Introducing our 2023 nominees to the board of directors!

There are five open seats and six nominees for the 2023 WMCC board elections. Danielle Rao, Rob Sullivan, and Josh Seamon-Ingalls are running for re-election; Nick Friedman, Justin Raphaelson, and Jenifer Dickinson are new nominees offering a diverse set of skills and experience.

The election period runs from Sept. 1st to Sept. 30th and the five nominees with the most votes will be elected to the board of directors.

How do I vote in the election?

On Sept. 1st, current members will receive an election ballot at their listed email address. Members have until Sept. 30th to vote. If you are not currently a member but would like to vote in the election to show your support of a candidate or help shape the direction of the WMCC, become a member by Sept. 24th. If you are a member and did not receive the ballot, please email us.

Please email with questions about voting or with questions about your membership status.

Jenifer Dickinson

Recently moving to the Berkshires in Massachusetts from NH, Jenifer has been ice climbing since 2013 and rock climbing since 2017.  She has a background in Conservation biology, experience with land trusts and Conservation Restrictions, and currently works as the Stewardship Coordinator for the Berkshire Natural Resource Council.  She is working  to foster a long term plan for climbing on BNRC land.  In addition to her career, Jenifer has volunteered extensively and participated in her climbing community during her free time.  While living in NH, she sat on the Monadnock Climbers Association Board for several years.  She also became the Chair of the Mountaineering Committee of the NH Chapter of the AMC in 2021 and participates in the AMC Inter Climbing Chapter which coordinates AMC branches and their fundraising and activities. Passionate about providing access for all, she became a mountaineering volunteer leader through the AMC in 2018 and has been co-leading ice climbing events in NH ever since.  She hopes to use all these skills and work to help in building a stronger, more supportive climbing community.

Nick Friedman

Nick Friedman is a Western Massachusetts native who cut his teeth climbing at Reservoir Rocks in Great Barrington. Twenty years later, Nick’s love of climbing has brought him all over the world and keeps him outside several days a week. Nick’s outdoor enthusiasm extends beyond climbing to skiing, surfing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Professionally, Nick is an accomplished entrepreneur having founded several mid-sized companies (400+ employees). With nearly 15 years of executive leadership in the private sector, Nick has extensive experience serving as CEO, CFO, CMO, and CSO, as well as board experience having served as president, secretary, and treasurer to various companies. Currently, Nick is Chief Strategy Officer to Theory Wellness Inc, one of the largest cannabis companies in the country, which he co-founded in 2017.

Over the last year, Nick has begun to volunteer his time to WMCC on access related issues. Most notably, Nick has been instrumental in helping WMCC secure permanent access to the climbing at Farley ledges, by acquiring and developing a new parking area on Old State Road, which remains under development. Nick is passionate on issues of conservation, access, and land management for outdoor recreation, and has personal use familiarity with nearly all WMCC’s managed areas. He looks forward to the opportunity to complement WMCC’s board with expertise in accounting, fundraising, legal, marketing, and strategic planning.

Selfie of a woman with medium length brown hair wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap sitting with a smiling man wearing a baseball cap in front of mountains on a bright day.

Danielle Rao

Danielle has been a member of the WMCC for 17 years and is the current board treasurer. She first started volunteering for the WMCC at annual events like the Winter Thaw and Rendezvous. When it came time to purchase the Farley parking lot, Danielle started the WMCC’s most popular fundraiser, the Silent Auction, now in its 16th year. This event alone has raised over $120,000 for the WMCC! Danielle is a property manager and a small business owner. She and her husband Jon LaValley (founding member of the WMCC) love to climb locally and road trip around the country climbing and biking. When she’s not climbing, she’s usually reading in a sunny spot, gardening, or doing yoga.

Justin Raphaelson

Justin Raphaelson is a writer, lawyer, climber, ultrarunner, mountaineer, and conservationist. He also has a passion for taking cross country road trips to explore the great outdoors. Sensing the urgency to inform others of the beauty within our own country, and most importantly, maintaining that beauty for future generations; he started documenting his journeys on his blog, eventually publishing a memoir in 2020, Take to the Unscathed Road. A property and criminal defense attorney based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Justin is a graduate of New England Law-Boston and has a B.A. in History from Clark University. He is also an executive board member of the Greater Worcester Land Trust. Justin deeply enjoys conservation projects and has worked with a number of climbing organizations over the years such as SNECC, CRAG-VT, and WMCC on access projects.

Josh Seamon-Ingalls

Josh is a Valley native who grew up in the hill town of Leverett and now lives in Northampton where he spends his days teaching math, meandering around with his Golden Retrievers, and continually plotting rockwall-based journeys with his partner Laura and son Wilson. He considers CRG Hadley along with Farley and Rumney to be his homes away from home. He is WMCC’s Volunteer Coordinator and looks forward to bringing his years of program management experience to the position. He also led the group that created WMCC’s Operating Executive position. Josh has been teaching for over 20 years and has over a decade of experience managing sport nonprofits at the local, regional, national, and international levels. He has chaired boards as well as held positions ranging from secretary to treasurer, and been an active member of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging initiatives and Judicial Committees. Outside of climbing Josh enjoys leading international trips, participating in triathlons, folding origami, and having cookouts with his friends.

Rob Sullivan

Rob began climbing in 1990 during his junior year at UConn, cutting his teeth on that state’s terrifying trap-rock, and later, on the magical stone of the Shawangunks. Rob moved to Southern California – just northeast of Joshua Tree – and spent four years climbing all over the American Southwest. Rob joined the WMCC soon after moving to Western Mass in 2001. Here, he worked closely with the founding members of the WMCC to re-open Farley and bring a certain bolt-chopper to justice. Rob was instrumental in the acquisition of Hanging Mountain and continues to develop and secure access to other climbing areas in western Massachusetts. Rob serves on the Joint Stewardship Committee, which manages Hanging Mountain, and as the chair of the Access Committee. Rob lives in Florence, MA with his wife Andrea, daughter Chloe and two dogs: Huan and Mollie. He teaches high school English in Enfield, CT.