The dedicated work of many individuals
Allyship is a community-driven social and economic justice organization that intentionally works with other marginalized communities to create systemic change that benefits LGBTQ, low-income, immigrants, women, people of color, youth, seniors, people with disabilities and working class individuals.
We have a dedicated board, interns, volunteers and staff that are striving to create structural change to better the lives of the most marginalized in our communities. If you are interested in becoming a leader in our community as a board member please contact executive director, Debbie Carlsen, at Debbie@Allyship.org.
Debbie Carlsen, Executive Director – is the founder and executive director of LGBTQ Allyship. She has been working in the Seattle social justice community for over 15 years. Some of her professional experiences has been as an organizer at Washington State Jobs with Justice, Field Director at King County Labor Council, Union organizer at Unite HERE local 8, development staff at Washington Toxic Coalition and Seattle Counseling Service and Community Relations Lead at Opal Eating Disorder Clinic.
Laurie’s work with social justice began when she moved to Seattle in 2013 for a year long service fellowship with Puget Sound Sage. She has done work around environmental, economic, gender, racial and transformative justice in the community. In her free time she loves to sing, dance, and teach a community self-defense and wellness class for queer and trans people of color with the Bayan Queer Collective. She also currently serves as the Deputy Secretary General of GABRIELA Seattle, a collective of Pin@ys who do cultural and political education work around labor issues impacting Filipino migrant workers. She is also an active member of Got Green’s Young Workers in the Green Movement.
Isyss Honnen, Administrative Coordinator – identifies as a Trans woman and/or fa’afafine (samoan gender identity translated as “in the manner of a woman”) with pronouns her and she. She is originally from American Samoa. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting with plans to become a CPA. She volunteers as a Board member for UTOPIA Seattle and has been active for the last 5 years. She is dedicated to helping other API Trans women currently in the sex industry and in supporting non-profit organizations that serve the API and LGBTQIA communities of King County. Fun fact: Isyss can’t swim even though she was born and raised on an island.
Board of Directors
Genya N. Shimkin, Board Secretary, is the founder of The Q Card: Empowering Queer Youth in Healthcare. She moved to Seattle to pursue a master’s degree in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice at the University of Washington. Her primary areas of research and practice are LGBTQ youth and access to care. As part of her Q Card work, Genya offers free “Empowering Queer Youth in Healthcare” workshops for youth and healthcare providers throughout the Puget Sound Region. In addition to her work with Allyship, Genya serves on the Bard College Board of Governors and is an active member of the LGBT Caucus of Public Health Professionals.
Sara Jaye Sanford, Board Chair, has a background in public health, including LGBTQ community health. She believes that social and economic justice lies at the heart of creating the opportunity for health for everyone. She currently works in a nonprofit health organization.
Spencer Olson, Board Member, is the director of Washington state’s Communications Hub, a communications and storytelling program at Fuse Washington, the state’s largest progressive organization. He works alongside organizations, coalitions, and community leaders to tell powerful narratives that change hearts and minds, and mobilize people to action. Prior, he worked at a HIV/AIDS prevention organization in Washington, DC supporting LGBTQ youth in the fight against the epidemic and he worked as an organizer on a variety of issue campaigns in Washington, California, Minnesota, and Washington, DC. During his down time, you can usually find him out in the Cascades renovating a small cabin with his partner, playing board games, or dancing around Capitol Hill with friends.
Sarah Jen, Board Member, has worked with older adults as a volunteer, caregiver, and social worker in long-term care, sub-acute rehab, and hospice care. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington School of Social Work where she works on the Aging with Pride study, the first federally-funded longitudinal study of LGBTQ midlife and older adults. As a bi/queer, mixed femme, Sarah’s individual research particularly focuses on the social networks and lives of older bisexual men and women. Before joining the board, Sarah volunteered with Allyship for two years and was instrumental in hosting the LGBTQ Intergenerational Conference in 2014 as well as being a leader in Allyship’s Leadership Institute from 2015-2016.