Challenge Day Reflections: Economy, LT'18

Economy Challenge Day
Written By: Lindsey McReynolds, LT'13

For a full list of objectives and speakers, refer to the agenda. If you would like additional resources, you may access the pre-work here.

The Strengths and Challenges of the Regional Economy
Marilyn Strickland

In response to the question "How do you influence people who are not like you?" Marilyn Strickland, President and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, talked about being an "only" for most of her career and the need to code-switch, or alternating between different language varieties in different groups. 

She went on to say she looks for points of commonality with people and whether it is music, sports or food, she generally knows enough to be able to strike up a conversation on one of these topics and create a foundation of commonity to build from. Marilyn shared, "We are just human beings who want to feel safe, loved and respected. There is a point of commonality with every person we come in contact with,and we just have to take the time to find it."  

Focus on Equity and Economic Trade-Offs
Julie Pham, LT'16

Grappling with real-life scenarios, compiled by Curriculum Committee member Julie Pham, LT'16, was a highlight of the day. Class members assumed the perspective of decision-makers and wrestled with trade-offs, while considering policies that help achieve racial equity. 

Based on actual situations found in public, private and nonprofit organizations, small groups weighed short-term vs. long-term benefits. They explored through an economic lens how the choices we make impact our community, companies and teams. 

They asked themselves, "How would I lead the implementation of this option?" They found there is often no "right" answer to the challenging and nuanced situations in which leaders often find themselves.

Forty percent of American households have no savings; people can go downhill pretty quickly.
The United States is one of 8 countries in the world that does not have pay equity as a mission.

Leadership Reflections
Martha Choe, LT'84

"I expect great things from you. This region needs you." Martha Choe, LT'84, began her Leadership Reflection. "You don't have an option. You're in this class for a reason. You are uniquely privileged to be in this program. I have high expectations for you to be in this seat in 10 years."

As the class considered the regional economy, Martha pointed out that necessary community-focused work is not just about the economy. It's about all the conditions that come together for a sustainable economy. "A healthy economy depends on everything you've talked about all year."

She encouraged the class to think deeply and make connections about conditions, which must be in place for an equitable, inclusive and sustainable economy. While it's important to understand what drives our economy, Martha encouraged the class to research, analyze, reflect, and do their "homework" before making decisions. 

"I learned to shut up and listen." she said. Policy is hard. It involves short-term and long-term thinking. Go beyond simplistic reaction, or trying to decide between this or that. Start at the end first. How do you define an equitable economy? What are you going to do based on your own deep analysis, thoughtful discussion and balancing trade-offs.

Good governance is critical. And this class is poised to do the hard work needed to create a great and equitable economic environment throughout the Puget Sound.