Board & Branch Elections - 2020

It's election season at The Mountaineers. Learn about the 2020 Board of Director candidates, our branch elections, and how to vote. Members in good standing will receive a personalized link to vote via SurveyGizmo.
Gabe Aeschliman Gabe Aeschliman
Board Vice President and Governance Committee Chair
September 30, 2020
Board & Branch Elections - 2020

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 branches. This year we are voting on four Board candidates.

Foothills Branch members can also vote for their branch leadership this year. Ballots will allow Foothills members to vote in both elections. Stay tuned for links about branch-specific elections. 

Update: At The Mountaineers Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 the Governance Committee presented the endorsed candidates for Director at Large positions on the Board of Directors. At this meeting, one additional candidate was nominated from the floor - Dick Hayek. 

How to Vote - sept 30 - oct 21, 2020

Voting will open on Wednesday, September 30, and close on Wednesday, October 21. All active members and children over age 14 are eligible to vote. Duplicate votes will not be counted. Results will be announced October 31, 2020


The Mountaineers will send members an electronic ballot for the upcoming elections on September 30 or October 1 through our online voting tool, SurveyGizmo. 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 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, the link to the survey is posted below.

Vote Now


Mail-in votes will be accepted if postmarked by October 20. Paper ballots will be available starting October 1 in the Seattle Program Center bookstore. 

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

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: Rich Johnston, Maya Magarati, Manisha Powar, and Paul Stevenson. 

The Governance Committee and the Board of Directors believe these are the best candidates for at-large directors for 2020. 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 Endorsed 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. The candidates are presented in alphabetical order.

Rich Johnson Formatted.jpgrich johnston 

Member since 1994

Rich is the owner of the Vertical World, America’s First Indoor Climbing Gym. Rich has many years in non-profit organizations in the outdoor industry. He was a founding Board Member of the Climbing Wall Association, and Chairman for 17 years. He served as a Board Member for the Outdoor Industry Association from 1995-99. His combination of business experience and non-profit governance in the outdoor industry will be brought to The Mountaineers Board.

Rich has a strong relationship with The Mountaineers and believes in the heritage, legacy and values that the Mountaineers brings to our community.

Personal Statement: I was born in Seoul Korea, moved to Oregon in the sixties, and then on to the Puget Sound area in 1970. I graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a degree in Political Science and Economics. In 1981 I moved to Seattle and began an early career at a law-firm. It was at that time I found my passion for alpine climbing, and spent many years bush-whacking and climbing peaks in the Northwest. When I started the Vertical World in 1987 I developed a love for rock climbing and traveled around the country testing my amateur skills on everything from multi-pitch trad routes to sport routes and bouldering. I am honored that I have the potential to bring my outdoor business and non-profit knowledge to The Mountaineers, and to be with like-minded enthusiasts who have a passion for the outdoors.

Maya Magarati Formatted.jpgMaya Magarati

Member since 2004

When I traveled from the Himalayas to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of higher education under a Fulbright sponsorship, little did I know that I would make the Cascades my new home and raise my family here. I was born to the indigenous Magar community in a remote mountain village in the Baglung district of Nepal from where the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges stand tall in the distance. Seeking formal education opportunities took me to Kathmandu valley (Jesuit-run St. Mary’s girls’ school), Australia (University of Newcastle, Bachelor of Health Sciences in Nutrition) and the United States (University of Washington, PhD in Sociology).

Before attending the UW, I worked with UNICEF Nepal as a consultant to the Nutrition program, and as a program officer at Rural Reconstruction Nepal, a NGO.

Currently, I serve as an affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Research Scientist at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute in the School of Social Work, and Seven Directions: A Center for Indigenous Public Health Institute in the School of Medicine. I am also an affiliate faculty member in the UW’s Nepal Studies Initiative. My scholarship intersects sociology and public health in addressing social inequities by examining social and environmental determinants of health, with an intention of fostering knowledge democracy.

I believe that as an integral part of the local, regional and global eco-systems, we have the responsibility and the agency to take care of the places we live and recreate in: the trails we hike or wheelchair; the mountains we climb; the rivers/lakes/seas we swim, fish, and boat; the forests we forage and the air we breathe. In Nepal, I served as a camp counselor raising awareness about environmental conservation among middle school children in different parts of the country. In 2015, I co-founded Nepal Seattle Hiking Community and have organized and led many hikes and outdoor activities introducing hundreds of multi-generational families of Nepali heritage to the beautiful wild places in Washington State with the ultimate goal of inspiring environmental conservation awareness and actions. The last three years, I have also had the honor of serving on The Mountaineers’ Advisory Council. In addition to hiking and backpacking in state and national parks, forests, coasts and islands, I enjoy helping my partner take care of the plants and vegetables that we grow organically right in our backyard which provide food not only to us but also to the bees, butterflies and birds.

Manisha Powar Formatted.jpgmanisha powar


Manisha moved to the Pacific Northwest to live here and fell in love with the mountains. Over the last few years, she has instructed many courses, led trips and served as the Secretary on the Board of Directors of The Mountaineers. Manisha believes in empowering everyone to pursue outdoor activities. Having made lifelong friends at The Mountaineers, she loves sharing her experiences with other students and community members. In addition to outdoor education and activities, Manisha loves food, travel and learning new skills.

Paul Stevenson Formatted.jpgpaul stevenson


Paul initially joined The Mountaineers to enroll in the sailing classes taught out of Shilshole Bay. Paul admitted he had no boating skills - so felt it was time to learn from the experts. One fun outing led to another, and soon Paul was going out on basic climbs. But there were so many cool more technical climbs Paul was soon immersed in the Intermediate Alpine Climbing program. Eventually Paul was leading both basic and intermediate level climbs, plus helping to teach in the climbing programs where needed.  His involvement as a climb leader was a continuation of a life-long desire to give back to the community in areas or activities Paul is passionate about.

Paul loves to spend as much time outside as possible, which started with numerous family skiing, camping, fly fishing and hiking trips. Paul learned to climb at the early age of 15 when he enrolled in the Spokane Mountaineers basic climbing program. His passion for climbing eventually opened up two opportunities for Paul as the “rock jock” member for the American Alpine Club sponsored expeditions to Pumori in Nepal and Broad Peak in Pakistan.

Paul has an undergraduate degree in Finance from Washington State University, plus an Executive MBA from the University of Washington. Paul enhanced his financial analytical skills by pursuing the 3-year CFA designation. Paul’s love for investments, soon lead to a successful career managing bond investment portfolios. Eventually he led a highly talented team overseeing over approximately $22 billion in investments. 

Paul currently serves on The Mountaineers Finance Committee, plus enjoys helping volunteering with the local Trout Unlimited chapter with fish rescue and stream restoration efforts.    

Paul now resides in Sun Valley, Idaho with his high school sweetheart plus their hound dog Maggie. Paul is still very involved with all his lifetime outdoor pursuits, but now they are just outside his door.

Floor nominated candidate statements

At the Mountaineers Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, the Governance Committee presented the Board endorsed candidates for Director at Large positions on the Board of Directors. At the Annual Meeting, per our bylaws, one additional candidate was nominated from the floor by another member.  

Dick Hayek Formatted.jpgDICK HAYEK 


Dick gained his love of the outdoors on family and Boy Scout camping trips and in the Basic Climbing Course at the University of Washington, where he earned a BA in Economics. By 1968 he had organized and led successful climbs of the seven major northwest peaks. After completing two years in the Army and three years of graduate studies, he joined The Mountaineers in 1971, hiking primarily with the newly formed Seattle Singles Activities Committee, which he chaired in 1980-81. Later he served on the Tacoma Branch Council and organized and led the Tacoma Singles Activities Committee. He has led the most Mountaineers activities in recent years and received the Leader of the Year Award for 2015-6. In addition to numerous Mountaineers hikes, backpack trips and car camps and multiple extended outings, he has participated outside the Mountaineers in hikes and backpacks in Switzerland, Norway, Chile, Canada and New Zealand. Dick spent 40 years in financial services and developed a successful investment strategy that would benefit The Mountaineers.

Dick favors:

  1. Permit policies to be voted on by the members when a petition of support of 25 members is presented, rather than 5% of the members, as at present.
  2. Board members should reflect the activity diversity of Mountaineers members. There is now only one frequent hiker on the Board, out of 22 voting members, although hiking is the activity with the most participation and is a gateway activity bringing in the most new members. Some Board members have never participated in any Mountaineers outdoor activity.
  3. Activity Summits should be monthly, include the most frequent participants in the activity and develop a template of activities to match what members want to do. The active participants should elect their activity committee chairs. The Board should regularly review Summit policies. 
  4. All activity leaders should be trained to identify potential future leaders in groups they lead and report their names to their Committee Chair. A committee of experienced leaders should then recommend which ones should become leaders. The Chair should then recruit them to lead by phone or in person. Training requirements should be waived for those demonstrating they already have the trained skills. No one should be allowed to become a leader who has not first been screened in this manner. At present the best qualified members never become leaders because they do not apply to be a leader and no one asks them to lead. Unqualified people are encouraged to apply to be leaders, which jeopardizes the health and safety of members they lead. Each activity committee should recruit their own leaders for their principal activity.  At present, some activity committees are not permitted to recruit their own leaders.
  5. Upgrade the website so that a car camp committee can be established and car camps can be posted as car camps. On the website it should be easy to locate whatever a member is looking for. 
  6. The Covid 19 committee should reflect the activity diversity of the membership. It has no hiker on it.     

Dick was nominated by his peers/members at the 2020 annual meeting along with a nomination during the 2019 annual meeting. Dick has the experience needed to improve diversity on the Board and as a Board member would promote returning control of The Mountaineers back to Mountaineers members. 

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Jim Arnesen
Jim Arnesen says:
Oct 18, 2020 09:11 AM

As a hiker, for now, who may ultimately enter kayaking and intro to climbing I feel as he does that the leadership is heavy on climbers. I, myself never checked into the club in the past because as its name implies, it is all about climbing. That was my and your loss.