Results: 2021 Board of Directors & Branch Elections

Learn the results of our 2021 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 30, 2021
Results: 2021 Board of Directors & Branch Elections

We're pleased to present you with the outcome of the 2021 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 over 1,700 votes. 

Certified by the Board Secretary, Roger Mellem, and the Governance Committee, the proposed updates to The Mountaineers bylaws were approved. The following Board of Directors At-Large candidates were elected for a 3-year term:

  • Serene Chen
  • Brynne Koscianski (re-elected)
  • Takeo Kuraishi
  • Alex Pratt
  • Anita Wilkins

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

These five directors were nominated by The Mountaineers Governance Committee and endorsed unanimously by our Board of Directors after submitting a detailed self-nomination form. This rigorous process, new in 2021, is designed to deepen the diversity of perspectives and lived experiences represented on our Board. We are confident these new directors will help inform better policies and that this process will continue to strengthen relationships between board members, Mountaineers members, and the wider outdoor community. 

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer-led organization, The Mountaineers 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 for your participation in the election process for these organization-wide leaders!

Meet our new Board Members!

The new directors 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.

Serene ChenEdited - Serene Chen.jpg

Member  since 2020

Serene is a proud first-generation Chinese-American and an energetic leader with global experience at the intersection of people and organizations. Since joining The Mountaineers in February 2020, Serene has completed courses across three activities and four branches, and serves on the Equity & Inclusion Committee

Serene is deeply inspired by nature and driven to make a positive impact on sustainability. She is the Senior Director of People & Culture at Forterra, a Washington-based environmental nonprofit. Previously, Serene led employee engagement at Convoy, a tech start-up reducing CO2 emissions, and she’s a trained Climate Reality Leader (an initiative led by former VP Al Gore). Serene started her career with Barclays at its London headquarters, holds a Master’s in Management from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor’s in Learning & Organizational Change from Northwestern University. 

Personal Statement: “I’ve taken the path less traveled to the PNW and The Mountaineers. I didn’t grow up with much exposure to the outdoors, let alone sports like alpine climbing. Connecting with nature the past 5-6 years has transformed my life, led me around the world (from London to Seattle, via Patagonia!) and helped me find this incredible organization. Across branches, activities, and committees, I have been consistently amazed by the scale, commitment, and power of the Mounties community. I am deeply inspired by our volunteers, and I firmly believe in our potential to create welcoming, inclusive spaces where everyone feels belonging. I value the opportunity to help guide the Mounties on this journey.”

Edited - Brynne.jpg

Brynne Koscianski (re-elected)

Member since 2016

Growing up in the PNW, Brynne fondly remembers ascending to the top of a neighbor's basketball hoop via Texas prusik to practice for a family climb of Mt Baker. Brynn is a second generation Mountaineer, Basic and Intermediate Climbing grad, and with the recent addition of baby Finn, she's excited to join Mini Mountaineers too! Brynne enjoys climbing, trail running, skiing, and paddling with her husband Ryan, heeding the call of their family motto: "It doesn't have to be fun to be fun".

A Yale graduate, Brynne is a product and technology leader at Amazon. Passionate about advocating for women and girls in the outdoors, Brynne has also served on an advisory council for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident through running.

Personal Statement: "My favorite Mountaineers photo shows a group climbing the Paradise Glacier in 1911. Balancing on a high heeled boot, a woman jumps across a snow ridge - her long wool skirt pulled taught mid-stride. This photo reflects what I love about The Mountaineers: from the beginning, this community was formed with the values of equality. Sixteen years before women could legally vote in Washington, 77 women made up half of our 151 founding members. I'm proud to follow in the footsteps of these women adventurers, risk-takers, and leaders, and appreciate the power of the outdoors to generate meaningful connections across diverse communities. We’re bonded by the common language of exploration, perseverance, and love for our wild places."

Takeo KuraishiEdited_Takeo.png

Member since 1999

Takeo’s first summit was with his parents in first grade. He continued to climb as mountaineering club leader in high school, a climbing guide on Mt. Fuji, and 20-year Mountaineers member. He has served as Climbing Committee Chair and Branch Safety Officer for Seattle and most recently helped launch the Foothills climbing program. His passion is with Aid & Big Wall Climbing, including years of leading the course. When not making slow progress up an aid route, he enjoys helping students learn new skills and leading climbs.

Outside of The Mountaineers, Takeo pursued his other childhood passion in aerospace. He is a manager at Boeing, leading a team of engineers working on the next new airplane. During the ski season, he works as a certified instructor with the Boeing Ski & Snowboard Club. 

Personal Statement: “I was fortunate to be welcomed into this Mountaineers community. As a member of the Board of Directors, I hope to extend that welcome further. I have watched this community grow and become more diverse, and it has been heartening to see increased outreach, especially with youth in the community. As a Board member, I look forward to the opportunity to help ensure that courses we teach and activities we offer are in alignment with latest practices to maintain our leadership as a preeminent outdoors organization, to the opportunity to help further the safety mindset across all activities, and to continue to support the work of The Mountaineers to improve access to the outdoors for everyone.”

Alex PrattEdited - Alex Pratt.jpg

Member since 2018

Alex joined The Mountaineers in 2018 to help unlock access to the Washington backcountry. He earned his Basic Climbing equivalency, completed Intermediate Glacier Travel, and has been working his way through the classic Cascade objectives ever since. He currently serves on the Risk Management Committee working to standardize a framework for assessing and mitigating organizational risk.  

Alex holds a Civil Engineering degree from Duke University, where he also participated in the Naval ROTC program. He served as a Navy SEAL officer for five years, including three overseas tours. Following, Alex earned a dual MBA and MS degree in Environment and Resources from Stanford. He currently leads strategic business development at AutoGrid, where he’s spent eight years applying software solutions to accelerate the adoption of renewable and distributed resources.

Personal Statement “While the outdoors has always been important to me, my time in the military added a respectful appreciation for harsh and grueling experiences - the ones with sore muscles, calculated risks, and cold sleepless nights; but also the ones that forge everlasting bonds, reset limits, and give new perspective. I need a regular dose of these to keep me grounded, but outside that you’ll often find me hiking or sailing with my wife and two young sons. I am enthusiastic about The Mountaineers mission, and hope to apply my strengths in operations, strategy, and partnerships to help further scale our impact across community engagement, outdoor education, and environmental advocacy.”

Anita WilkinsEdited - Anita Wilkins.jpg

Member since 2006 

Anita was awed by Mt. Rainier as a child when she hiked with her father to the Fremont Lookout, where she watched climbers through binoculars and wondered how she could join them. After 25 years hiking, scrambling, and backpacking, along with the stuff of life – work, marriage, and two children – Anita marked her 40th birthday with a guided Rainier climb. That experience inspired her to join The Mountaineers to learn skills to access these beautiful places on her own. 

As a 15-year member, Anita has completed climbing and leadership classes and served on the Basic Climbing Committee. She’s also volunteered as ice climbing committee chair, and an ice climbing instructor, climb leader, contributor to Freedom 8 and 9, Advisory Council member, and more.

Recently, Anita retired from a 30-year career in marketing communications, public relations, and development. She worked primarily in healthcare and with nonprofit human services organizations centered on easing the way for people experiencing poverty and homelessness. 

Personal Statement: “As I pursue passion projects in this new chapter of my life, I feel called to serve The Mountaineers community that has influenced me so deeply – many individuals have become my dearest friends and most trusted adventure partners, and supported me through the loss of my husband in a skiing accident (whom I met in The Mountaineers). I am honored to be considered for the Board of Directors and to contribute to the continued growth of an organization that has opened the outdoors to so many.”

Updated 11/2/2021; 4:00pm

Commenting for this blog has been disabled due to a number of comments containing false information in violation of our Member Code of Ethics. The election for Board Candidates was conducted with the utmost integrity, in line with our bylaws, Board Policy on Election of At-Large Directors, and recently updated nominations process. The results of the election were certified by our Board Secretary, and every vote made by a current member in good standing was counted. Any suggestion that votes for a particular candidate weren't counted is false.