Toshiko Hasegawa and Hamdi Mohamed made history this week when they became the first women of color to join the Port of Seattle Commission, marking the first time in the organization’s 110-year history that a majority of Commissioners are people of color.

The Port’s aviation and maritime gateways are critical to supporting economic vitality, creating opportunities across a broad cross-section of the region and state.

Toshiko Hasegawa

Commissioner Hasegawa’s priorities on the Commission include addressing supply chain issues, expanding economic opportunities, and reducing pollution. In addition to her role as a Commissioner, Hasegawa is also the Executive Director of Washington State’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. She holds a Master’s degree from Seattle University. Learn more about Commissioner Hasegawa on her biography page.

“I am proud to be elected the first woman of Asian ancestry on the Port of Seattle Commission,” Hasegawa said . “The Port of Seattle holds the key to a robust economy, healthy environment, and thriving communities, and I want to help the Port be a leader in bringing together stakeholders to build our port economy back to be more inclusive, sustainable, and abundant for all.”

Hamdi Mohamed

Commissioner Mohamed’s priorities include economic development, workforce development, and environmental action. In addition to her role as a Commissioner, Mohamed serves as Public Policy and Strategic Project Manager to King County. She earned both a Bachelor’s degree in Law, Societies, and Justice and a Master’s degree in Policy Studies from the University of Washington. She has also earned a Global Business Certificate from Harvard Business School. Learn more about Commissioner Mohamed on her biography page.

“Commission leadership and effective connections to the community are key to the Port’s ability to lead an equitable recovery,” said Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck. “Through partnership and the efforts by our resilient and effective staff, we are on track to restore our operations and make the largest capital improvement program in our organization’s history.”

The Port anticipates reaching major milestones early in 2022 when the new, modernized Terminal 5 goes into service as a maritime shipping terminal, and the new International Arrivals Facility opens at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

During the meeting, Commissioners chose re-elected Commissioner Ryan Calkins as Commission President for 2022, Commissioner Sam Cho as Commission Vice President, and Commissioner Toshiko Hasegawa as Secretary. More information about Commission officers and committee assignments can be found on the Commission webpage.

Here’s more info from the Port:

Equity Assessment and Recommended Actions on Day One Agenda
One of the new Commission’s first agenda items of 2022 was to hear the outcomes of a Port-wide equity assessment and recommended changes to increase equity within the Port’s culture and processes.

Commissioner Sam Cho, who led the Commission effort to initiate the Port-wide assessment said, “We acknowledge that systemic racism exists and that you need a systemic approach to create equity. I am so proud that this first in the nation, majority person of color Commission, is ready to usher in the next generation of change.”

The assessment and recommendations came about from the Racial Bias and Equity Motion, adopted by the Commission in October 2020, “[t]o direct the Executive Director to examine Port operations and policies for sources of racial bias and discrimination and to develop programs and policies eliminating inequity in all aspects of the organization.” The goals of this port-wide assessment were to identify strengths, weaknesses, and barriers to equity; establish a baseline to track the Port’s progress in becoming a more equitable organization; and, develop strategies and actions to build a more equitable, anti-racist Port.

All Port staff were invited and encourage to complete the Equity Survey. Nearly 61 percent of the Port’s workforce – 1,306 employees – participated in the survey. In addition to the survey, all staff were invited to participate in 18 different listening sessions. The assessment report reflects a synthesis of input and key issues expressed by all employees and drawing from multiple sources of data.

The Assessment Final Report identifies six areas where Port employees identified inequities and 53 concrete and tangible recommendations within six categories for implementation beginning in 2022.

    • Workplace culture
    • Operations and processes
    • Employment
    • Equity capacity building
    • Engaging WMBEs and small businesses
    • Engaging impacted communities

The assessment found that issues and concerns expressed by Port employees often fall along racial and gender lines, with some employees indicating satisfaction with the status quo and/or less concern, while others face greater barriers, have comparatively greater concerns, and/or are more negatively impacted by racism and other inequities.

The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will begin to translate recommended actions into implementation workplan with progress milestones and integrate into OEDI 2022 Strategic Plan. OEDI will also manage and coordinate implementation across the organization in collaboration with multiple departments and set equity goals that will be presented to Commission with a progress report in December of 2022.

“Anti-racism and equity are important parts of our core values,” said Executive Director Metruck. “This assessment and its recommendations lay the groundwork for us to achieve our vision of a more equitable Port, internally and externally.”

Hear from our new Commissioners Toshiko Hasegawa and Hamdi Mohamed and returning Port Commissioner Ryan Calkins about goals for their upcoming terms.

Scott Schaefer

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