Emerging Leaders Come Together Over Seattle

MaryKate Moran is United Way’s Social Media Specialist, but she’s also an Emerging Leader. Here’s her take on the recent Emerging Leaders Happy Hour and Hellos at Weyerhaeuser.


When you’re on top of the city, you feel like anything’s possible. And that’s how 130 Emerging Leaders felt at the recent Happy Hour and Hellos on Weyerhaeuser’s Pioneer Square rooftop. With a breeze in the air, a regatta of sailboats racing toward downtown, and a sweeping view of the Seattle skyline, the city feels like your oyster.

What a great place to hobnob, right?

But this isn’t just trading business cards and connecting on LinkedIn. This was connecting to VIPs in the business and non-profit communities.

One of the perks of being an Emerging Leader is access to VIPs – and that rooftop held plenty of VIPs. I chatted with Dr. Calvin Watts, Superintendent of the  Kent School District, and one of five United Way board members present (others included Director of Retail Operations for the Seahawks Doug Orwiler, and Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer for King County’s Labor Council). Top execs from our incredibly gracious host Weyerhaeuser rubbed elbows too.

  • Getting to Happy Hour and Hellos early to make new friends.
  • Signing up for a few Emerging Leaders volunteer projects!
  • Board member Calvin Watts with guests Weyerhaeuser Happy Hour and Hellos
  • Emerging Leaders had the chance to sign up for Day of Caring, and learn about our Reconnecting Youth Program.
  • Young professionals from non-profits and start-ups mingle on the Weyerhaeuser roof.
  • What a view!
  • Great views all around the Weyerhaeuser roof.
  • Weyerhaeuser Sales Director Shannon Hughes starting off our program.
  • The Emerging Leader Committee on the Weyerhaeuser roof!
  • Board member Jonathan Burks chatting it up at Happy Hour and Hellos.
  • Donating in action!
  • Talking Reconnecting Youth at a sunny Happy Hour and Hellos.

And speaking of community, Day & Night of Caring is just a month away! Between networking with fellow Emerging Leaders and United Way of King County board members, a friend and I signed up to volunteer for a #DayofCaringKC project with Redeeming Soles. I waited in line for some apps (shoutout to Gourmondo! So good!) with a gal who was one week into her job. She was just as fired up for that as she was for Night Out for Caring on Sept 15th. She immediately asked us each individually if we were going. A free party a Safeco Field with prizes and swag, local celebs, and a whiskey tasting, just to celebrate volunteering? Yeah, it’s already blocked off on our calendar.

That volunteering spirit, it’s spreading. So is generosity.

We took a break from networking to hear about all the work United Way does to help students graduate, from the Reconnecting Youth program for disconnected high school and college students to the Parent Child Home Program. Did you know 40% of King County kids entering kindergarten aren’t ready for school? I sure didn’t. That’s a stat we need to fight.

Between donating at the event, learning about United Way’s proven programs and connecting with other civic-minded young professionals, I felt like we had the power to make Seattle a better, more equitable place for everyone.

And that feeling will last long after the elevator descended and we stepped back onto Occidental Square. I’m really looking forward to working with Redeeming Soles to help people experiencing homelessness get work shoes. I’m already fundraising to support Day & Night of Caring. And that’s not the end either; it’s a movement! Emerging Leaders are making anything was possible and having the best time doing it.

If you’d like to be part of Day & Night of Caring, start here.

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