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A tradition of service

Posted by jbroughton at Dec 05, 2012 12:45 AM |
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Today we profile board member Jenifer Merkel. Jenifer served on the board from 2009-2012, and we are eternally grateful for her dedication to service.

A tradition of service

Jenifer Merkel, former Conservation Northwest board member, attorney, and avid outdoorswoman.

We’re thankful for Jenifer Merkel, who joined our board in 2009 and served as secretary. We are also sad to bid her farewell this month, as she leaves the board for new endeavors. Wherever she heads next, we know it will be in the service of others and our shared natural heritage.

 “I joined the board because I believe in preserving our wild areas, particularly the North Cascades and northeastern Washington, where some of my family is from. Conservation Northwest is the most efficient and effective environmental organization in the area and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

Jenifer goes on to note that “[her] family has a strong background directly impacting legislation affecting wild areas – from my father’s work on Senator Scoop Jackson’s wilderness agenda, to my mother’s work for then Speaker Tom Foley’s service as the first Speaker of the House from a state west of the Rocky Mountains, to my brother’s work for Senator Maria Cantwell as the Washington delegation’s key backer for a variety of environmental causes, to my own work for then Congressman Jay Inslee and his focus on energy efficiency and independence.  Continuing in this tradition through board service is an honor.”

Jenifer is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Seattle Attorney’s Office in the Contracts and Utilities section where she focuses her practice on municipal finance and issues impacting Seattle’s public utilities. “As an attorney, I’m trained to identify issues, solve problems, form strategic alliances, and find creative solutions. As a board member, I’m able to draw on that training and experience to the benefit of Conservation Northwest through voicing my concerns, but then also suggesting solutions” she said.

Jenifer was previously an attorney at Foster Pepper PLLC where she practiced in the areas of municipal finance, tax exempt organizations, and nonprofit law. She also has extensive experience in estate planning. She has served on the board of directors of Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations and has assisted several pro bono clients, including organizations supporting women in developing countries, as well as environmental organizations.  Now devoting her career full time to public service, she has found extraordinary satisfaction in her work:  “Working for the best client in the world—the City of Seattle—is an incredibly rewarding experience.  The projects I have the privilege to work on daily will shape this City’s future success as an example of social and environmental responsibility, as well as balanced economic vitality.”

She is an avid runner, hiker, skier, and urban gardener and lives with her husband Chris, two dogs, and soon-to-be-born baby boy in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle.  She has also spent quality time hunting and stomping around northeastern Washington.  “I’ve lived in Washington since I was four years old and there is no more beautiful place.  Not the top of Mt. Rainier, nor the wild rivers on the Olympic peninsula, nor the sweeping wheat fields in Pullman, nor the rugged North Cascades.  As one Senator put it, northeastern Washington “is the crown jewel of the state.”  I believe it must remain protected. Conservation Northwest is the only organization with such an intent focus .”

Thank you, Jenifer!

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