Willamette Writers’ Board Nominees

As a Willamette Writers member, we invite you to vote in the 2019 Willamette Writers Board Election at your upcoming chapter meeting. The board is the governing body of Willamette Writers responsible for enabling the organization to meet its mission of helping writers find their community, develop their craft, and expand their careers. It is the board’s duty to provide strategic planning, create policy, and establish fiscal sustainability for Willamette Writers.

Our nominating committee has prepared the ballot you will receive during your chapter meeting. The ballot was approved by the board, and is now offered to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask your Chapter Chair during your meeting.

The ballot will be due at the completion of your chapter meeting. The votes will be tabulated by your Chapter Chair. The physical ballots will be sent to the Willamette Writers office, checked for membership status, and then retabulated. The final results of the election will be announced at your next chapter meeting, pending full participation of all chapters.

The 2019 Willamette Writers' Board Nominees

Gail Pasternack has been on the Board of Directors of Willamette Writers since 2015. She started as secretary and transitioned to vice president and director of membership and chapters. She is currently the acting president. Gail works closely with the Executive Director and with the board to run the daily business of Willamette Writers. She also supports the chapter chairs and program leaders so they can connect with our members and develop educational programming for writers all year round. In the coming year, Gail will work to better connect with our members, create stronger support systems for our volunteers, and ensure financial sustainability for the organization. Gail is a writer and photographer. Her fiction focuses on characters in the arts at a crossroads in their life. Her short story “Asmodai in Portland” was published in the anthology New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family.

Willamette Writers Author Signing: Heather S. RansomA science, careers, and creative writing teacher for 26 years, Heather Ransom writes YA science fiction. She has been a member of WW since 2013 and served in 2018 as the board treasurer. She has actively supported the Southern Oregon WW adult chapter, started the Southern Oregon Young Willamette Writers chapter, and is currently the So OR YWW director. She is passionate about bringing published authors, illustrators, and other writing professionals together with students age 13-18 in the area for meaningful and productive discussions and writing opportunities. At the 2018 conference, she solicited donations representative of Oregon for the VIP check-in bags, and food donations for volunteer and VIP rooms. Her goals for the upcoming year are to expand both youth and adult WW opportunities throughout the state in order to continue to grow our organization.

Retired after working in forensics in law enforcement for over thirty years, Kathy Saviers writes police procedural novels. She’s worked crime scenes that would give the average person nightmares. She took pictures of dead people, held their hands to take their fingerprints to determine who they were, and collected evidence to help identify who made them dead. For the past several years, she's been the co-chair of the Salem Chapter and has attended the WW conferences for the last 12 years except when she had surgery and, later, a death in the family. She served as interim Treasurer for a few months during a transition period. She is currently working on a committee for the Write Here, Write Now workshop in Salem.

Matthew Swihart, JD, MFA, is the author of Christianity Simplified: The Basics of the Christian Faith for New Believers and Curious Nonbelievers. During the day, he works as an attorney, mediator, and arbitrator. He also teaches chito-ryu karate-do and yi jin jing qigong. He holds a Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law, a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Goddard College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida. He was editor-in-chief of the 2018 Timberline Review, WW’s literary journal.


John Miller enjoys volunteering with the Willamette Writers Membership Relations Team and serves as Secretary to the Board since 2018.  John is also the founder of Portland Ars Poetica, an ongoing literary poetry workshop open to any poet who seeks to hone their craft and their poems toward publication. His short fiction has appeared inTethered by Letters. His poetry has appeared in catheXis northwest press, The Esthetic Apostle, in the 9Bridges anthology Over Land and Rising, and in Glass Facets of Poetry. John was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He has a degree in English from Amherst College. For 2019, John will be working for all members.

Debby Dodds has run the Kay Snow Awards for the past two years and judged the College Category for three years as well as handling other WW awards programs. She is often seen working at table events for WW and she is currently the Willamette Writers Board Liaison to the Wilsonville Arts Festival as well as a top-notch community outreach organizer. Debby is the author of Amish Guys Don't Call, named one of Powell’s Best of YA for 2017 and an Amazon Top 100. She has had stories in many NY Times best-selling anthologies and both on-line and print magazines and she won Portland’s Wizard World 2017 Fiction Contest. Debby will continue her WW work with Kay Snow and other public events.