Board of Directors

Members of the Board of Directors are volunteers. They are elected by members at the City Club annual meeting, scheduled just before the regular May meeting. Members serve up to three two-year terms.

The Board of Directors meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 a.m. unless that day is a holiday, e.g. Jan. 1, July 4, or the meeting needs to be rescheduled for the anticipated lack of a quorum.

Mary Anderson is the Senior Transit Planner at the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA). In her role at WTA, she has worked on numerous projects including writing the WTA Sustainability Plan, managing the Lynden Hop pilot project, and coordinating the May Bike Parade and the December Lighted Bike Parade.

Mary has a Master of Sustainable Transportation degree from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Western Washington University. Mary and her husband moved to Bellingham for college in 2001 and like many people, fell in love with the town and didn’t want to leave. Mary enjoys reading and talking about books, riding bikes, and spending time with her family. After months of crushing defeat, Mary finally beat her 5th grade son at Pokémon and has now set her sights on winning a chess game against him.   Mary joined the Board of Directors in 2024.

Jill Bernstein moved to Whatcom County from Illinois in 1981.  A graduate of Loyola University school of law,  she began her legal career with legal services but spent most of her professional life working as a criminal defense lawyer.  For almost 30 years she represented individuals charged with crimes,  half of that time as a public defender and the rest in private practice.  She had the privilege of serving on the board and later as the President of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

She has been active with the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County and have served in many roles including President of the Board of Directors.   However, the role that she most enjoyed was helping to organize informational programs for League members and the community.  In 2020 she helped to organize a year-long series of programs and activities celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the League and 100 years of women’s right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Since retirement, she has continued to work on issues related to justice including serving as the President of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force and hosting a variety of radio shows on local stations that focused on topics of law, justice, and politics. She briefly served as the Interim Director for LAW Advocates.  Recently,  she served on the Board of Directors for the Salish Current as she believes that fact-based news and information is our best tool to strengthen democracy and foster a sense of community. Jill thinks one of her defining characteristics is curiosity which drives almost everything that she does….including a love of travel, reading and conversation.  Jill joined the Board of Directors in 2024.

Jane Bright is a graduate of Brandeis University and was a lifelong resident of Massachusetts until 2015 when she and her husband moved to Bellingham. It was the grandchildren.

Professionally she spent 28 years in executive positions in Human Resources at The Gillette Company and then at Fidelity Investments. Following retirement, she co-founded HealthLink, a regional environmental group formed to evaluate the high rates of multiple cancers in her community and assess the impact of living under the pollution of a coal-burning power plant. Following several years of advocacy with the State while acquiring a thorough understanding of the health effects from pollution, the State adopted the toughest pollution standards for coal plants in the nation. She received recognitions from both Governor Mitt Romney and the MA State legislature for her volunteer work. During her advocacy, her professional retirement ended, as her husband recruited her to run the business side of his software development and website company.

Since arriving in Bellingham, Bright has volunteered on numerous committees. She was elected President of the South Hill Neighborhood Association, serving for several years, and is still actively involved in upgrading the safety of train crossings across the Port and City. A sailor by marriage, she is active at the Bellingham Yacht Club where she has been elected to the Board twice. She joined the Bellingham City Club Program Committee several years ago and will assume the chairmanship in May of 2023.

She has been politically active in Bellingham, seeking to understand how laws and jurisdictions work in WA vs MA as well as to fulfill her commitment to civic responsibility and community. Bright believes it is important to leave the world a better place than you found it.  Jane is chair of the program committee and joined the Board of Directors in 2023.

Jim Britain has a BA from WSU, a JD from Duke University and a LL.M. from Temple University. He and his wife Pat have lived in Bellingham since 1995. Before that, Jim was on the faculties of University of Dayton Law School and New England School of Law, a judicial clerk for the Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and practiced in the litigation department of the Cincinnati law firm of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister. He continues to engage in the full-time practice of law in Bellingham as an attorney with Barron Smith Daugert PLLC.   Jim was the President Whatcom County Bar Association and Chairperson and Board member of LAW Advocates, which provides free legal services in civil matters to those in need. He has also been the President of, and Board member with, the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra.  Jim joined the Board of Directors in 2018.  Jim joined the Board of Directors in 2018.

Junga Cha: “My life and legal career have been focused on advancing the civil rights of people of color, women, people with disabilities, and other protected classes of people against employers, institutions, governments or corporations. I have always been passionate about justice and civil rights for people, bringing the strength and wisdom of my mother and ancestors to bear.

“Discrimination and violations of a person’s civil rights are never easy matters. Your legal advocate should listen to your individual needs, understand the critical ways racism or discrimination has caused harm in your life, and be able to educate the court and others on why it requires redress. I use my legal knowledge and experience to help guide my clients through our legal system and get results. Through the lens of my life experience growing up in an immigrant family and understanding of systemic racism, I put the legal system to work to get justice for my clients. Through my work, I meet people with rich life experiences and courageous stories. I love getting to know each of my clients and am truly honored that they share their stories with me.

“In the broader community, I volunteer with various community groups in Bellingham and serve on boards. Working with my community is important to me because when we lift from the bottom up, we lift up everyone. In my community work, my earnest dream is to build a better world together.

“The outdoors and nature call to me all year round in the Pacific Northwest, so you may see me with my partner and eager wolf pack of three dogs on Two Dollar trail, the Chuckanuts, Mt. Baker, Galbraith Mt., or the horse trails at Lake Padden. Though honestly, I am not sure I would go out into the rain, as much, if wasn’t for the dogs’ imploring, sad eyes.”  Junga joined the Board of Directors in 2023.

Jennifer Dowd is currently the Executive Director and Head of School for Explorations Academy. For the last 20 years, she has been an international educational specialist who manages change in complex systems. She approaches the school ecosystem recognizing that it is intertwined with the health of the larger community, the planet, and each individual.

She previously worked for the largest national and statewide conservation education, advocacy, and stewardship organizations designing, implementing, and evaluating programs for whole school systems that educate for sustainability. In her free time she builds tiny homes, propagates plants, and makes bamboo flutes. She is a living experimenter who creates spaces for community gatherings, performs avant-garde flute concerts and dotes on her teenage son. She chooses to educate for sustainability because it creates favorable conditions for the healthy growth and development of learners of all ages and supports our collective ability to live well within the laws and limits of nature.  Jennifer joined the Board of Directors in 2024.

Gayle Helgoe:  After graduating from Western Washington University, Gayle earned her Masters in Library Science from the University of Illinois. Following a career of thirty five years at the Bellingham Public Library, she retired in 2005 as Assistant Director. With a research interest in local history, she is the principal author of the website,  Community involvement includes past president of Soroptimist International of Bellingham, board member of the Whatcom Literacy Council, and memberships in the YWCA, Whatcom Museum, Whatcom County Historical Society, Friends of the Library, South Hill Neighborhood Association and the Whatcom Horticultural Society. National memberships in the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, Southern Poverty Law Center and Planned Parenthood. She has been a member of the City Club since 2000.  Gayle joined the Board of Directors in 2018.

Sam Humphreys has lived in Bellingham since his family moved here in 1999 when he was three years old. He feels fortunate to have attended the Bellingham Public Schools, where he had opportunities to learn hands-on about the various animals, plants, and other organisms that inhabit the PNW with us. Sam’s love for living things led him to pursue sustainability studies at Simon Fraser University. In 2018 he graduated with a degree in Sustainable Business and certificate in Sustainable Community Development, and he promptly moved back home to Bellingham.

Since his return, he has become increasingly interested and invested in this bioregion and the various communities that it supports. As one can expect from a childhood Bellinghamster, he loves to ride all over town on two wheels, explore our local trails on foot, learn more about the ins-and-outs of our local natural and human systems, and to interact with all the folks who add flavor to our town. He has a deep and growing connection to this bioregion and is keen to put his “youthful” energy to good use by facilitating its continued success and sustainable growth.

Professionally speaking, Sam currently serves as business manager and sustainability consultant at Peak Sustainability Group. He has over four years of business development, relationship building, and account management experience in professional services and business-to-business sales. He is a capable generalist whose years of experience working on small, dynamic teams has given him excellent communication and teamwork skills and has given him a love of learning from others. Sam supports Peak with internal business systems management as well as consulting on multiple client projects. He is passionate about finding solutions to climate challenges and improving human wellbeing, whether it is through innovative technologies, novel thinking, or reintroducing traditional practices into the modern day. Sam joined the Board of Directors in 2024.

Natalie Knops, born and raised in Bellingham, received her Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a degree in Environment, Economics, and Politics. While at Scripps, she studied abroad in Vietnam, Morocco, & Bolivia researching climate change and the politics of food, water, and energy. After graduation, Natalie began her work with the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC), an educational organization that prepares high school students for future careers through experiential academic programming and leadership workshops. She created and developed the NSLC’s Marine Biology program, actively serves as an academic advisor for all NSLC programs, and builds and develops relations with NSLC’s domestic educator network. In addition to her work with the NSLC, Natalie worked as a Professional Bread & Pastry Baker at The Mazama Store while living in the Methow Valley. She is passionate about building learners’ academic engagement in educational contexts and the importance of interpersonal skills in teacher-learner relationships. She enjoys cross-country skiing, mountain biking, running in the Chuckanuts, and filling her camera roll with pictures of her two cats.   Natalie joined the Board of Directors in 2023.

Forrest Longman has lived in Bellingham for nearly 20 years and has worked for the City of Bellingham as the Budget and Finance Officer since 2017. He is an alumnus of Western Washington University and earned a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington after several years running his own yacht maintenance business. Forrest lives in Happy Valley with his wife, Sarah and two sons, Henry and Alden. Before small children commandeered all his free time, he helped create the Bellingham Bay Community Boating Center and Millworks Cohousing. For fun, Forrest enjoys playing with his boys, riding bicycles and sailing in the San Juans.  Forrest joined the Board of Directors in 2019.

Nina Nancarrow grew up on farm outside the city of Gig Harbor, Washington. She began violin lessons in second grade and became a member of the Tacoma Youth Symphony in middle school. She was an active member of the local Girl Scout troop through high school and a
member of the local Pony Club chapter. She attended the University of Puget Sound where she studied foreign language and international affairs. While there, she discovered a passion for the French language which led to international travel and friendships spanning three decades.

She moved to Bellingham in 2007 with her son, Colin, and quickly became involved with the Lowell Elementary School PTA and its “Green Grass” campaign. She met her husband, Matt, and his daughter, Genevieve, at a neighborhood potluck shortly after arriving in Bellingham. Nina has worked for many years as a full charge bookkeeper for a number of local companies and now has her own bookkeeping business. Now that both children are out of the house, Nina has resumed volunteer work, most recently for the Whatcom Unified Command. She and Matt enjoy cooking, reading, traveling, and long walks through the South Bellingham neighborhood where they live and work. Nina joined the board in 2020.

Zach Nordwell came to Bellingham from the Olympic Peninsula in 2001 to attend Western Washington University. In 2006, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and began working as a tax accountant at a Bellingham firm. In 2009, Zach left the firm where he started his career and began as an accountant at Larson Gross, a local Bellingham firm. Zach recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary at Larson Gross, and is currently a CPA Manager at the firm. Zach works with local businesses and individuals in Bellingham and the surrounding areas. Zach is married and he and his wife Sonja Nordwell are starting a family. In his free time, Zach enjoys following the Seattle Mariners, watching movies, hiking, and is a craft beer enthusiast.  Zach joined the Board of Directors in 2019.

Allison Roberts grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and Burien, Washington, before moving to Bellingham in 2002. She graduated from Western Washington University with a teaching degree. She has worked as a middle school teacher, a coordinator for the Youth and Government program, and was an assistant during various legislative sessions.  A bit of a generalist, Allison has done everything from selling World Book encyclopedias door to door to teaching preschool, planning educational exchange programs for international students and writing letters for budget analysts at the Governor’s Budget Office. She is passionate about connecting people to each other, to new information, and to solutions. She served on the Board of Directors for Wild Whatcom for six years. Since 2011, Allison has been a co-owner of Peak Sustainability Group, an environmental consulting company her husband, David Roberts, founded in 2011. Now semi-retired, you can find Allison in her garden, playing piano, making art, camping in an A-frame trailer, and exploring trails on her electric bike.  Allison joined the Board of Directors in 2023.