President & CEO
A Bellevue native, Mark Nudelman graduated with a business degree from WSU's Hotel & Restaurant Administration Program. After a successful Hospitality career, Mark made a leap to the healthcare industry, which is what eventually led to his current position as CEO of The Hope Heart Institute.¬† Mark resides in Sammamish, WA with his wife, Laura, & three daughters.¬†
In April 2002, Mark was initially responsible for the marketing of the Hope’s Wellspring Employee Assistance Program (EAP).¬† His responsibilities quickly expanded into managing operations & he then started taking a more active role as Chief Operating Officer.¬† In this role, he developed a clinical program in conjunction with private practice cardiologists, & fostered relationships with the publishing arm of Hope Health Publications & numerous community partners.¬† Mark developed & implemented education programs for school-aged students & dramatically expanded Hope community outreach & prevention programs.¬†
In 2008, Mark assumed his current role as President & CEO. He oversees all divisions of The Hope. He has streamlined the infrastructure, increasing the amount dedicated to programs from 58% to over 78%. He also revamped the development structure to pursue new donor bases for events, & implemented a strategic plan aimed at reaching underserved populations while amplifying heart health outreach to women & communities at risk.
Hope is something Mark is very familiar with.¬† In 1997, Mark’s father suffered a heart attack & underwent quadruple bypass surgery.¬† He has also lost his grandmother to heart disease.¬† These incidences have fueled his passion for his work with The Hope.¬† Mark says the best part about his job is getting to work with other education & research professionals who are passionate about The Hope’s impact.¬†
Mark believes The Hope serves a crucial function in working to prevent heart disease from being the #1 killer of all Americans.¬† As CEO, he would like to see The Hope Heart Institute’s education & outreach programs become regionally & nationally recognized for excellence in delivery & impact.¬† Thanks to dedicated staff, generous donors, countless supporters, & numerous volunteers, Mark hopes to continue to expand The Hope’s impact to the tens of thousands who we can reach with the prevention message.¬† The overall goal of The Hope Heart Institute is to keep people out of the operating room; to keep them from becoming patients in the first place.¬† Heart disease is beatable, treatable & preventable so join us in our fight against the #1 killer of all Americans!
Cherie Skager, MA, MNPL Vice President
Cherie Skager joined the Hope Heart Institute in 2010 as the Vice President of Outreach and Education and was promoted to Vice President in 2011.¬†¬†¬† Prior to joining The Hope, Cherie led programs at the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the YWCA of Seattle King County and Snohomish County and Federal Occupational Health. ¬†
Cherie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and Master of Arts degree in Health Education from the University of Nebraska and a Master of Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University. ¬†Cherie is passionate about community well-being and volunteers for several local non-profits.¬† She lives in Kirkland with her husband and two sons.
Nina Lau Executive Assistant &¬†Office Manager
Nina is a proud graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Human Services, Education & Communication.¬† Originally from the small "twilight" town of Forks, WA, Nina loves all things outdoors & enjoys hiking, camping & indoor or beach volleyball.¬† Her personal philosophy of healthy living & balance in every aspect of life led her to seek out a position here at the Hope Heart Institute.¬† ¬†¬†
Her future goals include pursuing a dual Masters Degree in Education Policy & Business Entreprenuership.¬† She plans to develop a business model that will reflect her commitment to community stewardship, health & sustainability & her passion for education & equality of opportunity for all kids.¬†
Among a wide variety of interests, Nina enjoys spending time with her family & friends & believes in supporting all things healthy & happy.¬† She wholeheartedly agrees that,¬† "One person can make a difference. And everyone should try."¬† [John F. Kennedy] Which is why she considers working at the Hope Heart a perfect opportunity to not only support a critical cause, but to live out her personal beliefs as well.¬†
James H. Leggett, MD Medical Director
Dr. Leggett joined Overlake Internal Medicine Associates in 1990. He attended medical school at University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Center. His internal medicine residency was at University of Washington. He completed his cardiology fellowship training at University of New Mexico School of Medicine and Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City, CA. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases.
Dr. Leggett's clinical interests include general cardiovascular care and non-invasive and invasive techniques to treat patients with coronary and peripheral artery disease.
Dr. Leggett serves as a Medical Director of The Diagnostic Vascular Laboratory at Overlake Internal Medicine Associates and is Medical Director of The Hope Heart Institute.
Development, Marketing & Public Relations
Director of Events & Corporate Engagement
Laura brings a great background in communications, fitness and the non-profit sector. As Director of Promotions and Corporate Relations she is responsible for acquiring sponsors for several larger events, such as the golf tournaments and the gala. In addition to that, Laura works with The Hope’s partnership with Dream Dinners on a variety of levels.
Prior to joining The Hope, Laura spent three years at Radio Disney as a Promotion Manager and Account Executive. She has also been an Event Coordinator for the City of Hope Cancer Research Center as well as a Promotion Coordinator for 710 KIRO.
Laura is a Walla Walla native. She received her BA in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast News from Washington State University. Exercise is one of Laura’s many passions. She is an AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor and currently teaches kickboxing at Allstar Fitness in West Seattle. Laura and her husband Bryan love to spend time with their two dogs, Rylie and Sawyer. They also enjoy camping, hiking and spending time with friends and family.
Manager of Development Operations &¬†Annual Giving
Carol Coughlin started as the The Hope Heart Institute receptionist, she quickly moved into her current position working with the Development Department in event planning and managing the donor base. Like the hundreds of other people Carol has talked with at events and health fairs, her life has also been affected by heart disease. Her grandfather, Marvin Snyder, was one of Dr. Sauvage’s first open heart surgery patients in the 1960s.¬†
Before coming to The Hope, Carol worked as a Title 1 Para-Educator with the Highline School District for nine years. She was lucky enough to work at Parkside Elementary where she not only attended school, but her children did as well. Carol has an associate degree in Early Childhood Education from Highline Community College. She has 20 years experience working along side her mother, Jean, in child care.
Also known as “Tiny”, Carol enjoys volunteering time to organizations such as ICARE. She has recently taken two mission trips to Mexico to deliver toys to children and helped in a veterinary clinic. Carol is married and busy raising four teenagers. She and her husband are either at one of their children’s sporting events or on the road in the RV whenever they can slip away.
Her hopes for the future are that The Hope continues to spread the word of Cardiovascular Research and Education and that every child has the opportunity to learn to live a heart healthy lifestyle.
Community Relations & Development Associate
Tino joined The Hope Heart Institute in 2012. He is a recent graduate from Western Washington University with a B.S. in Kinesiology and Pre-Physical Therapy.
He recently spent a year traveling around the US with a small non-profit, “Ugandan Orphans Choir” a part of Childcare Worldwide. While touring with these 10 children from Uganda, he raised sponsorship funds for education of children in multiple third world countries. Tino hopes to bring personal hygiene items to Uganda in the summer of 2013 along with helping set a financial foundation and physical foundation of a school in Jinja, Uganda. Tino hopes to use his expertise in fundraising and communication at the Hope Heart.
Tino is a native of Orting, Washington.He loves traveling, and believes there is much to be learned by embracing foreign cultures and world views. He is very active and up for all outdoor adventures. Tino enjoys exploring secret destinations of Washington, biking, rock climbing, or just a relaxing day at a great Washington beach. Other free time is spent enjoying the company of good friends. ¬†¬†
Julie Folsom Accounting & Human Resources Manager
Julie Folsom has been helping to keep everything running smoothly at The Hope since 2003 as she supports the employees in our Finance department.
A Seattle native, Julie is a 1976 graduate of Shoreline High School, the “Bicentennial Year”. Julie attended North Park College in Chicago, Illinois where she studied classical music, with an emphasis in voice. She also completed accounting classes at Edmonds Community College and South Central Community College.
Aside from singing, Julie loves to read, watch movies and travel. While cooking isn’t exactly her forte, she has been known to make some of the best cabbage, sweet potatoes and fried rice in town!
Julie and her husband James have one son and two daughters and recently welcomed their first grand baby.
Julie counts it an honor to work with an organization that has such a necessary mission. She enjoys working with such passionate, kindhearted, generous, funny and extremely talented people.
Laurie Sween, M.Ed.
Kids Take Heart Program Manager
Laurie Sween joined The Hope Heart Institute in 2004 as an Education Coordinator. In collaboration with an advisory council of certified teachers and organizations such as The Pacific Science Center, Laurie developed the 4-unit Kids Take Heart (KTH) Health & Fitness Curriculum. She piloted the program across 12 school districts from Seattle to Spokane with thousands of 3rd-5th grade students. She also presented KTH to teachers statewide at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s 2006 Summer Institutes and smaller regional conferences such as the Washington Alliance of Physical Education Recreation and Dance.
¬†Laurie can be found conducting Teacher Institutes for the KTH¬†program or in the classroom. Additionally, Laurie helps with Community Outreach and Events whenever possible.
Laurie has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Northwest University and¬†a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. She taught 3rd - 5th grades at Discovery Elementary in the Issaquah School District for five years. During that time, she received a grant from the Freeman Foundation and accompanied 12 other K-12 teachers on a study tour in Japan. Laurie was also awarded a technology grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Laurie enjoys outdoor concerts, exploring new places, board games and spending time with her husband Shawn and daughter.
Meagan Jepson Women Take Heart &¬†Youth Take Heart Program Manager
Meagan first joined The Hope as a summer intern. After graduating from Walla Walla University with a BS in Health Promotion she was quickly offered a job back at The Hope supporting the education and outreach departments. Meagan quickly moved into her current role as Program Manager over The Hope's Women Take Heart and Youth Take Heart programs.¬†
Meagan is passionate about healthy living and exercise, especially with how each relates to heart disease prevention. She taught gymnastics for four years and is an Assistant Girls Basketball coach at Auburn Adventist Academy (her Alma matter). Sticking with the sports theme, Meagan is a giant Seahawks fan!
Meagan grew up in Auburn, Washington and loves living in the Northwest. She isn’t fazed by the rain here and actually really enjoys it. She is a coffee fanatic and likes hiking, shopping, watching movies, and reading. If she isn’t busy doing all of that, Meagan loves to spend time with her family, her husband Brandon, and their black lab Sookie.
Steven J. Palazzo, PhD, MN, RN
Teen Take Heart Program Manager
Steven J. Palazzo is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Seattle University with a part-time assignment with The Hope Heart Institute as Program Manager for Teen Take Heart. Prior to joining The Hope, Steven worked as a medical/cardiac critical care nurse at Harborview Medical Center and taught nursing in the Seattle Community College system.¬† ¬†
Steven has a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, a Master’s Degree in Nursing (Nurse Educator Specialist Training), and a PhD in Nursing Science (Diagnostic Utility of sTREM-1 in Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia). He was the recipient of an NIH/NRSA Fellowship in Research and was an ARCS (Achievement Reward for College Scientists) Fellow.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†
Steven is interested in educational outreach in underserved communities in Washington State. He lives in Renton and enjoys running, tennis, and gardening. He shares his home with his partner of 19 years and their two beagles.
Athletes Take Heart Program Manager
Kayla joins The Hope staff after realizing her passion for heart disease awareness and prevention of cardiac arrest, especially in athletes, overcame her desire to do anything else.¬† Kayla suffered cardiac arrest on December 31st, 2002 at the age of 20 as a basketball player at The University of Washington. She credits her teammates, the 911 dispatcher, Seattle Fire Department, Medic One paramedics, and her cardiologist at UW Medical Center for ultimately saving her and giving her a second chance at life.
Kayla graduated from the University of Washington in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. Prior to joining the Hope staff, she was an Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Portland, worked as an EMT in South King County, and most recently worked in the ER at Valley Medical Center as a Medical/Surgical Technician.
Kayla thanks athletic participation in shaping her work ethic, leadership ability, positive attitude, and the platform in which she has been able to meet many people from all walks of life across the globe. Basketball has taken her to Australia where she and her UW teammates bungee jumped in the Cairns Rainforest, France where she used basketball to reach youth in ministry, and the Netherlands to simply explore the country and enjoy professional international competition. ¬†
In her spare time, Kayla enjoys biking, long boarding, boating, music, running, family, and friends. She claims an unending imagination and considers herself a life-long learner who is always taking on new challenges.
Joie joined The Hope Heart Institute as a community outreach intern following her graduation from the University of Washington. She has a BS¬†in Public Health, BA in Sociology, and a minor in Diversity Studies.¬† After her summer internship Joie was hired as Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator to help develop the Hope’s volunteer program as well as work to supplement outreach with public health-related workshops and trainings.¬† Her studies in public health closely reside in understanding the social determinants of health.¬†
Joie has a broad range of public health experience within Washington State and her experience has even crossed international borders to Taiwan, China, and India.¬† Her interest in public health has been closely paired with learning about culturally-sensitive public health interventions, community education, and outreach.
Aside from her passion in public health Joie enjoys sunny days in Seattle, hiking trips, going to the beach and hanging out with friends.¬†
Niki¬†House Education &¬†Outreach Coordinator
email@example.com Niki was hired in 2011 following her internship at The Hope. She graduated from Central Washington University with a BS in Public Health with a Community Health Education specialization and a minor in Nutrition. Her main interest in public health is working to change the habits of young children so that they grow up happy and healthy. As a child Niki was very overweight and took control of it in high school by getting involved in school sports and healthier eating behaviors. Because of this, she wants to make sure that every child is given an opportunity to start living a healthy lifestyle at an early age with the right tools to pave that path through better school lunches, mandatory physical education classes and community outreach events geared toward children and their parents.
In her free time Niki enjoys cycling, baking, and anything taking place around the water. Another one of her passions is baseball, specifically the Seattle Mariners and she makes it to as many games as possible but it is a guarantee that if she’s near a TV it’s tuned to the game. She also has a life motto of trying one new thing every day, whether it is something small or large she will be doing something today that she has never done before.
Shannon Yedinak, CMA,¬†CCRC
Clinical Research Administrator & Regulatory Coordinator
Shannon joined The Hope in 2011, having recently moved back to the Seattle area.¬† She is a Certified Medical Assistant and Certified Clinical Research Coordinator.¬† In 2004 she started with Washington State University aboard the Ronald McDonald Caremobile, providing medical care and immunizations to underserved children in the Spokane area.¬† She also worked as the Medical Assistant at WSU’s College of Nursing’s, People’s Clinic.¬†
She became a Research Assistant for WSU’s College of Pharmacy in 2006 and was promoted to Research Coordinator for a National Institutes of Health funded trial.¬† After gaining experience and knowledge she became certified as a Clinical Research Coordinator.¬† She coordinated many trials at WSU, their primary focus being on Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular outcomes.
Shannon enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.¬† Having recently moved back to the west side of the state, they now are close to their extended family and old friends.¬† Shannon loves the Seattle area for its diversity, variety of activities and cuisine.¬†
Liz McKinney, BS, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator
Liz McKinney is an instrumental asset to physicians doing cardiovascular clinical research as she sorts through the mountains of paperwork required to do the studies. She works with a great team in a variety of exciting and challenging pursuits.
Liz wasn’t always in the business of clinical research. She graduated with a Math Sciences Degree from Stanford and her first career was as a software developer in the oil industry. Liz worked for Occidental, Sohio and finally, Shell Oil Company at the Bellaire Research Lab in Houston. All told, Liz spent 15 years in the “oil patch.” After moving to the Northwest, she was a partner with Good Northwest Corporation, developing educational and environmental CD-ROMs.
Liz credits an RN friend for initiating her move into clinical research by nonchalantly asking one day if computers could help with her clinical research business… thus began a love affair with clinical research that continues to this day. Liz likes the unique combination of science, medicine and business that makes clinical research so fascinating and challenging.
Liz recently served as a chaplain intern and earned two units of clinical pastoral education (CPE) at the VA Hospital in Seattle. She has been active in the Kairos Prison Ministry for almost 10 years.
A native of Bakersfield, California, she and her husband have lived on Bainbridge Island since 1992. Liz says if she could have just one luxury a day it would be a helicopter ride to and from work!¬†
Ahmad Mahan, MA Clinical Research Coordinator
Ahmad joins The Hope’s Clinical Research team after serving as Dr. James Leggett’s Medical Assistant for the past 12 years. He brings strong experience in the healthcare industry including customer service and administrative experience. Ahmad continues to pursue additional training to stay current in the fields of Hypertension, Peripheral Vascular Intervention and Dyslipidemia. He has been recognized by physicians, patients, and staff for exceptional organizational skills and quality of service.¬† Ahmad earned his clinic’s peer-selected WOW Award for Excellence.¬† Additionally, he was awarded Overlake Hospital Medical Center’s most prestigious Bravo Award. ¬†
Aside from working in the medical field, Ahmad has completed several certificate programs in the computer and software engineer disciplines. He also founded a small environmental services company specializing in medical and professional offices.
Ahmad relocated to Seattle 13 years ago from Las Vegas. He and his wife have two sons, ages 11 and 2.
Justine Garceau, CCRC Clinical Research Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Justine¬† joined The Hope in July 2011 as a Research Coordinator. Prior to The Hope, Justine was a Research Project Coordinator working primarily with Oncology research patients but also with patients on surgical device/procedure trials.¬†
She has been fortunate enough to gain a great deal of knowledge and experience over the years working in medical clinics, at a pre-clinical research facility, for a pharmaceutical company and for a local IRB.¬† This experience has provided Justine with a well-rounded education and a great knowledge base, increasing her desire to continue her career in research.¬† ¬†
Justine is a native Washingtonian, a die-hard Seahawks fan, enjoys traveling and loves spending time with her family and friends.¬† ¬†
A current student at the University of Washington and a native of Des Moines, Allison began volunteering with The Hope Heart Institute in October of 2011. Being a pre-med student, it was perfect for her when she became the team lead of the Seattle/King County outreach committee. With a love for volunteering and helping others, she was drawn to the Hope and its mission. Allison plans to major in Spanish and receive a degree in speech and hearing. Aside from being interested in health professions, Allison enjoys spending sunny days outside at the lake, painting during her free time as well as baking.¬†¬†
Ilse Montes De Oca
Currently a student at the University of Washington and originally from Yakima, Washington, Ilse began volunteering with The Hope Heart Institute in September of 2011.¬† Ilse is working towards a major in Early Childhood and Family Studies with minors in Global Health and Spanish. After graduating she hopes to pursue a Masters in Public Health. Interning at The Hope Heart Institute nurtures her desire to continue working and educating underrepresented communities about preventative health methods. Ilse has dedicated much of her volunteering and has the most experience working with youth and families within the Spanish-speaking community and from various cultural backgrounds. Through her experience as a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor, she has been able to relate herself the most with children, siblings and parents who are undergoing a cancer fight. This experience is her drive for promoting healthy lifestyles and assisting those in need of healthcare. Aside from her interests in health advocacy she enjoys spending time with her family, jet skiing, biking, and playing volleyball.
Katarina Ost is a current intern for community outreach at The Hope Heart Institute. She has also participated in a volunteer program abroad as well as spending some time volunteering at Bailey Boushay House.¬† She is currently a student at the University of Washington completing her 3rd year and studying for a double degree in Medical Anthropology and Global Health along with a major in Public Health. Katarina is passionate about Public Health and wants to work in community education in the future.
Brieccia is a current student at the University of Washington studying Public Health. With a passion for nutrition, physical activity, and health education & promotion, Brieccia began volunteering with The Hope during the summer of 2012. She was drawn to The Hope because its mission and what The Hope stands for are similar to her interests in life.¬† Furthermore, she was excited to get involved in opportunities to reach out and make positive impacts in the community.¬† Brieccia has also continued to become more involved with The Hope through the Volunteer Outreach Committee at the University of Washington. When the opportunity arose to continue serving the community with The Hope as a Community Outreach Intern, this seemed to be a great next step to dedicate more time to the organization and individuals in the local community. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, baking, sunny days, and spending time with family and friends.¬†
Office of the Founder
Eli Chiaviello Assistant to the Founder
A native of San Francisco, Eli grew up in Ohio, and moved to Seattle in 1996.¬† He attended Ohio State University and City College of San Francisco, but his most valuable coursework was the typing class he took in junior high.¬† After accumulating five years of administrative office experience in a diverse range of industries from nonprofit community outreach to electronics sales, Eli came to The Hope as a temporary employee in 1998.
He has since worked to support The Hope's research staff, as well as the Education, Administration, Finance, Human Resources, Development, and Marketing departments, before settling in to his current role as assistant to The Hope's Founder, Dr. Lester R. Sauvage.¬† As Dr. Sauvage's assistant, Eli has continued to be involved in many aspects of The Hope's operations, and has worked on a variety of projects, including managing a five-year research study in collaboration with HealthNet, and editing Dr. Sauvage's research papers and book manuscripts.
Eli is an avid technology enthusiast, and when he's not at work he enjoys backpacking and camping in the Scottish Highlands, and traveling throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Europe.¬†¬†