Meet Our Leadership Team
Victoria was lucky enough to have a middle and high school experience where she was surrounded by classmates from many ethnicities. She is white and was in the minority - a circumstance that taught her about inclusivity and also showed her what systemic racism looked like for her peers. Later, Victoria's career took her overseas for a decade where she was sometimes painfully other-ed and sometimes immensely fortunate in celebrating authentic diversity. These lived experiences have convinced her that society can only flourish when we decenter whiteness, face our racist history and present, amplify BIPOC communities, and when we demand genuine equity. We all miss out on too much otherwise!
Cia Cortinas was born and raised in Walla Walla Washington. Early in her career she began working to better education in the valley. She graduated with her early childhood education certificate while in her senior year of high school, focusing on bilingual education.
She then moved to Portland Oregon where she was a lead preschool teacher. During her 12 years in Portland, she focused her attention to working with houseless individuals and at risk youth. She volunteered with non profit programs to help BIPOC queer youth find medical support.
She then moved to Bogota and Medellín Colombia to work as an elementary teacher at a Canadian international school.
In 2017, she returned to Walla Walla to shift the local narrative within her hometown. She is a dual language elementary school teacher, works with LGBTQ issues and PRIDE, a member of Walla Walla Black Lives Matter, is a CASA for Umatilla County, works directly with members of the Confederate Tribes of Umatilla and a co founder of COCOA.
A life motto of Cia's writen by BIPOC/queer author Young Pueblo is: "Do the earth a favor, don't hide your magic. "
Growing up in majority-white spaces, Kaelyn Pyke spent a large part of her childhood and young adulthood hating herself. She was never pretty enough, her hair never straight enough, and those around her expected her to be something she wasn't. People that looked like her that she saw were described as 'ghetto' and 'thugs', and rarely as intelligent people with leadership abilities. Being apart of COCOA is Kaelyn working at making her community a place where her childhood self would've felt comfortable and accepted. Her passions include empowering POC through protective and fun hairstyles, Living off the grid, and working towards sustainability with her husband.
We have this moment, today, to live authentically and unapologetically; let's embrace it.
Nadine grew up in Los Angeles, California. She was the first in her family to graduate from college. She attended Whittier College and received a B.A. degree in Public Policy and the Individual, a self-designed major and later earned a Master's In Public Administration from Walden University. Nadine was hired as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at WWCC and is now the Director of Student Life. She has worked in the public sector for nearly two decades.. Nadine is the first Hispanic president in the history of the College Place Lions Club. She is currently the chair of College Place's Diversity Inclusion Advisory Board. Nadine ran for College Place City Council in 2021. She plans to run again in the near future.