Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

Speed Dating and Some Wine Sipping April 18, 2013

Filed under: Bridge Partners,Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 4:21 pm

On Tuesday night, we gathered Bridge grads and Bridge partner organizations for our quarterly Board Speed Dating event. The sparks were flyin’, eyes were batting and we had a great time. Finding a board to serve on can be an extremely difficult task, that’s why we have tried to make it just a little bit easier.

Board Speed Dating is a two hour event, we start with some mix n’ mingle time, the organizations in attendance then each get 30-seconds to pitch to potential board members, participants then sign up for “dates” with the organizations and then they’re off! There are four, 15-minute dates that take place. But that doesn’t mean more conversation can’t be had because we close off the event with more mix n’ mingle time. Its a fun, easy way to start talking to boards or potential board members.

So what organizations were there? I’m glad you asked!

Overall, the event was quite a success and we are excited to hear about any possible “second dates” that come out of it!

One other thing: 

Did you know that Seattle Works now has a monthly happy hour event called LeaderSip?! I know, I just blew your mind, right? 😀

As part of our new leadership network: LeadNOW we are excited to be offering a networking opportunity in the form of an awesome happy hour!

LeaderSip brings together volunteer leaders for discussion around a different theme/topic related to community engagement. In addition, participants are provided with the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with fellow leaders. Come be part of the conversation! This month we will be talking about Opportunities to Get Involved focusing primarily on how you can get more involved with Seattle Works and your community. Come be part of the fun…they may even be a game…just sayin’…

When: Next Wed 4/24 5:30-7pm

Where: Lucky 8’s China House, 1407 14th Ave Seattle, WA 

Cost: $10 for LeadNOW Members; $15 for General Public | Buy Your Ticket NOW! Your ticket include: a fun networking experience, on beer or glass of wine and a little munchies.

Become a member of LeadNOW today and get the member rate!

Learn more about LeadNOW by visiting out website or email 


“Board membership isn’t as scary as I thought!” February 27, 2013

Filed under: Bridge Partners,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 3:51 pm

Among all their busy-ness, some Microsoft employees took the day yesterday to learn about nonprofit board service in The Bridge. It was a jam-packed day of training, but the participants walked away with a better understanding of what is expected of board members. Jake Groshing, Founder & Executive Director of Balagan Theatre, lead the group through the overview of the nonprofit sector; followed by financial and legal responsibilities with Nathan Hartman, Partner at Peterson Sullivan LLP. Next we took a breather by having a quick board service Q&A panel. After lunch, Sergey Smirnov, Advancement Associate at Hamilin Robinson School, put the participants’ minds at ease when dealing with fundraising. And finally, Mike Quinn from Social Venture Partners provided some cultural differences between Microsoft and the nonprofit world.

We asked participants to tell us what their most significant takeaway was from The Bridge, check out what they told us:

  • I need to do my homework and find the right fit of an organization.
  • The connections made in the classroom.
  • Better context and understanding for opportunities to serve as board member for a nonprofit.
  • Board membership isn’t as scary as I thought!
  • End to end overview of what it means/takes to be an effective board member. Thanks!
  • There are a lot of people who want to do more in their community.
  • Demystified the process, reasons, research to be done before getting involved and while serving on a board.
  • Really liked hearing from the panel about their experiences. Also found the Microsoft in the Nonprofit World helpful in explaining what to expect and how to prepare.
  • Look before you leap – make sure the nonprofit is healthy and a good fit.

If you’d like to find out how to get The Bridge to come to your company, contact


How The Bridge Makes an Impact December 6, 2012

Filed under: Bridge Partners,Lead,Support Seattle Works,The Bridge,Training — seattleworks @ 8:00 am

The Bridge: Board Service Training provides the basics in nonprofit and public board service. Not only do we offer this training to the public, but we also take customized versions to The Boeing Company and Microsoft. Seattle Works has worked hard to provide a high quality training that gives participants the opportunity to develop their volunteer leadership skills.

Feb 2012

Feb 2012

In 2012, we’ve had 37 reported matches to a board, committee or commission.

Let’s break it down:

ArtsEd Washington*

Arts Education. K-12 students.

CARES of Washington*

Employment, Self-sufficiency, Services for people with disabilities and/or low-incomes.

  • Prabhu Kannan

Children’s Campaign Fund

The Bridge at Boeing, October 2012
Boeing, Oct 2012

Helping elect champions for children in Washington State.

  • Mercedes Elizalde

Community for Youth*

Mentoring. Youth Development. Dropout Prevention. Seattle Public High Schools.

  • Chris Rooney

Habitat Young Professionals*

Volunteerism. Community-building. Homelessness.

  • Juli Genovesi

Heron Habitat Helpers*

Environment. Parks. Protecting wildlife.

Board Speed Dating, November 2012
Board Speed Dating, Nov 2012
  • Drew Symonds
  • Prabhu Kannan

Humanities Washington*

Education. Outreach. Public Issues. Humanities.

  • Colleen Rozillis, Program Committee
  • Mark Schwarts, Finance Committee

Many Lights Foundation*

Children, youth, seniors, families. Healing, Abuse and Neglect. Sustainable affordable communities, Multigenerational community

  • Jessica Sewell

Meredith Matthews YMCA*

Microsoft, Nov 2012

Microsoft, Nov 2012

Youth Development. Healthy Living. Social Responsibility.

  • Paul La

The Municipal League of King County

Empowered Citizens. Informed Choices. Government Betterment.

  • Jamie Prins, Foundation Board

Nature Consortium*

Environment. Arts. Education. Youth. Community.

North Helpline*

The Bridge, October 2012

Oct 2012

Food. Underserved Populations. Community. Emergency Services

  • Brittany Barcroft
  • Emily Knudsen
  • Jared Bowen

PCC Farmland Trust

Saving local organic farmland forever.

  • Alexander Moore

Plus One Foundation*

Rehabilitation. Neurological Injury. Support for Adults & Children.

  • Prabhu Kannan

Redmond Citizen Corp Council

Nature Consortium Board Members
Left to right: Chelsey, Jennifer, Emily, and Kira

Public awareness. Emergency readiness.

  • Meghan Manring

School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts*

Acrobatics. Physical Health. Creativity.

  • Blair Feehan
  • Nur Bernhardt

Seattle PONY Baseball & Softball

Youth baseball & softball league. Sports. Health & Wellness.

  • Kara Costa

Seattle Women’s Commission

The Bridge, June 2012

June 2012

Policy, legislation, programs, and budget items concerning women.

  • Michele Frix

Seattle Works*

Volunteerism. Civic engagement. Leadership Development. Community-building.

  • Christina Rocks, Leadership Network Committee

Sound Discipline*

Eliminating race bias. Training and mentoring. Children, families, and schools.

  • Jilberto Soto

Street Yoga*

Youth. Homelessness and poverty. Addiction. Wellness and health. 

Yeletta Banks, Bridge Grad on Street Yoga Board
Yeletta Banks, Bridge Grad
Street Yoga Board Member
  • Ann Zimmerman

Team Up For Nonprofits*

Fundraising. Music. Community. Events.

Treehouse for Kids

Giving foster kids a childhood and future.

  • Andrea Pollock, Young Professionals Board


Reducing car use. Alternate transportation. Climate change issues.

  • Nikola Davidson

Women’s Funding Alliance

Justice, health and opportunity for women and girls.

  • Amy Wales

* Denotes Bridge Partner organization.

This reflects Bridge grads who have reported their involvement with a board or commission – there are likely more that aren’t accounted for! This fantastic, diverse list of organizations showcases the impact Seattle Works has had on the community over the course of the past year.

All over the city, Seattle Works trained volunteer leaders are helping their community grow, come together, and stay actively engaged.

Help us continue to make this impact; help rock your community by giving to Seattle Works today!


Taking Nonprofit to the Corporate World November 16, 2012

Filed under: Bridge Partners,Lead,The Bridge,Training — seattleworks @ 5:30 pm

This past Tuesday, The Bridge went to Microsoft. We delivered a customized version of The Bridge to about 25 Microsoft Employees.

What’s different you ask? Well, it’s a one day training from 9a-4p only for their employees. We cut a few things out, add a few other things, and before you know it – it’s The Bridge: Corporate Edition!

Things that stay the same:

  • Nonprofit Leadership
  • Introduction to Fundraising
  • Financial Management for Board Members
  • Nonprofit Board Q&A Panel

Things that Change: 

  • Board Simulation gets replaced with Microsoft in the Nonprofit World

What’s Microsoft in the Nonprofit World you say? It is delivered by the fantastic Mike Quinn from Social Venture Partners. The session covers nonprofit vs for-profit culture. What are people’s perceptions of Microsoft employees? What are Microsoft employee’s perception of nonprofits? It gives them to opportunity to gain understanding of both sides.

It was a great day filled with some great trainers. Jennifer Boehme Kumar, Service Bureau, lead us through the basics of the nonprofit sector; delivering some shocking statistics to participants. Then we moved on to financials with Nathan Hartman, Peterson Sullivan CPA. The group had great questions about how to read financial statements, legal responsibilities and other fiduciary issues. We quickly then had a great discussion in the Q&A Panel. Representatives from The Alexander Hamilton Friends Association, Community for Youth, Many Lights Foundation and Team Up For Nonprofits. We then took a nice lunch break and headed over to the Microsoft cafeteria, wood-fired pizza, fresh salads and pasta dishes – just to name a few things that this “cafeteria” has as options.

After our wood-fired pizza, we jumped right back on “the bridge.” Fundraising can be a scary, daunting task, if asked to do it, but Sergey Smirnov, Hamilin School & Seattle Works Board, made it sound fun and exciting to the participants; easing their fears and giving them helpful tips. After learning all about fundraising, Mike took it away with Microsoft in the Nonprofit World.

It was a great day, filled with great participation and questions about board service.

Do you want the opportunity to have The Bridge come to your company?
Contact Bevin Wong, for information about our corporate trainings. 

Speed Dating with Seattle Works November 10, 2012

Filed under: Bridge Partners,Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 4:00 pm

Wednesday night we gathered at Space at the Steps, GGLO for Speed Dating. Yes, you read that correctly! Speed Dating. But this wasn’t a typical speed dating! Every quarter, or so, The Bridge hosts a Board Speed Dating event for recent grads and alumni. Partner organizations come to mix and mingle and do first impression interviews with up to 4 prospective board members. It’s an opportunity for not only alumni to connect with organizations, but also for organizations to touch base with each other.

We had a great turn out, a total of 12 organizations and about 18 prospective board members were in attendance. Great connections were made in all different areas and the evening was a smashing success. Partners left pleased with the candidates they spoke with and the connections they made with other organizations.

Partner Organizations that were seeking new board members at Board Speed Dating included: The Alexander Hamilton Friends Association, Cares of Washington, Crooked Trails, Flash Volunteer, Habitat Young Professionals, HeadStrong, Heron Habitat Helpers, SafeCrossings Foundation, Seattle Works, The World is Fun, Undriving, and Youth in Focus.

Big kudos to all partners and participants that came on Wednesday night! We are excited to hear about the matches that come out of the event! A HUGE thank you to our friends at GGLO for hosting our event in your amazing space!



Want to be able to participate in Board Speed Dating and other Bridge related events? Take The Bridge! For additional questions, contact 


Emerging Board Members October 10, 2012

Filed under: Bridge Partners,Lead,The Bridge — seattleworks @ 4:12 pm

Last night we had our second session of the October Bridge. This was just as eventful as the last. Our group of volunteer leaders are active, engaged, and becoming board members!

Our night started with a special visit from the Seattle Works Board Chair, Nick Brown. He talked briefly about the importance of the Bridge, then invited our participants to attend Swank.

Training started out with Duane Landon , 501 Commons, talking about Financial and Legal Responsibilities of a Board. Participants got a little more comfortable looking at financial statements such as Balance Sheets and Statements of Activities. They did a group activity to learn accounting terms such as assets, liabilities, accrual-based, and deferred revenue. “Financial statements are not as scary as they look,” said one participant. Overall, it the group has a better grasp on financials and accounting.

We then jumped right into Fundraising and Resource Development with Sergey Smirnov, Hamilin Robinson School  & Seattle Works Board Member. Participants learned how fundraising and asking for money is like dating. Getting to know the people/organization/company before jumping in with the ask. What’s your elevator pitch cocktail party conversation? After last night’s session about fundraising, one participant noted that “maybe I could ask for money…”

Resources such as BoardSource were provided to the group as places to get more information and reading about board service.

Our group of Bridge participants is about to wrap up their training in a couple weeks with a great Q&A Panel with some of our Community Partners and then an awesome Interactive Board Simulation with Jennifer Boehme Kumar returning along with Page Roth.

Our awesome volunteer faculty is doing such a great job preparing participants for board service. This group if 30 will be on their way to board service very soon!

The next session of the Bridge is Sat 11/10 & 11/17. Registration is open, so sign up today! Questions? Email:


Bridge Success, Nature Consortium has Four New Board Members September 21, 2012

Filed under: Bridge Partners,Lead,The Bridge,Training — seattleworks @ 10:03 am

What happens when you cross the Bridge?

Four Seattleites found themselves not only in the same Seattle Works Bridge course, but also on the same path toward doing exactly what they were learning to do as part of the Bridge program: connecting people with the opportunities around them.

2012 Bridge program graduates Kira Cha, Emily Knudsen, Chelsey Meek-Beck, and Jennifer Mortensen (read their bios) share how, what they learned from Seattle Works, helped them land board membership at the West Seattle-based nonprofit Nature Consortium, whose mission is to connect people, arts, and nature.

What was it about Nature Consortium that drew you to them?

Chelsey: I was drawn to Nature Consortium because of their mission statement: connecting people, arts, and nature. This organization is unique because each of their initiatives connects the three elements. I also like the fact that the organization has several projects that target youth. While many art programs are cut due to budgeting, Nature Consortium is actively working with after school programs to provide opportunities for youth to learn about art in a fun way. I think that’s great!

Emily: There are so many qualities to choose from! I think what I found most impressive, though, was the organization’s support of the arts. By promoting the arts in its programs and committing to always pay artists not only shows that the organization is true to its values, but also helps demonstrate to others in the community that art deserves more attention and appreciation. This helps create a more vibrant community.

Kira: The connection Nature Consortium has with the community is what drew me to them. As a new Seattleite, seeing how this organization ties art and conservation, which strengthen the identity of the area, to the neighborhood is a mission that I wanted to be a part of in my new city. I’m excited to contribute to the positive values that define Seattle, because this is what attracted me to the city when I moved here.

Jen: At the end of the Seattle Works Bridge program, Page Roth gave us a great list of organizations seeking volunteers. I was the nerd who looked up the website for each and every org on that list. I’m a marketing person by trade, so spending my time with an organization that knows how to—or that’s at least eager to—creatively tell their story is important to me. I wanted to join an organization capable of standing out in a crowd. One look at Nature Consortium’s website and you’ll know they’re creative, inspiring, doing lots of great things in our community, and that they’re even a little quirky. I just love that.

What was the process of becoming a board member like?

Emily: I familiarized myself with the organization by meeting with the executive director, board members and attending Nature Consortium events to learn as much as I could about its mission and how the organization operated.  I was in awe of what the organization was accomplishing and was certain that it had further potential. So I submitted my resume, attended a board meeting, and was voted in just a few months after attending the Bridge program. I felt supported and encouraged throughout the whole process by Page Roth of Seattle Works and everyone I met at Nature Consortium.

Jen: Becoming a board member was not unlike dating. Seattle Works was the matchmaker; they gave me a volunteer “makeover” and introduced me to Nature Consortium. I had a first date with Nancy, NC’s executive director. She showed me their artistically decorated office, introduced me to their fun-loving and hard-working staff, and we had a great conversation about the organization’s mission and her vision for the future. Then, I had a second date with Board Member Derek. We talked one-on-one about the state of the organization and what it’s like to serve on the board. Shortly thereafter, Derek and Nancy invited me to meet the family. I attended a couple of spirited board meetings (not at all like the stuffy, number-crunching board meeting’s I’d envisioned. (Well, there was some number crunching; budgets are important!) We all got to know one another, ask questions, and evaluate if this relationship was going to work.  I was very proud to be asked to join the board and to be voted in with my fellow Bridge grads. Now that the honeymoon stage is over, Nancy has me hard at work helping with the organization’s brand building. It was and continues to be a great experience!

What are you excited to work on as a board member?

Emily: I’m really excited to get the word out about Nature Consortium. I’ve heard so many volunteers and attendees of the Arts in Nature Festival speak very enthusiastically about the organization, so I know that if more people find out about the organization, they will also be smitten and eager to be more involved. (Just as I was.)

Kira: We host a series of fun art and nature events in West Seattle and beyond and getting people involved and invested in the mission is the biggest way I, as a board member, can contribute to the organization’s longevity.

Chelsey: As a Board Member, I’m excited to learn more about the structure and a typical statement of work of a non-profit organization. As a new board member, I think it is fascinating how differently a non-profit functions than a for profit company. I think that attending board meetings and different functions will help me to learn about these topics.

Jen: I’m excited, albeit a little nervous, to work on friend- and fund-raising. Over the years I’ve grown a network of friends who share professional and personal interests. Now I have a chance to introduce my network to my philanthropic interests. I hope I’ll learn how to effectively “pitch” Nature Consortium to friends and colleagues, to help inspire them to give time and resources in support of arts, nature, and community-building. I’ll definitely be drawing on the knowledge Seattle Works taught me during the Bridge course.

What is one thing from The Bridge that you remember and are excited to apply in your upcoming service?

Kira: This is my first board service and what The Bridge taught me is that diversity of experiences are important on a board. It’s important for a board to continue to develop as a group, and bringing in new ideas and voices strengthens the board as a whole, prevents stagnation, and pushes it to grow.

 Jen: Board service has a social benefit, too! I’m enjoying getting to know my fellow board members and the Nature Consortium staff: what they do professionally, what they do for fun, what we have in common (in addition to our love of Nature Consortium, of course).

Emily: The base knowledge on nonprofit financials I learned at the Bridge was really important to me. It’s an area where I’d like to gain more experience so I’m hoping to apply that knowledge to my role as a board member.

Chelsey: The Bridge taught me that different board members can bring different things to the table in an organization. For instance, some people can bring the benefits of a large network or knowledge in a specific field (such as law) that would be useful in a board setting. Personally, I can donate time to volunteer for the organization. By doing so I can help ensure the organization is fulfilling its mission in the activities it provides to its targeted audience. I am excited to get to know the people that are passionate about Nature Consortium’s mission as I volunteer.

What has been your favorite moment at Nature Consortium so far?

Jen: Handing out beer tokens at Clips of Faith was pretty fantastic. “What’s Clips of Faith?” you ask. Oh, only the most awesome summer evening out in Seattle you’ll ever have: movies on the lawn at Gasworks Park, New Belgium Beer tasting, music, prizes, friends, and above all else, an entire community learning about and showing support for Nature Consortium! Check out the photo recap.

Emily: The first Nature Consortium event I attended was the Youth Art Program. I helped the kids create flowers and bugs out of reclaimed materials and put together a mosaic for their garden. After art time, the kids wanted to take me to their garden. They pointed out the plants they had sown and showed me the resident chickens. What really got me was their excitement over the sorrel they had grown. (Yes, sorrel, a leafy green.) A few kids picked off a leaf or two, stuffed it into their mouths and then asked permission to get more. Then one boy turned to me, “Do you want to try it? It’s delicious!” and he gave me his. Who knew kids could be that excited over fresh-from-the-garden greens?!  You could tell how proud they were at what they had accomplished.

Kira: My favorite moment was the first meet and greet board meeting we attended before becoming board members. It was the biannual board and staff meeting and there was an introductory storytelling where everyone shared a Nature Consortium memory. It was so inspiring to hear everyone’s vastly different experiences. Listening to the passion and energy everyone has for this organization made me want to join right away!

Join Kira, Emily, Chelsey, and Jen in the ranks of community leaders. The next session of The Bridge starts THIS Tue, 9/25 6-9p! Sign Up Now!