Matthew Echohawk-Hayashi | At-Large Trustee

Class of 2000, Bachelor of Arts, History and International Studies

Portrait: Matt Echohawk-Hayashi

Why I Serve

I come from a very strong, connected community — both through my family and the community where I grew up. Being at the UW was my first experience where I felt like a true individual. I come from a small town on an island — the UW campus was bigger than our whole town at that point — and went to a public school with very few resources, so when I arrived at the UW, my mind was blown at all of the opportunities available.

I studied History and International Studies, which put my experiences into larger social and historical contexts and gave me a better understanding of my parents’ and grandparents’ experiences as well. My professors taught me that everyone experiences social context differently, which was a very formative idea for me that I still use in my work today.

I feel very grateful for the opportunities I have, the life I get to live, and the work I do in Seattle and around the country. It would not have been possible without the UW. When I was in school, I was lucky enough to work part-time and during the summer in order to pay for my tuition and living expenses. There’s a big gap between then and what the students experience now, and I love that UW Tacoma and Bothell are taking steps to bridge that gap. We have the opportunity to offer a world-class education to everyone, and that’s something I am personally very passionate about.


Matthew Echohawk-Hayashi is the principal organization development and leadership consultant for Headwater People, a consulting firm that offers businesses and organizations a variety of services such as organization design, strategic planning, change management, process improvement, retreat planning and facilitation, and executive coaching. Matthew has a particular interest in supporting community-led projects that improve systems in Native American organizations and agencies, as well as significant experience in facilitating empowering and productive experiences in emotionally charged and relationally challenging circumstances.