Get to know local leaders on a personal level

By: Editorial Staff Posted: 09/16/2019

Listen to 14 interviews featuring candid stories, advice, and more on Season 1 of our "Under Construction" podcast

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We started a brand new podcast, "Under Construction," early this year. In each episode, our president and CEO, Marilyn Strickland, takes you behind the scenes with the people and companies who are shaping our evolving region. Below, you can listen to all of the episodes in our first season.

You’ll get to know regional civic and business leaders on a more personal level, learn more about their companies, and hear their candid views about the future of our region.

Thanks for listening in. If you like what you hear, please rate us and subscribe. This podcast is produced by Alicia Teel and Maggie Wilson with the Seattle Metro Chamber and recorded with engineers at Cloud Studios in Seattle.

Our Season 2 has started! You can listen to our Season 2 episodes as they are released at this link, on iTunes, Spotify, and on SoundCloud.


Season 1 Episodes

Ep. 1 – Adriane Brown: "If you can’t work through people, you can’t get your job done"

Adriane Brown, a venture partner at Flying Fish, discusses how discomfort breeds growth, the importance of soft skills in leadership positions, and unleashing curiosity. 


Read the transcript here.



Ep. 2 – John Cook: "Why don’t we just go out and experiment a little bit?"

John Cook, co-founder of GeekWire, discusses getting outside of his bubble, the difference between Seattle and Silicon Valley tech, and the need for coordinated regional leadership. 

Read the transcript here.



Ep. 3 – Solynn McCurdy: "When you have power, you have the ability to change the rules"

Solynn McCurdy, CEO of Social Venture Partners and a Seattle Metro Chamber board trustee, discusses the significance of mentorship, changing Seattle, and his work giving voice to people who have been marginalized.



Read the transcript here.



Ep. 4 – Jasmine Donovan: "Leaders come in all different flavors"

Jasmine Donovan, Executive Vice President of Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants, discusses the origin of Seattle’s beloved Dick’s, change in a restaurant known for being the same, and work skills learned serving in the Navy.


Read the transcript here.



Ep. 5 – Dr. Guy Hudson: "Our mission is to serve everybody who walks through our doors"

Dr. Guy Hudson, CEO of Swedish Health Services, discusses how health care has changed over the years, why so many Seattle families start at Swedish, and the important impact that relationships have on healing.

Read the transcript here.



Ep. 6 – Graciela Gomez Cowger: "Expect nothing, appreciate everything"

Graciela Gomez Cowger, CEO of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, discusses her childhood in Tijuana, Mexico, what it means to be CEO of a law firm, and the beginning of a surprising hobby.


Read the transcript here.



Ep. 7 – Former Seattle Mayor Norman Rice: "I think people were waiting for a voice that wasn’t being heard"

Norman Rice, former Seattle Mayor and Seattle City Councilmember, discusses what it was like to make history as Seattle’s first African-American mayor, lessons learned from failure, and his love story with his wife of 44 years.

Photo above of Norman Rice by José Mandojana, courtesy of UW Columns.
Read the transcript here.



Ep. 8 – Alejandro Grajal: "We project other creatures’ feelings and needs into our own"

Alejandro Grajal, President and CEO of Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, discusses growing up in Venezuela, the importance of creating empathy for animals, and what he calls “the oddest bird in the world.”  

Read the transcript here.



Ep. 9 – David Bley: "The question is, how do you grow with grace?"

David Bley, Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Pacific Northwest Initiative, discusses education inequity, the importance of listening in problem-solving, and the one word he would use to describe himself.

Read the transcript here.



Ep. 10 – Mari Horita: "Sports, like arts, are an opportunity to bring people together"

Mari Horita, Vice President of Community Engagement and Philanthropy with NHL Seattle, discusses increasing access to hockey, her favorite childhood memories, and lessons in sportsmanship.


Read the transcript here.



Ep. 11 – Shkëlqim Kelmendi: "We can do good, but it can also make business sense"

Shkëlqim Kelmendi, executive director of Housing Connector, discusses helping people in King County in need of housing, how to change the quality of your experience as a young professional, and his memory of fleeing Kosovo as a boy during war.

Read the transcript here.



Ep. 12 – Amelia Ransom: "Know where you stand. Know where you are."

Amelia Ransom, Senior Director of Engagement and Diversity at Avalara, discusses diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace, how leading with vulnerability can create safe spaces, and what she would tell her 20-year-old self. 

Read the transcript here.



Ep. 13 – Who should lead Seattle? A special episode on the 2019 Seattle City Council elections

In a special episode diving into the 2019 Seattle City Council races, Richard de Sam Lazaro, Manager of Government and Corporate Relations at Expedia Group, Erin Goodman, Executive Director of the SoDo BIA, and Rachel Marshall, Founder of Rachel’s Ginger Beer, join Seattle Metro Chamber CEO Marilyn Strickland – to discuss the upcoming elections, what makes a good leader, and effective city governance. 


Read the transcript here.


Ep. 14 – "Everyone has an origin story": Our Season 1 finale with special guest Jean Enersen

In our Season 1 finale, Seattle Metro Chamber CEO Marilyn Strickland shares episode highlights and discusses Seattle, the importance of communication, and how family shapes us – with legendary former KING 5 News Anchor Jean Enersen. 


Read the transcript here.