Meet Our Staff

Staff Finder:  

Tyler Helbach, MPA
Director, Seattle
Since 2008

Tyler joined Northwest Adoption Exchange in 2008 and has served as an Adoption Recruiter, Wednesday’s Child Coordinator, and Operations Manager, before being named Director in July 2016. Tyler received his bachelor's degree from Willamette University in 2007 and his Masters in Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Administration from Seattle University in 2013. Tyler believes that adoption recruitment is most effective when youth in foster care are engaged and empowered to share their stories. Tyler is passionate about Seattle sports teams, permanency for children in foster care, and Thai food. A native of the area, Tyler considers himself lucky to be surrounded by amazing coworkers and working in the field of child welfare among an incredible community of youth, families, and professionals.

Nick Baumgartner, BA
Youth Engagement Specialist, Seattle
Since 2016

Nick joined NWAE in November 2016 as the new Youth Engagement Specialist. In his role, Nick works directly with youth in foster care to involve them in telling their own stories and creating content to share with adoptive families. Through a variety of storytelling mediums – from video, to photography, to writing, and more – Nick helps fill children’s profiles with an authentic look into who they are and what makes them special.

Nick received his Bachelor's Degree from Gonzaga University in 2011 and most recently worked as a Grant Writer for a local nonprofit addressing issues around family homelessness. Born and raised in Seattle, he has a deep commitment to the well-being of children and families in and around his home Northwest. Away from work, you can find him closely following all things Seattle sports, working with a grassroots nonprofit to support economic empowerment in rural Zambia, and fitting into any number of Seattle clichés that involve coffee, breweries, or hiking, to only name a few.

Luisa Barnes, MSW
Adoption Permanency Specialist
Since 2015

Luisa works directly with the Washington Specialized Recruitment Project (SRP). As an SRP recruiter, Luisa’s role includes connecting with families, reviewing home studies, communicating with state social workers, and occasionally engaging with children enrolled in SRP. She received her Bachelor’s in Art History from the University of Oregon and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Luisa has worked directly with children and families for many years through her professional experiences in both national and international child care, as well as in mental health counseling. She has a strong passion for child welfare.

Luisa's favorite things include collecting passport stamps, spending time with her family and friends, cooking authentic Italian dinners, and dancing at weddings.

Jessica Tholmer, BA
Content and Communications
Since 2017

Jessica joined NWAE with a dedication to change and storytelling. In her role, Jessica applies her social media expertise to connect with local communities and families who are passionate about adoption and the welfare of children. She also writes and edits the biographies of waiting children, providing the right words to help find a permanent home.

In 2009, Jessica graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in English Literature. In her free time, she volunteers with youth, freelance writes, avidly consumes the latest hit TV show, and is a great resource for book recommendations. She also loves her cat.

Lori Woodbury, BM
Program Assistant, Seattle
Since 2013

Lori came to NWAE with a strong desire to work for an organization that was making a difference, and doing good work in the world, and couldn't be more thrilled to become part of such a fantastic team. Having a close friend back in NM, who has worked for CASA for years and has adopted, and her own dear dad, also, active in supporting organizations involved in child advocacy served as points of inspiration for wanting to become involved herself.

As a Program Assistant, Lori handles all things registration. Reviewing and processing both children and family registrations, she handles the intake, the input, the proofreading (and on occasion writing) the photos, and finally, actually getting them on the website! In addition to the registrations, she processes family and worker inquiries, and registrations for WARE accounts.

Lori's other passions include music, Pilates, bicycles, swimming, hats, nutrition, and environmental issues. Her most recent environmental endeavor is doing her part to raise awareness on voluntary idling.

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