Anne Powell Arias | Partnerships & Professional Learning Manager
Anne Powell Arias (she/her) has roots deeply embedded in youth development, starting as a volunteer at the YWCA Family Village in 1997. For more than a decade, she built and managed programs and teams for organizations including the YMCA of Greater Seattle and Good Shepherd Services in New York City. She is passionate about working with youth of all ages from a strengths-based perspective, creating innovative school-community partnerships and programs, and developing leadership within the field of youth development and education. In addition to being YDEKC’s Project Manager, Anne is a leadership consultant, trainer, and coach, serving primarily non-profits and educational institutions. She served as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs with the Coro New York Leadership Center and is a proud graduate of Occidental College.
Guneeta Chadha | Policy & Advocacy Coordinator
Guneeta Chadha (she/her) graduated from the University of Washington in 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, Human Rights, and Public Policy and a Critical Race Theory Certificate from Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s summer program. Prior to YDEKC, Guneeta brings a background in equity and social justice communications where she supported King County’s Department of Human Resources and Office of Equity and Social Justice. Her experience as a first-generation college graduate, intersectional woman, and child of incarcerated parents motivates her to create systemic change that uplifts Black, Indigenous, and Youth of Color. She will be returning to the University of Washington in fall 2021 for her MPA at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.
Jessica Paul Werner | Executive Director
Jessica Paul Werner (she/her) has led Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC) since its inception in 2011, building the coalition of more than 100 executive leaders of youth serving organizations and establishing YDEKC as a thought leader in the fields of youth development, social emotional learning and collective impact. Jessica has nearly two decades of experience in advancing the youth development field, with a focus on ensuring that we are creating more equitable environments for our kids, and also for the adults that support them. Jessica built her interest and expertise in positive youth development theory and practice over the course of nine years supporting youth programming for the YMCA of Greater Seattle, following the completion of her MPA at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance in 2002 with a focus on non-profit management. Jessica is a proud graduate of Seattle Public Schools, Occidental College (American Studies major), and two years of service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member in Sitka, Alaska and Portland, Maine. Jessica is a member of the Tlingit-Haida Nation, and now lives with her family in Shoreline, Washington.
Na'Quel Walker | Program Coordinator
Na’Quel Walker (she/her) joined YDEKC in 2021 after working in the education field as a classroom teacher for three years in Atlanta, GA, where she received her Masters in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about racial equity and abolitionist teaching. Na’Quel is a co-founder of Seattle BPE, a Black mutual aid group that provides resources and builds relationships with Seattle’s houseless communities and emphasizes the need for a Black Political Education that pulls from and engages with the Black Radical Tradition. In 2016, she graduated from the University of Washington, where she double majored in Political Science and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Na’Quel is deeply committed to creating a world where youth — especially Black, Indigenous and young people of color — thrive and not simply survive.
René Murry | Director of Public Policy & Advocacy
René Murry (she/her) has been a direct service worker and advocate for children, youth, and families for over 30 years. She received her Masters in Counseling in 1982 from the University of North Dakota, was a Children’s Protective Services worker in North Carolina from 1984 to 1989, a Foster Parent Developer for the YMCA of Greater Seattle from 1989 to 1994 and a Children’s Legislative Advocate in Washington state from 1989 to Present. Her advocacy roles range from a parent and PTA officer in Seattle public schools to co-chairing the Public Policy Committee of the Children’s Alliance and Chairing the Children’s Campaign Fund. René is the mother of 2 daughters ages 20 and 25 who graduated from Seattle Public Schools and the spouse of a Physician-Scientist at the UW.
Sarah Terry | Research & Evaluation Manager
Sarah Terry (she/her) came to YDEKC in 2013 after earning her Master of Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. She previously worked as a research librarian at several colleges and universities and as a reference librarian for the New York Public Library. As such, she maintains an active interest in connecting people with usable information. Sarah is a Seattle Public Schools graduate and the proud parent of two current SPS students.
Stephanie Markham | Database & Administrative Assistant
Stephanie Markham (she/her) joined YDEKC's team shortly after graduating from the University of Washington School of Social Work in 2019. She is passionate about systems change. At the Community Alliance for Global Justice, she helped optimize their food justice work by designing new protocols for their database and tracking member engagement. She served tables at Canlis Restaurant for six years, where she voluntarily built databases from scratch to help the team function more highly. She volunteered as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and at ROOTS Youth Adult Shelter and is committed to improving systems that affect youth and children. Her experiences with foster care, adoption, and repeatedly changing schools motivate her to direct her energy toward helping build more supportive systems for youth.