Meet the Commissioners
Emily Alvarado is the policy director for Seattle, Skyway and White Center, with the Housing Development Consortium, a nonprofit dedicated to crafting policy and program solutions to affordable housing challenges. Emily earned her B.A. with honors in American Studies from Scripps College and a J.D. from the University Of Washington School of Law, where she was a Gates Public Service Law Scholar. Emily has experience advising low-income people with landlord-tenant problems and currently volunteers with the Latino Bar Association Community Legal Clinic. Prior to law school, Emily worked as a community organizer for women's health and rights issues at Planned Parenthood. Emily's work is guided by a deep commitment to civic engagement. She believes that government has a critical role to play in meeting people's basic needs and protecting civil and human rights. Emily lives in Mount Baker.
For the past five years Mergitu has worked for Neighborhood House as an employment specialist. She also has worked in various positions at the Refuge Women's Alliance for the past 8 years. She does classroom interpreting, 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 been a job coach for Rainier Vista which opened up the door for other opportunities working with employers and other service providers around King County.
Jennifer Cobb is the Founder, President, and CEO of …and Justice For All, Inc., a client-based advocacy corporation that works on civil and criminal legal cases, is nationwide, and its services are free. Jennifer has been involved in advocacy and activism work since 1996. She has helped over 500 clients with a wide array of issues. Jennifer attended Martin University in Indianapolis and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis with 160 cr. hours majoring in mathematics and psychology. She moved from Indianapolis to Seattle last year in 2012 for growth and change. When she saw Mt. Rainer, it was breathtaking for her, and she knew then that Washington was going to be her home. Jennifer does not want to merely live in Washington. She wants to help to make a difference. She is honored to serve as a Commissioner for the Seattle's Women's Commission and looks forward to getting to work to help make that difference.
Michele currently serves as Program Officer for the Seattle International Foundation (SIF). Prior to joining SIF, Michele carried out research and contributed to publications for the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington, conducting independent field work in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, and Ecuador. She has extensive research experience, examining the sustainability, efficiency and impact of several nonprofits throughout the Latin American region over the past five years. Michele has also been involved in community outreach and grassroots level development work on behalf of: Amnesty International USA, Senator Patty Murray's Veterans Affairs program, University of Washington Guatemala Project, 2008 Campaign for Change for Obama, and various international campaigns demanding equal labor rights for female sweatshop workers and small coffee farmers. Michele graduated from the University of Washington in 2007 with a Bachelors of Arts from the Jackson School of International Studies, and a minor in Human Rights. She has written extensively and made presentations internationally regarding her work focused on human rights, people with disabilities, at-risk youth in Latin America, the role of technology in international development, and women's rights-an issue which is of upmost importance to her. She is also passionate about the outdoors and spends much of her spare time attempting to climb volcanoes in and around Washington State.
Mallory Gitt is a graduate of Seattle University, graduating summa cum laude and earning her BA in Political Science. Mallory has managed a political campaign, worked at the Washington Bus (a civic engagement organization for young people) as its Development Director, and currently works at the Frye Art Museum, focusing on its community outreach and fundraising initiatives. She has always been dedicated to serving women and girls, volunteering with Girls on the Run of Puget Sound, Washington Women for Choice, and the National Women's Political Caucus of Washington. Mallory is interested in ensuring that all women have access to leadership development and economic opportunities.
W.M. Gillihan earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Westminster College and her Associate of Applied Science in Accounting from North Seattle Community College. She currently owns Gryffin Business Solutions where she works as a consultant providing assistance to entrepreneurs and non-profits around the Puget Sound. She volunteers as an instructor at the Seattle branch of the Small Business Administration. While she has an interest in a range of women's issues, her passion is in creating change that provides opportunity to rise above the limitations created by poverty. She is motivated by her own experiences growing up in a low-income household. Also, she is inspired to action as a granddaughter of a first generation Hungarian-American who overcame her coal miner's daughter start to work in both the public and private sector at a time when few women had the opportunity to do so. She is dedicated to helping empower marginalized women to achieve their definition of success.
Leslie Grow is a staff attorney with the Northwest Justice Project, a non profit serving low income individuals, where she works solely with domestic violence survivors. Working at Northwest Justice Project allows her to work closely with community and systems based domestic violence advocates to assist clients in a holistic manner. Leslie is passionate about empowering women and has been working with domestic violence survivors in various roles and organizations since 2004. Previously Leslie interned for Seattle City Council Member Heidi Wills. She is a member of the Washington Women Lawyers and the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Leslie holds a law degree from Tulane University Law School and a B.A. in International Studies from Seattle University.
Johanna is currently in her second year of law school at the University of Washington (UW) as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar. She earned her B.S. in Microbiology with honors from Virginia Tech and her M.S. in Biophysics and Physiology from Georgetown University. Prior to law school, Johanna worked as an advocate on a number of women's issues ranging from promoting health as a human right via the lens of maternal mortality in the United States at Amnesty International to serving women in rural Peru as a health worker supporting pregnant women and educating mothers on breastfeeding and nutrition. In her most recent stint, she interned at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and covered the 50th Session of the Committee Against the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. She is currently drafting an article on the feminization of displacement arguing for increased protection against sexual and gender-based violence for refugees from an international human rights perspective. Finally, Johanna is co-president of Law Students for Reproductive Justice at UW and actively volunteers with many local community groups with the mindset of "think globally, act locally."
Abigail Echo-Hawk is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation who has made Seattle her home for the past 12 years. With a B.A. and Masters of Policy Studies from the University of Washington, Ms. Echo-Hawk currently works for UW as a Tribal Liaison for the Institute for Translational Health Sciences. As a dedicated advocate for women's health, Ms. Echo-Hawk has concentrated on policy change to decrease health disparities in infant mortality for Native American and African American women in Seattle. As mother with two young boys, she also continues to work toward equitable educational outcomes in Seattle schools. In her spare time she enjoys reading, taking her boys to dance at powwows, and spending time with her husband, sons, family and friends.
Maha Jashan is an organizer and membership coordinator at OneAmerica-a nationally recognized nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the fundamental principles of democracy and justice at the local, state and national levels through building power in immigrant communities. She serves as the only woman on the board of directors at St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church where she works closely in overseeing the social activities and educational opportunities for the youth in the church. Maha is fluent in Arabic and holds a Master's in Arts in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Washington where she focused on cross-cultural communications between the United States and the Arab world with a focus on the roles of women in Egyptian cinema.
Jamila Johnson is a civil litigator at regional law firm Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt where she frequently litigates issues relating to government accountability, constitutional law, and property rights. She holds a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication from Seattle University. In 2011, she was named the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year for the King County Bar Association, in part, because of her frequent commentary on the practice of law, politics, and issues of social justice. As a former teenage mother, she is a passionate advocate for women's issues, equality, and is dedicated to identifying institutional barriers to success. Jamila is on her law firm's pro bono committee, and resides in High Point with her 11-year-old son.
Bridgette is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, where she is responsible for representing the State on felony criminal matters. She holds a law degree from Seattle University and a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from St. Mary's College of Maryland. In her free time, she is active in a variety of community organizations; she is particularly interested in how public safety issues and transportation policy impact women. Bridgette serves on the board for the Institute for a Democratic Future and is a member of the Southeast District Council. She lives in NewHolly with her husband and young son.
Betsy McConnell Gutierrez
Betsy McConnell Gutierrez has for over 20 years worked as a Program Coordinator for the South Seattle Community College Georgetown Campus Apprenticeship Training Center. Ms. Gutierrez holds numerous leadership positions, many specifically supporting women's issues. Her years of experience collaborating with education, community and labor agencies shows a passion for recognition of diversity and assistance to working women in an effort to establish family stability, fair wages and benefits. Ms. Gutierrez has been a dedicated advocate and educator promoting the success of Seattle families.
Alison Mondi is the Communications & Public Policy Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington where she, among other things, coordinates the public policy and legislative agenda, implements grassroots legislative strategy, and directs the communications and political programs. Prior to this position, Alison worked as a development associate for the organization, was the legislative assistant to an Oregon state legislator, and served as the finance assistant for a congressional campaign. Alison is a former chair of the Washington Forum, an affiliate of a non-profit media organization that works to encourage more citizen debate. She currently serves on the Board of the Washington Bus. Alison resides in Capitol Hill with her partner and their two dogs.
Laura Cava Northrop is the Administrative Director at the League of Women Voters of Washington, a nonpartisan political organization promoting civic advocacy and education. She has been passionate about community building from an early age and has a professional background in the nonprofit and communication sectors. She holds a B.A. in Social Studies and East Asian Languages & Civilizations from Harvard University, where her research focused on media, education and contemporary social change among young Chinese women. She enjoys volunteering with local women's health, advocacy and social services organizations, as well as adventuring in the Pacific Northwest and abroad.
Olivia Robinson is the Regional Affairs Coordinator for the PSRC and where she works on issues around food policy, the military, and other projects. Previously, she worked on campaigns and for Congressman Jay Inslee (WA-01). She received her BA from the Saint Mary College (now the University of Saint Mary) in Leavenworth, KS, and her MA from Montana State University. Olivia also serves on the board for the Institute for a Democratic Future, on the NARAL PAC Committee and occasionally helps out at ArtsWest Theatre in West Seattle, which is neighborhood where she and her cat reside.Tracey Whitten
Tracey Whitten currently serves as the Internal Organizer for AFT Washington, focused primarily on leadership development and membership engagement of AFT members, she also acts as the community relations liaison for AFT Washington and their respective locals. 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.
The Seattle Women's Commission accepts applications throughout the year. April - June is the time of the year for filling seats on the Seattle Women's Commission vacated by the Commissioners whose terms will end in July. There may also be vacancies at other times during the year. Terms are for 2 years. All appointments are subject to confirmation by the Seattle City Council.
The Seattle Women's Commission is a 20-member board that advises the Mayor and City Council on issues of concern to women. The Commission recommends policies and legislation regarding these issues to City officials and departments. The Commission encourages understanding between the women's community and the greater Seattle community.
Participation on the Seattle Women's Commission requires a minimum time commitment of 8 -10 hours per month, plus attendance at monthly meetings, held the third Monday evening of each month. Commissioners carry out the Commission workplan, and analyze and provide written and verbal input to Mayor and City Council about policies and plans. Commission member serve without compensation.
Interested applicants must reside within the City of Seattle. If you would like to be considered, please send a letter of interest and a current resume to:
Seattle Women's Commission
The Seattle Women's Commission is committed to representing the diversity of the Seattle community. Persons with disabilities, sexual minorities, and persons of color are encouraged to apply.
For more information, please call Marta Idowu at the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (206) 684-4540 or e-mail.