Meet the Commissioners

Mercedes Elizalde, Co-Chair

Mercedes is the Volunteer Program's Coordinator with the Low Income Housing Institute.  She is a dedicated social service professional and has held direct service and program management roles with several non-profit (for-impact) organizations working with children, youth, low-income adults and adults with developmental disAbilities. Mercedes has a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in Women’s Studies from Dominican University of California and is working towards a Masters in Non-profit Leadership at Seattle University. She is a research fellow with the National Afterschool Matters Practitioner Research Fellowship. She is also the Chair of the Political Strategies Committee for the Children’s Campaign Fund, Co-chair for the Single Adult Advocacy Committee with the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, and a crew leader with the Student Conservation Association. Mercedes aims to use her time on the commission to address structural and systematic inequities that lead to health and educational disparities among communities.

Michele M. Frix, Co-Chair

Michele serves as Director of Programs for the Seattle International Foundation (SIF), and international grant maker with a focus on women’s leadership and public policy in Central America. Prior to joining SIF in 2009 as the Foundation’s first Program Officer, Michele worked as a Research Analyst for the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington. Her fieldwork in Latin America has focused on human rights, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, women’s leadership and the role of technology in international development. She graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. from the Jackson School of International Studies, and a minor in Human Rights. Michele comes from a military family and is deeply committed to advocating for veterans and their families. Michele is passionate about connecting women leaders from different countries, in order to address complex issues such as violence against women and access to justice.

Liz Kellogg, Co-Chair

Liz works as a research grant manager at Alere Wellbeing; her projects examine interventions for smoking cessation and weight loss in low-income populations. Previously, she has worked in research positions at the Service Women’s Action Network and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Liz holds a Masters of Public Health in Health Policy from Columbia University, and completed her B.A. in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Vermont. Liz serves as a policy workgroup member at Legal Voice, where she conducts reproductive health policy research. She is also on the events committee for Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest’s Young Professionals group. Liz will use her background in policy research and analysis to advocate for policies and programs that create equal economic opportunity for women.

Lylianna Allala

Lylianna holds a position as Northwest Recruiter & Coordinator with the Student Conservation Association. She  has held past positions with respected environmental agencies and non-profits such as EarthCorps, the US Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Nature Consortium. Lylianna holds a B.A in English, a certificate in Wetland Science & Management from University of Washington, and a certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University. She is also a graduate of the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s Advancing Latina Leaders in Non Profits program, United Way of King County’s Project LEAD, The Center for Diversity & the Environment’s 2042 Today, and the Environmental Leadership Program. Lylianna uses her training in the Seattle RSJI to address issues of gender and racial disparity for the women & families of Seattle.

Mergitu Argo

Mergitu Argo worked for Neighborhood House as an employment specialist. She also has worked in Refuge Women's Alliance classroom interpreting, conducting parent education workshops and case management for the ESL/DD participants and family advocating for East African's who speak Amharic and Oromiffa . She has served on the African Community Network board in Washington, and the East African Police Advisory Council. Mergitu advocates for refugee and immigrant women in Seattle.

Elsa Batres-Boni

Elsa was born and raised in Mexico City, where she studied social anthropology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia. Her training as a community organizer and educator began while working with a popular education-focused organization in various rural indigenous communities in Mexico. In the past 10 years Elsa has worked professionally and volunteered for different social and environmental justice organizations locally and internationally such as BUSCA, AC and Oxfam in Mexico, the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica, and EarthCorps, Casa Latina, Community Coalition for Environmental Justice, YouthCare and Global Visionaries in Seattle, WA. Most recently, she organized immigrant communities with OneAmerica throughout southwestern Washington State. Elsa believes the only way to achieve social change is through community empowerment.

Morgan R. Beach

Morgan works in corporate partnership development for the American Red Cross. She has held past positions in program and policy analysis with United Way and Human Rights Watch. She holds a Master in Public Policy concentrating in State & Local Policy and Economics from Pepperdine University, where she served as the President of Women in Public Policy, and a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Denver. Morgan also serves as the volunteer 43rd Legislative District Co-Chair with Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. Morgan uses her experience addressing local emergency rehousing, tenant rights and low-income housing limitations to inform public social programs as they are applied to women who live and work in Seattle.

Jennifer Cobb

Jennifer Cobb is the Founder, President, and CEO of ...and Justice For All, Inc. - a client-based advocacy organization that addresses civil and criminal legal cases, its services are free and is nationwide. She has been an activist and advocate for eighteen years and has had over 500 clients with various issues. Jennifer has 160+ credit hours with concentration in mathematics and psychology and a minor in Women's Studies at I.U.P.U.I and Martin University in Indiana. Jennifer has been affiliated with a a wide array of organizations. Some of these organizations include being a board member of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, Inc., Acting President of Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center, Inc., a volunteer with Amnesty International, and a volunteer with the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Help Free Marissa Alexander. Jennifer cares much about the prevailing issues that affect the women here in Seattle and will use her years of education and experience helping toward the betterment of these women.

Wendy Gillihan

Wendy is the founder and principal consultant at Gryffin Consulting, where she serves as an accounting and human resources trusted advisor for start-ups and non-profits. She earned her B.S. in Business and Master of Accountancy from Westminster College Gore School of Business. Her certifications include a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and she is a Washington CPA candidate. Ms. Gillihan currently sits on the board of directors for the National Association of Women MBAs -Seattle Chapter, and serves as a volunteer instructor at the Small Business Administration and Washington Small Business Fair. She is passionate about addressing the underlying causes of economic inequality.

Jaron Goddard

Jaron is a MPA candidate at the University of Washington Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and concurrently works for the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group (EPAR) conducting research for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has previously conducted research for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she studied female-cancer health disparities and biomedical-research informed consent practices among vulnerable populations. As a Peace Corps volunteer she worked in over 15 rural communities to promote infant, child, and maternal nutrition, and conducted HIV/AIDS prevention workshops with the Ministry of Public Health and Education in Guatemala from 2010-2012. She attended The Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, with emphasis on Geographical Information Systems and Public Health.

Maha Jahshan

Maha has worked extensively with various immigrant and refugee groups in the community, by providing organizing, counseling and tutoring opportunities. She is fluent in Arabic and is the Lead Organizer & Civic Engagement Coordinator for OneAmerica, Washington State's largest immigrant rights organization. In addition to helping lead the civic engagement work, she develops and implements the vision for an innovative leadership youth program. Maha’s experiences as a first generation immigrant help her respect and commit to help in the fight for social, racial and economic justice.

Roslyn Kagi

Roslyn is a graduate of Evergreen State College where she studied Social Justice, Community Development and Education. She is a youth advocate and program coordinator for New Futures, a nationally recognized nonprofit whose mission is to partner with families to create communities where children thrive. She conducts outreach and builds relationships with middle and high school youth and their families to teach, empower and advocate. Roslyn is a past Get Engaged Commissioner.

Phyllis Lewis

Phyllis is a site supervisor for Primm ABC Childcare Center at Dearborn Park. She supervises daily operations of the program to ensure compliance with DSHS licensing requirements and works with families from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Phyllis uses her knowledge of the childcare industry to advocate for affordable childcare in Seattle.

Clarissa Lord Brundage

Clarissa is a Family Planning Associate Program Officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and specializes in adolescent health. She received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington where she formed a student group dedicated to raising awareness for reproductive rights and justice in Seattle. Clarissa served in the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. While Clarissa’s professional career has been centered on improving health outcomes in developing countries, she is equally passionate about women’s access to reproductive health care domestically. Clarissa is a long-time Planned Parenthood volunteer and recently joined Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s Board of Advocates.

Alison Mondi

Alison works in public policy and advocacy for Lifelong, the largest AIDS service organization in the Pacific Northwest. She has nearly ten years of experience working in health care policy and women’s rights, and has previously served as the Public Policy Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College. Alison is also the President of the Board of Directors of the Washington Bus, a non-profit organization that engages young people in civic and political action. She brings her professional experience and personal passion for women’s equity and empowerment to the Commission, where she is focused on increasing access to safe, affordable and culturally appropriate housing options for women and families in the City of Seattle

Nicki Olivier

Nicki works as a union representative with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 and is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned a Master of Social Work degree. As a student, she interned with Partners for Our Children (a University of Washington-based research group), as well as the Seattle Municipal Court’s Probation Department. Prior to that, she worked in Philadelphia for Project H.O.M.E. and Bethesda Project, two nonprofits that provide housing and services to homeless and formerly homeless men and women. Nicki is the Get Engaged Commissioner for 2013-2014.

Tracey Whitten

Tracey serves as the Internal Organizer for AFT Washington, focused primarily on leadership development and membership engagement, she also acts as the community relations liaison. Before joining AFT she worked as an External Organizer for SEIU Local 925 working extensively on improving working conditions for non-union members and organizing hundreds of volunteers to engage in discussion and action around the economy and job creation. She received B.A. in Organizational Communication with a focus in Legal Studies at the University of Central Florida. As part of her study, she went to Malawi, Africa for a humanitarian trip where she promoted HIV awareness and testing. Her past projects include volunteering with Planned Parenthood Votes and Child Care Resources to champion support for women's rights and the rights of childcare providers. As the third and youngest child of an immigrant family from Jamaica, Tracey had the opportunity to view the ideals of American values through the lens of two different worlds and she credits this experience for her early onset to fight for social justice.