February 2023 VOICE Magazine

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FEBRUARY 2023 THURST Y CHAMBER GROWING A PROSPEROUS ECONOMY & VIBRANT COMMUNITY WELCOMING JAY KANG Kang Becomes Thurston County Food Bank's First Chief Executive Officer EXECUTIVE PROFILE: Kelsey Hulse of Strategies 360 Upcoming Changes to Thurston County Leadership
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February 2023


Visit ThurstonChamber.com and click on the Events Calendar for the latest information regarding Chamber events.

Join our host, Cove at 311 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501 on Thursday, February 2 at 5:30 p.m. for the Thurston Young Professionals Monthly Networking Event. Enjoy bites and beverages as you expand your network! All are welcome – feel free to invite other 20 to 30-year-olds so they can expand their networks! Thurston Young Professionals is proudly sponsored by Porcupine Media and Cash Oasis/Media Drive

On Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 11:30 a.m., our keynote speaker, Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, Ph.D., president of Saint Martin's University (SMU), will share national trends of challenges and opportunities for the higher education sector, and provide an update on the state of SMU. The event will take place at The Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503. Forum includes a lunch buffet. Register at https://members.thurstonchamber.com/events. Thank you to our event sponsors, Cap City Law, Labor & Industries and Dirk Farrar – Edward Jones

After Hours

Join our Business After Hours host Cap City Law, PS at 2401 Bristol Ct SW Suite A-103, Olympia, WA 98502, on Thursday, February 16 at 5:30 p.m., for mingling and networking with other business professionals, a door prize business card drawing, beverages and appetizers. Business After Hours is a great opportunity to expand your network. ROXY 94.5 and Pacific Source Health Plans proudly sponsor Business After Hours.

Join the Thurston Chamber Foundation for A Night on the Town on April 14, 2023, at the Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake, 2300 Evergreen Park Dr SW, Olympia, WA 98502. This annual fundraiser brings together community leaders to raise funds for Foundation programs...and to party! Enjoy dinner, cocktails, a live auction and after party! This year, we are excited to welcome back Rockaroake! Sing your favorite hits with a live band behind you! Register today at: thurstonchamber.com/anott

Thank You Sponsors!

The VOICE is FSC® Certified.

The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC), is a non-profit organization that sets certain high standards to make sure that forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible and socially beneficial manner.

Executive Profile: Kelsey Hulse of Strategies 360 p. 7

After five years advancing clean energy at PSE, Hulse joined Strategies 360 –one of the nation's leading strategic positioning firms.

Regional Changes in Leadership p. 10

Tumwater City Administrator, John Doan, and Lacey City Manager, Scott Spence both leave their positions in 2023 after more than a decade serving their communities.

Welcome Jay Kang –Thurston County Food Bank's First CEO p. 12

Thurston County Food Bank shifts its focus to fundraising, organizing volunteers, and emerging needs with its first CEO, Jay Kang.

Caught in the Lens p. 22

Keep up with the latest Chamber happenings and see the great smiles that make up our membership!

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In This Issue...

Support the Chamber Foundation at A Night on the Town!

The Chamber Foundation is the bridge between the world of learning and the world of work, and has three pillars: Career Pathway Development, Small Business Development and Community Leadership Development.

The Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, is doing phenomenal work in our community through its seven programs:

• Supporting thousands of youth through business engagement in skill and career pathway development through B2Y Connect, Math for Life, and Find Your Future

• Leadership development through our community program, Leadership Thurston County, celebrating its 28th graduating class and 800 graduates.

• Support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) business owners via the Thurston Small Business Incubator

• Supporting our communities effort to close health equity gaps through Thurston Thrives

• Supporting BIPOC community members in achieving their educational goals through the Diversity in Business Scholarship

How can you support this critical work? The Chamber Foundation invites you to its signature fundraising event, A Night on the Town on Friday, April 14. Buy tickets, sponsor the event or volunteer by visiting thurstonchamber.com/anott.

magazine COPYRIGHT All material appearing in the VOICE Magazine is copyright unless otherwise stated or it may rest with the provider of the supplied material. The VOICE Magazine takes all care to ensure information is correct at time of printing, but the publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any information contained in the text or advertisements. ©2022 VOICE Magazine, Thurston County Chamber. PUBLISHER Thurston County Chamber of Commerce EDITORIAL David Schaffert 360-357-3362 dschaffert@thurstonchamber.com CONTRIBUTORS David Schaffert Doug Mah Natasha Ashenhurst Kathryn Millhorn ADVERTISING Sales & Marketing: Krystal Barkus Elizabeth Bretschneider Ashley Chandler Marianne Judd SUBSCRIPTIONS 360-357-3362 info@thurstonchamber.com DESIGN Ben Hawkes Mosaic Marketing Studio COVER Jay Kang. Cover photo by Shanna Paxton Photography. PRINTING Print NW CONTACT THE CHAMBER 809 Legion Way SE Olympia, WA 98507 360-357-3362 info@thurstonchamber.com thurstonchamber.com
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Hulse, a government affairs specialist, studied philosophy in college. She says it was a helpful starting point for a vibrant and varied career. Straight out of school, she went to work in marketing and business development. She moved to Olympia when she decided to shift and work in fund development for nonprofits. She started at the Thurston County Food Bank and then The Evergreen State College.

It was after a run for political office in 2016 that Hulse made a more significant transition. "I shifted to government affairs work because of its impact on people and their quality of life. That's when I started working as a government affairs representative," she said. She spent five years working at Puget Sound Energy helping advance clean energy at municipal and state levels, as well as with tribal governments.

Kelsey Hulse

Strategies 360 OF

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Ashenhurst • Photos by Gloria Towne, All Around Towne Photography
If asked, Kelsey Hulse would tell you her success, personally and professionally, is because of two character traits. "Relentless persistence and optimism," she said.
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In October 2022, Hulse made another change and started a new chapter at Strategies 360. Strategies 360 is one of the country's leading strategic positioning firms. With offices in 13 western states, Washington, DC and Vancouver, B.C. they are experts in public relations, strategic communications, polling and research, government relations, marketing, and advertising. They work across every industry and issue area. Headquartered in Seattle, Strategies 360 (S360) has an Olympia office with three full-time employees and one intern.

At S360’s Olympia practice, Hulse continues her work in government affairs. Because the Washington State Legislature is in session, her days start early and run late. "Our primary focus for the next 99 days is serving our lobbying clients," she said. She loves that no two days are the same. "I love creative problem-solving and staying in touch with clients," she said. "Every day, new bills are introduced, and new things are coming into play. The ever-changing news cycle can cause everything to change. You have to be nimble."

The 2023 session is in-person after two years of virtual sessions due to COVID. Hulse sees lasting changes brought by the pandemic, and many are positive. "One of the things that has changed is accessibility. Before COVID, we'd see folks drive over from Eastern

Washington and may only have 30 seconds to address a committee. Now there is a remote testimony option. Also, you can sign in pro or con on a bill and make your voice heard. We see this at the city and county levels as well. It makes the whole process a lot more accessible," she said.

Hulse also sees the COVID silver lining around what she calls the 'artifice in the corporate environment.' She explains, "We've seen inside each other's homes. We see each other’s pets and kids. I hope it helps us connect differently and not take ourselves too seriously. It injected real life into the work we do every day."

Changing perceptions is a large part of what Hulse enjoys doing. "No matter if you are working in public affairs, strategic communications or need to fund a capital campaign, the big picture work is the same— create a plan, craft a message and connect it with the people who need to hear it. I enjoy being a lobbyist. I see myself as an educator," she said. "We tend to assume everyone thinks how we do, but the reality is that the legislator you may be addressing may not know your barriers, ideas or situation. They won't know unless you tell them."

And when she's not reading bills and meeting with legislators? "My hobbies are all related to food. I love to cook, pickle and ferment. My partner, Paul, is the Head Brewer at Well 80. When we travel, we seek out great restaurants or breweries," she said. "We're lucky to live in Thurston County where we have local makers and producers, farmers markets and a food hub."

When asked for advice to share with others who want to be change-makers, she said to just keep going. Spend time reaching out to elected officials. Talk to them about what's going on. "Relentless persistence is my greatest tool. Folks are busy trying to work on a lot of issues. Keep checking in. Make the information you are sharing easy to digest. You also need to be optimistic. It is easy to fall victim to cynicism. But just because something hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't. Optimism is the key to success."

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Regional Changes in Leadership

Leadership matters. There will be several changes to local leadership in 2023.

Tumwater's City Administrator, John Doan will retire in April 2023, after serving in the role for 13 years.

2023 started with changes at the City of Lacey when City Manager, Scott Spence, left the area to accept a leadership position in Astoria, Oregon. Spence held the job for 11 years and worked for 23 years at the city. The Lacey City Council has retained a firm to help search for a new City Manager. We can expect a permanent appointment before the middle of the year.

The City of Tumwater will also look for a new City Administrator in 2023. After 13 years, current City Administrator John Doan announced his retirement effective April 2023. Like the City of Lacey, Tumwater Mayor Sullivan will be recruiting for a new City Administrator in 2023.

It is important to note that municipal Managers and Administrators serve at the pleasure of the elected officials. All appointed managers and administrators for public entities across the region are responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the governmental organization. They are also responsible for implementing policies and programs approved by elected officials.

In 2023, leadership changes will also extend to elected officials. In addition to numerous “off-year” elections for city council members, we will have four newly elected positions on the November 2023 ballot.

Last year, voters passed measures to expand the Thurston County and Port of Olympia Commissions from three to five positions. In 2023, voters will elect two new County Commissioners and two new Port Commissioners from two newly created districts. Additional representation on the commissions was driven by population growth and a need for greater representation.

One common conflict facing the entire region will be around future land use decisions and how the region grows and develops.

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Welcome Home to


Elected and appointed officials will need to balance the demands of a growing population and the concerns of existing residents and businesses. The tone and approach for engaging the community around growth and development will be critical and an area in which the Thurston Chamber and its Public Policy Division will remain actively involved.

Our new leaders, elected and appointed, will have several significant issues to address as they take office and assume their responsibilities. How they adjust to growth, an uncertain economy, and recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce are just a couple of issues that can impact the region’s business community. New leaders will need to quickly study and learn how local government can positively or negatively impact the business community. The Thurston Chamber is ready to help new community leaders get up to speed.

Facilitating Effective Meetings

This highly-interactive online training provides participants with a foundation in the concepts, processes, and skills for designing and facilitating meetings.

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Scott Spence served 11 years as City Manager for Lacey, before leaving for another position



Thurston County Food Bank’s First Chief Executive Officer

Photography by Shanna Paxton

Charitable, civic organizations like the Thurston County Food Bank wear many hats. Of course, they work tirelessly to provide much-needed food to the community. But they also meet emerging needs, fundraise, organize volunteers, and squeeze every last drop out of vital donations. In November 2022, our Food Bank shifted focus slightly and brought on its first CEO, Jay Kang.

Despite the pandemic, endless shipping and supply chain issues, and rising inflation, the Food Bank continues to maintain its mission “to eliminate hunger within our community, in the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor.” Kang’s hiring is a perfect fit. With more than 35 years of experience in community- and faith-based nonprofits, a passion for refugee and immigrant communities, and the caring heart of a long-time pastor, he jumped in with gusto.

“I was looking for an east coast job after 20 years in the Pacific Northwest,” Kang admits, “but decided to look

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County Chamber VOICE

for one around here just in case. I’ve previously worked with community resource centers and learned how important it is to address basic needs.” The Food Bank brought him on as Chief Executive Officer, a slight change from former leadership titles. “As the first CEO, I can focus on the administrative side, like fundraising and building internal and external relationships.”

While this is a smaller organization than he’s used to, Kang was won over by the Food Bank’s role within the community. “When I came here, I realized how vital it is to Thurston County,” says Kang. “I love how our staff and volunteers are so dedicated to the organization. I went through the holiday season, which touched my heart so much.” At Thanksgiving alone, their 400 volunteers made up 4,000 meal packages.

Kang recalls that it was raining hard and cold at their Lacey site, where he was helping intake volunteers and staff. “I was touched by how dedicated they were.

Many people in the line told me they were regulars, and they were so thankful for the staff and volunteers for that dedication. I was very touched by the smiles and appreciation they expressed.”

However, the first of the year brings winter doldrums for everyone, including donors. In a recent interview with King 5 News, Kang says that post-holidays donations—unlike our socks—tend to dry out. “A lot of folks donate towards the end of the year,” says Kang, “but we serve 70,000 folks throughout the year, approximately 1,500 households each week. We need food, cash donations, and volunteers all year long.”

This is because government funding is very restrictive. Kang explains that grants and monies received from the state and federal level can only be used towards food items, not other needs. “We rely on people’s donations,” says Kang, “and volunteers to constantly help out with sorting, packing, and food distribution.”

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Thurgood Marshall Middle School’s Day of Service

Hundreds of Thurgood Marshall Middle School students make the community a little brighter every year as part of the school’s annual Day of Service.

These volunteers work shifts throughout the day, Monday through Friday, at the downtown Olympia Food Pantry, Lacey Food Pantry, and Tumwater warehouse. Unrestricted donation funds are used for staffing, additional shopping, and unexpected requests.

“During the pandemic,” says Kang, “other needs came up. Things like diapers, formula, household goods, and clothing, and help to apply for or renew benefits. We want to be here to help, and we need to work together. We’re looking into wraparound services connected to work and housing and planning to expand. I was the beneficiary of a food bank, and I want to serve those in need so they can get back to their life.”

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Thurston County Chamber

When not working, Kang loves singing, watching old movies, and exploring new trails on a nature walk. “Singing is one of my favorites as I wanted to be an opera singer many, many, MANY years ago,” he laughs.

Want to help? Sign up to volunteer, learn more about donating food, organize a food drive, or contribute directly to their work. They’ll take cars, trucks, RVs, boats, motorcycles and other vehicles and turn them into much-needed meals for local families. Keep an eye out; the team is updating its website for a more user-friendly online experience. Until then, you can follow the team on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The Thurston County Food Bank provides more than just bags of mac and cheese or loaves of bread. They offer free lunches to school kids over the summer break. Give birthday bags with toys, books, warm hats, and other presents to children 12 and under. Supply Newborn Baby Bags to new moms. And any number of other free services. Consider joining Kang and the entire team in the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor today.

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Left to right: Volunteer Ellen Metheny, Staff Allison Zusi, Dean Crabapple, Rebekah Graham and Jay Kang.


Saint Martin’s University President Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, Ph.D. to Keynote Chamber Forum

On Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 11:30 a.m., Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, Ph.D., president of Saint Martin's University (SMU), will keynote the Thurston Chamber's February Forum. She will share national trends of challenges and opportunities for the higher education sector, and provide an update on the state of Saint Martin's University.

On July 1, 2022, Dr. Bonds-Raacke became Saint Martin's 11th president and the first woman to serve as president of the 128-year Catholic Benedictine institution. Dr. Bonds-Raacke was unanimously supported by Saint Martin's University Board of Trustees following a nationwide search.

Thank you to our event sponsors, Cap City Law, Labor & Industries and Dirk Farrar – Edward Jones

The Future of Higher Education with Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, Ph.D.

When: February 8, 2023 at 11:30 a.m.

Where: The Norman Worthington Conference Center at Saint Martin's University, 5300 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey, WA 98503.


2023 Distinguished Leader Awards (DLA)

Congratulations to 2023 Honorees – Kelly Wilson, The Nisqually Indian Tribe and Dr. Timothy Stokes!

DLA recognizes leaders who demonstrate outstanding initiative, inspire others, and significantly impact our community and beyond. This year, our honorees exhibit unique, impactful leadership styles that go beyond their organizations and shine through their community support and involvement. Leadership Thurston County will recognize honorees through live and multi-media presentations.

The 21st annual Distinguished Leaders Awards celebration will take place on Tuesday, March 7, at the Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake. The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner, and the program at 6:30 p.m. Learn more at ThurstonChamber.com.

2023 Distinguished Leader Awards

When: March 7, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake, 2300 Evergreen Park Dr SW, Olympia, WA 98502

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Career Camp is a one-day career exploration fair for Thurston County students (grades 6 – 8) and their parents. Students will have the opportunity to explore careers in our growing sectors of Healthcare, Manufacturing, Wood and Forest Products, Hospitality/Tourism, Information Technology, and Food Production. The event includes an EXPO for students to explore various businesses and the career paths in those fields.

Saturday March 18, 2023, 9:00AM – 1:00PM

Location: Chinook Middle School, 4301 6th Ave NE, Lacey, WA 98516

Projected Attendance: 300 Students and Parents

Contact: Christina Chesnut at cchesnut@thurstonchamber.com

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A program of the Thurston County Chamber Foundation
Visit ThurstonGreenBusiness.com to apply. Applications Open January 2, 2023–February 28, 2023 Free to apply. Any business located in Thurston County may apply and only need to qualify in one category to become a Thurston Green Business. Become a Thurston Green Business! Apply Today!
Thurston Green

Caught in the Lens

Keep up with the Thurston Chamber happenings – ribbon cuttings and the networking events. Find more at the Chamber's Facebook page – fb.com/thurstoncountychamber.

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thurstonchamber.com We are proud to partner with Thurston County businesses to create economic opportunities, build a strong community, and improve the health of our environment. 3 6 0 . 5 2 8 . 8 0 0 0 I n q u i r i e s @ P o r t O l y m p i a . c o m P o r t O l y m p i a . c o m Thank you!
Chamber Forum Photos by Shanna Paxton Photography

Olympia, WA 98507-1427

Thank You CommunityInvestors

The Thurston County Chamber sends a BIG "Thank You" to ALL of our investors. With members like you, we are able to provide a sustainable business community in Thurston County as well as foster growth and positive change. Only through your support can we continue to fund important community initiatives and lead the way for business.

PLATINUM Apella Wealth Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, PLLC Fieldstone Communities Little Creek Casino & Resort Morningside Olympia Federal Savings Olympic Rental & Landlord Services SCJ Alliance South Puget Sound Community College The Rants Group truit Veteran Security Operations

DIAMOND ADP FORMA Construction Company Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel Port of Olympia Providence Swedish Puget Sound Energy Saint Martin's University South Sound Behavioral Hospital

TwinStar Credit Union Washington Business Bank Wells Fargo Community Bank

GOLD Caliber Home Loans Chicago Title Columbia Bank The Creative Office The Evergreen State College GHB Insurance, Inc. Great Wolf Lodge Hometown Property Management, Inc. Nisqually Red Wind Casino The Olympia Furniture & Sleep Company Olympia Orthopaedic Associates Timberland Bank Venables Pest Management Window Genie
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