Over the past few years, we at DSA have been assessing our role in addressing systemic racism and developing an action plan to become a more diverse, inclusive and equitable organization. Our efforts started in 2020 with internal dialogue, surveys and workshops involving staff and board members.
In 2021, the DSA Board of Directors created a new standing DEI board committee to provide guidance and direction to our DEI work as well as advise on our implementation strategy to ensure that DEI remains a top organizational priority.
The group, chaired by Mari Horita of the Seattle Kraken and Ben Franz-Knight of Shiels Obletz Johnsen, meets monthly and advances DEI policies and actions and provides regular updates to the DSA Board of Trustees. Additional members include:
- Mark Barbieri, Washington Holdings
- Marilyn Boss, Zurich
- Michelle Merriweather, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
- Fred Rivera, Seattle Mariners
- Sung Yang, Pacific Public Affairs
As one of its first priorities, the committee helped update the DSA mission, vision and values to reflect a commitment to DEI and a downtown for all. Committee members continue to help identify diverse candidates for the DSA board and recently developed a land and people acknowledgment in consultation with Headwater Consulting and Puget Sound-area tribal leaders. The acknowledgment was shared for the first time at the annual State of Downtown event in March 2023.
In addition to board-directed work, the DSA/MID Human Resources team and executive leadership have updated recruitment and hiring practices to eliminate implicit bias and strengthen the diversity in our candidate pool, particularly for office-based professional and administrative jobs.
For more information, please contact Emily Bailor, DSA director of executive administration, at firstname.lastname@example.org.