Summer 2015                                                                                                                      Volume 7, Issue 2

It's hard to believe my first program year as your E.D. is already wrapping up. It's been enlightening and exhilarating working with our board, staff, volunteers and alumni to deliver all the best our classes have to offer. We're also developing promising new practices, both to enhance the experience of incoming classes and to improve value beyond graduation.

Lawrence Garrett3 This summer I have a goal of meeting with each Advancing Leadership class, to learn from you and hopefully give you new reasons to connect with the AL Nation. We share a wealth of collective knowledge and experience. It is my goal to see us working together to affect positive change among all of the communities we touch.

Don't think you have to wait to hear from me. I'd love to hear from you as well. Contact me at or 253.529.7440. If you're an alumni, I especially welcome your ideas about ways to keep AL and ALY a relevant part of your leadership journey.

Best wishes,

Lawrence Garrett
Executive Director
AL 15 Team Project: Enabling Others To Act

While preparing to update our readers on the AL 2015 team project, we contacted the community partner they selected, Federal Way Community Caregiving Network to ask for their take on the experience. FWCCN Board President Doug Johnson had just written an article for their newsletter and with his permission we are reprinting it here for you. Thanks to FWCCN for an inspiring partnership and learning experience! 

AL '15 with FWCCN leadership
AL CLASS OF 2015 - A BLESSING TO THE FWCCN - by Doug Johnson, Board President, FWCCN

Each year the Advancing Leadership program gathers together leaders from across the spectrum of business, government, education,  and religious communities in our city to explore three questions relating to leadership in our community:


1. What does leadership look like

2. What does leadership mean right here in our Federal Way community

3. How do we, as would-be leaders in our community, make an impact


The way they answer these questions is through the lens of a project that they select, a project that marries them with one community organization that they believe is already making an impact in the community but wants their help in making a bigger impact or broadening their impact for the people of Federal Way. In late 2014, the Advancing Leadership class of 2015 chose the Federal Way Community Caregiving Network (FWCCN) as the organization they wanted to work with to answer the above questions.  And this is what the Board of Directors of the FWCCN had to say about their participation with the Class of 2015

  • It was a winner right from the start - Part of the selection process was an interview with several members of the class.  They wanted to know about us, what we cared about, why what we do is important to the community, what we wanted for ourselves.  It was a partnership right away. 
  • Helping us help ourselves - right from the time we were informed we were a finalist for the 'grant' of assistance from AL.  We were asked to meet with Amye Bronson-Doherty to help develop a short video of our goals, objectives and passions - a video statement of why we were a worthy candidate of AL support.  The video was a powerful statement of our mission, vision, values; all the videos were equally powerful.  It was great publicity!  We felt that any one of the prospective projects could be chose and we would be in full support of the other participants.  All organizations are doing very good work in the Federal Way Community.  We felt we were very fortunate to be selected.  
  • Organization - very well organized.  The AL class broke into three groups to focus on the three areas that the FWCCN Board felt were most important for future growth: Community engagement,  incorporation of new technologies for organizational expansion, and enhancement of major fundraising events.  We had access to all members of the class through a single point of contact who was available wherever questions came up about the project and each group has a point person with whom we worked on specific issues,
  • Collaboration - this project was a very close collaboration between the members of the AL class and members of the FWCCN Board.  The project was really a continuous feedback loop with the AL team seeking to understand what we hope to achieve from the project, going away to assemble their ideas and responses, and then getting back together to confirm understanding, validate impressions , test ideas - continually trying to make sure that their recommendations and 'solutions' were meeting our expectations.
  • Product - On Monday, June 15, the FWCCN Board of Directors met with the group leaders to review the final product which included hardcopy and electronic representation of their work.  These include presentation materials, suggested letters to donors and sponsors, recommendations and mockup of technology enhancements, and a blueprint for community engagement - All very professionally crafted.
  • In all humility  - These observations, recommendations, and suggestions were presented with grace and humility.  We truly felt were being served by professional leaders in our community.

They addressed our needs in our terms for us. The FWCCN will develop to be a stronger part of the human services network, a better servant to the citizens of Federal Way, as a result of our collaboration with the AL Class of 2015.



ALY Student Leader Now A Teacher Leader
Riley Germanis, ALY '09

Riley Germanis, ALY '09, has come a long way since high school. Yet it's the values and lessons he's held close over the years that continue to ring true as he makes the transition from student to teacher.  This spring, Riley was awarded a Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) Fellowship. According to the KSTF website, this prestigious program "awards exceptional young men and women with five-year, early-career Fellowships, empowering them to become primary agents of educational improvement." We used this great news as a catalyst to learn about Riley's leadership journey.


AL: Let's step back to high school. Were you already thinking about teaching?


Riley: I have always loved helping others, even in high school. I loved working with my teachers, other students and helping out wherever I could. Throughout high school, I enjoyed math, but usually had a difficult time understanding some concepts. I thought about Engineering, but wanted to be working with people directly. After working as a peer tutor, I knew teaching was a passion that was meant to be.


AL: You'll be a KSTF Fellow for five years. What does success look like during this experience?


Riley: The fellowship formally lasts for five years, but support continues beyond the initial fellowship. I'm looking forward to working with educators and experts from across the country to develop well researched teaching practices that are effective in teaching students one of the most challenging subjects, math. I want to learn, reflect and change my teaching methods to improve my students' understanding. Most importantly, I want them to own their learning and work hard towards their goals, even if they aren't math/science related.


One of the biggest challenges as a teacher in general is to remain resilient every day and work to help reach students who are often forgotten. Every student is able to learn, but providing personalized attention to all students, is challenging and time consuming. Community partners (such as Communities in Schools, Americorps) are such a blessing as a one-on-one connection. Teachers cannot do it alone, and many have a difficult time asking for help! So if you have ever thought of helping a student, take a moment to make one impact, this is my plea to the community!


AL: KSTF refers to fellows as "teacher leaders." Has your ALY experience influenced and/or prepared you in any way for this fellowship and leadership in general?


Riley: Through the ALY program, I have learned two essential skills that have really helped me through life. First is learning how the community is interconnected. One part helps the other, the web is dense and complex. Leadership comes in the form of sharing your resources with others, essentially maximizing impact. The second piece is the value of networking within the community. Advancing Leadership has helped me connect with mentors, teachers, principals and community partners. When I make important connections, I keep in touch and help whenever possible.


AL: Any advice for ALY alums preparing for college and careers?


Riley: Make connections, ask for help when you need it, keep those connections, give back and work really, REALLY hard! These five tools have helped me accomplish all of my goals, especially the last one. Many people say that because I got a mathematics degree I am smart. I just worked really hard to get to where I am and I kept important connections. I have offered to help as much as I have received. When others need a favor, I jump at the opportunity. Ever gift to the community doubles the investment.


Riley will be putting his ALY values and KSTF support to work at Mt. Tahoma High School in the Tacoma School District teaching Algebra and Geometry. You can read about one of his early use of connections in community service - starting Students for Federal Way Schools - in the Fall 2009 AL E-News.

The Heart of AL: Our Board of Directors
Outgoing Directors: Chief Andy Hwang (l) & Bob Wroblewski (r),
congratulating 2014 BWSLAA winner Janice Siebanaler, AL '10
The role of an AL Board Director: 
Lead a transformational nonprofit organization with minimal staff and hundreds of volunteers, overseeing three intensive programs with sessions scheduled year-round to maximumize impact, while maintaining relationships with almost 1000 alumni, community leaders, partners and donors and ensuring financial stability in both the short and long term.


That is what our board directors bring to AL. No wonder we consider them the secret to our success!  


July is the end of our fiscal year and the end of terms of service for two of our directors: Police Chief Andy Hwang, AL '00 and AL Founding Member Bob Wroblewski. Both have served several terms over the life of AL and brought a wealth of knowledge and heart to our work. Even though they are stepping back from board work, we know they will continue to benefit our program and our community with their example of servant leadership. Thank you both for leading the way.


We are also proud to introduce our incoming directors for the 2015-16 year. Please join us in welcoming Lydia Assefa-Dawson, AL '03, Federal Way City Councilmember, Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator at King County Housing Authority; Laura Davis Brown, Director of Equity and Achievement, Federal Way Public Schools; Joe Ganem, AL '14, IT Director at South King Fire & Rescue; Mark Koppang, AL '15, National Accounts Manager at Ampac Packaging; and Cathy Schrock, AL '15, Public Information Officer at Federal Way Police Department. Thank you for your willingness to serve our community and model the way.

Coming Soon: Evening with The Stars 2015
Watch your inbox and social media for your invitation to our annual fundraising dinner and auction, Evening with The Stars 2015. We hope you'll put a big star on your calendar for Saturday, October 3rd, 5:30-9:00 pm. All the good stuff from last year will return: full course dinner, irresistible auction items, the wildest dessert auction around and of course, superior service from local dignitaries.

We'll also be recognizing an outstanding alumnus with the 2015 Bob Wroblewski Servant Leadership Alumni Award (aka the Bob Award) - and we have some new surprises in store!

Information on sponsorships, tickets and Bob Award nominations will be on the way soon. If you have any questions in the meantime, contact Deanne: Evening with The Stars: where leaders shine!

Calling All Leaders: Local Nonprofits Need You

Who loves ya, AL and ALY alums? Federal Way's nonprofits sure do! We put the call out for volunteer needs and here are some groups that would love to talk to you about using your leadership skills to make strides in great work being done locally:


Reach Out serves the needs of homeless men and women in Federal Way. They are seeking volunteers with skills in managing websites/social media, public relations, general communications, fundraising and administration. Contact: Laurie Fiorito,



Federal Way Community Caregiving Network assists those struggling to meet their basic needs. They are seeking volunteers with skills in technical/social media, fundraising events and strategic planning. Contact: or (253) 661-0505.




Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking educates and engages our community so that each person can play a role in ending human trafficking. They need volunteers with skills in website management, graphic design, fundraising, event planning and coordinating volunteers. Contact:


 Multi Service Center offers people pathways out of poverty through a variety of programs. A current volunteer need is for help prepping summer meals on weekday mornings. Contact: Terri , (253)838-6810 or 


Soroptimist International Federal Way is a global women's organization working together to transform the lives of women and girls. New members are always welcome. Contact:



Kiwanis Club of Federal Way is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. The Kiwanis Club of Federal Way sponsors youth and community programs throughout our city. New members are always welcome. Contact:

Partnership is Priceless

Advancing Leadership works hard to find the funding needed to make our programs not just viable, but phenomenal. When organizations provide financial support to nonprofits, they are often referred to as sponsors, grantmakers or simply funders. Why does AL instead refer to these organizations as partners? The word 'partner' describes a relationship of equals; we want our partners not just to invest in AL, but to share the rewards as well. 

Getting Smart's Caroline Vander Ark with AL '13
Getting Smart's Caroline Vander Ark with AL '13.


As a nonprofit focused on community-based leadership, partnership is the natural approach to funding what we do. Our partners don't just write checks and provide oversight. Each organization develops a hands-on relationship with AL and our programs. This month we're spotlighting two partners with connections to our origin story:


Getting Smart

CEO Tom Vander Ark was one of Advancing Leadership's founding members. He has continued to provide personal and professional support to our program over the years, including serving as a speaker, advisor and panelist as well as an event and table sponsor. Now that Getting Smart is an official partner, we've enjoyed welcoming several staff members into recent AL classes, including Caroline Vander Ark, AL '13 who now serves as a board director and provides invaluable tech and organizational support behind the scenes.


Grace Church

ALY '15 at Grace Church

Mike McIntosh, the founding pastor of Grace Church, was also an AL founding member. He served on the board and encouraged Teri Hickel to take the leap into the role of executive director. When Mike passed away from cancer, Advancing Leadership established a scholarship fund in his name. This fund ensures that cost is not a barrier for applicants to the AL Adult Program. Current Senior Pastor Jon McIntosh was a member of the inaugural AL Class of '99, and has been an active volunteer ever since. He currently serves on our board, assists with program planning and is a regular speaker. Many other Grace Church staff members have graduated from Advancing Leadership and remain involved. As a partner, the church provides regular meeting space for program days and graduation events and this year they hosted ALY 2015's team project, Co Op with The Cops. In addition, the Grace Church kitchen crew have provided complete catering services at no charge for every Evening with The Stars fundraising dinner.


Our partners are priceless!

Living Her Legacy: Celebrating Teri Hickel's Impact
Teri Hickel
Teri Hickel
On Thursday, June 11th, the AL Nation and the Federal Way community gathered to honor Teri Hickel for her sixteen years of service as Advancing Leadership's Executive Director. In her time with this organization she helped develop the AL adult program and add two youth programs - now known as ALY 1.0 and 2.0. Within those three programs, she has led thirty classes - close to 870 participants - on a leadership journey like no other. Her passion and determination built bridges among community leaders and challenged everyone who worked with her to push themselves to excellence.

At the celebration event alumni from both the adult and youth programs, board directors and AL's current Executive Director Lawrence Garrett spoke of the ways Teri had inspired them as a model of servant leadership. Graduates from almost every class back to 2002 stopped by to thank her personally, share stories and try to sum her up in one word for a vase filled with the results written on slips of paper. "Leader", "passionate", "hero" and "RED!" were a few contributions.

Another contribution was a generous donation to Advancing Leadership in recognition of Teri's legacy from former board director Debra Hansen.

As we move into a new era together, it is an honor to recognize the heart and hard work Teri Hickel has poured into the programs and people who are Advancing Leadership. Thank you, Teri.
In This Issue
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Alumni News
Jordan Crahan, ALY '12 is now the  Contract Sales and Marketing Intern at  The Law Office of Herman C Brewer IV.  He is also Advancing Leadership's 2015 summer intern!

Tina Piety, AL '10 has been selected as the Pacific Northwest Branch Advisor for the  

This was a competitive process and requires leadership, communication, networking and volunteer oversight skills. Perfect for an AL grad.



Teniel Sabin, AL '09
has a new baby, Atticus and a new job as a coach and consultant with
Child Care Resources
She's also working on her doctorate - a leadership journey all it's own.


Jennifer Teeler, AL '03 has been promoted to Director of Events and Volunteer Resources at

Susan G. Komen Puget SoundRead more about Jennifer's work in our

Jennifer Youngblood, AL '11  welcomed baby Hayden on April 22 nd.


Several Advancing Leadership alums are walking the talk of servant leadership by stepping up to public service. The following AL folks are running for an elected office this year:

Teri Hickel, State Representative 30 th  District, Position 2

  Angela Griffin, Federal Way School District Position 2


Lydia Assefa-Dawson, Federal Way City Council Position 1

Liz Drake, Federal Way School District Position 3

Julie Hiller, Federal Way City Council Position 2
Alumni Feedback
"M y learnings from AL gave me the motivation and encouragement to act as a Leader . "  
AL '14
Alumni Feedback
"ALY really gave me an outlook on this city and how to get involved and how to use community resources to take action. "  
Caleb Dawson
ALY '12
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Advancing Leadership | 253-529-7440 |  PO Box 3317, Federal Way, WA 98063