Team

Working as one.

Our team combines equal parts skill and passion to advance our clients' impact on the world.

  • John Hoyt

    Partner
  • Anne Tillery

    Partner
  • Mae Moldenhauer

    Finance Director
  • Gustavo Asman

    Creative Director
  • Alex Bates

    Technology Director
  • Karis Cady

    Design Director
  • Barbara Cairns

    Conservation & Sustainability Director
  • Josh Daniel

    Education Director
  • Kimburly Ervin

    Social and Channel Strategy Director
  • Sue Evans

    Senior Strategist of Counsel
  • Emily Goetz

    Chief Marketing Officer
  • Tiffany Higa

    Designer
  • Carly McCarthy

    Project Manager
  • Chris Nelson

    Arts & Culture Director
  • Kara Palmer

    Philanthropy Director
  • Jaline Quinto

    Senior Strategic Advisor
  • Denise Rhiner

    Health Director
  • Jill Becker

    Digital Strategist
  • Vivian Phillips

    Senior Strategic Advisor
  • Marc Shor

    Senior Digital Strategist
  • Ruby Stacey

    Ruby Stacey

    Project Manager
  • Sarah Starr

    Project Manager
  • Ken Zinser

    Designer

John Hoyt

Partner

Solving problems that otherwise feel unsolvable. Ask John what drives his passion for social change, and that’s what he’ll tell you. As founder, he’s been showing up every day since 1993, dedicated to collaborating with the people of Pyramid and giving voice to good causes. From creating public policy on Alaska subsistence, to working to end childhood obesity, to sustaining arts education in the heart of Seattle, John’s experience ranges widely, and runs deep. With an extensive background in strategic communications, public affairs, and politics, and deep roots in the community, John understands what it takes to build a movement. He brings people together and connects the dots that others don’t see—with a smile and a sense of humor. His days and nights are interwoven with enjoying time with his son, gardening, biking, playing squash, and serving on the boards for Ploughshares Fund and Capitol Hill Housing Foundation. John holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian and East European studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Activist origins
Raised in a family that pulled him out of school for civil rights and spent nights licking envelopes, John could sing “We Shall Overcome” before he knew “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” 


Recent work

125 Years. One Word. | Central Washington University

Anne Tillery

Partner

Listen deeply and move compassionately—the tenets of mindfulness guide Anne as she seeks to serve others through her work. Anne is a strategist and facilitator who advises organizations on strategic planning, communications, brand development and movement building. In her 20 years at Pyramid, she has led regional and national work in health and well-being, conservation, education, and arts and culture, with an emphasis on measureable social impact. Anne infuses her strategy and communications expertise with attention to the present moment and to the needs of the people she serves. Captivated by the world surrounding her, Anne has curated a broad set of interests and skills from a young age. She graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in English and international studies, and informs her work with insights from literature, art history, biology, anthropology, zoology, and economics. Her time outside of Pyramid is devoted to adventures with her family, teaching meditation, practicing yoga and drinking chai. 

What really matters for Anne
"Having a purpose that transcends your own interests, being kind, being present. Loving what is without attachment, without expectation."


Mae Moldenhauer

Finance Director

As Finance Director, Mae is responsible for the multi-faceted financial duties that keep Pyramid’s financial wheel turning. Mae also leads the Operations Team—ensuring that the operational side of the company always runs smoothly. Mae began her career in the real world with Washington Mutual Savings Bank. She fortified her business savvy working in the Seattle office of The Rockey Company, a public relations firm in the Pacific Northwest. As finance manager there, Mae was responsible for the accounting functions for the firms’ three offices. Mae later joined APCO Worldwide as senior finance associate responsible for overseeing the accounting functions for APCO’s four West Coast offices.  

After hours
Mae enjoys “junktiquing,” adding to her shoe collection and taking care of her old ladies.


Gustavo Asman

Creative Director

He’s not a chess player, but the game is a fitting metaphor for Gustavo’s work. Moving different pieces and thinking through multiple strategies at the same time—that’s what he loves. At Pyramid, Gustavo oversees the design, interactive, editorial, and social media teams, driving strategic thinking and creative problem solving across the firm. With extensive expertise in advertising and creative direction, Gustavo has worked around the globe, from Argentina to New York City, Southeast Asia, and now Seattle. This international journey taught Gustavo a lot: About similarities and differences. About going to the human essence. About pausing to see things from a new perspective. Gustavo has an extensive portfolio, with clients spanning Unicef, The Ad Council, DHL, and Unilever. It’s earned him five Cannes Lions among other international awards—but he’d never tell you that himself. He simply loves collaborating on projects that move hearts and spark change. In and out of the office, Gustavo seeks to learn something new every day. He loves biking and playing basketball with his family. Gustavo received a bachelor’s degree from Cangallo Schule in Buenos Aires and graduated from the Argentine Association of Advertising Agencies.

Philosophy of work
“I don’t believe in the notion of perfection. That’s probably why I tend to be a perfectionist.”


Alex Bates

Technology Director

It’s no understatement to say that without Alex, the Pyramid office would shut down—or, at the very least, go offline. As director of technology, he keeps everyone plugged in and able to do the good work we love. Alex joined the staff full-time in 2001 after serving Pyramid for several years prior. But Alex does a lot more than ensure our computers run smoothly. As a director he provides strategic planning for technology systems and on a day-to-day basis offers support and training to employees. As a member of the Green team he helps make sure the office reduces its environmental impact, and as a part of the Fun team, he helps build bonds between employees. Outside of work Alex is a father of two, and a keen outdoorsman with a real sense of adventure, so enjoys going on hikes with his family. 

A love of literature 
Alex may be a techie at heart, but he spent his time in university studying creative writing and photography. 


Recent work

125 Years. One Word. | Central Washington University
Digital engagement in the arts | Seattle Theatre Group

Karis Cady

Design Director

When your formative years are modest, forging a path in the art world might not feel like the most pragmatic choice—but from a young age, Karis knew design was her destiny. She charted a course for a full ride to Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, receiving a bachelor’s degree in fine art and anthropology. Karis soon found her place as the first in-house designer at Pyramid. Now as design director, Karis leads a team of designers in developing unique, compelling, and integrated design solutions. Her design skills span brand, print, digital, illustration, and data visualization. She brings energy, dedication (and snark) to pushing the limits of design innovation and cultivating her team’s talent. On her time off she can be found camping with her husband and kids, in an energetic family debate, working as a board member of One Nurse at a Time, binge watching Korean dramas, or presenting on designer/nonprofit collaboration at AIGA Seattle’s Design For Good.

Unspoken ritual
Karis gets her head into design by disembarking the bus at a stop that’s 15 minutes away from the office. She transitions to and from work during her walk. It’s her “intro” and “outro” to an otherwise bustling day. 


Recent work

Salmon are ours to save | Washington Governor's Salmon Recovery Office

Barbara Cairns

Conservation & Sustainability Director

Barbara is a skilled strategist, communicator, and facilitator with more than 25 years experience in strategic framing and planning, messaging and storytelling, and national, state, and local political and legislative campaign work. She returned to her home state of Washington after 15 years on the east coast, where she taught literature and writing at the University of New Hampshire, staffed United States Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT) on environment, energy, and transportation policy in Washington, D.C., and worked with government and nonprofit grantees across the country as deputy director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. For 13 years in Seattle, Barbara was executive director of Long Live the Kings, a nonprofit devoted to the restoration of wild salmon and sustainable fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. Barbara has a B.A. from Western Washington University with a double major in Speech Communications and English Literature; she earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. 

What energizes Barbara’s work 
The rush of helping people recognize new, plausible paths forward to accomplish their highest aspirations. Empowering communities to create sustainable futures that protect what they love. Dark green fir trees against a pale blue sky. Puget Sound oyster-light. Beautiful sentences. 


Recent work

Josh Daniel

Education Director

Josh starts with a goal and turns it into a story. An award-winning producer-writer-director and content strategist, Josh creates communication narratives that contribute to the social good and specializes in education. Josh brings over 25 years of experience creating powerful stories about learning on multiple platforms—video, web, print, mobile, games, and film. Josh drives the education practice at Pyramid and also provides strategy for initiatives for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and University of Washington. Previously, Josh founded media production firm Content Inventions, creating experiences for parents, students, and teachers for clients like Sesame Workshop, the Committee for Children, Educurious, the Teaching Channel, the National Academy of Sciences, PBS, and the United Nations. Josh also served as senior web editor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a relaunch of the foundation’s website. When not working, Josh can be found practicing Iyengar yoga or running around the lake. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Team Read. Josh has a bachelor's degree in communications from Empire State College and a certificate in directing from the American Film Institute.

Opening new doors
“I love finding the narrative and interesting twists to a story, so that we don’t always have to enter through the front door. Sometime, I like to walk in through the side door or the backdoor because it is often a more compelling way to tell a story and it makes it memorable. And I love to collaborate—it makes the storytelling magic happen.”


Kimburly Ervin

Social and Channel Strategy Director

Starting on the front lines of social media as a community manager, Kim refined a philosophy that is deeply rooted in community advocacy and engagement. She believes that by building programs around the audience—instead of directed at them—through two-way conversations and tailored strategies, organizations can build greater loyalty, advocacy, and investment among their constituents. By applying her experience working with both nonprofit and for-profit clients, she develops social media strategies and campaigns, which aim to deepen connections between organizations and their communities. Prior to joining Pyramid, Kim spent over three years developing and executing social media strategies and tactics for large brands, as well as non-profit clients, at Spring Creek Group, one of the first fully-dedicated social media agencies in the country. Before joining Spring Creek, Kim spent four years at KEXP. She holds a bachelor’s of arts degree in journalism/mass communications and philosophy from Seattle University. 

After hours
When not nerding out on the Internet, Kim can be found eating out on Capitol Hill, hitting up a concert or arts event, or curling up with a book. She is likely also plotting her next trip – suggestions are always welcome. 


Sue Evans

Senior Strategist of Counsel

Sue connects people to messages that move decision makers. She specializes in building complex media campaigns and communications strategies that guide clients through crisis, issue advocacy, legislative policy, political campaigns, and high-stakes litigation. As Pyramid’s former media relations director and owner of Northwest Media Allies, Sue leverages more than 20 years of communications experience to deliver a record of proven results for her clients. At Pyramid, she has worked on projects aimed at influencing the White House, Congress, state legislatures, and local government. She has also served as a media advisor to nonprofits, political campaigns, and law firms representing consumers. Recent clients include the Washington Student Achievement Council; newly-elected Washington state Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-36th); and Seattle Center’s P-3 Project. Sue has launched campaigns covered by 60 Minutes, The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, CNN, The Seattle Times, NPR, local media, and popular social media streams. Sue started her career in journalism. She later served two state lawmakers in the Washington State House of Representatives. She worked as communications director for the Washington State Association for Justice before serving as Pyramid’s media relations director. In 2010, she started her own consulting firm – Northwest Media Allies. Sue holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Madison-Wisconsin.

After hours
Outside of work, Sue investigates local trails and parks with her family and two German Shepherds. Sue is married to an investigative reporter, and together they have a teen son and grown daughter who are both passionate about music. In her next life, Sue wants to live in Cannon Beach.


Recent work

Raising $35 million in 96 hours | The Seattle Foundation
Energizing Portland to end childhood poverty | United Way of the Columbia-Willamette

Emily Goetz

Chief Marketing Officer

Raised by a family of communications professors, politicians, activists, and public school teachers, working for social good was a non-negotiable for Emily. A dedicated creative problem solver, Emily is a listener first and synthesizer second. She loves showing up every day to work with a group of incredibly authentic, talented people. She works closely with her clients to uncover opportunities and define clear, outcome-oriented goals. Then, she leads multi-disciplinary teams of strategists and creatives to find an expected—and unexpected—path forward to accomplish goals. Emily spends weekends playing in her beloved John’s Landing neighborhood with her Black Lab/German Shepherd Cliff and her better half. Emily received a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Washington's Jackson School.

Advocate for homeless youth
As Vice Chair of the Board of p:ear, Emily is a passionate advocate for homeless youth in Portland: “It’s inspiring. These kids have been through unspeakable trauma, and yet they show an amazing capacity for acceptance, love, and trust.”


Recent work

125 Years. One Word. | Central Washington University
The leading edge of health care | MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation

Tiffany Higa

Designer

Design snuck up on Tiffany. An artist since youth, she was afraid to pursue it full-time. Instead, she studied business administration with a marketing focus at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. That is, until she had to learn Photoshop for a job, loved it and, before long, found herself back at school to pursue a degree in interface design. Now, she sees design everywhere she goes, calling to her from magazines and storefront signage. She enjoys the challenge of design, believes fiercely in its role in creating social good, and loves the opportunity to put her own stamp on it. Known for her friendly, easy-going working style, Tiffany was born and raised on Oahu, which she calls “a little rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.” An active member of AIGA, Tiffany specializes in web design with knowledge of front-end web development, and experience in print and branding. She worked both as an in-house designer and at agencies before joining Pyramid. In her spare time, she enjoys lettering, reading blogs, singing karaoke (out of key), and seeking out new design inspiration online and from the world around her.

Why web design?
“A website has to grow and evolve. It’s a challenge but that’s what drives me.” 


Carly McCarthy

Project Manager

A lot of people can claim to be good listeners, but Carly truly is—and when she speaks, she means what she says. Her straightforward, honest approach is appreciated by clients and colleagues alike. As a project manager, Carly loves to hear out her clients' needs and develop creative communications solutions to their problems. Curious by nature, she has a passion for learning and believes it should be a lifelong pursuit. She is always looking for ways to expand upon what she knows and find innovative ways to tackle her clients’ biggest conundrums. Before joining Pyramid, Carly worked at the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner and was an associate manager with Olympic Brush Specialists. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in international studies from Seattle University. When she isn’t at the office, you can often find her attending concerts in Seattle, visiting her family in her rural hometown, and playing with her two Dachshunds, Judy and Julie.

After hours 
Maybe it was the semester she spent studying in Italy, but Carly is obsessed with food culture. (But don’t call her a "foodie".) If you need to know the best places to get a slice of pizza or an authentic plate of pasta, she’ll know the answer—and she could give it to you in Italian, too.


Recent work

Life goes on | Seattle Public Utilities

Chris Nelson

Arts & Culture Director

If Chris was the ocean-going sort, he’d be a deep-sea diver—someone who’s committed to plunging the depths and hunting for every detail. It’s in his nature. He’s a former award-winning journalist who has penned pieces for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Chicago Tribune and other outlets. At Pyramid, Chris marries his skills as a journalist with his passion for social causes and the arts. Whether crafting a case statement, helping organizations articulate their purpose, or pitching stories to the New York Times, Chris finds the compelling heart of a story and presents it engagingly to the right audiences. As board chair at The Vera Project, Chris is an advocate for youth in the arts in Seattle. He enjoys taking his kids to the Seattle Opera and watching absurd comedy with his family. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in English from James Madison University.

Music mania
Before he was a journalist, Chris performed in bands, put out a fanzine and even had a very short-lived career as a DIY concert producer. “If I latch onto a band, I want to know everything about them—get every release, follow all the news, read every book and see every documentary.”


Kara Palmer

Philanthropy Director

Kara leads our philanthropy practice, working across Pyramid’s issue areas and creative services to deliver the best results for clients. She brings more than 25 years of communications and advocacy experience driving change on health, education, social justice, and conservation. She excels at developing high-impact communication strategies and campaigns, crafting compelling stories, and mobilizing people and movements. Her clients include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Group Health Community Foundation, Centerstone, Fair Food Network, and New York City’s Center for Health Equity.

Previously Kara served as an advocacy officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she employed various strategies to elevate and advance global health, development, and learning initiatives. In addition, Kara has worked with a number of sustainability and conservation organizations, including the Wilderness Society, Sustainable Seattle, Seattle Public Utilities, Sound Transit, and the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority.

When she isn’t in the office, Kara enjoys spending time with her two kids, getting outdoors, and doing the NYT Sunday crossword puzzle with her husband. Kara holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of California at Davis.

Previously 
For more than a decade, Kara played ultimate frisbee, and was a three-time world champion, traveling to Scotland and England to play against international women’s teams. Her competitive spirit made her a natural at defense. 


Jaline Quinto

Senior Strategic Advisor

Jaline combines more than 15 years of experience in communications, media, government, and conservation to achieve the goals of tribes and Native organizations. She enjoys developing communications strategies, writing, editing, and creating marketing campaigns. Known for her quick wit and powerful writing skills, Jaline is also a skilled media professional and has earned thousands of stories in national and international outlets. Jaline previously served as director of council relations for former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. Prior to that, she served as communications manager at the Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign and as communications director for DC Vote, an organization dedicated to securing a vote in Congress for DC residents. When she isn’t dancing in the living room with her son, Jaline can usually be found behind a tall stack of fashion and interior design magazines with her trusty coffee cup by her side. Jaline holds a degree in communications and American Indian Studies from the University of Washington and is of Tlingit and Colville descent. 

Tell me a (not boring) story
Jaline believes in the power of a good story—funny, sad, powerful, playful, just make it a good story. The fact that she gets to help tell and shape stories at work? Bonus.

 

 

 

Denise Rhiner

Health Director

Denise applies more than a decade of communications experience to solving the challenges of clients working to improve health and well-being. She leads Pyramid Communications’ health practice, helping nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies devise integrated communications campaigns, tackle systems change, and capture the attention of the right audiences. She supports clients working to transform healthcare delivery, improve healthcare quality, and cultivate the health and wellbeing of communities in new ways. In addition to a focus on health and healthcare, Denise works with a variety of organizations addressing homelessness and affordable housing. Curious and committed to learning, Denise leads development and coordination for Pyramid’s bimonthly staff meetings, a forum for new ideas, inspiration, and sharing. On weekends, she’s always uncovering new things as a docent at Discovery Park, Seattle's largest park and most magnificent urban natural area. Prior to joining Pyramid, Denise was an independent information consultant in Portland, Ore., providing research and writing services to authors, publishers and corporations, especially those working in the education field. Denise holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Reed College.

Nature geek
Denise hunts for wild mushrooms, cultivates an edible garden, watches birds and appreciates all small things in nature, including lichens, ants and sea slugs.


Jill Becker

Digital Strategist

Whether crafting a tweet, developing an email campaign, or producing a video series, Jill strives to create inspiring digital experiences that bring people together to create positive change. A self-professed digital media nerd with a heart for mission-driven work, she is particularly interested in helping organizations develop nimble content strategies that embrace the constantly-evolving nature of the digital landscape. She brings her passion and experience to Pyramid working as a digital strategist, assisting clients with everything from email strategy and content development to social media engagement, website design and more. Over the past decade, Jill has held communications, marketing and digital media positions at the Seattle Symphony and University of Washington. She holds a Master's in Digital Media from University of Washington's Communication Leadership program and a Bachelor’s in Music from Whitman College. 

After Hours
When she’s not playing in the digital sandbox, you can find Jill performing with Philharmonia Northwest, snowshoeing with her husband, and posting pictures of her cats on the internet. 


Vivian Phillips

Senior Strategic Advisor

Vivian is an experienced communications professional, known for her collaborative style in building partnerships and engaging communities. She is an independent theatre producer and co-founding member of the Hansberry Project, and produces television programs on arts and heritage for 4Culture. She previously served as the director of marketing and communications for the Seattle Theatre Group, and managed all marketing and communications activities for Seattle’s historic Paramount, Moore and Neptune Theatres. She was a primary spokesperson and representative to the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium, a national initiative to promote African artists interpreting contemporary life through traditional, popular, or contemporary forms. From 2009 to 2012, Vivian taught persuasive communications as an adjunct professor in the Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership program at Seattle University. She has served as director of communications for Mayor Paul Schell and as an interim executive director of the Seattle Parks-operated Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. For many years, she hosted public affairs programs for the local ABC affiliate and local PBS station. Vivian is a Leadership Tomorrow alum and graduate of the Alki Foundation Political Involvement Institute.


Marc Shor

Senior Digital Strategist

Marc believes that a website can change the world, so he's been building them for the past decade or so. At Pyramid, he's responsible for building new websites, maintaining existing sites, and keeping the interactive project process flowing smoothly. Marc started his career as a high school math teacher (ask him to tell you his quadratic equation story), then moved to Microsoft when it was a relatively small company (about 1,000 employees). He developed computer-based training and transitioned to Design Lead for the first two products Microsoft developed specifically for kids. Once the Internet became a viable platform, he started creating websites, with a focus on non-profits and small businesses, two groups that are underserved in the technology services world. He started using Drupal about 7 years ago and fell in love with the open source culture. Nowadays, he's happy to create sites in Drupal, Wordpress, Squarespace, or whatever tool best fits the clients needs.

After Hours

Athletic by nature, Marc still plays competitive soccer, runs, bicycles around the state a week at a time, scuba dives, skydives (well, only once) and has been to Everest Base Camp.


Ruby Stacey

Ruby Stacey

Project Manager

Ruby, a member of the Quileute Tribe, has a vision for social and environmental justice that centers sustainable self-determination for Native peoples. With a foundation in indigenous ways of knowing, community organizing, and urban design, she believes that strategic communications play an essential role in advancing positive change. At Pyramid, she works as a project manager for the Indian Country practice group, supporting clients through research, content and message development, and managing the details of communications campaigns. Ruby attended the University of Washington, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Community, Environment, and Planning with a focus in American Indian Studies.

After Hours

Focus on connection: Ruby’s work is energized by examining all the ways in which pushing back against oppression can be linked to cultural restoration and healing practices at individual, social, and national levels. 

 


Sarah Starr

Project Manager

A grammar nut with a passion for social justice, Sarah has worked in communications across a range of industries and in a number of cities. While living in New York City, Sarah worked for national nonprofit organization the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, and at the global law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. Prior to that, she interned at the Equal Rights Center in Washington, DC, a nonprofit organization focused on fair housing and fair employment, and for Congressman Barney Frank during the lead-up to the passage of Dodd-Frank. In addition, she worked as a freelance reporter for local DC newspaper The Brookland Heartbeat, and as a freelance fact checker for Smithsonian Magazine. Sarah brings her diverse experience to telling clients’ stories in a way that is universal and impactful, plus her grammarian’s eye to making sure that every detail of a project is in place. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington University in St. Louis. 


Ken Zinser

Designer

Ken adheres to the idea that a designer should be able to “design anything from a spoon to a city.” Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, he grew up surrounded by nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions, which helped shape his drive for doing cause-oriented work. With a focus on digital design, Ken combines his passions for strategic communications and user experience to create products across all platforms for Pyramid’s clients. When critiquing his own work, he considers not only how the final solution will look, but how it will function in the real world. Before coming to Pyramid, Ken worked as a designer for creative studios like KINETIK and Gravity, which specialize in communications for nonprofits and membership associations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Seattle chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, supporting the chapter’s operations and helping organize its Design for Good initiative, the Changemaker Series. In his free time, you can find Ken photographing funky neon signs around the city, collecting dinosaur figurines from flea markets, or hanging out in West Seattle with his girlfriend, a fellow designer and illustrator, and their Australian Cattle Dog, Maybe. He holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Corcoran College of Art + Design.

Playing the long game
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my work as a designer is to always play the long game. It’s important to have a long-term view of what the final product or goal is, take short-term actions with that in mind, and just stick with it.”


Pyramid is a certified B Corp

We seek to continually measure and improve our commitment to social responsibility. It’s yet another step in our journey of doing good for our world. That's why we became a certified B Corporation.