Young Women Empowered


 Barbara “BJ” Jefferson – Y-WE Lead Facilitator

Barbara “BJ” Jefferson is a queer, black, gender non-conforming, experience designer and facilitator specializing in solutionary leadership, anti-oppression, personal and community development, and collective healing. BJ thrives when creating “brave spaces” for individuals to critically and wholeheartedly nurture their purpose in service of social, political, ecological, personal, economic, and spiritual change. BJ is a lead trainer with The Work That Reconnects, Generation Waking Up, and Young Women Empowered; and a full-time business student. In Seattle, you can find them hosting Black Folk’s Dinner – a monthly potluck dinner party for people of the African Diaspora.



Claudia Pineda – Y-WE Lead Facilitator

Claudia Pineda is a social worker from Cicero, Illinois and Michoacan, Mexico. The foundation of her practice is based in social justice on anti-oppression projects ranging from gendered violence to racial equity. She is an independent consultant and provides assistance specific to equity, a facilitator for Artesia (formerly known as Partners for Youth Empowerment Global), and works with families and youth to prevent youth violence. Her facilitation background is grounded in the Creative Community, Experiential Learning, and Restorative Justice models. She earned her Master’s Degree in social work and her BA in Latin American Studies and in Ethnic Studies. She has lived in Chicago, Morelia, Santa Fe, and Portland, traveled the country, and she has proudly found a forever home in the Emerald City. All of Claudia’s work is nurturing and fulfilling, and Y-We is especially invigorating because a truly diverse group of brilliant young people come together and passionately commit to the practice of love and inclusivity.



Nahil Sharkasi – Y-WE Code Lead Facilitator

Nahil Sharkasi is video game and technology developer specializing in making everyday life more playful.  As a Producer at Microsoft, Nahil leads team’s of artists, designers, and engineers to create cutting edge entertainment experiences- working with franchises like Halo and StarWars, and devices like Xbox, Kinect, and HoloLens.  Nahil’s passion is to get women and girls excited and engaged in technology.  As a first-generation Muslim American, Nahil hopes he work with YWe will help more women of color grow into their leadership and go after the careers of their dreams.



Kamilla Kafiyeva – Y-WE Express Lead Facilitator

Kamilla is trained in the art of facilitation, under the creative community model. The foundation of her work is shaped through the lens of intersectional identity and the power of art to act as a catalyst for self-empowerment, social responsibility, and collective action. Kamilla specializes in working alongside young people to support their growth and resilience through mentorship, leading creative writing and performance workshops to foster their leadership and public speaking skills, and to offer a listening ear when her students need to be heard. In her spare time, she can be found writing, drawing, with her dog Shilo, or in the company of good people and good food.