Results: Board & Branch Elections - 2022

Learn the results of our 2022 Board of Directors elections, along with the branch elections for Everett, Foothills, and Tacoma. Thank you to everyone who participated by voting.
Manisha Powar Manisha Powar
Board Vice President & Governance Committee Chair
October 30, 2022
Results: Board & Branch Elections - 2022

We're pleased to present you with the outcome of the 2022 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 1,300 votes.

Certified by the Board Secretary, Carry Porter, 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:

  • Roger Mellem
  • Amanda Piro
  • Sam Sanders
  • Siana Wong (re-elected)

These four 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, open nominations 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 to strengthen relationships between board members, Mountaineers members, and the wider outdoor community.

We are also excited to welcome new branch leadership for the Everett, Foothills, and Tacoma Branches.

Everett

The newly elected Everett Branch Council Members are Nick Mayo for Branch Chair, Robert White for Branch Treasurer, and Christina Youk for Branch Secretary.

Foothills

The newly elected Foothills Council Member is Elizabeth Nakashima for Branch Treasurer.

Tacoma

The newly elected Tacoma Branch Council Members are Ryann Peverley for Branch Secretary and Lori Stole for Branch Director-at-Large.

Thank you

As a 501(c)(3) volunteer-led organization, The Mountaineers depend on the generosity, initiative, and leadership of our volunteers to steward the future of our organization. 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 forthcoming 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

Roger Mellem.jpg

Roger Mellem

MEMBER  SINCE 1985

Roger Mellem is a longtime Mountaineer who was first appointed to the Board of Directors in 2018 and subsequently elected by the membership. Roger is active on our Conservation & Advocacy Committee (chair), Litigation Committee (chair), and Governance Committee (vice chair). He is also an active fundraiser, serving as co-chair of the 2023 Mountaineers Gala and two prior Galas.

As a former Outward Bound instructor, Roger appreciates the value of outdoor education and supports The Mountaineers’ mission in this regard. An avid wilderness conservationist, he is past president 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 longtime member of the Leadership Council of the Yale School of the Environment.

In 1974 Roger participated in a Himalayan first ascent. He stood with the late Willi Unsoeld (who completed the first ascent of the West Ridge of Everest with Tom Hornbein) and two others on top of Laila Peak (Rupal Valley) in northern Pakistan. Their ascent required safely navigating two ice falls each as large as the Nisqually Icefall on Mount Rainier.

Roger is an attorney with the Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland 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 brings a combination of experience in mountaineering, conservation, outdoor education, fundraising, legal, mediation, and board leadership to The Mountaineers.

Amanda Piro.jpgAmanda Piro 

MEMBER SINCE 2013

Amanda Piro grew up in the PNW and spent childhood summers hiking and fishing in Alaska, and outdoors has been a central part of her life from an early age. She joined the Mountaineers in 2013 to pursue backcountry snowboarding and quickly found herself enrolled in several other courses across glacier, rock, and ice climbing. Since graduating from Basic in 2015, Amanda has been a regular face among glacier and rock instructors, was a 2021 Key Leader, and is a contributing author to the in-progress Equity and Inclusion Instructor Toolkit. Outside of climbing and splitboarding, Amanda enjoys canyoning, kayak camping, long-distance backpacking, and regular frolics in parks and meadows.

In 2017, Amanda co-founded Cyrca Strategy, a boutique management consultancy that provides strategic advisory services to organizations of all sizes. She has extensive experience in organizational strategy and has led projects spanning customer experience, brand strategy, member acquisition & retention, customer research & analytics, and philanthropic development for clients ranging from small nonprofits to Fortune 50 companies. Prior to co-founding Cyrca, Amanda led revenue management and special projects at Holland America Line and co-founded the Customer Insights and Analytics practice at the strategic consulting agency Lenati (now Concentrix).

Personal Statement: “My experience at The Mountaineers has fed my passion for the outdoors and helped me discover new ways to get outside that I might not have otherwise considered. I would love the opportunity to help ensure all Mountaineers members find this community to be a welcoming environment that fosters a spirit of exploration and inspires them to be good stewards of our beautiful planet. My friends sometimes refer to me as an 'outdoor evangelist', and it is my sincere hope that The Mountaineers can contribute to a reality where everyone I know, and everyone I may come to know, feels welcome on the trail, at the crag, on the lake, or anywhere they may seek to adventure – that they feel the same warmth and comfort and acceptance that I have been privileged to experience as part of this organization.”

Sam Sanders.jpgSam Sanders

MEMBER SINCE 2016

Sam Sanders is a native Washingtonian, having grown up running wild in Snohomish forests, battling the Himalayan blackberry. She spent a handful of years studying, working, and adventuring in Europe, but came back for Washington’s wonderful outdoor spaces. The outdoors is her escape and, and she feels most alive when she can share her passion with others through teaching and local conservation efforts.  

Sam joined The Mountaineers in 2016 and co-founded the Foothills Trail Running Committee the following year, where she’s served as chair or co-chair since its inception. Besides trying to extoll the magic of running and the fantastic Mountaineers trail running community to anyone unable to get away fast enough, in the last five years Sam has helped instruct sport climbing for two branches, volunteered with scrambling and backcountry skiing, and led trail runs with the help of her two overly large and friendly husky mutts. 

Professionally, Sam works as a senior product manager for Microsoft helping design and build hardware with special interests in strategic planning, sustainability, and diversity/inclusion/equity on small and enterprise scales. She earned her undergrad in Mechanical Engineering from WSU and her masters in Materials Engineering from ENS Cachan (France). She considers herself a renaissance engineer with a background ranging from human bone to naval ships and commercial insect production to air hockey-playing robots. Her experience has served her well in helping to guide people and organizations on creating actionable and digestible steps out of grand visions. 

Siana Wong.jpgSiana Wong (RE-ELECTed)

MEMBER SINCE 2018

Siana Wong has been actively engaged as a student and volunteer since joining The Mountaineers in 2014. She completed Olympia’s Basic & Intermediate Climbing, Tacoma’s Sailing, and Seattle’s Multi-pitch Climbing courses, among others. She currently enjoys volunteering as a climb leader and instructor and leading beginner snowshoe and Nordic ski trips. She also serves on the Equity & Inclusion Committee, Risk Management Committee, and Olympia's Basic Climbing Committee. In 2017/2018, Siana served as the Olympia Branch Chair.

 Currently, Siana is an environmental scientist at the Washington State Department of Ecology in Olympia. She previously worked for the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy. One of Siana's great joys has been being able to merge her professional skills and interests in the environmental field with her passions for adventure and exploration of the natural world.

 Personal Statement: From eager student to eager volunteer, The Mountaineers has been a big part of my life. I have met wonderful people through the club (including my husband), and hope to help others feel the same sense of belonging that I have felt in our community. I fully believe in The Mountaineers mission and am inspired by the many passionate volunteers that have helped carry on that mission for over a hundred years. I am honored by the opportunity to support The Mountaineers work in continuing the traditions of exploration, conservation, and education as it evolves with the times and faces increasing challenges of access, equity, and environmental impact.


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Steven Sears
Steven Sears says:
Sep 12, 2022 04:24 PM

Why has the ability of a member making a Board Director nomination from the floor been stricken from the Bylaws? The open call method allows only Governance committee approved members to be Board Directors.

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Sep 12, 2022 06:48 PM

Hi Steven,

The proposed update to our bylaws that replaces floor nominations with an open nominations process was made to reflect best practices for member-based nonprofits like The Mountaineers and after two years successfully piloting the open nominations process.

In recent years, floor nominations has not resulted in a candidate being elected by membership. We believe this is in large part because it lacks the rigorous evaluation process the Governance Committee has used with open nominations. In addition, the open nominations process has proven to surface more qualified and diverse candidates who better reflect the breadth of Mountaineers members.

After carefully consideration, the Governance Committee and Board of Directors decided this change will better serve our community and voted unanimously to recommend it for approval by membership.

Thanks,
Gabe

Dennis Miller
Dennis Miller says:
Sep 30, 2022 07:53 PM

The call for nominations from the floor has never been very practical. The open call for nominations is a much better idea, except that as proposed it falls short of the stated goals to better represent the communities served. Its stated purpose has already morphed from "to bring diverse perspectives to the Board" to "to bring the perspectives we seek for our Board". That the Governance Committee must bless prospective nominees offends me and fundamentally changes it to a closed process. And it offends me. Wish I could vote for all provisions of the bylaws except this one.

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Oct 06, 2022 12:26 PM

Thank you for your feedback Dennis. The open call for nominations was a big step forward for the organization, and we are still working through iterations to continue to refine the process. When not looking at governing policies, the Governance Committee is assessing the organizations needs from a board perspective. This includes representation from various activities, specialized skill sets, non-traditional lived experience, and upcoming needs for The Mountaineers. The committee is composed of Mountaineer member volunteers and former board members. They make a recommendation of possible board members for the membership to approve. This is process is line with the emerging best practices in the sector. We welcome constructive feedback to improve the process and provide more transparency. Happy to chat more if you would like to share specific ideas on how to improve the process.

Jeff Horne
Jeff Horne says:
Oct 09, 2022 08:26 AM

New bylaws: "Replaces the floor nominations process for at-large directors with the annual, open call for nominations process that has been used successfully for the last two years."
Seems like this process is buried in the overall Mountaineers website and it ultimately leaves total control of the selections to the Board of Directors. If we vote to eliminate the ability to nominate from the floor, we might as well eliminate voting altogether, since all decisions will then rest with the BoD, including who can become a member of the BoD. This is not democracy.

Gabe Aeschliman
Gabe Aeschliman says:
Oct 10, 2022 12:39 PM

An important goal of the new, open nominations process is to broadly-communicate the opportunity to indicate interest in the Board. In addition to being posted on our website homepage, the call for open nominations is communicated to our community through Mountaineer magazine, emails such as Leaderlines and Events & Activities, our social media outlets, and various other leader and activity-focused mediums. This allows us to reach literally every Mountaineers member and has resulted in both a greater number of future leaders identified and more qualified board candidates than we've ever had through the floor nominations process. After carefully evaluating the last two years' experience, we are confident that the new, open nominations process will serve members much more effectively than nominations from the floor.

Jeff Horne
Jeff Horne says:
Oct 20, 2022 02:25 PM

Gabe, you addressed the process not being buried, thank you. you did not address "If we vote to eliminate the ability to nominate from the floor, we might as well eliminate voting altogether, since all decisions will then rest with the BoD, including who can become a member of the BoD. This is not democracy."