Lifelong resident Dyani Turner has come a long way from her early days on stage when, as a tiny child, she danced under the direction of local teacher-choreographer Idalee Hutson-Fish and couldn’t remember which wing to exit to.
39 under 39
Arts & Culture
When Tracey Edwards became the new director of Shakespeare Walla Walla in February 2020, she was hoping to hit the ground running. The schedule dictated as much. As it turns out, COVID-19 had other plans.
A lifelong love of art and the Walla Walla Valley has kept native Lisa Anderson, 34, at work with her mind on this community at all times. She runs Walla Walla Foundry and Foundry Vineyards together with her brother, Jay.
Nonprofits & Advocacy
“It’s been an insane first year,” Kathryn Witherington said about her first 12 months leading the downtown Walla Walla nonprofit. “When I was hired, I thought I’d be doing work to build and strengthen downtown businesses.” Then everything shifted because of the pandemic.
Hannah Granchukoff has her hands full with animal care in the Valley. In addition to being animal care director at Blue Mountain Humane Society, she volunteers with the Washington State Penitentiary Dog Training Program and the Kitties in the Clink Program and coordinates the Humane Society’s Emergency Foster Program to provide short-term emergency pet housing for community members in need.
Julia Leavitt came to Sherwood Trust just over a year ago. The nonprofit is a grant-maker to local nonprofits and public agencies and a resource and learning center to support community and nonprofit equity and capacity.
As the executive director of the Blue Zones Project Walla Walla Valley — a nonprofit effort aimed at increasing public health — former Walla Walla County director of community health Meghan DeBolt has kept her focus as a public health advocate, but perhaps without the same scrutiny as her previous job.
Though Gwen Dildine works as the general manager of Inland Family Dentistry, her family's practice, her passion lies with Outside Walla Walla, a website she created with her husband, Steve, to help people connect with all the nearby places to enjoy public lands across the Walla Walla Valley and in the Blue Mountains.
Gavin Osegueda is at the forefront of steering people with disabilities into jobs. He creates customized opportunities that align his job seekers’ strengths with the needs of businesses he consults.
Eiledon McClellan is responsible for organizing projects and initiatives and raising awareness about the importance of early brain development and young children's first relationships through the Walla Walla Valley Early Learning Coalition.
Amid a global pandemic, Greer Garske Buchanan took the bull by the horns, so to speak. Buchanan, grants manager for the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, took the lead for the COVID-19 Response Advisory Committee.
The strength, courage and acts of service exhibited by Yamile Bernal’s mother are touchstones of inspiration for her.
Brian Delano, age 33, is a community health worker with the Providence St. Mary Medical Center’s Population Health program, and he loves it.
Catelyn Webber was only 26 years old when she opened Blue Mountain Sport + Spine on Walla Walla's East Poplar Street in 2018.
39: Public Service
In his 18-year career, Reynolds has worked the past five years at Umatilla National Forest. His job primarily involves working with a team of fire, timber, recreation, fish and water specialists to plan for and implement forest management projects.
If you’ve ever encountered one of the behemoths of concrete along the Snake or Columbia rivers and wondered who is behind keeping the waters behind those walls, know that Joshua Davin is one of them.
Yazmin Bahena has been a kindergarten teacher for 10 years. About six years into her career as a teacher, however, she decided she wanted to make an even larger impact on her community and joined Walla Walla City Council.
For 17 years, Cia Cortinas Rood has been working in child education, and three years ago she returned to Walla Walla, where she was born and raised, to reconnect with her Latino community.
Hannah Glazier has been teaching for four years and is in her third year at Gib Olinger Elementary School in Milton-Freewater. This kindergarten teacher takes her duties of guiding children during some of their crucial years very seriously.
Anna Gomez has been an English language development teacher for three years, working with sixth- through eighth-graders at Central Middle School in Milton-Freewater. She is also an assistant coach for girls soccer at Walla Walla High School.
It’s the chance to see "ah-ha" moments when students discover something new or when they get the chance to overcome their own self-doubts and are proud of their work that Trista Rogers enjoys most about being a teacher for the last 10 years.
When Waitsburg High School science teacher Gabriel Kiefel isn’t guiding students in a classroom, he’s directing them on a football field as an assistant coach. Either way, high schoolers are the focus of what he does.
Hollina Wadsworth, assistant vice president and financial planner at Baker Boyer Bank’s downtown branch, is interested in promoting financial literacy in schools.
Family, good relationships with customers and colleagues, and problem-solving are the things in Karina Martinez's life that make her happy.
From the battlefield to banking, Mario Delgadillo, 37, of Walla Walla has seen a slew of professional hurdles, both challenging and “life-changing.”
Nick Emigh spends his days working in the same building his ancestors worked in four generations ago, Shady Lawn Antiques, formerly the Shady Lawn Creamery.
Tito "T.J." Espinoza, a realtor, business owner and investor, combined his passions and started two businesses in College Place, Walla Walla Valley Real Estate and The Fresh Lime.
A Walla Walla High School graduate, McDaniels was 21 years old — fresh out of Washington State University with a bachelor's degree in economics — when she started working locally as a financial advisor at Krivoshein Financial in 2011. The firm is now Krivoshein-McDaniels Financial. Kim McDaniels is co-owner, and she’s only 32.
Jessica Long has a whole list of titles at Baker Boyer Bank: vice president, executive project manager and senior executive assistant. She started at local financial institution as a high schooler and has now made it her adult career path.
At 24, with no prior experience and no bachelor’s degree, Walla Walla resident Alexander Alvarez Ortiz owns and operates his own barber studio. He opened it in 2019, just two years after completing the barber program at Walla Walla Community College.
There is no question good service and good food go hand-in-hand for Natalie Potts and Erick Turner, owners of Butcher Butcher at 30 S. Colville St. The boutique meat shop, as the couple titled their business, is becoming known for providing high quality, locally sourced meat at fair prices.
For seven years, Bertha Clayton has been working in immigration law after returning to the Walla Walla Valley from law school. She gives back to the community through her work at Hernandez Immigration Law.
As a barber, the relationships Tobit Salazar has with his customers contributes to the health of his business. He eschews social media and prefers the “Walla Walla way,” a handshake and eye contact face-to-face.
Walla Walla born and raised, Hallie Spencer, 38, is the owner of the Walla Walla Sub Shop, on Boyer Avenue just north of downtown and close to Whitman College. She purchased the shop three years ago in April.
Working as executive chef and general manager of Passatempo Taverna, Sam Shelton says she invests in people in the restaurant industry because that profit is beyond any monetary amount. Shelton has been working in the restaurant industry since 2002. She was born and raised in Walla Walla, moved away for over a decade, but returned in 2017 to reach her personal and professional goals in the smaller community.