Meet The Team
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.
Director of Mission Services
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.
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 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.
TEP Case Manager
Benjamin McLean is a native of Tacoma, WA. Raised in the Hilltop and Eastside, he participated in the youth programs at the Downtown Tacoma Boy’s Club and attended Lincoln High School. Benjamin has had his share of ups and downs as a child and as an adult. Through it all he has learned to look up, get up and never give up. “My past has allowed me to see life through a genuine lens in order to meet people where they are at while showing when focused we can rise above our circumstances and reach higher ground”
Benjamin comes to Valeo Vocation to be the TEP (Transitional Employment Pathway) case manager. He was the founding staff member of the Max and Margi Harned Titan Food Pantry at Tacoma Community College. Starting with an empty room he grew a place where students could come, not only for food and other resources, but also for a kind, empathetic and friendly face to support them on their educational journey. He has supported our community partner, Nourish Food Network, with their Mobile Food Unit on campus of TCC to expand what students and the surrounding community could access. He also contributed to many cross-campus efforts including EDIC during his time at TCC. He touched the lives of thousands of students as food pantry coordinator at Tacoma Community College.
While working as food pantry coordinator Ben became a graduate of TCC with a degree in Business and Logistics in 2020. He was a key member of the Workforce Education team. Ben is bringing all his compassion, kindness, and great advocacy skills to blend with the Valeo Vocation team which is working hard to support those working to overcome any and all circumstances.
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.
Meet The Board
Mark is a Principal at WinSource Group, a sales performance consulting company in Tacoma, WA. Mark helps companies that sell business to business services develop and bring to life sales strategies that drive revenue. He helps sales leadership teams create culture, structure, and systems that perform.
Mark is an expert at driving sales performance, keeping focus on customers, and keeping things simple. For 20 years, Mark has held every sales role out there- from Salesperson to Manager to Vice President of Sales and Enablement for a $2.5B publicly traded company. He has 20 years of staffing experience. During that time he has spent countless hours figuring out what works and of course, what doesn't. This enables Mark to sniff out things that are blocking performance, remove the barrier, and get people to act. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt and holds master certifications from some of the top sales training organizations in the world. Whether its strategic planning, sales process development, sales training, customer acquisition & engagement, sales team performance, or system and tool adoption- Mark can help get teams on track.
Mark is the Board Vice Chair for the Emergency Food Network in Tacoma and has worked with other community-based organizations to bring strategic planning and business best practices to the non-profit world, leading to better results, more efficient operations, and the ability to focus on the overall mission. Mark joined the Valeo Vocations Board in February 2020.
Levongia Carrera, CPA, is currently the Director of External Reporting and Technical Accounting at TrueBlue, Inc. Her responsibilities primarily include leading the preparation of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, writing technical accounting whitepapers, and recommending internal process improvements to increase reporting efficiencies throughout the organization.
Levongia started her public accounting career PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in San Francisco in the audit assurance practice. After becoming manager, she moved to Bogota, Colombia for two years where she managed the audits of U.S. based companies. Levongia also worked in the Capital Markets Group of PwC in Sao Paulo, Brazil for approximately three years before moving back to the U.S. In her current role, Levongia spearheaded the development of the first ever Staffing Industry Technical Accounting Group, which consists of seven public staffing companies and over 15 professionals.
Levongia holds a CPA license in Washington and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management with an emphasis in Accounting from Sonoma State University in California, and an MBA from Seattle University in Washington. Levongia joined the Board of Valeo Vocation in 2020.