Whitman Career Mentoring Program – meet this year’s mentors!

The Whitman Career Mentoring program will launch this academic year as an opportunity for senior students to work with seasoned professional for a year of career guidance. The mentors come from the Technology, Business, Government and Law career sectors for this pilot program, and can assist students who may be planning to pursue careers inside and outside of these sectors. Below are their biographies:

Brady Jensen (he/him/his)

Job Title: Senior Director, Global Human Resource Operations

Company: Willis Towers Watson

Industry: Insurance and Financial & Professional Services

Job Information: Lead delivery of HR services and information systems.

Company Description: Leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world realize their path for growth.

Employment History: Circuitous and opportunistic, my employment history has been the result of exploring new interests and emerging fields, often presented to me through a growing network of colleagues. I work at the intersection of information technology, finance, and people, in a role that probably didn’t exist when I graduated from whitman. I have been a consultant and worked inside corporate human resources functions.

Education: History, Whitman College ‘84

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: Assist students understand their options in modern global business – your first job is not your career, and how to successfully project and translate the capabilities developed through your liberal arts education into leadership and management of the enterprise.

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday afternoons through video chat and phone calls.

What else you should know: I was a history major and earned a minor in English, and to this day am a learned in both disciplines. This year alone I have read Icelandic sagas, the short stories of American Horror Progenitor H.P. Lovecraft, English Gothic novels, 1200+ pages of “The Transylvanian Trilogy” about pre-World War I hungary, and several works on recent domestic political history. My interests are broad, and I am highly curious and seek out new information and experiences.


Kirsten Kinyon Gable (she/her/hers)

Job Title: Organizational Transformation Practice Lead

Company: Sapere Consulting, Spokane

Industry: Management, Consulting – Energy, Technology, Environment

Job Information: I am a senior consultant for a management consulting firm focusing on change management and process improvement, specifically in the energy and environment industry.

Company Description: Management consulting firm that is focused on organizational transformation, energy services, and digital transformation

Employment History: Sapere Consulting (2003-Present) | Project Performance Corporation (2001-03)

Education: Biology BA, Whitman College ‘01 | MBA, Gonzaga University ‘10

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: I am excited for the opportunity to work with students to demystify the process of determining how to select a career interest, navigate the application and interview process and share insights/answer questions about entering the workforce.

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday mornings and afternoons through phone calls and on-campus appointments

What else you should know: I am an avid skier, runners and like anything in the outdoors. I enjoy college basketball (go Zags!) and am trying (unsuccessfully) to get better at golf. I am interested in contributing to my local community and serve on the Spokane Public Library Foundation Board. Working on the energy field has allowed me to continue to pursue me interest in the environment and working to mitigate the human impact on the natural world. I’m native of Idaho, but have lived in Spokane since 2007. Along with my husband and two daughters we enjoy all Eastern WA has to offer, including the proximity to Walla Walla – which I try to get to fairly often for Whitman and work events.


Christopher Blair (he/him/his)

Job Title: President

Company: Maestro Associates 

Industry: Financial Services

Job Information: Financial conductor

Company Description: We are a flat free financial planning firm focusing on helping our clients achieve their ideal life.

Employment History: Same firm since 1995, Fortis Financial Group 1994

Education: Whitman College 1990 BA, University of Denver 1993 MBA, University of Denver 1993, JD

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: To help students understand their best path in life, balancing a career with an enjoyable life outside of work, and how to actualize their best selves as they begin their story.

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday morning, afternoon and evening through video chat and phone calls.

What else you should know: My son, Anand, is a sophomore at Whitman College. My daughter, Soni, is a junior in high school. My wife, Manisha, and I enjoy hiking in Colorado.


Andrew Shoals (he/him/his)

Job Title: Entertainment Attorney

Company: Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo, P.C

Industry: Law Practice, Entertainment Industry

Job Information: I negotiate deals and draft contracts in the music, film, television and theater industries.

Company Description: Boutique entertainment law firm in New York City

Employment History: Professional Musician, Drums – Portland, OR 2005-2008 | Court Advocate at Fortune society (legal nonprofit) – Bronx NY, 2008-2009 | Penn Law School, Philadelphia, PA 2009-2012

Education: African Studies BA, Whitman College ‘05 | Law JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School ‘12

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: I would like to discuss academic, extracurricular and personal goals while mentee is at Whitman and start to plan for and discuss fellowships, grad school and career interests for mentee’s life after Whitman.

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday evenings and weekends through phone calls, video chats and on-campus meetings

What else should you know: I love to write and listen to music and support the performing arts; I’m originally from Portland. Oregon and like to follow the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team; I enjoy traveling and drinking third-wave coffee (e.g., Stumptown and blue Bottle).


Debra Jane Toews (she/her/hers)

Job Title: Attorney

Company: Willis & Toews, PLLC (retired)

Industry: Insurance and Financial & Professional Services

Job Information: I practiced primarily Personal Injury and wrongful Death areas of practice

Company Description: Two attorney firm in Walla Walla, previously with Hess Law and Minnick Hayer, also in Walla Walla

Employment History: Library Technician, Walla Walla Community College, 1976-1978 | taught English, world history in Secondary School in Kenya 1978-1980 | taught English as a Second Language at Walla Walla Community College 1985-1993 | Legal Assistant, Minnick Hayner 1993-1998 | Legal Assistant, Hess Law Office, 1993-2001 | Attorney, Hess Law Office 2001-2006 | Attorney and Partner Willis and Toews 2006

Education: English, Whitman College

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: I’m interested in meeting with students on campus. I live in Walla Walla, but I travel a fair amount as I am retired.

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekdays and weekends on campus

What else you should know: I’m a long-time bicyclist, and I have testified in the state Legislature on laws affecting bicycles, pedestrians and equestrians. My career path wasn’t a straight line, and I believe that helped me in relating to a wide variety of people.


Jason Copeland (he/him/his)

Job Title: Product Team Lead

Company: Amazon Web Services AI, Palo Alto

Industry: Technology, AI, Consulting

Job Information: AWS Machine Learning, Product Management

Company Description: A division of Amazon Web Services, centered on AI and machine learning

Employment History: AT Kearney, Consultant (1997-2000) | Manager, Oracle (2002-2003), Senior Manager | Good Technology (2003-2005) | Director of Product Management, WebOS (2005-2007) | Group Product Manager, Apple (2008-2014) | Entrepreneurial projects (2014-2018) | Product Team Lead, AWS AI (2019)

Education: Philosophy/ Chinese BA ‘94 Whitman College | East Asian Studies MA Harvard University | MBA Harvard Business School

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday mornings, afternoons and evenings through phone calls and on-campus appointments


Jason Paul Smith (he/him/his)

Job Title: Senior Policy Fellow

Company: Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Ann Arbor

Industry: Nonprofit workforce/education

Job Information: I currently develop and facilitate workforce leadership academics, along with conducting research and consulting for CSW.

Company Description: Non-profit that catalyzes nationwide transformative change across workforce, education, economic, and community development through research and action

Employment History: Dean of Health Sciences and Public Safety – Everett Community College (2013-19) | Assistant Dean of Students – Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington (2004-13) | Marine Corps Officer (LtCol retired) – multiple duty assignments both active duty and reservist (1998-2017)

Education: History BA – Whitman College | MS Administration – Central Michigan University | MA Security Studies – Naval War College | EdD Education Leadership – Washington State University (in progress)

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: I would like to be able to help students explore their different career/educational paths, and provide any insights I can based on my previous experiences. I hope to help students expand their network.

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday mornings and afternoons through video chat

What else should you know: I enjoy fishing out, Brazilian jiu jitsu and MMA. I have taught courses on the role of the military international development. The focus on my EdD research is on developing education systems in post conflict areas. I have presented on the topics of privilege, microaggressions, and systemic racism.


Aaron Perrine (he/him/his)

Job Title: Managing Director

Company: Trilogy Search Partners, Bellevue

Industry: Private Equity

Job Information: Lower-middle-market private equity investor

Company Description: Invest in small-company buyouts in US

Employment History: Amazon, General Manager Prime | McKinsey, Associate Partner | Infantry Captain,  US Army | FSO, US state Department

Education: Politics BA, Whitman College | MBA, University of Pennsylvania | JD, University of Washington

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: I am delighted to work with students considering government service, finance, consulting, and tech

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday mornings through video chats and on-campus appointments.

What else you should know: Seattle native, hobbies include CrossFit, spending time with kids, hiking in Washington.


Susan E. Buxton (she/her/hers)

Job Title: Administrator

Company: Idaho Division of Human Resources

Industry: Law, Governance and Administration

Job Information: I am the current Administrator of the Idaho Division of Human Resources within the Office of the Governor. She was appointed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. The Division has statutory authority for administration of the state personnel system.

Company Description: State of Idaho Human Resources Division

Employment History: Idaho Division of Human Resources 2016-present | Moore Smith Buxton & Turcke (1993-2016) | Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (1991-93) | Law Clerk, Idaho Court Appeals (1989-91)

Education: Philosophy BA, Biology Minor, Whitman College ‘85 | JD, University of Idaho College of Law ‘89

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: I am happy to work with students interested in pursuing the law or public service.

What else should you know: I was one of the founding shareholders of Moore Smith Buxton & Turcke, now known as MSBT Law, which was founded in 1991. With 30 years of legal experience I represented local government agencies, business and individuals in a wide variety of legal matters including human resources, government, environment, natural resources, municipal finance, public work and litigation.


Eric Jacks (he/him/his)

Job Title: Managing Director, Securitization Finance

Company: Bank of Montreal Capital Markets, New York City

Industry: Banking

Job Information: I manage a team of investment bankers that cover specialty finance companies and other ABS issuers.

Company Description: US Subsidiary of large Canadian bank

Employment History: Washington Mutual Bank (2003-08) | J.P. Morgan (2008-10) | KGS-Alpha Capital Markets (2010-18) | BMO Capital Markets (2018-present)

Education: Mathematics – Physics BA Whitman College ‘03

Mentoring Objectives & Scope: I am pretty open as regards objectives. I’d like to help current Whitman students with advice or access, to the extent they are looking for either of those.

When and where do you hold meetings with your students?: Weekday afternoon through phone calls.

What else should you know: My hobbies include reading, film, skiing and spending time in the outdoors. However, most of my time these days goes to spending time with my 2 small daughters Alice (4) and Teddy (2).

Still to be added…

Barb DeLauter (she/her/hers), Whitman staff member


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