Degale Cooper, MSW, (She/Her/Hers)
CEO & President

Degale headshot
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

Suzanne believes homelessness is an experience and not a reflection of one’s character. She has 25 years of fund development and communication experience, serving in leadership positions at various 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. Throughout her career, Suzanne has been committed to helping youth, individuals, and families experiencing homelessness achieve stability.

Suzanne hails from New York and studied at Parson School of Design. She has been involved with the Human Rights Campaign from 2016, serving on HRC’s National Board of Governors and Seattle Steering Committee. In her free time, Suzanne is a visual artist and loves to cook.


Emma York-Jones, (She/Her/Hers)
Chief Program & Impact Officer

headshot of emma

Emma is driven by the principle that everyone deserves a safe and warm place to call home, and she believes that through data-informed work and performance improvement, housing equity can be achieved. Emma began her career with YouthCare in 2009, providing direct service to youth and young adults in housing programs. Since then, Emma has held various leadership roles, overseeing YouthCare’s Young Adult and Adolescent Housing Departments and the agency’s performance and quality improvement efforts, respectively. She has also led YouthCare’s capacity building Project EQTY and has presented nationally on topics related to serving LGBTQ homeless youth and adolescents transitioning to independence. Prior to launching a career at YouthCare, Emma was a health education volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Tanzania.

Emma, originally from North Carolina and a graduate of Roanoke College, moved to Seattle in 2008. Today, Emma and her wife are raising two boys, who in their free time enjoy camping, hiking, traveling, coaching youth sports, and cheering for local soccer teams and the US Women’s National Team. As a family, they have had the opportunity to attend two World Cup Championships and look forward to many more!


Sophia Hernandez, (She/Her/Hers)
Chief Financial Officer

Sophia comes to YouthCare as an innovative Non-Profit Executive leader and finance professional with 10+ years of experience specializing in budgeting, analytics & reporting, and strategic planning. She has been fortunate to be a part of some Seattle institutions like Pearl Jam, Urban Artworks, and Molly Moons Homemade Ice Cream. Through sound financial ability and collaborative leadership, she provides non-profits, businesses, and entrepreneurs with the ability to be who they say they are and reach their goals. She is passionate about integrity, diversity, and equity in all her work and is looking to support organizations with similar missions.

Sophia was most recently with The Sophia Way, a nonprofit serving homeless women in east King County, where she served as the Executive Director – Finance & Operations and is currently the treasurer of the board of directors at Pongo Poetry Project, a nonprofit organization that helps young people experiencing trauma heal through poetry. In her free time, you can find Sophia in her backyard, which she has turned into a little urban vegetable farm (much to her husband and daughters’ amusement). She has a little teacup yorkie named Boba who is her favorite companion (other than her human family of course 😊).


Directors

Allison Barber, (She/Her/Hers) | Associate Director of Benefits & Compliance

Audra Laymon, (She/Her/Hers) | Senior Director of Workforce Development & Engagement

Brandin Tolbert, (He/His/They/Them) | Associate Director of Community Based Housing

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

Debbie Adams, (She/Her/Hers) | Associate Director of Transitional Housing

Eric Sysak, (He/Him/His) | Information Technology Director

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

Jessie Friedmann, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Public Policy

Jose Pizarro, (He/Him, EI) | Associate Director of South Seattle Youth Center

Kevin Parker, (He/Him, His) | Community Campaign Director

Mariam Abarientos, (She/Her/Hers) | Senior Director of Finance

Megan Davies, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Evaluation & Impact

Melanie Hetherington Mayo, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Strategy & Integration

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

Randy Corradine, (He/Him/His) | Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Rebecca LaNasa, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of The Orion Center

Sara Berner, (She/Her/Hers) | Associate Director – Adolescent Housing Services

Scott Myricks, (He/Him/His) | Director of Facilities

Tashina Kreilick, (She/Her/Hers) | Director of Development

Travis Shumaker, (He/Him/His) | Senior Director of People & Culture

Vanessa Sanchez-Mexicano, (She/Her/Hers) |Director of Adolescent Services

For media inquiries, please email media@youthcare.org