Meet The Team

Sherri Jensen

CEO

Founder and CEO Sherri Jensen envisioned Valeo by combining her experience running the Resources to Initiate Successful Employment (RISE) program for a Tacoma-based nonprofit, with her previous career in the temporary staffing industry. Sherri brings eight years of workforce development experience to Valeo and believes meaningful employment not only provides a wage, but a sense of self-worth that helps each individual to grow and thrive.

 

The Valeo Vocation model emerged out of a dream of combining the value of a temporary staffing agency with the program success of RISE, creating an innovative social enterprise that transforms lives and communities. 

Mitch Austin

Chief of Staff

Orphaned at birth & adopted into a family immersed in abuse, addiction, divorce & poverty—Mitch has spent the last 50 years navigating his own way to health & sustainability. It was through this journey that he was able to strengthen & forge his resolve, causing him to adopt his own personal lifetime mission: To search out & defend the widows & orphans in their time of distress & to comfort the foreigner & homeless in crisis.

 

By combining his College education with the last 30 years working & volunteering in all levels of nonprofits, charities & state agencies. As a Janitor, Coach, Pastor, Counselor, Case Manager, Program Manager, Program Director, Security guard, Housing Navigator & Mentor in both paid & volunteer status— Coupled with 25+ years in the for-profit arena as an iron worker, construction worker, equipment operator, welder, truck driver, salesman & sales manager has offered Mitchell the opportunity to be a part of building something way bigger than himself & landing him in his life’s passion as the Chief Program Officer with Valeo Vocation!

Andrea Austin

Support Specialist

Andrea Austin brings over 25 years of experience in Management, Payroll, Bookkeeping, Customer Service & Sales, to help her manage the back-office operations at Valeo Vocation. Andrea also brings volunteer experience that includes mentoring young adults, PTA Treasurer Board Position, preparing & serving meals to people experiencing homelessness & several other positions that have given her experience in leading people & organizations toward the mission of serving the people they are passionate about.

 

Andrea’s passion is to serve people in need. To provide hope to people who desire the opportunity to make changes that allow for a better life for themselves & for their families.

 

In addition to her back-office responsibilities, Andrea loves to invest time into establishing relationships with Valeo’s clients & seeks mentor-ship opportunities whenever she can.

Lacreasha Jackson

Outreach Technician

Lacreasha Jackson was born in Seattle, WA to two young parents. Due to her parents living in addiction and chronic poverty, Lacreasha spent most of her childhood living with family members of her mothers. In childhood, Lacreasha saw her father sentenced to ten years in the federal penitentiary and her mother in and out of chemical dependency treatment centers. When she was fourteen, Lacreasha moved out of her grandmothers and started her own journey through homelessness and addiction.

 

Despite the odds, Lacreasha stayed diligent and graduated high school, then was always able to maintain employment, until she was 27. At this point, Lacreasha was first introduced to being personally involved in the criminal justice system. She struggled in her addiction with opiates, found herself in toxic relationships, and was now having to mitigate staying out of jail. She decided to change.

 

Voluntarily opting in to Drug Court, Lacreasha moved to Tacoma and engaged in services, such as the RISE program at Sound Outreach. Lacreasha says, “I chose myself and have been choosing to win every time!”. As the Valeo Vocation Outreach Technician, Lacreasha uses her personal journey and passion to advocate for those who are lost to promote hope to those who are ready to work hard.

Norman Brickhouse

Career Navigator

Norman Brickhouse comes to Valeo Vocation from Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier region where he was the Manager of the Financial Education Department. He brings a vast amount of experience including Sales, Financial Coaching, Employment services, and Income Supports Services. He has a passion to help people achieve the employment and financial goals in life. Norman is a graduate form the University of Texas at Arlington where he majored in Finance and minored in Accounting. He has a strong background in lending with a concentration in home ownership. Norman currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Homeownership Center of Tacoma.

Norman believes in an equity-based approach to helping people reach their goals. “Everyone does not start off in life with the same opportunities. I use a strength-based coaching model where everyone concentrates on positive skills, thereby making them more successful.”

 

Norman’s experience in the Center for Strong Families has helped him to develop his integrated service delivery model. Clients are more successful when they get assistance in removing barriers to employment, including Housing, Transportation, and behavior barriers.

Drew Ahearn

IT Specialist

Preferring to remain incognito and use his powers for good while working from the shadows, Drew Ahearn provides IT support for and manages the IT resources for the Valeo staff.

 

Drew has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology from Western Governors University and has obtained numerous IT certifications, including the A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications from CompTIA.  Drew has more than 20 years of experience working in various high technology fields including Network Systems Administration, Software Development, and Complex Systems Integration.