Natalie Vega O'Neil – President & CEO – Executive Office
Natalie Vega O’Neil is the President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Washington, the largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and financial choices. With over 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and a commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty, Natalie is a relentless advocate for marginalized, underserved, and vulnerable communities. As a dynamic Latine leader steeped in youth development and educational programs, Natalie is the first female and first person of color to lead Junior Achievement of Washington in its 70-year history. Under her leadership, JAWA developed a visionary strategic plan with the goal to reach over 90,000 students per school year by 2027 and launched groundbreaking initiatives such as JA Mobile Finance Park to bring financial literacy programs to communities across Washington State.
Natalie has a rich background in nonprofit leadership as the associate vice president of Save the Children, founding staff member at Thrive by Five Washington, and co-founder and director of early childhood education for a public charter school in Los Angeles, California. This background has charged her mission and resolve to provide access and equity to education for all families.
Natalie’s team of over 600 at Save the Children, a global humanitarian agency, executed domestic programs focused on early childhood education and grade-level reading across 38 states, reaching more than 300,000 children. While at Thrive by Five Washington, Natalie co-led the development of a statewide Quality Rating & Improvement System and the state’s work on developing kindergarten readiness indicators.
In addition to these programs, Natalie has a breadth and depth of experience rolling up her sleeves to help build and nurture a host of nonprofit programs, including the creation of bilingual, play-based birth to five programs and an onsite health clinic for children and families living in severe poverty; organizing advocacy efforts to raise awareness and support for programs that promote children’s well-being and racial and geographic equity, and working for nonprofits, such as Make-A-Wish Foundation and the YWCA.
Natalie holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Development from the Erikson Institute. Natalie was named a Reign FC Legend in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the Seattle community and featured by Seattle ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America) as a Latina Trailblazer. Natalie serves as a board member for Leadership Tomorrow and KABOOM! and is the President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Governing Board.
Jan O'Connell – Chief of Staff – Executive Office
Jan swapped the Emerald Isle of Ireland for the Emerald City of Seattle and since then has managed a music school and a communications company, as well as immersing herself in American life and culture through work, volunteering, friendships, and interests.
Prior to moving to the U.S., Jan worked in the research facility of her alma mater, Tyndall Institute, and as a Senior Executive in Ireland’s largest advertising agency. But her longest and most fulfilling tenure was as the Managing Director of an Opera Company producing over 50 productions: large-scale operas including La Traviata, La boheme, and Carmen, as well as operetta and musical theater productions such as Oklahoma, The King & I, and Me & My Girl, all in support of the larger programming aspirations of the company. Second only to that in terms of time and passion was Jan’s over-a-decade commitment to Threshold, a housing charity as part of their finance committee to secure a right to housing, in particular for households experiencing poverty and exclusion.
Jan has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University College of Cork (UCC) and diplomas in Marketing, Quality Management, and Human Resource Management from UCC and CIT. Jan is also a winner of the Arts Council of Ireland Management Bursary in recognition of her service to the Arts in Ireland.
Jason Berry – VP of Impact and Innovation – Education
Jason is a highly successful non-profit leader with more than 20 years of experience, including 12 years as the Executive Director for the Auburn Valley YMCA. His successes as non-profit executive have been anchored by an unwavering commitment to advancing equity and social justice, and to the most disproportionately underserved. He is proud to be a part an organization helping young people thrive and create economic justice for themselves, and the families and communities around them.
Jason excels at staff development, building teams with a community-first approach, an unwavering voice for community needs, and a dedication to building equity locally and regionally. He is skilled at community engagement and partnership development. Throughout his career, Jason led multiple projects expanding the YMCA’s reach and impact, including the development of two Community Learning Centers, an early learning center, a capital expansion project, a pioneering partnership forming a patient referral system with MultiCare, and a partnership providing before school programs and transportation for children experiencing homelessness.
Under his leadership, the Y was named Auburn School District Partner of the Year and Auburn Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit of the Year. Jason chaired the City of Auburn’s Human Services Committee, led the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s Public Policy cohort, served on the Auburn School District’s Connecting on Racial Equity team, and participated on strategic planning committees for the Auburn School District and Green River College. Jason also volunteers as a youth basketball coach.
Jason is a proud community college product, attending Wenatchee Valley College before earning a bachelor’s degree in History from Whitman College and a master’s in Kinesiology from San Jose State University.
Erin Morgan – Chief Financial Officer – Finance
Erin Morgan joins us as our new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Erin is a highly accomplished CFO renowned for her impactful leadership across diverse industries. Erin holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Oklahoma and embodies a commitment to lifelong learning. With expertise in finance, strategic planning, and organizational transformations, Erin has garnered recognition as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders in Washington (2023) by “Women We Admire.” She has also been honored with the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma’s Bishop's Cross Award (2018) and the Oklahoma American Red Cross Tornado Relief Award (2013).
Erin’s commitment to community and non-profit work and her passion for helping the disadvantaged and underserved shaped her career trajectory, notably serving as the CFO and Canon of Finance & Admin. at the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma and later as the CFO of Hawaii Preparatory Academy. Erin's financial leadership has also left an indelible mark across industries including Defense Contracting, Food & Beverage Operations, Oil & Gas, Technology, and Agriculture. Erin's dynamic leadership style, strategic vision, and unwavering dedication to excellence position her as a distinguished and influential figure in finance and operations. Her warm and compassionate approach to leadership underscores a genuine commitment to making a meaningful difference in both the professional and community spheres.
Tammy Neese – Vice President, Finance & HR – Human Resources
Tammy’s commitment to Junior Achievement’s mission dates back to her joining in 2004. Through multiple roles leading the finance team, she has been a “roll up your sleeves” member of the JAWA organization. She is currently VP of Finance & HR with a reputation as a trusted finance and HR professional.
Tammy is a dedicated volunteer in her outreach to underserved, at-risk youth and is passionate about witnessing the positive impact education provides as a trajectory to changing lives. She currently serves as Board Chair for the Washington Youth Academy Foundation and President of the WYA Booster Group, focusing on Parent Outreach & Education as part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. Her past leadership positions include serving as Board Chair of the French American School of Puget Sound and on the Renton School District Parent Advisory Board of Gifted Education.
Tammy has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Support Services emphasizing Youth Advocacy from the University of Phoenix and studied Business Management at BYU, Idaho.
Lisa Stirgus – Chief Development Officer – Development
Lisa is a dynamic leader in the financial services industry, known for her exceptional ability to inspire both internal and external stakeholders to actively embrace mission-driven movements. With a 20+ year career that includes senior roles at Harborstone Credit Union (SVP) and Wells Fargo (SVP), Lisa has consistently demonstrated her commitment to making a meaningful impact.
Lisa is not just a leader but a relatable and approachable figure who genuinely cares about making a difference in people's lives. Her strengths lie in organizational leadership development, strategic implementation and execution, and cultivating lasting relationships. Lisa's academic background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a focus on human motivation and performance from Capella University. Originally from Reno, Nevada, Lisa relocated to Washington state in 2013. Since then, she has actively contributed to her community by serving on the JAWA board and the boards of Pike Place Market Foundation and Treehouse for Kids. Lisa is an enthusiastic advocate for financial empowerment, with a heart dedicated to bridging the gap between financial literacy and everyday life for underserved communities.