Melinda Giovengo, Ph.D., (She/Her/Hers)
CEO & President

Picture of Melinda smiling
Photo credit: Erin McKinney

Dr. Melinda Giovengo became the Executive Director of YouthCare in November 2006, rejoining the agency she had served as a case manager and program manager more than twenty years prior. She has thirty years of experience in developing and implementing re-engagement programs for out-of-school and homeless youth.

Melinda holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and is published on issues regarding youth homelessness and the impact of learning disabilities in hard-to-serve populations. Melinda speaks locally and nationally on youth homelessness, adolescent mental health issues, and child sexual exploitation. She is the Board Chair of the National Network for Youth and a board member of the National Youth Employment Coalition. In her free time, Melinda enjoys traveling, spending time with her wife and son, and amassing custom-fit sweaters for her tiny Chihuahua, Pepe.

Degale Cooper, MSW, (She/Her/Hers)
Chief Program and Impact Officer

Picture of Degale smiling
Photo credit: Erin McKinney

Degale Cooper joined YouthCare as the Chief Program Officer in June 2018. Her thirty-year professional history in the non-profit sector includes an array of direct clinical services, program development and implementation, international consulting on issues of child welfare, and executive-level experiences within organizations dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, improving foster care systems, and eliminating experiences of homelessness for youth, young adults, and families. She has held leadership positions at The Mockingbird Society, The YWCA, Treehouse and Youth Eastside Services.

Degale received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington, B.A. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University, and clinical supervision certification from the University of Washington. With over fourteen years as a foster parent, Degale passionately engages in her community as a mentor and support for children, youth, and families. In her free time, Degale enjoys fishing and squid jigging, camping, designing great food, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Suzanne Sullivan, (She/Her/Hers)
Chief Advancement Officer

Formerly from New York, Suzanne came to Seattle in 1995, determined to build a career that would make a difference to the community. Her professional history includes leadership positions at an array of social service-focused nonprofits including Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, Compass Housing Alliance, Teen Feed, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, all of which contribute to community work as it relates to youth or individuals experiencing instability.

Sullivan has been involved with the Human Rights Campaign since 2016, serving on HRC’s National Board of Governors and Seattle Steering Committee. In her free time, Suzanne is a portrait artist, enjoys by spending time with family and friends, loves to cook, and recharges by going on walks with her dog Peter.

Jennifer Patterson, (She/Her/Hers)
Chief Operating Officer

Jennifer Patterson headshot

Jennifer Patterson joined YouthCare as the Chief Operating Officer in June 2021. Her professional history includes leadership roles in libraries including the State Library of Oregon, Pierce County Library System, Seattle Public Library, and Edmonds Community College. Libraries are a key community partner in providing service for those experiencing homelessness, and she has worked with individuals experiencing homelessness and throughout her career. She is passionate about providing individuals and communities with the resources and support needed to thrive. 

Patterson has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado Denver and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of California Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado. She has served as a board member for PFLAG Bellevue Eastside and for Center for Human Services. Originally from Colorado, she has lived in the Seattle area for 17 years and loves spending time hiking and exploring the beautiful pacific northwest with her husband and their two dogs. 


Brooke Beckwith, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Performance and Quality Improvement

Christopher Hanson, (He/Him/His) | Director of Engagement Services

Colleen Goodwin, SPHR, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Human Resources Operations

Danee Smith, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Adolescent Services

Emma York-Jones, (She/Her/Hers) Ι Senior Director of Program Quality and Impact

Erica Limon, (She/Her/Hers) | Associate Director of Strategic Workforce Development

Erin Chapman-Smith, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Training

Gabbi Sawrey, (She/Her/Hers) | Community Campaign Project Director

Jessica Safley, (She/Her/Hers) | Associate Director of Community-Based Housing Services

Joseph Woolley, (He/Him/His) | Associate Director of Facilities and Operations

Kathryn Peterson, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Strategic Program Partnership Integration

Katie Kolarich, JD, (She/Her/Hers) | Senior Director of Integrated Grants and Contracts

Kelly Stockman McKee, MPA, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Public Funding

Megan Lundquist, (She/Her/Hers) | Associate Director of Development

Paul Ramirez, (He/Him/His) | Director of Operations and Risk Management

Randi Eseltine, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Community Engagement

Whitney Eich, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Adolescent Services

For media inquiries, please email or call 206.475.5922