Chamber welcomes new additions to Board of Directors

Press Release,
The Bellevue Chamber has seven new Board members! Get to know them below:

Yuliya Hemerlein
JP Morgan Chase

Yuliya Hemerlein is a Banker in the Seattle office of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, and works closely with affluent individuals, multi-generational families, C-suite executives, and other successful professionals to navigate the complex needs that accompany significant wealth. 

Before joining the Private Bank, Yuliya spent over a decade in branch retail banking, leading various business units while fostering an environment of collaboration and advocating for new and innovative approaches.

Originally from Ukraine, Yuliya immigrated to the United States at 14. Following her undergraduate studies, she earned a Leadership Executive M.B.A. at Seattle University, a program focused on preparing the next generations of CEOs. 

Dietra Clayton
The Sophia Way

During her 17-year career, Dietra Clayton has worked along the length of the care continuum – from in-home care to helping people with disabilities and those that were HIV positive, to psychiatric work. She came to The Sophia Way in 2017 for a part-time, on-call job and “fell in love with the organization and its work.” 

Recognizing her commitment and leadership qualities, she was appointed Director of Client Services and Shelter Programs in 2019, and in 2021, assumed the position of Managing Executive Director. 

Under her leadership, the organization continues to make significant strides in its mission to provide essential services and support to women in need of shelter and stability. 

Aaron August
Puget Sound Energy

Aaron August is senior vice president, chief customer and transformation officer for Puget Sound Energy (PSE), where he is responsible for overseeing Customer Energy Management, Business Services, New Product Development, and Customer Solutions teams. 

Prior to joining PSE in July 2023, Aaron served as vice president of Utility Partnerships and Innovation at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). There, he was responsible for non-traditional utility partnerships, research and development, solutions management, load management, clean energy transportation and business development. 

Under his leadership at PG&E, his teams earned national recognition, including the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) National Key Accounts Team of the Year award, the MSI Business Customer Champion award, and the Chartwell Gold Customer Service Awards for small and mid-size business experience delivery.

Katoya Palmer
ToyBox Consulting and Management

Katoya Palmer, a passionate community advocate and skilled activist, established ToyBox Consulting in 2008 after launching her professional journey as an Account Executive at Household Finance (now HSBC) in 2001. 

Committed to eradicating systemic racism and promoting social justice, Katoya has developed ToyBox into a leading consulting firm for nonprofits and small businesses led by people of color in industries such as restaurants, professional sports, retail, and entertainment. 

In 2020, ToyBox Consulting and Management, LLC emerged, offering cutting-edge operations consulting, virtual workplace project management, and strategic planning services.

Jason Barnwell
Sellen Construction

Jason Barnwell started at Sellen in 1998 as a carpenter apprentice, and has served as the superintendent on some of the largest projects in Sellen’s 79-year history. In addition, Jason has played a key role in leading their field operations team over the last several years, providing guidance and coaching to people throughout the company.

Elevating to the role of Senior Director of Operations, Jason now oversees Sellen's endeavors across the Puget Sound region, embodying the ethos of a servant leader.

He not only actively participates in community and industry endeavors but also advocates tirelessly for equity within the construction domain.

Paul Lehrman
Merrill Lynch - Seattle Market

In his role as Market Executive, Paul partners with Divisional Executive, Anthony DiBlasi, and the Mountain Pacific Division team to drive the initiatives of the organization, with a focus on clients in the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management business. 

He leads the Seattle Market, composed of two offices in Seattle and Bainbridge Island with approximately 200 teammates. Additionally, Paul serves as the Market Integration Executive for the Bank of America Seattle market. 

Paul joined Merrill Lynch in 2006 as the Associate Director of the Cleveland Complex, and his past roles include: Market Executive in Phoenix Tucson, Market Executive in Northern New England, Divisional PMD Manager (for the Central Division) as well as the Associate Market Executive of NE Ohio. 

James Thomas
Alaska Airlines

James, a seasoned leader with 22+ years' experience, specializes in diversity and inclusion with a focus on fashion, food, wine, and aviation. As the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Alaska Airlines, he drives initiatives to embed diversity in policies, programs, and practices. 

Leading Alaska's inclusive workforce goals by 2025, James expanded his role in 2022 to enhance employee engagement and recognition. Previously, he directed inclusion efforts at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Starbucks, where he managed inclusion and diversity for 18,000+ stores. 

A Cornell-certified diversity professional, James is also a board chair for City Year King County, balancing his professional achievements with a passion for tennis, hiking, and motorcycling.

Meet our full Board of Directors!