Why leaders are hopeful the Seattle community can remerge better than ever after the pandemic

GeekWire’s Civic Conversations panel on Thursday, clockwise from top left: Jane Broom of Microsoft Philanthropies; Kris Hermanns of Seattle Foundation; Monica Nickelsburg of GeekWire; Gordon McHenry Jr., CEO of United Way King County; Chris Gregoire, CEO of Challenge Seattle and former Washington state governor.

The Seattle area was already experiencing a massive homelessness, mental health, and economic disparity crisis prior to COVID-19 hitting.

The pandemic simply exacerbated the issues. But even though the region has been knocked to its knees, several Washington state leaders hold out hope that lessons learned from the pandemic and racial justice reckoning of the past 12 months can lead to a more connected, vibrant, and inclusive community.

It’s going to take every ounce of strength and will to drive the change, but it can happen, they say. Listen to why they are hopeful in this special episode of the GeekWire Podcast, drawn from GeekWire’s new Civic Conversations event which took place Thursday.

Listen to the special episode below, or subscribe to GeekWire in any podcast app. And read excerpts from their messages of hope below.

Here’s what our panelists said about the opportunity ahead, taken from the conversation at the 53-minute-mark.

  • “People came together differently (during the past 12 months) and that principle and that sense of a common good was critical for us getting to the place we are, and it is going to be even more important moving forward.” —Kris Hermanns, chief impact officer at Seattle Foundation.
  • “When you think about what we have gone through and now think about what is most important, it is a great springboard if we do it in an inclusive manner to really strengthen our region.” — Gordon McHenry Jr., CEO of United Way of King County
  • “I think we have shown we can lead the nation. We did lead the nation. And we can do it again on all of the issues that we are concerned about if we all work together. And so I am really quite optimistic about the future, and what COVID has taught us about working together, about listening and learning because I think that is what will achieve success for all in this region and across our state.” —Chris Gregoire, former Washington State Governor and CEO of Challenge Seattle.
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To check out all of GeekWire’s coverage of the intersection of public policy, business and technology, visit our Civic channel here. Also, you can read GeekWire’s full recap of the event here, or watch the session on YouTube here.

Podcast edited and produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

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