Staff & Board

Freedom Project Staff (in alphabetical order)

David Heppard, Executive Director
Pronouns:  he / him
As Freedom Project’s Executive Director, David works with the board, development teams, and builds collaborations with other organizations. He also coordinates marketing (social media, video production) and Reentry programming.  He has a natural passion for people and loves to see others grow to potential. He brings his creative energy and enthusiasm for the mission to build connections, community and collaboration. “Team work makes the dream work!”
Joanie Joanie Fuller, Prison Programs Director
Pronouns: she / her
Joanie coordinates Freedom Project’s prison programs through the Department of Corrections and in collaboration with our dedicated team of volunteers and mentors. She aims to support the variety of needs of the community members integral to Freedom Project’s work – including class participants, inside mentors/facilitators, folks returning to the community from incarceration, and those who volunteer their time on the inside/outside. Joanie has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington.
KC Young, OP, Donor Relationships
Pronouns: she / her
KC has been privileged to work with marginalized people for nearly 30 years on Indian reservations as well as in hospitals, prisons and inner-city neighborhoods. A skilled networker, she has extensive experience providing leadership for many nonprofit organizations, ranging from drug addiction treatment centers to transitional housing for homeless women and children, and has lobbied for justice and peace on the local, national and international levels.
Kiki Elfendahl, Chief Operating Officer
Pronouns: she / her
Kiki manages day-to-day operations and works to build a strong foundation of clarity and collaborative systems upon which Freedom Project can grow further into its mission. She brings over 20 years experience in business management, organizational development and personal growth, as well as a rich meditation practice of over 15 years. Kiki has a Bachelor’s Degree with High Honors in American Studies from Smith College.
Rusty Thomas, Re-entry Director, Volunteer Training Coordinator
Pronouns: he / him
Rusty supports volunteer orientations and trains volunteers for both inside prison programs and office volunteers. Rusty is also the Community Circle/Seattle Facilitator and is passionate about providing Nonviolent Communication and mindfulness training to Freedom Project Volunteers. Rusty’s biggest life resource is his regular meditation and living Nonviolent Communication. Rusty holds a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in psychology, spirituality from Antioch University, Seattle. Along with Lucy Leu, Rusty is the co-founder of Freedom Project.

Freedom Project Board (in alphabetical order)


Dean LaCour, Board President
Pronouns:  she / her
Dean retired from the telecommunications industry after 47 years in customer service and management. In addition to serving as the Board President, she also currently facilitates the Racial Equity and Social Justice Circle. Dean has been on Freedom Project’s board in a variety of capacities since 2013.
Gailen Baber, Board Treasurer
Pronouns: she / her
Gailen joined the Freedom Project board in 2015 as Treasurer and acts as committee head for the Finance Committee. Gailen received a BA in Business Administration and Accounting in 2017, and an MS in Taxation in 2018, both from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Gailen works as a tax associate at King & Oliason and is currently finishing the CPA exams. Gailen has experience in tax preparation for a variety of returns, including individuals, partnerships, trusts, not-for-profits, and corporations. In her free time, Gailen enjoys reading, painting, and traveling.
Gerald Labensky
Pronouns: he / him
Gerald is a Field Leader of Chipotle Mexican Grill overseeing the Pacific Northwest market. He is passionate about breaking employment barriers and supporting People of Color transitioning from incarceration to society. Gerald served 17 years of a 40-year sentence in the Washington State system from 1996 to 2013. Gerald joined the Freedom Project board in 2018.
Mike Anthony
Pronouns: he / him
Mike Anthony is a motivational and inspirational keynote speaker and founder of Antics.  His business provides keynote speeches, conference consulting, and speech coaching.  Mike is a two-time District 9 Toastmasters public speaking champion, placing third in the semi-finals at the 2015 International World Championship of Public Speaking. His passion for energetic, educational, and enthusiastic presentations provides the platform for successful communication to groups of all sizes. His 30 years of assisting the homeless, counseling couples and families, and mentoring troubled youth provides a depth of compassion and understanding that promotes genuine and lasting relationships.  Having served 3 ½ out of a 5-year incarceration sentence in Washington State, Mike has experienced the difficulties of re-entry first hand.  He has a driven purpose to see each incarcerated person provided the tools necessary to start rebuilding upon release.  Mike’s subsequent release and emerging success personally and professionally continues to be an encouragement to incarcerated men and women, giving them hope for their own success outside the walls.  He continues to communicate with several inmates, providing them with much-needed contact from the outside world. He has helped several men after their own release by giving from his own resources and providing contacts for assistance to help them reacclimate. When Mike isn’t inspiring audiences he spends his time being entertained by his lovely bride of 33 years, chasing his grandkids, and occasionally playing “look for the ball”, or the more common term “golf”.
Pam Orbach
Pronouns: she / her
Pam is a Restorative Justice practitioner, mediator, circle keeper, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) consultant and trainer. In addition, she also is an executive empathic self-leadership coach. She is moved to support the accessibility of restorative compassionate consciousness and practice in the world – a paradigm shift – involving increased self-awareness, authentic communication, and integrity in action and decision-making. Pam’s practice is grounded in Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication and Dominic Barter’s model of Restorative Circles. Her ongoing engagement and learning in peacemaking, talking circle, equity consciousness and a compassionate practice of active nonviolence deepens her particular approach to community building and conflict transformation. Her work is informed by her previous experience teaching both middle and high school, and her years supporting conflict between parents and teens/youth for the City of Bellevue, where she supervised a parent-teen mediation program. Pam designs and delivers trainings and dialogue for organizations and communities with a commitment to peaceful compassionate change in the world. Her method augments an alignment of organizational direction with personal values.
Susan Mason
Pronouns: she / her
Susan Mason is a co-founder and Executive Director of What’s Next – Washington. Susan spent 15 years in the mortgage industry before becoming an advocate and organizer. She advocates for systemic policy change and the reinstatement of civil rights for people with conviction histories. Her work is centered in three key areas: collaboration, communication, and leadership. Susan is active in the reentry community and is a member of the National Council of Formerly and Currently Incarcerated Women and Girls. She is also a sought-after speaker and an advocate within organizations that seek to empower and improve the lives of the formerly incarcerated. Susan is a National Council 2019 Reimagining Communities Fellow and Just Leadership USA 2018 Leading with Conviction Fellow. She also sits on the Washington Voting Justice Coalition and the FARE (Fair and Accessible Rental [housing] for Everyone) Housing Coalition. Susan Mason was incarcerated in federal prison for 15 months and was released in 2003.
Thrett Brown
Pronouns: he / him