Economic Opportunity Institute Staff

Marilyn Watkins

Policy Director

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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 City of Seattle Gender Pay Equity Taskforce (2013-14), the Governor’s Commission on Transforming Washington’s Budget (2010), the Joint Legislative Taskforce on Family Leave Insurance (2007), and serves on the executive committee of Family Values @ Work Multi-State Consortium. 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 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 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.

Ashley Sutton

Health Policy Associate

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Ashley Sutton is a master of public administration student at Seattle University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Washington. Prior to joining EOI, Ashley worked in population health management, contracted with the Washington State Health Care Authority. Ashley brings experience in both the private and public sector. Ashley has extensive experience working in the clinical arena. Her career works span various areas which influence the social determinants of health ranging from public safety, financial inclusion, HIV and she was responsible for the implementation of a mental health program enabling rural residents to access mental health services. Previous board experience includes sitting as vice president of the Hilltop Action Coalition.

Sam Hatzenbeler

Development Director

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Sam Hatzenbeler holds a Master 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 Communications Manager, both with a strong focus on building women’s economic security. Prior to joining the EOI team, Sam worked as Program Evaluator at Entre Hermanos, Clinic Manager at Seattle Medical and Wellness Clinic, 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 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.

Gabriela Quintana

Washington Work & Family Coalition Organizer

View Bio | 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 state-wide initiatives such as the domestic partnership and the anti-liquor privatization initiatives.

Melanie Mazza

Development and Operations Associate

View Bio | 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.

Brandon Bannister

Floyd Jones Fellow

View Bio | 206-529-6366

Brandon is a graduate of the University of Washington Tacoma, and current MPA candidate at Seattle University. He has worked for legislators and lobbyists in Olympia, as well as managing four political campaigns. He works on health care policy and intends to expand his policy analysis and program evaluation skills to become a better advocate for disadvantaged populations.

Board of Directors

Makini Howell

Board President

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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.

Lynne Dodson

Board Vice President

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Lynne Dodson is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO.

Matt Loschen

Board Treasurer

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

Andrew Gordon

Board 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.

Ray Sugarman

At-Large Executive Committee

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Ray Sugarman is a Union Representative at PTE Local 17. Ray has been a member of EOI’s board since 2018.

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.

Katie Wilson

Board Member

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

Ximena Velázquez-Arenas

Board Member

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Ximena is a Policy Analyst for Washington House Democrats.

Michael Tamayo

Board Member

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Michael is Vice President of the Seattle Education Association.

John Sirois

Board Member

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

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

Board Member

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Kristin is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of

Sandy Restrepo

Board Member

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Sandy Restrepo is the Directing Attorney of Colectiva Legal del Pueblo in Burien, 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.

Nicole Grant

Board Member

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Nicole is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the M.L. King County Labor Council in Seattle, Washington.

Nancy Altman

Board Member

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Nancy Altman is the President of Social Security Works and Chair of the Social Security Coalition in Washington D.C.