Amanda Martinez (she/her/hers) enjoys supporting people. Look no further than her career for proof. She recently joined Inatai Foundation as senior executive assistant, a role in which she will manage governance and support the board of directors. Previously, Amanda was chief of staff at the Washington State Charter School Commission where she served as the primary advisor to the executive and board of commissioners. She had a critical hand in aligning their work to their strategic priorities.
Chiefs of staff frequently move to executive positions, but Amanda says a role like the one she’s stepped into at the foundation is more in line with what she wants. “I will always love being the neck; I never want to be the head. I just find so much joy in supporting.”
Amanda’s passion for supporting others can be traced back to her childhood in Tumwater when she would help her mom. “My brother’s chore was taking out the trash and mine was, ‘Amanda, you’re going to get your gold star on your chore chart if you help me balance my checkbook,’” she says with a laugh.
This put Amanda on track to pursue accounting and finance, but she soon realized it was not for her. Luckily, her first job out of college helped her gain greater clarity about her talents and how she wanted to use them. While working for a cosmetic company in Seattle, Amanda experienced how expansive and fulfilling a supporting role could be. She went on to fill executive assistant roles at National Retail Solutions and the Washington Rural Health Collaborative, where she honed her skills in relationship building and project managing large-scale initiatives.
When Amanda came across Inatai, she was immediately drawn to the foundation’s boldness. After working at a government agency for five years, first as an executive assistant and eventually as the chief of staff, she was curious to work in a new way.
“I researched all the board members, all the staff, and any LinkedIn connection I saw, I reached out,” Amanda says. “I said, ‘Tell me about this person. Would they be on a board that isn’t making real change?’ Every single person I talked to told me Inatai is the real deal.”
Having worked at 501(c)(3) nonprofits, Amanda is excited to learn more about 501(c)(4) organizations like Inatai. She’s also looking forward to getting to know board members and supporting them with administration and governance, so they can focus on moving the foundation’s work forward and being effective partners to foundation staff.
When she isn’t fulfilling her Inatai duties, you’ll find Amanda supporting and celebrating her family. Whether she’s in the crowd, rooting for her nieces and nephews during their sports games and school debates, or hosting a family gathering, Amanda adores being around her loved ones. She currently lives in Rainier in Thurston County and is fortunate enough to have all her immediate family close-by.
“I have two brothers, a sister, two nieces, and two nephews. And then my mom’s two sisters live in the same neighborhood as well so there are my cousins too. Yeah, there’s a lot of houses,” she jokes.
Amanda also picked up a hobby during the pandemic when she learned how to can and pickle foods, which she says she will do forever. “It helps pass the time, and I think it just tastes so much better.”