Women in the Workplace: Marination

August 19th, 2014

What do you do when the world hands you a lemon? Folk wisdom says you make lemonade. The Marination duo had a different answer: Make Hawaiian-Korean tacos.Marination3

Marination is a crazy, runaway success story that co-owner Kamala Saxton likes to talk about.  The story began five years ago when Kamala and co-owner Roz Edison, had some financial reverses, like many of us who weathered the Great Recession.

Roz and Kamala became acquainted while both were working in educational programs in Boston. Kamala, a one-time Seattleite who grew up in Hawaii and California, has degrees in education and public policy and a professional background at the Gates Foundation. Roz, who was born in Greece and has lived in Romania, is Chinese and Filipina and … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Joanne Ort CPA

August 13th, 2014

When Joanne Ort went off to the University of Washington in the 1980s, she thought she’d emerge as a doctor. That was before organic chemistry. The college class left her scratching her head. Instead she enrolled in accounting and discovered a perfect fit.

The switch shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Joanne’s dad and one of her sisters were CPAs and she was about to become one. She graduated with a business degree, later acquiring a master’s with a tax concentration. Joanne Ort

She says, “I always knew I wanted to have my own practice.” And, after raising two children and working for three accounting firms, she has reached that goal with Joanne Ort CPA. Hers is a small business with one … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Joanne Ort CPA

August 13th, 2014

When Joanne Ort went off to the University of Washington in the 1980s, she thought she’d emerge as a doctor. That was before organic chemistry. The college class left her scratching her head. Instead she enrolled in accounting and discovered a perfect fit.

The switch shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Joanne’s dad and one of her sisters were CPAs and she was about to become one. She graduated with a business degree, later acquiring a master’s with a tax concentration. Joanne Ort

She says, “I always knew I wanted to have my own practice.” And, after raising two children and working for three accounting firms, she has reached that goal with Joanne Ort CPA. Hers is a small business with one … Continue Reading »

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Women inthe Workplace: Spinnaker Bay Brewery

August 7th, 2014

When you think of a brewmaster, you probably envision a rotund Germanic fellow with a Walrus mustache. But not at Spinnaker Bay Brewery, a thriving new enterprise in Hillman City. The lively brew pub is 100 percent woman-owned and operated, arguably the only completely woman-owned brewery in the state.

Spinnaker3

Elissa Pryor and Janet Spindler

I sat down last week with the owners, the brewer Janet Spindler, and the accountant, Elissa Pryor. Elissa explained the division of labor: “Janet makes really good beer and I cook the books.” The partners both are sailors and they derive the names of their distinctive brews from nautical terms.  (The list might include Fraid Knot™, High Heel™, Don’t Panic Porter™ and … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: North East Seattle Together (NEST)

July 31st, 2014

There’s a retired chef in Northeast Seattle who, not so long ago, gave up driving. But he still manages to get to the grocery store once a week. And he has help with some of his other chores and needs, thanks to a new organization, a nonprofit that enlists seniors, recruits volunteers and has created a “virtual village.”

NEST members gather for a summer cookout

NEST members gather for a summer cookout

I first heard about the village idea from Debbie Anderson, a former director of senior programs at Overlake Hospital. Anderson is president of the board of directors of NEST, an acronym for North East Seattle Together. She shared her vision with me two years ago.

What we need, … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Kate Vrijmoet

July 23rd, 2014

Kate Vrijmoet is a curator, an artist and a passionate activist. She keeps a studio in Pioneer Square, a small business, but one that, although she manages to pay her taxes, she operates at a loss.  K-Vrijmoet-#3Col

As she points out, regretfully, there’s a big gap between male and female artists. The stats are grim: Although 60 percent of arts graduates are women, galleries display only about 25 percent of women’s work nationally. Seattle’s record at 39 percent is somewhat better. Less than 4 percent of museum collections are credited to women artists.

When asked why this is the case, Kate reflects that salary negotiation and having a family have been obvious barriers in her own art career. However, it is clear that … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Kaffeeklatsch

July 16th, 2014

kaffee 1Annette Heide-Jessen has felt the sting of the gender gap. She says that, in many ways, it’s still a man’s world. But she is candid about what brought her, a native of Berlin, to Seattle: It was a man. By the time the two parted, however, she’d fallen in love with the city: the mountains, the water and, more importantly, the people.

It was partly that connection to people that drove her to open Kaffeeklatsch, her coffee shop and bakery, in Lake City in January, 2011.  As she explains, “I had lost my job and been unemployed for two years.  There were not any independent coffee shops in Lake City, so I borrowed money with a business … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Mobile Electrical Distributors

July 9th, 2014

Colleen Hallett has a stock of stories to share about being a woman who owns a mobile4traditional blue-collar business, an electrical supplies firm on Lake City Way Northeast.

She says, “One day a guy came into the counter. When I asked, if I could help him, he said, ‘Oh, I’ll wait for one of the guys.’” “Finally my part-time truck driver came in and asked the guy what he needed. After he ordered, the truck driver had to turn to me to find out where the part was located.”

Hallett, president of Mobile Electrical Distributors since 1998, laughs at the memory. She says, “I guess the guy just wanted to wait.”  Hallett has been working at the family-run business since 1967. She … Continue Reading »

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Seattle’s Got Distinction

July 8th, 2014

If you’re assembling an “Only in Seattle” file, you’d have to include June 6th, the night that the Seattle Symphony showcased music inspired by Seattle hip-hop icon Sir Mix-A-Lot. sirmix

Sir Mix asked for “a couple of ladies” to help him out with his signature song, “Baby’s Got Back.” Upwards of three dozen women crowded onstage and boogied while he rapped and the symphony played. The free-form performance quickly went viral across the country. Few, if any, symphony orchestras anywhere can match that claim.

Mix’s dance-a-lot is only one of the happenings that make Seattle stand out as a city where the unusual is usual. Every day brings us more evidence that Seattle’s got distinction.

For example, as we speak, Seattle is fine tuning … Continue Reading »

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Corporations Can Dictate Contraception? My Thoughts on the Hobby Lobby Decision

July 3rd, 2014

hlI confess that I was totally blindsided. I never expected the Supreme Court would rule the way it did, five justices – all male, by the way — agreeing that requiring family-owned corporations to provide insurance coverage for contraception somehow violated a federal law protecting the corporation’s religious freedom.

A corporation’s religious freedom? I guess that’s what really stunned me. It was outrageous enough that, writing earlier in the infamous Citizens United decision, the court had declared that corporations have First Amendment rights to free speech. Now the court’s majority has decided that corporations – at least those owned mainly by families — are also entitled to freedom of religion.

If one follows this convoluted line of reasoning, corporations apparently … Continue Reading »

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