Janice Zahn, LT’17, Port of Seattle, Bellevue City Council
Making an impact by serving on City Council
“It was my time in LT engaging and learning with my inspiring cohort of leaders that propelled me to run for Bellevue City Council.”
Although I had many years of experience working for a public agency (Port of Seattle), volunteering in my community, and a Master’s in Public Policy from the UW Evan’s School, it was my time in LT engaging and learning with my inspiring cohort of leaders that propelled me to run for Bellevue City Council.
My classmates’ passion to make our community better was palpable and infectious... just what I needed to light the fire in my belly after the 2016 election. I saw the possibility for me, as an immigrant from Hong Kong, to use my talents in public office and be a bridge builder who works with others to solve challenging problems locally. As the only woman of color on council, in a majority minority city, I bring a new voice and perspective that I believe complements our other council members. My time at LT gave me insights on how to respectfully engage while checking my own biases in decision-making as an elected official.
My first year on council has brought many challenging issues, related to homelessness, lack of affordable housing, and the continued stress on our neighborhoods from dynamic growth. I find myself using the tools from LT... Encourage the Heart, Inspire a Shared Vision, Model the Way, Challenge the Process, and Enable Others to Act in my work on council.
Public office is all about the people and developing policy that advances our vision and priorities to best serve their needs. As an LT Alum, I look forward to engaging more with other alumni in the years ahead. It will take all of us, using our networks and talents to get things done. As our political system becomes more divisive, I believe my LT experience will keep me grounded in servant leadership that focuses on collaboration and partnerships while putting the people we serve at the center.