Founder Courtney Wooten grew up in Berkeley and Oakland, where the shadows of activists, hippies and Black Panthers made civic engagement feel as natural as breathing. A jack-of-all-trades, Courtney has an extensive background in social sciences, communication and creative expression. As an undergraduate, she conducted independent research on mixed race identity, served as the Social Director for the Queer-Straight Social/Political Alliance and co-founded her university’s first and only multicultural-interest sorority. She is a polished presenter, writer and moderator, an alumna of Stanford University and a Ron Brown Scholar. Most recently, Courtney has served as a consultant for the Pacific NW’s Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition, and was awarded a grant from The Edmonds Diversity Commission to produce the multicultural event, “Stories of Self and Solidarity.” Her current advocacy work centers on racial justice and intersectional feminism.
A seasoned educator with more than 30 years’ of experience, Donna Murphy is a commanding and compassionate speaker. Originally from New Jersey, Donna is a certificated teacher equally comfortable developing and implementing curricula in underfunded inner city schools as she is advocating for her district at our nation’s capital. As a longtime substance abuse counselor, she knows the importance of personal narrative and has the skills to coach people through challenging emotional growth. Donna is a Rutgers University National Writing Project Consultant and Fellow, a former Scholastic Arts judge and a published author. Donna’s experience in leading complicated and nuanced conversations and her training in direct action activism make her a wonderful asset to the Suburbia Rising team!
Melinda “Mindy” Woods
A long-time resident of the Pacific NW, Mindy has deep understanding of the systemic issues facing our region. She is a lifelong advocate and activist in healthcare and children’s rights, a Self-Reliance instructor for the Edmonds School District and Campfire Girls, a volunteer for Special Needs for Special Kids, and a founding member of ConnecTD1, an organization connecting families affected by Type 1 Diabetes. After experiencing homelessness as a single mother, Mindy began tackling the issue as both a legislative advocate and on-the-ground activist serving urgent needs. She now serves on the Policy Change Committee for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and the Statewide Steering Committee for the Resident Action Project, is a member of the Edmonds Housing Instability Coalition and is the newest member of the Community Services Action Council to the Snohomish County Council. Mindy is also a US Navy Veteran who served on the USS Prairie and USNS Andrew J. Higgins in the Persian Gulf during Operation: Desert Storm. Mindy is an ethical and lively discussion leader and presenter for Suburbia Rising.