Results: 2020 Board of Directors & Branch Elections

Learn the results of our 2020 Board of Directors and Branch elections. Thank you to everyone who participated by voting and accepting a nomination as a candidate for the Board of Directors.
Gabe Aeschliman Gabe Aeschliman
Board Vice President and Governance Committee Chair
October 31, 2020
Results: 2020 Board of Directors & Branch Elections

We're pleased to present you with the outcome of the 2020 Board & Branch elections, and we're grateful to everyone who participated by voting and accepting a nomination. Your participation shows a deep commitment to the organization, and this year, we saw a +24% increase in member voting with 1,871 votes.  

Verified by the Board Secretary, Roger Mellem, and the Governance Committee, the following Board of Directors At-Large candidates were elected for a 3-year term:

  • Rich Johnston
  • Maya Magarati
  • Manisha Powar
  • Paul Stevenson

The Mountaineers Foothills and Olympia Branch ballots included a decision for Branch Directors who hold a voting seat alongside Directors At-Large. The following Directors were elected by branch membership for a 2-year term:

  • James Henderson - Foothills
  • Mark Kretzler - Olympia

Stay tuned for a formal communication from Foothills leadership about the other leadership positions included on the ballot. 

As a 501(c)(3) volunteer-led organization, The Mountaineers continue 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! 

Please read our Governance Committee update to learn more about the role of The Mountaineers Board of Directors and some of the things the Board will be focusing on in the year ahead. 


The new members 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.

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Jan Fitzpatrick
Jan Fitzpatrick says:
Nov 01, 2020 08:03 AM

Congratulations and thank you to all for your service!

Bob Hankinson
Bob Hankinson says:
Nov 01, 2020 01:34 PM

What were the voting numbers?

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Nov 02, 2020 07:06 PM

Hi Bob, the results of the election were tabulated by Mountaineers staff to ensure all votes were from members and there were no duplicate votes. Per our bylaws, this information and the outcome was independently reviewed and certified by the Secretary of our Board of Directors. As in past years, we share only which candidates won, not the number of votes or % each candidate received. Thank you!