Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Terry Dessert, Board President, Small Business Owner
“I support Goodwin Connections because of the brilliant success rate of our student parents and their children. Having helped care for my own grandchildren, I am well aware of the positive impact of safe and nurturing care while a parent attends school or works to provide for their family.”


Paula Whitham, Board Vice President, Real Estate Broker – Retired
“I support Goodwin Connections because its program empowers low-income parents and their children to use education as a way of becoming self-sufficient with its two-generational approach.”



Brooke Van Eyk, Board Secretary, Student
“As a parent of 2, I know that quality childcare in our community is in short supply and prohibitively expensive which adds an additional barrier to students being able to reach their goals. Goodwin Connections fills this gap by providing students with the space and time they need to focus on their degree, while their children are nurtured and educated in a safe environment.”


Carolyn Banks, Board Treasurer, Liberty Mutual Surety
“Without others’ support, I would not have been able to earn my MBA while having 2 kids under 5. My education had a big and positive impact on me and my family’s lives, and this is my way of giving back.”



Smitha Caroline Dante, Board Member, Attorney
“It has been very exciting to get involved with the Goodwin Connections, especially during this time of change and growth for us. I’m thrilled to be able to contribute as a Board member, and I look forward to working and volunteering with Goodwin Connections for many, many years to come!”



Vicky Gannon, Board Member, Small Business Owner
“I support Goodwin Connections because in its evolution over the past 100 plus years it has made a huge contribution toward changing people’s lives. I firmly believe the best chance for a better life is through education, and Goodwin Connections is making this possible for parents getting their college education by providing childcare assistance. Goodwin Connections is also giving their children a start at a better education with their early childhood education opportunities.”

Blake Carey, Board Member, The Boeing Company
“When I heard about Goodwin Connections I knew I had to be apart of it. Giving people the opportunity to pursue their education enables them to create a foundation for success and guide them toward a better future. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve on the board of the Goodwin Connections so that I can have the chance to influence and support our evolving culture in its transformation.”


Jane Pedersen, Board Member, Registered Nurse – Retired
“I support our families because they have a strong will to succeed in their careers and in life. When I hear one of our nurses has graduated, it makes me excited for them and proud to be a part of this special organization.”



Sue Tong, Board Member, Nordstrom – Retired
“I support Goodwin Connections because making childcare more affordable for low-income parents who are attending college contributes to a productive future for both the parents and their children.”



Sherry White, Board Member, Microsoft
“It is such an honor to be part of the Goodwin Connections which brings together many of my passions. Having been an adjunct professor, I have seen higher education be a driver to providing real career opportunities. As a mother who worked while earning a degree, it is rewarding to have the opportunity to support families with dependable childcare. This is a very exciting time as we evolve to meet the modern needs of the families we serve.”

Advisory Board Members

Tracy Aiken,
Terry Dessert, Small Business Owner
Robyn Duckett
*, Mercy Corps
Lindsay Dygart, Branding Freelancer
Debbie Geddes, Nordstrom, retired
Krystal Marx, Burien City Council Member
Lynn Murphy, Community Member
Sydney Record*, University of Washington graduate
Lisa Smith*, North Seattle College student
Paula Whitham, Real Estate Broker, retired
Heather Wiggins Berger
, Community Member
Maggie Wilson
, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

*Current or former program participant

Committee Chairs

Terry Dessert, Executive Committee Chair
Heather Wiggins Berger, Advisory Board Chair
Carolyn Banks, Finance Committee Chair
Paula Whitham, Nominating Committee Chair


Contact staff at

Maggie Skinner, Executive Director, manages Goodwin Connections. From her beginnings in public radio to encouraging arts funding and supporting health and education initiatives, Maggie has focused her 20-year career on providing development, marketing, and communications management for nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies. Maggie graduated from the University of St. Thomas in journalism and public relations. 206.526.7944 x 1


Sonja Banks, Operations Director, was a small business owner and longtime volunteer with Goodwin Connections before joining the staff. As Operations Director, she oversees the organization’s administrative tasks, and keeps our program running smoothly. Sonja also acts as a liaison for our large volunteer base. 206.526.7944 x 2



Meg Alley, Development Manager, supports all of Goodwin Connections’ fundraising efforts. She got her start fundraising for an environmental organization in Cleveland, Ohio and later spent ten years raising funds for a nonprofit adoption and foster care agency. Meg holds a degree in literature and creative writing from The University of Montana, along with a certificate in fundraising management from The University of Washington. 206.526.7944 x 3


Rachel Sanchez, Program and Community Outreach Manager, supports our flagship Family Connections Program and provides resources and guidance to our 55 families throughout the academic year. She specializes in program development and community building and has spent over 13 years in the nonprofit sector serving a wide variety of populations, including low-income families, students obtaining a degree, and small business owners. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in public policy. 206.526.7944 x 4

Pippa, Superstar Dogga, volunteers daily at our office.