Joy Stanford, known lovingly as “Ms. Joy” by students in her community, is a mother, housing and health care advocate, and substitute teacher in the South Sound region where she has lived for over twenty years. She is a fierce activist for Women, children, education, homelessness, equity and diversity. Joy was inspired to run for office after seeing racist tags at her son’s high school last year that were fueled by the divisive and racist rhetoric at the national level. Prior to becoming a substitute teacher, Joy spent 14 years working with local seniors and under-served populations to gain access to Medicare, Medicaid and other critical health care services. While the election did not turn out how she would have wanted, she did garner approx. 44.89% of the votes, which is great for a first time candidate. Joy graduated from the Emerge WA program with the 2019 Governor Gregoire Cohort and also sits on the board of Washington’s Paramount Duty. She currently works for Shared Housing Services as a Community Outreach Specialist, helping Pierce county residents avoid housing instability. She also co-chairs the Gig Harbor-Key Peninsula Homeless Coalition.
Pamela Eakes combines a successful career in advertising and marketing with nonprofit executive leadership and organizational development, and a commitment to community and civic service. For over a dozen years, Eakes served as Founder & CEO of Mothers Against Violence in America (MAVIA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing violence by and against children. Eakes also serves on the national board of Emerge.
Charmaine has lived in the 43rd Legislative District of Seattle for more than 50 years but holds her heart in the sunshine state of California. Growing up in the Central District, her first taste of activism was with Black Panther Party in the early days of the movement. In her work with nonprofits professionally and as a volunteer, she created and managed a meal program during the height of the AIDS epidemic, organized and emceed national LGBTQ conferences, and led community meetings and national conferences as a member of the SGIUSA Buddhist community. She worked on the volunteer leadership team for both the Obama Campaign (2008/2012) and the Hillary Campaign for Seattle (2016), was the emcee at the legislative convention, spoke at the 7th congressional convention, and was the team-lead support at the state convention. She was also the emcee for the Womxn’s March in Seattle in January, 2016. She is currently semi-retired but continues to work as the Visionary Advocacy Strategist for Arts Education Washington. She focuses personal time on letting the activist in her rise while engaging and uplifting Womxn’s voices at the individual and community level.
Mary Ellen Stone has been a leader in addressing issues of sexual violence for the past 4 decades. She brings extensive non-profit leadership experience, community development, political advocacy and fundraising skills. She has received numerous local and national awards and is a program graduate of Leadership Tomorrow and the Alki Foundation. Past board experience and task force membership includes Mental Illness Drug Dependency Oversight Committee, the Seattle Chief of Police Search Committee, Women’s Funding Alliance, and Municipal League Seattle-King County. She is presently serving on the Seattle Archdiocese Review Board. Mary Ellen holds a Masters degree in Counseling from the University of Minnesota.
Shelby Healy is an advertising, marketing and communications veteran who has managed brands ranging from one-woman Etsy shops to Microsoft. She began on the journalism side of newspapers before selling ad spots. After 5 years of selling digital display, search, radio, print, newspaper and everything in between for The Seattle Weekly, The Seattle Times-PI, CBS, VEVO and last.fm, she read the tea leaves and has been hands on with social media for the last ten years, working for a small startup before heading to Microsoft in 2011 to manage Microsoft Advertising’s social presence and manage public relations and executive image. She is currently a Marketing Manager at Microsoft, managing the end to end social strategy, production, execution and analytics for Windows, Surface and Mixed Reality Commercial. She is a graduate of Emerge WA’s 2019 signature training program.
Brandy Donaghy is a community organizer and Navy veteran who is currently serving in the Washington State Legislature as a Representative from the 44th Legislative District. Her priorities include COVID-19 recovery that incorporates community support, housing security, justice reform, and maintaining green spaces. Donaghy serves on the board of directors for the Communities of Color Coalition. She also regularly volunteers to provide emergency services and disaster relief to the Snohomish community. Brandy is a graduate of Emerge WA’s 2017 Seattle boot camp.
Kathy Mulkerin grew up in Walla Walla, attending Walla Walla Public Schools. She left to attend college. earning a BA in Psychology from the University of Portland, a Master’s of Education, Primary Montessori from Loyola University Maryland and Montessori Teaching certificate from Montessori Institute Northwest. Kathy returned to Walla Walla in 2005 to raise her son and be closer to her parents.
Kathy began her political career at age 5, knocking on doors with her Mom when she ran for School Board. Kathy is a former Chair of the 16th LD Democrats and former Washington State Democratic Committeeperson representing Walla Walla County.
After an unsuccessful run for Walla Walla County Clerk in 2018, Kathy stepped up to run for Walla Walla Public School Board Director in 2021 and won her election.
Kathy is a proud graduate of the Emerge Washington 2019 Governor Christine Gregoire Cohort. She completed a Master’s in paralegal studies from The George Washington University last year. Kathy is involved in furthering her passion to empower women and children. She is a co-founder of COCOA (Color Our Community on Awareness) and was recently sworn in as a Child Advocate.
A mission-driven servant leader with over two decades of experience crafting communications and brand strategy across multiple industries and organizations, Bana is also a passionate advocate dedicated to uplifting women and families.
Bana is a graduate of the Emerge WA 2022 Marilyn Strickland Cohort. She sits on the board of the Secure Families Initiative, whose mission is to mobilize military family members and veterans to vote and advocate for their communities, especially on issues of foreign policy and national security. In addition, she is a member of the 2021 Scholar cohort of the George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program.
Bana is an alumna of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Martin J. Whitman School of Management with degrees in public relations and marketing management. When she’s not on a soapbox defending the Oxford comma, you can find her exploring the nearest national park or volunteering as a Girl Scout troop leader. A military spouse of over 15 years, Bana lives with her husband and four children in Bellevue, WA.
Dr. Melissa Bedford
Dr. Melissa Bedford (she/her) is a former Title I public school teacher, current assistant professor in education, and elected school board director. Originally from Northern Nevada, she is a proud alumna of the University of Nevada, Reno, where she completed her BA in Political Science, MEd in Education, and PhD in Education-Literacy Studies. Dr. Bedford moved to Spokane in the fall of 2019 to begin her career in higher education at Eastern Washington University, where she teaches literacy methods courses to future teachers. In addition, she researches various areas of education including children’s and young adult literature, critical literacy, literacy-STEM integration, and culturally responsive teaching. After moving to Spokane, she quickly became involved in the local community, serving as Vice Chair of the local Young Democrats chapter and volunteering on various campaigns. Dr. Bedford participated in the 2021 Emerge Boot Camp during her campaign for Spokane Public Schools Board Director. She is excited to now be serving Spokane schools and the community, supporting teachers, students, and families on their educational journeys. During her free time, she enjoys celebrating her Asian American heritage by mastering her mom’s infamous lumpia recipe and spending time with her partner, Jeff, and all their fur babies.
Shilpa Prem is an attorney and engineer and has been passionate about getting more women into office. She brings extensive legal and professional experience and currently is Corporate Counsel at Amazon in their Lab126 division. She has been an active board member of the South Asian Bar Association, bringing South Asians women to the forefront of the legal field. She has also been a Child Advocate Attorney to represent children in court to advocate for the best interest of the child without a guardian or one who is part of the foster care system. Shilpa grew up in Corvallis, Oregon and currently resides in Washington.