The Mazamas are excited to share that Mitsu Iwasaki is joining the Mazamas as our next Executive Director on August 30, 2019. Mitsu brings extensive experience as a leader in the outdoor industry as well as a lifetime of demonstrated passion for the mountains.
“The Mazamas was founded 125 years ago to inspire and empower everyone to spend time in the mountains—on peaks, trails, and in the woods. That mandate, to both enjoy and steward these grand spaces, is more vital today. We’re fortunate to have found in Mitsu someone with that same fire to share his love of the mountains,” says Mazamas Executive Council President, Laura Pigion.
The Mazamas Executive Council engaged an executive search firm and conducted a nationwide search to find its next executive director. Mitsu arrives at the Mazamas with nearly three decades of experience in the outdoor industry. His career started in 1996 as an assistant instructor for Outward Bound. From there, he spent the next ten years working as an instructor and guide; climbing, skiing, and traversing mountains and mountain ranges from the Southern Sierras to the North Cascades. Transitioning from field-based to administrative roles, he has been the Director for Operations and Safety for Big City Mountaineers in Denver, Colo., Executive Director for Northwest Outward Bound School in Portland, Ore., and his most recent role as Interim CEO for the Association for Experiential Education, and Partner at the Outdoor Policy Outfit based in Seattle.
He brings professional experience in the nonprofit sector with exposure to teaching/instruction, program development and evaluation, operations, safety, finance, budgeting, fundraising, and Board relations. He has extensive experience in conservation, outdoor education, training climbers, and youth outreach and development.
In addition to his professional roles, Mitsu has been very active in our local and national community as a board and committee member with organizations such as Outward Bound, Big City Mountaineers, American Leadership Forum, Paradox Sports, and the Free Forest School among many others.
Sarah Bradham, a 17-year veteran of the Mazamas, will continue leading the organization as Acting Executive Director through August. Sarah stepped into the role from her position as Director of Operations, and has provided outstanding service to the organization during the transition.
Founded in 1894 on the summit of Mt. Hood, the Mazamas is a nonprofit mountaineering education organization located in Portland, Oregon. The Mazamas offer over 700 hikes and 350 climbs annually. A variety of classes and activities are offered for every skill and fitness level and are open to both members and nonmembers. The Mazamas promotes climbing, responsible recreation, and conservation values through outdoor education, advocacy, and outreach.