2020 Regional Leadership Conference Recap: How We Unite

By: Corinne Lumens, Alicia Teel Posted: 11/02/2020

Featuring Brookings Institution's Amy Liu and Lyft's Anthony Foxx

We kicked off our 2020 Regional Leadership Conference by setting our goals for this year's conference: to go deeper than talking points and find concrete ways each of us, our organizations, and our region can make our economy more competitive, more equitable, and more resilient. 


RLC 2020 Quote Bubbles-02We were very excited to welcome the Brookings Institution's Amy Liu as our opening keynote. She shared data and discussed the wide gaps and disparities in our economy, and shared her checklist for rebuilding equitably:

  1. Set explicit goals
  2. Invest in job quality, people and places
  3. Build new civic muscles. Partner differently, and acknowledge gaps in our civic capacity.
On day one, we presented this year’s Senator Scott White Regional Leadership Award to Cassie Sauer of Washington State Hospital Association. The Senator Scott White Award is presented to individuals who build bridges between competing interests, demonstrate a willingness to take on big problems, and move policy issues from discussion to action. In the time of the unprecedented health crisis of COVID-19, the WSHA has made significant strides to unify our hospitals state-wide, work with community partners to reopen non-urgent medical and dental procedures, and spread the word that patients can feel safe about going to their doctor or to the hospital.  

In April, WSHA helped coordinate funds to providers caring for COVID-19 Medicaid patients and they early imported more than 300,000 surgical masks to distribute masks to facilities most in need of PPEs. They have been a leader on sharing the best resources and messaging during this time and the award was well deserved.

We took a look at fascinating new data on racial inequity in Washington with Challenge Seattle's Mamie Marcuss and Boston Consulting Group's Shane Fisher.

RLC 2020 Quote Bubbles-04Our panelists and attendees discussed what is means for our region's economy to be Competitive with:

  • JLL's Adam Chapman
  • International Economic Development Council's Jeff Finkle
  • Downtown Detroit Partnership's Eric Larson
  • Greater Seattle Partner's Brian McGowan
Equitable with:
  • Chief Seattle Club's Colleen Echohawk
  • Port of Seattle's Bookda Gheisar
  • Seattle Public School's Denise Juneau
  • United Way's Gordon McHenry
and Resilient with:
  • City of North Charleston's Chief Reginald Burgess
  • King County Executive Dow Constantine
  • K&L Gates' Pallavi Mehta Wahi
  • CivicAction's Leslie Woo.
We had a Good News Break with Alaska Airlines' Diana Birkett Rakow, Impact Public Schools' Jen Davis Wickens, FareStart's Matt Gurney, and Urban Artworks on Amanda Hashagen who shared some uplifting stories and hope in this time of change.

RLC 2020 Quote Bubbles-03On day two, we heard from our closing keynote Anthony Foxx of Lyft on what it means to be anti-racist and pro-business. We also talked about where we go from here as a region, a company, and as individuals with Virginia Mason's Darlene Corkrum, Expedia's Richard de Sam Lazaro, Dick's Drive In Restaurant' Jasmine Donovan, and Community Attributes Inc.'s Chris Mefford.

Over the two days, we featured "Storytime: On the Ground in Seattle" sessions:
•  Laura Clise who shared Intentionalist's work to close the gap between our intention to #SpendLikeItMatters with diverse and local businesses and our ability to connect with them.
• Jon Scholes of Downtown Seattle Association talked about what we can all do to recover our vibrant downtown core.

RLC 2020 Quote Bubbles-06As the conference closed, our Chamber Executive Vice President Markham McIntyre shared his excitement for the amount of great, raw material conference attendees created for what's next in how we make our region more competitive, equitable, and resilient.

Going Forward

You can find a Twitter stream of our conference highlights here.

Thanks to our presenting sponsor:

Thanks to our airline sponsor:

Thanks to our event sponsors:

Thanks to our partner organizations: