Winter 2014-15                                                                                   Volume 6, Issue 3

Hello from your new Executive Director! I am excited to step into this position and hope to have the opportunity to meet as many of you as possible.

As an AL 2010 graduate, program speaker and recent board director, I am very familiar with the value of Advancing Leadership, both for AL and ALY learners and the lives you all touch. I also believe we can expand our reach and find even more ways to come together for our communities.

I hope you'll stay connected, be involved and let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions.

At AL, we're ALL IN. 

Best wishes,

Lawrence Garrett
Executive Director
Alum to Alum: Your Help is Needed

Attention AL Nation: Your community is calling!  We have two volunteer opportunities in Federal Way being led by AL alums. Take a look:

Hope for the Holidays: Jon McIntosh, AL '99, along with LOTS of other alums is helping coordinate toy collection, prep and distribution for hundreds of families in the city. This is a joint effort by Multi-Service Center (a featured partner this quarter), Grace Church, South King Fire & Rescue, the Federal Way Police and several other groups. Volunteer slots are available over the next few weeks, so don't delay. If you have questions, you can contact Jon at, but first visit the volunteer sign-up page: for all the details.


Tool Library Development: Jeanette Brizendine, AL '13 needs Federal Way-ans to help create a tool library right here in our city. A tool library is exactly what it sounds like, and provides people with a means to complete projects on their property - or as part of a volunteer effort - without buying or renting tools they can't afford, store or even need very often. It's eco-friendly and a great way to share with neighbors too. The next meeting to start developing a plan is Thursday, 12/11, 6-7:30 pm at Federal Way City Hall. Contact Jeanette at or 253.835.2771 to RSVP or get more information.

Engaging Volunteers: Alum Leads the Way
Jennifer (in pink) with volunteers

As the Volunteer Resource Manager for the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, Jennifer Teeler, AL '03 is "in the business of leading and inspiring people to use their precious time and talents to accomplish great things - without paying them!" It's a challenging role, but she's not afraid of challenges. Jennifer considers two of her most valuable tools to be her AL experience and the book introduced to her there, The Leadership Challenge.


 "The Advancing Leadership class of 2003 was made up of a dynamic group of people from different walks of life, with different skills and abilities, ages, cultures and beliefs. However, we were all united by determination," she explains. "We chose to build a covered walkway for the Multi-Service Center food bank, a literal and figurative 'Shelter in the Storm.' Once we started the project, there was no turning back. The Leadership Challenge defines leadership as "the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations," and struggle we did! At times we weren't sure if we would be able to finish the project. We did finish it, though, and it has sheltered food bank clients for ten years now."

Being a part of AL '03 gave Jennifer firsthand experience pulling together a large-scale volunteer effort. "That lesson has served me well at my job with Komen...volunteers are passionate, capable, energetic people. All they need is to be engaged. I use the principles from the Advancing Leadership class and the Leadership Challenge book to engage them every day and to teach others in my field how to lead and inspire their own volunteers."


From an AL class of 25 to a leader inspiring thousands of volunteers to act - that's the true legacy of Advancing Leadership. Thank you, Jennifer, for your story and your service!

2014 Evening with the Stars: Out of this World
How did you like this year's Evening with the Stars Dinner and Auction? You were there, right? Just in case you couldn't make our annual volunteer nominating, celebrity waiting, pasta plating, dessert debating, glass raising, star gazing, just plain amazing fundraising event - here's what you missed:
AL Board President & Police Chief Andy Hwang, AL '00, award winner Janice Siebenaler, AL '10 & Board Director Bob Wroblewski
- Janice Siebenaler, AL '10 was awarded the 2014 Bob Wroblewski Servant Leadership Alumni Award (BWSLAA - or the Bob Award) for her tireless volunteer efforts throughout our community.  Other nominees were Jenny Vasquez, AL '13 and Jeanette Brizendine, AL '14.

- Teri Hickel introduced the new Executive Director of Advancing Leadership, Lawrence Garrett, AL '10.

- Kevin Lee, ALY '10 and Joe Ganem, AL '14 shared their leadership journeys and earned a standing ovation.

Thanks to everyone who made this our best event yet!
Making a Difference with Music

Can music be a form of service? Listen to what these AL alums - both lifelong musicians - are doing with their talents:

Jay Thomas, AL '04


Jay Thomas, AL '04 is a pianist/keyboardist, composer and music producer. His interest began early: "I started playing piano at around age six.  I took lessons from my kindergarten teacher and then starting playing in church.  I found that I enjoyed playing by ear much more than reading music.  Eventually, I began producing music for other artists as well as a couple of instrumental jazz projects of my own."


How does servant leadership fit into the mix? As Jay sees it, "I've always used my gift of music as a way to serve others. I believe all gifts and talents are meant to be shared with and to serve others.  Whether it's spending time with artists to understand what they want from a song, or playing for someone's wedding (one of the most important events of their lives), I see them all as opportunities to serve others."


Music has been "an incredible outlet for creativity" in his life, and Jay has used his passion and knowledge to enable other musicians to act, including "working with other artists who have written lyrics and maybe a melody line but don't know how to play.  It's extremely satisfying to work with someone to bring their music visions to life." From his home studio, Jay produces music for other artists as well as himself. "A couple of years ago, I produced a Christmas song for an artist in Hong Kong right from my own home!"


His advice for musician leaders: "Take your craft seriously but remember that it's about way more than how good you are.  I enjoy creating music but the relationships I've been able to build with people over the years through music means a whole lot more to me than the music itself."


Learn about Jay's performance and production services, including links to hear and buy his music, at

Laura Belvin, AL '11


Laura Belvin, AL '11 is a choral singer and plays multiple instruments, including guitar, flute and piano. She has also taught music and led a children's choir. "Music has always been part of our family," remembers Laura. "My mom was a music teacher (and) the worship director at the church I grew up in. I learned guitar and leadership from her."


In college, she continued playing, singing and leading worship herself. All of the Belvins love making music, and they now "sing as a family with Breath of Aire, a regional choir that does benefit concerts."  Laura also performs with the Federal Way Symphony Singers. "Music expresses a message in a way that words can't do on their own.  I especially like singing scripture, like Handle's Messiah, as the music adds depth and power to the words."


Although she was involved in both music and leadership well before Advancing Leadership, the program helped Laura recognize the link between the two, including the true service nature of performance. "All of the AL practices of exemplary leadership relate to music performance, especially in my experience with Breath of Aire. Choirs by nature, singing in concert, share a vision and values. Our choir challenges the process in how we deliver the music (providing an 'experience') and purpose (benefit concerts). We encourage the heart and build up the community... It has been persistent faithful service that helps gain respect and leads to opportunities to lead."


Her advice for musician leaders: "Find a place to serve and use your talent. Volunteer. Network. Keep honing your skills and never stop learning. Learn business practices."


Find concert information, hear music and buy CDs of Laura's choir at

The Secret to AL's Success: Our Partners

As the year draws to a close, it's a great time to celebrate partnerships that have stood the test of time. We are grateful for all that we have received and the growth we've experienced as a direct result of these partners:

AL 2002 at Weyerhaeuser

Weyerhaeuser Company was the very first corporation to invest in Advancing Leadership and a vision of community engagement. There has been a Weyerhauser employee in every AL class and another on every AL Board of Directors, from 1999 to present.  Our partnership has been rich and reciprocal, with many AL grads implementing their leadership training to enhance Weyerhaeuser's corporate climate, just as Weyerhauser professionals have poured countless unpaid hours and a wealth of expertise into developing and improving Advancing Leadership's programming.  Our classes have spent time on the Weyerhaeuser campus for program days, field trips and special events, thanks to in-kind donations of meeting space, hosting staff and tour guides, supplies and often, fantastic catering.

ALY 2012 at Multi-Service Center

Multi-Service Center has been connected to AL from very early on, back when the nonprofit's name was twice as long - SKCMSC anyone! Their work in our community has always been eye-opening and inspirational to our classes, and site visits at MSC soon evolved into full program days hosted in their food bank space. Employees began participating in our programs in 2002, and we soon had Multi-Service Center leaders serving on our board, as guest speakers and panelists and behind the scenes in countless volunteer roles. In addition to financial support, MSC staff has shared advice to help AL develop as a healthy local nonprofit organization. We have also been introduced to other nonprofits and their work as a direct result of our relationship with MSC.


Our development of a true leadership network relies on the relationships we have with partners like these. Thanks to all of our partners for investing in our community.


In This Issue
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Alumni News
Gaylen Floy, AL '08
is now a Tech Specialist providing tech support for people with disabilities at Orion Industries.


Lawrence Garrett, AL '10 is Advancing Leadership's new Executive Director.


Nila Griffin, ALY '10 is graduating this month from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BS in Family Resource Management Studies. She is planning to apply to medical school.


Lynnette Hynden, AL '09 has completed her Doctorate in Business Administration from Argosy University and accepted the position of Customer Service Manager with Weyerhaeuser.


Mark Koppang, AL '15 has been appointed to the Superintendent Search Advisory Committee for Federal Way Public Schools.


Jessicka Rambus, AL '14 stepped into the roles of Co-President and Webmaster for her homeowners' association. As part of this role, she successfully took on the task of creating their first online platform for homeowner communication. She also used her AL leadership skills to inspire 100% member participation!


Kelley Tanner, AL '11 has been selected as an International Board Director for the Pacific Northwest Region with the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI).


Alumni Feedback
"Great way to discover the leader within yourself!" 
AL '14
Alumni Feedback
"ALY allowed me to test myself on how much I was going to let people in and how much I was willing to push myself. It gave me more confidence in speaking up and participating. Also it taught me how to be open-minded and to collaborate rather than to argue. I would not say ALY changes people; it simply amplifies the best qualities out of each individual to show the world what we have to offer." 
Kevin Lee
ALY '10
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Advancing Leadership | 253-529-7440 | | PO Box 3317, Federal Way, WA 98063

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