DEIA Commissioners 2023

Elaine Helm

Elaine Helm, Chair

Elaine (she/her) started her term on the DEIA Commission in January 2022. The commission selected her as chair in 2023. She decided to get involved in the commission to make an impact for the community where she lives. She's passionate about addressing systemic barriers and ensuring diverse voices have a say in local government decisions. 

Elaine and her wife married at the Edmonds city courthouse in 2012, shortly after Referendum 74 established marriage equality in Washington. Along with their two children, they enjoy visiting Edmonds parks and beaches, taking part in the vibrant arts scene, eating at local restaurants, and cooking with ingredients from Edmonds Farmers Market. 

Elaine works in communications for a local healthcare company. She also serves on the board of directors for Cocoon House, a nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness for youth in Snohomish County.


Jessie Owen

Jessie Owen, Co-Chair

Meet Jessie Owen, an educator with a passion for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility! Jessie holds a master's degree in educational technology and is currently pursuing her Harvard public leadership credential. As a quadriplegic and wheelchair user, Jessie brings a unique perspective to the table and is especially invested in creating a more accessible city for everyone.

Jessie's work with researchers and legislators has brought awareness and funding for spinal cord injury research, while her collaboration with the Christopher Reeve Foundation has resulted in the introduction of new technologies and fundraising initiatives. With over 10 years of experience working within the parameters of the ADA, Jessie is well-equipped to make an impact with the DEIA Commission in Edmonds

As a mom of 10-month-old twin boys, Jessie's life is always full of surprises and laughter. When she's not busy advocating for accessibility, she's rolling after her little ones and enjoying the chaos that comes with parenting multiples. In her free time, Jessie loves exploring Edmonds with her family and discovering new accessible spots that everyone can enjoy. Jessie loves nothing more than catching a game at T-Mobile Park, partying it up at the library story time, and keeps her finger on the pulse of Edmonds' vibrant cultural scene. Jessie's upbeat personality and sense of humor make her a valuable member of the commission, and her dedication to creating a more accessible and inclusive Edmonds is evident in all that she does.




Dipti Chraskra

Dipti Chrastka, Commissioner

 Dipti has lived in Edmonds for over 10 years. Dipti is a behavioral health professional, EDI consultant and trainer and joined the Edmonds DEIA Commission this year.

Throughout her career, Chrastka has held a variety of roles in the community-based health arena. Currently, Chrastka works as the Director of wellness at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where she manages program development and provides one-on-one counseling to residents in the program.

Hailing from India, Dipti is passionate about making systemic changes, calling out injustice and being anti-racist. Dipti serves on the Engagement Committee and is committed to increasing visibility, sharing ideas and engaging the community through outreach and creative activities.

Outside of her full-time position, Chrastka volunteers with the Indian Association of Western Washington on an ad hoc basis, is a consultant for diversity and inclusion trainings for a variety of nonprofits and recently became a certified life coach. In addition, she plays professional table tennis, enjoys trying new sports and continues to perfect the five languages she speaks.



Umrah Saleh Thomas

Umrah Saleh Thomas, Commissioner

Umrah Saleh Thomas is a Senior Program Manager working at the intersection of design, operations, and social Impact. She works with clients across a range of industries to bring new ideas to life through products, experiences, and services. Her experience combines over a decade in consumer finance and management consulting in multiple social impact sectors including arts, technology, health and human services, education, and social justice. Her passion is seeking out opportunities to connect and build relationships with others which has led to collaborative initiatives with community members, city officials, and organizations working on systems level change to enhance engagement and build thriving communities. With a background in financial advising and creative strategy, she takes great pride in fostering environments that allow for profound creative ideation and transparent dialogue to advance various forms of creative experiences and expressions. After a 20 year stint in San Francisco, she and her husband are delighted to call Edmonds home. In her spare time, Umrah enjoys catching matinees on Main, planning dinner parties, and trying to replicate her mum’s Indian home cooking.


   Pam Iverson 

Pam Iverson, Commissioner

Pam is a retired social worker who has lived in South Snohomish/North King County for several decades.  She moved to Edmonds in 2014, and then served in the Peace Corps in South Africa with her husband for two years.  She is the parent of two and grandparent of five.  She strives to be anti-racist and participates in Racial Justice groups at Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation and Edmonds United Methodist Church.  She enjoys traveling, especially learning about different cultures; reading; and needle arts including knitting and quilting. She loves to explore Edmonds on foot. 



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