Center for Ethical Leadership Staff
Dr. Dale Nienow, Executive Director
Dr. Dale Nienow is Executive Director of the Center for Ethical Leadership. He creates Gracious Space where people can work across boundaries to form collective leadership. He is known for helping people open up to deeper dialogue and new relationships that will move groups and communities forward on their compelling issues.
Dale co-led the national Kellogg Leadership for Community Change program on behalf of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and is one of the founders of the national Community Learning Exchange. He is co-editor of “The Collective Leadership Storybook: Weaving Strong Communities” and the monograph, “Kellogg Leadership for Community Change: Crossing Boundaries, Strengthening Communities," and is one of the primary authors of the book, "Courageous Collaboration with Gracious Space: From Small Openings to Profound Transformations."
He serves on a variety of community boards (the Bush School, Saint Andrew’s Housing Group – now Imagine Housing, Organizational Systems Renewal Northwest, Student Development Administration Graduate Program), consults frequently with a broad range of organizations across sectors, and connects social change agents nationally.
Dale has a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Southern California, a Master’s degree in Administration from Pacific Lutheran University, and Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Olaf College.
Karma Ruder, Director of Community Collaboration
Karma Ruder is a specialist in cultivating community ownership and creating, launching, and supporting community change initiatives. Over the last 30 years, Karma has worked in public and non-profit sectors to create authentic processes that inspire people to move beyond differences and conflict into the creative territory of community and collaboration. Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell named her a Distinguished Citizen in 1999.
As part of the national Kellogg Leadership for Community Change program to develop collective, place-based leadership, Karma was the lead editor for "The Collective Leadership Storybook: Weaving Strong Communities." This book describes the patterns of working together that encourage collective leadership through the stories of communities that have made these patterns a way of life to advance the common good.
Karma works with local and regional change initiatives including supporting Nourishing Networks, a Center initiative. She joins Pat Hughes in deepening and spreading the use of Gracious Space, and is co-author of "Courageous Collaboration with Gracious Space: From Small Openings to Profound Transformation."
Karma has undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Human Relations and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, all from the University of Kansas.
Steve Stapleton, Operations Manager
Steve has worked at the Center for Ethical Leadership since 1999. He was drawn to the Center for Ethical Leadership because of its commitment to supporting people who want to “do the right thing,” and think about a greater good than just themselves. While he is primarily responsible for managing the administrative and operational functions of the organization, he is also involved with the planning, design, and facilitation of several of the Center’s programs.
Steve is originally from Colorado. He moved to Seattle in 1993 and earned a BA in Economics from Seattle University in 1997. He earned his MA in Environment and Community from Antioch University Seattle in 2004.
Watch Steve's video describing his core values.
Melissa Hamasaki, Communications Manager
Melissa first experienced CEL as a high school participant in the Youth Leaders of Promise summer intensive. She now supports the logistical and communications operations of the Center.
Melissa is a professional stage manager and a member of Actors’ Equity Association. She has a BA in theatre from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, and trained as an Allen Lee Hughes Fellow at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and as a technical apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico. Locally, she has worked at Intiman (All My Sons, The Thin Place), ACT (Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, The Women, Intimate Exchanges), the Seattle Opera (Ariadne auf Naxos, The Tales of Hoffman), the Fifth Avenue Theatre (Memphis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and the UW School of Drama.