Katherine Cortes

Board Member

Katherine M.L. Cortes was born in Tokyo to an American Foreign Service officer father and Vietnamese-born mother and grew up in France, Malaysia, Japan, and the Washington, D.C. area. Katherine currently works at the public-sector focused BERK Consulting, following a dozen years in various fiscal, policy and operational leadership roles with King County and the City of Seattle, most recently in the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. She has also worked locally in homelessness and housing policy. Prior to moving to Seattle in 2006, Katherine worked on criminal justice policy (including prisoner re-entry and mental health system overlaps) for the Council of State Governments in New York City. She holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Washington Evans School and a BA in English and Art History from Harvard. Katherine loves playing soccer and pickleball, dancing, and playing board games with her son Julian and husband Geoff.

She joined the ECOSS board in February 2023 because she believes deeply in the power of nonprofit organizations based in the communities they serve to engage people in transformative change. Climate change and adaptation to environmental impacts are among the most pressing and huge problems of our time, but they must be integrated with people-focused policy and empathy, which she sees as a fundamental commitment of ECOSS. She hopes to bring her fiscal and government experience to contribute to ECOSS’ thoughtful growth and effective operations.
Fun fact: “I am not especially crafty, but I love making ambitious Halloween costumes for my son and his wheelchair. So far they have included a blue whale, seaplane, xenomorph from the “Alien” movie series, and a dogcatcher’s van from Lady and the Tramp!”