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.
What’s Next Washington Staff
Co-Founder & Executive Director
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 member of the Washington State Fair Chance Housing Coalition. MerriLynn was released from prison in 2001.
Director of Projects
Director of Operations and Development
What’s Next Washington Board of Directors
Co-Founder & Board President
Tiheba Bain is founder and executive director of Women Against Mass Incarceration, a grassroots organization empowering justice involved women and girls. She is the former National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls Coalitions Director.
Tiheba sits on the African American Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity & Opportunity in Connecticut. Tiheba holds degrees in Psychology and Women and Criminal Justice and is an alumni of the Justice-in-Education Scholar program at the Heyman Center for Humanities at Columbia University. She was released from federal prison in 2011.
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.
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.
Candace Leslie held fast-paced roles in high tech during her early career. Later, she transitioned to nonprofit work and over the past decade she has held numerous roles serving as an Executive Director, Board Chair, Board Member and Nonprofit Consultant. Candace has dedicated her professional work to serving disadvantaged and marginalized children and their families and raising awareness of the needs within the community. She is committed to the principles of dignity and inclusion. She is thrilled to be serving alongside What’s Next Washington’s leadership team.
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.
Alyssa fell in love with Washington when she moved from Idaho to attend Pacific Lutheran University and has lived in Tacoma ever since.