Leadership Council

Assaye Abunie is the founder and executive director of the Multi Media Resources and Training Institute that prepares underserved youth and immigrant populations to use media technology. He produced and directed Ethio Youth Media on Comcast Channel 77 and trains diverse youth in media skills. He serves all East African populations and believes in the importance of intercultural communication via the media.

Sheila Burrus serves as Executive Director of the Filipino Community Center in Seattle and owner of Sheila Burrus State Farm Insurance Agency, Sheila brings her experience working with diverse communities in Southeast Seattle to the Radio Leadership Council. She attended the University of St. Thomas in Manila, Philippines and completed the Minority Business Executive Program in 2013 at the UW Foster School of Business. Sheila is involved in numerous boards and community activities and has been awarded several honors for her work in the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

Marcus Harrison Green is the co-founder of the South Seattle Emerald, a board member of the Western Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and a recipient of Crosscut’s Courage Award for Culture. Green, who calls South Seattle the new Harlem, sees journalism as democracy’s most important tool. He has contributed reporting to KBCS 91.3 FM and written for the Seattle Weekly and the Seattle Globalist. He is a long-time Southeast Seattle resident

Maurice Jones Jr. is Operations Manager and Studio Head at the Columbia City Theater, and is the Chief Production Officer of Very Juicy Entertainment, a youth music production studio. Maurice is an accomplished musician, producer and songwriter, working and touring with the Neville Brothers, Peter Gabriel and others. Maurice is also a senior production professional who has designed numerous production studio installations. Maurice also develops and teachers award-winning music production and performance programs for youth.

Jonathan Kertzer is a lecturer in the School of Music at the University of Washington, and was associate professor of music and director of FolkwaysAlive! at the University of Alberta from 2011-2014. He has worked in every aspect of the music business, at major and independent record labels, concert and festival production, and artist management. Kertzer worked with music and technology for 12 years at Microsoft, where he was audio manager with the multimedia publishing division, and editor and producer with the music download service. He has a long history in radio, working as music director at radio stations in Seattle, and currently hosts an African program on KBCS in Bellevue/Seattle.

Jerri Plumridge is working with the Leadership Council to engage local leaders and diverse community members. For over 30 years, Jerri led SEEDArts programming, and was in large part responsible for the founding of Rainier Arts Center, Columbia City Gallery, and SEEDArts’ public art program. Jerri led two capital campaigns at SEED, coordinated the purchase and renovation of two cultural arts facilities, designed and instituted a variety of youth programs.

Suzanne Simmons is a local resident and business owner in Southeast Seattle. She started My World Dance and Fitness Studio in 2008 and is a fitness instructor at many locations throughout Seattle. She is the volunteer coordinator of the Spirit of Africa Festival and works for the City of Seattle Park Department as a Grants and Contract Coordinator. She is interested in promoting local arts and cultural programs via radio and in developing leadership opportunities for community residents. 

José Manuel Vasquez is the Director of Leadership Development and Programs for the Latino Community Fund of Washington. As an immigrant who grew up in South Park, Jose has firsthand knowledge of the needs of the local Latino community.  His work in establishing and growing LCF’s Healthy Families Initiative has created a great impact in connecting the Latino community to health care resources and developing the capacity of local community leaders to address the health disparities in the Latino population. He is passionate about connecting with his community to identify community needs, and then taking the next step to identify solutions and bring resources together to address those needs.

Virginia Wright has a Bachelor’s degree in music, with professional experience in online and print design, IT/systems administration, and arts/nonprofit management and administration. She is the Executive Director of the Rainier Valley Historical Society, Managing Director for Chamber Music Madness, and Operations Manager and Librarian for Philharmonia Northwest. Virginia has contributed articles and essays for publication, both online an in print on a variety of topics, including arts, culture, and heritage.

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