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From Childhood to Career: How We Can All Support Youth to Plan for Their Future

Thank you for joining us for our virtual panel discussion about post-secondary readiness!

We heard from community members, including program alumni, about existing gaps in post-secondary resources and the supports we can all put in place to ensure youth are ready to take the next step in their journey after high school graduation.

Watch the recording below!

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Meet our panelists!

Carmen Decker

President, Western Region, Kimco Realty Corporation

Board Member, UW Equal Opportunity Programs

Carmen Decker joined Kimco in 2011 and currently serves as the President of the Western Region. Ms. Decker oversees over 169 shopping centers in the Western US consisting of 33.5 million square feet. In this capacity, Ms. Decker is responsible for strategic planning, acquisitions, asset management, dispositions, leasing, property management, construction, and development. Ms. Decker has over 18 years of shopping center experience. Prior to her current position, Ms. Decker was the Vice President of Leasing & Asset Management for Kimco’s Pacific Northwest Sub-Region and spent 9 years as a Leasing & Sales Broker in both San Francisco and Seattle.

Ms. Decker holds a B.A. degree from University of Washington and is an Alumni of the Harvard Business School Program in Leadership Development. She is a licensed real estate broker in Washington, a member of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) and the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers).

James Hamilton

WSU Class of 2021

Friends-Seattle Alum Class of 2017

James Hamilton is a first-generation college student born and raised in South Seattle. Growing up, he was always a quiet, shy, and curious individual. He asked questions and loved to use google. This allowed him to fall in love with learning. With the help of Friends-Seattle, he considers himself blessed to have two mentors along with the support of the organization to keep him focused on academics. He recently graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Human Development. With the support from Friends-Seattle, family, and peers throughout his development, he is now inspired to give back to the community just like they did for him.

Johnathan Luster

Programs Director, WSOS

Johnathan Luster serves currently as the Programs Director at Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS). Prior to WSOS, he spent 15 years in public higher education in student services and advancement, most recently as Director of Regional Alumni Relations & Communications at the University of Washington. As a first-generation college student/graduate from the rural South, Johnathan believes in the transformative power of education and that all deserve equitable access – plus the resources necessary to succeed – to post-secondary opportunities.

Lacie West

Executive Director, Friends of the Children-Seattle

Lacie is a Seattle native with strong ties to this community. As a woman of color, Lacie’s understanding of how systems of oppression persist in our communities has guided her career. Before joining Friends-Seattle, Lacie served in leadership roles at the Service Board, College Possible (formerly College Access Now), and UNCF (United Negro College Fund). Lacie is passionate about the Friends-Seattle mission and has a strong belief in the power of mentorship. She has had and continues to have mentors in her own life who have been instrumental in her personal and professional growth. Lacie received her B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington Foster School of Business and a minor in Communications. She is also a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Denise Wingo

AR/Billing Specialist, Moss Adams LLP

Friends-Seattle Program Caregiver

Denise Wingo is the grandmother and caregiver of a young man who is a sophomore at Garfield High School and enrolled in Friends of the Children’s program. She is a Seattleite; she grew up and continues to live in the Central District. She is the parent of three children and six grandchildren.

She currently works full time at Moss Adams LLP as an AR/Billing Specialist and has been with the firm 22 years. She has volunteered her services as a board member for the YMCA of Greater Seattle for several years. She is currently the chairperson for the trustee board at her church. Denise enjoys spending time with family and friends, game night, camping and travelling

Jaleah Calloway

Preschool Teacher

Friends-Seattle Alumna Class of 2017

Meet our Panel Moderator!

Jaleah Calloway is a proud alumna of Friends of the Children-Seattle. She is a preschool teacher and currently lives in Hawaii.