Local Leaders Join YWCA Board of Directors

New members champion values of equity and diversity
June 18, 2020

SEATTLE — YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish is pleased to announce the addition of five new members who were recently elected to its Board of Directors: Renee Cogdell Lewis, Cassandra Mitchell, Camille Ralston, Ameila Ransom, and Roberta Romero. 

Renee Cogdell Lewis is Corporate Counsel at Univera, Inc., a health and wellness company in Belltown, and has more than 20 years of experience as corporate attorney in a variety of industries. The Illinois native was involved with YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago before she moved to Seattle three years ago. She is also a member of YWCA’s People of Color Executive Council, and the Stand Against Racism planning committee. 

Cassandra Mitchell is the Vice President & Corporate Responsibility Officer for Washington KeyBank. As a community partner, influencer, and advocate, she is passionate about creating diverse and inclusive communities and work environments where organizations thrive and people excel. She is originally from Portland, Oregon but has called Puget Sound home for over 18 years with her three daughters, Sierra, Kamryn, and Kadyn.

Camille Taylor Ralston is a commercial real estate attorney at Montgomery Purdue Blankinship & Austin PLLC. As a native Seattleite, her lifelong relationship with YWCA started at 8-years-old when she learned to swim at our Seneca location. Her children attended YWCA’s daycare in the 1990’s. Camille has volunteered with the YWCA for the last 20 years, serving on the YWCA’s Opportunity Place and as a fundraising table captain. She is a founding member of Washington Women Real Estate Lawyers.

Amelia Ransom is the Senior Director of Engagement & Diversity at Avalara, where she is responsible for driving strategy and initiatives that impact, solidify, and improve company culture. Her areas of expertise include leadership development, millennial engagement, executive level mentorship and advisement, and diversity and inclusion strategy and execution. The California native, by way of D.C., Chicago, and Connecticut, previously held multiple regional and company-wide leadership positions at Nordstrom for 26 years.

Roberta Romero is an Emmy-nominated reporter who spent the majority of her career reporting for KING 5 (NBC) news. She now freelances for various news organizations and works for Peer Seattle, an LGBTQ nonprofit that focuses on peer-to-peer training and advocacy for POC and allies.  She volunteers at organizations including Seattle's Children's Hospital, Forefront, Nordstrom Latina Summit,  and Seattle Public Schools. She is passionate about helping disenfranchised people by telling stories to a wide audience.  

“We are excited to add these accomplished community leaders to YWCA’s board,” said Maria Chavez Wilcox, CEO of YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. “These women bring a wide range of experience and talent to our organization, as well as a deep commitment to our mission of racial and gender equity. As an organization that serves primarily women and people of color, it’s important that our board of directors reflects the communities we serve and understands the issues facing our region.” 

Studies of diversity in board leadership have shown that in the United States, only 18-percent of board positions are held by women, and roughly 15-percent are held by people of color. YWCA has 34 total board members; 85-percent are women, and a majority are people of color (53-percent).

New officers were also elected to YWCA’s board for 2020 – 2021, including: Board Chair, Lisa Schuares; Chair-Elect, Denise Stiffarm; Secretary, Bavan Holloway; and Treasurer, Jim Bromley. A complete list of YWCA’s board members can be found online: ywcaworks.org/leadership.

About YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish:

YWCA is the region’s oldest and largest organization focused on the needs of women, and provides services and advocacy to support stable homes and economic advancement, reduce violence and improve health, and promote racial equity and social justice. With programs that serve nearly 10,000 people each year, YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. To learn more, please visit our website: ywcaworks.org.

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