A longtime part of the WSC family, Amy’s more than 20 years of service to Western States Center has included experiences at all levels of the organization: as a cohort participant, field partner, volunteer trainer, and board chair before eventually joining staff as the Deputy Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives.
“Amy’s leadership during the past few years of incredible political and societal turmoil has been a beacon,” shared Mariotta Gary-Smith, WSC’s Board Chair. “Amy has a clear vision for the next chapter of the organization, and we look forward to her advancing Western States Center’s mission.”
Raised in Idaho, Amy started volunteering for LGBTQ+ rights campaigns at the age of 14 and never looked back — her past roles have included Executive Director of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center (now Wassmuth Center for Human Rights), Oregon State Director for Working America, and Co-Executive Director for Basic Rights Oregon. Amy first connected to Western States Center as a young human rights organizer in Boise and remained an active leader for over 20 years — graduating from WSC’s then Western Institute for Organizing and Leadership Development program in 2004 and serving on the board from 2007–2018 — before joining staff in 2018. A respected leader with two decades of experience driving inclusive democracy organizations and campaigns in the Pacific Northwest, her broad experience ranges from policy advocacy and labor organizing to electoral management and award-winning journalism.
“I’m absolutely delighted my friend and colleague Amy Herzfeld-Copple is beginning her tenure as the fifth executive director,” shared former ED and Senior Advisor Eric Ward. “It speaks well to Western States Center’s storied 36-year history. Amy is a creative campaigner here, regionally at home strategizing with local communities on the frontlines of resisting authoritarian movements.
“From her time leading programs as a Deputy Director to her many years of board service and leadership, Amy’s deep roots as a champion of WSC makes her uniquely qualified to lead the organization through its next bold and bright chapter — an era that I predict will build on WSC’s recent growth, bridge past and future success and bring increased focus by centering our regional strengths that also deliver national impact. Amy brings steadiness and joy to the work of defending inclusive democracy and rights at a time when it is sorely needed.”
Leo Morales, Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho and Common Good Fellow also welcomed the news. “Amy’s hire as executive director is great news for the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West. From our college activism to running partner groups over the years, Amy’s always been a passionate and skilled leader who understands how we manage anti-democracy movements in our region has national consequences. In this pivotal national moment, her experience and tenacity are critical. I’m excited for WSC’s future, and I know the organizing field in Idaho and across the region will be well-served by Amy.”
The board and staff are excited to welcome Amy to this new role on September 1. We are deeply grateful to Nonprofit HR for their assistance in the search and to WSC’s dedicated friends and donors for their continued support through this leadership transition and beyond.
Western States Center Board of Directors
Mariotta Gary-Smith, Chair
Lecia Brooks, Secretary & Treasurer