DC Dawgs: How to Make It in DC 2016 Mentors

How to Make It in DC is an evening of “table talk” — small group discussions with successful professionals willing to answer your questions and provide guidance on how to further your career in DC. It takes place Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, from 6 – 8 p.m. Learn more about this event.

The following University of Washington alumni will offer professional insight:

Lobbying/Capitol Hill

Dale Learn, Esq., ‘93 – Vice President/Principal, Federal Government Affairs, Gordon Thomas Honeywell et al
Learn manages the DC office of the Washington state-headquartered law and government affairs firm of Gordon Thomas Honeywell (GTH). Prior to GTH, he spent more than six years as a senior advisor and legal counsel to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, and two years as a senior advisor to U.S. Rep. Adam Smith. Learn’s areas of legislative and administrative expertise include transportation and infrastructure, law and justice, technology and telecommunications, energy and natural resources, trade and commerce.

Bryce McKibben, ’09, Policy Advisor, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
McKibben leads the higher education portfolio as a Policy Advisor for U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Prior to joining the HELP committee, Bryce was a Policy Analyst for the Association of Community College Trustees. He also served on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce under Chairman George Miller (D-CA). Before moving to Washington, D.C., McKibben served as the president of the Washington Student Association and as Director of Government Relations for the Associated Students of the University of Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


John Amaya, ’01, ‘05 – Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Prior to his Presidential appointment as deputy chief of staff for ICE, Amaya served as senior counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy (VT), then the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Upon graduating from the UW School of Law, he worked as a law clerk in Montana and subsequently started his career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Allen Shimada, ’78, ‘85 – Executive Secretary, NOAA Fleet Council, NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, U.S. Department of Commerce
Shimada was a fishery research biologist for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle for 10 years before moving to Silver Spring, MD and the National Marine Fisheries Service headquarters as a fishery management biologist and national program coordinator. Since 1999, he has served as national treasurer and board member of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists (established at the UW College of Fisheries in 1956).

Dawn Yamane Hewett, ‘00 – Deputy General Counsel for Strategic Initiatives for Department of Commerce
Hewett joined the Department of Commerce from the DC office of Arnold & Porter LLP, where she was a member of the firm’s international arbitration, litigation, global anti-corruption and white-collar practice groups. Prior to joining Arnold & Porter LLP, Hewett worked for a number of organizations, including the Princeton Project on National Security; Front Line, an organization in Ireland protecting human rights defenders around the world; and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone. In 2014, Hewett was recognized as one of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40.


Stephen (Steve) J. Maag, J.D., ‘75, Director, Residential Communities, LeadingAge
Maag develops and implements public policy for Leading Age residential communities. Prior to joining LeadingAge, Maag was a member and partner with Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland PPLC in Seattle from 1988 to 2006. From 1984 to 1988, he served as the Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs for the Washington Health Care Association, and he was a partner in Mickelson and Maag from 1978 to 1982. For more than 25 years, Maag has presented at national and state seminars on legal and operational issues facing long term care providers and he has contributed to multiple publications on health care topics.

Kendall Van Pool, ‘99, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, National Home Infusion Association
Van Pool is a DC veteran with 15 years of experience working on Capitol Hill and in various health care advocacy positions. Currently, he is Vice President of Legislative Affairs at the National Home Infusion Association. Prior to joining the NHIA, Van Pool served as a professional staff member of the Senate Special Committee, directing the committee’s Medicaid and long-term care agenda. He has also worked as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and Congressman George Nethercutt. In the private sector, he has advocated on behalf of several healthcare-associated organizations, including the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, American Diabetes Association and clients of the Bockorny Group.


Dr. Sheila Brooks, ‘78 – Founder, President and CEO of SRB Communications, LLC
Dr. Brooks is an Emmy-award winning journalist, entrepreneur and dedicated advocate for minority and women’s issues and small businesses. In 1990, she founded SRB Communications, LLC, a full-service advertising and marketing communications agency specializing in multicultural advertising, public relations, media relations and broadcast production. Prior to starting her firm, Brooks built a distinguished television career as a news director, reporter, anchor and documentary producer at CBS, NBC and PBS affiliate TV stations across the country and the DC Fox network owned-and operated station. She is currently working on a book that is based on her dissertation. Her book, about publisher, editor and journalist Lucile Bluford, will be published by Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield.

Bryan Monroe, ‘87 – Verizon Chair and Professor at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication/Former Editor, CNNPolitics.com
Before joining Temple University, Monroe was the Washington Editor, Opinion & Commentary at CNN and the editor of CNNPolitics.com. He also served as the assistant vice president of news at Knight Ridder Newspapers, where he helped lead journalists at the Biloxi Sun Herald to the 2006 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Monroe was also vice president and editorial director at Ebony and Jet magazines, where he led coverage of the 2008 presidential election, conducted the first post-election interview with President Barack Obama and the last interview with Michael Jackson before his death.


Ellie Canter, ‘12 – Managing Director, Turning the Page DC
Canter is the Managing Director at Turning the Page DC, an education nonprofit that is committed to building family engagement capacity in DC’s public schools. Before joining Turning the Page, she graduated with a master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership Studies from the UW College of Education. Prior to graduate school, Canter served two years as a college adviser through the National College Advising Corps, an AmeriCorps program that supports potential first-generation college students and their families as they explore post-secondary options for college and career. She was selected in 2015 as one of the Aspen Institute’s Emerging Nonprofit Leaders.

Michael Yaguchi, ‘85 – Director, Veterans Affairs Account, SRA International Inc, a CSRA Company
Yaguchi has more than 36 years of experience creating and analyzing strategic and operational plans and international arms control treaties from an operational and national defense policy perspective. Prior to joining CSRA Inc, Yaguchi formerly served as the executive director at the Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM). He recently served out his term as a board of director for the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation (NJAMF). He is in his eighth year on the board of governors for the Go For Broke National Education Center. He currently serves as the executive director of the Japanese American Veterans Association, and is an adviser to the National Veterans Network. He retired from active duty after 27 years in the U.S. Air Force and later assumed civilian leadership positions.