Executive Director, CHOICES Education Group | Board member since 1993
Leo Muller is Executive Director of CHOICES Education Group, provider of the nationally distributed CHOICES stay-in-school workshop for middle and high school students. Leo has 37 years of nonprofit social enterprise leadership experience developing and executing cause-marketing relationships, business-education partnerships and volunteerism programs with Fortune 500 companies, chambers of commerce, service clubs and school systems. As Executive Director of CHOICES Education Group since 1996, Leo has also fulfilled fundraising responsibilities for CHOICES, with a primary focus on program development, fund development and community development. Leo is a coach and judge for the Seattle Pacific University Social Venture Plan Competition, and a national conference speaker and panelist. He is past president and past youth service chair of the Lake Union Rotary Club and currently serves as Visioning Chair for Rotary District 5030. He has served as a member of the Nordstrom Scholarship Selection Committee and has been on the Board of the Children’s Music Foundation, the Washington Association of Partners in Education, the National Alliance of Business Task Force on Teacher Quality, the Washington State Partnership for Family Involvement in Education and the Alliance for Education School-To-Work Community Planning Group. Leo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Seattle Pacific University. He is married and has two adult children that both attended Seattle Public Schools.
Board of Directors
Principal Group Product Manager, Microsoft Esports | Board member since 2017
Donald Brinkman is a Principal Group Product Manager for Microsoft Esports, where he leads the PM team providing Esports content to Windows, Xbox, Bing, Edge, MSN, and other Microsoft first-party experiences. He also spearheaded the acquisition of smash.gg and now leads the non-engineering functions of that company as well as driving the overall product vision. Over the years he has held a variety of roles at Microsoft, primarily focused on natural language processing, game design, and AI. In 2013 his project ChronoZoom, an infinitely-scaling and interactive HTML5 representation of the history of Everything, was awarded the top educational resource award at South by Southwest. In his role as research program manager of Games for Learning and Digital Humanities at Microsoft Research, he helped to fund and design the CHOICES Challenge cellphone game.
CPA, Executive Director, Internal Audit, University of Washington | Board member since 2008
Richard Cordova is the Executive Director of Internal Audit at the University of Washington. His role also includes audit responsibility for the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center. Previous to the University, Richard served as Director, Internal Audit for Starbucks Coffee Company, leading a team of 12 professionals in execution of the approved Internal Audit Plan there. His prior experience also includes a 24-year career at Pricewater-houseCoopers, and spans a wide range of responsibilities, including internal audit, business assurance & advisory practice, senior audit manager and senior accountant. Cordova holds a bachelor of science in biology from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA in accounting and finance from the University of California Graduate School of Management in Irvine, CA. He is a licensed CPA in California and Washington. Cordova was a Seattle Chairman’s Award Winner in 2007 and Coach of the Year PwC West Region in 2002.
Co-Founder & CEO, Project Bionic | Board member since 2018
Josh Dirks is Co-Founder and CEO of Project Bionic, where he has pioneered and executed the “Listen, Create, Transform” process for such diverse clients as Nalgene, MidAmerican Energy, glassybaby, Amazon, Almond Roca, Taco Time NW, and many other organizations interested in activating an inspired community to support their brand. Josh believes social media must be more strategic and scientific, rather than the nailing Jell-O to a tree approach that is so often the norm today. Josh’s unique perspective comes from his extensive experience in both business management and new media. He served in a variety of marketing leadership positions for one of the largest radio groups in the US, Entercom. While a partner at Pin Point Marketing, Josh led created of a proprietary approach to web development and SEO that garnered several national awards for the agency. He also understands the client perspective, having establishing sales records as National Sales Manager for Door to Door Moving and Storage. Josh is a husband, father, geek at heart and new media thought-leader who’s right on the cusp of GenX and Millennials. Josh is wise beyond his years – and his facial hair.
Attorney, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt | Board member since 2011
Bert Markovich has tried over 100 cases through verdict, and has won more than 90 percent of the cases that he has tried. He has focused his practice on the defense of maritime claims, complex litigation (including class action and mass tort litigation), and the defense of claims involving product liability. Bert also represents insurance carriers in coverage work and bad faith litigation as well as Northwest commercial vessel interests, a large tanker operator, and numerous marine underwriters. He represents several manufacturers in product liability litigation including: Atlas Copco, Bayer, Nacco, and Merck. Much of the product liability work that he does involves the pharmaceutical industry. He also has extensive experience in professional liability litigation. Bert represents clients in federal and state courts in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Bert has been recognized as a Washington Super Lawyer, which is an annual listing of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement and he is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest acknowledgement for legal ability and ethics. Bert holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Montana State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oregon School of Law. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar Association, the Washington State Bar Association, and the King County Bar Association, and has given numerous speeches and presentations on trial practice, maritime law, products liability, and complex litigation. Bert is a former middle school teacher, and has coached youth sports for many years.
Senior Lead Advisor, Brighton Jones | Board member since 2020
Matt Mormino is a Senior Lead Advisor for Brighton Jones. He has been with the firm since 2008 and is a member of the ownership group. During his tenure he has had the opportunity to work across the various services that Brighton Jones offers and that has allowed him to expand his knowledge and expertise into the world of taxes and retirement plans. In his current role as Senior Lead Advisor he leads a team of advisors, making sure they have the tools and resources that they need to help clients live richer lives. Matt also oversees the OpenPlan service, working to drive growth and client satisfaction. Matt’s job is to listen – to fellow advisors and clients – and to support each of them in achieving their goals. Outside of work, Matt has volunteered for a variety of organizations focused on supporting disadvantaged communities and as a father of two young boys he has a particular interest in youth and finding ways to help provide opportunities for growth and long-term success. Alongside his wife and sons, Matt enjoys getting outside whenever possible. You will often find him out on a trail in Central Oregon, running, biking, or hiking.
Project Manager, AWS, Amazon | Board member since 2018
Lizzy Steere is a Product Manager at Amazon Web Services, where she drives optimization for large-scale initiatives which effect enterprise customers. There she works closely with her technical team to designs solutions which support the operationalization of AWS services. Prior to AWS, Lizzy worked at PwC in financial audit and risk & compliance consulting, with a focus on anti-corruption and anti-bribery (ABAC) law. Lizzy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy from Washington State University. She also studied Business Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work has served the technology, retail, utilities, financial services, and health industries. She enjoys coaching, mentoring, team building and devoting time to serve her community through several organizations. She is a driven and passionate individual with a competitive energy. Her consistent involvement with competitive sports, philanthropy and education throughout life has given her a dynamic spirit that openly invites new experiences and challenges.
Technical Program Manager, T-Mobile | Board member since 2022
Sushma Vadlamannati is a Technical Program Manager at T-Mobile, where she is leading an enterprise-wide IT transformation initiative. She has experience implementing ERP and cloud-based applications on Azure and AWS. Prior to T-Mobile she worked at Nordstrom where she was part of the Store Commerce organization and led projects that enabled customers to place holds on products and the migration of Credit Card processing from legacy to POS systems. Her previous experiences were implementing POS systems on Azure infrastructure and several enterprise transformation programs at Costco and Car Toys. Sushma is based out of Seattle, she has been volunteering with various organizations and is an Executive Director at a nonprofit organization that she established along with her daughter. Sushma has a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Business from Texas Woman’s University and a Certification in Program Management from UC Berkeley.
EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS
Founding Director, CHOICES Education Group | Board member since 1985
Jim Elias was a charter member of the board of CHOICES Education Group. Prior to his retirement he was Executive Director of Technology Assessment for U S WEST Communications, now Lumen Technologies. Previous positions with U S WEST included roles in marketing, public relations, construction, customer service and corporate resource management. Jim also worked extensively with the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Washington on applications of Virtual Reality for education. He has spoken internationally on the future of technology, served on several boards of community organizations, and managed a successful U.S. Senate campaign.
Investor | Board member since 2009
Mike Repass is an investor who has owned and managed apartment buildings and other real estate and financial investments for more than 35 years in Seattle. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Labor for seven years evaluating employment and training programs in New England and the Pacific Northwest. Mike was a Vista (Volunteers in Service to America) Volunteer in south Georgia and a Vista Supervisor in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia in the late 1960’s. He has a BA in Business from the University of Washington and a MA in Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota. Mike has been on the Board of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and the UW Press Advisory Board. He was a founding Board member of the University of Washington School of Business Administration Alumni Association, and has also served on the University of Washington Foundation Board, the Board of Trustees of the Municipal League of King County, the Friends of the University of Washington Libraries Board, and the boards of the Pacific Northwest Friends of the Carter Center, Scripps College, Seattle Country Day School, Seattle Center Fund and Seattle Emergency Housing Services. Mike was co-chair of parent fundraising for Scripps College and Wellesley College, and has done fundraising for other organizations as well.