Hamdi is a prominent leader in the Puget Sound region, who has over 20 years of experience working with the African Diaspora immigrant and refugee community. She is a co-founder of ACHD and a former educator with degrees from Lafoole University and George Mason University. She is a member of the Community Café Collaborative, the Communities of Concern Commission, WA Dept of Commerce Rental Assistance & Homeless System Performance Measures Steering Committee, and King County Parks Healthy Communities & Parks Fund Commission. Hamdi is a proud recipient of King County Council’s MLK Jr Medal of Distinguished Service, as well as Congressman Adam Smith's Champion of Justice award in recognition of her contribution to the communities of the 9th Congressional District. Hamdi also received South King County Council's Human Services Equity and Social Justice award for exemplary community leadership and advocacy. Hamdi is polylingual (English, Somali, Arabic, and Italian) and a Somali-language poet.
Bilan leads community-wide projects, develops culturally rooted curriculums, manages multi-million dollar budgets, and advances the mission of the organization. Bilan is fluent in English and Somali, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in marketing from Seattle University and a Master of Arts in education (curriculum and instruction) from the University of Washington. In 2022, Bilan was highlighted in the Puget Sound Business Journal's prestigious 40 Under 40 award. She also holds Family Engagement and Nonprofit Financial Stewardship Program certificates from Harvard University, a P-3 Executive Leadership certificate from the University of Washington and is a graduate of IslandWood's year-long Education for Community and Environment program. Bilan serves on the People's Economy Lab Steering Committee, the City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Tax Community Advisory Board, the Communities of Opportunity Governance Group, the inaugural Black Homeownership Legacy Fund Committee (part of the Black Homeownership Initiative) and is the chair of the King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission. In her free time, Bilan enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and daughter.
Case Manager - Social Services
Abel came to the United States in 2013 and currently lives in Seattle, WA. He graduated with a degree in information technology. Abel enjoys helping others and watching them succeed in life – he believes in equal opportunities for all in all aspects of life including housing, employment, and education. Abel joined ACHD to contribute his experience and help people prosper holistically. In his free time, Abel likes to watch soccer and play music.
Case Manager - Seniors & Social Services
Asad participated in afterschool programs most of his childhood led by members of ACHD’s leadership team, which had a profound effect on his growth as a young man. He is excited to be a part of the ACHD team so that he can contribute to the development of his community. He serves as a member of King County’s Community Investment Budget Committee. Asad has an associate degree in business from South Seattle College; in his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and Call of Duty.
Case Manager - Youth & Family Homelessness
Mustafe lives in Seattle, WA , where he enjoys playing basketball and reading in his free time. He enjoys that through his work at ACHD, he gets to help the community and put a smile on their faces.
Case Manager - Housing
Shirwa has over 10 years of social service and advocacy experience. He lives in Des Moines, WA, where he enjoys hanging out with his lovely kids, composing music, writing scripts, and producing/directing live performances. His favorite thing about working at ACHD: Providing quality assistance that puts a smile on a client's face!
Interim Director of Housing & Social Services
Ethiopia has a Bachelor of Arts in human services and management from the University of Phoenix. She is a community leader and liaison of the King County Ethiopian community. Her nearly twenty-five years of experience as a nonprofit leader makes her an incredible asset to the team, especially as an outreach connector to her community. Ms. Alemneh served as the Executive Director for Ethiopian Community in Seattle and was one of the founders of Ethiopian Village before joining ACHD’s Human & Social Services department. She has also served as a liaison for the City of Seattle and for King County—connecting these government organizations directly to the voice of the African Diaspora community. Ms. Alemneh describes her life mission as being a leader who can fill in institutional gaps to help the African Diaspora immigrant and refugee community. She is married and has two kids.
Marisa’s background in philanthropy paired with a passion for community work led her to the ACHD team. She graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, where she discovered her drive for nonprofit work. Marisa was named a 2022 Association of Fundraising Professionals Scholar and serves on the NextGen Board at Birds Connect Seattle (form. Seattle Audubon Society). Outside of work, Marisa loves spending time with her dog, bird watching, and solving the New York Times Crossword puzzle.
Case Manager - Eviction Prevention
Yusuf lives in SeaTac, WA and is proud to serve his community in his role at ACHD. In his free time, he enjoys reading and farming.
African Diaspora Health & Wellness Manager
Brianna Dancy is originally from Dallas, TX, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in community health in 2016. She spent four years as an educator working in public schools and mentoring young scholars. She recently moved to Washington in hopes of exploring nature and being a positive and helpful member of the community.
Bio coming soon!
Database & IT Administrator
Mohamed holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in computer network architecture. Outside of work, he enjoys hiking with friends and family, and playing soccer.
Community Outreach Liaison
Ifrah lives in SeaTac, WA and loves to read and cook. She is passionate about bringing community together to work towards a common goal.
Amen is originally from Ethiopia but has been living in Washington since 2010. As an immigrant, she is passionate about assisting newcomers in navigating systems and resources. She is trilingual! Amen is fluent in English and two Ethiopian languages (Amharic and Sidamigna). She brings years of experience in customer service, social work, and healthcare through nonprofit organizations. At ACHD, she is eager to apply her skills and collaborate with the team. Beyond work, Amen leads a young adults’ group at her local church and is pursuing further education in leadership. In her free time, she cherishes moments with family and church friends; whether it's watching movies, hiking, or crafting DIY event decorations. Amen is excited about her new journey here and is looking forward to learning and growing with ACHD.
Farmers Market & Food Access Manager
Daniel loves food in all its forms—from seed to table and all the steps in between. Born and raised in the Seattle area, he studied Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College and has worked on farms and eateries across the country as a farmer, educator, and manager. If he’s not playing in the garden, Daniel can usually be found riding a bike, strumming a guitar, or cooking up a storm. Daniel strives to create deep, lasting connections around what and how we choose to eat. He is excited to build upon ACHD’s programming to bring more affordable, culturally relevant foods to the Delridge community in support of producers and eaters alike.
Chief Housing Specialist
Aden is a founding member of ACHD and deeply respected community leader within the African Diaspora immigrant and refugee community. Mr. Hussein has over 15 years of experience in housing and social services, in addition to relationships with over 100 landlords. He has housed many individuals and families across Washington state and is widely considered an expert in housing larger homeless families. Mr. Hussein currently supervises ACHD’s housing and homelessness programs, as well as eviction prevention services. He is versed in handling complicated multicultural and multilingual cases, regularly providing interpretation and coordination across agencies on complex cases involving multiple parties and attorneys. Mr. Hussein also regularly leads ACHD’s quarterly housing workshops and is deeply experienced in outreach and family engagement.
Small Business Program Manager
Abokor provides capacity building and technical assistance support for the African Diaspora small business community here in King County. Abokor enjoys working one-on-one with business entrepreneurs to provide mini grants as well as identifying and applying for local and state grants, loans, and capital. Abokor also provides workshops around technical assistance and business planning. These include insurance, licensing, product development, technology, business planning, goal setting, growth strategy, marketing, staffing, business management, education, skill development, leadership, financial consultation, budgeting, labor, and industry rights. In his free time, Abokor enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and volunteering at the Delridge Farmer's Market.
Bio coming soon!
Fundraising Operations Coordinator
Habtamu was born and raised in Ethiopia and moved to the United States in 2014. He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in geography - data science. He is married and has a daughter. Habtamu loves to travel and pursue causes that are important to him. He is passionate about community development, equity, and technology. Habtamu believes in building authentic relationships built on common ground and shared values.
Bio coming soon!
Senior Manager of Workforce & Housing Programs
Amal is a seasoned professional with more than seven years of dedicated service in the diverse communities of South King County. Her professional commitment is underscored by a passion for delivering mindful and equitable social services. In her current role as the Senior Manager of Workforce & Housing Programs at African Community Housing & Development (ACHD), Amal is fervently dedicated to spearheading ACHD’s initiatives aimed to fostering economic and housing stability for the African Diaspora immigrant and refugee communities in King County.
Operations Administrator & Executive Assistant
Julia grew up in Washington state and spent her summers enjoying the Seattle Public Library and beautiful WA weather. She loves to learn! Julia enjoys spending time outside and creating beautiful things. On a long weekend you can find her designing floral arrangements, hitting the dunes, or daydreaming about her future farm. She can’t wait to grow with ACHD. For Julia, success is helping our community.
Annie is originally from Guyana, South America and moved to Washington in March 2023. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and has over 20 years’ experience in accounting. Annie has gained valuable experience working with International Funding Agencies with a focus on contract management, budgeting, and financial statements. In her free time, Annie enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and reading.
Director of Finance & Operations
Teri joined ACHD in October of 2020 to build the agency's capacity to manage its finances as it grows in size and complexity. Teri brings with her thirty years of nonprofit experience; she has extensive knowledge in nonprofit leadership, business finance, budgeting, and project management. Teri is excited to provide support and leadership to the amazing team at ACHD as they impact the community in so many ways. Outside of work, Teri enjoys spending time with her beautiful teenage daughters.
Elle Rivera Soto
K-12 Education Manager
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Elle called Chicago home for 16 years prior to making the move to the Pacific Northwest in summer 2023. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a bilingual/ESL education minor and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration. She then went on to earn her Master of Arts in differentiated instruction from Concordia University Chicago in 2015, where she is also pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in curriculum and instruction. Elle worked as a bilingual educator for 12 years at Sullivan High School—also known as Refugee High—where she also served as grade-level team lead, curriculum developer, standards-alignment specialist, postsecondary coach, and social-emotional learning lead. Her journey has now brought her to Washington, where she is leading and learning from a new team at ACHD. When she is not working or researching for her dissertation, Elle can be found playing video games, exploring her new home state, singing at shul, or writing.
Outdoor Programs Coordinator
Xavier moved to Washington in February 2023. He joined ACHD to create and lead programs for youth in the Education department. Before heading to WA he spent his time working at different camps around the US, starting as a counselor in training in Illinois. From there he spent time as a Unit Director at Fairview Lake YMCA in New Jersey and a Program Director in Florida and Texas. "I love to go on hikes and ride bikes, and I am very excited about the position!"
Interim Director of Fund Development
Celia Weisman is a changemaker and professional fundraiser who takes delight in inspiring philanthropy. She has worked on both east and west coasts to help build sustainable nonprofits that advance social, gender, economic, and housing justice. Passionate about implementing community-centric fundraising approaches, Celia strives to create authentic relationships, connect folks across divides, and evolve spaces and systems that are more equitable, inclusive, transparent, and soul-centered. When not trying to stir up “good trouble,” Celia enjoys meditating, yoga, reading, knitting, walking, and hanging with her college student daughter. Celia graduated from Barnard College with a degree in comparative religion and earned a Master of Arts in feminist studies in women and the arts from Columbia University.
Case Manager - Social Services
Bio coming soon!