LT’18 Community Project: Gender Equity 

As part of the curriculum, LT participants apply their leadership skills through community projects. This is one example of a LT’18 community project.  

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Team Members: Owen David, Community Leader; Tanya Dumas, Casey Family Programs; Kymberly Evanson, Pacifica Law Group; Kate Freels, ZGF Architects LLP; Carrie George, Carrie George Leadership Coaching; Joshua Heim, City of Bellevue; Sunit Kaur, The Boeing Company; Jeremy Ross, Amazon;  

Our team explored women’s leadership in fields typically dominated by men, interviewing seven powerful women leaders – leaders who broke barriers, impacted national policy, and had a hand in building some of the most recognizable companies throughout the Pacific Northwest. Interviewees included Constance von Muhlen, COO of Horizon Air; Sally Jewell, former United States Secretary of the Interior; and Paula Boggs, front woman for the Paula Boggs Band and retired General Counsel for Starbucks. 

Below are themes that emerged from our conversations and how we have been inspired to drive change. 

The importance of mentors. Though their experiences were unique, they shared a common trait: all of these women had mentors, and all were committed to mentoring younger women and people of color. Inspired by the interviewees, one team member is mentoring a younger leader of color and serving on an advisory board for an organization committed to developing young people. 

Imposter syndrome is alive and well. Most of the women we spoke to had experienced this feeling of being an imposter as they climbed the career ladder. One of our team members has put new focus on hiring, mentoring, and promoting women attorneys at her firm, encouraging them to follow Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu’s advice to pursue opportunity even if you don’t feel ready. 

If not you, who? Justice Yu told us that if we wanted the future to look more like us as women, as LGBTQ individuals, and as people of color, then we had to “throw our hats in the ring” for positions, even when we aren’t sure we’re are ready. Propelled by these conversations, one team member, a man and person of color, applied for a job that he wanted but wasn’t sure he had the qualifications for. 

These themes – the value of mentorship, overcoming self-doubt, and reaching for leadership roles – led us to our calls to action.