KCIT Partners with Koa Club, Brings Leadership Training to King County Women
by Lindsay Prior, Communications Manager, Department of Information Technology
Women in government are gaining confidence and leadership skills thanks to a unique partnership between KCIT and the Seattle-based Koa Club. Recently, more than 70 King and Snohomish County employees participated in the second-annual Mentorship Huddle challenge. The competition showcased participants’ leadership skills and knowledge gained through the Koa Club’s FollowMyLead training program for women in government.
King County CIO Tanya Hannah approached Koa Club founder Susan Seah in 2020 to design a curriculum focused on women’s career development. “Tanya was instrumental in seeing this need and advocating for implementing the program for the women at KCIT and eventually, other women at King County,” said Susan.
During the pandemic, the program quickly adapted to online workshops without missing a beat. “That turned out well and allowed us to expand the offering to more women,” said Susan. The program has grown rapidly; in 2020, the FollowMyLead program had about 40 participants, and has expanded this year to nearly 70 women.
Participants are assigned to a Mentorship Huddle of 6-8 women and attend a series of 10 online workshops together throughout the year. “Our huddle group has been the best surprise ever. Each one of these women is a true gem,” said Claire Christian, Real Property Agent for DNRP Wastewater Treatment Division and Huddle Mentor for this year’s winning team. “For me, the amazing women in our huddle group have been the icing on the cake. And the filling. And the sprinkles.”
Mid-way through the program, the huddle teams test their knowledge and skills in a fun, collaborative competition in which each team is given a realistic workplace scenario and asked how they would handle the situation; a panel of judges – all impressive women leaders themselves – evaluate each team’s response. Special thanks goes to this year’s contest judges including Tanya Hannah, King County Chief Information Officer; Whitney Abrams, King County Chief People Officer; Kathryn Fugere, Snohomish County Department of Public Works Technology Manager; Lorraine Patterson, King County DNRP Chief Administrative Officer; Devinder Sandhu, Snohomish County Human Resources Operations Manager; and Caroline Whalen, King County Chief Administrative Officer.
“Everyone did an amazing job during the contest,” said Chris Jaramillo, Cable Communications Manager for KCIT. “For me, the program has been really fun and helped me be more productive at work. I’d tell any woman in King County that you should join because of the networking aspects of the program. You’ll come out of it with a few more friends. I think we all need to have some fun in the workplace.”
Congratulations to all the women who participated in this year’s Mentorship Huddle challenge! For more information on applying to next year’s FollowMyLead women in government leadership program, contact Susan Seah at firstname.lastname@example.org.