Our Team

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1) Staff  2) Board Members 3) Advisors 

City Fruit Staff

Executive Director (she/her)

Born and raised in Iowa, Kara moved to Seattle after college and knew immediately she had found “home.” Now, for over 20 years, Kara has been working on community food systems efforts throughout the Greater Seattle region. With a background in urban planning, her work has focused on strategic planning, program development, and partnership convening within the food systems realm. From 2015-2022 Kara oversaw the development of the Food Innovation Network (FIN), a community-based initiative in South King County, WA. This included creation and implementation of Spice Bridge, home to a food business incubator, a farmers market and meal program. Previously, she owned a small consulting firm in which she worked with local governments and nonprofits on various community food system projects to improve food access and economic opportunity. Kara has served on the American Planning Association’s Food Division executive committee, the Seattle Planning Commission and Washington State Food System Roundtable.



Kara is thrilled to join City Fruit where she continues to work with the community to collaborate, innovate and improve efforts to achieve food justice. Her favorite fruit, hands down, are peaches. To connect, please contact Kara at [email protected].

Development Manager (she/her)

Jordyn Egbert grew up in Leavenworth and Seattle, Washington. After earning a degree in Environmental Studies from Western Washington University, she returned to Leavenworth to pursue a position as an AmeriCorps Vista Summer Associate. Jordyn worked for the gleaning program of the Leavenworth non-profit, Upper Valley MEND. She led volunteer groups to glean thousands of pounds of produce from local orchards and farms, and delivered the produce to food banks in the Leavenworth area. This experience sparked Jordyn’s interest to work with organizations dedicated to addressing food insecurity and reducing food waste.  Looking to expand her knowledge of nonprofit fundraising, Jordyn received a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington.  


In April 2021, Jordyn joined the City Fruit team, with the belief that access to healthy food is a human right and should be available to every member of our community. She is thrilled to bring her passion for food justice to her position at City Fruit. Her favorite fruits include watermelon and peaches.


For grants and donation inquiries, please contact Jordyn at [email protected]

Education and Volunteer Programs Manager (she/her)

Tiare was born and raised on the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i, but Washington has been an important home-away-from-home.  She originally moved to Tacoma in 2014 to pursue a bachelors in Biology and Environmental Policy & Decision Making from the University of Puget Sound.  Following graduation, she spent two years as an educator and volunteer mentor at the Slater Museum of Natural History, where her love for inquiry-based learning, natural history, and community building took flight.  While living in Washington, Tiare has maintained her connections back home, working with O’ahu organizations focused on native ecosystem restoration whenever she is on island. 


Most recently, Tiare graduated with a MA Ed. in Urban Environmental Education from Antioch University Seattle, and she hopes to use this degree to be a more equity-minded and community-rooted educator.  She comes to City Fruit with the knowledge that food is not only a vital component of individual identity, but also community identity, and hopes to be able to contribute to food sovereignty efforts in the community.  Her favorite fruits include mango, breadfruit, and plum.


For information about our volunteer events and educational programming, you can reach Tiare at [email protected].

Fruit Tree Specialist (he/him)

Julian is originally from San Antonio, Texas, where he spent many of his early days out at his grandparents’ house among fig, citrus, peach, and loquat trees. He moved to upstate New York to study International Agriculture & Rural Development at Cornell University, and worked on an apple orchard during his time there. Upon graduation, he joined the Peace Corps in Panamá working with smallholder farmers to improve the sustainability of their agro-forestry systems and home gardens. In his third year as a regional coordinator, Julian trained and supported volunteers in their own community projects, as well as collaborated closely with Panamanian ministries and Peace Corps office staff.



He joined City Fruit in 2021 and is excited to help to improve our urban food system for all of Seattle through connecting communities of diverse backgrounds. He believes that a love of learning from others and an emphasis on teaching by doing are essential for community engagement. In his free time, Julian enjoys hiking, foraging, learning new recipes, and spending time with his puppy. For information about fruit tree care or to sign up your fruit tree for harvest, contact Julian at [email protected].

Jeanie Neumann

AmeriCorps VISTA Fundraising & Development Specialist (she/her)

Jeanie was born in Seattle and raised in Everett, attending Seattle Pacific University for an undergraduate degree in history. While in school, she volunteered with Seattle Tilth, working in the community learning garden at the Good Shepherd Center.  In 2016, Jeanie worked with the Institute for Washington’s Future, securing connections between the Washington Latino Farmer’s Network and Seattle’s marketplace. After serving with AmeriCorps in Fort Worth, Texas, she came back to Snohomish county to learn about sustainable agriculture with Nora Farms. 


Jeanie spends most of her time baking bread and listening to audiobooks.  Her favorite fruits include (but are not limited to) Adriatic figs, golden raspberries, and white apricots. 

Fruit Tree Specialist (he/him)

Jeff has spent his entire life living in the Puget Sound region. He grew up surrounded by fruit trees and berry bushes in north Seattle and is currently working on transforming his yard into a food forest. Jeff has travelled throughout the United States enjoying the many different amazing natural wonders. A lifelong love of the outdoors and growing plants led him to pursue a degree in Horticulture from Edmonds College. The beauty and utility of fruit trees has captured his passion, and he is excited to be working with residents to keep their tree healthy and fruitful. He has worked on the fruit trees at the Edmonds Campus Farm as well as several orchards and private residences. Jeff has been a teacher, coach, has volunteered in his community, and views public service as a cornerstone in his life. He is eager to help reform our food systems and help empower people to grow and consume their own local fruit. In his free time, Jeff enjoys camping, hiking, live music, and standup comedy.

Programs & Special Projects Coordinator (she/they)

Riley is a born and raised Washingtonian who grew up in the town of Maple Valley, where she frequently played and explored around her neighborhood on her bike, scooter, or anything with wheels. After graduating from Tahoma High School in 2018, they left home for Bellingham to attend Western Washington University where they studied Environmental Journalism, and their interest in Environmental Justice began. After 2 years, she transferred to the University of Washington to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Law, Societies, and Justice in order to better merge her interest between environmental and social justice issues. For their senior Capstone project, Riley analyzed how urban agriculture can help foster community aid and bolster food sovereignty in urban settings through conducting numerous interviews with individuals working within various urban farms and P-Patches in the Seattle area. During this process, she interned with City Fruit as a Community Engagement intern and had wanted to continue working with them ever since.


In the summer of 2022, Riley joined the City Fruit team as seasonal harvester where they saw just how much fruit is redistributed across the city and into the hands of Seattle community members. In November of 2022, she joined City Fruit full-time as a Programs and Special Projects Coordinator, and is very excited to begin working towards a future where everyone is adequately served by food justice. Riley believes that food is an essential part of one’s identity and community, and hopes to be a part in enabling all people to have access to the foods that make them feel the most like themselves. Her favorite fruits include sumo oranges, raspberries, and italian plums. She would love to hear from you at [email protected]

Harvest and Stewardship Program Coordinator (they/he)

Bennett grew up in the Boston area and comes to Seattle from Providence, Rhode Island. He recently graduated from Brown University where he studied environmental science focusing on food sovereignty and Black land stewardship. As a former gardener, farm worker, and soil researcher, Bennett has found joy in forming community with other land stewards, facilitating relationships of ecological and interpersonal care, and learning from plants. He fell in love with trees after doing forestry work with Shelterwood, a Black and Indigenous queer land collective in Northern California.


Bennett joined City Fruit in February 2023. Their favorite fruits include blueberries, thimbleberries, and mangos and they are excited for blackberry pies this summer. In their free time, they like to explore crocheting and natural dyeing, growing mushrooms, and watching reality television. To sign up your fruit tree for harvest, please contact them at [email protected]

Board of Directors

Leslie Llado

 – President –

Director, Global Infrastructure & Product Development, Splash.

City Fruit member since 2020.

Leslie moved from Austin, Texas to Seattle several years ago in search of cooler climates and higher-altitude adventures. Her interest in local food systems began while studying regenerative agriculture in graduate school. Since then, she has fueled this passion by volunteering at farmer’s markets, supporting harvests at local farms, and cultivating her community garden. Leslie is passionate about City Fruit’s mission to support Seattle’s urban fruit orchards and promote local food justice and looks forward to helping achieve these goals as a board member.


Leslie comes to City Fruit with over 10 years of experience creating and executing strategic initiatives in Africa, Asia, Central America and the United States for corporate, non-profit, and government organizations. Currently she leads infrastructure and social enterprise activities for Splash, a Seattle-based non-profit focused on improved water, sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health for kids in Africa and Asia. She brings skills in non-profit program management, social enterprise development, and environmental sustainability to her work at City Fruit.


Jason Giroir

– Vice President –

Head of Channel Sales, Marketing & Planning, Amazon Kitchen. 

City Fruit member since 2022.

Jason joined City Fruit as a way to contribute to their mission of bringing the region’s amazing natural resources to the whole community. As an avid cider enthusiast and maker (with fruit from his neighbor’s front yard), he’s able to join a passion with this wonderful cause.


Jason is currently the Head of Channel Sales, Marketing, and Planning with Amazon Kitchen, a fresh prepared private label for Amazon grocery and convenience.  In this capacity, he’s connected to regional and national food production, and how companies navigate building businesses in the complex world of perishable food. Prior to joining Amazon, Jason worked at Procter & Gamble, where he managed global sourcing in IT and materials.


Originally from New Orleans, Jason earned a degree in Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M University. He also has an MBA and MS in Strategic Management from Indiana University.  Jason and his wife, Kim, live in Seattle (North Beach) with their two children and family dog.  He enjoys boating, cooking, and his newest activity…trail running.

Lamai Cox

– Member –

GIS Analyst at Environmental Science Associates

City Fruit member since 2019.

Lamai has always enjoyed sharing in the act of harvesting goods from the garden, orchard, and
field. Whether enjoying sun-warmed goods in her grandma’s garden or sharing recipes with
friends that incorporate those fresh goods – she’s appreciative of these experiences to engage
with the land and people. Through City Fruit’s mission and work, Lamai believes such
experiences can be scaled to the greater Seattle region so more people can enjoy the benefits of
fruit trees.


Lamai is a GIS Analyst for Environmental Science Associates, providing technical GIS support
and cartography for a range of disciplines. Her academic background is rooted in studying
human culture and environment interactions. She earned a BA in environmental studies with a
minor in cultural anthropology at the University of Washington. This education is complemented with over five years of experience managing community relations and philanthropic work in local food systems. As a graduate student, she is working to publish a dataset of Salish Sea kelp so that restoration, preservation, and future research can have a baseline understanding of where kelp has grown across this transboundary region.


At home, Lamai finds peace anywhere outside, getting her hands in the soil, and – of course –
foraging!  Her aim is to help guide City Fruit’s operations to increase the organization’s services
to the diverse communities of Seattle.

Michael Kim

– Member –

State Income Tax Reporting & Compliance Team, Amazon.

City Fruit member since 2019.

Michael joined City Fruit because it empowers Seattle’s community to nurture two of Seattle’s most neglected natural resources — its landscape and its people. He hopes to challenge our community’s standards for inclusive and active engagement and to further enrich our city’s urban landscape through thoughtful planting of edible resources, including the cultivation of existing and new fruit trees. 


Michael was born and raised in Los Angeles (i.e., the San Fernando Valley) and moved to Seattle in 2009 to attend the UW’s law school. Currently, he works with Amazon’s state income tax reporting and compliance team. He’s the husband of a budding chef (@mextizopnw) and the father of a terrier mix named Remy. In his free time, he’s a muddled mix of an amateur ceramicist, vegetable gardener, aquaponics experimenter, casual gamer, and aspiring bike commuter. His favorite fruit, if he had to choose, is Korean pear.

Rivers Townes

– Secretary –

Account Executive, Salesforce. 

City Fruit member since 2019.

In 2018, Rivers’ career in technology brought him to Seattle from Charleston, South Carolina. And more recently, his love of nonprofits and passion for social justice brought him to City Fruit. Rivers is inspired by the community that food (and in our case, fruit) brings together. Rivers’ appreciation of local fruit was inherited from his role model and grandfather, who made his own wine using South Carolina-grown Fredonia grapes and emphasized the importance of using fruit that shared the same sunlight and rain as his family and community. 


By day, Rivers works as an Account Executive with Salesforce.org, partnering with changemakers who are building a more just and equitable world. He brings with him 4 years of experience in nonprofit technology and a unique perspective on how solutions and data can be leveraged to drive social impact. Through City Fruit’s mission to promote Seattle’s urban fruit, it’s Rivers aspiration that we also promote the wonderful diversity of our urban neighborhoods, and strive towards a happier, healthier, and more inclusive community.

Kathleen O’Leary

– Member –

VP of Programs & Community Engagement, Workforce Snohomish. 

City Fruit member since 2022.

Kathleen O’Leary is the VP of Programs & Community Engagement with Workforce Snohomish (WFS) focused on strategically building an inclusive workforce system where communities can thrive. As a workforce development subject matter expert, Kathleen leverages her knowledge of best practices through developing and implementing innovative and collaborative workforce development programs. Kathleen studied Public Policy at DePaul University and was awarded the Steans Center Community Service Scholarship where she developed a mentorship program and designed an environmental justice curriculum for Chicago youth to advocate for their community. Kathleen is also a recent graduate of the University of Washington Evan’s School of Public Policy & Governance Executive MPA program.

Kathleen serves on the board of City Fruit where she is supporting the development of environmental sustainability career pathways and leveraging her government contracts expertise. During Kathleen’s 7+ years at Seattle Jobs Initiative, she managed sector-based career pathways programs in partnership with the Seattle Colleges and facilitated a dynamic learning community. Kathleen developed an integrated plan to increase equity and profitability for Seattle College District’s pre- apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Including strategies to link career pathways with pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Additionally, she designed the Apprentice Centered Employment (ACE) model in partnership with Machinist Institute with the goal of enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in all pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. The ACE model includes a toolkit for resource mapping and custom assessment tools to optimize program outcomes, eliminate recruitment biases, and break down systemic barriers to program participation.

Patrick Gordon

 – Member –

Government & Public Service Sector Consultant, Deloitte Consulting.

City Fruit member since 2020.

Raised in the Greater Seattle Area, Patrick grew a fondness for our local environment through enjoying the great outdoors of the region. Working for the U.S. Peace Corps, he learned the value of subsistence farming and food preservation, growing his belief that access to food, despite one’s situation, should be a human right. Returning from abroad and hoping to make a career in the non-profit sector, Patrick attained a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. He discovered City Fruit when his family was looking for a way to donate extra fruit from their small family farm and gardens.


Joining the Board in January 2018, Patrick loves working with City Fruit and is driven largely by the organizations goals of feeding those in need and protecting the Emerald City’s unique urban orchard. He works as a Project Manager at Seattle University and brings his experience in organizational management, process improvement and board staffing to his work with City Fruit.  In his spare time, Patrick enjoys making cider from his family’s trees, mountaineering around the Pacific Northwest, and spending time with his family, partner June, and cat Squash. 

Erik Madrid

– Treasurer  –

President at Probility Exam Services & Owner of Press Then Press

City Fruit member since 2019.

After learning about City Fruit during our Celebrates cider tasting event, Erik joined the board in 2019 due to his love and passion for apples and cider making. The more he learned about apple varieties and cider making traditions, the more he fell in love with cider. He became a Certified Pommelier in 2022 to further his knowledge of cider and to help share the nuances of the beverage and the history of its craft with others. Erik now owns Press Then Press Cider Shop with his wife Storie.


By day, Erik is President of Probility Exam Services, a startup service provider in the Healthcare and Insurance claims management space – an industry he has nearly 20 years of leadership experience in. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, and an Executive MBA degree from the University of Washington.


Erik is usually busy free-styling jingles to his toddler, but when he has a bit of extra free time he likes to ride his bike, catch a ballgame, or take a board game too seriously.

Maya Monroe

– Member –

Client Relationships Manager at Sprague Israel Giles, Inc

City Fruit member since 2023.

Maya Monroe is a self-described “hoperations” professional, as her expertise lies at the intersection of human resources and operations. She has HR experience designing people-centered strategies and guiding leadership regarding hiring, retention, wage rates, benefits, and overall compliance knowledge with Seattle’s evolving employment law; and her operations expertise is similarly broad and includes managing general operations (facilities, IT, administration, contractual, strategic) procedures and platforms. She has worked in both areas, often at the same time, in a variety of small-to-medium-sized, mission driven organizations.  


She’s been tangentially supporting environmental justice work since 2015, through her prior role(s) at Cascadia Consulting Group and recently pivoted to a role at Sprague Israel Giles, Inc. that intentionally focuses more on supporting local, small to mid-sized organizations and non-profits. She is particularly enthused to join City Fruit’s Board of Directors as the organization’s mission and needs align with her interests and expertise. In her free time, Maya can be found foraging for a variety of local fare, ranging from wild mushrooms, to new bakery items, to fresh hopped IPAs – and she can’t wait to add fresh fruit to the list through volunteering in the upcoming City Fruit season. 

BJ Bell

– Member –

Head of Performance Measurement and Attribution at BlackRock

City Fruit member since 2023.

BJ is a bi-racial first-generation college student who grew up with limited financial resources. He has been actively involved in local organizations and company initiatives that focus on financial inclusion, sustainability, and creating opportunities for other underrepresented first-generation students of color. BJ joined City Fruit because of their holistic approach to regional sustainability and the work they do to make these resources more accessible.  


BJ heads the Performance Measurement and Attribution function within BlackRock’s Technology & Operations group, leading a global team responsible for investment performance analytics, oversight, and attribution. In addition, BJ serves as the Chair of BlackRock’s Seattle Leadership Committee, and is the BlackRock Seattle Technology & Operations Office Leader.


BJ came to Seattle via Japan in 2004 for graduate school. Born in CA and raised in Las Vegas, he earned a BA in Mathematical Economics with a minor in Japanese from Pomona College, in Claremont, CA and a MA in Economics from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He is fluent in Japanese, and currently lives in Magnolia with his wife and toddler son. He’s a self-declared shoe-head (wears what he buys!), enjoys comics (Spider-Man if Marvel, the Flash if DC, Naruto/Boruto if Japanese manga), and is very active – from CrossFit to snowboarding to bouldering to trail running…and of course all the walking he does on his annual Emerald City Comic Con trips!



Gail Savina

– Founder –

Gail grew up picking apples in the ‘Apple Capital of the World’ and, after a hiatus of 40 years, returned to coordinate fruit harvests throughout Seattle. She has organized neighborhood and community harvest groups and is the author of Gather It: How to Organize an Urban Fruit Harvest. Gail’s background includes serving as a communications specialist with King County environmental programs, working as a public health educator, and overseas stints in the Philippines and Ghana. She has masters degrees in anthropology and public health.

Matt Pope

– Technology Advisor –

Web Applications Developer, Fair Trade USA.

Matt was introduced to City Fruit when he joined the Orchard Steward group at Martha Washington Park. He is committed to supporting good local food and is especially interested in getting it to those who need it most and in building knowledge and community around food. Most recently Matt has been applying his experience as a hobby hard cider maker to teaching people how to turn their bounty of apples into delicious cider. Matt works at Fair Trade USA as a web applications developer.