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Janis Machala

Janis Machala has worked as an advisor to startup companies in the Seattle area for as long as I’ve been covering the tech beat. (Nearly 15 years at this point). Now, Machala is taking on a new challenge as dean of Bellevue College’s Continuing Education program.

Machala said the move brings her full circle, since she started out her career in the college textbook industry working at Addison-Wesley. “Higher education has always had a soft spot in my heart. Plus, I am a huge believer in lifelong learning,” Machala tells GeekWire.

Machala — who previously worked in management roles at Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Wang Laboratories — has served as a trustee of the Lake Washington Institute of Technology for the past six years, and worked alongside Linden Rhoads at the University of Washington a few years back. At Bellevue College, Machala will oversee a staff of 30 and program that offers certificate programs to 11,000 students each year.

“There’s some amazing data that shows if young people get even one year of college under their belt their economic situation improves significantly and can bring them up out of poverty,” said Machala, adding that she’s also excited to help churn out an educated class of workers who appeal to some of the region’s top employers.

Machala said that her longtime startup consulting business — Paladin Partners — will go into hibernation as a result of the new gig. But she still plans to reserve some time to mentor entrepreneurs.

“Janis’s passion for lifelong learning, combined with her unique blend of experience advancing entrepreneurship and working with technology firms, will greatly benefit Bellevue College’s goal of providing the very best continuing education opportunities to the residents of Bellevue and the surrounding area,” said Paula Boyum, vice president of Workforce Development at Bellevue College.

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