team shop the change

We're a lean, small-and-scrappy startup. We are working to build a company that is fair, flexible, and diverse in all of the ways it can possibly be. If you'd be interested in jumping on board, send us a note and let us know what's at the intersection of 'things I'm good at' and 'things I love' for you, especially if that happens to be machine learning or big data!



I call Washington State home, even though I spend a great deal of my time in the DC area and overseas. During the years leading up to the founding of Project Simpatico, I worked on human rights, international development, and humanitarian aid, spending the majority of my time in Africa, Asia, and the United States on projects related to legal aid, community empowerment, and countering trafficking in persons. 

My passions in life revolve around the great outdoors. I love exploring and experiencing mountains, forests, oceans, deserts, and most places in between. I think the Pacific Northwest is one of the finest places in the world, because it has them all. 

I founded this company after being inspired by community organizers whom I met throughout the world working to empower their own communities. It is amazing to see a small group of individuals, regardless of the odds, create hope, use it as a catalyst to address challenges, and bring about positive change.



Post-Peace Corps, I launched a nonprofit focused on facilitating grassroots community development and sustainable business in Madagascar. From there, I was hooked on social change, and my Master's in Sustainable Development allowed me to dive deeper into the theory and systems that are keeping the status quo in place. It seemed a natural jump to RTI International, where I managed multi-million dollar donor-funded international development projects. Adventure and opportunity called me to the Pacific Northwest - as a Microsoft project manager, I embedded with teams in Windows, Office, Power BI, and EDU. Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit permeating Seattle (there must be something in the water), I founded my own business in 2014, and since then I have been designing websites for small to medium sized businesses, as well as collaborating with local startups on copywriting, brand strategy and community engagement. 

I am beyond excited about this new chapter and the company we are founding on principles of transparency, respect, and sustainability. I live in Olalla, Washington, with my husband, two stepsons, and our plott hound Lucy - there is never a dull moment. 





As a software developer, data scientist, business leader, and starter of things, I am most excited about bringing technical experience to small startups envisioning a more friendly, equitable world.

I’m the founder and principal of Sunrise Data, a boutique consultancy in data science and data engineering; I also co-founded The Inc, a nonprofit fostering nurturing, family-friendly coworking spaces for parents with on-site care for their young children. When I’m not knee deep in data visualization or building software, I enjoy gardening, Minecraft and family RV trips.


Mary Benitez, Technical Program Manager

I’m a veteran video game developer turned full stack software engineer with a passion for creating practical, fun web applications.  For 7 years I designed 3D worlds for multi-million dollar AAA game franchises including Call of Duty and Metal Gear Solid.  Learning to code had always been a casual bucket list item for me, and in early 2017 I received a scholarship for the Flatiron School to study web programming and instantly fell in love with it. Being able to program apps from scratch as a one-woman operation with an endless toolbox and little-to-no start-up costs is extremely empowering.

I’m very excited to bring my passion for web development and my diverse technical background and experience in pipeline planning, user-testing, and design to the role of Technical Program Manager for Shop The Change.  I want to help this project reach its full potential as an amazing and socially impactful shopping platform.

Along with working on Shop The Change, I’m also a mom to an adorable, creative, and adventurous 4-year-old, and the founder of my own startup, CitySleuthUSA, an in-development app that helps people find hidden gem cities to relocate to based on their budget and personal priorities.  I also enjoy finding new podcasts to listen to, and I still play video games (of course).


community engagement


Michele Fitzwilliam, vp of marketing

I fought young and early for LGBTQ+ inclusion and rights, and have always considered myself a feminist. As a young activist in Massachusetts, I was given a glimpse at how things could be improved, and volunteered many of my after school hours working with the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. Watching that Commission be disbanded by a Republican leader after all our efforts was both troubling and sad. I knew then and I know now how important inclusion and acceptance are for young LBGTQ+ individuals and how meaningful that message was and is to greater society.

As a Marketing Director, I manage my own independent agency that focuses on diversity and inclusive messaging. I’ve partnered with Shop the Change to help propel our message forward through both traditional and nontraditional channels, and represent the team in all outward facing communications. I’m forever inspired by the message and look forward to watching STC grow.



I've called many places home, though I'll always be a North Carolina girl at heart. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, I spent three years educating local sex workers about staying safe and being empowered to make smart choices - that's where Sara and I first met. My experiences in Madagascar led me to pursue an MPH from Tulane, and from there a second stint with the Peace Corps dropped me in Jamaica, where I worked on HIV prevention and education in high-risk populations. I have been continually inspired by the way grassroots organizations can rally around an issue to solve big problems in community. Returning to Chapel Hill, I spent several years as a program coordinator for donor-funded projects around reproductive rights and women's health in developing countries. 

I love being in or around a body of water, travel, animals (especially cats, and especially my cat Pinky). Working with Shop the Change gives me the opportunity to extend my obsessive review-reading and research to all of the items we could potentially purchase, and to engage with communities of people who like to do the same!