Board of Directors

Nov 1, 2023
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our esteemed board member Thierry Rautureau, on Sunday, October 29, 2023.
Read the announcement here.

Raj Mathew President
Raj Mathew is a finance professional with 15+ years of experience in some of the top companies in the Seattle area such as Microsoft, Amazon, etc. Raj grew up in Kuwait, and moved to the US for his graduate degree from the University of Virginia. He is a proud father of two, and both his kids have been attending classes at AFSeattle for many years. Outside of work, he is also active on two other nonprofit boards: as a fundraising advisor to his neighborhood school PTA, and as a Treasurer for Work Opportunities, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with disabilities find meaningful employment in Washington state.
Lauren Ransford Vice President
Lauren is an American immigration attorney based in Seattle, with previous experience in transactional real estate law, in-house corporate law, and criminal defense in the states of Washington and California. Before she received her JD degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Lauren got a BA in French at California State University. She first joined AFSeattle in 2014, when she took advanced French classes. A passionate francophone, she is also a member of the French American Chamber of Commerce.
Olivier Fontana Vice President

Holder of a master’s in engineering from ESIEE Paris and an MBA from Erasmus University, Netherlands, Olivier's professional experience spans marketing leadership positions in technology companies of all sizes such as Microsoft, Philips, Neal Analytics, and, currently, Fractal. Founding member and president of Seattle’s Union des Français de l’Étranger, a worldwide French-speaking expatriate nonprofit organization, Olivier joined AFSeattle in 2017.

Thierry Rautureau
(1959 – October 29, 2023)
Former Vice President 
Award-winning chef, former owner of Loulay Kitchen & Bar and Luc restaurants in Seattle, Thierry Rautureau was a long-standing member of AFSeattle. He apprenticed in France and at the age of twenty moved to the United States, where he worked in Chicago and Los Angeles before moving to Seattle. 
Linda Witt Secretary

Linda Witt is a longtime Francophile and served on the national Federation of Alliances Françaises USA for two years as President and five years as Vice-President. Since 2006 she has also served as VP on the board of the French-American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest. Her earlier career was in Development for a large French-American immersion school and in international product marketing for hi-tech.

Yvan Tabellion Treasurer

Yvan Tabellion is the Head of School at the French Immersion School of Washington. He previously served as the Primary School Director at Rochambeau, in Washington DC from 2019 to 2022. He was at the French Immersion School of Washington from 2008-2019, both as a teacher and a curriculum coordinator. Prior to coming to the United States, he was a teacher, a primary school director, and held administrative responsibilities in professional basketball outside of Lyon, France. Yvan looks forward to connecting with the Alliance Française community soon and to discussing the incredible opportunities that lie ahead.  

Daisley Gordon Board Member

Daisley Gordon immigrated to the US from Jamaica in early 1970s. Post college, this “career changer” worked a few years in restaurants to enhance his understanding of the business. He then attended New York's Culinary Institute of America, which included an internship with a Certified Master Chef (CIA).   In 1995, he landed at Campagne Restaurant, Seattle’s standard-bearer of regional French cuisine in Pike Place Market, where he went from lead cook to owner. At Café Campagne, he focuses on bringing out robust flavors and celebrating the bounty of the Pacific Northwest seasons, in the French style. Featured in national and local media for years, Gordon was a competitor on Iron Chef America’s fresh berries challenge and guest Judge of Top Chef Seattle.  

Jack Cowan Board Member

Jack Cowan is the former executive director of the French American Chamber of Commerce of the PNW (1994-2020) and Honorary Consul of France for the State of Washington (1998-2020). He worked closely with the various governmental, economic, diplomatic, and consular agencies both in France and the US, and has a broad experience in French American relations in the PNW. He holds a PhD in Microbiology from Emory University and a MBA from the University of Washington. He also obtained a “Certificat Pratique de Français Commercial et Economique” awarded by the Paris CCI.  He is a Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérit and a Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur.

Valerie Muzzolini Board Member

Valerie Muzzolini was appointed to her current position as principal harpist of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Opera at age twenty-three. Originally from Nice, France, Valérie started the harp at age seven with renowned pedagogue Elizabeth Fontan-Binoche then went on to receive her Bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music and continued on to Yale University for her graduate studies. Valerie has performed as guest harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic amongst others. She is also the artist-in-residence at the University of Washington and is a devoted chamber musician and advocate for contemporary music.