Husky Leadership Initiative

2020 Leadership Fireside Speakers

The Husky Leadership Initiative present:

Leadership Firesides 2020: Be the Change

January 16: Julia Colson, Project Director, Seattle/King County Clinic

Julia Colson, Program Director, Seattle/King County Clinic

Julia Colson joined Seattle Center, a City of Seattle department, in 2006 to manage arts and community programs. A few years later, after being inspired by an episode of 60 Minutes, she proposed producing a 4-day free clinic for people who struggle to access and/or afford healthcare. The idea went nowhere until 2013 when another opportunity presented itself. This time the proposal took hold, leading to the formation of Seattle/King County Clinic, the largest health clinic of its kind in the nation. 

In her role as Project Director, Julia is responsible for leadership and management of the clinic including partner and resource development, communications and outreach, volunteer coordination, as well as clinic design and operations. She has also helped to introduce and pass state legislation around healthcare volunteerism. Over five years (2014 – 2018), in collaboration with 135 partner organizations and 17,000 volunteers, Seattle/King County Clinic has provided $17M in dental, medical, vision and social services to 20,000 patients. While Julia is proud of these community accomplishments, she finds the greatest satisfaction in knowing that participants feel respected, valued, included, seen and heard.

Prior to her current position, Julia was an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Oklahoma, the Principal of a performing arts high school and worked for a short period at Seattle Public Utilities in emergency management.

Julia earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Oklahoma and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University.

January 23: Priya Frank, Associate Director for Community Programs, Seattle Art Museum

Priya Frank, Associate Director, Seattle Art Museum

Priya Frank is the Associate Director for Community Programs, and Equity Team Founding Chair at Seattle Art Museum, where her focus is on strategic partnerships, program curation, and racial equity related initiatives. Previous experience in fundraising at the University of Washington and as art curator at LUCID Lounge influence her passion and heart for community building. Priya is Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow’s class of 2015. She was named one of 2018’s Most Influential People by Seattle Magazine and Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list in 2019. She holds a B.A. in Communications and American Ethnic Studies from University of Washington Seattle and an M.A. in Cultural Studies from University of Washington Bothell. Through her work, Priya hopes to honor those who paved the way for her and further support pathways for people of color to see themselves represented, respected, and in leadership within all areas of civic engagement.

January 30: Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Serving his third-term as King County Executive, Dow Constantine leads one of the largest regional governments in the United States. His priority is that every person be able to thrive, be economically secure, and contribute to the life of our community.

He is focused on meeting two of the greatest generational challenges of our time: building equity and opportunity, and confronting climate change. Guiding every initiative is the goal of becoming the most forward looking, best run government in the nation.

Dow led the County’s successful effort to enroll nearly 200,000 residents in affordable healthcare. He created partnerships to rebuild the South Park Bridge, preserve the longest remaining natural shoreline in Puget Sound on Maury Island, and protect South King County communities from the threat of catastrophic flooding. He united local cities to aggressively reduce climate pollution, and worked with Public Health and Planned Parenthood to cut the teen birth rate by more than half.

A Seattle native and fourth-generation Washingtonian, Dow graduated from West Seattle High School and the University of Washington (1985), where he also earned post-graduate degrees in law (1989) and urban planning (1992).

Dow has been a consistent supporter of transportation alternatives and, as Sound Transit Board Chair, led the three-county agency in creating the regional light rail expansion plan strongly endorsed by voters in 2016.

In addition to Sound Transit, Dow serves on the boards of the Puget Sound Regional Council and Mountains to Sound Greenway. Prior to becoming Executive he was a longtime volunteer for his high school, and previously served on numerous volunteer boards including the West Seattle HelpLine, Allied Arts of Seattle, the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

Dow is an avid skier and music enthusiast, and can invariably be found on autumn Saturdays with his family at Husky Stadium, where his grandfather first took the field nearly a century ago.

Dow and Shirley are raising their young daughter in the same West Seattle neighborhood where he grew up.

(taken from the King County website)

February 6: Denise Juneau, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent

Denise Juneau, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent

Denise Juneau leads Washington state’s largest K-12 school district, a vibrant and diverse community of over 53,000 scholars.

Denise became superintendent of Seattle Public Schools on July 1, 2018. Upon her arrival, she launched a comprehensive entry plan and a listening and learning tour. Her goal was to build a longer table at Seattle Public Schools – inviting new voices and perspectives to the conversation and intentionally engaging with families and students the district has underserved.

From this feedback, a strategic plan was developed and will guide the district forward for the next five years. The plan is bold and focuses on supporting students and families furthest from educational justice, beginning with African American males. She also established the district’s first Student Advisory Board. Formed of student representatives from each high school, the Student Advisory Board provides student voice, advice, and unique perspectives to Superintendent Juneau throughout the school year.

Denise’s story takes her from Head Start to Harvard. After graduating from Browning High School, located on the Blackfeet Indian reservation, Denise received her bachelor’s degree in English from Montana State University. She continued her education and earned a master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Learning how closely tied public education and social justice were, and after teaching and working at the state education agency, Denise set her sights on a legal education and received her juris doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law.

Superintendent Juneau is an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes, a descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe, and the Tlingit and Haida Tribes. In 2008, she became the first American Indian woman in the country ever elected to an executive statewide office, where she became the superintendent of public instruction. In 2012, she was reelected to a second term.

As Montana’s superintendent of public instruction, Denise developed a statewide initiative, Graduation Matters Montana, which brought schools, business leaders, community members, students and families together to work toward a common goal – that every student graduate from high school ready to succeed. In just a few years, the state’s graduation rate increased to its highest level ever recorded. She is happy to bring to Seattle, her value of student-centered decision making and her belief that great things can happen in public education when they are steeped in community.

(taken from the Seattle Public School website)

February 13: Dr. Jennifer Atkinson, Senior Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

Dr. Jennifer Atkinson, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington Bothell

Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Washington, Bothell, where she teaches courses on environmental humanities, ethics, and nature writing. Her recent seminar on “Eco-Grief & Climate Anxiety,” which explores the emotional toll of climate change and environmental loss, has been featured in The Washington Post, Seattle Times, NBC News, Grist, High Country News, Medium, and many other publications. Jennifer regularly collaborates with activists, psychologists, educators, and scientists beyond the university to provide resources on navigating the emotional terrain of our climate crisis, and recently received a grant from the Rachel Carson Center in Munich to co-facilitate an interdisciplinary series focusing on Eco-Grief and the Climate Generation. This project, titled “An Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators,” will launch in summer 2020.

Jennifer is also the author of Gardenland: Nature, Fantasy and Everyday Practice (University of Georgia Press, 2018), a book that explores American garden literature as a “fantasy genre” where people enact desires for community, social justice, joyful labor, contact with nature, and more vibrant and democratic cities. She received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago in 2009, and has taught at the University of Washington for the past 10 years.

February 20: Velma Veloria, Director of Advocacy and Mobilization, Equity in Education Coalition

Velma Veloria, Directory of Advocacy and Mobilization, Equity in Education Coalition

The Honorable Velma Veloria, was born in Bani, Pangasinan, Philippines and immigrated to the United States in 1961. She received her BS in Medical Technology from San Francisco State College. She was elected into office and became the first Asian American woman and first Filipina American elected to the Washington State legislature. Representing the 11th District, Veloria served from 1992 until 2004. She organized and led international trade missions and provided contacts for small businesses to the international marketplace.

When 3 Filipina Americans were murdered inside the King County Courthouse, Veloria worked with Emma Catague, Norma Timbang and Dr. Sutapa Basu of the UW Women’s Center to gain passage HB 1175, making the State of Washington the first state in the nation to criminalize human trafficking on a state level. Since the enactment of HB1175, 48 states in the nation have passed similar legislation. Additionally, concerned that Washington State was silent on international trade policies that impacted Washingtonians and the Philippines, she authored legislation that created a Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Trade Policy.

As a former labor organizer, Veloria has a demonstrated track record of successfully lobbying for and educating the broader community on important working family issues. Veloria is passionate about sharing knowledge and working directly with people to empower themselves and has proved to be skilled as a leader in motivating and mentoring a multicultural workforce to realize their potentials.

As well as working for the EEC, Velma is also community organizer for multiple non-profit agencies, ( Faith Action Network and the Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC)). Veloria continues to serve as co-chair of the UW Women’s Center Anti Human Trafficking Task Force.

(taken from Equity In Education Coalition website)

February 27: Wayne Lau, Executive Director, Rainier Valley Community Development Fund

Wayne Lau, Executive Director, Rainier Valley Community Development Fund

With 42 years of lending experience at national and regional banks, Wayne brings valuable small business and commercial real estate lending experience, including immigrant entrepreneurs, affordable housing and community facility lending. He has deployed and managed portfolios of over $100 million and staff of up to 10, overseeing underwriting, credit risk analysis, portfolio and environmental risk analysis, loan collections and loan restructuring.

Since joining RVCDF in 2012, Wayne oversees RVCDF’s underwriting, portfolio management, capitalization, financial and business management, strategic planning, staff development, board reporting and manages strategic collaborations with low-income community members, nonprofit institutions and other stakeholders in South Seattle.

Wayne is a director on the board of Seattle Goodwill Industries, having previously served as corporate board secretary and chair of its Board. He has served as treasurer and is a board member of the Seattle Chinatown International District Chinatown Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDPDA). Wayne is a graduate of Occidental College with a degree in Economics and has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.

(taken from the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund website)

March 5: Charles Morris, Director, Global Learning & Development, Microsoft

Charles Morris, Director of Global Learning & Development, Microsoft

Charles is a learning & development leader and mindfulness pioneer at Microsoft. He is the creator of Mindful Growth, a 4-day program built for Microsoft and designed to combine mindfulness and growth mindset. His approach to personal transformation blends his career experience in engineering leadership, graduate studies and research in secular mindfulness, deep personal experience in Tibetan Buddhist lineages and an avid interest in Jungian psychology.