Economic Opportunity Institute Staff

Marilyn Watkins

Policy Director

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marilyn@opportunityinstitute.org | 206-529-6370

Marilyn Watkins joined EOI in 1999. She is a member of the Graduate Faculty and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services at the UW, and has been appointed to the Washington State Paid Family & Medical Leave Advisory Committee (2017-2020); the City of Seattle’s Labor Standards Advisory Commission (2019-2021) and Gender Pay Equity Taskforce (2013-14); and the Governor’s Commission on Transforming Washington’s Budget (2010). Before joining EOI, Marilyn worked as a historical consultant for Northwest tribes and taught courses in Pacific Northwest and American women’s history. She earned a B.A. in Social Studies at Harvard and Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan.

John Burbank

Executive Director

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john@opportunityinstitute.org | 206-529-6345

John Burbank has a Master of Public Administration from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington and a B.A. from Evergreen State College. Before founding EOI, John was project manager of the Sand Point Community Housing Association, political director of the Washington State Labor Council, staff coordinator for the Washington State Senate, and director for the Community Labor Coalition in Rhode Island. He speaks Finnish and has published in the Journal of Finnish Studies. John is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He has a faculty appointment with the Department of Health Services, University of Washington, as a clinical instructor in the School of Public Health.

Aaron Keating

Managing Director

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aaron@opportunityinstitute.org

Aaron Keating holds a Master of Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, and a B.A. in Music from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. Before joining EOI, Aaron worked as Communications and Technology Manager for Port Jobs, Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and Program Director at the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties.

Gabriela Quintana

Advocacy Director

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gabriela@opportunityinstitute.org | 206-529-6361

Gabriela earned a Masters of Social Work from Boston University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington. Prior to joining EOI, Gabriela managed her own consulting business where she worked on social and racial justice issues such as the panhandling ordinance in Seattle, the voting restoration rights bill in Olympia as well as on some statewide initiatives such as the domestic partnership and the anti-liquor privatization initiatives.

Sam Hatzenbeler

Policy Associate - Health

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sam@opportunityinstitute.org | 206-529-6375

Sam Hatzenbeler holds a master’s of public health from the Community Oriented Public Health Practice program and a B.A. in gender studies, both from the University of Washington. Sam started her work with EOI in 2014 as a graduate policy intern and then transitioned to being the Development Director until 2019, before taking on managing EOI’s health policy portfoli. Prior to joining the EOI team, Sam worked as a program evaluator at Entre Hermanos, a clinic manager at Seattle Medical and Wellness Clinic, a community organizer at Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project, and spent four years as a women and children’s advocate at New Beginnings. Sam has a faculty appointment with the Department of Health Services, University of Washington, as a clinical instructor in the School of Public Health.

Matthew Caruchet

Communications Director

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matthew@opportunityinstitute.org | 206-529-6360

Matthew Caruchet holds a master’s degree in Journalism and Religion from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s in Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University. Prior to joining the EOI team, Matthew worked at local radio stations KPLU and KUOW, for a successful statewide ballot initiative, for the federal government covering development and human rights in Africa and the Middle East, and at a variety of domestic publications. His journalism work continually focused on social justice, inequality, and political reform movements.

Melanie Mazza

Development Manager

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melanie@opportunityinstitute.org | 206-529-6350

Melanie holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound in International Political Economy. She joined EOI in 2018 as a Communications Intern, and then transitioned to Development and Operations Associate. Prior to joining EOI, Melanie researched economic empowerment initiatives for smallholder coffee producers in Nicaragua and worked as part of a government initiative to improve English education in Colombian public schools, both with a focus on improving economic security for lower-income populations. Melanie has also worked as a barista and marketing coordinator for Seattle Coffee Works.

Sara Bekele

Research Assistant - Education

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sara@opportunityinstitute.org

Sara Bekele recently graduated from the University of Washington, with a BA in Economics and Political Science.

During her undergraduate career, Sara’s academic focus was in international political economy, international development, and ethnic politics.

Outside of her academics, Sara was as a board member at both the University of Washington Black Student Union and Economics Undergraduate Board, serving as a voice for those who are traditionally underrepresented and marginalized.

In her time as a Floyd Jones Fellow at the EOI, Sara will be working on higher education access by assessing the impact of College Promise Programs throughout the US.

Board of Directors

Ximena Velázquez-Arenas

President

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Ximena is a Policy Analyst for Washington House Democrats.

Ray Sugarman

Vice President

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Ray Sugarman is the owner of Sugarman Consulting. Ray has been a member of EOI’s board since 2017.

Andrew Gordon

Secretary

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Andrew Gordon is a retired professor of Public Policy at the Evans School of Public Policy at the University of Washington. Andrew has been a member of EOI’s board since 1998.

Matt Loschen

Treasurer

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Matt Loschen is retired, and has served on EOI’s board since 2009.

Stan Sorscher

At-Large Executive Committee

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Stan Sorscher is a Labor Representative at the Society for Professional Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), and previously worked as a physicist at Boeing. Stan has been an EOI board member since 2007.

Dawn Trudeau

At-Large Executive Committee

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Dawn Trudeau spent 20 years in the software industry, is co-owner of the Seattle Storm, and is a member of many boards and community organizations in Seattle. Dawn has been a member of EOI’s board since 2006.

Michael Tamayo

At-Large Executive Committee

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Michael is Vice President of the Seattle Education Association.

Katie Wilson

Board Member

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Katie is the General Secretary of the Transit Riders Union in Seattle, Washington.

John Sirois

Board Member

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John is the Committee Coordinator for Upper Columbia United Tribes in Spokane, Washington.

Elizabeth Woody Lindquist

Board Member

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Elizabeth is a practicing attorney and owner of Lindquist Law, PLLC in Seattle, Washington.

Karen Keiser

Board Member

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Senator Karen Keiser represents the 33rd Legislative District in the Washington State Senate.

Makini Howell

Board Member

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Makini Howell is the creator and owner of Seattle’s Plum Restaurants, which include Plum Bistro, Plum Burgers, Plum Pantry, Plum Chopped, and Sugar Plum. Makini is also a champion for progressive workplace policies, and was a leader in the campaign for paid sick days and the $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

Tarra Simmons

Board Member

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Tarra Simmons is an attorney at Public Defender Association, and Executive Director of Civil Survival. She is a formerly incarcerated mother working to end mass incarceration and its many collateral consequences.

Janelle Jones

Board Member

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Janelle Jones is research and policy director at The Hub Project.

Sutapa Basu

Board Member

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Sutapa Basu is the executive director of the University of Washington Women’s Center

April Sims

Board Member

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April Sims is the secretary treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council.