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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Women in the Workplace: Greenlake Primary Care

July 2nd, 2014

Recently, I had a fascinating discussion with Dr. Naomi Busch, a Seattle-based primary care physician—who happens to be my doctor.  What differentiates Dr. Busch from other physicians, however, is that she is a businesswoman who owns her practice: Greenlake Primary Care. Dr Busch

When Dr. Busch spotted my “No Wage Gap” campaign button, aimed at ending the 73-cent on the dollar gap between women’s and men’s wages, she didn’t hesitate to fill me in on her own past gender pay gap problem.

“That’s why I’m here,” she said simply.

She explained that, as a young mother, she had taken a part-time, six hour shift at a local clinic. She said, “I didn’t extend my day to work eight hours because I had to pick … Continue Reading »


Ladies Stand Tall

June 26th, 2014

Earlier this month, four young gentlemen from Nathan Hale High School job shadowed me during a typical day at the Council. I was incredibly impressed by how prepared the students were when they arrived—particularly well-versed on Seattle’s gender wage gap. They interviewed me about my gender wage equity work and blew me away with their grasp of the effects of such gender wage inequity on society, as well as their dedication to narrowing the gap.

Well, these students are as impatient as I am to see opportunities for women equal to those of men. They are raising awareness now through a rap. And I couldn’t be prouder. These are the men of Seattle’s future that have women’s backs as they rhyme, “ladies stand tall.” They get it. “Day by day … Continue Reading »


Women in the Workplace: Amanda Touch of Color Salon

June 25th, 2014

Amanda in her salon

Amanda Saephan’s small business story is one of many I will highlight as a part of my women in business campaign for the Summer of 2014. This campaign will not narrow the gender pay gap but, as Amanda’s story reveals, she’s not afraid of hard work and that’s exactly what will bring about gender pay equality.

Hair is just one reason – though it’s probably the best excuse — to visit Amanda Touch of Color Salon in Laurelhurst. Amanda Saephan owns the tidy business, sandwiched between a nail salon and a restaurant.  She rents space to four other beauty stylists, although she’s the main attraction and the high energy that makes the place … Continue Reading »


Women in the Workplace: Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

June 17th, 2014

This blog serves as the start of my summer series to highlight women in the workplace. And what better place to start than a recent farewell lunch to honor my intern: the most ambitious Kate Sibley of the University of Washington. We chose the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery, 3118 Northeast 65th Street, co-owned by Sara Swanson, as it remains a Bryant Neighborhood icon and is a scant two blocks from the home my folks bought years ago when our family arrived in Seattle.

With our intern Kate in front of the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

With our intern Kate in front of the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

In those days, the café was a drugstore. The … Continue Reading »


Keepie Uppie Time for World Cup

June 11th, 2014

soccerJudging from the energy I’ve noticed around Seattle Sounders games lately, I’m willing to bet there are a good number of Seattleites excited for this years’ World Cup that begins Thursday. It is Brazil’s second time hosting this momentous tournament (it first hosted in 1950) and is set to have 64 matches played in 12 cities across the country. Thirty two countries will compete this year, including the U.S.A.

If you’re happiest watching the most widely viewed sporting event in the world in the company of fellow fans, you’re in luck this year and need to look no farther than the Seattle Public Library. Whether you’re a fan of Brazil or Germany, the countries with the most World Cup appearances, … Continue Reading »