Meet the WAEF Staff

WAEF staff left to right Megan Kovanen, Talia Barajas, Jillian Rice and Jennifer Witherbee

WAEF staff left to right Megan Kovanen, Talia Barajas, Jillian Rice and Jennifer Witherbee

In the past several months we've had significant changes in the WAEF staff. You might have been contacted by one of our new members and wondered what happened to the contact you used to have. I want to take this opportunity to catch everyone up on the organization.

 In December last year Shellie Faulconer, WAEF assistant director since 2011, moved with her family to the east coast. Her move created a large void at WAEF! To take her place, WAEF hired full-time administrative assistant Jillian Rice and part-time resource development coordinator Megan Kovanen. Both women started the first of this year.

Jillian Rice

Jillian Rice

Jillian grew up in Ontario, Canada. She moved to British Columbia to attend Trinity Western University where she studied English and French, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and met her husband, a Wenatchee native. The couple moved to Wenatchee in December of last year with their four-year-old son.

Jillian was hired to manage our WAEF database, provide bookkeeping services, coordinate the NCW Spelling Bee and Year of the Apple art contest, schedule logistics for WAEF committee and board meetings and assist with various office communication needs. Since coming onboard, Jillian has also redesigned our website, managed our social media presence, designed all outgoing promotional materials for fundraising events and scholarships, and each day uncovers a new hidden talent.

Megan Kovanen

Megan Kovanen

Megan grew up in a military family. Megan's mother is a retired educator and her father was a Colonel in the U.S. Army. Megan was educated at Bellarmine Preparatory High School and then Evergreen State College. She lives in Wenatchee with her husband two boys.

Megan coordinates fundraising events for WAEF with the goal of making each a very, very special event worthy of the world-class tree fruit industry's charity. Megan's thoughtful creativity was present in the two fundraising golf tournaments held this summer and was showcased in the annual scholarship celebration luncheons (this year complete with bubbles). She will soon begin work on the annual raffle and auction held in December during the Washington State Tree Fruit Association annual meeting.

Changes at WAEF continued this summer when Jose Hernandez, our scholarship coordinator of the last two years, accepted a job at Big Bend Community College in the financial aid office. Finding someone with Jose's passion and relatability to WAEF students was no easy task! In his time with the foundation Jose had grown the requirements of this position dramatically. We were thrilled when we found Talia Barajas.

Talia Barajas

Talia Barajas

Talia is now in her second week on the job. She graduated witha sociology degree from Washington State University in the spring and from Wahluke High School (Mattawa) in 2012. Top of her "to do list" is to get the 2016-17 scholarship training curriculum ready to be delivered. This year we anticipate training nearly 4500 students in our region on how to find, apply for and receive scholarships. Scholarship training is most intense in October, November and December. The first of the year Talia will begin scholarship selection preparation and then winner announcements. Worked in to that schedule are activities to help current WAEF scholarship recipients stay engaged in college and prepared to graduate career ready.

Jennifer Witherbee

Jennifer Witherbee

 

I just passed my 15th year with the foundation (time flies!). Inmy employment file are photos taken when I accepted the job at WAEF, I can't believe how young I was then! I feel very fortunate to get to be part of the inspirational tree fruit industry and to get to work with such dedicated, passion people.

Thank you for all of your support of WAEF! You hopefully read last week's WAEF Weekly when we honored and recognized volunteers. With the amazing growth of the foundation, we rely heavily on volunteers to push us forward, even when staffing changes occur.

Please contact me if you have any questions. We look forward to making an even greater impact in the future!

Jennifer Witherbee,
executive director
jennifer.witherbee@waef.org
(509) 663-7713