Bea Bany – Financial Opportunity Specialist

Bea Bany joined Northwest Access Fund in November 2022. She previously worked as an accountant in the healthcare industry serving diverse populations, including people with disabilities. Bea brings with her experience using her accounting knowledge to educate community members on the best practices of bookkeeping and is excited to be using those skills in the financial coaching program. Bea is passionate about serving her community and working with individuals to help them reach their goals. Outside of work, Bea enjoys reading books, spending time with her cat, and playing video games.

Felicia Cardenas – Loan Officer and Underwriter

Close-up shot of Felicia smiling into camera.Felicia has recently joined the staff and is excited to use her 10 years of experience working at Sound Credit Union to continue her career maintaining great relationships with clients, while allowing their financial needs to be met.  She is looking forward to immersing herself within the nonprofit culture of helping others.  Outside of work, Felicia’s two children keep her busy with around the clock snack duty & impromptu dance parties.  They also like to visit the local parks that surround them in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Email: [email protected]

Ruth Daugherty – Financial Coach

Ruth outside smiling at cameraRuth Daugherty joined Northwest Access Fund in March 2022.  Ruth has worked within the disability community for over ten years as a Special Education Teacher and as a Community Service Provider for adults with disabilities.  Ruth is passionate about providing education, resources, and support needed for people with disabilities to live joyful and fulfilling lives, and is excited to bring her teaching experience to the financial coaching program.  Outside of work, Ruth enjoys reading, cooking, and playing outside with her husband and two young children.

Allison Falleur Barber – Financial Coach & Benefits Planner

Allison Barber smiling. She is wearing a blue tank top over a darker blue shirt.Allison joined Northwest Access Fund in September 2020.  Allison is our first Portland based financial coach. Allison holds a Bachelors of Arts from Willamette University and has been Certified as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator and a Certified Community Partner Work Incentives Coordinator through Virginia Commonwealth University. In her 15 year career, she has become a recognized expert in financial policies and programs that impact People with Disabilities and strives to help individuals navigate the financial policies and programs that impact their lives to gain a stronger, more equitable economic standing with a better, brighter financial future.  Allison also serves as a local disability rights advocate and diversity consultant on a variety of nonprofit boards including as Secretary of Disability Rights Oregon.
Email: [email protected]

Monie Frost – Loan Officer and Underwriter

An image of Monie smiling.Monie Frost joined Northwest Access Fund in February 2021. Monie previously worked for OneMain Financial for 10 years, helping community members with personal loans. Prior to OneMain, she worked in student accounts at Southwestern Oregon Community College, where she also studied Business, assisting students with payment plans to meet their education expenses. She is passionate about helping others improve their quality of life and excited to join a nonprofit where she can use her skills and experience to serve others.
Email: [email protected]


Kathy Gilman – Program Director

Kathy with one of her dogs, GloriaKathy Gilman joined Northwest Access Fund in 2008 after serving on the Board and Loan Review Committee for almost three years. Kathy previously worked as a Business Development Specialist with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) working on bringing microenterprise development programs to both urban and rural areas. Prior to joining MEDA she worked for more than seven years for Ventures (formerly Washington CASH), a community-based microenterprise development and peer lending organization in Western Washington. She was also a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching business in the Russian Far East. Kathy’s educational background includes an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago.
Email: [email protected]


Lisa Jones – Director of Economic Inclusion

Lisa (Zimmerman) Jones is new to the Pacific Northwest but no stranger to microlending and financial coaching.  Joining NWAF in June 2022, Lisa brings over almost 2 decades of experience in asset development and program management. She has developed multiple programs to assist in poverty alleviation including a Women’s Business Center, Youth IDA program, and a public transportation system. Lisa has worked extensively in rural markets to develop Community Development Financial Institutions like NWAF, focusing on keeping rural communities and their residents thriving instead of just surviving.  Lisa enjoys music festivals, karaoke, camping, floating, and fishing.

Pam MacRae – Finance Manager

Pam smilingPam MacRae joined Northwest Access Fund in 2008. She has worked in nonprofit accounting since 1997, including ten years as the bookkeeper for a Community Development Financial Institution that provided loans to small businesses. Pam splits her work week between NWAF and an organization advocating for equitable educational opportunities. Outside of work, she is a long-time volunteer with Outdoors for All, cross-country skiing with people with disabilities.
Email: [email protected]

Emerson Sekins – Executive Director

Emerson smiling outsideEmerson Sekins joined the staff in 2013 after graduating with a MPA from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Emerson brings to the Access Fund a strong background in cross-disability organizing and policy analysis, including serving as a co-chair for the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities from 2010-2012. Emerson studied and worked at the University of Washington from 2004 to 2013, graduating with his BA in Disability Studies in 2008, and returning for graduate school in 2010. While at the UW, he worked as the Assistant Coordinator at the Q Center, UW’s LGBT resource center, from 2010-2013. Emerson also served as the co-chair for UW’s Committee on Disability Issues, and as a graduate student assistant within the Disability Resources for Students office.
Email: [email protected]


Ellie Vainker – Deputy Director

Ellie on beachEllie Vainker has been with Northwest Access Fund since 2017. Ellie first came to the Pacific Northwest as an international exchange student at the University of Washington (UW) in 2006 and loves getting to know more of Washington and Oregon through her work at Northwest Access Fund. Ellie has a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from Rice University and is an affiliate of UW’s Disability Studies Program. Her research brings together feminist scholarship on disability, NGOs and nonprofits, development and humanitarianism, and activism to highlight the complexities of funding and fundraising in relation to disability. She has also worked as a researcher on a number of documentary and film productions, and as a manuscript editor and communication consultant. She brings this passion for storytelling and community building to her work at Northwest Access Fund.
Email: [email protected]

Tim Vanden Bos – Office Associate

Photo of TimTim Vanden Bos spent 25 years doing research in the biology field, both at private biotechnology firms and public research institutions. In 2014 he started taking some classes to learn bookkeeping skills. This eventually led him to an internship at Northwest Access Fund, which has turned into continued work in bookkeeping and general office work. Tim has a BS in Biology from the University of Washington and a Bookkeeping Certificate from North Seattle College.
Email: [email protected]


Heather Zundel – Loan Officer and Underwriter

Heather Zundel joined Northwest Access Fund in November of 2022.  She has 17 years of experience in the financial industry having previously worked at Wells Fargo in pre-legal collections then in mediations helping people keep their homes out of foreclosure.  After that she went on to Adair Financial Services helping people get into the home of their dreams.  Heather is passionate about serving her community and is looking forward to working with a nonprofit helping others improve their quality of life.   Outside of work you can find her near any body of water, in the kitchen baking, having game nights with friends, or spending time with her husband and grown kids.

Jack Brummel – Senior Advisor

Former Executive Director of Northwest Access Fund, Jack Brummel spent 26 years with the Washington State Senate, primarily as lead staff for committees addressing economic development, financial institutions, commerce, labor, and workforce development issues. While with the Senate Jack developed legislation relating to the employment of people with disabilities, creating individual development accounts, and supporting micro-enterprise development. Prior to work with the Senate, Jack was the Administrator for the Northwest Intertribal Court System and the National Director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council. Jack served as the Chair of the Board for Evergreen Business Capital, a nonprofit development company certified by the US Small Business Administration, for 20 years. He is currently the Chair of the National Disability Finance Coalition and the National Disability CDFI Coalition.  He also serves on the Board of the Credit Builders Alliance. Jack’s education includes a BA in Political Science from Washington State University, a JD from the University of Washington, and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Email: [email protected]