Lauri Hennessey, Manuel Cawaling, Joe McDermott
CEO, League of Education Voters
Lauri Hennessey has 30 years of experience in nonprofits, politics and campaigns, the news media, government and public relations. She also has been on a number of boards and currently serves on the board of the Seattle Choruses. She also chaired the award-winning Advocacy Committee for the last several years as a member of the board of Treehouse. In 2019, she became the CEO of the League of Education Voters, which advocates for putting students first. She tries to talk about advocacy whenever she can – why it is critical and why every nonprofit should be doing it.
Manuel R. Cawaling is the Executive Director for Inspire Washington, a statewide advocacy coalition that champions expanded access to science, heritage, and arts programming. A Seattle native, Cawaling has been working professionally as an artist and cultural leader for nearly 30 years. Previous leadership positions include Executive Director for Youth Theatre Northwest and Managing Director for Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Exhibit Manager for Wing Luke Asian Museum, and Associate Artistic Director for Northwest Asian American Theatre. He has served two terms on the Seattle Center Advisory Commission, was a member of the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture’s Public Art Advisory Committee and served as President for the Washington State Arts Alliance Foundation. Most recently, Cawaling launched The Inspiration League, a new platform for grass roots advocacy to support relief, stabilization, and recovery for the cultural sector during this COVID crisis.
A third-generation resident of West Seattle, J. Joseph McDermott joined the King County Council in November 2010. He was reelected to a third full four year term in November of 2019. McDermott previously represented West Seattle, Burien, White Center and Vashon and Maury Islands in the Washington State Legislature for a decade. Joe is a passionate advocate for vibrant and safe communities, reliable transit and transportation options, our environment and civil rights.
McDermott earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Gonzaga University. Joe completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Executive Education program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in June of 2009.
McDermott served as a Senior Budget Analyst with the Seattle School District and worked for former Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney John Ladenburg. He has also occasionally taught history and political science courses at South Seattle Community College. While serving in the Legislature, several summers found Joe using his History degree leading underground tours in Seattle’s Pioneer Square in the shadow of the King County Courthouse.
A runner, he lives in West Seattle with his husband Michael and has served on the board of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Southwest Youth & Family Services and West Seattle Helpline. His other civic activities and memberships include the Greater Seattle Business Association, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Vashon Allied Arts and the Highline Historical Society.