YES! Team

Meet the people who make YES!

See Also: Founders

Julia Luz Betancourt, Audience Development Specialist

Before Julia became our Audience Development Specialist, she was our Social Impact Copywriter, and used powerful storytelling to grow support for YES! Today, Julia is building engagement strategies to grow YES!’s audience and donor base across print, email, and social. She is an independent writer, journalist, and author with two published books, bylines in Truthout, Scheerpost, GEN-ZiNE, and the Latin Times, and previously interned at the Financial Times. With a degree in journalism and critical race and ethnic studies, Julia seeks to contribute to a media space where journalism and activism can come together in pursuit of social, environmental, racial, gender, class, and disability justice.  When she isn’t working or writing articles, Julia spends time with the Earth and writes songs about her life with her guitar, Moonlight.

Sunnivie Brydum, Managing Editor

Sunnivie joined YES! in 2019 as editorial director, and became managing editor in 2024. She previously directed original and multimedia content at Free Speech TV, a nonprofit network available in 40 million U.S. households. An LGBTQ media expert, Sunnivie was managing editor of The Advocate, where they led coverage of the nationwide embrace of marriage equality, and were one of the few out journalists on the ground covering the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. They are an award-winning investigative journalist, whose work has appeared in outlets ranging from Vox and Bustle to Religion Dispatches, among others. As a former U.S. State Department Professional Fellow with the International Center for Journalists, she co-founded Historias No Contadas, an annual symposium elevating the voices of LGBTQ people in Latin America. They are a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she earned a B.S. in Magazine Journalism and was among the first to graduate with a minor in LGBT studies.

Evette Dionne, Executive Editor

Evette is a culture journalist, critic, and editor who serves as the executive editor at YES!. Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box, her middle-grade nonfiction book, was nominated for a National Book Award and won a Coretta Scott King Honor author. Her next book, Weightless, was released by Ecco in December 2022. You can find her across the web at @freeblackgirl.


Breanna Draxler, Senior Editor

Breanna is a senior editor at YES!, where she has led coverage of environmental justice since she joined the team in November 2019. An award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of experience editing, reporting, and writing for national magazines, she won a 2020 National Magazine Award for a collaborative climate action guide that she published with Audubon Magazine. Breanna also writes, reports and edits for National Geographic online, Grist, and Audubon Magazine, among others. She serves as a board member for the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Northwest Science Writers Association. She also has a Master’s degree in environmental journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder. Breanna is based out of Seattle, but has worked in newsrooms on both coasts and in between. Her previous staff positions include editing at bioGraphic, Popular Science, and Discover Magazine.

Kayla Ebron, Operations Support Specialist

Kayla joined YES! in April 2022. Although born in North Carolina, she grew up in Acworth, Georgia, and later attended Savannah State University (the oldest public HBCU in Georgia) to study mass communications with a focus in public relations and a minor in mathematics. She joined the donor support and operations team as the operations support specialist after relocating to Washington state with her fiancé, who proudly serves in the U.S. Navy. Kayla has a love for all things creative and aspires to own her own nail business. Kayla would describe herself as vibrant, easygoing, and lover of all things fashion and creativity. When asked what her favorite thing about herself was, she said, “My favorite thing about myself is my style. I strive to radiate a fun and colorful energy, and the best way for me to express that is through my style. Whether it be a silly pair of glasses, some ridiculously colorful nails or a novelty/unconventional purse, style is my main form of expression! It’s a big part of my personality and identity that I take great pride in.”

Khalilah Elliott, Interim Executive Director

Khalilah Elliott is an accomplished marketing & communications executive whose career reflects an unwavering commitment to expanding opportunities and access for marginalized groups and underrepresented people. As the Founder and Chief Disruptor of Gafford Communications, LLC, a dynamic social impact consulting firm, Khalilah partners with nonprofits, artistic institutions, philanthropic organizations, and socially conscious brands to drive transformative change. Her work sits at the intersection of art/culture, social justice, and philanthropy—bridging clients from diverse backgrounds.Khalilah’s extensive portfolio includes serving as a marketing executive for legacy brands such as Disney and the Apollo Theater. A self-proclaimed “theater geek,” she has facilitated strategic partnerships as well as developed multicultural marketing and audience engagement strategies for numerous live events and Broadway productions including the Tony-award winner Hadestown and Disney’s Aladdin. She has also led major fundraising campaigns, securing millions in funding support for non profit organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs, Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC) and Reproductive Health Impact (RH Impact) advocating for Black maternal health/infant mortality and reproductive justice issues.
As YES! Media’s Interim Executive Director, Khalilah brings her expertise in executive leadership, communications, fundraising, and organizational culture to the role. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Theater Arts from Dillard University and a Master’s degree in Performing Arts Administration from New York University with concentrated studies in marketing and non-profit management. Khalilah splits her time these days between Dallas, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Doug Indrick, Technology Manager

Doug IndrickDoug is a musician, photographer, and nonprofit IT manager and consultant. He originally hails from snowy upstate New York, where he previously worked in the solar energy and building efficiency industries. Doug has been living in the Pacific Northwest since 2014, where he greatly enjoys Seattle’s excellent music scene and bike paths. Doug is also on the board of Salish Sea Cooperative Finance, a co-op focused on reimagining student debt.



Sonali Kolhatkar, Senior Editor

Sonali joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also a senior correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission, which she helped to co-found in 2000. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.

Michael Luong, Associate Art Director

Michael LuongMichael joined YES! as the associate art director in the summer of 2021. He has worked in publishing over the past seven years and has a passion for bringing stories to life with visuals. He has worked as a digital art manager for Out Magazine, The Advocate,, and HIV Plus Magazine. He’s also worked as a freelance designer for the nonprofit publication, Next City. His most recent experience in publishing was as an editorial and marketing designer for Deadline. In his free time he enjoys morning hikes, and engaging in everything creative.


Kimi Mehlinger, Donor and Subscriber Support Specialist

Kimi’s professional background is in customer service, executive administration, and mortgage lending. She started working at 13 with a family business, where she helped with manufacturing, sales, and accounting. She attended junior college at Saddleback and Irvine Valley in the ’90s and lived most of her life in Orange County, California. She’s married, with one son, and because of this child, she says, “I feel the need to be a part of something greater than myself that is impacting this world in a positive way, especially when there is so much going on that threatens to destroy the America I once knew, the world I once wanted to explore and the quality of life that is quickly becoming more and more difficult for the next generation to enjoy. This magazine and its authors and editors and staff are working hard to inspire, reach, and teach how to maintain, sustain and heal our world on a daily basis; and to be a part of that, to know that it even exists, gives my heart hope.”

Iman Mohamed, Audience Engagement Editor

Iman MohamedIman came to YES! as a social media intern in January 2020, before joining the staff in 2021. Iman is in charge of the organization’s robust social media platforms and creating a strategy for YES! editorial content to deepen our relationship with the YES! community. A media enthusiast with a degree in journalism and international studies from the University of Washington, Iman specializes in audience-centered content promotion and ensuring that YES! is in touch with the right audiences.
She has reported for Seattle Globalist, The UW Daily, and interned at Real Change. Iman worked as a communications coordinator for community organizations such as CAIR-WA and OneAmerica. In her free time, Iman likes to read mystery books, travel to new destinations, and hang out with her friends.

Kathy Murphy, Accounting Manager

Kathy MurphyKathy joined YES! in the summer of 2019 following a varied career contributing to organizations trying to impact their communities in a positive way. Kathy graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Elementary Education. After a year of classroom teaching in public schools, Kathy decided that was not her thing, so she embarked on a decade working for alternative education programs. She worked for residential programs, leading horse-packing and hiking trips and aboard traditional sailing vessels. All of these experiences were based around showing students that strangers can come together, build a community and together successfully accomplish new things. Curiosity about the world outside the U.S. led to Peace Corps West Africa, where she taught in a bush school and facilitated development projects. After returning, she co-founded two businesses, the nonprofit Salish Sea Expeditions and a local veterinary practice. Kathy also volunteered as a mentor for a refugee family, an assistant providing vet care for pets of the homeless, and as a K9 handler for the county search and rescue unit.

Paula Murphy, Fulfillment Manager

Paula MurphyPaula joined YES! Magazine in December 2007. Growing up landlocked in the Midwest, Paula always had a strong desire to get to know the wet half of our planet—which she satisfied by studying oceanography and marine biology, and by becoming a certified master scuba diver. Her time on dry land is spent raising her children, Christopher, Emerson, and Marina, advocating for cloth diapers, attachment parenting, and the family bed. She is a strong supporter of the Waldorf school on Bainbridge Island and also volunteers as a seamstress for local theater productions. Being a part of the staff at YES! supports Paula’s interests in making the earth a cleaner, more sustainable planet for her children and future generations.

Natalie Pryor, Art Director

Natalie PryorNatalie was named Art Director at YES! in November of 2021. She previously worked at The Justice Collaborative and The Appeal as their Design Coordinator. She held the same title at Lambda Legal, where she was responsible for national campaigns, editorial and donor-specific projects such as annual reports. Her experience in publishing includes positions from Designer to Art Director for trade, news, and special interest publications, including Parade Magazine, Emergency Medicine, and Black Enterprise. She has been featured in Print Magazine as one of the Top 50 People To Watch and has received awards from Print Magazine and The Rx Club. Natalie is passionate about issues around equality and racial justice. She loves to stay grounded by taking long walks in the forest, surrounded by trees and the sounds of nature. 

Shaniqua Rudd, Donor Relations Manager

Shaniqua joined the Yes! team in February 2024. She was exposed to the world of Philanthropy as the beneficiary of many scholarships and after-school programs. Since then, she has dedicated herself to the non-profit sector specializing in fundraising and philanthropic events. A West Philadelphia native, Shaniqua holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing, a Master of Science in Organizational Development & Leadership both from Saint Joseph’s University as well as a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Development & Philanthropy from the University of Northern Iowa. She served as the Director of Advancement, Director of Development, and other Development roles prior to starting her own consulting firm, Rudd & Associates. She has utilized her expertise to secure funding and provide capacities in that expand program opportunities, financial sustainability, and strategic planning.

Raquel Salazar,  Development and Engagement Project Manager

Raquel joined YES! in the spring of 2023 as the Audience Relations and Development Manager, building upon her communications, engagement, and coalition-building experience. She is passionate about creating meaningful relationships to elevate community voice and support systems change work. Raquel received her Master’s in Public Health Policy and Management at Oregon Health and Science University in 2021 and continues to highlight the importance of intersectionality and social determinants of health through her work. Born and raised in Arizona, Raquel now resides in Portland and loves to hike throughout the Pacific Northwest, spend time with her cat Benito, and search for her next concert outing.

Melia Smith, Foundation Relations Manager

Melia Smith joined YES! In 2022 as the Foundation Relations Manager. Previously, she’s done fundraising for social and human services organizations and has broad spectrum experience in the fundraising field. She’s excited about and invested in the movement to make fundraising and philanthropy spaces anti-racist and more equitable and writes about her experiences and critiques of the industry on the Community-Centric Fundraising hub.

She earned a B.A. in Sociology from Pepperdine University and grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada (and proudly does not know how to play any table games). She abandoned the heat of southwest for the snowbanks of the Twin Cities in Fall 2022. In her free time, Melia enjoys watercolor painting, calligraphy, poetry, listening to whatever playlists Tidal recommends for her, commentating on awards show fashion and petting every dog she meets.