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Meet SheJumps Board Member: Q&A with Michelle Taft

Welcome to the Board of Directors: Michelle Taft. We’re excited to have you and learn more about you.

Michelle is a civil litigator and a partner with the firm Johnson, Graffe, Keay, Moniz & Wick, LLP in Seattle, Washington, where she has practiced since 2014. Michelle has an Economics degree from the University of Southern California, where she was also a member of the Women’s Varsity Rowing Team, and a juris doctor (JD) from the University of Washington School of Law. Michelle’s legal practice focuses on defending civil claims brought against healthcare providers and facilities, administrative healthcare actions, and general civil liability defense. Michelle also has experience serving on volunteer boards and is an active member of the Crystal Mountain Volunteer Ski Patrol, which allows her to foster her passion for the outdoors and give back to her mountain community.

Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Michelle grew up with a love of the Pacific Northwest and its vibrant outdoor community. In her free time, she can usually be found in the mountains or on the water, skiing, hiking, and paddle boarding with her husband and two rescue dogs.

Q: Place of work, title, location. 

A:  Johnson, Graffe, Keay, Moniz & Wick, LLP; attorney, partner; Seattle, WA

Q: Why did you join SheJumps as a board member? 

A:  I joined the SheJumps’ board because I love SheJumps as an organization, have been volunteering for and participating in SheJumps programs for years, and am hoping to be able to contribute to SheJumps’ growth as an organization. 

Q: What goal of the SheJumps Strategic Plan is the most important to you?

A: Goal #2 (expanding accessibility and inclusivity) of SheJumps is something that is very important to me. It feels like SheJumps started as an organization to foster overall gender inclusivity in a traditionally male-dominated industry, which is something that has always been personally very important to me. However, there are many subgroups within our broader community of women who might not necessarily have access to the outdoor community due to socio-economic, racial, and physical barriers. I would love to help SheJumps expand access to our programming and outdoor opportunities to these groups of women as well.

Q: What do you hope to contribute to the SheJumps Board of Directors?

A: I hope that my past experience as a board president and trustee will allow me to contribute to SheJumps’ board’s overall growth and shared decision making processes, especially in the area of corporate governance. I also believe that my experience as a litigator gives me a unique perspective into the shared decision making process, including the fiduciary duties owed by board members to an organization and the assessment of potential legal concerns associated with various board decisions. 

Q: What is your vision for SheJumps?

A:  I want SheJumps to be the first organization people think of when they think of women in outdoor sports. I would love for SheJumps to expand to regions and communities where it does not currently operate in order to further its mission of getting women and girls of all backgrounds into outdoor sports and activities. For example, I would love to see us partner with other organizations who already offer programming for people with disabilities or other barriers to access to outdoor sports. 

Now, it’s time for the lightning round:

Q: Outdoor activity of choice (pick one, two if you must)?

A: Skiing.

Q: Who inspires you to go outside and why?

A: My dogs (and husband) because with them there is never too much rain or not enough time to play outside.

Q: Where is your favorite place to go outside or on an adventure? 

A:  The Methow Valley 

Q: How has the outdoors benefited your health and overall physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing? 

A:  I represent healthcare providers during the worst times in their professional careers. I am not only their legal advisor but the person who emotionally supports them through an extremely fraught and emotional time in their lives. As a litigator, I am also often subject to demeaning, negative, and sometimes unprofessional conduct and comments from my opposing counsel. To that end, my career is both rewarding but also mentally and emotionally taxing. It is essential for my personal and professional wellbeing that I have healthy outlets. Being outside allows me to move my body, appreciate the beautiful aspects of our world, and fills me with gratitude. For me personally, I am the happiest when I am grateful, and I am the most grateful when I am outside.  

Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn.

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