Board & Branch Elections - 2018

It's election season at The Mountaineers. Learn about the 2018 board candidates, proposed bylaw amendments, and how to vote.
Vik Sahney Vik Sahney
Board Vice President and Governance Committee Chair
August 31, 2018
Board & Branch Elections - 2018

As a 501(c)(3) volunteer-led organization, The Mountaineers continues to depend on the generosity, initiative and leadership of our volunteers. 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 your participation in the election process for these organization-wide leaders! 

Each year we host elections for our Board of Directors and participating branch leadership. Elections begin on October 1 and run for 3-weeks. This year we are voting on three Board candidates and a proposed change to the by-laws. 

This year, the Foothills branch has aligned their branch election timelines to coincide with the Board elections. Ballots will allow Foothills members to vote in both elections. Stay tuned for links about branch-specific elections. (note: in our magazine and in previous editions of the blog we stated that Everett would also have branch elections. This was printed in error.) 

Update: The Annual Meeting took place on September 25, 2018, and no nominations for At-Large Directors were received from the floor. 

How to Vote

Voting will open on Monday, October 1, and close on Monday, October 22. All active members and children over age 14 are eligible to vote. Duplicate votes will not be counted.


The Mountaineers will send members an electronic ballot for the upcoming elections on October 1 through our online voting tool, Survey Gizmo. 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 use 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 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 October 1 for your ballot. If you don't see an email from us, the link to the survey is posted below. 



Mail-in votes will be accepted if postmarked by October 21. Paper ballots will be available after the September 25 Annual Meeting in the Seattle Program Center bookstore. 


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

Proposed Bylaw Amendments

Amendments to the organization-wide bylaws have been proposed, and must be approved by the membership. 

As The Mountaineers grows and evolves, it is appropriate and necessary for the board of directors to periodically review the board's size, structure and composition for the purpose of ensuring the board's effectiveness in supporting the fulfillment of The Mountaineers' goals and mission.  The board recently completed such a review, with the help of the Governance Committee.  Based on that review the board is proposing a change to our board size, which currently consists of 22 voting members (9 Directors At-Large, 7 Branch Directors, and 6 Board Officers) plus non-voting members (youth board rep, UW Board Fellows, CEO and Publisher).   The proposed bylaws change will  afford the board the flexibility to vary the number of at-large director positions to be filled at any point in time to between 9 and 15, based on the current needs of the organization and the availability of ideal board candidates.

Research indicates that optimal board size may vary according to the board’s life cycle and its fundraising necessities.  The Bridgespan Group, a leading non-profit consultancy, recommends  that organizations set a guideline for the number of board members "within a certain range, not an exact number, so that an unforeseen situation does not force the board to contradict its bylaws.”  Larger boards tend to be more effective  at fundraising, and more equally distribute the directors' workload.  They also enjoy greater representation of varied perspectives.  They come, however, with the risk of decreased board engagement and accountability, and with increased administration (recruiting board members, scheduling meetings with ensuring interactive discussion).   

After considering  the benefits and downsides of a larger board, the board of directors recommends we establish a size range  rather than a firm number of directors. Membership is being asked to approve this change to our bylaws.  The provision of such a range gives the board the flexibility to appoint persons as directors who are highly qualified in light of our evolving organizational needs, at a time when those persons are available to serve.  

Please review the proposed Bylaws, which reflect the above changes as well as some minor changes that reflect our current committee structure, in comparison to our current Bylaws. Here's also a view of the proposed Bylaws with changes highlighted

Board Elections

The Mountaineers Governance Committee is pleased to present the following  candidates to the membership for consideration in the upcoming Board of Directors elections: Brynne Koscianski, Kara Stone, and Steve Swenson. 

The Governance Committee and the Board of Directors believe these are the best candidates for at-large directors for 2018. Each of these candidates is eager to serve The Mountaineers, and possesses the professional skills and personal commitment needed to further The Mountaineers mission.

Board Candidate Statements

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.

img_BOD_Brynne.jpgBrynne Koscianski 

Member since 2016

Growing up in the PNW, Brynne Koscianski fondly remembers ascending to the top of a neighbor's basketball hoop via Texas prusik - practicing before a family climb of Mt Baker. A second generation Mountaineer, she recently graduated from the intermediate glacier travel course and is working to become a climb leader. She also serves on The Mountaineers Advisory Council. Brynne enjoys climbing, trail running, skiing, and paddling around the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband Ryan, heeding the call of their family motto: "it doesn't have to be fun to be fun".

A graduate of Yale University, Brynne is a product development leader at Amazon where she leverages customer-centric design to develop and launch new products. Passionate about advocating for women and girls in the outdoors, Brynne has also served on an advisory council for Girls on the Run, a non-profit organization inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident through running.

Personal Statement: "My favorite Mountaineers photo is from 1911, showing a group of men and women climbing Paradise Glacier in Mount Rainer National Park. Balancing on a high heeled boot, a woman jumps across a ridge in the snow - her long wool skirt pulled taught mid-stride. As thankful as this photo makes me for modern climbing gear, it also reflects something I love about The Mountaineers: from the beginning, this community has been formed with the values of equality. 16 years before women had the right to vote in Washington State, we made up nearly half of the 110 founding members of The Mountaineers. I'm proud to follow in the footsteps of these female adventures, risk-takers, and leaders, and appreciate the power of the outdoors to generate meaningful connections across a diverse community. We come together through the common language of exploration, perseverance, and love for our wild places."

img_BOD_Kara.jpgKara Stone


Kara Stone has been a Member since 2012, and has volunteered on the advisory board and the board of directors for several years in various roles and committees. She is the General Manager of REI’s Seattle Flagship Store, where she leads the co-op's largest team to inspire, educate, and outfit Puget Sound’s Outdoor Community. Kara has worked for REI for over 21 years, in 6 locations across the country. She has a B.S. from Michigan State in commercial recreation and tourism and a background in youth programming through her time working, volunteering, and serving on the board of directors for YMCA camps in Michigan, California, and Washington. In addition to getting kids outside, Kara has a passion for conservation, recreation access, and protecting public lands. She is an avid mountain biker, backpacker, telemark skier, and an aspiring climber. Kara is expected to graduate from our Basic Alpine Climbing Course this coming fall, and is excited to get out and climb with our marvelous member and volunteer community! Lastly, she is the proud mom of two daredevil outdoor enthusiasts that keep her on her toes, her 5 year old daughter Kaelyn and her 11 month old son, Bryer. 

Personal Statement: “As a board member and a basic climbing student, I see firsthand the beating heart that makes The Mountaineers such a special organization: our volunteers. It is an absolute marvel to behold the literally thousands of outdoor enthusiasts across the Puget Sound who are inspired to pass along their hard earned outdoor skills. And all for the love of getting each other outside, safely, to live life in a better way….in the wild places that connect us all. I have been honored to serve our dedicated volunteers and members as an at-large board member and would be thrilled to continue this work.”

img_BOD_Steve.jpgSteve Swenson


Steve Swenson is a world-renowned alpinist who has climbed all over the world with a special interest in peaks in China, India, Pakistan, Patagonia, and Nepal. He is retired from a 35-year career as a water resources consulting engineer. From 2009 to 2012 Steve served as board president of the American Alpine Club and spearheaded an ambitious new strategic plan whose implementation helped drive the growth of AAC from 9,000 at that time to over 20,000 members today. His leadership was instrumental in setting a vision, raising funds, and executing that vision. He brings executive, non-profit, and deep technical expertise to our organization.

Personal Statement: "My initial interest in working with The Mountaineers when I began my first term was to help modernize its climbing education program. During the past three years, the Mountaineers has completed a study and is now in the implementation phase of its Progressive Climbing Education program (PCE). PCE should enable The Mountaineers to better accommodate new climbers, most of whom start out in indoor gyms, and better support our existing volunteer instructors. PCE will help The Mountaineers retain their prominence in this space. In addition to working on PCE, I spent time with other board members, club leadership, and staff on governance. The former Nominating Committee responsible for board development has been rolled into a new Governance Committee. I’ve been serving on the new GC that has been working hard throughout the year to recruit new board members that possess the skills needed for the work at hand. In addition to board development, the new GC is responsible for bylaws and policy revisions that are necessary to keep the organization current. My other work for The Mountaineers that is of increasing importance is fundraising (aka development). Implementation of our strategic initiatives like PCE requires investments beyond what The Mountaineers can generate with its traditional sources of revenue. Fundraising is becoming an increasingly important tool to help us meet our goals and the organization is making significant strides to build a more robust development function. I’m excited about being nominated to serve a second term on The Mountaineers Board of Directors and the opportunity to continue this work."

The potential for more directors

As a real-time example of how the at-large process will work under bylaws change described above, the Governance Committee has identified a highly-qualified director candidate, Roger Mellem, who is interested in joining the Board in the near future. If the bylaws change is approved, the Governance Committee will recommend adding Roger to the Board as new director. The Board would then be required to approve this nomination at its next regular business meeting. Membership would subsequently have the opportunity to vote on Roger's at-large appointment in the next annual election. As reference, we've included Roger's bio here:

img_BOD_Roger.jpgroger mellem


Roger Mellem is a longtime mountaineer, and Mountaineer. In 1974 he stood with the late Willi Unsoeld and two others on top of Laila Peak (Rupal Valley) in northern Pakistan. At 6,132 meters (20,118 feet) high, and with two ice falls each as large as the Nisqually ice fall on Mt. Rainier, this beautiful Himalayan peak had never before been climbed. In 1998, Roger passed Basic Equivalency and enrolled in our Intermediate Climbing course. For the past several years, Roger has been an active member of our event fundraising committees. A Peak Society member, he recently became a non-board member of our Governance Committee, where he is helping to identify potential new board member candidates.

A former Outward Bound instructor, and later a member of the Northwest Outward Bound School’s Washington advisory board, Roger appreciates the value of outdoor education and supports The Mountaineers’ mission in this regard. An avid wilderness conservationist, Roger is past President and Board Member Emeritus 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 member of the international Leadership Council of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Roger is a member of the Executive Committee of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, a Seattle 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's combination of mountaineering, conservation, outdoor education, fundraising, legal, mediation, and board leadership experience should enable him to make a positive contribution to the Board of Directors.



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Jan Sweeney
Jan Sweeney says:
Oct 01, 2018 07:58 AM

Most of these people are fairly new members of Mountaineers. I would be interested in seeing a list of the present Board of Directors.

Rich Draves
Rich Draves says:
Oct 01, 2018 10:12 AM

Nicole Cederblom
Nicole Cederblom says:
Oct 01, 2018 05:14 PM

Could the 2018 Bylaws document be posted with changes highlighted? I think it would be easier for everyone to understand if the information was in a single document.

Ann Ziegler
Ann Ziegler says:
Oct 02, 2018 11:40 AM

I second the request for highlighted bylaws changes, that's pretty standard practice for contract / policy changes.

Tom Vogl
Tom Vogl says:
Oct 17, 2018 08:14 PM

Hi Ann and Nicole, thanks for your suggestion. We've added that link above to make it easier to see exactly which changes are being proposed to the Bylaws.