Staff & Board

Meet the team

Meet our hardworking staff and board! We’re passionate about books, writing, and helping anyone who wants to write create their best work.

  • Keliko Adams

    Keliko Adams

    Youth Programs Manager

  • Candrews

    Caitlin Andrews

    Events Assistant

  • Shawn Baker Gibson

    Shawn Baker Gibson

    Marketing Director

  • Fc Headshot Aspect Ratio 1 1

    Frances Cheong

    Program Director, Education

  • Lily Frenette

    Lily Frenette

    Adult Education Manager & Salesforce Administrator

  • Alia Fukumoto Aspect Ratio 1 1

    Alia Fukumoto

    Adult Education Associate

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    Jesse González

    Community Support Manager

  • Forest Longeway

    Forest Longeway

    Marketing Associate

  • Amy Lin

    Amy Lin

    Adult Education Associate

  • Jasmine Lomax

    Jasmine Plaskon

    Events & Community Engagement Programs Curator

  • Ariana Simpson Scaled Aspect Ratio 1 1

    Ariana Simpson

    Community Support Specialist

  • Aubrey Unemori

    Aubrey Unemori

    Youth Programs Assistant

  • Merica Whitehall Headshot Orig Aspect Ratio 1 1

    Meriça Whitehall

    Interim Executive Director

  • Ankober

    Ankober Yewondwossen

    Community Support Specialist

Keliko Adams

Keliko Adams

Youth Programs Manager

Pronouns: she/her

Keliko Adams is an educator, artist, bibliophile, and dog enthusiast. She received her BA in English literature from Linfield College and her M.Ed in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on equity in education, from Lesley University. She has been working with youth and for youth for over 20 years in Hawai’i (her home); Albuquerque; Washington, D.C.; Japan; and the Pacific Northwest. She believes in the power of words and stories and recognizes how these are used to influence future generations. Therefore, she spends much of her free time drafting manuscripts and paper illustrations for her future career as a children’s book writer and illustrator.

Candrews

Caitlin Andrews

Events Assistant

Pronouns: she/they

Caitlin is originally from a sleepy one-light town in Phoenix, Maryland. After working in Baltimore in both museum and library spaces, she followed her love for writing stories to Florida, where she obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami. Her thesis was a finalist for the Marianne Russo Award for a Novel-in-Progress, and she has been awarded scholarships and fellowships from GrubStreet and the Chesapeake Writers’ Conference. She continues work on her first novel, a braided queer historical narrative set during the Irish War for Independence. To procrastinate on writing, Caitlin is known to get lost in the woods, seek out a cozy bookshop or art museum, and listen to silly D&D podcasts.

Shawn Baker Gibson

Shawn Baker Gibson

Marketing Director

Pronouns: she/her

Shawn Baker Gibson is a nonprofit communications professional and avid reader born and raised in Western Washington. She has over a decade of experience working with nonprofit arts organizations in the Seattle area, including Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Cultural Access WA, Pottery Northwest, ACT Theatre, Intiman, TeenTix, and more. Shawn holds an MFA in nonprofit arts leadership and BA in theatre arts with a concentration in acting and devised new works. When not working or reading, she is usually fawning over her dog, going on bike rides, or finding new arts to experience around the city.

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Frances Cheong

Program Director, Education

Pronouns: she/her

Frances Cheong was born and raised in Hong Kong. She has studied and lived in Singapore, England, and various cities in the United States. She received her PhD in molecular cell biology at Johns Hopkins University and taught and directed undergraduate genetics courses at University of Washington for ten years. With a long-standing interest in literature and writing, Frances has been a Hugo House student in fiction and nonfiction writing since 2013. She currently lives in Seattle and is working on a story collection.

Lily Frenette

Lily Frenette

Adult Education Manager & Salesforce Administrator

Pronouns: she/her

Lily Frenette was once told she read too many books and should do something else with her time. She ignored that and added writing to her repertoire. Graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, she studied creative writing, photography, and environmental issues. When not writing or reading, she can be found hiking, taking photos, listening to podcasts, cheering on the Kraken, or talking about her home state of Minnesota.

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Alia Fukumoto

Adult Education Associate

Alia graduated with a BA in English and a minor in women and gender studies from Seattle University. She enjoys walks in the park, reading, and playing frisbee. Being a Seattle transplant from Oahu, Alia enjoys the occasional sunny days as well as good food.

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Jesse González

Community Support Manager

Pronouns: he/him

Jesse González is a poet from the great state of New Jersey. He holds an MFA from the University of Oregon and a BA from Cornell University. He was a 2021 Anaphora Arts Fellow. Before joining Hugo House, he worked as many things, including but not limited to: an office manager, an English teacher, and a park ranger. When not reading, writing, or cooking, he can be found thinking about reading, writing, or cooking. 

Forest Longeway

Forest Longeway

Marketing Associate

Pronouns: they/them

Before uprooting their life and driving across the country with their pet rabbit, Forest Longeway graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Fiction Writing. They’ve spent the last decade engaging with community & DIY art spaces of Chicago and Seattle—producing work, giving readings, volunteering, managing and promoting. They were a cofounder for the interdisciplinary art series Seven Stories and an editor for Hair Trigger anthology. In addition to mutual aid and art-making, Forest loves camping, hiking, and tending to their menagerie of exotic plants and animals.

Amy Lin

Amy Lin

Adult Education Associate

The library will always be Amy Lin‘s first and best lovesorry, lovers! She has over sixteen years’ experience in small business with a focus on solution innovation. Her work at Hugo House is rooted in a three-fold philosophy: one, that writing is a useful skill to have in an age of constant engagement with written communication; two, that all forms of writing provide immense benefits to the writer; and three, that words affect change in the world around us so it’s worth learning to use them well. Writing is for everyone! Amy enjoys a wide range of interests thanks to being a third-culture kid with ADHD; she’s currently jamming on investing, futurism, emerging technology, self-improvement, interspecies communication, and design thinking. She aspires to be a Bodhisattva to beginners. 

Jasmine Lomax

Jasmine Plaskon

Events & Community Engagement Programs Curator

Pronouns: she/her

Jasmine Plaskon is a recent MFA graduate of Spalding University who moved to Seattle a year ago and hasn’t looked back since. Invested in living her best #workingartist life, Jasmine balances her new work as HH’s Events Programs Assistant with her writing with chaotic glee; she has been or will be featured in: Fourth River Review, The Sante Fe Literary Review, Sundress Publications, and more. When Jasmine has downtime available to her, she enjoys romps through nature, reading, playing video games, and the occasional bout of crying over fictional characters.

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Ariana Simpson

Community Support Specialist

Pronouns: she/her

Raised on the Southern Gothic, Ariana is an experimental poet and writer, wannabe zine queen, and intersectional activist. While not from the literal bayou the self-proclaimed “swamp baby” hails from Louisiana and is Florida-raised. (Five minutes from Gatorland and evacuated from the playground because of a bobcat Florida raised.) She received her B.A. from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where she also studied sociology and music. She has been published in various zines, lit journals, and, closest to her heart, Burrow Press’ BP Review.

Aubrey Unemori

Aubrey Unemori

Youth Programs Assistant

Pronouns: she/her

Aubrey Unemori is a writer, editor, and aspiring coffee connoisseur. She holds a BA in English with creative writing emphasis from the University of Washington and is the co-author of children’s book, Mindful Mansi, which promotes mental wellness and emotional regulation in younger children. Before joining the Hugo House team in December 2021, she interned at local publisher Chin Music Press and was a prose editor with Bricolage Literary and Visual Arts Journal. When she’s not drinking coffee or writing, Aubrey can usually be found reading, drawing, or playing online games with friends.

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Meriça Whitehall

Interim Executive Director

Meriça Whitehall brings over 25 years of experience empowering teams; strengthening organizational operations; improving financial performance, planning infrastructure reinvestment, and planning and implementing long-term strategy. Meriça is an experienced nonprofit consultant whose clients include ArtsWA, STG’s Paramount Theater, Seattle Center Festal Cultural Festival Series, the Seattle Community Law Center, the Seattle Police Department, and SouthEast Effective Development.  

Most recently Meriça served as the Executive Director of Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, Nebraska. While at the helm of Fontenelle Forest, spearheaded the creation of a 20-year master plan and completed development of new revenue streams, capital projects, and acquisitions including the $1.6M Treerush Adventures aerial park and the 37-acre Camp Wa-kon-da overnight campground. Prior to leading Fontenelle Forest, Meriça served as Executive Director of the Nature Consortium in West Seattle. There she led a team that engaged over 3000 volunteers annually in the Green Seattle Partnership and dramatically strengthened the organization’s financial profitability before negotiating for DNDA’s acquisition of Nature Consortium.

Meriça earned an Executive Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University where she taught frameworks for community engagement as a faculty member following completion of her degree. While serving at Seattle University she also led the Treehouse Tutoring Corps providing year-round academic support and mentorship to youth living in foster care. As an executive director, she has championed the integration of DEIJ into organizational values, culture, planning, and operations. And as a volunteer, she serves as a member of the Association of Nature Center Administrators Board of Directors and DEI Committee to advance DEI nationally in the environmental field.

Ankober

Ankober Yewondwossen

Community Support Specialist

Ankober is an Ethiopian first-gen born and raised in Seattle. She grew up attending and participating in poetry readings at Hugo House. In her early and mid-twenties, she traveled the world in an effort to “find herself.” She didn’t—and is now back home in Seattle, doing what she loves: sipping coffee and managing her mental health. She graduated from Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina where she pursued a self-designed major in Womanist Spiritual Quest. Ankober believes the world was formed from a word and has dedicated her life to following wherever beautiful words (and worlds) may lead her. Her writing is on the inter-webs.