About IWF Washington State

Founded in 1987, IWF-WA is a local forum of the International Women's Forum (IWF).

At IWF-WA, we are committed to advancing women's leadership locally and globally. We champion equality worldwide. IWF has more than 7,800 diverse and accomplished women from 33 countries and 74 local Forums as members. We answer high-achieving women leaders' need for a community of diverse thinkers. We are shaping a future in which women, their unique leadership abilities are celebrated.  We aspire to inspire a generation and equip them to transform the world.


IWF - Washington State is a proud, early member of the International Women's Forum organization, and is dedicated to its mission of advancing women's leadership and championing equality worldwide. The Washington State forum was founded by Laurie McDonald Jonsson in 1987 when she invited 11 prominent Seattle women from diverse fields to join her.

In the early years, meetings were generally informal private dinners in members' homes, which fostered much-needed camaraderie and sisterhood. McDonald Jonsson served as the founding president and the glue which held the group together for the first 17 years. Since then, the forum has benefitted from the leadership of many other prominent local women, including Terry Axelrod, whose leadership helped expand the forum to more than 200 leading women in Washington state.

Highlights over the years include:

  • Despite having fewer than 50 members at the time, IWF-Washington State was honored to host the IWF World Leadership Conference in Seattle in 2006.

  • In 2017, the forum nominated its first of many successful IWF Leadership Fellows candidates, Nicole Grogan.

  • In 2020, the forum undertook an initiative to formalize and expand the organization, adding our first board of directors, active committees, and robust programming.

Our current membership includes preeminent women in business, law, government, medicine, academia, the arts and sciences, technology, and philanthropy. The International Women's Forum, headquartered in Washington, DC, is the only nonprofit organization of this scale that builds significant relationships between C-suite-level women across countries and careers.

Membership is by-invitation only. www.iwforum.org

Meet the Board

Nicole Grogan Headshot
Nicole Grogan
Intellectual Ventures
Co-President Elect
Mary Knell Headshot
Mary Knell
Wells Fargo
Co-President Elect
Robin Shapiro Headshot
Robin Shapiro
Immediate Past President
Emily Parkhurst Headshot
Emily Parkhurst
Formidable Inc.
Immediate Past President
Sue Sherbrooke Headshot
Sue Sherbrooke
Retired, YWCA
Vice President Programs
Gretchen Broderson Headshot
Gretchen Broderson
Willis Towers Watson
VP of Membership
Sherilyn Anderson Headshot
Sherilyn Anderson
First Fed
Kate Joncas Headshot
Kate Joncas
Board Member
Emily Cantrell Headshot
Emily Cantrell
Board Member
Joanne Harrell Headshot
Joanne Harrell
First Lady of Seattle
Board Member
Kathi Lentzsch Headshot
Kathi Lentzsch
Self Employed
Board Member
Denise Merle Headshot
Denise Merle
Board Member
Lynne Varner Headshot
Lynne Varner
Washington STEM
Ex-Officio, Global Board.
Terry Axelrod Headshot
Terry Axelrod
Ex-Officio, Global Board.
Adriane Brown Headshot
Adriane Brown
Flying Fish Partners