Staff- Meet the Team
Rita Ordóñez, Founder
I created Birdsign Consulting in 2015 after more than two decades of non-profit work. My dream was to have a business that helped organizations build community. Over the last 15 years, much of my work has been focused on food justice projects. I am an enthusiastic gardener, cook, hiker, swimmer, and dancer. When I am not working, I enjoy hanging out with my family, reading, and loving up my senior cat, the Fuzzy Duck. Birdsign Consulting is a family friendly employer that offers a remote only workplace, vacation time, annual bonuses and frequent raises. I am lucky to have an amazing staff that can serve clients with a wide variety of professional skills.
Ellen Gray, Senior Consultant
Ellen began working at Birdsign Consulting in 2017. Her primary focus is on farmers markets and food systems projects. She has over 30 years of experience managing nonprofit organizations that advance the sustainable use of our natural resources. Her childhood was spent working on Vermont dairy and horse farms where she developed a deep appreciation for farming. Ellen has a wealth of experience working in collaboration with diverse stakeholders. Ellen has a Masters from the University of Washington and a BA from the University of Vermont. She loves tennis and coaching the Mount Vernon High School tennis teams. Ellen lives in Mount Vernon, Washington.
Rob Leatherman, Senior Consultant
Rob began working at Birdsign Consulting in 2018. His primary focus is grant writing. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Rob is a graduate of Northwestern University and has lived in Washington State since 1990. Rob worked for the University of Washington’s Educational Talent Search program for 24 years helping students in Skagit and Snohomish counties apply to college and educating families about financial aid. Starting in 2022, Rob began serving as the Assistant Manager of the Everett and Marysville Farmers Markets. Rob lives in Granite Falls, WA.
Yolimar Rivera Vázquez, Consultant
Yolimar began working at Birdsign Consulting in 2023. She was born and raised in Borikén (commonly known as Puerto Rico). She moved to Washington to pursue a masters in environmental science. She fell in love with the Cascadia region and decided to stay. Although her academic background was focused on marine science, Yolimar developed her outreach, education, communication and project management skills during her time at Washington State University Extension working with the Latinx/e community and broadly, Snohomish County residents. She later spent half a decade in the nonprofit field as a program manager and food systems equity advocate. Yolimar currently lives in Lynnwood, WA with her spouse and pets; two doodles and a tabby cat. When she’s not at her desk, she enjoys experiencing joy through food, deep relationships, nature-based experiences and healing practices.
Alejandra Guzman Villa, Junior Consultant
Alejandra began working at Birdsign Consulting in 2022. She was born in Tijuana, Mexico. She arrived in the U.S. when she was 8 years old and had to learn English. Alejandra loves learning languages so much that in high school she took 4 years of French and after high school, she studied Mixtec for five years. Alejandra also loves numbers and began taking accounting classes in college. She is now working to get certified as a bookkeeper. Alejandra recognizes there is a community need for bilingual employees who can assist Latinos with their taxes and finances.
Shannon Bachtel, Assistant - Special Projects
Shannon began working at Birdsign Consulting in 2019. She primarily assists with farmers market projects. Shannon received a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from Western Washington University, and has been Certified Health Education Specialist since 2014. She has over 7 years of experience supporting agriculture and food systems through marketing and communications, program planning and implementation, and evaluation. Shannon is an avid gardener, plant propagator, mental health advocate, knitter, tinkerer, and mother.
Erica Lamson, Assistant - Special Projects
Erica began working at Birdsign Consulting in 2020. She assists with evaluation projects and business development. Erica has a degree in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Public Health Nutrition from the University of Washington. A dietitian since 2005, she has experience with nutrition and lactation counseling, program development, grant writing, planning, management, evaluation, and community coalition building. Erica is a co-owner of a popular Bellingham restaurant. She loves learning new things, gardening, cooking, yoga, reading, long walks, good conversations, and family dinners with her husband and four wild children.
Isabela Ordóñez, Senior Assistant
Isabela began working at Birdsign Consulting in 2018. She helps build capacity for the business. Isabela has a BA in Human Services from Western Washington University. She has over 10 years of nonprofit experience in event planning, volunteer coordination, fundraising, board support and marketing. Isabela's interests include spreadsheets, hiking, cooking, gardening, traveling, knitting, video games, collecting new hobbies. Isabela lives in Seattle with her fiancé and and her 15 year old cat Squeebles Johnson Berg.