Get to Know Our Staff

Heidi Larwick (Executive Director)

Heidi Larwick


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 under her belt, she has devoted her career to fighting for labor rights, public health advocacy, and most recently, educational equity. READ MORE

Becky-Jo Samples (Staff)

Becky-Jo Samples


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 as an event speaker. Becky-Jo served on the board of directors for Downtown Languages from 2017 to 2021 and as the board president from 2019 to 2021. In January 2021, she joined the board of directors for Centro Latino Americano where she's been working to help 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 of business administration from Northwest Christian University (Bushnell). She enjoys reading and learning new things, traveling, cooking, gardening, and spending time outdoors with her husband Josh, and two dogs Mufasa and Albus.

Michelle Martin (Staff)

Michelle Martin


Michelle Martin has over 25 years of experience as a Program Assistant for Lane ESD. As our office coordinator, Michelle ensures we're running smoothly! She provides support to Connected Lane County’s Board of Directors and the many innovative projects and initiatives that Connected Lane County has created. In her free time, she enjoys camping and spending time with her family.

Illiana Lang Lundgren (Staff)

Iliana Lang Lundgren


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 be contributing directly to her new community by bringing her marketing and development skills to Connected Lane County to support youth from diverse backgrounds to gain the confidence and skills they need to thrive in their lives. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, hiking/exploring, and trying new restaurants and food carts with her husband, Hunter, and dog, Rori.

Eva Camacho

Eva Camacho


Eva is passionate about community engagement and effective communication across audiences. She first worked with Connected Lane County through a community partner and knew she wanted to become more involved. Eva joined the team in September 2023 as a communications assistant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a legal studies minor from the University of Oregon. In her free time, Eva enjoys reading, hiking, teaching yoga, and spending time with her partner and her two pets, her cat Pablo, and her dog Nimbus.

Jade Luther (Staff)

Jade Luther


Jade is the Graphic Designer and Photographer for Connected Lane County. She works closely with the marketing team to help 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 having a serving mindset and is ready to lend a hand when and where ever needed. In her free time, Jade loves spending time with her family and pets, 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


Krishna is the IT Specialist for Connected Lane County. He grew up in Eugene and is currently a student at the University of Oregon pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. When he is not working or going to school, Krishna enjoys spending time with family and friends and learning new things.

Elevate staff member Tracey

Tracey Ward


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 in the classroom supporting students and has a passion for 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


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.

Monica Reynoso (Elevate)

Mónica Reynoso


Mónica came to Connected Lane County with a bounty of volunteer experience involving youth in various capacities. She has traveled to Mexico and Guatemala on Medical Mission Trips, provided mentorship and tutoring to students in the 4J School District, and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate of Lane County. She is passionate about providing advocacy for youth in her community. You might catch her exploring the outdoors with her partner, reading, cooking, dancing, or spending time with family, friends, and her two Yorkshire Terriers in her spare time.

Alex Davis (Elevate)

Alex Davis


Alex brings over a decade of experience working with youth and other non-profits within Lane County to the Connected Lane County team. While working as an Educational Assistant, he saw first-hand that not all youth have equal opportunities and realized that he wants to help resolve the disparity gap. Outside of work, he is a husband to his wife, Tami, and father to his two-year-old, Ace. Connecting with young people through basketball is his passion and he is an Assistant Coach of the Men’s Basketball team at Bushnell University.

Elevate staff member Ryan

Ryan Chamberlain


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 10 years.

When Ryan is not working he is busy coaching soccer for Eugene Metro Futbol Club or coaching 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 a multitude of opportunities. He hopes to help make Lane County a great place for all youth to prosper and succeed!

Navigate staff member Annie

Annie Dropek


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


Olivia Goodheart is a Resource Navigator for Connected Lane County’s Navigate program. Olivia serves youth in Cottage Grove, Creswell, Lowell, and Oakridge, and supports them in achieving their short- and long-term career and educational goals. Olivia grew up and continues to live in Lorane, OR, 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 three cats, rock-climbing, and curating her vast collection of indoor plants.

Sean Wilkinson (Navigate)

Sean Wilkinson


Sean grew up in Northern California and has spent the past decade in San Diego. He has years of experience inside the classroom and is dedicated to making a difference in the Eugene community. When he is not working he loves exploring the area with his dog Payton and loves to cook and tinker with flowers and plants.

Meg Watson (Navigate)

Meg Watson


While new to nonprofit work, Meg is excited to apply both her lived experiences and professional knowledge to her role as Resource Navigator. Her involvement with the ASPIRE program while a student at the University of Oregon ignited her passion to support youth in achieving their post-secondary goals, and she’s looking forward to providing more expansive services through the Navigate program.

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 three dogs, Sadie, Arthur, and Winifred.

Hailey Johnston (Navigate)

Hailey Johnston


Hailey is new to Oregon and excited to be here! She 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.  In her free time, Hailey enjoys exploring new places, doing arts and crafts, and hanging out with her cat.

Adriana Santiago (Navigate)

Adriana Santiago


Adriana was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and grew up in Oceanside, CA, before moving to Oregon when she was 10 years old. She is a first-generation DACA-mented student with a passion for opening the doors of higher education for the Latinx community. Adriana volunteered with organizations including PeaceJam, Downtown Languages, and Centro Latino Americano, and has been the co-chair for the Mecha chapter at Lane Community College since 2020. Prior to joining the Connected Lane County team, Adriana worked at PeaceHealth Pediatrics clinic and prior to that, she was a pharmacy technician.

When Adriana is not active in the community or working, she likes to go out on long walks, hang out with friends, explore new places, listen to music, read, learn new languages (she speaks four!), dance, or just stay at home with her indoor plants!

Navigate/Elevate staff member Kayley

Kayley Salgado


Kayley is a Projects Assistant supporting the Navigate and Elevate programs. A recent graduate from the University of Oregon with a  B.S. in Psychology, Kayley 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 new her role. When not serving youth, Kayley enjoys taking trips to the coast, hiking, and reading.

Justin Thibedeau (Spark)

Justin Thibedeau


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.

Spark staff member KB

KB Burwell


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.

Prior to 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 can often be found staying active by playing soccer, basketball, mountain biking, and snowboarding!

Spark staff member Gerardo

Gerardo Garcia Cruz


Gerardo is the Project Assistant for Spark at Connected Lane County. 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 is creating DJ sets, creating interactive digital visuals for his page, or simply out floating in the river with his cousins in the summer.