Who We Are
The Seattle Women's Commission is composed of 21 accomplished individuals who come together as volunteers to research, analyze and make recommendations to the Mayor, City Council, and City Departments on issues facing women in Seattle. Nine commissioners are appointed by the Mayor, nine appointments are made by the City Council, and two appointments are made by the Commission. Commissioners are appointed to a two year term of office and serve without pay. A 21st member joins the Commission each year through Get Engaged, a leadership development program for 18-29 year olds.
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights provides staff and support to the Commission.
Meet Our Commissioners
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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.
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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.
Honey Jo Herman
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Honey Jo is an Outreach Worker with the Metrocenter YMCA’s Alive & Free program, where she conducts culturally responsive outreach to youth involved in gangs, violence, and the juvenile justice system with an emphasis on addressing disproportionate minority contact and confinement. Honey has built meaningful partnerships with numerous youth-serving organizations in Seattle, including the Seattle Public School District, to bring the curriculum she authored to youth who are struggling in the school disciplinary system and to interrupt the school to prison pipeline. Honey also worked with Pioneer Human Services to develop and facilitate employment readiness programs for youth and adults returning to the community from incarceration. She is certified by the Pacific Institute as a New Directions facilitator, which is an evidence-based program designed to empower individuals during re-entry. Honey advocates on behalf of people facing structural barriers to accessing services that result from incarceration and is particularly passionate about supporting women on this journey.
Jaron Reed Goddard
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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.
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Lakeisha (Keisha) is the Assistant Director of the Consulting and Business Development Center at the University of Washington (UW) Foster School of Business. Prior to her work at UW, Keisha worked at College Success Foundation (CSF) as Program Associate for the College and Alumni Services Department and then at Seattle University as Coordinator of Off-Campus Student Life in the Division of Student Development. Much of her professional career has involved working with underrepresented students in the college to career pipeline. Keisha earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Sociology (double major) from Western Washington University. She earned her Master of Arts in Student Development Administration from Seattle University. She volunteers in the Greater Seattle area mentoring young women and delivering college and career preparation presentations to students, on the CSF Board of Directors and in the Seattle Urban League Young Professionals. Keisha hopes to support SWC’s work around violence prevention and economic opportunities for women while she serves as a commissioner.
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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.
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Mergitu 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.
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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.
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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.
Nicki Olivier Hellenkamp
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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.
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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.
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Teresa is the founder and visionary for Teresa Springer International, a multi-media marketing and business development consulting firm as well as a franchise owner of an Emerald City Smoothie store in downtown Seattle. Teresa also founded a non-profit organization, Trinity Organizational Society in 2008 to assist children, families and business start-ups in need of in-kind support. Teresa has remained active in community efforts including the Professional Women of Color Network (PWOCN) where she is the Chapter Director and the Network of Women (NoW) Seattle Chapter where she is Co-Chair. Teresa will use her knowledge, experience and resources to educate, empower and transform the way women face challenges personally and professionally in a predominantly male economic climate.
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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.