Let Your Leader Out


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© 2015 Leadership Launch



Rachel Kittle, Executive Director and Founder

Rachel has been an attorney since 2008, practicing family law in Oregon before moving to Washington State, where she currently remains an active member in good standing of the Washington State Bar Association. Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University in Interdisciplinary studies in Public Policy and Political Science.  She obtained her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Willamette University College of Law.

Leadership Launch's mission is personal to Rachel. She is a first-generation college graduate who overcame poverty. She is passionate in her belief that with a few resources, plenty of time, and a lot of love, young people can accomplish great things. She is devoted to helping young people from all backgrounds become leaders and to assist them in creating the life that they desire.

Rachel is a liaison for the Key Club at Mariner High School, and she is a part of the Kiwanis Club of Mukilteo.  Rachel was on the Board of Directors of Harbour Pointe Christian Preschool in Mukilteo, Washington, and she was on the Mukilteo Mothers of Preschoolers Steering Team.  Rachel has also served as President and Programs Chair of Mary Leonard Law Society, the Marion County Chapter of Oregon Women Lawyers. She co-founded and served as chairperson of the Mid-Willamette Valley Lawyers Against Hunger campaign to assist local food banks. Rachel has also served as a volunteer working with young men and women at Echo Glenn Children’s Center, a Washington State juvenile corrections and detention facility.

Kandace Barnes, Board Chair

A Washington native, Kandace graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in marketing before earning her M.B.A. and a post baccalaureate in Visual Communications. With a passion for problem solving and cutting through the clutter, Kandace spent the first half of her career focusing on product marketing and communications specifically within large corporations including Verizon Wireless.


After making several trans-continental moves, Kandace returned to the PNW and made the transition into higher education where she developed and marketed new and innovative graduate programs, helped colleges with fundraising, and drove admissions for schools including the University of Washington, Trinity Lutheran College, and Seattle Pacific University. Her favorite and surprising part of moving to non-profit was mentoring and impacting students.


Kandace lives in Mukilteo with her two young daughters and husband, and their St. Berdoodle, Coco. She enjoys tennis, 80s new wave music, teaching art classes at the local elementary school, cooking for family and friends, and being in/on/near the Pacific Ocean. 

Will Raunig,  Board Member


Will is the Senior Interactive Producer at Seattle design agency Hornall Anderson, where he creates interactive experiences for some of the world's largest brands. Previously, he was the Senior Project Manager at Good Done Great, a company offering strategy, technology, and managed services to corporations and foundations to assist them in making more meaningful and effective impact with their charitable giving. Will also has assisted other nonprofit organizations, professional athletes, and businesses with branding, marketing, and web design.


Leadership Launch's mission is personal to Will because he is energized by seeing people reach their full potential.

Kim Kusilek, Board Member


Coordinator of Schools/Trinity Lutheran Schools

Director/Harbour Pointe Christian Preschool


Kim Kusilek has over 30 years of experience working with children.   The majority of that time has been spent with preschool-aged children.  She has spent the last eighteen years working as a preschool teacher, preschool director and coordinator of schools.   Kim understands the importance of early social and academic learning and deeply values the need for safe, educational centers for all children.   She has a vast knowledge in creative curriculum development and implementation.  She oversees tedious staff screening/hiring processes’ and maintains meticulous records on First Aide/CPR/Continuing Education Training for staff.  Kim believes that the social development of young children is imperative to the total educational process. She is passionate about education for all ages and believes that all children are born with leadership potential.


Leadership Launch is personal to Kim as she believes all children need to be empowered to believe in themselves, learn how to overcome obstacles and make a positive impact on the next generation.


Kim has a degree in Education with an emphasis in Speech/Language Pathology. She lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband and is the proud parent of three adult children.


Julia Smiljanic,  Student Representative, Non-Voting Board Member


Julia Smiljanic is in her second year at Everett Community College pursuing a degree in Elementary School Education. After graduating high school at West Vancouver Secondary School, Julia moved to Mukilteo, Washington.

Julia was involved with Northshore Youth and Family Services, and was a part of their Youth Leadership Advisory Board (Youth LAB). The goal of Youth LAB was to create awareness about mental illness and mental health in order to break down stigmas surrounding mental wellness. Julia also edited and designed the Yearbook at West Vancouver Secondary School during her final two years of high school.

Leadership Launch’s mission is personal to Julia because she believes that everyone faces struggles in their life. Julia has faced the struggle of having a learning disability for the entirety of her school aged life. Julia recognizes that adolescence is one of the most difficult times in life, but believes that with the assistance of a hand guided by caring and love, everyone can reach their fullest potential to succeed and soar.


Leadership Launch would like to welcome Kathy Coffey, Executive Director of Leadership Snohomish County, and Pat Schmidt, former Assistant Principal at Kamiak High School to our Advisory Council!  We are grateful that you are lending your experience and expertise to Leadership Launch. Bios coming soon!

Kathy Coffey, Council Member


Pat Schmidt, Council Member


Marla Alohilani Barhoum, Council Member


Marla Alohilani Barhoum has more than 20 years of experience in education, including teaching diverse student and staff populations, program development and curriculum design.  Currently, she develops curriculum for the Seattle Times Newspapers in Education program for high school civics and history educators.  Marla earned her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from the University of Portland, with an Endorsement in Social Studies and a minor in Business Communications Management.  Marla earned her Master Degree in Education with an emphasis in Special Education and High-Risk Youth from the University of Washington.  She is also in her fourth year in University of Washington’s “How Do I Learn?” program, dedicated to increasing knowledge of neuroscience research in cognitive learning among local Puget Sound teachers.    


Marla began her career as a middle school teacher at Chief Leschi Schools and worked closely with the Puyallup Tribe and their gang intervention programs.  She has worked with the Fresh Start program as an academic advisor and instructor at Tacoma Community College, helping kids that have dropped out of high school to return and access to a free 2-year degree.  She was also the Education Director at Seattle Scores, a non-profit aimed at empowering children from low-income elementary schools to build self-esteem through creative writing, poetry, community service and soccer in an afterschool program.  


In addition, Marla also has experience in young adult employment and education programs as a case manager/educator at Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA), YWCA-Young Adult Career Enhancement Program, YMCA-Center for Young Adults, City of Seattle-Youth Employment Program and was an Education Coordinator with The Seattle Times Newspapers in Education Department.


Leadership Launch’s mission is important to Marla because she was a first generation college student.  Neither of Marla’s parents attended college and college was not talked about in her home.  Yet, Marla knew at a young age that college was a part of her destiny and she wanted it.  Marla worked hard and got an academic scholarship.  She was on track for a Business Management degree and had to do community service during her sophomore year as a school requirement.  Marla chose to work at Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Facility, a youth prison in Portland, OR for kids ages 10-18.  It was there that tough kids with even tougher backgrounds talked with Marla and shared their stories with her.  Marla credits that one volunteering experience with changing the course of her life.  She knew in that moment that education and teaching would be her new path, especially working with kids that were at-risk, and she has been working with that population ever since.  Marla’s passion and hope is to bring her experience to Leadership Launch by helping develop a curriculum guide to engage students to be prepared and resilient to meet the demands of their future employers, college and beyond.

Daniel Kittle,  Council Member


Daniel Kittle is an attorney with Lane Powell in Seattle, where he helps clients navigate complex legal disputes to minimize stress, fight for their interests, and achieve resolution.  His practice focuses primarily on business litigation, with an emphasis in state tax and contract disputes.  Daniel is a member of Lane Powell’s Strategic Action Team and is passionate about working collaboratively to achieve excellence.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross (Northwest Region) and was selected as one of 11 state-wide participants in the 2015-16 class of Leadership Washington, the Association of Washington Business Institute’s premier nine-month training program for the next generation of Washington state industry leaders.


Prior to law school, Daniel served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) in Central Asia, where he lived in a small rural village teaching English, coaching basketball, and writing and implementing grants to develop the local school where he taught.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Michigan State University and his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law.  He has written for several newspapers and magazines, and during law school, he worked as a law clerk for the Oregon Department of Justice and as an extern for former Chief Justice Paul De Muniz of the Oregon Supreme Court.


Leadership Launch’s mission is personal to Daniel because he believes that great leaders can transform lives and communities.  As the son of two outstanding high school educators who have helped him let his own leader out, Daniel believes that great leaders are first and foremost great people who care deeply about others and are worthy of sincere trust.  Daniel believes that working with great leaders can make life more empowering, fulfilling, and rewarding.  Daniel also believes that Leadership Launch is performing important work by identifying future community leaders, providing them with the skills to help propel them into leadership positions and transform their communities.   

Carolynn Martin Miller,  Council Member


For more than 30 years, Carolynn Miller’s career has spanned various disciplines, including career development, human resources, business management, and data services.  She is currently a Human Resources Business Consultant with St. Vincent Health.  Previously, she has worked as a Coordinator of Digital Initiatives for the University of Michigan, a Senior Training Specialist, Information Services at Emory Healthcare, and a Human Resources Information Systems Manager at Emory University HR Division.  She also worked as the Human Resources Manager of the Emory University Candler School of Theology, the Senior Business Manager at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and the Employment Program Director at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.


Carolynn’s educational achievements include earning her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Rhode Island College, her Master of Public Administration degree from Northeastern University, her Master in Information Science degree from the University of Michigan School of Information, her Master of Divinity degree from Emory University Candler School of Theology, and she is currently pursuing a Master Certificate in Human Resources Management, Organizational Development, and Project Management from Villanova University.  She has also enjoyed Continuing Education Coursework in Leadership and Conflict Management from the Christian College of Georgia.  


Carolynn’s volunteer experience is also extensive, including serving as the Financial Secretary and participating on the Events Committee for the Indiana Women’s Commission and as a member of the International Conference Planning Committee for the Quadrennial Assembly.  She has served as the Senior Associate Minister for DisciplesNet Church, a Member and then National Chair of the Emory University Annual Giving Board, and the Nominations Chair, Communications Team, and Treasurer of Emory University President’s Commission on the Status of Women.  In addition, Carolynn has served as a Staff Representative for the Transforming Community Project at Emory University, and as a member of the National Board of Directors, and the Georgia Chapter Board of Directors, as well as a Certified Leader for Better Marriages. 


As a first-generation college student, Carolynn is passionate about helping others pursue their dreams and be successful.  Leadership Launch is personal to Carolynn because she experienced empowerment as leaders and mentors helped her to dream big and overcome personal and financial hardships.