Vote Now! Board & Branch Elections - 2022

Each year our members are asked to participate in board elections. Learn about the 2022 Board of Director candidates and proposed bylaw updates, our branch elections for Everett Foothills, and Tacoma, and how to vote. Members in good standing will receive a personalized link to vote September 30 or October 1, 2022.
Manisha Powar Manisha Powar
Board Vice President & Governance Committee Chair
September 30, 2022
Vote Now! Board & Branch Elections - 2022

As a 501(c)(3) volunteer-led organization, The Mountaineers depend on the generosity, initiative, and leadership of our volunteers to steward the future of our organization. We are humbled by the service provided by board and branch directors whose positions are confirmed by members each year. Thank you for all you do as members to elevate our mission, and for your participation in the forthcoming election process for these organization-wide leaders.

Each year we host elections for our Board of Directors and participating branches. This year we are voting on four Board candidates and voting to approve amendments to our bylaws. The slate of at-large Board candidates were nominated by our Governance Committee and unanimously endorsed by our Board of Directors, as were the updates to our bylaws. 

Our Everett, Foothills, and Tacoma branch members can also vote for their branch leadership this year. Ballots will allow Everett and Foothills members to vote in both the board elections and the branch elections. Stay tuned for links about branch-specific elections.

HOW TO VOTE: September 30-October-21, 2022

Voting will open on Friday, September 30, and close on Friday, October 21 at 11:59pm. All active members over age 14 are eligible to vote. Duplicate votes will not be counted. Results will be announced on October 31, 2021 via a blog post.


The Mountaineers will send members an electronic ballot for the upcoming elections on September 30 or October 1 through our online voting tool, Alchemer. Please note that email addresses will block all digital voting links, including those from The Mountaineers. If you want to ensure your participation, please update your email to an account other than Comcast. 

If you are a member in good standing and you do NOT receive an email from us, please check your junk mail or spam folders. Due to the nature of our online ballot, if you do not receive an email ballot you will need to follow the link provided on this blog once voting is open or submit a paper ballot. This includes individuals without a valid email address or who share an email address with a family member.

Keep an eye out the morning of September 30 or October 1 for your ballot. If you don't see an email from us, and if you've checked your spam folder and still don't see it after 12pm on October 1, please vote via the link below. NOTE: duplicate votes will not be counted.

Vote Now


Mail-in votes will be accepted if postmarked by October 21. Paper ballots are now available in the Seattle Program Center bookstore or you can print at home and mail them in.  

Mail to:
The Mountaineers - BOARD ELECTION
7700 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115


The Mountaineers Governance Committee is pleased to present the following candidates to the membership for consideration in the upcoming Board of Directors elections: Roger Mellem, Amanda Piro, Sam Sanders, and Siana Wong. These candidates were nominated by The Mountaineers Governance Committee and endorsed unanimously by our Board of Directors.

This year’s candidates were selected by the Governance Committee from members who submitted a detailed self-nomination form. This rigorous, open nominations process, new in 2021, was designed to deepen the diversity of perspectives and lived experiences represented on our Board. We are confident this excellent slate of candidates will help inform better policies and to strengthen relationships between board members, Mountaineers members, and the wider outdoor community.


The following board candidates possess the professional skills and personal commitment needed to further our mission: To enrich the community by helping people explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Their candidate statements have been edited for length and have been affirmed as true. The candidates are presented in alphabetical order.

Roger Mellem.jpg

Roger Mellem


Roger Mellem is a longtime Mountaineer who was first appointed to the Board of Directors in 2018 and subsequently elected by the membership. Roger is active on our Conservation & Advocacy Committee (chair), Litigation Committee (chair), and Governance Committee (vice chair). He is also an active fundraiser, serving as co-chair of the 2023 Mountaineers Gala and two prior Galas.

As a former Outward Bound instructor, Roger appreciates the value of outdoor education and supports The Mountaineers’ mission in this regard. An avid wilderness conservationist, he is past president of Washington Wild, a conservation organization with which The Mountaineers regularly partners to advocate for protection of our threatened public lands. He is also a longtime member of the Leadership Council of the Yale School of the Environment.

In 1974 Roger participated in a Himalayan first ascent. He stood with the late Willi Unsoeld (who completed the first ascent of the West Ridge of Everest with Tom Hornbein) and two others on top of Laila Peak (Rupal Valley) in northern Pakistan. Their ascent required safely navigating two ice falls each as large as the Nisqually Icefall on Mount Rainier.

Roger is an attorney with the Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland law firm where he practices securities litigation. He earned a Master of Studies in Law Degree from Yale Law School and a J.D. from the University of Oregon Law School. Roger brings a combination of experience in mountaineering, conservation, outdoor education, fundraising, legal, mediation, and board leadership to The Mountaineers.

In March 2022, Roger was appointed by the Board of Directors to an open at-large position. Per The Mountaineers bylaws, he is now standing for election by membership.

Amanda Piro.jpgAmanda Piro 


Amanda Piro grew up in the PNW and spent childhood summers hiking and fishing in Alaska, and outdoors has been a central part of her life from an early age. She joined the Mountaineers in 2013 to pursue backcountry snowboarding and quickly found herself enrolled in several other courses across glacier, rock, and ice climbing. Since graduating from Basic in 2015, Amanda has been a regular face among glacier and rock instructors, was a 2021 Key Leader, and is a contributing author to the in-progress Equity and Inclusion Instructor Toolkit. Outside of climbing and splitboarding, Amanda enjoys canyoning, kayak camping, long-distance backpacking, and regular frolics in parks and meadows.

In 2017, Amanda co-founded Cyrca Strategy, a boutique management consultancy that provides strategic advisory services to organizations of all sizes. She has extensive experience in organizational strategy and has led projects spanning customer experience, brand strategy, member acquisition & retention, customer research & analytics, and philanthropic development for clients ranging from small nonprofits to Fortune 50 companies. Prior to co-founding Cyrca, Amanda led revenue management and special projects at Holland America Line and co-founded the Customer Insights and Analytics practice at the strategic consulting agency Lenati (now Concentrix).

Personal Statement: “My experience at The Mountaineers has fed my passion for the outdoors and helped me discover new ways to get outside that I might not have otherwise considered. I would love the opportunity to help ensure all Mountaineers members find this community to be a welcoming environment that fosters a spirit of exploration and inspires them to be good stewards of our beautiful planet. My friends sometimes refer to me as an 'outdoor evangelist', and it is my sincere hope that The Mountaineers can contribute to a reality where everyone I know, and everyone I may come to know, feels welcome on the trail, at the crag, on the lake, or anywhere they may seek to adventure – that they feel the same warmth and comfort and acceptance that I have been privileged to experience as part of this organization.”

Sam Sanders.jpgSam Sanders


Sam Sanders is a native Washingtonian, having grown up running wild in Snohomish forests, battling the Himalayan blackberry. She spent a handful of years studying, working, and adventuring in Europe, but came back for Washington’s wonderful outdoor spaces. The outdoors is her escape and, and she feels most alive when she can share her passion with others through teaching and local conservation efforts.  

Sam joined The Mountaineers in 2016 and co-founded the Foothills Trail Running Committee the following year, where she’s served as chair or co-chair since its inception. Besides trying to extoll the magic of running and the fantastic Mountaineers trail running community to anyone unable to get away fast enough, in the last five years Sam has helped instruct sport climbing for two branches, volunteered with scrambling and backcountry skiing, and led trail runs with the help of her two overly large and friendly husky mutts. 

Professionally, Sam works as a senior product manager for Microsoft helping design and build hardware with special interests in strategic planning, sustainability, and diversity/inclusion/equity on small and enterprise scales. She earned her undergrad in Mechanical Engineering from WSU and her masters in Materials Engineering from ENS Cachan (France). She considers herself a renaissance engineer with a background ranging from human bone to naval ships and commercial insect production to air hockey-playing robots. Her experience has served her well in helping to guide people and organizations on creating actionable and digestible steps out of grand visions. 

Siana Wong.jpgSiana Wong (FOR REELECTION)


Siana Wong has been actively engaged as a student and volunteer since joining The Mountaineers in 2014. She completed Olympia’s Basic & Intermediate Climbing, Tacoma’s Sailing, and Seattle’s Multi-pitch Climbing courses, among others. She currently enjoys volunteering as a climb leader and instructor and leading beginner snowshoe and Nordic ski trips. She also serves on the Equity & Inclusion Committee, Risk Management Committee, and Olympia's Basic Climbing Committee. In 2017/2018, Siana served as the Olympia Branch Chair.

 Currently, Siana is an environmental scientist at the Washington State Department of Ecology in Olympia. She previously worked for the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy. One of Siana's great joys has been being able to merge her professional skills and interests in the environmental field with her passions for adventure and exploration of the natural world.

 Personal Statement: From eager student to eager volunteer, The Mountaineers has been a big part of my life. I have met wonderful people through the club (including my husband), and hope to help others feel the same sense of belonging that I have felt in our community. I fully believe in The Mountaineers mission and am inspired by the many passionate volunteers that have helped carry on that mission for over a hundred years. I am honored by the opportunity to support The Mountaineers work in continuing the traditions of exploration, conservation, and education as it evolves with the times and faces increasing challenges of access, equity, and environmental impact.


At The Mountaineers Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, the Governance Committee presented the Board endorsed candidates for Director at Large positions on the Board of Directors. Per our bylaws, Mountaineers members have the opportunity to make at-large director nominations “from the floor” at the Annual Meeting. This year, no floor nominations were made. Watch the recording and join the continuing conversation about our next strategic plan as part of our Strategic Planning Focus Sessions


The bylaws of The Mountaineers are the set of governing rules that define how we operate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. For example, the bylaws define such things as rules for how the Board of Directors and committees operate, the responsibilities of major leadership positions, and systems to ensure the financial and operating sustainability of the organization. 

Periodically, updates are made to the bylaws to ensure The Mountaineers continue to be operated in a relevant, rigorous manner. Any bylaws updates that are proposed must be approved by a vote of membership, specifically, a simple majority of the votes approved. In May 2022, The Governance Committee proposed a number of updates to the bylaws and The Mountaineers Board of Directors unanimously voted to recommend these changes be adopted by members. In this election, we ask members to weigh in on these proposed changes.

The changes include:

  • Ensuring compliance with the recently-updated Washington State Nonprofit Corporation Act:
    • Voting members of “Committees of the Board” are required to be board directors.
    • Modernizes member notifications language in Article VIII, Section 4.
    • Updates language in Article XII, Section 4 to clarify purposes required for inspection of member information.
  • Strengthening Mountaineers governance by: 
    • Adds a new officer role, Vice President of Governance to help create greater continuity on the Governance Committee and help distribute officer workloads more effectively.
    • Replaces the floor nominations process for at-large directors with the annual, open call for nominations process that has been used successfully for the last two years. 
    • Changes the date of the annual meeting from September to October to better align with our fiscal year and budget approval cycle.
  • Correcting minor formatting errors and inconsistencies in language.

You may review the proposed amended bylaws in their full, clean version or with changes tracked vs. our current bylaws. 

The Mountaineers Governance Committee and Board of Directors have endorsed the amended bylaws and recommend they be approved by membership. We appreciate our members considering these proposed updates.

Thank you for participating in the 2022 Fall elections. Results will be shared with membership no later than October 31, 2022 via a blog post.

Updated September 30, 2022 to include voting links.

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Steven Sears
Steven Sears says:
Sep 12, 2022 04:24 PM

Why has the ability of a member making a Board Director nomination from the floor been stricken from the Bylaws? The open call method allows only Governance committee approved members to be Board Directors.

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Sep 12, 2022 06:48 PM

Hi Steven,

The proposed update to our bylaws that replaces floor nominations with an open nominations process was made to reflect best practices for member-based nonprofits like The Mountaineers and after two years successfully piloting the open nominations process.

In recent years, floor nominations has not resulted in a candidate being elected by membership. We believe this is in large part because it lacks the rigorous evaluation process the Governance Committee has used with open nominations. In addition, the open nominations process has proven to surface more qualified and diverse candidates who better reflect the breadth of Mountaineers members.

After carefully consideration, the Governance Committee and Board of Directors decided this change will better serve our community and voted unanimously to recommend it for approval by membership.


Dennis Miller
Dennis Miller says:
Sep 30, 2022 07:53 PM

The call for nominations from the floor has never been very practical. The open call for nominations is a much better idea, except that as proposed it falls short of the stated goals to better represent the communities served. Its stated purpose has already morphed from "to bring diverse perspectives to the Board" to "to bring the perspectives we seek for our Board". That the Governance Committee must bless prospective nominees offends me and fundamentally changes it to a closed process. And it offends me. Wish I could vote for all provisions of the bylaws except this one.

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Oct 06, 2022 12:26 PM

Thank you for your feedback Dennis. The open call for nominations was a big step forward for the organization, and we are still working through iterations to continue to refine the process. When not looking at governing policies, the Governance Committee is assessing the organizations needs from a board perspective. This includes representation from various activities, specialized skill sets, non-traditional lived experience, and upcoming needs for The Mountaineers. The committee is composed of Mountaineer member volunteers and former board members. They make a recommendation of possible board members for the membership to approve. This is process is line with the emerging best practices in the sector. We welcome constructive feedback to improve the process and provide more transparency. Happy to chat more if you would like to share specific ideas on how to improve the process.

Jeff Horne
Jeff Horne says:
Oct 09, 2022 08:26 AM

New bylaws: "Replaces the floor nominations process for at-large directors with the annual, open call for nominations process that has been used successfully for the last two years."
Seems like this process is buried in the overall Mountaineers website and it ultimately leaves total control of the selections to the Board of Directors. If we vote to eliminate the ability to nominate from the floor, we might as well eliminate voting altogether, since all decisions will then rest with the BoD, including who can become a member of the BoD. This is not democracy.

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Oct 10, 2022 12:39 PM

An important goal of the new, open nominations process is to broadly-communicate the opportunity to indicate interest in the Board. In addition to being posted on our website homepage, the call for open nominations is communicated to our community through Mountaineer magazine, emails such as Leaderlines and Events & Activities, our social media outlets, and various other leader and activity-focused mediums. This allows us to reach literally every Mountaineers member and has resulted in both a greater number of future leaders identified and more qualified board candidates than we've ever had through the floor nominations process. After carefully evaluating the last two years' experience, we are confident that the new, open nominations process will serve members much more effectively than nominations from the floor.

Jeff Horne
Jeff Horne says:
Oct 20, 2022 02:25 PM

Gabe, you addressed the process not being buried, thank you. you did not address "If we vote to eliminate the ability to nominate from the floor, we might as well eliminate voting altogether, since all decisions will then rest with the BoD, including who can become a member of the BoD. This is not democracy."

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Oct 25, 2022 10:57 AM

The decision to approve board members and revisions to the bylaws live with members in good standing. The membership always has the ability to decline recommended updates to the bylaws.

The slate of candidates is presented by the Governance Committee, and while the Board of Directors votes to endorse the slate of candidates, they do not approve the slate of candidates. The Governance Committee, which includes both BoD members and at-large members, has the ability to recommend members for the board based on needs (you can see the Governance Committee members here: The GC could also choose to elevate more candidates than positions available, giving members a choice between candidates. The BoD itself includes representatives from each of seven branches. Collectively, members are very well-represented in leadership roles at all levels across the entire organization.

These are important steps for our membership, and doing away with voting would be an inappropriate step. While we are recommending modernizing the nominations process to a more inclusion model, I do want to highlight the important role members play in nominating members for the board and the helpful role the Governance Committee plays in identifying organizational needs and elevating candidates that support these needs.