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We proudly collaborate across varied life experiences, backgrounds,
skill-sets and passions to practice and demonstrate 
Variations of Excellence⁠—as a part of the BRAVE way (in our name BRAVE - Building Resilience Awareness & Variations of Excellence).


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BRAVE youth provide peer support in community with each other along their learning journey. Youth collaborate to create and share with their educators and administrators as a part of BRAVE programs.


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Principals, administrators, and teachers who partner with BRAVE are valuable team members who work with youth, within schools, Community Centers, nonprofits, and with BRAVE staff.'



THERESA Carter-Vincent


Theresa Carter-Vincent is a credible messenger as an example of how someone can turn tragedies into triumphs. As a Black youth in the Seattle Public School District, she was provided with standardized curriculum and wasn't embraced to believe that she could do more and be more—both in school and beyond school. She suffered as a result—emotionally, mentally, socially, and academically—and perpetuated racial biases including becoming a high school drop-out.


Through hard work and grit, Theresa found and navigated her own path to success, which has included multiple college degrees and a fulfilling career journeying with people who experience similar struggles. Her goal is to help individuals and groups find a path to their own success. Theresa has used the tools and resources offered in BRAVE programs—dedicated to individuals accessing into their greatest potential. Theresa is a visionary and leader in social justice and personal development in schools and the workplace.


Theresa earned her Master of Arts in Information Technology Administrative Management at Central Washington University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science with a minor in Information Technology Administrative Management from the same institution.


For the past seven years, Theresa has developed personal development curriculum, facilitating personal development workshops, and empowering young people to embrace their brilliance. Recently, Theresa founded her own consulting agency—Spark Performance—with offerings both for adults and young people optimizing their career performance.




Marissa McDowell is a Seattle native, having grown up in the Central District. She is the oldest child born to Lolita and Darnell McDowell. As a bi-racial (Black and Filipino) woman, Marissa found her way to the south to attend Clark Atlanta University, a Historically Black College. Marissa comes to us from an extensive background in education, working with students of all grades from PreK to 12th, specializing in Special Education and Early Intervention. She currently serves as the Director of the BRAVE Trailblazers program. Marissa is dedicated to bringing deeper awareness of Black history, and broadened educational curriculum that reflects the identities of students. Her day-to-day responsibilities include managing operations, cultivating relationships, curriculum development, designing programming for students and families and facilitating programs. 

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Vashti Breland, a graduate of Washington State University with a BA in Comparative Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, co-founded the first hip-hop/majorette dance team, Krimson Kouture and served as the Black Student Union Vice President. 

Notable accolades include the Seymour Kaplan Humanitarian Award, Principal’s Choice Award, and MLK Art for Social Change Scholarship for poetry. Vashti's commitment to social justice and African history is evident through her work with organizations like the Urban League of Seattle, VIBES at WSU, Boom Studios LLC, and Sanctuary Yoga Studio. As an advocate for education on psychology, sociology, and current issues affecting Black and Brown communities, she emphasizes the importance of cultural competence and believes in the significance of young people thriving in their youthfulness and having fun while being knowledgeable of the world and people around them.

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Justin Totaan, a committed first-generation Asian-American graduate student, adeptly addresses resource gaps in marginalized communities, providing support to groups such as BIPOC, LGBTQ+ individuals, and immigrant families. Beyond his academic pursuits, Justin actively engages in Seattle's dynamic fashion scene, showcasing his creativity. His involvement in community organizing underscores his dedication to fostering positive change. Excited to contribute to the BRAVE Trailblazers community, Justin seamlessly integrates his passion for identity and diversity education with hands-on participation in local initiatives, embodying a holistic and impactful approach to his work.


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A Washington native, Nicole grew up in Puyallup. She currently works at T-Mobile as a Sr. Director over multiple enterprise compliance functions. Nicole has over 20 years of experience in the financial services/fintech industries, building and overseeing governance, risk, compliance operations, and strategy. Nicole is passionate about coaching, mentoring, and supporting programs that create opportunities for underserved communities. She strives to create an environment that allows everyone to show up authentically and to thrive. Nicole has a bachelor’s in business from Saint Martin’s College and an MBA from Seattle University. She shuttles her two young boys between numerous sporting events and music lessons in her free time.

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Vrushali Tapadiya is a Strategy and Transformation leader for a global Fortune 500 technology company. She excels in steering teams to outline sound business strategies, realize planned business value, and enhance user experiences. Vrushali has proven leadership across various facets of an organization, including business, finance, and corporate functions. She brings extensive strategy, operational, financial, performance management, and organizational development expertise to the Board and has recognized abilities to problem-solve, innovate, and drive excellence. Vrushali is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Texas A&M University.





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We're Recruiting COMMITTED Board members!

Spread the word And contact us


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