Executive Committee

  • Sophia Nguyen

    Sophia Nguyen

    President

    1. What is one thing nobody would ever know about you? Casted as Ariel in Little Mermaid for school musical 2. Awards or…

    More about Sophia Nguyen ›
  • Karen Rains

    Karen Rains

    VP/Administration

    1. Tell us about your personal/professional background. I’ve been in the hospitality industry as an independent manufactur…

    More about Karen Rains ›
  • Stephanie Poliakoff

    Stephanie Poliakoff

    Secretary

    What is the last book you read? I am actually in the middle of "Finding Your Way in a Wild World" by Martha Beck. She is one …

    More about Stephanie Poliakoff ›
  • Christa Jansen

    Christa Jansen

    Treasurer

    What was the last book you read? Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. It’s a super-insightful book on creativity and management…

    More about Christa Jansen ›
  • Cheri Bargen

    Cheri Bargen

    Past President/Parliamentarian

  • Stephanie Deshaies

    Stephanie Deshaies

    Executive Advisor

    1. What is the last book you read? The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy 2. If you could check into any hotel in the world, wh…

    More about Stephanie Deshaies ›

Board of Directors

  • Karen Rains

    Karen Rains

    NEWH, Inc. Delegate

    1. Tell us about your personal/professional background. I’ve been in the hospitality industry as an independent manufactur…

    More about Karen Rains ›
  • Sandra Brumbaugh

    Sandra Brumbaugh

    Scholarship

    1. What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? I enjoy wandering around (in 50 degree plus, dryish weather) taking pi…

    More about Sandra Brumbaugh ›
  • Ginny Combs

    Ginny Combs

    Membership

    1. The last book I read was, Puppy Primer. HA !!!!!!!!! go ahead ask me about my puppy when we meet !!!! You might be sorry…

    More about Ginny Combs ›
  • Kelli Groh

    Kelli Groh

    Programming

  • Randa Hart

    Randa Hart

    Fundraising

  • Pilar Alfaro

    Pilar Alfaro

    Hospitality

  • Crystal Higgins

    Crystal Higgins

    Marketing

    Please select 2-3 questions below and tell us a little about yourself. 1. If you could check into any hotel in the world, wh…

    More about Crystal Higgins ›
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Committee Chair

  • Denise Corso

    Denise Corso

    Education

    1. Tell us about our personal/professional background. I began my career as an interior designer in 1995. I have worked for …

    More about Denise Corso ›
  • Jennifer Haycox, LEED AP

    Jennifer Haycox, LEED AP

    Education

    1.How/why did you become involved in NEWH NW? My passion for the Design industry has brought me to this organization. My co…

    More about Jennifer Haycox, LEED AP ›
  • Cara Rude

    Cara Rude

    Sustainable Hospitality

    Tell us about your personal/professional background: 14 years as an Interior Designer, ASID, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP and passio…

    More about Cara Rude ›
  • Erica Albertson

    Erica Albertson

    Chair/Scholarship

    How/why did you become involved in NEWH NW? After receiving my second NEWH NW scholarship and attending the Savor event la…

    More about Erica Albertson ›
  • Wendy Mohr

    Wendy Mohr

    Chair/Programming

    What are your favorite hotels/restaurants in the Pacigic Northwest? I'm a die hard Four Seasons girl and I do love the W in …

    More about Wendy Mohr ›
  • Brad Criswell

    Brad Criswell

    Hospitality

  • Kendra  Fremont

    Kendra Fremont

    Hospitality

  • Erin Weiner

    Erin Weiner

    Public Relations

    Tell us about your personal/professional background. I graduated from Harrington College of Design in Chicago in 2012 and wen…

    More about Erin Weiner ›
  • Katy Kennedy

    Katy Kennedy

    Publications

    Originally from Savannah, GA, I joined the Hospitality Industry shortly after graduating from The Savannah College of Art and…

    More about Katy Kennedy ›
  • Denise Durrell Aubin

    Denise Durrell Aubin

    Community Service

  • Marit Jensen

    Marit Jensen

    Community Service

  • Angela Liu

    Angela Liu

    Strategic Alliances

  • Dena Yamaguchi

    Dena Yamaguchi

    Strategic Alliances

  • Karol Hauch

    Karol Hauch

    Strategic Planning

    1. What is the last book you read? Outlander 2. Tell us about your personal/professional background. I grew up in Seatt…

    More about Karol Hauch ›
  • Gabrielle Diebner Mote

    Gabrielle Diebner Mote

    Student Representative

    I graduated from the University of Idaho in 2018. What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? I love to adventure! I…

    More about Gabrielle Diebner Mote ›
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Sophia Nguyen

Sophia Nguyen

President

1. What is one thing nobody would ever know about you? Casted as Ariel in Little Mermaid for school musical

2. Awards or recognitions? 3 international karate championship titles

3. Favorite caffeinated beverage? Soy caramel macchiato

4. What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? Running, biking, skiing, (pretty much anything active), traveling and exploring new places, having lunch/dinner outings with friends

Karen Rains

Karen Rains

VP/Administration

1. Tell us about your personal/professional background. I’ve been in the hospitality industry as an independent manufacturer’s representative for almost 9 years and it’s flown by! I have a marketing background and ended up in the industry through my husband – an architect by schooling and career rep himself. I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life and really can’t imagine being anywhere but the beautiful Pacific Northwest. San Diego is the only other US city I’ve considered living, however Bucerias Mexico makes a wonderful winter home someday. When I’m not working I’m chasing my kids around, spending time outside as much as I can, and planning my next home renovation project. It’s a horrible addiction.

Stephanie Poliakoff

Stephanie Poliakoff

Secretary

What is the last book you read? I am actually in the middle of “Finding Your Way in a Wild World” by Martha Beck. She is one of my favorite because I love exploring the “woo-woo” side of this crazy world.

If you could check into any hotel in the world, what would it be? And why? Four Seasons overwater bungalow in Bora Bora for two weeks; I would sleep for days straight, order room service, jump in the water, take long baths, yoga on the beach and repeat. It has been a dream for years. Can my doggies join us? (of course Barry is invited too)

Tell us about your personal/professional background: I have been involved in sales and national account management for over 13 years, and Seattle has turned out to be the perfect environment to launch my own independent rep group! I have worked diligently to align myself with companies that have exceptional products, excellent customer service/support and a high level of integrity. I am passionate about what I do, and have enjoyed getting to know this tightly knit Pacific Northwest community.

Christa Jansen

Christa Jansen

Treasurer

What was the last book you read?
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. It’s a super-insightful book on creativity and management by one of the founders of Pixar. I finished it with a new view of the design field and how we can leverage our talent to continually raise the bar.

What are some of your favorite hotels, restaurants and spaces in the Pacific Northwest?
The Nest at the Thompson Seattle has the best view in town. Delancey for pizza and a really genuine vibe. And the interior at the Butcher’s Table is gorgeous.

What is your favorite caffeinated beverage?
I’m a die hard mocha girl, but I always ask for half the chocolate. I love chocolate in coffee, but I don’t want it to taste like a dessert and have 350 calories.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
Traveling! I recently took a trip to Portugal and it was amazing…I love to immerse myself in another culture and learn about history, language, food and wine. Especially the wine.

Stephanie Deshaies

Stephanie Deshaies

Executive Advisor

1. What is the last book you read? The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy

2. If you could check into any hotel in the world, what would it be? And why? The Ice Hotel in Northern Sweden. Do you really have to ask why? It’s Cool!

3. Tell us about your personal/professional background. Throughout her career, Stephanie has been dedicated to elevating the profession of interior design. She is a past board member of IIDA; she has been a site visitor for the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (formerly FIDER) for over 10 years. Stephanie has served on multiple coalitions in pursuit of legal recognition of the interior design profession. She is an advisor for the Interior Design Coalition of Washington IDCW. Stephanie is committed to the effort of securing interior design legislation in al 50 states. It is Stephanie’s tireless commitment to interior design professionalism that fuels her desire to be interior designs most passionate advocate.

4. What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? Play with my kids / practice Yoga

Karen Rains

Karen Rains

NEWH, Inc. Delegate

1. Tell us about your personal/professional background. I’ve been in the hospitality industry as an independent manufacturer’s representative for almost 9 years and it’s flown by! I have a marketing background and ended up in the industry through my husband – an architect by schooling and career rep himself. I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life and really can’t imagine being anywhere but the beautiful Pacific Northwest. San Diego is the only other US city I’ve considered living, however Bucerias Mexico makes a wonderful winter home someday. When I’m not working I’m chasing my kids around, spending time outside as much as I can, and planning my next home renovation project. It’s a horrible addiction.

Sandra Brumbaugh

Sandra Brumbaugh

Scholarship

1. What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
I enjoy wandering around (in 50 degree plus, dryish weather) taking pictures.
2. Favorite caffeinated beverage?
My favorite and necessary beverage is a strong cup of black coffee first thing in the morning.
3. What is your favorite book?
“The Broker” by John Grisham … have to go to Italy now because of it.

Ginny Combs

Ginny Combs

Membership

1. The last book I read was, Puppy Primer. HA !!!!!!!!! go ahead ask me about my puppy when we meet !!!! You might be sorry but, it will make my day.

2. One day I might be living on the beach in Mexico calling a Sprinter van home sweet home while relaxing under my living room tent enjoying the ocean and drinking a margarita.

3. Most people do not know that if I was born a boy my parents were going to name me Bill for the Bilge pump on a sailboat.

Crystal Higgins

Crystal Higgins

Marketing

Please select 2-3 questions below and tell us a little about yourself.
1. If you could check into any hotel in the world, what would it be? And why?
If I could check in any hotel in the world I would go to The Giraffe Manor in Kenya. I
have always wanted to travel to Africa and this stay gives you daily interaction with the
wildlife on the property. I love that they combine a once in a lifetime experience with
your overnight stay.
2. What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
When I’m not at work I love adventuring with my girl friends. Weather its hiking Oyster
Dome, trying out a new brewery or wandering into unknown shops. I seek new
experiences and making memories with great friends
3. Favorite caffeinated beverage?
I love a foamy flavored cappuccino. They make me feel pampered and fancy.
Please email your bio’s with a headshot of yourself by the end of next week so we can get the
website up to date!

Denise Corso

Denise Corso

Education

1. Tell us about our personal/professional background.
I began my career as an interior designer in 1995. I have worked for various architecture and design firms and was partner and co-owner of the award winning hospitality design firm CorsoStaicoff. I joined The Wright Group, a multi line hospitality rep group in 2010 bringing a passionate and thorough understanding of the hospitality design field.

2. What is one thing nobody would ever know about you?
I received 2 speeding tickets in one day. I have not had one since. That was 9 years ago!

3. What is the last book you read?
Lonely Planet’s guide to Italy count? An informative read having recently returned from a glorious trip to Italy. I plan to return many more times. It is one of the best places on earth.

Jennifer Haycox, LEED AP

Jennifer Haycox, LEED AP

Education

1.How/why did you become involved in NEWH NW? My passion for the Design industry has brought me to this organization. My compassion for my design clients, encourages me to be more involved and give back.

2.What are some of your favorite hotels, restaurants, and spaces in the Pacific Northwest? There are so many fabulous places in the northwest, where do I begin? I would have to say, one of my favorite places is this private Bed and Breakfast in Leavenworth,WA. A tranquil town, which reminds me of my travels around Europe.

3.If you could check into any hotel in the world, what would it be? And why? Katslauttan Artic Resort, glass igloos in Finland so I could view the Northern Lights. They are so magical and this place would be unforgettable

4. Tell us about your personal/professional background. My educational background is in biochemistry, however I hold 2 bachelor’s of science degrees from Oregon State University. One in Interior Design, the Second in Housing Studies, which encompasses real estate, construction and urban development.

Cara Rude

Cara Rude

Sustainable Hospitality

Tell us about your personal/professional background: 14 years as an Interior Designer, ASID, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP and passionate about design that creates a regeneration lifestyle through healthy materials and biophilic principals. I have spent the last 4 years educating myself and clients about the power of choice we have in the materials we specify and am thrilled to see the industry growing in knowledge and resources that create healthy spaces.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? Cuddling my newborn twins and adventuring withg my family of six; whether that be camping, fishing, hiking or biking through our beautiful Alaskan home.

What is one thing nobody would every know about you? I am a modern dancer with a great love for expressive movement and music that makes your soul come alive.

Erica Albertson

Erica Albertson

Chair/Scholarship

How/why did you become involved in NEWH NW?
After receiving my second NEWH NW scholarship and attending the Savor event last July, I knew the NEWH gang was a different breed that I had to be involved with. I’ve chosen to stay involved because getting the NEWH NW scholarship was truly an answer to prayers and I want to see more and more students be able to finished their college careers because of what we do through NEWH. Plus, they’re a fun group to be friends with!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
I love all things crafty. I constantly have some kind of project going, big or small, usually made of wood. My most recent obsession though is making concrete planters!

What is one thing nobody would ever know about you?
I’ve recently taken up scuba diving and I love working with power tools. You’ll usually find my hair done and nails well groomed, but the truth is that I love pulling up my sleeves and getting dirty. My favorite thing is understanding how things work and sometimes that means I must take them apart first!

Wendy Mohr

Wendy Mohr

Chair/Programming

What are your favorite hotels/restaurants in the Pacigic Northwest?
I’m a die hard Four Seasons girl and I do love the W in Seattle.

As for restaurants, if I’m going to say one of my favorites, it’s Nobu. Thank goodness there is not one in the NW as it’s way too pricey for my pallet. I do love the Met in Seatle it’s a great go to when we are with clients.

Erin Weiner

Erin Weiner

Public Relations

Tell us about your personal/professional background. I graduated from Harrington College of Design in Chicago in 2012 and went on to work in a residential multiline showroom doing custom shop drawings. From there I moved to Dallas to work with Purchasing Management International doing purchasing work in the hospitality and gaming industries. Currently I do interior design and purchasing for Noble House Hotels here in Washington.

What is one thing nobody would ever know about you? I held the season record for most penalty minutes one year when I played hockey in high school.

Favorite caffeinated beverage? Ice nonfat white mocha, no whip!

Katy Kennedy

Katy Kennedy

Publications

Originally from Savannah, GA, I joined the Hospitality Industry shortly after graduating from The Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in Interior Design in 2015. Currently I am representing Durkan Hospitality as a Regional Field Designer of the Pacific Northwest. In my spare time, I enjoy creating various forms of art, cooking, and getting outdoors.

Karol Hauch

Karol Hauch

Strategic Planning

1. What is the last book you read?
Outlander
2. Tell us about your personal/professional background.
I grew up in Seattle, got my BA in Interior Design at Seattle Pacific University, and worked at a small interior design firm after graduation. I then spent a few years working in the restaurant industry and eventually returned to the design industry by working at Pental Granite & Marble as a showroom sales associate. I quickly moved on to doing outside sales as an A&D Rep and have loved it ever since!
3. What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
Acrylic painting on canvas, going on beach weekend getaways, and spending time with my awesome husband, dog and cat.

Gabrielle Diebner Mote

Gabrielle Diebner Mote

Student Representative

I graduated from the University of Idaho in 2018.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? I love to adventure! I love traveling to new places, going on road trips, taking the long way home and exploring your own backyard, and just spending time making memories with friends and family. I enjoy hiking and taking in the breathtaking views of the mountains that paint the landscape I call home in Seattle.

What is one thing nobody would ever know about you? I collect rubber ducks, I have about 200 in different sizes, styles, and characters, all of which have names.

Favorite caffeinated beverage? Chai tea latte!