Board of Directors


I was born in Medellin, Colombia.  I lived in the Seattle area since I was 8 years old.  I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Theoretical Math.  I got married and became a certified Wedding and Event Planner in 2010. In 2012 I gave birth to my little hero and angel,  who has Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 1. Currently, I am a certified Refit Revolution dance instructor, artist, an actress, and the Founder/CEO/President of ‘BORN A HERO, Pfeiffer’s Health and Social Issues Awareness’ nonprofit organization. Most importantly I am a stay at home mom and all my life revolves around my faith.  My hobbies include being with my family, volunteering and giving back to the community, singing, dancing, painting, traveling, experiencing different cultures, playing volleyball, basketball, tennis, rock climbing, surfing, hiking, watching movies, playing the guitar, and being immersed in nature.

Carolina Sommer


Paul is from Medellin-Colombia and works as a faculty member in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Seattle University. He has over 20 years of philanthropic experience working with Poder Joven Foundation- an organization that serves children who are victims of the humanitarian crisis in Colombia. Paul is passionate about serving others and channels some of that desire in teaching. He loves to spend time with his family and playing soccer when he gets a chance.

Jhon Paul Smith

Treasurer of the Board

Born in Alabama to parents of Puerto Rican descent, Mayte grew up all over the United States and in Germany (due to her father’s career in the military), and spent her summers in Puerto Rico with her extended family. A dancer from when she was basically out of the womb, Mayte began classical ballet and belly dancing at the age of just three years old. Inspired by her mother who was a professional belly dancer, Mayte became the world’s youngest professional belly dancer at the tender age of 8.
From 1992 to 1996, she was a featured dancer and background singer with Prince and the NPG. Prince and Mayte were married in 1996
Mayte is a singer, song writer, dancer, model and actress who has been featured in films, performed in award tours, tv shows, reality tv, has been on national and international television, and has been in and directed several music videos. Mayte has also directed tours. She is the author of the successful book, The Most Beautiful.

Mayte Garcia

Board Member

I grew up near Seattle as the second of four boys, no girls. I went to college in Seattle and Illinois, and I am now working as a structural engineer. After undergrad I volunteered for a year at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, and my wife and I would return there for a couple weeks a year until our daughter was born. I met my gorgeous wife at church where I played piano and she sang in the choir, and somehow I tricked her into marrying me – it was my most successful con, as we are still married. In 2012 she gave birth to our first child, our beautiful daughter Mariana, and our journey with Pfeiffer Syndrome began.

David Sommer

Vice President of the Board

Professor Phillip Thompson serves as Director of the Seattle University Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability and served as Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Chair from 2006-2013. He received the 2015 Seattle University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award and the 2011-2012 Father James McGoldrick Fellowship which is Seattle University’s highest faculty honor. He was also awarded the 2009-2010 Thomas J. Bannan endowed chair of engineering. Dr. Thompson joined Seattle University after receiving his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa in 1997. He also earned an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and a B.A. in Biology from the University of Iowa and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Washington.

Phillip Thompson

Board Member


Melissa McGowan was born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia. After earning an M.A. in elementary education with a specialization in middle school mathematics from West Virginia University, Melissa worked as a teacher, grant writer, and project director for programs that targeted schools in low-socioeconomic areas. When her daughter, Abby, was born with Pfeiffer syndrome in 2012, Melissa transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom and an advocate for children with craniofacial differences. Her stay-at-home mom duties have expanded since then; she now cares for four daughters, ages 7, 5, 3, and 7 months with her husband in their home in Canonsburg, PA. In addition to being an active volunteer in her church and community, Melissa is also a member of the Children’s Craniofacial Association’s Speaker’s Bureau and gives presentations to help raise awareness and understanding of craniofacial differences. In her free time, Melissa enjoys training for and running long-distance races.

Melissa McGowan

Board Member
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