Nicole Vallestero Keenan-Lai

Executive Director
Seattle, Washington

Nicole is the Executive Director at Puget Sound Sage. She has more than a decade of experience in research, advocacy, civic engagement, racial justice organizing, social services, and community and business outreach.

Previously, Nicole was the executive director of the Fair Work Center, a hub for workers to better understand and exercise their legal rights, improve their working conditions and connect with community resources. Before launching the Fair Work Center, Nicole served as the Policy Director at Puget Sound Sage, where she led policy and analysis work on labor standards and environmental justice. Nicole began her career through community engagement and youth engagement roles at the Washington Environmental Council, El Centro de la Raza and the Washington Bus. 

Nicole has co-authored several publications on a variety of topics including financial capacity, income taxes, childcare, environmental justice and the economic impact of living wages. Her work has been featured in local, national and international media including the New York Times, BBC, The Guardian and Huffington Post. Nicole holds a Bachelors degree in Public Policy from The College of William and Mary, and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington. In 2014, Nicole received a 50th Anniversary Civil Rights Leadership Award the Seattle Office of Civil Rights and Women's Commission and in 2015 she was named as one of the 15 people Who Should Really Run Seattle by the Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.