Board of Directors Election 2015

The Mountaineers Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following board endorsed candidates to the membership for consideration in the upcoming Board of Directors elections: Tom Varga, Chloe Harford, Kara Stone, and Steve Swenson.
Suzanne Gerber Suzanne Gerber
September 01, 2015
Board of Directors Election 2015

The Mountaineers Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following board endorsed candidates to the membership for consideration in the upcoming Board of Directors elections: Chloe Harford, Kara Stone, Steve Swenson, and Tom Varga. Each of these candidates is eager to serve The Mountaineers, and possesses the professional skills and personal commitment needed to further The Mountaineers' mission. 

Updated on November 4, 2015 at 9:32am: The elections are now closed and votes have been tallied. We are pleased to announce each of our candidates have been elected. The results of the Directors at Large election are:

  • Tom Varga 1 year term (2015-2016)
  • Chloe Harford 3 year term (2015-2018)
  • Kara Stone 3 year term (2015-2018)
  • Steve Swenson 3 year term (2015-2018)





Chloe is VP of Strategy at Zillow Group, the leading real estate information marketplace in the US. She holds an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, a PhD in Volcanology from Bristol University, and an MBA from INSEAD. Chloe is an avid skier, climber, windsurfer, kite surfer and SUPer. She is a Peak Society member and serves on the Technology Advisory Committee. She has taken The Mountaineers basic climbing, intermediate climbing and telemark courses. Chloe’s background in technology and her business acumen in strategy, marketing and general management will be an asset to the board.

Personal Statement: I joined The Mountaineers within weeks of coming to the US in 2005, opening up fantastic opportunities for me to learn new skills, explore the Pacific Northwest, make lasting friendships, and be part of a vibrant outdoor community. I have enjoyed contributing for the past several years to The Mountaineers Board and before that to the Advisory Council and the committee for Mountaineers Books, our global ambassador. I grew up exploring the mountains and waters of the British Northwest, where I first discovered and became a fan of The Mountaineers Books. I welcome the opportunity to continue to serve on the board, to ensure that The Mountaineers and the outdoors flourish for generations to come.

Kara Stone

member since 2012

on the board since 2013

Kara is General Manager of REI’s Seattle flagship store and has been with REI for over 18 years. In her current role she has experience managing a multi-million dollar business with hundreds of hourly employees and over a million customers. Kara also has extensive volunteer and youth programming experience as she served on the board for the camping branch of YMCA San Diego County for years and also the Strategic Master Planning committee for YMCA Camp Colman in the Puget Sound. She has been on the board of Pronto Cycle Share, the Seattle bike share non-profit since 2011. Kara was a member of our Advisory Council prior to joining the board and is also a Peak Society member. Kara has a young daughter Kaelyn with her husband Jeff.

Personal Statement: For over 100 years; through remarkable volunteer leaders, the very best in outdoor books, and the endless array of classes and programs, The Mountaineers has provided the vital influence for countless adults, children, and families to safely connect with the outdoors and even more importantly, to each other! I would be thrilled and extremely honored to be  granted the opportunity to serve The Mountaineers members and the outdoor community on the Board of Directors. It is serendipitous; as REI and The Mountaineers have a long history of affiliation that dates back more than 75 years. I am proud to be a part of that strong history of partnership; as both organizations have been fixated on getting people outside and protecting our wild places for future generations. I am excited to contribute to the continued health of The Mountaineers, as our capacity and potential to deliver on our core purpose is profoundly important to me as an avid outdoor enthusiast as well as an outdoor industry professional.

Steve Swenson

member since 2010 

on the board since 2014

Steve is a world renowned alpinist who has climbed in India, Pakistan, Patagonia and Nepal. He is retired from a 35-year career as a water resources consulting engineer. In 2010 as board president of the American Alpine Club, Steve spearheaded an ambitious new strategic plan whose implementation has catapulted the growth of AAC to over 15,000 members from just 9,000. His leadership was instrumental in setting a vision, raising funds and executing that vision. He brings executive and non-profit expertise and deep technical expertise to our organization. 

Personal Statement: My particular interest is working with The Mountaineers to help modernize its climbing education program. The current programs for basic and intermediate mountaineering work well for many outdoor enthusiasts, but the majority of young climbers are now learning in gyms. A certain portion of those climbers want to transition to outdoor sport, then to traditional rock climbing. A portion of those climbers who successfully make the transition to outdoor traditional rock climbing then want to take the next step. The Mountaineers climbing programs are not set up for climbers trying to make these transitions from the gym. The Mountaineers was formed initially as a mountain climbing club, and in the past many of the region’s top climbers started out learning to climb in a Mountaineers course. Without an effective education program to address the climbers who want to transition outdoors from the gyms, The Mountaineers are at risk of losing their prominence in this space. There is a need for organizations like The Mountaineers to stay current with these programs because they are one of the few non-profits offering this type of instruction locally.

Tom Varga

member since 2002 

on the board since 2011

A Mountaineers member since 2002, Tom is a founding partner of CFO Selections, a professional services firm focused on accounting and financial management. He is responsible for the firm’s strategic initiatives, financial management and corporate philanthropy programs. Tom holds an MBA from The University of Notre Dame and a BS in Finance and Accounting from John Carroll University. Tom has climbed many peaks in Washington, Oregon, Africa and New Zealand, and has been to the summit of Mt. Rainier five times. He is a charter member of the Peak Society.

Personal Statement: Since first experiencing the Pacific Northwest in the mid ‘80’s (I grew up in Ohio), I have been mesmerized by the sheer beauty and amazing diversity of this region. The foresight of those that worked to protect and preserve our wilderness areas has provided us today with the awesome gift that is the Northwest outdoors. I feel both obligated and privileged to pay that stewardship forward for future generations, and I am convinced that working with The Mountaineers is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal. Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” I look forward continuing to give of my time and talent to The Mountaineers.

Please note that there is no order intended in this document as it presents our candidates. Each of them are eager to serve The Mountaineers, and are more than qualified to help lead us as directors of the organization. Our board secretary also included a summary of board attendance for your reference.


Before you vote, check out which board member has attended the most meetings here.

How to Vote

Online: The Mountaineers will be sending members an electronic ballot for the upcoming elections on October 1. Please make sure your email address is current (note: we've discovered that emails often block our digital voting links. If you want to assure your participation, please update your email with us to be something other than Comcast).

By mail: Mail-in votes will also be accepted if received before October 21.

Please mail to:

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

In addition, we encourage you to attend The Mountaineers Annual Meeting - open to all members. The annual meeting will be held September 28 at The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center. Nominations will be taken from the floor. 

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