About the Fuse Innovation Fund
The Fuse Innovation Fund develops creative programs to educate and engage activists about critical issues in Washington. These innovative programs utilize direct activist contact, earned media, and communications trainings to work toward creating a more fair, just, and equal state.
Board of Directors
Ruth Lipscomb, Chair, is a community activist and volunteer. She grew up in Oregon and after college came to Washington to work as a software engineer. Ruth is a founding board member of the Progress Alliance of Washington, serves on the steering committee of Washington Women for Choice and is a trustee of Sightline Institute. In her spare time she chairs two committees for her neighborhood association and fosters cats for the Humane Society. Other interests include spending time with her husband and daughter, gardening and reading.
Kurt Guenther, Vice Chair, has helped clients reach the audiences they want with the messages they need to get results for more than 20 years. Known for his enthusiasm and openness to new ideas, Kurt combines research with savvy about people in his broadcast, print, Internet, and overall strategy work. Health, education, conservation, women's rights, workers' rights, freedom of speech, national service, new sciences and world relief & development are among issues Kurt has worked with clients to promote, as well as Presidential, Senate and Gubernatorial candidates. Kurt is a founder of doingsomething, an all-volunteer network featured in the national media, two-term member of the Partner Board at his children's public school, chair of communications for the board of the Washington Environmental Council, and a baseball/swimming/soccer dad. Kurt attended Occidental College and Boston University, where he graduated summa cum laude from the School of Public Communication with graduate work in advocacy. He lives with his wife, two children and a nice dog named Ty in Seattle.
Paul Ahern, Secretary/Treasurer, serves as a consultant to social justice nonprofits in the Northwest and helps them maximize the impact of their public policy advocacy. In addition, he teaches a course on public policy advocacy by nonprofits at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs. Paul has also provided advice on policy advocacy to philanthropic organizations such as Social Venture Partners, the Potlatch Fund, and Philanthropy Northwest.
Before beginning his consulting work, Paul practiced law in Seattle for three decades and specialized in prosecuting class action cases on behalf of consumers and government employees. Paul earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and his law degree at Georgetown University Law Center. During his time in Washington, D.C., he served as a staff member on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Nixon.
Cody Arledge is Legislative Director for Sheet Metal Workers Local 66, where he ensures that candidates and politicians understand the needs and priorities of Washington's working families. Nine- year-old Cody planted his first yard sign for Cecil Andrus, democratic governor of Idaho; from that day on, he remained steadfastly dedicated to progressive politics and public policy. At age 19, Cody left Idaho to attend paramedic school in Tacoma and began a twenty-year career as a firefighter, paramedic and union leader. Cody served as Governmental Relations Director for the Washington State Council of Firefighters, worked for the Washington State House Democratic Caucus, attended Evergreen State College and has helped countless political and community campaigns. Cody's love of politics and progressive causes is surpassed only by his pride for his handsome, teenage son, Wyatt.
Suone Cotner lived in Washington DC for ten years prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1983. Once here, Cotner served as President of the Mt. Baker Group, a fundraising and public affairs consulting company. As a consultant for 14 years, Cotner advised clients on fundraising strategy, and designed and supervised the implementation of both short term and long term fundraising plans to raise between $250,000 and $12 million. In 1997, she joined the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, now the Washington State Association for Justice, which represents attorneys and professionals in the legal field committed to champion the cause of those who deserve redress for injury to person, property or civil rights. As the Development Director and now Deputy Director, she is responsible for the organization's major donor and special project fundraising efforts.
Anna Fahey is communications strategist for Sightline Institute, oversees opinion research, develops and distills best practices in messaging and framing, and builds collaborations with allied organizations to help coordinate effective messaging across issues and campaigns. Growing up, Anna spent her days working on her family’s commercial fishing boats in the Puget Sound and poking around the rocky beaches of the San Juan Islands. She was the art critic for the Seattle Weekly, and, for half a dozen years, headed up communications for the Henry Art Museum. After heading back to grad school and receiving an MA in political communication from the University of Washington, Anna has earned her share of campaign-trail battle scars as a political strategist in central Washington.
Adam Glickman-Flora is Director of Public Affairs for SEIU Healthcare 775NW, the long-term care workers union representing 30,500 home care and nursing home workers in Washington and Montana. As director of Public Affairs he oversees SEIU Healthcare 775NW's political, legislative, community outreach, and media relations work. Adam grew up on the East Coast and became involved in labor and other social justice work while at Wesleyan University. After graduating, he worked in New York doing communications and political work, including as the Communications Director for New York's Working Families Party. He is married and has two wonderful children - Micah and Asher.
Jeff Hansen is a marketing professional and business strategist currently working for Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer where he leads the company's brand strategy function. In over twenty years at Microsoft Jeff has developed a deep and diverse set of skills across a range professions including... human resources, advertising, brand and image management, market research, marketing communications, PR and crisis management, product management, and leading the company's "marketing profession excellence" function. Prior to rejoining the central marketing group, Jeff spent five years working for Microsoft's "Chief Software Architect", where he was focused on helping implement advanced technologies and computing scenarios that are critical to the company's long term success.
Jeff is a Seattle native. He had a decade long hiatus in Oregon during which he graduated from the University of Oregon with honors in Psychology and Sociology. Jeff returned to Seattle in 1991 having a short career in the legal profession before joining Microsoft later that year. Jeff currently resides in Bellevue with his wife and two boys. He is currently past President of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, a member of the U of O regional council, a Social Venture Partner, and a frequent guest speaker at various universities.
Sandeep Kaushik is a political, communications and public affairs consultant. He has worked on multiple political campaigns, including as communications director for the No on I-920 (estate tax repeal) campaign in 2006, the Not Another Elevated Viaduct campaign, as campaign manager for the the King County parks levies campaign in 2007, and more recently as a communications consultant on the campaigns of Bill Sherman for King County Prosecutor and as a new media communications consultant on the Yes on Roads and Transit effort. He served as spokesperson for Darcy Burner's campaign in the 8th Congressional District of Washington and does public affairs work for Nyhus Communications. Between 2005 and April 2007, he worked as deputy communications director for King County Executive Ron Sims, and prior to that as a political columnist/writer for the Stranger and as the Seattle stringer for Time Magazine and the Boston Globe. He has a B.A. in history from Reed College and an M.A. in British history from Princeton University. He lives in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood with his wife and two children.
Dana Laurent became the Executive Director of Win/Win Network in June of 2012. She leads the strategic direction of the organization, acts as primary spokesperson, and works with the Leadership Team and community partners to carry out our mission of increased collaboration and capacity building with partners, as well as increased participation through civic engagement--particularly for underrepresented communities.
Previously, Dana was the Political Director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, where she led a tri-state team and developed and implemented a wide variety of legislative, civic engagement and political strategies and campaigns on both the state and federal levels to advance reproductive health and rights in Alaska, Washington and Idaho. Dana also has experience as a principal for a political consulting firm, where she grew the business and worked to elect progressive candidates and pass progressive ballot measures. In a former life, Dana was a producer and art director for companies such as Getty Images and Nintendo, and even worked for the International Olympic Committee. Dana serves on the board of several organizations, including One America Votes, an organization dedicated to equality and justice for all--especially immigrants.
During her down time, rain or shine, you will usually find Dana siting on her dock on the Puget Sound, reading obscure French literature. Occasionally, she'll consider picking up her banjo.
Dean Nielsen is principal of Cerillion N4 Partners, a political consulting and government relations firm where he works for political, non-profit, union and corporate clients in Washington State, across the country and around the world. Formerly, he was National Political Director for Progressive Majority, where he and his staff recruited, trained and elected more than 1,000 progressive champions. Dean is a career politico, having worked in various capacities on more than 250 campaigns throughout the Western United States and Eastern Europe starting with Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. His lengthy client list includes Governor Gary Locke (WA), Solidarity Party (Poland), the Gore/Lieberman Campaign, as well as issue campaigns for groups such as EMILY's List, National Education Association, Wellstone Action!, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, SEIU, Harborview Hospital, PCCC and the Democratic Party in several states. In addition to campaigns, he helped build and expand a grassroots and grasstops lobbying program for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, conceived and launched the Institute for a Democratic Future, did qualitative research for several casinos in Las Vegas, managed a crisis communications project for a Fortune 500 company and does a variety of projects for several clean energy companies.