We believe —

  • Every person has a right to a life of dignity and the right to full participation in society
  • Those closest to a problem are closest to the solution
  • Collaboration with stakeholders leads to innovation

With shared values and beliefs, Susan Mason and Roz Solomon founded What’s Next Washington in 2017.

Susan Mason

Susan Mason is co-founder and executive director of What’s Next – Washington. She spent 15 years in the mortgage industry before becoming an advocate and organizer for systemic policy change and the reinstatement of full civil rights for people with conviction histories. Susan is a National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls 2019 Reimagining Communities Fellow and a Just Leadership USA 2018 Leading with Conviction Fellow. She was incarcerated in federal prison for 15 months and was released in 2003.

Co-Founder & Executive Director

MerriLynn Leslie

MerriLynn Leslie is the Director of Projects for What’s Next Washington. MerriLynn’s background is in event management, addiction treatment services, and supportive reentry services for the formerly incarcerated learning to code. She is a proud football mom and avid football fan. MerriLynn was released from prison in 2001.

Director of Projects

Roz Solomon

Roz is co-founder and current board president. Roz practiced corporate law until becoming an administrative law judge hearing employment and labor cases, as well as teaching law as an adjunct at Seattle University. She co-founded the Washington Business Alliance with Howard Behar and David Guiliani in 2010 and served as their executive director for three years. Roz is committed to the idea that all people deserve the dignity of inclusion and full human rights.

Co-Founder & Board President

Tiheba Bain

Ms. Bain is Executive Director of Women Against Mass Incarceration, a grassroots organization empowering justice involved women and girls. She is currently work for The National Council for Incarcerated and formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls as a community organizer.
Tiheba is a public speaker who played an integral role in passing legislation SB13 for incarcerated women and girls in the State of Connecticut. She sits on the African American sub commission of the Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity & Opportunity. Tiheba also participated on the Commission for Collateral Consequences Task Force. In the past she sat on the mass incarceration sub-committee for Governor Ned Lamont’s Transitional Policy committee.
Ms. Bain also spoke on several platforms which includes a press conference with former Governor Dannel Malloy, State Representative Robyn Porter and State Senator Gary Winfield. As a member of the ACLU Smart Justice campaign she assisted with introducing the anti- discrimination act. Tiheba has sat on panels at Yale University, UCONN and IMRP Annual Building Bridges Conference.
While obtaining her dual undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women and Criminal Justice, she served as a contributing author to Race Education and Reintegration. Ms. Bain is an alumni of Justice-in-Education Scholar program at the Heyman Center for Humanities at Columbia University.

Board Member

Mari Ferrer

Mari joined the board in April 2018 and currently serves as the board treasurer. She has over 25 years of finance, consulting and enterprise program leadership for JP Morgan Chase Investment Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland. She has also led efforts to support First Tee in Connecticut, The Center for Domestic Violence and Susan G. Komen Foundation. Mari’s family immigrated from the Philippines to avoid gang violence and political unrest.

Board Member

David Heppard

David is the Executive Director of Freedom Project and oversees their racial equity, social justice circles, finance, and development teams. He builds collaborations with other organizations, coordinates marketing, and develops reentry programming. David was released after 24 years because of the 5064 Bill, a law that allowed those convicted as juveniles to petition for early release after 20 years.

Board Member

Will Jimerson

Willard Jimerson Jr. is a prominent youth advocate, crime interventionist, and a race relation strategist working throughout Seattle and South King County. As a Program Manager at the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, he oversees the national model of Credible Messengers called GROOM which stands for Gifted Regardless Of Oppressive Methods. Will was tried as an adult at 13 and served 20 years in prison.

Board Member

Zak Kinneman

Zak Kinneman is a founding board member of WNW. He is a business owner, an entrepreneur, and a former attorney. He is open about his incarceration and works hard to bring his voice and experience into advocating for the end of mass incarceration. Zak served four years in Washington state prisons and was released in 2007.

Board Member

Jacqueline Smith

Jacqueline is senior Digital Strategist at Gates Ventures in Kirkland, WA. She graduated from the University of Florida and earned her MSc in Global Media and Communication from the London School of Economics. Jacqueline worked at Nike’s global HQ in Beaverton and as a digital brand lead in their Western European headquarters before returning to Portland in 2016 to join the Asia Pacific / Latin America team.

Board Member

Raphaela Weissman

Raphaela Weissman graduated from New York University in 2006. She currently works for the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ). In 2017, through crowdfunding she published her first novel, Monsters. Raphaela has volunteered extensively for organizations like Social Justice Fund, TeenFeed, Kshama Sawant’s campaign, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the Eastside Refugee and Immigrants Coalition.

Board Member