World Relief Western Washington's Advisory Council is not a governing body. They volunteer their time, professional expertise, and lived experience to advance our vision to see every immigrant welcomed by community, rooted in community, and empowered for community.
Becca worked at World Relief Seattle as an Investment Coordinator from 2014-2017, and reconnected in 2019 to join our Advisory Council. Becca has spent much of her career working in development and fundraising, from political campaigns to international organizations, all focused on helping refugees. She is currently the Donor Relations Manager at the Seattle Colleges Foundation and has been in this position since June of 2019. Having received a life-saving kidney transplant while working for WRS, her other community involvement includes sitting on the Advisory Council for the Northwest Kidney Center as “a way to give back”.
Doug has been involved with World Relief Seattle since 2017 when he signed up to be a cultural companion, and later that year when he joined the Advisory Council. Doug is a retired Navy pilot who is drawn to humanitarian work by his heart for refugees, his experience working with World Vision, and as an adoptive parent of a Romanian daughter. He is an active member of Maple Valley Church, where he is involved with Bible study, community meals for the homeless, and afterschool study programs for elementary school children. To anyone thinking of connecting with WRS, he says, “Be involved, whether its volunteering or donating or both; when you do that you always get more than you ever give.”
Elizabeth has been involved with World Relief Seattle since its very early years when she herself arrived as a refugee from Vietnam in 1979. Her family was one of the first families that WRS ever supported, and so supporting WRS is something of a family tradition. Elizabeth is part of the Good Neighbor Team at Alderwood Community Church, where she helped resettle two families and she joined the Advisory Council in 2020. She has spent over 18 years in software consulting and is currently the Regional Vice President at Larson & Tourbo Infotech.
Erin joined the advisory council in 2020. She began volunteering at WRS in 2018 with our Host Home program and has also used her background as an event planner to organize our 40th Anniversary Gala in 2019. Erin has previously done social work with Volunteers of America, and also volunteers with Mary’s Place, a shelter for homeless families in Seattle. She is currently going back to school at Pepperdine University to become a financial planner and stockbroker and help empower women in their finances.
Joe immigrated to the US from India 35 years ago, and has since navigated a corporate career with recent emphasis on leveraging those learnings for the non-profit sector. He has held leadership roles at Microsoft, Verizon Wireless and Alaska Airlines, is a lifelong elder of the Presbyterian Denomination, and sits on the Board of the Bellevue Presbyterian Legacy Foundation. His heart for the under-privileged is driven by his faith. Joe says the work that World Relief Seattle community does is “putting what we are taught to do in the New Testament into action.”
Johnetta Rowsey Ash
Johnetta has spent her career working to support underrepresented groups of people, both at the City of Kent and as the former Director of Diversity Affairs at Nordstrom. She attends River of Life Church in Kent and is involved with various groups working to support women of all ages trying to enter the workplace. Johnetta is drawn to refugee issues through her work for the City of Kent and joined our Advisory Council in 2015. “Being an African American female, I have had my own experiences of being passed over, looked over, ignored, and it just hurts me that we take so much for granted and the degree to which we will go to continue being comfortable and not allowing people to be their best. It was a tug on the heart strings,” she shared. Johnetta finds purpose in supporting WRS, and emphasizes that there is so much to gain from donating your time and dollars to working with refugees.
Melissa has been on the Advisory Council since its creation in 2014. Her professional background includes experience in event management, marketing, and business development, however since 2012, her efforts have been focused on her extensive non-profit volunteering and motherhood. Melissa first got in touch with World Relief Seattle through Bethany Community Church, where she now leads multiple Good Neighbor teams and manages the partnership between the two organizations. She additionally manages the church’s partnership with the Aurora Commons, a homeless center. As our longest serving Advisory Council member, she has gotten to know WRS very well over the years. “There are tons of great non-profits and organizations that one can work with but there are very few where every staff member you meet is so passionate and so committed to doing right for refugees and vulnerable immigrants,” she says.
Mohammad Qadam Shah, Ph.D.
Dr. Mohammad Qadam Shah joined the advisory council in 2020. He comes with an academic and practical background focused on development management. Mohammad is currently working as Assistant Professor of Global Development at Seattle Pacific University where he teaches courses on different aspects of global development including program/policy analysis and evaluation, and grant writing. In addition to teaching, Mohammad conducts academic research on issues related to state building, development management, anti-corruption reforms, and public policy analysis in conflict-affected countries. As an immigrant, Mohammad is passionate in helping refugees and immigrants who come to the US and need resettlement support.
Sara Shaban, Ph.D.
Dr. Sara Shaban joined the advisory council in 2022. She is currently an assistant professor of communication and journalism at Seattle Pacific University where she also conducts research on women's social movements in the Middle East. Prior to academia, Sara worked as a news producer before pursuing freelance journalism in Israel, the West Bank, and Sierra Leone. Sara is fueled by her passion for social justice, specifically for immigrants and refugees. She was involved in initiatives to improve conditions for incoming refugees during the 2015 crisis and served as a volunteer and board member for the Immigrant and Refugee Women's Program in St. Louis. Additionally, she served as the communications director for the St. Louis-based NGO Project Peanut Butter - an organization committed to the eradication of child malnutrition throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Victor was born in the US to immigrant parents who arrived in the late 1950’s. He has over 40+ years of experience in the computer industry and owns a small business that manufactures a patented scientific instrument. His passion is to be the best steward of what God has entrusted to him and to empower people on the margins and in vulnerable situations with access to technology. “I fully support those who are the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to the very people in need."