Get to Know Our Team

Admin Team

Heidi Larwick (Executive Director)

Heidi Larwick

Executive Director

she/her/hers

Heidi Larwick is a passionate and committed leader in the nonprofit sector who firmly believes in the power of community organizations to drive positive, equitable change. With almost two decades of experience, she has devoted her career to fighting for labor rights, public health advocacy, and, most recently, educational equity. READ MORE

Justin Thibedeau

Justin Thibedeau

Associate Director & Program Manager of Spark

he/him/his

As a Program Manager, Justin helped bring our Spark program to life! He also works toward expanding the reach of the digital literacy curriculum in Lane County. Justin brings years of experience coordinating maker spaces and engineering labs and uses hands-on design challenges and curriculum to support Lane County educators and students in exploring STEM curriculum and computer science pathways.

Michelle Martin (Staff)

Michelle Martin

Office & HR Specialist

she/her/hers

Michelle Martin has over 30 years of experience in administration. In her Human Resources role, Michelle ensures a smooth orientation for new employees and manages benefits for a fast-growing team. She coordinates office functions and bookkeeping and supports Connected Lane County’s Board of Directors and the many innovative projects and initiatives our team has created. Michelle enjoys camping and spending time with her family in her free time.

Lizzie Brown

Lizzie Brown

Operations Manager

she/her/hers
Hablo español

Lizzie has been a vibrant, enthusiastic Connected Lane County team member for over five and a half years. She was raised on the border of Eugene and Springfield and is a product of the Eugene 4J school district and, most importantly, to Lizzie, the Spanish Immersion program. Her academic achievements led her to the University of Portland, where she had the time of her life before graduating in 2015. Lizzie’s love for her community brought her back to Lane County shortly after graduation to kickstart her professional career.

Lizzie’s commitment to equitable access to quality education and programs for ALL youth continues to fuel her. It has propelled her as she's grown into various roles at Connected Lane County. She is now the organization's Project Manager, working closely with administrative team members. She brings magnetic energy to every interaction, always leads with kindness, and enjoys each stage of the professional relationship-building process.

Recently married, Lizzie and her husband enjoy hosting summer barbecues, venturing to Lane County wineries, biking to summer shows at the Cuthbert, and supporting local restaurants.

Headshot of David.

David Ross

Program Manager for Elevate and Navigate 

he/him/his

David brings over ten years of nonprofit experience to Connected Lane County. He has worked in youth mentorship, teaching, and program management throughout his career. David has a master's degree in nonprofit management from Arizona State University. David is originally from Chicago and spent an amazing two years in Sudan, but has happily called Eugene his home since 2015. Outside of work, you can find David playing recreational sports, running at Mt. Pisgah, or toiling away on his wheels. If you meet a giant Golden Retriever named Marshall, feel free to say hello to David as well.

Marketing, Fundraising, and Technology

Becky-Jo Samples (Staff)

Becky-Jo Samples

Marketing Director

she/her/hers

Becky-Jo is passionate about increasing access to educational opportunities. As a first-generation college student and Ford Scholar, she knows the importance of having strong mentors and support systems. She first got involved with Connected Lane County as a marketingJAM judge and event speaker. Becky-Jo served on the Downtown Languages board of directors from 2017 to 2021. In 2021, she joined the board of directors for Plaza de Nuestra Comunidad (formerly Centro Latino Americano), where she helped the organization merge with Downtown Languages and Huerto de la Familia.

A proud Duck, Becky-Jo holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oregon and a master’s in business administration from Bushnell University. She enjoys reading and learning new things, traveling, cooking, gardening, and spending time outdoors with her husband, Josh, and two dogs, Mufasa and Albus.

Illiana Lang Lundgren (Staff)

Iliana Lang Lundgren

Development Manager

she/her/hers

Iliana is committed to helping community-based nonprofit organizations increase their financial sustainability while measuring, enhancing, and sharing their impact. In her early career, she supported international nonprofits to crowdfund online and managed donor-advised funds for corporations, family foundations, and individuals.

After moving to Eugene, Oregon, and completing her master’s degree in nonprofit management at the University of Oregon, she is thrilled to contribute directly to support youth from diverse backgrounds to gain the confidence and skills they need to thrive in their lives. Outside work, she enjoys yoga, hiking/exploring, and trying new restaurants and food carts with her husband, Hunter, and dog, Rori.

Eva Camacho

Eva Camacho

Communications Assistant

she/her/hers

Eva is the Communications Assistant for Connected Lane County. She manages social media communications, assists with media relations, and supports other marketing and organizational needs. While originally from Albuquerque, Eva grew up in Eugene and attended the University of Oregon. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in legal studies.

Eva is passionate about her local community and understands the importance of thoughtful and effective communication. When she’s not working, Eva enjoys staying busy. Her favorite pastimes are teaching yoga, running with friends, and curling up with a good book.

Jade NEW headshot.

Jade Luther

Graphic Designer & Marketing Assistant

she/her/hers

Jade is Connected Lane County's Graphic Designer, Marketing Assistant, and Photographer, all in one! She helps the marketing and fundraising team develop new and engaging ways for youth and partners to interact with the organization. Jade is always striving to learn new skills and wants to learn as much as she can about visual designs of any kind.

She is dedicated to using her passions to help the underserved community and wants to see youth thrive and grow in environments outside of school that help them succeed and discover new paths. She has always believed in a serving mindset and is ready to lend a hand when and where needed. Jade loves spending time with her family and pets in her free time, playing video games, running, and swimming! Some of her favorite things are the color blue, dragons, and cold sunny days.

Krishna Patel (Admin/Spark)

Krishna Patel

IT Specialist

he/him/his

Krishna started with us in 2021 as an Invention Lab mentor and has been involved with the Spark program ever since! He officially joined our staff in 2023 as an IT Specialist, where he helps manage our technology and support the Spark program team with teaching classes and developing programming. He grew up in Eugene and recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Krishna enjoys spending time with family and friends and learning new things when he is not working.

Elevate Program Staff

elevate icon
Tracey headshot updated.

Tracey Ward

Program Lead

she/her/hers

Tracey was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. She attended the University of Oregon and Linn-Benton Community College, where she studied English Literature and Spanish. She has years of experience supporting students in the classroom and is passionate about making education accessible to all. Tracey loves spending time with her family, reading, and trying her best to keep houseplants alive.

Shimea Jordan (Elevate)

Shimea Jordan

Youth Outreach Coordinator

she/her/hers

Shimea Jordan joined our team in October 2022 with the motivation to be more involved with youth in Lane County. Her previous experience includes managing the food and beverage department of some of Eugene’s most prestigious hotels; she brings years of event coordination experience to this new role. In her free time, Shimea can be found outside playing a pickup game of basketball or volleyball. For her, basketball has been and always will be her first love. Her passion for food and adventure makes her an avid thrill seeker with an enviable appetite for life.

Elevate staff member Ryan

Ryan Chamberlain

Industry Outreach Coordinator

he/him/his

Ryan is a fifth-generation Lane County resident. He attended Lane Community College, Colorado State University, and Portland State University before graduating from Oregon State University. Ryan brings over 25 years of management experience as a business owner, private contractor, and, most recently, as general manager of a local manufacturing company for the last ten years.

When Ryan is not working, he is busy coaching soccer for Eugene Metro Futbol Club or flag football, basketball, or baseball for Emerald Kidsports. He also enjoys camping and spending time with his wife and two kids. Ryan looks forward to utilizing his existing connections in the community and expanding them to connect youth to many opportunities. He hopes to help make Lane County a great place for all youth to prosper and succeed!

Monica Reynoso (Elevate)

Mónica Reynoso

Projects Assistant Lead

she/her/ella
Hablo español

Mónica is passionate about creating career-learning opportunities for youth with a mission to elevate their voices through the power of community. As a Projects Assistant Lead, she is a soul-centered teammate and advocate for representation, community building, and equality. Mónica has a bounty of youth-focused experiences from her prior volunteer work. Mónica has traveled to Mexico and Guatemala on medical mission trips, provided mentorship and tutoring to 4J students, and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate of Lane County.

She loves advocating for youth in her community, as helping others has been integral to her identity. Mónica speaks Spanish and uses it to foster communication across linguistic barriers. Through her work, she keeps a promise to herself she made when she was twelve to give back to her community. In her free time, you might catch her exploring the outdoors with her partner, reading, cooking, dancing, or spending time with family, friends, and two Yorkies; her nieces and nephews mean the world to her.

Junah Calceta

Junah Calceta

Projects Assistant

he/him/his

Junah is a Project Assistant for the Elevate team and is currently a student at the University of Oregon pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Originally an intern for Connected Lane County, Junah found a new passion for supporting local communities and uplifting marginalized communities. Seeing the overlap of materials he has learned in school and connecting them to real-life experiences furthers his passion for Psychology and Social Work. When Junah is not working, he enjoys hanging out with his friends and hiking.

Navigate Program Staff

navigate icon
Annie's headshot.

Annie Dropek

Program Lead

she/her/hers

Annie has a Masters's degree in Education from the University of Oregon and has always had a passion for empowering and guiding youth. She started her career as a middle school Language Arts teacher, then an elementary Montessori teacher, and is now excited to bring her dedication to community building and youth growth to Connected Lane County. When she isn’t working, she occupies her time by hanging out with her family and fur babies, binging nerdy TV shows, reading sci-fi and fantasy books (and trying to write her own), and drinking lots and lots of tea.

Olivia Goodheart (Navigate)

Olivia Goodheart

Resource Navigator

she/her/hers

Olivia Goodheart is a Resource Navigator for Connected Lane County’s Navigate program. Olivia serves youth in Cottage Grove and Creswell and supports them in achieving their short- and long-term career and educational goals. Olivia grew up and continues to live in Lorane and is passionate about encouraging rural youth to follow their dreams.

After graduating from Churchill High School in Eugene, Olivia attended Williams College in Massachusetts. She graduated with a BA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Political Science, and Spanish. She brings experience in the classroom and direct support work with adults with disabilities. In her free time, Olivia enjoys snuggling her four cats, reading, and curating her vast collection of indoor plants.

Sean Wilkinson (Navigate)

Sean Wilkinson

Resource Navigator

he/him/his

Sean grew up in Northern California and spent a decade in San Diego before moving to Eugene in 2021. He has years of experience inside the classroom and is dedicated to making a difference in Lane County. When he is not working, he loves exploring the area with his fiance and their dog, Payton. Sean loves to cook, tinker with flowers, and work towards improving his green thumb.

Hailey Johnston (Navigate)

Hailey Johnston

Resource Navigator

she/her/hers

Hailey graduated from Montana State University with a degree in psychology and has a background in working with students in higher education. Hailey also has experience in social work, helping youth with emotional and behavioral problems, as well as experience in the field of addiction treatment.

Hailey is passionate about serving her community, mentoring, and creating opportunities for youth to grow and break the cycles of poverty and trauma. Hailey enjoys exploring new places, doing arts and crafts, and hanging out with her cat in her free time.

Adriana Santiago (Navigate)

Adriana Santiago

Resource Navigator

she/her/ella
Hablo español

Adriana is passionate about helping youth accomplish their educational and career goals. She has volunteered with numerous organizations, including Springfield High School’s Multicultural Student Association, Downtown Languages, and Centro Latino Americano. Additionally, she has served as the President of the LCC chapter of Mecha, participated in the Oregon Student Association as an Oregon Students of Color Coalition board member, and was a student in the Puertas Abiertas Leadership Academy.

Jim Garcia, a professor and advisor at LCC, inspired her to follow her dreams, be active in her community, and reclaim her indigenous roots. Through her extensive community involvement, she has gained the skills to help others. Adriana hopes that with her experience, community resources, and skills, she can help other youth like herself accomplish their long-term goals. When Adriana is not active in the community, working, or studying, she likes exploring new places, being outdoors, listening to music, reading, dancing, spending quality time with friends, or tending to her plants!

Meg Watson (Navigate)

Meg Watson

Program Assistant

she/her/hers

Meg applies her lived experiences and professional knowledge in her role at Connected Lane County. Her involvement with the ASPIRE program while a student at the University of Oregon ignited her passion for supporting youth in achieving their post-secondary goals, and she supports the team in providing expansive services through the Navigate program. You can often find her at our monthly Wonder Wednesday events in Eugene or during drop-in hours in Springfield.

When not at work, Meg enjoys starting (and occasionally finishing) DIY projects around the house, spending time with friends, and singing parodies to and about her dogs, Arthur and Winifred.

Navigate/Elevate staff member Kayley

Kayley Salgado

Projects Assistant

she/her/hers

Kayley recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a  B.S. in Psychology and has a wealth of experience working with youth. Kayley worked with a neuroscience lab and a student success program centering BIPOC, first-generation, and low-income students during her time at the university. Following six years of working with special education and behavioral children as an educational assistant and behavioral interventionist, Kayley is excited to merge her educational and work experiences in her new role. Kayley enjoys taking trips to the coast, hiking, and reading when not serving youth.

Carla's headshot.

Carla Avila Anderson

Resource Navigator

she/her/hers/ella
Hablo español

Carla is the newest Resource Navigator at Connected Lane County! She comes to us with experience working for other local organizations and has worked with youth and families. Carla grew up locally in Lane County and graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor's in Family and Human Services. She is passionate about helping youth in the community and removing barriers to life and education. When Carla is not at work, she enjoys reading, photography, and spending time with friends and family!

Spark Program Staff

spark icon
Spark staff member KB

KB Burwell

Program Lead

she/they

KB is a Project Coordinator for Spark and is passionate about providing youth with hands-on learning experiences and opportunities in a safe-to-fail environment. Originally from North Carolina, KB was a long-time camp counselor, leading her to pursue her undergrad degree in Environmental Science while playing soccer at Lenoir Rhyne University. Later, moving to New Jersey, KB completed her Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus in Earth Science from Montclair State University while working as a Mission Commander at the Buehler Challenger & Science Center.

Before Connected Lane County, KB was a middle school science and STEAM teacher at Cheldelin Middle School in Corvallis, where she developed the STEAM program and coached the middle school girl's soccer, girl's basketball, cross country, and track teams. Outside of work, KB stays active by playing soccer, basketball, mountain biking, and snowboarding!

Spark staff member Gerardo

Gerardo Garcia Cruz

Projects Assistant

he/him/his
Hablo español

Gerardo was born in San Jose, California, and lived most of his life in the Bay Area. Gerardo obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, with a focus on Policy Analysis.

Gerardo moved to Oregon in 2022. Gerardo runs cross country for the Oregon Track Club and loves competing when the occasion arises. When he is not at work or running, he creates DJ sets, interactive digital visuals for his page, or simply out floating in the river with his cousins in the summer.

Hola comunidad de Condado De Lane mi nombre es Gerardo Garcia Cruz estoy feliz de poder servir y ayudar a familias que hablan espanol!