The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has selected former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland to head the regional business association. Strickland served eight years as mayor of Tacoma, during which she was a leader on regional transportation, education and economic development issues.
“We are delighted to welcome Marilyn as the next president and CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber,” said Heather Redman, chair of the Chamber’s Board of Trustees.
Redman added, “Marilyn is known and respected throughout the Puget Sound region as an effective advocate for economic competitiveness. She’s fearless about taking on challenges in a collaborative way—a trait that will be essential as our region works through issues such as education, housing, and transportation, all of which have big implications for our long-term prosperity. Marilyn will be a strong voice for the economic conditions necessary for continued job growth for people in our region, especially as we face growing competition from around the globe.”
Strickland was selected following an extensive process that identified more than 50 prospective candidates from throughout the United States.
“I am incredibly excited to take on this role,” Strickland said. “One of my top priorities will be working with business, government and non-profit leaders toward solutions that keep our region globally competitive.” She added, “A strong, vibrant business environment is key to addressing the challenges that we face. Businesses of all sizes are an essential part of our community: in addition to the jobs they create and their place in the fabric of our neighborhoods, they drive investments that benefit us all. For example, in the city of Seattle, businesses generate over 50 percent of the tax revenue for the general fund.”
State and regional leaders spoke with enthusiasm about the appointment of Strickland as Chamber President & CEO.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “I worked closely with Marilyn when she was Mayor of Tacoma on critical regional issues such as affordable housing and transportation, including in her role as Vice-Chair of the Sound Transit board. She is an inspirational leader who will help the Seattle Metro Chamber in its role as a regional voice for a dynamic and inclusive economy.”
“Marilyn is a dynamic, collaborative leader with a clear vision who will work to ensure the region’s economic prosperity and high quality of life continue for future generations,” said former Governor Chris Gregoire, CEO of Challenge Seattle.
Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable, said, “Marilyn is a dedicated advocate for jobs and economic development. She understands that businesses care deeply about issues such as preparing local residents for the 740,000 job openings our state’s employers expect over the next five years. I am looking forward to working with her to keep Washington a great place to live, work and do business.”
Before her election as mayor, Strickland served on the Tacoma City Council. Prior to public service, she held management positions with the American Cancer Society, Starbucks Coffee Company and JayRay Communications. Strickland was born in Seoul, graduated from the University of Washington and earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Clark-Atlanta University.
Strickland takes the reins from Maud Daudon, who has served in the post for nearly six years. Daudon announced her plans last fall to transition from the position once a successor was chosen and on board.
Redman said, “We are grateful to Maud for her strong leadership, the many accomplishments achieved during her tenure, as well as her commitment to a seamless transition. She leaves the organization in excellent shape.”
Strickland will start as President and CEO the week of February 19.