Welcome, Rachel Smith!

By: Diana Birkett Rakow, Chamber Board Chair Posted: 01/04/2021

Read a welcome message to our new President & CEO and find out when you join us for a meet and greet

Hi Seattle Metro Chamber members,

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed, as much as possible, a healthy and safe holiday season, fueled by food, beverages, gifts, services, and simple pleasures created by the amazing people who work hard across the great companies we have here in the Pacific Northwest. 

Today, we officially welcome Rachel Smith to her first day as the Chamber’s president and CEO. Rachel is a clear, strong, and compassionate leader with a track record of leading change in complex environments, building strong partnerships, and executing solutions. We’re excited to add her incredible leadership to the talented Chamber team.

We need this team, and each other, more than ever. While it is remarkable to see vaccine distribution a reality, we are far from recovery. People and employers across our region still need COVID-19 response and relief; good jobs; sustainable solutions for homelessness, housing, policing, safety, and transportation; and a competitive economy that is more equitable and inclusive. These things are critical wherever you are in the four-county region.

Rachel will be a fierce advocate for our whole employer community as we navigate these issues. And as she said last month, “The business community is best positioned to play our part in solving complex issues when our businesses are healthy, when they are supported by community and government leaders, and when their voices and expertise are a meaningful part of the decisions and solutions.”

Rachel is a big thinker with a bias for plans and action, an incredible ability to listen and respond, and a practical and passionate approach to problem-solving. I saw Rachel in action last year on COVID-19 response: she showed up week after week to share data, to listen and act on employer concerns, and to just plain get stuff done. I know she’ll continue to do the same for all of us in this new role.

Rachel plans to hit the ground running and she’ll prioritize getting to know you in the days and weeks ahead, so that the Chamber can best advocate for what you need to be successful, provide the most valuable tools and resources possible, influence key decisions, and represent the whole region in our work. One way to get to know Rachel is our meet-and-greet session with members on Friday, January 15 at 11:00 a.m. to noon via Zoom. Join us and bring your questions. You can register here.

Please join me in giving Rachel a warm welcome. You’ll soon start hearing more from her directly, and I know you’ll help her understand the breadth of this incredible membership. As always, the full Chamber team is here to help – please don’t hesitate to reach out to info@seattlechamber.com with your questions.

Wishing you all a bright, healthy, and productive 2021!

Diana Birkett Rakow
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce