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Rashelle Tanner is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer at CRISTA Ministries, where she has managed the organization’s legal matters since January 2004.
CRISTA is an international faith-based non-profit organization consisting of King’s Schools (pre-K – 12); World Concern (humanitarian relief & and development work in more than 11 countries throughout the Caribbean, Africa and Asia); CRISTA Senior Living (independent living, assisted living and nursing & rehabilitation facilities for seniors); CRISTA Media (local radio broadcasting, Spirit 105.3, KCIS 630AM, Praise 106.5; and Spirit 105.9 in Austin, Texas); Seattle Urban Academy (alternative education for high school-aged youth); Miracle Ranch & Island Lake Camps (youth & guest group camps in Poulsbo and Port Orchard), and Christian Veterinarian Mission (sending veterinarians overseas to work in developing communities in Haiti, Central & South America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia). In addition to managing CRISTA’s legal work, in recent years, Rashelle has led the organization in developing its first organization-wide ethics & compliance program.
Prior to working for CRISTA, Rashelle practiced labor and employment defense litigation at the Williams Kastner & Gibbs law firm, which extended Rashelle an employment offer during her final year of law school. At the time, Rashelle was a full-time student and a judicial intern for Honorable Chief Judge Elaine Houghton (ret.), of the Washington State Court of Appeals. While practicing at Williams Kastner, Rashelle most enjoyed representing clients in trial work. Her competitive spirit drove her to find rare pleasure in working late nights and weekends. She departed the firm after six years of practice, after being asked to interview for CRISTA’s first General Counsel position.
Rashelle, born and raised in the Seattle area, received her undergraduate degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., began her legal education at American University Washington College of Law and subsequently transferred to Seattle University School of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate degree in 1998. During law school, Rashelle served as President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), Prosecutor for the Conduct Review Board and was a Moot Court Regional Semi-Finalist. Rashelle conducted her first trial during the summer of 1997, prior to her final year at law school, as a Rule-9 Intern for Northwest Defenders Association. She independently conducted the two-day jury trial, with various family members in the courtroom rooting her on. Although still a student, she earned a “not-guilty” verdict for her client, defeating a seasoned Seattle City prosecutor.
Since graduating, Rashelle has served as a panelist or speaker for various bar association trainings and networking programs. She has written and edited a number of legal articles and received awards including Seattle University’s BLSA Alumni Award which celebrates and honors BLSA’s alumni “who have the courage to lead.”
Rashelle has served as a board member for a number of legal and Washington state non-profit organizations including the King County Municipal League, Child Care Resources, DRI Young Lawyers, Washington Women Lawyers and Vision House. She is a current board member for the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, which focuses on education, employment, healthcare and housing for the Seattle area community. She is a member of the Loren Miller Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel and Corporate Counsel Women of Color. Rashelle is also 2012 Leadership Tomorrow graduate.
Rashelle is licensed to practice in Washington State and has been sworn-in and admitted for practice before the Western District of Washington and the Supreme Court of the United States. She patiently awaits the potential opportunity to appear before the nation’s highest court.