We are fortunate to have such an engaged and experienced Advisory Board – with each bringing a unique and valuable skill set to the table. Their commitment to advancing the mission of Partners for Our Children is unparalleled and we are grateful for their service.

Connie Ballmer

POC Co-founder and Board Chair

Connie Ballmer is the chair of philanthropy at the Ballmer Group, where she and her team focus on improving outcomes for children and helping reduce the cycle of intergenerational poverty that plagues many families in the United States. The Ballmer Group pursues these aims through grant making, investing in system reform, and collaborating with public and private sector partners.

Connie’s longstanding focus on the well-being of children, especially those living in out-of-home placements, led to the creation of Partners for Our Children (POC) in 2006. A collaborative effort between the University of Washington School of Social Work and the Washington State DSHS, POC provides access to technology and improved data analysis of the problems faced by individuals involved with state child welfare system, and strives to influence policy and practice to help caseworkers, children, and families achieve better outcomes. Connie serves as the board chair of POC.

Connie is a general partner and founding investor at Blue Meridian Partners, a funding collaborative seeking to transform the lives of America’s most economically disadvantaged children and youth through strategic investments. She also serves on the board of the LA Clippers Foundation.  

Connie was born and raised in rural Oregon. She serves as a trustee on the governing board at the University of Oregon, where she earned a B.S. in journalism before entering a career in public relations and marketing for the technology sector. She lives with her husband, Steve Ballmer, and children in Washington. 

Paul V. Cavanaugh

Board of Directors, Thomas V. Giddens Jr. Foundation

Paul has an extensive business career in international technology, manufacturing, and service industries. His responsibilities have included CEO/President of an aerospace manufacturing company and CFO of several publicly listed and private corporations.

Currently Paul is a senior manager and a member of the board of directors of the Thomas V. Giddens Jr. Foundation.  The Giddens Foundation is a private foundation engaged in supporting the work of organizations providing services directed to improving child welfare and youth homelessness outcomes.  In addition to his work at the Giddens Foundation, Paul serves on various advisory boards of non-profits and Washington state government.

Paul has an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and a graduate degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

Susan Feeney

Partner, GMMB

Susan Feeney, a partner in Seattle with the national communications firm GMMB, has more than 25 years of national media and public policy experience, developing communications strategy, campaigns, media outreach, coalition building and social marketing. Susan co-leads GMMB’s education work and the firm’s work with major US foundations and nonprofits. Her previous role as senior editor for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” instilled a sharp ability to cut through to the heart of a story, moving audiences to think differently as a result of what they’ve learned. Earlier in her career she covered national politics for two metropolitan newspapers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Syracuse University.

Paul Flessner

Former Senior Vice President of Server Applications, Microsoft

Paul is a former longtime Microsoft executive, noted for his significant contributions to Microsoft's server software. In his position as Senior Vice President of Server Applications, Paul led an integrated product team that delivered application platform products as part of the Microsoft Windows Server System. As vice president for SQL Server, Paul was instrumental in establishing Microsoft as a world-class player in the database category. Since retiring from Microsoft in 2007, Paul has invested time with a variety of social entrepreneurs, such as serving on the board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is a graduate of Illinois State University, with degrees in computer science and business administration.

Vikram Jandhyala

Vice President for Innovation Strategy

Vikram Jandhyala is Vice President for Innovation Strategy at the University of Washington. He is Executive Director of CoMotion, UW's collaborative innovation hub, and the UW co-CEO of the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX). He is a Professor and former Chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and an Adjunct Professor in the Information School. Vikram Jandhyala received his PhD degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998. He founded, along with his students in 2006, Nimbic, a venture-backed simulation company which was acquired by Mentor Graphics in 2014. His current interests are in innovation, entrepreneurial and design thinking, social and organizational networks, and computational and data science.

Marguerite Kondracke

Social Entrepreneur and Former CEO of America's Promise

Marguerite has been a social entrepreneur throughout her 40-year career, working in the public, private and non-profit sectors, always focusing on children and families. She has a special passion for the needs of children in care. Marguerite recently retired as CEO of America’s Promise, founded by Colin and Alma Powell to help make children and youth more of a national priority, with a focus on ending the high school dropout crisis. While at America’s Promise, she created a new policy division to influence legislation and effect policy change especially for vulnerable children, with an emphasis on the nation’s foster care system. Marguerite was a co-founder of Bright Horizons, the nation’s largest provider of workplace child care and other solutions for working parents. In the public sector, Marguerite served in former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander’s cabinet as Commissioner of Human Services, responsible for the state’s child welfare system. She later served in the U.S. Senate as Alexander’s staff director for the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families. Marguerite is a graduate of Duke University and served as a trustee. She is on the board of three private education companies and three public companies, as well as the advisory board of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Science.

Paul Shoemaker

Founding President, Social Venture Partners International

Paul is the Founding President of Social Venture Partners International, a global network of social innovators, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and business and community leaders that fund and support social change agents in nearly 40 cities and 8 countries.  With insights from 17 years of this unique vantage point, he is the Northwest’s leading expert on activating social change agents and a global thought leader on how individuals can be the most effective philanthropists.  In 2011 and 2012, Paul was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in the Nonprofit Sector by The NonProfit Times, and in 2013, was named Philanthropist of the Year by Future in Review. In 2015, he received the 2015 Microsoft Alumni Integral Fellow Award.  Paul has spoken at TEDx and United Nations events and has written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fortune, and The Huffington Post.

Edwina Uehara

Dean, University of Washington School of Social Work

Edwina, POC co-founder and board member, is dean of the UW School of Social Work, where more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students annually prepare for positions in a variety of social work disciplines and settings. Edwina has taught at the School of Social Work since 1990 and became dean in 2006. She holds a bachelor's from Eastern Washington University, a master's in social work from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She was awarded the School of Social Work Students' Choice Teaching Award in 1994, followed by the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996. Her academic interests center on understanding the interplay of the social structures and cultural constructs of health, illness and healing. The UW School of Social Work is ranked third among the nation's schools of social work, according to U.S. News & World Report.

David Wertheimer

Deputy Director for Strategy, Planning and Management, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Northwest Initiative

David has worked in a variety of capacities in the non-profit, government, educational and philanthropic sectors for three decades. He has worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle since 2006, and currently serves as the Deputy Director for Strategy, Planning and Management for the Pacific Northwest initiative.  Prior to assuming these responsibilities, David served as Principal at Kelly Point Partners (KP2), an independent consulting firm he established in 2000 to promote integration of human service systems targeting persons struggling with homelessness, mental illness, addictions, criminal justice system involvement and HIV/AIDS. Between 1990 and 2000, he served in King County (Washington) government as the Systems Integration Administrator for the Department of Community and Human Services, developing, mobilizing and managing programs and services for persons with chronic and severe mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders. David is a graduate of Haverford College, Yale University Divinity School and the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.