Clarion West is Growing, and Here’s the Team that’s Making It Happen

You’ve heard that Clarion West pivoted sharply in 2020 to provide international access to an inclusive writing community and to world-class writing instructors. We held a total of 112 online writing classes and workshops for 1,500 unique participants, including 79 youth between 1-18. The outreach programs also moved online. We had the biggest Write-a-thon ever and live-streamed dozens of free professional panels. 

In 2021, Clarion West continued to provide a wide range of diverse online programs for writers, including intensive critique workshops, business related classes, and in-depth classes on craft. Altogether, we ran 134 programs with over 2,000 registrations. We held the Six-Week Workshop online, with seven amazing instructors and fifteen brilliant writers from the United States, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, China, and Canada. 

And we plan to continue to optimize these resources moving forward to provide wide-ranging access to classes, workshops, and programs for writers year-round. How are we making that happen? Here’s the team that is taking us to the next level! 

Stepping in to manage the breadth and scope of the online programs:

Rashida Smith, Online Program Coordinator

Once a Clarion West board member, Rashida (CW ‘05) joined the workshop team as the Six-Week Workshop Administrator in 2019, and now has shifted to managing the online programs as the Online Program Coordinator. Rashida is focusing her efforts on adding intensive online classes and workshops year-round, planning for the 2022 Write-a-thon, and pairing incredible people together for the online panels series. If you have recommendations about classes, workshops, or panels online, contact Rashida.

Stephanie Malia Morris, Online Program Administrator

Stephanie (CW ‘17) joined the workshop team at the beginning of 2021. In addition to sending the monthly newsletter and class advertising, Stephanie helps to organize and run all the online programming. If you take a Clarion West class online, you may get an email from Stephanie telling you the latest news from your instructor. If you have technical questions about registration, the Zoom link, or how to get materials provided in class, contact Stephanie.

Taking the Six-Week Workshop, One Day Workshops, Weekend Workshops, and all other in-person programming to the next level:

Jae Steinbacher, Residential Program Coordinator

Jae (CW ‘14) joined as the Clarion West Workshop Administrator in 2018 and now manages the Six-Week Workshop, the return of One-Day and Weekend Workshops, the Workshop Culture Project, and the daunting task of finding accessible facility partners in the Greater Seattle Area. If you have questions about applying for the Six-Week Workshop or teaching in Seattle, contact Jae.

Amy Hirayma, Residential Workshop Administrator

Amy has just joined the workshop team in February, 2022 as the Residential Workshop Administrator, supporting programs based here in Seattle. As the applicants for the 2022 Six-Week Workshop are being finalized, Amy will get to be one of the first people to invite participants to attend. She will be working closely with Jae in creating the best atmosphere possible for the Class of 2022, whether in-person at the new facilities or online. Amy will be answering questions for applicants, helping to coordinate details, and provide support during the Six-Week Workshop. You can reach Amy here.

María Alejandra Barrios, Workshop Facilitator

Writer and educator María Alejandra Barrios joins the workshop team on March 1, 2022 as a classroom facilitator and support for the staff, students, and instructors, a critical new position for Clarion West. This position was created as a result of the Workshop Culture project, which continues to develop. We are thrilled to work with María as we continue to evolve the workshopping methods and culture to accommodate an ever expanding and changing group of writers. You can reach María here.

As we grow, we are doing more with Communications, Outreach, and Fundraising. Meet the team behind everything we are doing for the expanding community of readers and writers.

Evan J. Peterson

Evan J. Peterson, Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator

Evan (CW ‘15) joined the Clarion West team at the beginning of 2020 to support Communications and quickly transitioned into Clarion West’s first fundraising position. If you have questions about Clarion West outreach events, making a donation to Clarion West, or Speculative Fiction Trivia Night, contact Evan.

Stefani Cox, Communications Specialist

Stefani has just joined the team in January, 2022 as the new Communications Specialist, helping to manage the messaging, communications with alumni and community, and improving the outreach efforts. She will be managing our print and online publications, social media channels, and helping to update our ever-evolving style guide. Alumni can send Stefani updates on their publications and awards here.

None of the changes we’ve made could have been possible without some technical know-how, organizational skills, and office management. Meet the people who keep the whole operation running smoothly.

Erik Owomoyela

Erik Owomoyela, Back-end Developer

Erik (CW ‘10) has been volunteering with the organization almost as soon as he stepped out of the Clarion West workshop. He joined the staff in 2020 and has fully revamped the website at least three times. If you have any technical questions about the website, the Write-a-thon, or the registration system, ask Erik.

Elly Bangs, Salesforce Specialist

Elly (CW ‘17) helps keep everything organized and our database intact. This frequently means she has to step in where errant executive directors fail to stay on task. If you have questions about your donation history, Write-a-thon donations or registration, or how to keep errant directors from breaking things, contact Elly.

Suzanne Tompkins, Special Projects Coordinator

Suzanne has worked with Clarion West since 2006 and has managed various duties including office manager, bookkeeper, and event planning for the organization. Not to mention helping to keep our database up to date! Suzanne threatens to retire sometime soon, but until then, she is helping keep the office organized and our donors thanked! You can reach Suzanne here.

Marnee Chua, Executive Director

Marnee joined Clarion West in 2017 and set about getting to know this amazing writing community. Marnee is an avid reader and the number one cheerleader for the entire team. She also writes grants, sets audacious budgets, and tries to sneak in extra cake during staff retreats. If you have questions about Clarion West partnerships, scholarships, or any of our programs, you can reach Marnee here.

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