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MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

We are proud of our growing team who are creating a welcoming community for refugee and immigrant women artisans.

Yumiko Damashek
Executive Board Chair, Executive Committee, Compensation Committee (2022-present);  Former Vice-President of Cabot Microelectronics


Yumiko Damashek is a Japan native and a seasoned senior executive in the global semiconductor industry with 30 years of senior management experience in US public companies. She is a rare female leader who has broken glass ceilings in the fiercely competitive semiconductor industry. Over the years, Ms. Damashek has lectured on foreign investment strategies, women’s career and leadership development, and has been very active in promoting Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in a corporate setting. She now dedicates herself in addressing the world's social issues through nonprofit organizations while engaging in angel investing and volunteering as a mentor for high school STEM students in the Seattle area. 

Hayden Bixby 
Board Development Chair (2022-present); Program Director, Cura Orphanage



Hayden Bixby currently serves as the International Program Director for Cura Orphanage (Kenya), a non-profit she has led on a volunteer basis since 2006. Professionally, she is in the property management business, having left her tenured Edmonds College faculty position of 24 years in 2021. She has both corporate and non-profit Board experience, and is thrilled to be contributing to the work of RAI as it serves women who come as refugees to their new homes in the US. As a resident of Lake City, she also appreciates RAI as a vibrant, hopeful and entrepreneurial neighbor committed to social justice.

Akiko Eisner-Waters
Marketing Committee (2022-present)
Founder & Creative Director of CURA Co.


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Akiko Waters is the founder and creative director of the CURA CO., a socially conscious lifestyle brand specializing in ethically-sourced, female forward art, home and apparel products. Besides the clear synergy between the mission of Akiko's brand and the work of RAI, it is also the facts of Akiko's own childhood that fuels the passion for working with immigrant women. As the child of a Japanese single mother Akiko understands first hand the struggle immigrants face, especially mothers.

Brittany Mehl
Secretary, Marketing Committee, Executive Committee, Compensation Committee (2022-present); Business Development Director, Mentor Creative Group
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Brittany Mehl works for Mentor Creative Group, a digital creative agency in Seattle that designs, builds, brands, and markets products. She is passionate about RAI’s innovative model to transform the lives of refugee and immigrant women. She is looking forward to helping share the impact stories of the organization along with developing community partnerships.

Bharathi Jagadeesh
Community Member (2022-present)




Bharathi immigrated to the United States from India as a child and grew up in the Midwest. She feels she benefited from the land of opportunity that America can be at its best, going to college, earning a PhD, and running a lab studying visual cognition. Now, Bharathi is committed to paying these opportunities forward through RAI’s goal of providing a place for immigrant women to thrive and grow.

Heather Bridges
Treasury, Finance & Development Committee Chair, Executive Committee, Compensation Committee (2022-present); CEO & Principal, Lotus Consulting

Leang Chung
Human Resources (2022-present)
Founder & CEO of Pelora Stack



Leang is a Career ‘First’ Coach and Founder of Pelora Stack. She helps mid-career professionals as they navigate their experience as a first-time founder, career changer, people manager, or solopreneur. Leang is an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council and serves on the advisory board for the Human Resources Essentials Program at the University of Washington. Her connection to RAI’s mission stems from her personal experience immigrating to the U.S. from Cambodia as a refugee and watching her mom, grandmother, and aunts earn a living using their sewing skills when she was a child. Leang is a first-generation college graduate. She holds a M.A. degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a B.S. degree in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University.

Elta Ratliff

KEY ADVISORS & CONTRIBUTORS

Donna Verretto, Non-Profit Advisor - President of DV Consulting for independent nonprofit consulting. Donna has had over 20 years experience in running non-profit organizations.

Camille Steen, Operations Advisor - Camille Steen has worked in the apparel industry in a variety of roles. She is an Adjunct Professor at Seattle Pacific University. Currently, she is the Product Engineer Lead at ExOfficio LLC, and is co-author of the popular Fairchild textbook “Technical Sourcebook for Designers.”

Steve Hill, Board Development Advisor - Steve is an effective business and community leader with extensive human resources and organizational effectiveness experience in both the private and public sectors. A non-profit guru, Steve dedicates his time to coaching RAI on how to effectively lead and grow as a company.

Ron Chew, Non-Profit Advisor - Journalist, Author and community organizer. Ron was Executive Director of the International Community Health Services, a journalist at the International Examiner, and Director of the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle's International District. He has extensive experience in oral history and community-based arts organizations, founding Chew Communications in 2008.

Join the Board of Directors


The Board seeks to have a cadre of members with diverse backgrounds. RAI values varied perspectives, life experiences, and differences. We encourage people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, people of all ages, and veterans.

First and foremost, we are seeking individuals who care deeply about refugee and immigrant women advocacy. Experience in governance on other boards is important. Skill sets in law, human rights, diversity, equity & inclusion, government affairs, sustainability and fundraising are desirable.

If you or a friend or colleague are interested in being considered for this strategic board, please indicate your interest to: Carmen Brenner, Director of Development: carmen@refugeesarts.org