots developments spanning youth and adult economic development, racial equity, sustainability and climate justice, food justice, health equity, affordable housing, restorative justice and international development. Most recently, Kim served as the Director Social Equity and Inclusion for a local environmental organization and as the Director of Sustainability for Multnomah County.

Kim holds a Master’s in Business Administration in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (now Presidio Graduate School) in Seattle, a Master’s of Urban Studies, Community Development, from Portland State University, and two bachelor’s degrees from Georgetown University. Kim has had the privilege to be Larry and Lynn Powe's daughter, live on four continents, marry a wonderful partner and have a daily teacher in her daughter.

Debolina Banerjee
Climate Justice Policy Analyst

debolina@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 18

Debolina is the Climate Justice Policy Analyst at Puget Sound Sage. Her responsibilities include research-based analysis of climate policies, campaign support on climate justice issues, and building power within Sage’s local and statewide climate coalitions.

She has research experience in transit-oriented development, the environmental impacts of unorganized industries and project management for real estate development. In addition, Debolina has extensive experience working with grassroots activists and marginalized communities in India organizing for social justice around food, sustainable agriculture, clean environment, community development and women’s empowerment.

Before joining Puget Sound Sage, Debolina was with InterIm CDA researching the impact of the receding affordable housing stock and increasing risk of displacement faced by the immigrant and refugee communities of Seattle’s International District. She holds a Master's degree in Applied Environmental Studies in Planning from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s Degree in City Planning from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Howard Greenwich
Senior Policy Advisor

howard@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 12

Howard is the Senior Policy Advisor at Puget Sound Sage. Approaching his tenth year at the organization, he is responsible for providing analysis, strategy and support to Sage’s program staff on policy campaigns. While at Sage, he has authored of over a dozen reports and briefs on economic inequality, land use, affordable housing, and labor policy.

Before joining Sage in 2007, he served as the Research Director at the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) for eight years. While at EBASE, he helped pass many local policies that raised employment standards, including the groundbreaking Berkeley and Emeryville living wage ordinances. From 1992 to 1997, he provided research and policy analysis for the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group in Chicago, a community-based organization that secured hundreds of millions in public investment in locally-determined, neighborhood infrastructure.

Howard holds a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, and a Certificate in Commercial Real Estate from the University of Washington.

Yolanda Matthews
Coalition Organizer

yolanda@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 13

Yolanda is the Coalition Organizer of the Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition with Puget Sound Sage. She is responsible for coordinating interfaith support of worker organizing through Sage’s Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition (IEJC).

A native Bostonian who moved to Seattle six years ago, Yolanda is a Rainier Valley Corps fellow (2017-2019). She brings four years of experience with Got Green through their Young Leaders Program, and more recently as a member of the Food Access Team and their Board of Directors.

Michael Lee Moore
Operations Manager

michael@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 x16

Michael is the Operations Manager at Puget Sound Sage. He is responsible for process management, human resources, facilities administration, as well as financial and compliance oversight.

Before joining Puget Sound Sage, Michael worked in operations and fundraising within the performing arts sector with a focus on budgeting, campaign data management, and data analysis. While employed at Seattle Opera, he served on its Racial Equity Task Force, an internal advisory body on issues such as equitable workplace policy and representation within the operatic art form. Since living in Seattle, he has volunteered his time in support of youth literacy, community health services for those affected by HIV, and immigrant and refugee advocacy. He holds bachelor’s degrees in comparative religion and music composition.

Ngam Nguyen
Development Director

ngam@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 25

Ngam is the Development Director at Puget Sound Sage. Ngam oversees the Development Department and provides overall strategic communications counsel to the organization.

Prior to joining Sage, Ngam worked in development for the Washington Bus, a nonprofit organization that engages young people in politics. She also previously served as Executive Account Assistant at GMMB, a strategic communications agency, where she helped execute large-scale initiatives that are ambitious in scope, particularly in the areas of maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition and malaria in Vietnam and Africa.

Ngam holds a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Journalism from Seattle University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington.

Eric Opoku Agyemang
CLI Program Manager

eric@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 27

Eric is the Program Manager of the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) at Puget Sound Sage. He is responsible for the management of the 6-month fellowship program that resources, trains, and places emerging leaders from low-income communities and communities of color to serve on strategic municipal boards and commissions.

Eric brings to the team a worth of experience in community leadership, civic engagement, research, human rights advocacy, and program evaluation, organizational and international development. Prior to joining Sage, Eric served as the co-founder and executive director of the Cheerful Hearts Foundation, a non-profit that uses community-based interventions to address child trafficking in the West African fishing industry. In addition, he served as the national coordinator of the Patriots Ghana, an international organization that promotes youth leadership and active citizen engagement in Ghana, West Africa. His work has been featured in national and international news including the Guardian, BBC, and Al Jazeera.

Aside from serving on the city of Seattle’s “Our Best” Advisory Council, Eric recruits, trains, and deploy black male adults to mentor black youth in Seattle. In 2015, he served as a fellow of the President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Eric holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from the Methodist University College, Ghana.

Giulia Pasciuto
Policy & Research Analyst

giulia@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 17

Giulia Pasciuto is a Policy & Research Analyst at Puget Sound Sage. She provides strategic research and crafts policy solutions for Sage’s equitable transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and land-use campaigns.

Before joining Sage, Giulia was a housing planner with the Puget Sound Regional Council and policy associate with T.R.U.S.T. South LA, a community driven land trust working to build community control over land to ensure affordable, healthy housing opportunities and related community-serving uses.

Giulia has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA. She loves building community through food and around Seattle.

Katrina Peterson
Climate Justice Program Manager

katrina@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 26

Katrina is the Climate Justice Program Manager at Puget Sound Sage. She provides advocacy, policy analysis, and strategic direction for the climate program.

Previously, Katrina worked at Washington Environmental Council and Climate Solutions, where she provided database support and feedback on racial equity and justice initiatives. She currently serves on Got Green's Climate Justice Committee and has experience as an environmental educator and guide, chaplain, and counselor.

Katrina holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard and a Bachelors in Political Science from Yale.

Jessica Ramirez
Lead Organizer

jessica@pugetsoundsage.org

Jessica is the Lead Organizer at Puget Sound Sage. She convenes the Sage SouthCORE coalition with community partners, strategically builds campaigns that root communities in place, and negotiates community desires and needs with institutional leaders to move our region towards equitable development.

Before Sage, Jessica worked with Front and Centered, a statewide environmental justice coalition as a Program Coordinator, creating and shaping the space for communities of color to have a stakeholder voice in Washington State climate work. And previously, she served as the National Boycott Coordinator for the farmworker union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, where she brought together a coalition of community, faith, and labor groups in support of a farmworker led boycott campaign towards a historic union contract.

Jessica has a bachelor’s degree in American Ethnic Studies and minored in Labor Studies and Law Societies and Justice. As a labor of love, Jessica is co-facilitating the creation of a movement school with the Rise Up Skill Up Collective. She likes to loop around Seward Park in the early mornings, knit, karaoke, and plan a good party.

Kristen Wendt
Development Manager

kristen@pugetsoundsage.org
(206) 568-5000 ext. 14

Kristen is the Development Manager at Puget Sound Sage. She is responsible for building Sage’s individual donor base, events coordination, donor communications, research, and database management.

Originally from the East Coast, Kristen first became engaged with Puget Sage Sage as a Communication & Outreach Coordinator during a yearlong fellowship with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. Prior to working at Sage, Kristen worked as the Communications Coordinator for Wentronix, as well as a featured writer and program & research intern with the SISGI Group, a consulting and non-profit organization.

Kristen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Villanova University, with minors in Sociology and Psychology.