With our presenting partner, Central Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we’re thrilled to announce the Yakima stop of Together Equal: A Gender Equity Tour of Washington. Join us Thursday, March 15 as we convene Yakima’s women leaders for a conversation about advancing leadership and economic opportunity for all women and girls.
Thursday, March 15
Howard Johnson Plaza
9 N 9th St, Yakima, WA 98901
Meet Our Powerhouse Panel
Mina Worthington is the President/CEO of Solarity Credit Union. Over the past 27 years, Mina has worked in various capacities in the financial services industry, primarily in credit unions. In 2011, Mina helped to facilitate a “merger of equals” between two credit unions, resulting in the formation of Solarity Credit Union. Currently, Mina’s 6-person Executive Team contains four highly qualified female leaders. Mina obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and her MBA from Loyola Marymount University in Marina Del Rey, California. Mina is married and shares four wonderful children with her husband, Jim Watters.
Raised in the original homelands of the Yakama Nation, Patricia Whitefoot lives in White Swan, WA where she was raised by her maternal grandparents in Medicine Valley. She obtained a B.A. in Elementary Education from Central Washington University in Ellensburg and a M.A. from Ft. Wright College in Spokane, WA. For over 40 years, she has managed Indian Education and community mobilization from preschool to adult education. Ms. Whitefoot has served on the Executive Board of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (62 Tribes) and also the Education Committee Chair for over 25 years. During President Obama’s term, she was appointed by the President to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education with the U.S. Department of Education. She was also appointed by Secretary Sebelius to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Prevention Committee. Ms. Whitefoot has also served two-terms as the President of the National Indian Education Association. She has previously served in elected positions of her tribe, which includes the tribe’s Code of Ethics Committee and Yakama Tribal Council. Over several years, she has been actively involved in Voter Registration, Indian Policy Advocacy, and Candidate Education since the 1990s when Indian treaty rights were under assault by anti-Indian federal government officials and constituencies. Ms. Whitefoot has three adult children and ten grandchildren. She is a member of the Toppenish Creek Longhouse in White Swan, WA.
My purpose in life is to serve and inspire lives. As an undocumented Latinx womxn of color I learned to embrace every challenge leading me to be a resilient womxn. I graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2010. I am the Executive Director and Co-Founder of I AM Empowerment LLC, a leadership organization that inspires individuals to discover and believe in their potential, passion and purpose. My dream is to travel the world and take my organization to touch the lives of people wherever I go.
I currently serve on the Board of Directors for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), serve as a member of the YWCA Racial Justice Committee, and was recently appointed to the City of Yakima Community Integration Committee.
Through I AM Empowerment LLC I lead a community undocumented support group in Yakima that creates a safe space to apply self-care strategies, share resources, and to advocate and take direct action. I am committed to creating unity in my community. Soon, I will be launching a second company with the mission to empower womxn to be self-advocates, unapologetic and power-driven individuals.
Melissa Hill, Ph.D.
Dr. Melissa Hill is the current Interim Vice President for Student Affairs at Heritage University in Toppenish, WA. She prides herself on being a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, and a strong advocate for education and women’s empowerment. In her role at Heritage University, she works to assist students to achieve their personal and professional dreams. “I often tell students, you can’t stay here… you are expected to graduate, and SOAR, like our motto, says, you need to leave the comfort of this nest and go out and make a difference in our community and the world.” She is avid in the need to preserve a liberal arts education and teaches Sociology 101 to undergraduate students. Many of the lesson focus on social justice issues that affect the people of the Valley.
Melissa earned her associate’s degree from Spokane Falls Community College where she also played for the Woman’s Volleyball team. Later she transferred to Eastern Washington University to earn her bachelor’s degree in Health Education with a minor in Communication Studies. After graduation, she moved to Alaska where she continued on her educational journey and went on to earn a master’s degree in Adult Education and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration on Education and Communication.
Much of her work today focuses on DREAMERS and helping young women overcome barriers to accessing higher education. As a first-generation college student herself, she knows the challenges and appreciates the privilege she had in being able to go to school and have parents that pushed her towards education.
Outside of Work:
At home, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, sewing, and canning tomatoes. She attributes much of her professional success to her mom, aunts, and late grandmother in serving as strong role models that shattered the cultural stereotypes about Hispanic women and their role in the home and society.