Catherine Collins, Executive Director


Catherine Collins has more than two decades of leadership experience in nonprofit fundraising and management and holds an MBA. She has worked for national youth organizations including Outward Bound and City Year and spent a decade helping to strengthen local economies with ACCION USA, a subsidiary of worldwide microfinance leader ACCION International. A native of Massachusetts, Catherine grew up sailing Cape Cod waters. Her passion for the power of sailing ships was sparked by her experience in 1993 as a volunteer educator aboard the sloop Clearwater on New York's Hudson River.

Captain Gordon Sims


In addition to serving as Captain on Lady Washington and as Mate and Engineer on the East Coast schooner Ernestina, Gordon has a long history with Sound Experience. Starting in '91, Gordon spent fifteen seasons aboard Adventuress as Watch Leader, Mate, Engineer, and—finally—as one of Adventuress' primary Captains from '02 to '05. Gordon returned to Sound Experience in 2015. He says, "I'm humbled to be coming back. I'm grateful and really looking forward to the opportunity to bring Sound Experience and Adventuress to the world." In his spare time, Gordon, a resident of Indianola, WA, is a member of a singing trio and loves being outdoors. He describes himself as having "a wonder of all things non-human."

Captain Rachael Slattery


Rachael is a long-time member of the Sound Experience community, an expert mariner, and a dynamic leader dedicated to running safe and engaging programs on Adventuress. Rachael first came aboard in 2008 as a volunteer Educator/Deckhand and went on to serve two seasons as First Mate. She has extensive “driving” experience, most recently as captain of Adirondack II in Newport, Rhode Island, where she got on and off the dock five times daily and navigated one of the East Coast’s busiest summer harbors. When not on ships, Rachael joins her partner, Ben, in running Wild Harmony Farm, a 20-member CSA that raises organic, grass-fed livestock. Rachael is also a yoga instructor and a licensed massage therapist.

Katie Giuliano, Port Captain


Katie grew up in a coastal community in Rhode Island, but didn’t discover her love of sailing until living in landlocked upstate New York. Since that discovery, she has been a dedicated member of the Adventuress community: she first came aboard in 2011 as a volunteer Educator/Deckhand and went on to spend six seasons as Engineer and Relief Chief Mate. After sailing all over the world on other tall ships and spending several years working as a sailmaker, Katie is excited to return to Sound Experience in her new role, where she'll serve as an essential link in the communications between ship, office, and Ship Committee. When not on the water, you can find Katie hiking and climbing in the mountains or training to be a volunteer firefighter/EMT with the Port Townsend fire department.

Elizabeth Becker, Grant-Writing & Special Projects


Elizabeth first came aboard Adventuress in 1997 to write an article about the ship for the local newspaper. She joined the Sound Experience staff in 2006 and has worn many hats through the years—outreach, partnership development, special projects—and is now focused on grant-writing and education program support. Prior to coming aboard, she spent a decade in water quality research in San Francisco Bay and worked as the water quality assessment coordinator for the state of Oregon, putting to use her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Applied Earth Sciences. Since moving to Port Townsend, she has been involved with the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, the Wooden Boat Foundation, Wild Olympic Salmon, and the Port Townsend Aero Museum…in addition to her own photography business. She has no spare time.

Zoë Ballering, Membership and Public Programs Coordinator


After graduating from Whitman College in 2012 with a B.A. in English, Zoë worked as an educator in a bilingual special education classroom and traveled to Sitka, Alaska for a writing fellowship. When she came to Port Townsend in September 2013 for an internship at Copper Canyon Press, she had the good luck to stumble across Sound Experience. As Membership and Public Programs Coordinator, Zoë loves collecting stories from Sound Experience community members about their time aboard Adventuress. Outside of work she likes to bike, write, and go on adventures.

Amy Kovacs, Education Coordinator


Amy first came aboard Adventuress between '09 and '11 as an Educator/Deckhand and Program Coordinator. Since then, Amy finished her Masters in anthrozoology, started an outdoor education program at a newly-formed charter school in Salt Lake City, and ran experiential school programs for Mountain Workshop. At Sound Experience, Amy supports the crew and shipboard community while working with schools and educators to facilitate life-changing programs aboard Adventuress. A Northwest transplant as of September, 2014, Amy loves the Puget Sound region. In addition to her passion for experiential education, Amy likes to bike, canoe, and work on ceramics.

Suchitra Iyer, Development and Events Coordinator


Suchitra has called Seattle home for the last 18 years. After receiving her MBA from Seattle University, she went on to work several HR roles in the corporate world. In her role as Development and Events Coordinator at Sound Experience, Suchitra works with supporters, sponsors, and the community to advance the organization’s mission and fund programs. She spends her ‘free’ time with her husband, teenage sons, and the local Indian-American community while also managing her events business. She is an avid patron of Indian classical music and pursues her passion by taking vocal Hindustani music lessons. As much as she loves Seattle, she very much enjoys vacationing in the sun!