Executive Director and Board of Directors
Cherie Skager, MA, MNPL
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 and then Executive Director in 2013. 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.
Board of Directors
The Hope Heart Institute is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, which guides the overall strategic direction and approves The Hope's major financial commitments.
Sara Osborne, Chair
Sara Osborne is the Public and Government Affairs Director for the Seattle Division of Safeway Inc. and Albertsons LLC. The Seattle Division encompasses all of Washington and Alaska. Sara leads the Division’s efforts in corporate fundraising and philanthropy, government relations, public relations and internal communications. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate degree from Howard University. She also serves on boards for Seattle Children’s Hospital and Seattle Sports Commission.
Dolph Conrads, Treasurer
Dolph Conrad is the VP of Finance for Taco Time NW, a group of 40 corporate restaurants and an additional 36 franchisees originating in the northwest and operating since 1962. Before joining Taco Time, he worked for the Port Townsend Paper Corp. & Crown Packaging.
With an MBA from UW, and a Bachelor's degree from University of Utah in Commercial Recreation, Dolph enjoys working in the hospitality industry and for a company like Taco Time which is a local family institution that cares about healthy menu alternatives and local sourcing of ingredients. The wellness lifestyle is important to Dolph and quickly intensified his interest in The Hope Heart Institute. Dolph lives with his wife in Renton and is getting used to being an "empty nester" with four children in college.
Van Katzman, Secretary
Van Katzman is with Ascent Law Partners LLP. Van has spent the last 20 plus years working in legal, strategic and operating roles for both Fortune 500 and start-up companies. During that span, he has negotiated countless transactions, helped companies raise capital (venture, angel, and senior debt), spearheaded mergers and acquisitions, forged business development opportunities, drafted strategic business plans, counseled companies on employment, regulatory, and ethical issues, managed complex litigation, and served as a trusted sounding board to many CEOs.Van serves on the board of Parent Trust for Washington Children and is a co-founder of the Northwest Chapter of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
Carrie is the director of Business Integration and Global Research and Development at Starbucks Coffee Company. She has more than 25 years of experience in operations, brand management, innovation and product development across the retail and consumer product sectors. She has had broad-based roles directing multi-unit retail networks within company-operated markets, marketing and promotion execution, information and operations management and strategic business planning development.
Murtaza Chowdhury is a Program Manager in the Microsoft R&D at Redmond specializing in Enterprise Software. He has over 11 years of Experience in the IT Industry and has been with associated with companies such as Bosch and SAP earlier.
He is into Martial Arts and believes in leading a very active life. His passion for cardio vascular health drew him to The Hope Heart Institute. Murtaza lives with his wife and young son in Bellevue.
Azita Emami, PhD
Azita Emami is the Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Dean of Nursing and professor in bio-behavioral nursing and health systems. Dean Emami is an internationally recognized scholar, a dynamic and forward-looking nursing educator and administrator, and a person with a deep commitment to nursing as a profession that will have a priority role in the future of healthcare nationally and globally.
Anupam Gupta is the Executive Vice President of Product and Cloud Services at Vubiquity. Anupam is responsible for Vubiquity’s product strategy, roadmap and development of the cloud-based technology platform. He brings more than 17 years of product leadership and general management experience, having launched and grown successful software-based services in the Digital Media and Advertising ecosystems.
Anupam graduated from Birla Institute of Technology & Science and received his MBA at Cornell University.
Brigid Graham currently serves as the president of the Lenny Wilkens Foundation, an organization passionate about providing young-people with sound healthcare and education services. She has served in that role since 2006, spearheading coordination of all foundation events, finances and the day-to-day operations for Lenny.
Brigid has more than twenty years of non-profit experience and helps organizations fulfill their financial and organizational goals. Over her career she has worked for The Arc of King County and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue. Brigid also conducts seminars on fundraising and non-profit foundation management across the United States.
Eric Hiatt is the senior vice president of the Commercial Insurance Division at USI Kibble & Prentice. Previously he was the principal and founder of Reciprocal Solutions LLC which specializes in identifying services and solutions that reduce costs for non-profit organizations. Hiatt has held roles in sales and business development with Fortune 500 firms such as Marsh USA (MMC), Automatic Data Processing and IBM and advised early-stage companies and corporate spin-outs during his tenure with TriNet Group, Inc.
Taylor is a Managing Partner and Relationship Manager with over 10 years of experience in the wealth management industry. Prior to joining Columbia Pacific Wealth Management, Taylor worked in a Senior Client Management role for a Seattle-based Registered Investment Advisor. Taylor grew up in Indianola, Washington and graduated from Western Washington University. He has completed extensive course work through the College of Financial Planning and holds a Series 65 Investment Advisor Qualification. Taylor currently serves on the Investment Committee for the Western Washington University Foundation.
Gail Love is currently responsible for leading the Human Resource and Recruiting teams, at Allrecipes.com Inc. Allrecipes.com is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Meredith Corporation. It is the world’s largest food-focused social networking community, and receives more than one billion visits annually from family-focused women who connect and inspire one another through photos, reviews, videos and blog posts.
Gail has over 20 years of experience in Human Resource management. Gail holds 2 B.A. Degrees, from the University of Washington in Business Administration (Foster School of Business) and Psychology. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR & PHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management. Gail is also a member of Microsoft Alumni Network and Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity Alumni.
Nina Morrison is the Vice President of Community and Customer Relations for TalkingRain. In 1992, Nina started her career in the Beverage Industry as the TalkingRain Event Manager. From there she became the Marketing Director, followed by VP of Marketing. Prior to joining TalkingRain she was the CEO/President of Emerald City Marketing, a Food Brokerage she opened in 1984. After graduation with a BA in Education and Child Psychology from Washington State University, she taught in the Beaverton Oregon School District. Her volunteer experience includes: Seattle Children's Corporate Leadership Council, Transplant House, Susan G Komen Puget Sound Affiliate, Mercer Island Boys and Girls Club, King County Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics Washington, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Mercer Island HS Girls Lacrosse, and Overlake Hospital Business Development.
Scott Polovitch-Davis is the director of operations for Group Health Foundation. He has worked in not-for-profit organizations for more than 25 years and has held positions in data management, fundraising, management and finance. In his career he’s raised, processed, accounted for and oversaw the spending of the money. His current role encompasses financial management, board operations and governance, compliance, and donor accountability.
Past positions have included Annual Giving Manager at Seattle Central Community College, Grantwriter/Capital Campaign Assistant with Overlake Hospital Foundation, and Membership Coordinator at the Bellevue Art Museum. He has a Master’s in Non-Profit Leadership from Seattle University and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Puget Sound.
Ingrid Rauch is a marketing leader in the enterprise sales division at EMC with over 20 years experience in high-tech industry marketing, both at EMC and Microsoft. Her marketing expertise expands across enterprise B2B, strategic account marketing, digital marketing, PR, and event management. Ingrid was introduced to The Hope as a sponsor for On the Wings of Hope Gala where she quickly recognized that her personal interests around health and wellness aligned with The Hopes aim to make cardiovascular disease beatable, treatable and preventable. She joined the Gala volunteer committee in 2011, joined the Board of Directors in 2012, and was elected Board Chair in 2014. Prior to joining the The Hope, Ingrid was active in the non-profit community and spent time volunteering with many organizations such as Junior Achievement, the Arizona Technology Council and the Welcome to America Project.
Lisa Youngblood Hall
Lisa Youngblood Hall is the Interim Director of Media Relations and Communications at the University of Washington Bothell. As “Chief Storyteller”, Lisa works to share the UW Bothell story on multiple platforms and in the media. She says she’s had the honor of sharing people’s stories – or putting a face to the issue – for more than 20 years, much of that in television. Lisa was a segment producer for KING5 from 2004-2008. She attributes her desire to connect with people of all backgrounds, to share their stories, and to contribute to her community to her years as an associate producer and field producer with The Oprah Show.
Lisa graduated with a B.A. in Radio, Television, Film from the University of Maryland, College Park. She’s a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church, the Seattle Association of Black Journalists, and the Seattle chapter of Jack and Jill of America.
Jim Leggett, M.D., Medical Director, Ex-Officio
Tom Amidon, M.D., Ex-Officio