The Pulse on Gender Equity in Seattle & Beyond

Patriarchy and Climate Change

Gender Equality OverallMartha BurwellComment

By guest author Alec Connon

The narrative that has led us to modern day climate change can be said to have begun in the early 1600s, where it can be found in the opinions of men such as Francis Bacon and the world’s first scientific organization, the Royal Society. It was here that the world was told, for the first time, a new story: Nature is not something to be revered and feared as it has been for all of human history; rather it is something that can be controlled, manipulated, dominated. Nature is but a machine and it can be made to bend to our will, we were told by these confident men. We are the masters, they insisted.

James Watt Statue   by  DncnH  is  licensed under   CC BY 2.0.

James Watt Statue by DncnH is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

For the century that followed, however, this remained but an idea. Ships still required wind to sail, factories still needed rivers to run. But some 100 years later, James Watt found this idea its perfect expression. It was the marriage of a revolutionary idea to a revolutionary technology: the steam engine. And from there the world, and our role in it, was forever changed.

After a history of remaining beholden to the whims of nature, for the first time, we were free; liberated from the Earth that created us. By piercing the Earth with our industrious power we could extract from it all that we needed. We could sail without wind, we could build our factories wherever we pleased. Soon we even learned to fly.

This new-found power only served to bloat our already deeply ingrained traits of patriarchy and imperialism: arrogance, selfishness, dominance, egoism.

First we, men, told ourselves that we could dominate women. Then we created a similar story to try and justify the subjugation of entire nations. Before, finally, we told ourselves that we could conquer and dominate nothing less than nature itself.

And for a couple of centuries that is what we did. Whole forests fell in days, entire mountains were dispensed with, the deepest oceans were breached. We had become Gods.

But just as the hubris of patriarchy and imperialism led us to the deep into the bowels of a truly dark and dangerous place, so too has the ideology of dominance over nature failed us and brought us disaster. Islands have already been swallowed, countless species have already vanished, hundreds of thousands have already died. By any humane definition of the word, catastrophic climate change is already here. And yet every year, more records are broken. Ever year, the floods, the droughts, the heatwaves, the storms get worse.

And just as women and girls have always faced the brunt of patriarchy, so too it is women and girls who disproportionately feel the full and brutal force of global warming:


“Climate change increases challenges to women’s and children’s health. There is more likelihood of women and children suffering and dying from problems such as diarrhea, undernutrition, malaria, and from the harmful effects of extreme weather events, including floods and drought. While women and children have made comparatively small contributions to historical carbon emissions they bear the brunt of the health effects of climate change, both now and in the future.”

These words come from an authoritative report that was published by a coalition of groups including the United Nations Foundation, the World Health Organization and Save the Children.

The London School of Economics found that women die in consistently higher numbers than men both during and after natural disasters. The 1991 Bangladesh cyclone and flood killed almost five times as many women as men; but across the world regardless of whether the event hits in the world’s poorest corners or in the richest nation in the history of the world, casualties are disproportionately women.

And it isn’t solely in the shortening of their lives that climate change will have an unequal effect on women and girls. According to U.N. studies when food is scarce, as it will be as crops increasingly fall to drought or flash floods, it is women and girls who go hungry first.

In most of the developing world, the job of gathering water is women’s work. The trek often robs them of the chance to earn money, learn skills or engage with their communities. For these girls, as the reality of their climate growing drier hits, education will remain nothing but a distant dream as their water gathering duties become ever more arduous and take ever longer.

Arrogance, selfishness, dominance, egoism.

These are the central human traits that have driven patriarchy. They are the central traits that have driven imperialism. And they are the central traits that have driven human-caused climate change.

But what does this realization mean to us today? What should it mean to today’s feminists and climate activists?

Well, one thing it should mean, I believe, is that to be a feminist in today’s world means being a climate activist; it means acting to prevent the climate change that will so disproportionately affect women and girls.

But it also means that to be a true and effective climate activist one must confront the underlying causes of anthropogenic climate change. And that means confronting, head-on, the narrative that has dominated our world for centuries. It means confronting the selfishness, the arrogance, the dominance, the egoism; the key drivers of the narratives that have enabled empire, slavery, endless war and human-caused climate change.

Or to put that another way, being a climate activist means facing down the traits that have come to define patriarchy. And that, of course, means nothing less than being a feminist.

Alec’s first novel, The Activist, is due to be released in summer 2016 by Ringwood Publishing. Alec is also a founder and organizer of Gates Divest, a Seattle organization that is calling on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to divest from fossil fuels.


Who Picked the Grapes for that Chardonnay? Labor Trafficking in Washington State

Washington StateMartha BurwellComment

The first thing that happens is you get blisters on your thumbs.  Then the sunburn, the aching legs, and the bruises from tossing your ladder into the apple tree. 

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about me: I’ve been employed as a migrant laborer.  When I was living in New Zealand a few years ago, I worked in an apple orchard, ‘thinning’ the trees, for one spring.  This means manually removing extra apples when they are small, so the ‘keeper’ apples can grow to full size without being crowded.

Working in the orchard, you are often not subject to minimum wage laws.  You get paid per tree—how fast you work.  This quickly becomes dangerous, as you’re using a 10 foot tall, 3-legged ladder, and literally running up and down it from tree to tree.  It’s completely exhausting.  And you never really make more than minimum wage, no matter how fast you go, and you can easily dip below minimum wage if you allow yourself to slow to a safer, more human pace. 

But in New Zealand, the wages are slightly better than in the US.  I was not coerced into the job, and knew I was protected by their stronger labor laws, and free national accident health insurance. 

In the US, and many other countries, it's a different story.

Our lives, and the products we consume, are much more deeply impacted by labor trafficking that I ever knew.  I always had a twinge of guilt when I bought a shirt from Forever 21, because it’s so cheap it must have been produced in sweatshops.  I’d heard that many of our agricultural workers receive pennies to the dollar for their work.  But I didn’t realize how prevalent trafficking is in our lives, because it’s so well hidden from view. 

I had the chance to interview labor trafficking expert Bratati Ghosh last month to learn more.  Bratati is the Chief Marketing Officer for a global software firm, and has been deeply involved in the causes of global development and women’s issues for more than 10 years.  I met her this summer, and she told me about a course on labor trafficking she co-lead recently at the University of Washington.

What inspired you to work on eliminating labor trafficking?

“I grew up in India, and that made me deeply aware that (….) one zipcode away there were all these women and children who did not have access to the proper means of livelihood, healthcare, and education.  And this was not happening in another part of the world, it was happening right next door,” she explained. “I came here (to the U.S.) in 1994 and worked for 10 years before turning my mind back to how I could get engaged in the global movement to end these forms of social and economic injustice.  And being a business-minded person, I really felt that the route out of this disparity had to be through some economic means.”

What drew you to teach the course on labor trafficking at UW?

Having met UW Women’s Center Executive Director Dr. Sutapa Basu through a mutual friend, the two decided to join forces and co-lead the course through the Jackson School of International Studies.  This was driven by Bratati's renewed interest in the topic, in part inspired by the Bangladesh factory collapse that killed over 1,100 people in 2013, where clothing for stores such as WalMart and JcPenney was being made.  The UW class focused on Washington State, and the course students created a task force that put together a 300 page report that went to the our state legislature as policy recommendation, titled From International Supply Chains to Local Consumption: Eliminating Labor Trafficking from all Companies in Washington State.

What were some of the main findings?

In short, “we are the unwitting consumers of products that have been made in the developing world, by people working in abysmal conditions.  We are in some senses the victims of that as well, in that we are not informed, we are contributing to the cycle of poverty.”

But this is also happening in our own home state. “We think that we are not that affected by labor trafficking, when in actuality, there are so many farm workers in Washington that may be said to be in various forms of trafficked labor.  You have to define trafficking in a broader way to explain that any form of coercion means the person is trafficked. One example is the burgeoning Washington wine industry, where “a lot of the grape harvesting is actually done under really poor conditions, leveraging immigrant labor.”

What role does gender play in labor trafficking?

Overall, “there are roughly as many men as women in the world of trafficking. (…) but some of the types of coercion are a little bit different.  In general labor trafficking involves working in terrible, grueling, and unhygienic conditions, potentially exposed to dangers and toxins” for all laborers. 

Though farm workers tend to be both women and men, men also “tend to be in industries like construction and mining (..) whereas women are in the garment factories such as in Bangladesh and Tailand and so on, that supply most of the clothes that we wear.”  Additionally, female laborers have higher risks from sexual assault and violence in the workplace. 

How do sex trafficking and labor trafficking overlap?

Though sex trafficking has been more publicized, labor trafficking is in fact much larger, with 14.2 million people globally, as compared to 4.5 million sex trafficking victims.  “And while it’s particularly degrading to be a victim of sex trafficking, it’s still important to look at the whole picture of all forms of human trafficking.”

The lines between the two aren’t always clear, however.  Female laborers are frequently subject to sexual harassment from their employers and others.  Sex trafficking “is a function of the same kind of economic disempowerment and psychological abuse that often accompanies economic power over someone else.  It’s part of the same continuum.  So you cannot really say clearly that this part is labor trafficking and this part is sex trafficking.”

This risk is amplified for undocumented immigrants, who often fear to report abuses.  For example, PBS reported in 2013 how one worker from Sunnyside, Washington, who did report sexual abuse by her employer faced incredible obstacles: “It was a rare public accusation for an immigrant, many of whom fear retaliation and deportation if they speak up.”

What about industries that are traditionally not regulated as thoroughly, like housekeeping and in-home childcare?

Though the report did include some information on employees such as nannies and nail salon workers, “it’s really, really difficult to track down data on that (..) Anecdotally there’s evidence that supports what you’re saying, and it’s of course true, but it’s difficult to analyze the data.” 


On the flip side, who is doing the trafficking? And why?  

“We didn’t really measure that, but the vast majority of traffickers tend to be men, I think it’s safe to say. (…) The reason why trafficking flourishes globally is that it’s highly, highly profitable. (…) There is an estimate that about $150 Billion US dollars are generated by traffickers globally, annually in profits from forced labor.  That’s a huge number.  And as it generally happens, who sits on top of that profit and influence of power and money are typically men.”

How would switching to fair labor practices affect businesses?

“One of the studies that we are working on right now will show (…) the impacts of eliminating labor trafficking from your supply chain.  I, for one, believe that it’s a positive impact on the business, as we have seen in shifting market share between the likes of WalMart, who have not taken an early stance against it, versus Costco, which took a very early stance in favor of having more progressive labor practices.”  She continued, “we have to look at all these aspects and be able to say here’s how it is a win for companies as well.”

For example, one study of Banana Republic quoted in the report showed a 14% increase in sales for an outfit on display when the signage included information about fair labor, rather than simply about fashion.  “I think there is a pent-up demand from the consumer side” to buy socially conscious items, that businesses can capitalize on. 

Recommendations to help solve this? 

  • Implement “a code of conduct, and create a penalty and rewards system” for businesses in Washington State.  Use both the carrot and the stick.
  • Expand the state-wide hotline for sex trafficking victims “to also enable labor trafficking victims to speak out without threat of retaliation.”
  • Form “an academic, political, and activist-led advisory board to create good fair labor practices” state-wide.  
  • Finally, “education on this must begin at the school level,” to engage young people in the issue so they are aware of it and can help to solve it.

What about everyday people?  What can we do?

“We need to inform and educate ourselves of the labor conditions in the supply chain of the companies that we consume products from.  In the absence of legislation that identifies something as being made by fair labor practices, the onus is on us to demand it. (…) Conscious employees, conscious consumers, activists, political influencers, can all come together to solve this problem.”

To learn more about the course and work done on labor trafficking in Washington, see the University of Washington Task Force Report: http://depts.washington.edu/womenctr/programs/human-trafficking/human-trafficking-task-force-report-2015/

PS.  About that Chardonnay: one recommended local winery is Mercer Canyons, which was suggested by local wine expert Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly.

This interview has been edited for brevity. 

You can also listen to the interview on SoundCloud here

Newsflash: PayScale Releases Big Data on Gender Pay Gap

Seattle, Gender Equality OverallMartha BurwellComment

From Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, “Awkard Black Girl” to NBA Cheerleaders, people have been talking about the gender pay gap

Now, we’ve got some new numbers to arm ourselves with when your coworker says women get paid less because of their individual choices.   

Seattle-based PayScale.com just released a study on the gender pay gap, in which they drew from their large database of salary information to compile data from 1.4 million full-time employees in the U.S. 

The report used a proprietary algorithm to compare wages between women and men based on industry, marital status, whether they were parents, and other variables. This information was taken from survey results that full-time workers submitted over the last 2 years. 

Though much of the data confirmed what we already know, there were some interesting, if disheartening new statistics. 

" Lucie & ses parents-4 " by  Thomas Sauzedde  is  is   licensed under   CC BY 2.0.

For example, it’s known that being married and having children unfairly penalizes women in the workforce.  But did you also know that a family actually gives a career boost to men? The PayScale data shows that married men with children were the highest wage earners in the country ($67,900 for married men with children, $60,800 for those without children), while single mothers earn the lowest wages in the country.  Those that need the pay the most earn the least.


Yet strangely, the data also showed that men prioritize home and family responsibilities more often than women.  How could this be? We know that women still spend more working hours each year taking care of children and family obligations.  But remember, the PayScale data was based on survey responses.  The answer becomes clear in another piece of information: “The more often a woman tells us that she prioritizes home/family over work, the larger the controlled gender pay gap becomes, even when compared to men with similar characteristics who say they prioritize home/family over work with the same frequency.” 

Ah.  There it is.  Women cannot even say that they would prioritize their family if they had to, because they are penalized for it. 

Unsurprisingly, some of the industries with the highest gender pay gap were male dominated ones such as mining, oil and gas extraction, and forestry.  Yet even within female-dominated industries such as health care and social assistance (79% women), there still exists a large pay gap. This reflects how we devalue women’s work overall as a society, regardless of the industry.  Currently, the PayScale data showed a 24.3% “uncontrolled” pay gap, and a 1.7% “controlled” pay gap for healthcare.

1.7 percent! That doesn’t seem so bad, does it?  Let’s take a look at what that actually means.   PayScale offered two data sets for each item they examined.  One was “uncontrolled” in which they simply looked at all full-time wages, regardless of job level, experience, etc.  The other was “controlled” in which they only compared wages that had the same job level and experience.  It’s tempting to want to celebrate the smaller wage gap for the controlled data.  However, it does not communicate one very critical point: much of the wage gap exists because women are blocked from advancing into higher positions.  It also misses out on the fact that jobs of equal skill and education level are valued less if they are jobs traditionally held by women.  So the uncontrolled data shows what women’s wages are in a more complete sense.

Another finding new to me was the age at which worker’s pay plateaus.  From our first jobs, our wages continue to increase until we reach a certain age, when they flatten out or even drop.  According to PayScale, men can expect their wages to keep increasing until they are 50-55, while women, shockingly, can only expect their pay to rise until they are 35-40.  What does this say about how we value women as they age, compared to men? 

Finally, I wonder if the data includes the most marginalized industries, which are often female-dominated, and/or have a majority of people of color, such as housekeeping and home care.  Does the data include those pieces of the population?  Who don't have access to the PayScale survey, don't speak English, or don't use a computer?

However, the big data PayScale compiled is still telling. So what do we do with it?  How can we use it to make the pay gap smaller? 

It should be seen as a wake-up call.  We tend to think that we are somehow ‘past’ the gender pay gap.  That it’s a choice.  That women should just work harder or be more confident.  But this data shows that it’s much, much more than a personal journey.  It’s an enormous, ingrained bias that we all hold (women too!).  But even more so, it's our systems and the way our businesses and industries are defined. This data helps us understand the pay gap in our own industries.  So how about instead of changing the women, we upgrade the workplace?  Other developed countries are doing this with practical things like paid family leave (not just maternal leave), more time off, better benefits, and affordable childcare.  We could utilize 'unconscious bias training' and hiring techniques to diversify leadership roles. The U.S. is still lagging behind.  But if our labor laws aren’t changing fast enough, individual businesses can step up and implement change themselves.  Because it’s not just the right thing to do.  It’s also good for business

To view PayScale’s report, visit http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/gender-pay-gap

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Why I'm voting for Kshama Sawant

SeattleMartha BurwellComment

The posters are everywhere.

On lamp posts, windows and trees. The volunteers are knocking on doors, the signs are stuck into neighbor’s lawns, flower beds and any spare patch of grass.  Gonzales! O’Brien! Weatbrook! Sawant! Juarez! Maddux! They scream, demanding our attention.

And that can only mean one thing: It’s that time again, it’s election time!

(c) Martha Burwell

(c) Martha Burwell

Throughout the year, to help us get to know our candidates better, I have spoken with several councilmembers and candidates on gender equity in Seattle.  Earlier this summer, I had a chance to talk to Kshama Sawant, who’s running for reelection in District 3 (East Central Seattle).

We began with a status update—how is Seattle doing currently?  She responded with a theme I’ve heard from quite a few leaders: Though we view ourselves as progressive, it’s clear “how much of a challenge Seattle still has to rise to in order to make this a city where women are treated equal to men.”   In other words, “there’s a gap between what we want or expect Seattle to be, and (…) the reality.”  And a part of the solution, she urged, is to have Seattle City Council members “who are genuinely going to be beholden to the needs of women, people of color, and everyone who’s marginalized, rather than (…) big businesses.”

“If you’re elected again,” I asked, “What’s one issue related to gender equality that you would address?”

“I don’t think any one thing by itself will address the social issues that we are discussing,” she started.  “When you have a city like Seattle which is extremely wealthy, and at the same time has this stunning wealth and income inequality (…) it hits women the hardest.  It hits single mom households the hardest. It hits people of color the hardest.  It hits women of color, the trans community, the LGBTQ community the hardest.”

Kshama Sawant , used with permission

Kshama Sawant, used with permission

So, there's no silver bullet, no magic panacea, rather we will have to see dramatic and sweeping changes before Seattle comes anywhere close to achieving true gender equity.

She gave an example, however, of how we have recently made some first tentative steps in this direction: earlier this year Seattle passed a 4 week paid parental leave policy for public city employees.  In Sawant’s words, this is a start, but “In 2015, we’re just implementing basic rights for parents to care for their children (….) and if you talk to anyone raising children, they’ll tell you that four weeks is nowhere near close enough.”

What would she do about this in her second term?

Twelve weeks of paid parental leave for all of Seattle’s workers,” she stated without hesitation. “I don’t care whether you are CEO or a cashier at QFC.  You should have all those basic human rights.  And paid parental leave of a sizable number of days is absolutely a human right.”

And the key term here is “parental leave,” because “we don’t want to have a future vision of society which pushes all the burden of raising a family only on women.  We want to have a cultural reawakening of our society where we view familial responsibilities and the organization of society itself in an equal way.”

Zoom that example out to the big-scale picture.  If we’re talking seriously about gender equity, she argued, then we need “a larger support structure for all the families in Seattle, all the people in Seattle.”  We need a “socializing of the burden that falls on individual families,” she explained. 

A socializing of the burden What does this mean? One thing it means is “full funding of all social services and mental health services (…) a social safety net for those who are on the brink of homelessness, those who are experiencing sudden job loss, those who have other financial setbacks.” 

She continued: “This would also encompass services for women who might be experiencing violence (…) and are looking for a way out of that. (…) Research has shown that women remain in relationships they should be free of because they are concerned about the lack of financial support structure, especially if they have children. So it’s absolutely critical that our society provides that network of support structure.”

I agree, nodding my head. Our safety nets are sorely lacking for women, especially those women who are most vulnerable, women who are the victims of domestic violence or who are pushed to homelessness after losing their already low-paying jobs.   But how would we pay for this, I wondered. How would we pay for all of these services that we need so badly? “Progressive taxation,’ replied Sawant, immediately.  “This is a state that has the most regressive tax system.  That hits women the hardest.  Women-headed households are some of the most poverty stricken, some of the lowest income households, partly as a consequence of the gender pay gap, partly because of other issues.  There’s systemic, intergenerational poverty.”  To combat this, “we need to tax the super-wealthy and big businesses to fund these social services.”  

Used with permission

Used with permission

And it was hard not to see the sense of Sawant’s points; tech-heavy Seattle has a few people who could probably afford to pay a little more to the taxman.

Throughout our conversation, and indeed most times that I’ve seen Sawant speak, she always returned to how all our social movements are, and must be, intrinsically connected.  She put it well when I asked her my final question, “what would you say to a young boy, and a young girl, who wants to become a city leader when they grow up?” 

“I would say the same thing to both, which is that regardless of your gender (…) we have to fight for the rights of all workers, together in solidarity,” you can’t just fight for yourself.  Yet at the same time, “you also have to realize that we have to fight against specific oppressions. For example, said Sawant, “if you’re committed to social justice, whether you’re a man or a woman, you have to be committed to fighting against sexism.”

After my conversation with Sawant, it was hard not to be impressed. She seemed to be saying the right things – and that’s important. Because by putting these issues on the table, in her loud, impossible to ignore manner, she is forcing everyone else to look at them too. In what is known as the overton window, or the “range of ideas that the public will accept,” she pushes the entire conversation towards the things that she cares about, which tend to be toward creating a more fair Seattle.

More importantly than saying the right things, during her time in office she has also seemed to be doing the right things, consistently pursuing policies related to social equity, many of which directly or indirectly improve gender equity.  One recent example is when she decided to annoy several rather high profile Seattleites by skipping a scheduled Rotary Club debate.  Instead, she attended a Columbia City protest against a profiteering landlord, standing up for the tenants, many of whom were low-income women and people of color, who are the most vulnerable to negative effects of rent increases.

Somehow I can’t imagine Pamela Banks doing the same…

And the conclusion?  Care about gender equity: Vote Kshama Sawant.

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For more opinions on Seattle City leaders, see my posts on Catherine Weatbrook, and Mike O'Brien (part 1 and part 2). 

Join EqualiSea founder for a free panel on strategically increasing diversity in business

Gender Equality OverallMartha BurwellComment

Join EqualiSea founder Martha Burwell at a free panel for Seattle Startup Week with 6 Seattleites who are experts on diversity, and learn how to make your startup or workplace welcoming and inclusive for all types of people.

When: Tuesday, October 27 3-4pm
Where: Seattle Impact Hub 220 2nd Ave South 98104 (main event space)
Cost: Free! But you must register in advance via Seattle Startup Week.

Good for Business and the World: Building Diversity into your startup

Data shows that having a diverse* team is good for both business and social equity.  Yet, it’s something that very rarely just happens.  Our unintentional default, in fact, tends to be to surround ourselves with people just like us—to stick to our social circles. 

Entrepreneurs have the unique opportunity to intentionally design their business foundation and culture to be welcoming and attractive to many types of people. This panel will discuss strategic ways to build inclusion into your new venture, from defining core values to hiring staff.  Join us – and let’s think outside of the circle. 

*our definition of diversity is broad, covering such areas as ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ, age, background, socioeconomic status, and more.

Moderator: Martha Burwell

Martha Burwell is an independent consultant who specializes in sustainable project design and gender-balanced teams. She is based in Seattle and works with nonprofits and small businesses. She also blogs about intersectional gender equity in Seattle at www.EqualiSea.org. An avid traveler, she’s visited over 30 countries and lived and volunteered in 4. See www.marthaburwell.com for more details.



Elayne Wylie

Elayne Wylie is an event producer, educator, and filmmaker who trains business professionals in workplace equality. Elayne has also served as the chair of the Seattle Regional Affiliate with Out & Equal, Workplace Equality Associates, and is the current Board Chair of Gender Justice League. She is also a professional filmmaker, trained at the UW in journalism and documentary film. She has a passion for volunteerism and community service, and enjoys roadtripping the Pacific Northwest.



Matthew EchoHawk-Hayashi

Matthew Hayashi is the principal organization development and leadership consultant for Headwater People. They help brilliant people do transformational work and offer a variety of strategic consulting services such as organization learning, strategic planning, change management, process design, and executive coaching. His passion is to help connect groups to the core mission of their work through collaborative and innovation and whole organizational health. Matthew and his wife and children make their home in Seattle, Washington.

Elizabeth Scallon

Elizabeth Scallon is the Associate Director of CoMotion Incubator for the University of Washington’s CoMotion, which focuses on nurturing UW startup companies from innovation to impact. Elizabeth spent part of her early career as a Lab Manager and Research Associate at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and more recently held a position as the Senior Operations Manager for VLST Corporation, a biotech firm in Seattle researching novel approaches to autoimmune diseases.
She holds volunteer position as the Chief Operations Officer for HiveBio Community Lab, Vice President of Pygmy Survival Alliance, and is on the Board of Trustees for the World Affairs Council of Seattle.

Ruchika Tulshyan

Ruchika Tulshyan is the author of The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace (Forbes, 2015). Ruchika co-found a business in Singapore, where she's from and also led content marketing strategy at a Seattle-based startup before deciding to get back to writing full-time. Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Time and Bloomberg, among other media. Ruchika has reported from six cities across four countries. She holds degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

Eric Osborne

Eric Osborne is Co-Founder of Here Seattle a non-profit networking and professional organization for underrepresented minorities.   He is actively working with minorities and companies within the tech and creative industries to create more opportunities and inclusion for underrepresented minorities in the Greater Seattle area.  He is transplant from Florida by way of Los Angeles and is an avid  reader, reading at least a book a week.