Luanda Arai, President
Luanda manages the Washington Youth & Families Fund at Building Changes. Through grantmaking and knowledge sharing, she helps build the capacity of service providers to make homelessness rare, brief and one time across Washington State. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Luanda has lived in the Seattle area for 19 years. She followed a path familiar to countless immigrants, working in the family restaurant for many years and being the first in her family to complete a post-secondary degree.
Susi Collins, Vice President
Susi Collins is a Project Coordinator for the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to this role, she worked for the Nutrition and Agriculture Advocacy & Communications team as a Project Manager and with the Development Policy and Finance team as a Program Assistant. For the past two years, Susi has co-led Latinos in Philanthropy, one out of five employee resource groups at the foundation.
Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, she worked as an Outreach Manager at the Cultures of Resistance Network, a family foundation supporting grassroots social justice groups in the developing world. Before then, she was an event planner at Starwood Hotels & Resorts in San Francisco.
She received a Master of Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco and serves on the board of directors for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Originally from Lima, Peru, she lives in Seattle with her husband Shane, their son, and her mother Pilar. She cherishes living in a multigenerational, multicultural home and enjoys hiking.
Elisabeth Burgess Choi, Secretary
Elisabeth is Vice President of Research at EA Consultants, a firm specialized in understanding the financial lives of low-income households in the U.S. and around the world. Elisabeth has 14 years of experience in international research and consulting. She has lived in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Argentina, and Tanzania, and has conducted research in over a dozen countries on behalf of financial service providers, non-profit organizations, impact investors and donors. Previously, she worked at a bank in the Dominican Republic that serves transnational families and worked as a researcher on migrant remittances at the Inter-American Dialogue. She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in International Business and Development Economics from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Sok Pok, Treasurer
Sok is the Director of Finance & Operations at the law firm of McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLC. She manages all aspects of administration for the firm, where she has spent the past 15 years. Sok earned her B.S. in Biology (minor in Botany) at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California – the first in her family to graduate with a college degree. After fleeing the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and awaiting refugee status at a nearby Thai refugee camp, Sok immigrated to Twin Falls, Idaho in 1981. She enjoys traveling and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children.
Richa Arora is a software engineer at Microsoft, where she works on the Identity Team. Richa moved to Seattle in 2010, and became a client of NWIRP in 2011. She retrained to be a software engineer through the Ada Developers Academy, an intensive software development training program for women in Seattle. While at Ada, she created a custom case database program for NWIRP. Richa previously volunteered as a tax preparer and tax preparation instructor for United Way of King County. Richa has a degree in Physics from the University of Delhi.
Renata is the Innovative Licensing Programs Manager at the Washington State Bar Association. She previously worked at Sea Mar Community Health Centers, overseeing the delivery of health and social services to under-served patients, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, representing survivors of domestic violence. Renata received her J.D. and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington. Renata emigrated from Brazil and is the first in her family to live abroad.
Dave is a Strategic Policy Advisor at Microsoft Corporation, where he focuses on the societal implications of rapid advances in computer technology, particularly artificial intelligence. For many years Dave served as a Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft, with responsibility at various times for competition law, privacy, telecommunications law, accessibility law, human rights, online safety and the company’s work with international standard-setting organizations. Dave chairs the board of Probono.net, a national non-profit that leverages technology and the power of collaboration to promote access to justice for those who cannot afford a lawyer. Dave has handled a number of asylum cases (successfully!) through Kids in Need of Defense, an immigrant rights organization co-founded by Microsoft. Dave is a graduate of Cornell University, where he received a B.A. in physics, and of the University of Michigan Law School, where he served on the editorial board of the law review. Before joining Microsoft, Dave practiced law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York.
Monika Batra Kashyap
Monika Batra Kashyap is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Seattle University School of Law and the former Associate Director of its Access to Justice Institute where she developed social justice programming for law students. Monika has also worked as an immigration attorney at the law firm of Gibbs, Houston & Pauw in Seattle, where she represented detained and non-detained individuals in removal proceedings, and as an adjunct professor of the Immigration Clinic at Seattle University School of Law. Monika was also an immigration attorney/Equal Justice Works Fellow in New York City, where she represented immigrant youth in foster care. Before law school, she did extensive community organizing and anti-trafficking work within the South Asian immigrant domestic worker community in New York City. Monika received her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and her B.A. in Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University.
Wamaitha is currently a graduate student at the Evans School of Public Policy focusing on Public Policy Analysis & Evaluation and International Development. Prior to that, she worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helping advance Vaccine Delivery and College Ready strategies. She relocated to the US 9 years ago from Kenya and was a client of NWIRP in 2011. She has previously volunteered as a tax preparer for the United Way of King County. Wamaitha has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Nairobi.
Kristen Kussmann is Of Counsel at Douglas Drachler McKee & Gilbrough. Prior to that, she worked at a labor union. She also served as a Staff Attorney at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Kristen received her JD from the University of Washington and her BA Magna Cum Laude with High Honors from Mount Holyoke College.
Sara is a corporate lawyer formerly with Simpson Thacher and Bartlett and the Courtroom Television Network. She has also been a consultant to a variety of non profits. She has served on a number of boards, including American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an organization that supports grassroots groups in the developing world. Originally from Manhattan, Sara moved to Seattle two years ago. In Seattle she serves on the campaign committee of Landesa and on the board of Jewish Family Services. Sara is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School and received her LL.M. in International Law, with an emphasis on human rights, from New York University Law School.
R. Omar Riojas
Omar Riojas is a partner at Goldfarb & Huck Roth Riojas, PLLC. He concentrates in complex and high-stakes commercial litigation. Omar has been recognized by Washington Super Lawyers magazine as among “The Top 100” attorneys in Washington. He has also been repeatedly named been named a “Super Lawyer” and “Rising Star” by Washington Super Lawyers magazine. Omar has been at the forefront of the nationwide issue of a state’s authority to bring parental termination actions against parents detained due to immigration status. His pro bono cases involving undocumented immigrants who lost their parental rights as a result of their detention have garnered international media coverage in such outlets as The New York Times, ABC World News, Nightline, AP, Univision, and CNN, as well as attention from foreign government officials and several advocacy organizations. Due to his cutting-edge work, Omar was invited to participate in a United States Congressional briefing on legislation to protect children and families impacted by immigration enforcement. Omar was also invited to address Mexico's National Human Rights Commission on the protection of indigenous parents' rights in the United States. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project honored Omar with its Amicus Award, in recognition of his national work on the protection of immigrants' civil rights. Omar is a graduate of the University of Washington and Stanford Law School.